Would you add this to your dream off season list? A new coach.
[Editor's note: The Penguins did lose. The press vultures are indeed fishing for "big changes."]
Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette believes this game is kinda important for Bylsma's future if he want to stay in Pittsburgh, and Cook is hardly alone.
But in other ways, Bylsma would deserve to take the fall. It's true, he led the Penguins to 109 points in the regular season -- their second-biggest number in franchise history -- despite losing 529 man-games to injury. It's also true he would be hired by another club in about 3 1/2 minutes. He's that highly regarded around the NHL.
But if the Penguins lose tonight, it will be the fifth consecutive year they will have been eliminated from the playoffs by a lower seed. They will be just 4-5 in postseason series since they won the Stanley Cup in 2009 under Bylsma. This elimination, should it happen, will hurt more than most because the Penguins had what seemed to be a secure 3-1 series edge.
No ownership can be expected to put up with that underachievement. Bylsma will have to go if the Penguins lose tonight even though he has a contract for two more seasons.
It's tough to see it any other way at this point. Losing this series, which seemed so close to over just a few days ago, would be one more straw on the camel's back, likely one too many.
Inarguably, there would be a lot of people to blame, not just Bylsma, but the coach is always the easiest to fall without losing the solid foundation they do have with their core group. Obviously it would be best for everybody involved to make all of it a moot point and just win.
Get the phone ready Snow TONIGHT quite possibly for a new coach "battle level!"