Is Bylsma the Next Boudreau?

My favorite (and pretty much only - thank you!) commenter of this blog, Matt, recently brought up the Dan Bylsma comparisons to Bruce Boudreau. It's not the first time I've heard this, so I wanted to give my two cents on it. I'm still not sure if that's an entirely accurate comparison. Generally, yes, it works: minor league coach gets NHL job and turns a team around.

Here's where I think things differ:

For one thing, Boudreau was a minor league coach for years and years before he got his chance. He started in 1990 and coached through the IHL, ECHL and AHL. He won two championships and had winning records in all but about four of his coaching seasons. Dan Bylsma was an AHL head coach for a few months. Prior to that he was assistant for the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks in 04-05, the Islanders in 05-06 and the Baby Pens since then. So the actual experience differs -- not that his lack of it inhibits him from being a successful coach in the NHL. I'm just saying that's a big difference between the two of them.

Secondly, Boudreau inherited a Washington Capitals team that had gone 6-14-1. It was also an organization that had missed the play-offs for three consecutive years before that. They were pretty much a mess. What he did was amazing.

Bylsma inherited a Penguins team that had gone 12-19-2 since the start of December. They had started at 14-6-3 and were coming off a Stanley Cup finals series. The talent was clearly there. It was just a matter of lack of will and chemistry stemming from the players (and they just didn't like Therrien). You can't argue with the Pens' recent wins since Bylsma took over. They've definitely done better than they were doing. I'm just not sure if there's been enough time to judge whether that was because of Bylsma or the players' response to the change.

Time will tell. I'd love to see Bylsma really shift things around not just in terms of winning but in how the team comes together. I just don't know if the change will be as huge as Boudreau's was in Washington.


Matt said...

if the penguins make the playoffs and make some noise, i'll really be impressed!
thanks for the shout out btw!


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