Knowing what we all know after today, that is, Bylsma getting his contract extension, as well as the Pens falling to the Bruins in a historically embarrassing fashion, would you have rather lost to the Islanders in seven? (With the Pens losing the last two). I want to make it clear that a vote for losing to the Islanders in the first round also includes the hypothetical scenario where DB DOES NOT GET HIS EXTENSION AND IS LET GO. Now I understand that this is a pretty big assumption considering how difficult it seems to be for a coach get fired around here, but I think it's as safe as a bet as you're going to get. I honestly believe he would've been let go in that scenario. I'll be upfront here, I personally would have rather lost to the Islanders in seven. As embarrassing as it would've been to go out in the first round again, and as much of a s#*t storm as we would've seen on this board, knowing what I know now, I actually feel it was worse losing the way we did; being not only beaten, but swept by a rival after once again being the cup favorites. Having the most prolific offense in over 20 years, and then being held to a historically low number of goals for a series. That's just bad. Really bad. And then add that to the fact that getting to the conference finals probably earned DB his two year extension..
To me, the decision to keep DB should've come down to two questions.
#1 Do you think there is a single head coach in the NHL today that couldn't have gotten this current roster of pens into the playoffs?
#2 Out of all of the coaches currently available for hire, do you feel that DB gives the best chances at post season success?
#2a If you answered yes to #2 then one must ask "based on what evidence?" Lol
If you answered no to both of those, then I think think the answer is clear. You replace Dan as head coach, especially considering his recent post season failures. We all know this team is going to make the post season. I have no doubt that this team could probably coach themselves into the post season. In every year, our coach has lost to a team we should've beat. You could call Tampa a draw, but considering we were up 3-1, we SHOULD'VE beat them. The only real credit that I can give Dan, is the way he had this team playing on several occasions when both Malkin and Crosby were out, most notably in 2011. Other than that, he's pretty much been a total failure when it counts. Once again, I'm left saying "I'm not even going to pay attention until the post season" We all know that this team getting into the playoffs is as close to a sure thing as you're going to get for any team in the NHL, so for this coach and these players, it all comes down to what they do in the post season". But then of course, I said the same thing last year, so whatever. His supporters might point out the injuries we've had over the years or his record, and his stats and compared to other coaches, saying that this fanbase is spoiled and we shouldn't expect to win the cup every year. But I kind of disagree with with some of that. As a fan of almost any team, in any sport, you know that there will not be many opportunities to truly be great. There will be many years of mediocrity, rebuilding and a salary cap that makes putting a championship caliber team on the ice nearly impossible. If you've been a Pens or Steelers fan for long enough, you've experienced this several times over. There almost has to be a perfect storm of circumstances, including timing, luck, injuries and good management to be able to put the type of team on the ice that we had this year, and POSSIBLY next year as well. You HAVE to make the most of the opportunity while it's there, because it certainly won't be there for long. It's really frustrating watching any team piss away those type of opportunities b/c the opportunities are so few and far between. HCDB's record and list of accomplishments must be evaluated against the expectations, most of which are fairly realistic. And in that sense he has certainly fallen short.
The only good reason that I have seen mentioned for keeping DB around, is the fact that most of the players seem to like him, and considering that we are currently at the point of having to resign certain key players in this organization, keeping Dan around might be enough added incentive to help bring them back for a price we can afford. I only hope that as others have mentioned, GMRS sat Dan down and talked about the type of changes that would need to be made in the following years if he were to get an extension. That's really my only hope, and what I HAVE to believe in order to continue watching next year. You can't just continue watching hoping that we'll get all of the lucky bounces, or that we will somehow gain the magical force field around the net that Boston had this year. You have to believe that there will be changes, and you want to see your organization being proactive about making the type of changes that will result in a different outcome in the future. I'll try not to be overly pessimistic, but resigning DB does not indicate this type of change to me. I actually think it's kind of crazy that he was resigned this year. I mean we've all heard that definition of insanity quoted before: doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting different results? That's pretty much the only thing that keeps coming to my mind. All I can say is that very good coaches, across multiple sports have been let go for a lot less. But hey, here's to hoping..
Sorry to be so long winded, but while I'm at it, I want to talk about MAF. I should say that I do not hate Fleury, nor do I love him. I am about as indifferent to MAF as any player on this team. In my mind he is an average to slightly above average goaltender. This is not because he often plays like an average goalie, but because he is one of the most bipolar goalies in the NHL today. He goes from playing great to playing horrible in the blink of an eye, and if you average all of that out, you get... well average to a little above average. If he were making about half of what his current salary is, I'd be very happy with him. My biggest problem is with his salary. He is just NOT worth what he makes, especially considering we are currently in the midst of trying to find a way to resign a handful our core, or at least very important role players on this team. It would make so much more sense to try and trade him (or even buy him out), and find another Vokounesq type of goaltender. Someone who is solid, reliable and who you can count on to not lose games for you. Someone who can be had in the 2-2.5 mil range. Have him split time with Vokoun until you can acquire and develop some younger talent (maybe Hartzell..). Honestly, the way this team is built, as many have said, we don't need spectacular goaltending. And we certainly don't need to pay a guy franchise goalie money for average goaltending. Does anyone honestly believe that there is a current goalie in the NHL that would've won that Boston series for us!? I sure don't. And does anyone honestly believe that there is a current goalie in the NHL that would've lost the ottawa series for us? When the Pens are playing well, and not having to deal with coaches game planning against us, goaltending is rarely the difference maker, and solid/average will do. When it's the opposite, and we have to deal with "coaching", good goaltending is usually not enough. I realize that those two series are somewhat extreme examples, and some might try and make the case that Vokoun got us out of the Islander series, but I don't know. We certainly would've won game 5 with average goaltending. And had Fleruy been in net for game 6, I still say it's a coin flip. And of course there still would've been game 7. All I am saying is that it just doesn't make sense to pay Fleury the type of money for what we get in return.
Last edited by smoothmoneyb
on Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:30 pm, edited 3 times in total.