Hockey / Sports

Penguins owners Lemieux and Burkle say Bylsma 'absolutely' could remain coach

PITTSBURGH -- Penguins co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle both told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Friday that head coach Dan Bylsma "absolutely" could keep his job in the wake of Friday's firing of general manager Ray Shero.

"That's why we didn't fire him," Lemieux said. "He's a good coach. You look at his record in the regular season, in the playoffs. If he was fired today, there'd be a lot of teams lined up for him.

"He's done a lot of good things for the organization and he's been a great asset. A new GM will come in, evaluate the hockey operation, and we'll go from there."

Asked if a candidate to replace Shero could be eliminated from the search if he made it clear to Penguins ownership that he did not want Bylsma, Burkle said, "No, but we would want to know why he didn't want him."

Lemieux said that in discussions with general manager candidates, he likely would emphasize that the roster as comprised lacks "character," among the attributes necessary to win a Stanley Cup.

"You need speed because the game has changed a lot over the last five years, so you need speed," Lemieux said. "You need speed, you need grit, and I think you need character to win championships.

"Character is the most important. We have the other elements. It's a matter of surrounding them with people of character to complement them. I think it's been missing a little bit this year.

"In the playoffs, to get to the ultimate goal, you need character."

(c)2014 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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