Dan Bylsma has pushed all the right buttons in his short time as interim coach with the Penguins, posting a 20-4-4 record in 28 games at the helm.
What remains to be seen is how Bylsma reacts to slumping veterans. Bylsma has one on his hands in Petr Sykora who is in the midst of a slump dating back to February 6th, where he has only 6 points in his last 28 games.
Sykora is not the type of player like a Bill Guerin who can impact a game, even if he‚Äôs not scoring. He doesn‚Äôt win battles in corners or provide a physical presence in front of the net.
Is the notion true that Bylsma is becoming too player friendly? There was a media frenzy around Sykora over the weekend and it wasn‚Äôt
because he was lighting up the lamp. The media has been searching for answers as to why Sykora is slumping. The Penguins PR staff seems to be bringing up the shoulder injury again that Sykora suffered in February but I‚Äôm not buying it.
Evgeni Malkin leads the Penguins with 7 points in three games but he‚Äôs finding ways to get points without any contribution from line-mate Petr Sykora.
Bylsma made an interesting line change at the end of the first period, sending Max Talbot out with Malkin and Fedotenko.
The move resulted in a late period goal with Max Talbot making a key hit on the forecheck causing a turnover while Fedotenko made a pass from the left corner to Evgeni Malkin in front of the net who buried a snap shot past Marty Biron.
It was very surprising that Bylsma didn‚Äôt go back to having a physical presence on Malkin‚Äôs line in the final two periods. Malkin was used in some different situations, playing with Crosby, others but Bylsma seems to be sticking with Sykora.
Bylsma had the opportunity to call Sykora out through the media the past two games but he has went in another direction, claiming Sykora is playing well and ‚Äúdoing the little things‚Äù.
Is Bylsma becoming too player friendly?
Will have a practice update this afternoon but all indications are Bylsma is sticking with Sykora for the time being.