PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Penguins cleaned out their lockers today, made plans for the summer, and started thinking about what could have been.
A season of immense promise ended abruptly in four quick games against the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Now, the questions begin and there are plenty.
The biggest, at least to start this off-season, is does Dan Bylsma keep his job?
Bylsma has led this team to a Stanley Cup in 2009, he is two years removed from being coach of the year, and is a serious contender to being the head coach for Team USA in the 2014 Olympics.
However, he is also the coach who is 20-21 in his last 41 playoff games and the overseer of four straight years of playoff disappointments.
“At this point in time I haven’t had conversations with Ray Shero about that – about your question about coaching this team next year,” Bylsma said. “It’s definitely that shock and disbelief and a little bit surreal that we got eliminated, we got beat in four straight and didn’t win a game against the Bruins. I haven’t had time to really wrap my arms around it and get a lesson learned or reaction from myself.”
The players had his back today as they cleaned out their lockers at CONSOL Energy Center.
“I think if you look at our track record and you see we’ve been able to do it in the regular season. Obviously, we have a great group of guys that believe in our coaching staff and go out there and work hard every night. Why we didn’t get it done? It’s obviously the guys on the ice when we go out there. We’re prepared. We understand what we want to do. We just didn’t execute. You may want to call it bad breaks or bad bounces, but to do it over four games, there’s no excuse,” Chris Kunitz said.
“As players, we need to execute. There’s only so much that your coach can do. He doesn’t go out there and play. So, we’re more than responsible for not being able to find a way to win and that’s our responsibility,” Crosby said.