Dan Bylsma is already one of the most successful coaches in Penguins’ history, leading the team to a Stanley Cup championship, winning the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s “Most Outstanding Coach,” and an Atlantic Division title in just four-plus seasons behind the bench.
The Grand Haven, Mich. native will realize one of his life-long dreams by representing his country at the 2014 Winter Olympics Games in Sochi, Russia as head coach of Team USA.
Bylsma (pronounced BYLE-zmuh) has led the Penguins to three 100-point seasons and five consecutive playoff berths, while becoming the winningest playoff coach in team history with 36 postseason victories and seven playoff series victories.
Bylsma has the best regular-season winning percentage (.669) in team history with an all-time record of 201-93-25. His 201 wins are the second most in team history (Eddie Johnston, 232). He became the fastest coach in NHL history to reach 200 wins (316 games) in a 3-1 victory at Ottawa April 22, 2013.
Bylsma, who is signed through the 2015-16 season, led the Penguins to their first division title since 2008 and the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 36-12 record in 2012-13, highlighted by a 15-game winning streak that tied the second-longest in NHL history (NY Islanders, 1981-82). The Penguins boasted the NHL’s No. 1 ranked offense (averaging 3.38 goals per game) and had the second-deadliest power play (24.7-percent success rate). Bylsma finished 6th in coach of the year voting.
Bylsma, 42, finished the 2011-12 season with a 51-25-6 record for 108 points. The team’s 51 wins and 108 points are the second-highest in franchise history. For his work, Bylsma was named co-recipient of the Dapper Dan Sportsman of the Year Award (Marc-Andre Fleury). He also became the fourth-fastest coach in NHL history to reach 150 wins (251 games) on Feb. 26, 2012 vs. Columbus.
Bylsma earned the 2011 Jack Adams Award after masterfully steering an injury-depleted Penguins team to a 49-25-8 record for 106 points (third-most wins and points in franchise history) and the same point total as Atlantic Division-winning Philadelphia despite suffering 350 man-games lost – including 119 games to the team’s three best players: Sidney Crosby (41 games); Evgeni Malkin (39); and Jordan Staal (39).
In 2008-09, Bylsma penned one of the most remarkable starts to a head coaching career in NHL history. He began the season in his first head coaching job, with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League, and finished the year by raising the Stanley Cup.
Bylsma was promoted to Pittsburgh Feb. 15, 2009 to help save a team that was 10th overall in the Eastern Conference standings with diminishing hopes of earning a postseason berth. With an injection of attitude and aggressiveness, Bylsma inspired an 18-3-4 run in the final 25 games to climb from 10th to fourth place and home-ice advantage in the opening round.
Bylsma oversaw one of the most dramatic playoff runs in NHL history. The Penguins clinched all four series on the road, twice rallying from 2-0 series deficits (against Washington and Detroit). Pittsburgh beat the defending champion Red Wings four times in the last five games to claim the Cup, including a 2-1 Game 7 victory in Detroit.
Bylsma became the 14th rookie head coach, and just the fourth in the past 50 years, to capture the Stanley Cup. Of those 14, only Montreal’s Al MacNeil took over mid-season (1970-71).
During his coaching career Bylsma has led the Penguins on a 15-game winning streak (tied for second best in NHL and club history), 12-game winning streak (tied for third best in club history), an 11-game winning streak (fourth longest in team history), a 12-game home winning streak (best in franchise history), a 10-game home winning streak (tied for third longest in franchise history), a 15-game unbeaten streak and a seven-game road winning streak (tying team record).
Bylsma played nine NHL seasons with Los Angeles and Anaheim from 1995-04. He appeared in 429 regular-season games, recording 19 goals and 62 points. He was a member of Anaheim’s 2003 Western Conference championship team.
He began his coaching career as an assistant with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks of the AHL in 2004-05. Bylsma was an assistant coach with the New York Islanders the following season.
Bylsma joined the Penguins organization as assistant coach with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2006. Two seasons later he was promoted to WBS head coach in 2008-09. He led the team to a 35-16-1-2 record in 54 games before being promoted to Pittsburgh.
Bylsma played four seasons of college hockey at Bowling Green (Central Collegiate Hockey Association).
Dan and his wife, Mary Beth, have one son, Bryan, and reside in the North Hills.