Well, much commentary has been posted about the Pens 08-09 season’s woes on this site. Therefore, the lastest news coming from the Steel City is that Head Coach Michel Therrien has been fired.
Therrien is being replaced by WB/S head coach Dan Byslma as an interim head coach. Byslma currently has a 35-16-1-2 record coaching the Baby Pens. Coach Savard has been reassigned within the organization, while Coach Yeo, & Coach Meloche remain on staff. Tom Fitzgerald was promoted to Assistant Coach after serving as Director of Player Development within the Pens organization.
So my thoughts…
First and foremost, I don’t think this means Therrien is a bad coach. Heck, he did just take the Pens to the Stanley Cup Finals last season! Ray Shero stuck with him when fans were calling for his head months ago. He still lost but Shero remained patient, and for that, I admire. Many within the organization seemed to also agree with Shero sticking it out, saying it was players just playing poorly and Therrien couldn’t do much more. Obviously, something needed done besides a personnel shake up, which the Pens actually had done w/ quite a few Baby Pens. There really isn’t much on the trade market, at least at this point in the season, to make a change.
Were the Pens underachieving or playing only as good as they were capble of? I just believe our hopes were raised so high from last season that we expected more. But this is a much different team, without many key role players from last season. I think they should be winning a few more games than they are now, but to be #1 or #2 is somewhat of a stretch.
Therefore, I don’t think the Pens can get much worse right now, there’s too much talent on the bench to do that. Hopefully, this firing is the prominent move needed that will show the players that management is sick of their recent play on the ice and they finally step up (& into a playoff spot)!