Dan Bylsma has already become one of the most successful coaches in Penguins’ history, leading the team to a Stanley Cup title and winning the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s "Most Outstanding Coach" in just two-plus years behind the bench.
With Pittsburgh, Bylsma has recorded back-to-back 100-point seasons, has the best regular-season winning percentage (.653) in team history and is the winningest playoff coach in franchise history with 26 playoff victories and five (tied-Scotty Bowman) series victories. All-time under Bylsma, the Penguins boast a 114-56-19 regular-season record, making him the third-winningest coach in team history. He is also the fifth-fastest head coach in NHL history to hit the 100-win mark (163 games).
Bylsma, who signed a three-year contract extension through the 2013-14 season, won the 2011 Jack Adams Award after a masterful coaching performance last year, steering the injury-depleted Penguins to a 49-25-8 record for 106 points (the 49 wins and 106 points both rank second in franchise history) and tied Philadelphia in points for the Atlantic Division title. The Penguins were in contention for the conference and division titles heading into the final weekend of the regular season despite the fact that the team suffered 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).
Bylsma also directed the Penguins to a 12-game winning streak, tying for second-best in franchise history, and a 15-game unbeaten streak. Pittsburgh posted a 24-11-6 road record for 54 points. The team’s 54 road points are a new franchise record, while its 24 road wins tie for the team record (1992-93).
In 2009-10 Bylsma completed his first full NHL season behind the bench for Pittsburgh, leading the club to a 47-28-7 record for 101 points and finishing only two points behind New Jersey for the Atlantic Division title. Under Bylsma’s leadership the Penguins set many milestones during the season, including tying a team record with seven straight road victories, becoming the second-fastest team in franchise history to 40 wins (66 games) and totaling the fourth-most wins (tied) in a season (47).
Bylsma began the 2008-09 season with the first head coaching assignment of his career – with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League. He ended it by hoisting the Stanley Cup. In between, Bylsma authored one of the most spectacular coaching stories in the history of professional hockey.
The Grand Haven, Mich. native was promoted to Pittsburgh on Feb. 15, 2009, and took over a club that was 10th overall in the Eastern Conference standings and facing questions as to whether a playoff berth was even a practical option. But he accepted the challenge with his trademark optimism, passion and raw determination.
Unleashing a swift, skilled team that was built to go on the attack, imploring his players to “play on their toes, not on their heels,” Bylsma led the Penguins to an 18-3-4 record in 25 games, rising from 10th place to fourth in the conference and garnering not only a playoff spot, but home-ice advantage in the first round.
In the playoffs, Bylsma’s team showed a steely resolve, clinching all four series on the road and twice rallying from 2-0 series deficits (against Washington in the second round and Detroit in the Stanley Cup Final). The Penguins beat the defending champion Red Wings four times in the last five games to claim the Cup, including a nerve-racking Game 7 at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena – and became the first team in professional sports since 1979 to win Game 7 of a championship round on the road.
In the process 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 (1970-71) took over mid-season.
Bylsma played nine NHL seasons as a right winger with Los Angeles and Anaheim from 1995-2004. He played 429 NHL regular-season games, recording 19 goals and 62 points, and also played in the 2003 Stanley Cup Final with Anaheim.
He began his coaching career as an assistant with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks of the AHL in 2004-05 and made his NHL coaching debut as an assistant with the New York Islanders in 2005-06.
Bylsma was an assistant coach at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for two seasons from 2006-08 and was named head coach at the start of the 2008-09 season. He went 35-16-1-2 in 54 games with WBS before being promoted to Pittsburgh.
He played four seasons of college hockey at Bowling Green.
Dan and his wife, Mary Beth, have one son, Bryan, and reside in the North Hills.