Pittsburgh Penguins History: Bylsma Named Coach of the Year

Pittsburgh Penguins, Dan Bylsma. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Penguins, Dan Bylsma. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

Here’s how Dan Bylsma won the Jack Adams Award with the Pittsburgh Penguins

On Jun. 22, 2011, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma was named coach of the year and took home the Jack Adams Award. Bylsma became the first coach in team history to earn the honor.

Bylsma coached the Pittsburgh Penguins to a record of 49-25-8 for 106 points, which stands as the fifth-best record in team history and would wind up being the third-best of Bylsma’s tenure with Pittsburgh, behind the 109 points the team earned in 2013-14 and the 108 points earned in 2011-12.

Early Season Gains

The Penguins started the season off by going 6-5-1 through Oct. and earned 13 points during the course of the month.

The team followed that up with a 12 game win streak from Nov. 17 to Dec. 14 and compiled a record of 19-6-2 and 40 points to end 2010.

Running parallel to the Penguins win streak was one of the most prolific scoring streaks in Sidney Crosby’s career. Crosby went on a 25 game run, that saw him score 26 goals and 50 points.

The new year did not welcome the Penguins proudly as an injury suffered by Crosby during the 2011 Winter Classic threatened to not only derail Pittsburgh’s season, but also Crosby’s career.

Crosby soon found some company in the press box, as Evgeni Malkin, needed some time to heal from a lower-body injury and a sinus infection.

Mid-Season Pains

Despite the injuries to their top stars, the Penguins managed to earn a record of 12-10-3 for 27 points in the months of Jan. and Feb.

Acknowledging the team was in need of an injection of offense, Penguins GM Ray Shero executed a couple of high profile trades, bringing in James Neal from Dallas and Alex Kovalev from Ottawa.

A couple of homegrown positives developed as well. Kris Letang was enjoying a breakout season and Jordan Staal made his return to the lineup.

With some new players injected into the line-up, the Penguins went through Mar. and Apr. with a record of 12-4-2 and earned 26 points.

Overall the Penguins finished:

  • Second place in wins (49)
  • Third place in points (106)
  • Tied for first in shoot-out wins (10)
  • First in penalty kill (86.11%)
  • Second in short-handed goals (13)

The Success Sustains

Although the Penguins succumb to the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games in the Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals, the team battled hard and faced some tremendous adversity, particularly during the home stretch.

The season wasn’t the best in terms of the numbers for Bylsma, but he kept the team focused and most importantly cohesive in a time of chaos.

Bylsma’s coaching career peaked before he had a full season under his belt if you consider the Stanley Cup to be the top of the mountain, he provided the Penguins with a steadying force behind the bench as the team entered one of the most successful eras of its history.

While Bylsma had better seasons with the Pittsburg Penguins than the 2010-11 campaign, his contributions to the team deserved to honored by the NHL and he certainly earned the Jack Adams Award for his cumulative time with the team.