It might be just me, but I feel like Pete DeBoer is starting to don the Dan Bylsma mask. The Stanley Cup Final march really was with a team built before DeBoer's influence, and every season after that, with PD behind the bench, has been nothing to write home about, at the end of the day. Same goes for Bylsma. The one Cup run he had with the Penguins so far was very much built before he became the head coach. Now, that's not to take anything away from both coaches. DeBoer ran with the Devils in 2012 brilliantly, using every player in the starting lineup efficiently, and always knowing the right things to say in the right situations.
Despite this, DeBoer was hardly the only reason the team made the Finals that year. The Devils' powerplay unit run by Adam Oates produced some of the more memorable moments of the playoffs, such as all five guys getting to touch the puck on the Kovalchuk PP goal versus Our Hated Rivals in Game 6 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals. Additionally, I don't think our defense would have been as good without Larry Robinson having some influence on the blueliners. But since then, both guys have left, and the changes have been noticeable. The defenses seems to have more holes since Robinson left, and the powerplay has gone back to being not that great. Now the Devils have gone two straight seasons with a playoff appearance.
Dan Bylsma's situation in Pittsburgh has been similar. He did resurrect a Penguins team dangerously close to missing the playoffs and made them into a juggernaut of a team. However, while the Penguins have made the playoffs every year, their results have been underwhelming and disappointing for Penguins fans, to say the least. It seems that, since the Penguins were the Stanley Cup Champions in 2009, Bylsma has not been able to conjure up some of that same playoff magic. The team has been consistently losing to lower seeds in series that they have been favored to win. Most recently, they blew a 3-1 series lead to the Rangers in the most ungraceful way.
Mind you, I'm still not on the fire DeBoer bandwagon, and I also do not believe the Penguins should let Bylsma go. Both coaches have proven they can succeed, but they need to get going again. But Bylsma may be on the way out if the Penguins fumble another playoff run. Also, if, after the Devils restructure the roster in the next few years, the team continues to underperform with DeBoer behind the bench, then a shakeup may be needed there, as well. Again, I love Peter DeBoer. He gave us Devils fans an unforgettable Stanley Cup Finals run. I still have faith that he was just dealt a bad hand these past two seasons, and that he will get this team together after they rebuild in the next 2-3 years. I hope and pray for that to happen.