When Dan Bylsma was working in the AHL and the parent club Pittsburgh Penguins needed something, he typically heard from former Penguins assistant GM Chuck Fletcher.
So when he saw a phone call coming from Ray Shero, a call that led to his hiring as Michel Therrien’s replacement in 2009, he knew something was up. That’s how the process went.
He has no idea how the process works now.
As teams start to assess their places in the standings and how it relates to the future of their head coaches, Bylsma’s phone could be ringing soon with an NHL GM on the other line. There’s speculation that Dallas Eakins is on the hot seat in Edmonton. The same goes for the San Jose Sharks' Todd McLellan. The Toronto Maple Leafs' Randy Caryle was on the hot seat the moment he was hired.
This past weekend didn’t do much to help the situation in San Jose, with the Sharks losing to the Arizona Coyotes 4-3 in a shootout on Saturday. It was San Jose’s third consecutive loss to opponents the Sharks should have beaten. Meanwhile, the Chicago Blackhawks blew out the Oilers in Edmonton on Saturday night in embarrassing fashion, with the home team losing 7-1. It was Edmonton’s sixth consecutive loss.
It seemed like a good time to reach out to Bylsma. At least for me, and maybe also for the GMs of those teams.
As of early Sunday evening, he hadn’t heard from any interested teams. If he had, he assured me, he wouldn’t be talking about it anyway.