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Thread: Blues Coach a Fan Of Dan Bylsma

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    Default Blues Coach a Fan Of Dan Bylsma

    Blues coach a fan of Penguins coach Bylsma

    By Josh Yohe, Daily News Staff Writer
    Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    When a coaching vacancy opened at Shattock-St. Mary's in Minnesota a few years ago, St. Louis Blues coach Andy Murray offered the highly regarded prep school some advice: Hire Dan Bylsma.

    Shattock-St. Mary's headmaster didn't listen, insisting that Bylsma was too inexperienced to coach at that level.

    The Penguins aren't complaining.

    In his first full season as Penguins coach, and with a Stanley Cup ring already in his possession, Bylsma continues to lead the team and his reputation to astonishing heights. His regular-season record as Penguins coach is 25-4-4, including a 7-1 start to this season.

    "You could tell he was going to be a coach," said Murray, who was Bylsma's coach during his playing career for a season with the Los Angeles Kings in the 1999-2000 campaign.

    "He always asked a lot of questions. Now, I wish I hadn't given him so many answers."

    Only 39, Bylsma seems experienced beyond his years. He had plenty of mentors in the coaching field, namely Murray and Detroit coach Mike Babcock.

    Bylsma, though, appears to have singular methods toward coaching and, more importantly, dealing with people that are setting him apart.

    His ability to create a comfortable atmosphere might be his greatest strength.

    "He's like no other coach I've ever had," first-year Penguins defenseman Jay McKee said. "It's his attitude. He brings a fresh attitude to the rink every day, and over the course of 82 games, that's a very important thing."

    That many of the Penguins didn't care for their previous coach, Michel Therrien, is hardly a secret. It seems a harsh word about Bylsma has never been uttered in the Penguins locker room.

    Veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar has played under nine coaches during his NHL career and notes that Bylsma is different than the others.

    His description of Bylsma sounds stunningly reminiscent of how Penguins players described Bob Johnson, who led the team to its first Stanley Cup in 1991.

    "He brings a special energy," Gonchar said. "The big difference between him and other coaches is his attitude. Coaching just seems natural to him, and he is always so positive."

    Bylsma is only four years older than Gonchar and two months older than Bill Guerin. His age, though, has never been a problem. It did not take Bylsma long to earn his team's trust.

    "He is young, but he has a lot of knowledge for someone that young," Gonchar said. "He paid attention to details when he was a player, and it's paying off now."

    Murray ran into Bylsma at the NHL awards show this summer, and after congratulating him on capturing the Stanley Cup, reminded his former player that coaching isn't always "this easy."

    Bylsma, however, hardly seems content. Even though the Penguins are off to a 7-1 start, he sounds hungry to push his team to greater heights.

    "We need to pay more attention to details," Bylsma said. "We know we need to get better and work on things if we're going to be a good team."

    Although the Penguins are just now becoming completely familiar with Bylsma's methods — he coached in almost as many playoff games (24) as regular-season games (25) entering this season — it has become immediately clear that he knows which buttons to push.

    "He knows when to be serious," McKee said, "and he knows when to lighten things up."

    As for that job at Shattock-St. Mary's, the headmaster won't be getting a mulligan. He does, though, get reminders from Murray.

    "I still see him," Murray said. "I asked him if he watched the playoffs."

    Although Murray is among the biggest influences in Bylsma's coaching career, he prefers to give the Penguins coach all the credit for his success.

    "I knew he would be a good coach," Murray said. "He's his own man. My gosh, he's done a great job."

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    Default Re: Blues Coach a Fan Of Dan Bylsma

    Its really interesting...25-4-4...that means he's managed to get 77% of the points in the games he's coached--50 points for wins and 4 points for losses...divided by 70 total points in those games. Over a full season...he'd accumulated 122 points from victories and 10 more points from overtime losses....132 points. My god! Only 1 team has been over 120 since 2000...and that was Detroit. That's just a gaudy stat for sure.

    Whether Bylsma's team keeps this up is another story...and really in truly has no affect on what he has ALREADY accomplished.

    I hope the Pens do keep it up...Bylsma has already accomplished a lot though.
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