New Writer Added to Staff!

So I’ve realized in a short time that blogging about the Pens and the National Hockey League is one of the most fun things I’ve ever done, as well as one of the most time consuming things I’ve ever done.

With that being said, I’ve been searching for another capable hockey fan who knows his/her stuff and is passionate about it. Well, I’ve found that person.

I want to welcome Dan Knopp to the staff!

He has been a Penguins season ticket holder basically since birth, and remembers obscure facts such as Billy Tibbets trivia and how many times Ian Moran had his tips frosted.

He and I are combining to hopefully bring more in-depth analysis, as well as some more personality.

I’ll continue to do my daily posts and Dan will contribute a few pieces weekly on what he feels is news-worthy, or just needs to be said.

Please join me in welcoming Dan, and look forward to bigger and better things from Pittsburgh Puck Talk!

Today was Monday if you didn’t know, and a few interesting things came up that made August intersting for hockey. One of those was Wilkes-Barre announcing their new head coach.

Bylsma is the new head coach in Wilkes-Barre
Bylsma is the new head coach in Wilkes-Barre

Dan Bylsma, who spent his last two seasons as an assistant head coach under Todd Richards, was promoted to head coach of the Baby Pens (WBS).

Bylsma has also been an assistant for the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks (AHL) and the New York Islanders. Along with coaching experience, he played 12 NHL seasons with the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim (then Mighty) Ducks.

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to continue my coaching career with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins,” said Bylsma. “It’s been a goal of mine to become a head coach in the American Hockey League, and I can’t think of a better place to have that goal come to fruition.”

The head coaching vacancy in Wilkes-Barre was caused by Todd Richards moving to San Jose to be an assistant head coach under Todd McLellan (Fish Out of Water).

On a personal note, I’m excited to see a Mid-American Conference guy move on up. Bylsma played four years at Bowling Green University. Being a Kent State student, it’s something I love to see.

Also worthy of noting today, ESPN.com’s Terry Frei wrote a piece ranking all NHL coaches according to five categories: The Elite, The Proven, The Jury’s Still Out, The Suspect and How The Heck Can We Know Yet?

Pittsburgh’s Michel Therrien fell under ‘The Proven.’ Here’s what Frei had to say about Therrien?:

I almost didn’t put him here, in part because of his whining during the Finals. But all in all, you can’t knock his work with the young Penguins, despite the reality that this was a powerhouse waiting to happen. And if you know his background — as a phone company worker and assistant coach, he talked with Laval coach Bob Hartley about practice plans from the top of telephone poles — it’s easy to root for him.

It is easy to root for him, yet Penguins fans seem to root against him more often than not. Whether you like him or not, I wouldn’t be surprised to find him under ‘The Elite’ category if this article is redone in two or three years.

Here’s why I think he’s one of the best in the league:

If you’re a Pens fan, you’ve likely seen that. If you haven’t I want to know what you think. How would you react if your coach said that about your team?

I’m not going to comment on what I think about Therrien’s place in the rankings, or any other coach’s for that matter, but I’d be interested to see you opinion.

In other news, Mats Sundin is not close to deciding…what a surprise (TSN). JP Barry, Sundin’s agent, on why it’s taking so long:

“He’s avoiding a Favre-like mistake by taking his time.”

Love it. Don’t get me started on Favre. If you want to know how I feel, read one of my previous Weekly Rants.

Keep it here this week for more Southeast Division previews, as well as my prediction on how that conference will finish. Also, I’m planning on a Pitt football preview with the start of camp on Tuesday as well as another Weekly Rant on Wednesday.

Thanks for stopping by! And once again, join me in welcoming Dan Knopp to Pittsburgh Puck Talk and look forward to his first pieces this week!

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