MORNING NHL BUZZ
There was a feeling around the league (more so pointed at the favorite Penguins at the time) prior to the Flyers - Penguins first round matchup that the winner of the series would be so emotionally drained that they would be due for a big let down in round 2 from a mental standpoint.
Did it just happen to the Flyers who dismantled the Penguins in six games last monthĂ‚Â that now seems so long ago?
The New Jersey Devils have ousted the Philadelphia Flyers in stunning fashion, eliminating the Flyers in five games in the second round of the Eastern Conference SemifinalsĂ‚Â after a 3-1 Game 5Ă‚Â victory Tuesday night on the Flyers home ice. After Philadelphia got on the board first on a goal from Max Talbot, the Devils completely dominated play and following an Ilya Bryzgalov gaffe on David Clarkson's first period goal, Philadelphia was never in the game.
The biggest thing to take out of the Devils advancing was the phenomenal coaching job by the Devils staff. In today's NHL, the best coaches are the ones who maximize the most out of their team through in-game adjustments and being able to adapt.
Head coach Peter DeBoer systematically has the Devils so versatile. They know when to lock down defensively and clog the neutral zone, but they also know when to push the play offensively and take some chances and DeBoer's ability to implement different looks systematically is why I feel the Devils would have also taken care of business against the Penguins who rarely make system changes under head coach Dan Bylsma, which was a glaring issue against Philadelphia.
-- There's not a defensive group that a coach gets the most out of than DeBoer has with the Devils group of defensemen that has seen veterans such as Bryce Salvador thrive, including Marek Zidlicky who had a resurgence this series.
-- Deservedly so, Ilya Kovalchuk is changing his reputation by some out there who regard him as a "Me-First" player.
-- A lot of things went wrong for the Flyers in this series but there's no denying that Claude Giroux let down his team with his selfishness in Game 4. He has room to grow from a maturity standpoint as do a lot of young Flyers.
-- Including Giroux, a number of Philadelphia's big guns were shutdown in the series. Giroux, Jaromir Jagr and Wayne Simmonds combined for one goal in the series.
-- Wrote about this some on Friday morning and this series showed that the Flyers should strongly consider letting Jagr walk via free agency and look at the situation as getting the most out of him and moving on from the 40 year old winger.
-- Zach Rinaldo is a young player who's a big factor when he keeps his head straight like he did in the first period of Game 5 when he had a team-high five hits and delivered a crushing hit on Anton Volchenkov, but as we later saw in the game, he's a player I wouldn't want suiting up for a playoff game until he can mature and control his emotions.
JOB SECURITY OF WINNING STANLEY CUP WEARS OFF QUICKLY FOR NHL COACHES
After a year or two, winning a Stanley Cup wears off for NHL coaches from a job security standpoint and were already seeing that with Chicago's Joel Quenneville who won a Stanley Cup in 2010 but after two first round exits, speculation is rampant in Chicago that Quenneville will be on a short-leash to start next season due to the Blackhawks recent struggles in the post-season and due to disagreements with upper management.
For Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma who is 12-14 in his last 26 post-season games and hasn't advanced past the second round since 2009, Bylsma fits the mold of a former Cup winning coach who is venturing into the territory of a coach who will likely be on a short-leash next season.
However, that is not believed to be the case by any meansĂ‚Â as GM Ray Shero is an extremely strong supporter of Bylsma's and still fully believes in Bylsma's system being the right system, leading many Penguin insiders to believe that it will take this team completely falling apart in the regular season for Bylsma not to get to coach his fifth post-season next spring with the Penguins and fourth since winning the Stanley Cup in 2009.
Cup winning coaches though being able to coach four full seasons after winning a Cup is not an easy feat in the NHL.
Since 1999, only two coaches have coached four full seasons after winning a Cup.
Ken Hitchcock - Dallas Stars
Won Stanley Cup: 1999 | Fired: Jan 25, 2002
*The long-time Stars coach lasted two in a half seasons after winning the Cup in 1999. He was fired in the middle of the 2001-2002 season.
Larry Robinson - New Jersey Devils
Won Stanley Cup: 2000 | Fired: Jan 28, 2002
*After leading New Jersey to a Stanley Cup in 2000, Robinson was fired in January 2002, failing to make it through two full seasons after winning a Cup.
Bob Hartley - Colorado Avalanche
Won Stanley Cup: 2001 | Fired: Dec 17, 2002
*Wasn't able to stick around long after winning a Stanley Cup in 2001. Hartley was fired 31 games into the 2002-2003 season.