PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan)- NBC Sports Network NHL Analyst Keith Jones joined “The Cook and Poni Show” to discuss the fallout that will come from another early exit for the Pens from the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Pens blew a 3-1 series lead and fell to the New York Rangers to bow out of the playoffs early for the fifth straight season.
“I actually thought last year was more of an epic collapse because they were such heavy Cup favorites,” Jones said. “I thought Bylsma was going to be fired after he was outcoached last year in Boston. Him coming back didn’t give me great hope on their success this season.”
Jones says that the changes are coming for the Pens and it will start with Head Coach Dan Bylsma.
He says it’s Bylsma’s inability to manage his players emotions that will cost him his job. He said Sidney Crosby was the most frustrated superstar player he has seen in quite some time in this series and he (Bylsma) had no answers.
Jones told the guys that Crosby found a way to let the Rangers get in his head and he let his mind get the better of him.
“Crosby allowed the Rangers in his house and they came through the front door,” Jones said. “You can’t let them do that.”
Jones said he hopes that Ray Shero will be here to make the decision on the next head coach, but he doubts he will be.
He says the reason Shero will be gone is because he decided to keep Bylsma and not fire him after last year.
Jones said he saw last night in some of the behind the scenes video, that did not make the air, some heated conversations between he and Crosby. He has lost this team.
Former Nashville Coach Barry Trotz is his pick to be the replacement for Bylsma.
Jones said the roster will change as well for the Penguins and he thinks the most likely piece that could fetch them what they are looking for is James Neal.
“Neal would be the one that jumps out most,” Jones said. “They need a big winger to play with Crosby, but it won’t come easy.”
Jones said he thought before the playoffs began that the East was a weak bracket and the Pens might be the one team that could make some noise. But, it’s the Rangers who move on.
He tells us he likes Montreal to win tonight over Boston to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals and face the Rangers.
So, who does he like in that series?
“I give the Rangers no chance.” Jones said. “No team that has gone back-to-back seven-game series have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals.”
He did say if the Bruins find a way to win, he likes them to win the Cup but Montreal will lose to any team in the West.