It’s not pretty to look at, but consider this pathetic Eastern Conference Final performance:
- A powerplay unit that scores zero goals on 14 opportunities
- The team captain — one of the so-called “best players in the world” — is held without a point in four games
- A defense that allows one player to attempt 21 shots in a single game
- Outhit 142-105 and outshot 136-106 in the series
It’s no wonder the Boston Bruins swept the Pittsburgh Penguins in four straight games. Oh, and one more thing… Those were stats about Boston — not Pittsburgh.
As Shero weighs the decision to dismiss Bylsma on Wednesday, he’ll no doubt think about how Washington fired Bruce Boudreau two seasons ago. Boudreau led the Capitals to repeated regular season success but couldn’t exceed the lofty standards that had been set for the franchise. He was fired and quickly snatched up by Anaheim, and recently was nominated for the Jack Adams Award after reviving the Ducks from the ashes this season.
Bylsma would jump to the top of any list of coaching nominees around the league and it wouldn’t be unreasonable to envision him leading to Vancouver Canucks to dominance next year.
The biggest difference, however, between Bylsma and Boudreau (or John Tortorella) is that Bylsma still seems to have the full support of his players. Boudreau and Tortorella didn’t.
Each member of the Penguins was asked about Bylsma on Sunday. Their answers weren’t just “yes, we support the coach because he’s our coach.” They were enthusiastic endorsements.
Colligan's definitely one of my favorite Penguins writers at the moment (along with Seth Rorabaugh at emptynetters). Good post-series thoughts. BTW, this isn't a "Defend Bylsma" article (in my eyes, at least).