Penguins face difficult off-season decisions | Hockey | CBC Sports

Playoffs 2013Penguins face difficult off-season decisions

Posted: Sunday, June 9, 2013 | 07:17 PM

Back to accessibility links
There continues to be plenty of speculation that Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma could be fired after the team suffered an embarrassing sweep to the Boston Bruins. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) There continues to be plenty of speculation that Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma could be fired after the team suffered an embarrassing sweep to the Boston Bruins. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Beginning of Story Content

There continues to be plenty of speculation that owner Mario Lemieux would like to fire head coach Dan Bylsma, who has a year remaining on his deal. But that's not the only difficult decision for Lemieux and general manager Ray Shero.

PITTSBURGH -- A clean-shaven group of Pittsburgh Penguins turned up to say their goodbyes and tidy up their dressing room on Sunday, but how much housecleaning this organization will undergo remains to be seen.

There continues to be plenty of speculation that owner Mario Lemieux would like to fire head coach Dan Bylsma, who has a year remaining on his deal.

Pascal Dupuis, eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 5, expressed his desire to remain in Pittsburgh. Trade deadline acquisitions Jarome Iginla, Douglas Murray and Brenden Morrow remarked that they're open to re-signing with Pittsburgh. Bylsma revealed that goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury remains the team's franchise goalkeeper despite his playoff struggles.

Bylsma, meanwhile, was not the reason the talented Penguins were shocked in the East final and swept by the Boston Bruins, according to Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby.

"The players need to execute," Crosby said. "There only is so much your coach can do. He doesn't go out and play. We're more than responsible for not finding a way.

"It's not my decision. I obviously have a lot of great things to say about [the coaching staff] and I'm sure [ownership and management are] well aware."

The Penguins scored only twice in their four games against Boston goalie Tuukka Rask. The Penguins power play went 0 for 15 in the series.

Iginla takes the blame

Iginla, who will turn 36 on Canada Day, blamed himself for the Penguins poor performance in the East final. He particularly had a rough finale when the winning goal from Boston defenceman Adam McQuaid deflected off Iginla's stick. He also was foiled by Rask on a last-second shot.

"I plan on being better next year," Iginla said. "Unfortunately, I wasn't as good as I can be. Being 35, it's good challenge. I'll be back to work in a couple of weeks. Whether it's in Pitt, we'll see.

"I'm not sure what's going to happen. It's been positive. I'm definitely open to re-signing."

Iginla made $7 million US a season. He will have to take a pay cut to stay in Pittsburgh. The Penguins have 18 players under contract for next season and only $7.9 million in space under the $64.3-million salary cap. Here is a list of their free agents and their 2012-13 salary.

  • Unrestricted free agents: Craig Adams ($675,000), Matt Cooke ($1.8-million), Pascal Dupuis ($1.5-million), Mark Eaton ($725,000), Iginla ($7-million), Morrow ($4.1-million), Murray ($2.5-million).
  • Restricted free agents: Robert Bortuzzo ($525,000), Dustin Jeffrey ($625,000), Tyler Kennedy ($2-million).
  • Then there is the group of valuable Penguins who next season will enter the final year of their contracts before they're eligible to become unrestricted free agents. They include: Evgeni Malkin ($8.7 million), Chris Kunitz, ($3.725 million), Brooks Orpik ($3.75 million), Kris Letang ($3.5 million) and Matt Niskanen ($2.3 million).

Penguins could get cap relief

Penguins general manager Ray Shero could get some salary cap relief by moving or buying out Fleury and his $5-million cap hit. But he wants to stay to try and rebuild his game in Pittsburgh. If Bylsma stays as coach, he wants the 28-year-old Fleury, who has two years left on his deal, to be his goalie.

"He's our No. 1 goalie," Bylsma said. "He's a No. 1 goalie for this franchise and he will be going forward.

"We were in a situation where Tomas Vokoun went into net and won the third and fourth games of a series for us and continued to play in our net. But Marc-Andre Fleury is a guy who's going to come back to our team and he's going to be the No. 1 goalie. He's going to be the franchise goalie. He's going to be this franchise's goalie."

End of Story Content

Back to accessibility links

Story Social Media

End of Story Social Media

Comments are closed.