Pittsburgh, PA, United States (4E Sports) – After hiring Jim Rutherford as their new general manager, the Pittsburgh Penguins have dismissed coach Dan Bylsma, who won a franchise-record 252 games with the team.
According to Rutherford, Bylsma was informed of his dismissal Friday morning.
“What the ownership wants here is a complete change in direction, one with the general manager and one with the coach,” Rutherford said. “The timing of it was good because he’s a good man and a good coach.”
“I really don’t know him very well and I only just talked to him very briefly this morning, but the timing is good because there are coaching vacancies,” he added.
Bylsma led the Penguins to a 252-117-32 record in 401 regular-season games in parts of six seasons, and won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s best coach in 2011. The Penguins never finished lower than second in their division during Bylsma’s tenure.
He replaced Michel Therrien midway through the 2008-09 season and led Pittsburgh to a Stanley Cup. Bylsma is 43-35 in 78 playoff games but 27-27 since winning the Cup.
Rutherford said the Penguins might not have a coach in place by the 2014 NHL Draft, which starts June 27, but will by the start of free agency.
“The coach is going to have to adjust to the style of players that we have,” Rutherford said. “With the talent level of the Penguins, the Penguins can play whatever way you want.”
Assistant coaches Tony Granato, Jacques Martin and Todd Reirden, along with goaltending coach Mike Bales, have been given permission to looks for jobs elsewhere during the search for a coach, but also are welcome to remain with Pittsburgh, Rutherford said.
The 65-year-old Rutherford, for his, replaces Ray Shero, who was fired three weeks ago. The move is a homecoming for Rutherford, who played goalie for the Penguins in the 1970s.
Rutherford became the general manager of the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes for 20 years before resigning in April to move into an advisory role as team president.
He shepherded the franchise in its move from Hartford to North Carolina in 1997, and built a team that won the Stanley Cup in 2006 and also went to the Cup Final in 2002.