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Insider Only Was Dan Bylsma’s over the board praise of Marc Andre Fleury a calculated move by him?

photo (27) Previous years when the Penguins had their season ending player interviews and final media availability, head coach Dan Bylsma and GM Ray Shero would hold press conferences on the same day and sometimes even together.
With Bylsma’s job security a hot topic, that wasn’t the case today. Shero won’t speak until Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. and he’s yet to come out to any media outlets on the record and state that Dan Bylsma is his coach for next season.
That will keep the rumor mill buzzing until Shero speaks on Wednesday.
Bylsma today admitted that he has yet to speak to Ray about whether he’s going to be the coach for next season. “At this point in time I haven’t had conversations with Ray Shero about that,” Bylsma said.
Bylsma talked for about 15 minutes today and what was fascinating about his press conference was his over the board praise of Marc Andre Fleury. Not once did Bylsma say we need Fleury to be better in big games nor did he leave any chance out there of Vokoun pushing Fleury for playing time again next season.
“Next year he’s {Tomas Vokoun} not going to get that opportunity because Marc Andre Fleury is going to be in net winning hockey games,” Bylsma said of Vokoun.
This is funny because it’s clear to anybody that Bylsma doesn’t have confidence in Fleury let alone regard him as a franchise goaltender. If Bylsma truly saw Fleury as a franchise goaltender, he would have went back to Fleury for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals or even went back to him for the start of the Senators series.
Bylsma’s doubts about Fleury appeared to have started before the playoffs when Brian Engblom of NBC Sports said during the telecast of Game 5 between the Penguins and Islanders that Bylsma told them in an interview that he contemplated starting Vokoun for the start of the Islanders series.
With his job possibly on the line, all of Bylsma’s praise today towards Fleury seems like a calculated move by him because he thinks that’s what management wanted to hear.
“He’s our No. 1 goalie for this franchise and he will be moving forward,” Bylsma said of Fleury. “We were in a situation where Tomas Vokoun went into net won third and fourth games of series and continued to play in net…..Marc Andre Fleury’s a guy who’s going to come back to our team and he’s going to be our No. 1 goalie,” Bylsma said. “He’s going to be our franchise goalie, he’s going to be this franchise’s goalie.
“Marc Andre Fleury is going to go back in net and he’s going to take the net and he’s going to be the No. 1 goalie and he’s going to play great and there’s no question about that and he’s going to win a lot of hockey games for this team next season.”

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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