PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma checks in with Vinnie & Cook on Sportsradio 93-7 The Fan, and gives his critique of the season so far.
On Thursday, the Penguins announced that 19-year-old defenseman Olli Maatta will stay with the team.
“I don’t think this decision was all that hard to make,” Bylsma said. “The way he’s played, and what he’s done, and even just his demeanor and confidence, he’s earned the right to play in every one of those games. He’s been the guy who has made our top six better.”
Bylsma has been very impressed with what Maatta has contributed to the team.
“He’s made a couple mistakes in games, and immediately bounced right back and played calm and collected,” Bylsma says. “He’s good defensively; he’s good with the puck. He has poise. It hasn’t been perfect, but this kid has that poise and confidence. It’s that consistency that is rare in a 19-year-old kid, and rare at that position. He has been able to display that, and has brought that to our game.”
The Penguins also announced that defenseman Kris Letang is on track to make his season debut on Friday against the New York Islanders.
“We don’t dumb the game down when Kris isn’t in there. We’ve had success playing as a group, but Kris’s ability brings it to a different level,” Bylsma added. “He doesn’t need to rush back in there, but it’s definitely going to be an upgrade to see him get back in there.”
Bylsma also looks at Rob Scuderi’s play, when goalie Jeff Zatkoff’s next start may be, how Tomas Vokoun is faring, and his preparations for coaching the U.S. Olympic hockey team. For those thoughts, listen to the entire interview below!