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Zeitgeist: Bylsma receiving a deluge of job offers via NHL fan letters

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Almost endless impassioned pleas from hockey fans are delivered daily to unemployed ex-Penguins coach.

My mailman hates me.
My mailman hates me.

Dan Bylsma may not be behind an NHL bench right now, but the former Penguins coach is still very busy. Each day, hundreds of letters from fans across the league pleading with him to coach their teams pour into Bylsma's Michigan home.

The one-time Stanley Cup winner is the No. 1 choice to replace the head coach of any team that isn't performing as well as its supporters think it could be. While he's flattered by the monstrous tidal wave of attention and paper, Bylsma is trying to remain humble.

"It's wonderful that so many fans have put so much faith in me," Bylsma said from his home office, surrounded by piles of mail bags stacked up to his elbows. "Unfortunately, I haven't heard from any actual teams yet about any open positions.

"But until I do, I can read these letters and know that everyone thinks I can save their season."

"A few letters look like they were written in blood, but it could be ketchup." - Dan Bylsma

Bylsma says he has received offers from fans of almost every team in the NHL, with the most letters coming from Maple Leafs, Canadiens, Sharks and Islanders fans looking for a new face behind the bench. Fans have attempted to beg, threaten, bribe and blackmail him back into the league using letters ranging in style from typed out and business-like to profanity-laced and scrawled out in illegible handwriting with unidentifiable substances.

"A few letters look like they were written in blood, but it could be ketchup," Bylsma said. "I keep those in a separate pile and am careful to use gloves."

The attention has gotten so overwhelming that Bylsma had to close his personal e-mail account (CoachDiscoDan@aol.com) after receiving so many messages that his computer crashed.

"I thought going offline would get them off my back, but I was wrong," he said. "Somehow, my address got out and I've been getting paper letters ever since. I don't think I've seen this much mail in my entire life. We see a different mail carrier every hour. "

The progressive-minded and cerebral Bylsma is an object of desire for anxious fans because he is a rarity: a young coach with a track record of success that is looking for a job. As long as he's not currently working for an NHL team, fans will wonder what their team would play like under his guidance.

"Obviously, I would like to coach in the NHL again, but I'll have to wait for an opportunity," he said. "Right now, I need to look for my two dogs because I think they're trapped or dying somewhere under these mail bags."

According to a source inside the United States Postal Service, post offices in Michigan are already making emergency plans for increased letter volume in the event that Red Wings coach Mike Babcock does not sign an extension with the team before the end of the season.

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This is not real. It is fake and preposterous. I mean, no one sends letters any more. That's stupid.