Penguins Fire Therrien
I guess someone’s always worse off than you… unless you’re the Islanders.
Nine months ago, Michel Therrien guided the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stanley Cup Final.
Now he’s out of a job.
Therrien was fired by general manager Ray Shero on Sunday and replaced with Dan Bylsma on an interim basis. Pittsburgh was coming off a 6-2 loss at Toronto on Saturday night and currently resides in 10th place in the Eastern Conference. Assistant coach Andre Savard was reassigned within the organization, while Tom Fitzgerald was moved behind the bench. Fitzgerald had been the club’s Director of Player Development.
Bylsma, 38, was the head coach of Pittsburgh’s American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The Baby Pens won their eighth straight on Sunday in a 5-2 victory against Worcester. They are 35-16-3, one point behind the first-place Hershey Bears in the East Division. Bylsma will make his debut with Pittsburgh on Monday afternoon against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.
“We believe we need a change in direction and, with 25 games remaining in the regular season, our goal remains to finish strong and qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs,” Shero said. “Dan Bylsma is one of the bright young coaches in the game and has done an exceptional job as the head coach in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season.
“We also would like to thank Michel Therrien for his significant contributions to the Penguins organization.”
Bylsma played nine NHL seasons as a right wing with Los Angeles and Anaheim from 1995-2004. He played 429 NHL regular season games and also played in the 2003 Stanley Cup Final with Anaheim. He retired as a player following the 2003-04 campaign.
The native of Grand Haven, Mich., began his coaching career as an assistant with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks of the AHL in 2004-05. He made his NHL coaching debut as an assistant with the New York Islanders in 2005-06.
Bylsma joined the Penguins’ organization as an assistant to Todd Richards in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2006-07. In two seasons, the Richards-Bylsma coaching tandem led W-B/S to a 98-49-5-8 record. The Baby Penguins won the AHL East Division and Eastern Conference championships in 2007-08 and advanced to the Calder Cup Final. Bylsma was elevated to head coach when Richards joined Todd McLellan’s staff in San Jose last summer.
The Penguins will announce further plans for their AHL staff on Tuesday.
Material from team media was used in this report.
I wonder how the players, especailly Crosby, will react to this shakeup.
About the author: Eric is a lifelong Rangers fan and is currently studying Computer Engineering at Hofstra University. You can follow him on Twitter: @5holeEric