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Bylsma headed to Hockeytown?

June 12, 2018, 7:46 PM ET [21 Comments]
Bob Duff
Detroit Red Wings Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The last coach to beat the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup final and the last one to win a Stanley Cup in the city could soon be working behind the Red Wings bench. An NHL source confirmed that the Wings have approached Dan Bylsma to fill the assistant coaching position left vacant when the team opted to let John Torchetti go after the 2017-18 season.

Bylsma, 47, gained his first NHL head coaching job during the 2008-09 season when the Pittsburgh Penguins put him in charge after dismissing Michel Therrien, who’d coach the Penguins in a losing effort in the 2007-08 Stanley Cup final against the Red Wings. With Bylsma in charge, the Penguins defeated the Red Wings in a seven-game Stanley Cup final rematch in the spring of 2009, winning Game 7 by a 2-1 count at Joe Louis Arena, Pittsburgh’s only win in Detroit during the series.

Bylsma remained in charge of the Penguins until the end of the 2013-14 season, when he was let go by incoming general manager Jim Rutherford, and served two seasons as coach of Detroit’s Atlantic Division rivals the Buffalo Sabres from 2015-17. He’s been out of the league since then.

Detroit coach Jeff Blashill admitted that while he and Bylsma have crossed paths over the years, his relationship with Bylsma is nowhere as close as it is with some other American-born coaches like Tampa Bay’s Jon Cooper, for example.

“I don’t know Dan as well,” Bylsma said. “I know him a bit through USA Hockey and stuff. He’s always been very good, a nice gentleman to me. We have somewhat of a friendship but not like some of the guys I know much better.”

The 2010-11 winner of the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach, Bylsma coached Team USA to a fourth-place finish at the 2014 Winter Olympics and is the winningest coach in Penguins history with 252 victories. He reached 100 career wins in just 163 games, the fastest in Penguins history and fifth-fastest in NHL history.

Besides giving the Wings an experienced voice on the bench with a Stanley Cup ring and 565 games of NHL head coaching experience, the fact of the matter is that Bylsma also gives the team an instant replacement should things go south again next season and they decide to make a mid-season coaching move.

Bylsma, who played in the 2003 Stanley Cup final with the Anaheim Ducks, a team that swept the defending champion Red Wings in the first round that spring, spent the 2017-18 season working as a studio analyst with the NHL Network.

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