Penguins lift interim tag, sign coach Bylsma
Former NHL forward guided team to 18-3-4 record in regular season
While his players have spent the time off between series resting bumps and bruises, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma has been busy negotiating a new contract.
The NHL club on Tuesday announced it has removed the interim tag from Bylsma's title and signed the 38-year-old to a multi-year contract.
"Dan has done such an impressive job with our team, both on and off the ice, that we didn't see the need to wait any longer to announce our decision," said Penguins general manager Ray Shero in a news release. "He is the man we want to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins as our head coach."
Bylsma, who took over from the fired Michel Therrien on Feb. 15, guided the Penguins to an 18-3-4 record in the regular season, which was good enough to secure the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and home-ice advantage in a first-round series against state rival Philadelphia.
"I'm humbled," Bylsma said. "I'm excited. And I look forward to continuing to lead our hockey team."
Pittsburgh pulled off a come-from-behind 5-3 win in Game 6 on Saturday to defeat the Flyers four games to two.
"Dan has impressed us all with his knowledge of the game, his relentless work ethic, his communication skills, and his ability to relate to the players and staff," said Shero of Bylsma, a former NHL right-winger. "When Badger Bob Johnson was the coach of the Penguins, he said every day was a great day for hockey. Dan approaches the game with that same type of enthusiasm.
"He accepted the challenge of being our interim head coach in February and made this a very easy decision for our ownership and management."