Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Penguins the Search Needed: Ability to Adjust New GM Eyes Coach Who Can,will Adjust

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Penguins the Search Needed: Ability to Adjust New GM Eyes Coach Who Can,will Adjust

Article excerpt

New Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford likely doesn't know who will be replacing Dan Bylsma as coach.

But, after being introduced as Ray Shero's successor Friday, Rutherford said he has a couple of "short lists" of candidates -- one bearing three names, the other six -- and stressed several times that the Penguins' next coach must possess at least one quality.

"We're going to have to have a coach who can make the proper adjustments during a game, or during a certain period of time in the regular season, or during a playoff series," he said.

"Obviously, the Penguins can score and they can go and they can score in bunches, but, based on looking at the Penguins from a distance, because that's where I was, I don't think they could make the proper adjustments against certain teams."

Bylsma's ability/willingness to make adjustments and his general lack of emphasis on trying to get favorable personnel matchups were the primary criticisms of his performance with the Penguins.

Rutherford, who will attend the general managers' meetings Wednesday in New York, said he expects to begin interviewing coaching candidates June 16 and hopes to have a coach in place by July 1.

Asked about the possibility that his list of prospects might overlap with that of Ron Francis, his prot 3;g 3; and recent replacement as general manager in Carolina who also is hunting for a coach, Rutherford laughed and said, "I think there's probably a chance of that."

Although Rutherford did not divulge the identities of people he plans to consider, here are some names that might circulate in connection with the job, listed in alphabetical order:

* Jeff Daniels --While he is sure to get a lot of mention because he coaches Carolina's American Hockey League affiliate in Charlotte and is a longtime Hurricanes employee, Daniels -- who played for the Penguins in the 1990s -- is far from a lock to be a contender here. Earnest and hard-working as he is, there's no consensus Daniels is ready to step into the NHL.

* Willie Desjardins -- He is a bit busy, having guided Dallas' top affiliate into the AHL's Calder Cup final, but Desjardins is regarded as a good teacher who gets the most out of his players. At 57, he's hardly a young guy, but owns a solid resume that includes two years as associate coach with the Stars.

* John Hynes -- In four years as coach of the Penguins' top minor league team in Wilkes-Barre, he has compiled a 186-102-20 record, led the Baby Penguins to at least Round 2 of the Calder Cup playoffs every season and, most important, consistently developed players to fill holes in the parent club's lineup. …

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