Any time a staff falls in need of expectations, you’re sure to listen to rumblings a couple of teaching change. It’s no completely different for our Penguins.
For a third-straight postseason we’ve gone out within the opening spherical. We’ve misplaced our final 4 playoff sequence and 15 of our final 20 postseason video games.
This season’s shortfall was particularly disappointing as a result of it felt just like the staff had extra to present. Which begs the query.
Is it time for a training change?
To digress, Mike Sullivan is nearly universally thought to be a wonderful coach. Not solely did he do a fabulous job of preserving an injury-plagued staff afloat (over 300 man-games misplaced) however he led us to a division title in arguably the hardest and best division within the league. I actually really feel he deserves Jack Adams consideration as coach of the yr.
And but these nagging postseason exits simply received’t go away.
Former Pens coach Dan Bylsma had the same string of failure after main us to a Cup in 2009. Regardless of being the quickest coach in NHL historical past to win 250 video games, he was fired throughout the summer time of 2014 following a fifth-straight early playoff exit at arms of a decrease seed.
For the document, Bylsma’s regular-season factors proportion with the black and gold was .668; his playoff factors proportion .551. Sullivan’s, .641 and .547.
Again to Sullivan. It isn’t a lot that we didn’t win a Cup this season as his cussed occasion on enjoying a sure type and a perceived reluctance to change that type for the great of the staff. Paradoxically, Bylsma was derisively labelled “One Plan Dan” for his incapacity to adapt to the trials of postseason play.
May the identical be stated of “Sully?”
I pose the query as a result of there’s a chance for the Pens to make a training change in the event that they selected to take action. Following 4 seasons within the desert, former Pens assistant Rick Tocchet minimize ties with Arizona. Throughout his three years behind the bench right here he was extraordinarily well-liked and revered by the gamers. Tocchet was largely credited with getting essentially the most out of mercurial winger Phil Kessel. Having performed an integral half in our back-to-back Cups, he is aware of what it takes to win.
The window to rent Tocchet isn’t more likely to be open for lengthy. He’s already interviewing for the vacant Columbus job. The Rangers and growth Seattle Kraken have unfilled openings as effectively. If the Pens choose to make a change they’ll want to take action rapidly, which matches in opposition to GM Ron Hextall’s MO.
By the way, Tocchet and Hextall have been teammates on the Flyers for four-plus seasons again within the day, so there’s a connection.
That’s all effectively and good, Buker, however is a training change actually essential?
That is determined by your perspective. Will the Pens have a greater shot at profitable a Cup with Tocchet on the helm as a substitute of Sullivan? That’s onerous to say, particularly given our growing old core and the notion, true or not, that our window for chasing extra Cups has just about closed.
Then why make a change?
The driving issue may effectively be administration’s said want to play a heavier sport…“lengthy pants” hockey as Brian Burke described it. With Sullivan, no lover of robust guys or overly bodily play, there’s liable to be resistance, delicate or in any other case. With Tocchet, the final word warrior winger throughout his enjoying profession, not a lot.
Ultimately it largely is determined by whether or not or not Hextall and Burke really feel the gamers want a brand new voice to information them and a recent organizational route.
In a approach it jogs my memory of 1993. Following an upset loss to the Islanders, the Pens abruptly steered away from Corridor-of-Fame coach Scotty Bowman and employed former skipper and GM Eddie Johnston, a preferred selection among the many gamers. Whereas the Pens did effectively beneath “EJ,” reaching the convention finals in 1996, we didn’t win one other Cup. Bowman went on to win three extra Cups with Detroit and cement his legacy as the best coach of all-time.
*You should definitely take a look at Rick Bukers books,
out there at TriumphBooks.com,