The look on Dan Bylsma's face in the picture above says it all about the Buffalo Sabres' season this year. Another let down season when at the beginning of the year Mr. Dan said he expects this team to be pushing for a playoff spot this year accumulating around 95 points. I didn't agree with his prediction because I know this team still has holes to fill especially on the back end. But to be honest it did put a little hope in my mind about the team could possibly make a run for the wild card spot and get the fans excited but that faded fast, after watching our superstar get sidelined at the last day of practice before the season kicked off. Talk about such a Buffalo thing to happen.
Anyways I'll try to keep this short but wanted to create a fanpost of my view of Dan Bylsma. After sitting on the sidelines and reading almost every post and the comments I have soaked up a lot of info of Dan and the views many of you have. Please forgive me if my writing is a little bit unorganized and hard to read, I apologize in advance I am not a great writer and probably never will be.
Working from home today in Baltimore, Maryland while it is pouring cats and dogs outside I finally decided to write this fanpost. I believe Bylsma should be gone after game 82.
1. Locker room Problems
The first reason really drives me nuts and I hate hearing there are problems behind the scenes between the coaches and players. This is the biggest cancer of them all in my opinion that can easily kill a team. Now I know that this could all be speculation but to me it seems that the players do not like Dan. They don't believe in his system and do not like the way he coaches. The players will definitely not say there is a rift but listening to player interviews you can hear there is a problem in their voice and body language.
2. No Emotion
Bylsma doesn't have any emotion whatsoever. I cant tell you how many times I see the camera pan on Bylsma on the bench and he is just standing there like a statue. A coach needs to be vocal especially with young players. I have played competitive hockey my whole life and had coaches I hated and loved. But the best coach I ever had was the meanest guy I ever played for. At the time I didn't realize how much of an impact his raw emotion and honesty helped me become a better player and person. This is the coach that the Sabres, need especially with such a young core.
For example, look at Babcock, I know we missed out on the sweepstakes but this is the exact emotion I want from a coach. Babcock will call you out in front of the whole team and knows how hard to push his players. Bylsma seems to be so laid back and just doesn't care. I remember seeing a clip from the beginning of the year with Babcock walking into a room before his team hit the ice for the first time this year. He walks right into the room and you can hear a pin drop.
He says something along the lines of "How did you all sleep last night?" Everyone responds very well. Babcock replies, "Good, because you're going to sleep even better tonight." Now don't quote me exactly on this but I remember seeing the clip but cant find it anymore.
It's quotes like these that you need in a coach for a young team. After he said that, all the players had stunned looks on their faces like shit we are going to be skating a lot. Bylsma doesn't strike me as a vocal coach like Babcock and this team needs someone to get in their face and push them to the next level. Find a coach that is good with young players and can drive them to their highest ceiling. Bylsma is too laid back and doesn't care enough in my mind.
Remember when the Sabres looked like a shit in that one game this season? Bylsma called a timeout early in the game and blew a gasket on the bench. After that timeout the Sabres responded and played incredible. That was the only time Bylsma did that all season?! Why? He should have ripped into them so many times this season. Other coaches show more passion on the bench and that's what I need to see because I honestly think it works.
3. Old School
Bylsma is stuck in the old ages of hockey. He preaches defense too much and that just didn't work for this team. I agree with all the posters that say Bylsma is too defensive. You people are 100% correct in my mind. Bylsma should be preaching fast wheeling hockey. We have speed and offense so lets use that to our advantage. I would rather lose games 5-4 with 35-40 shots on net than lose 2-1 with only 20 shots on net. I understand we do not have the best defense and he wants to protect that but it just doesn't work anymore, play to your advantages.
I hate to keep referring to the Leafs but look at the way they play. Its kind of similar to the Sabres roster make up. Pretty poor on defense but have young offensive minded stars and they use that to their advantage. Babcock preaches fast hockey and creating scoring chances from wherever. He wants to get on the board quick and keep shooting from everywhere to hem in the opposition. This is the style Buffalo should play, I am so done with the chip and chase hockey. Half the time the Sabres chip and chase they do not even get possession and they come the other way, so is it really making it easier on the defense?
Have close puck support while exiting the zone and gain the blueline and if there is no room curl in the zone and wait for the trailers. Look at how Tampa plays, how the Leafs play, the Caps etc. They create space for themselves when they gain the zone. Marner, Nylander, Johnson, Kuznetsov etc all do this. They gain the blue line and if nothing is there they don't just chip it in the corner and give up possession they wait and Gretzky curl to create space then hit the trailer and open up room. I know not everyone in the league is as skilled as these players but it doesn't take a lot of skill to slow things down and create space for yourself. Read the defense and they probably will give you more room when you curl and bam you have multiple options.
Anyways I know this was probably a lot of rambling and going off on tangents but I really think there is a big issue with Dan. The Sabres seem to have lost their mojo and just don't care about Dan and the staff anymore. If Murray doesn't sit down with his staff and really go through every detail about Dan this offseason then he too needs to see the door as well.
Also, just a funny side note but does anyone else realize how much Bylsma drinks water? Good lord every time I see him talking to the media or behind the bench he is crushing water! He has to go through like 5 cases a day! I wish he put the same amount of effort in coaching as he does drinking water! Anyways thanks for reading if you could get through it. Please comment below and spark some conversation about Bylsma's future with the blue and gold! Thanks again!