PITTSBURGH – There are no hard feelings, Buffalo Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. For five and a half years, he enjoyed a heck of a ride coaching the Penguins, winning a Stanley Cup in 2009.
That they let him twist in the wind at the end, refusing to fire him before eventually letting him go, doesn’t matter.
“I don’t think there needs to be any reconciliation,” Bylsma said this afternoon inside the Consol Energy Center. “I got the opportunity to coach a great team, great group of players and a great organization.”
Of course, Thursday’s game, Bylsma’s first back here since the Penguins fired him in June 2014, will be emotional. From a hallway outside the dressing room, Bylsma looked out into the empty seats as he spoke to the media.
“I know 50 faces in the stands tomorrow, where they sit, and I know where my family sat when they were here,” he said. “There’s certainly going to be some emotions.”
The Penguins, who endured a string of postseason disappointments in Bylsma’s final seasons, haven’t fared much better with his replacement, Mike Johnston. They barely made the playoffs last season before getting bounced early. They’re only 4-4 this season.
Check back later for much more on Bylsma.
In other news, wingers Tyler Ennis and Sam Reinhart had maintenance days from practice today. Bylsma believes both will play Thursday.