Head coach Dan Bylsma, who signed a three-year contract extension on Wednesday, has won the respect of his players with his energy, passion and love for the game. Here's what some of the current Penguins had to say about their head coach.
On the culture that Bylsma brings:
I think since the first day he came in, he’s always had the same attitude. We buy into his system and play the way he wants – always play for the next shift, no matter what happens. Just keep playing and keep playing hard. I think he showed that we can win that way, and he’s a guy that, even through tough times, will stay positive. I think that’s good for the players in the room.
On what drove Bylsma’s initial success with the team that led to the 2009 Stanley Cup:
I think his approach to the game, being positive. The system changed a little bit, he tried to make us be a little more aggressive with the type of players that we had. So I think everything together worked really well.
On what’s unique about Bylsma’s coaching style that has made him so successful:
He’s a great person, so that always helps. You get guys that are good people, but he’s a coach that understands the game, played the game and is not too far removed from it. I actually played against him (when I was with Minnesota). We played them in the playoffs. He was there.
On if he remembers what Bylsma was like as a player:
Oh, yeah. He played hard. He played the game like he coaches it – a detailed game, a smart game. I think that’s what he brings. He’s a coach that adjusts. He’s got his game that he wants, detail-wise, and the system that he wants. But at the same time, I think our coaching staff – and it starts with him – knows how to adjust.
On how Bylsma said he knew the players were going to buy into his system after a meeting he had with the team soon after taking over in February 2009:
Guys responded to the kind of person he is too, what he brings. He brings energy, he brings passion, he just loves the game. The way he analyzes the game, he’s a smart guy. Us buying into his system was easy, because we did it and we won.
On if it surprises him that Bylsma was voted by players as the coach they would most like to play for in the 2010-11 NHL Player Poll conducted by Hockey Night in Canada and the NHL Players’ Association:
No, not at all.
On how Bylsma won over the players soon after taking over the team in February 2009:
We were a really fragile team. We had a lot of guys, confidence-wise, that were pretty fragile. It was a make-or-break time of our season. A lot of people even said it was a little bit too late, that we dug ourselves too big a hole. But his approach, he brings so much energy every day. Whether you win or lose, he doesn’t let you get complacent after a win and doesn’t let you beat yourself up after losses. He brings you in and teaches you. Guys are supportive of him. There’s a respect factor from the players for him.
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