On the Penguins: General managers to discuss replay

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Rest assured that Dan Bylsma already has challenges.

Lots of them.

More, most likely, than he ever thought he'd have just a month into the season.

They range from resurrecting a power play that has deteriorated into a contradiction in terms, to getting his franchise goalie into a reasonable groove, to coaxing a consistent, committed effort from a group with no hope of having its lineup intact until sometime next month, at the earliest.

Probably stands to reason, then, that Bylsma isn't necessarily sold on the idea of adding another challenge, even if it would be the kind that allows him to get a second opinion on a referee's ruling during games.

The notion of giving NHL coaches football-style challenges resurfaced 10 days or so ago. A proposal put forth by Florida general manager Dale Tallon that is scheduled to be discussed at a GMs meeting in Toronto on Tuesday reportedly calls for the challenge to apply only to goal-related sequences and for each club to get one per game. Losing a challenge would cost a team its timeout, and no challenge could be mounted if the team already has used its timeout.

It's difficult for anyone to pass definitive judgment on it because the idea remains in its embryonic stages, which explains why Bylsma hasn't adopted a firm stance on whether it could work in hockey.

"I'm not totally against it," he said. "I haven't given it enough thought to know if I agree or disagree, but I like it in football, I like watching the drama of, 'Is the coach going to make a call here? Is it going to cost a timeout?'

"I think in football, it's an interesting facet, an interesting call. It adds something to the game."

He won't rule out the possibility that it could do the same in his sport, too, although he isn't ready to give the concept his unconditional backing.

"I think it would be interesting," Bylsma said. "Have I felt that, 'Man, I was wish I had that?' I haven't felt that in the past, but having watched other sports, it's an engaging question. I would be an interesting dynamic."

Mike Comrie: For love of the game

Some professional athletes battle to get to the highest level of their sport so they can escape a dire economic situation, whether they grew up in a troubled inner-city neighborhood or a depressed rural area.

Mike Comrie isn't one of them.

Comrie, who signed with the Penguins as a free agent in September and had a thoroughly disappointing first month of the season, is playing in the NHL strictly because he enjoys it. Fact is, the $500,000 he will be paid this season is mostly just a detail that his accountant will have to deal with.

And it's not only that Comrie's wife, Hilary Duff, is a successful entertainer. Fact is, he was extremely well off long before he got married, because his family founded an extremely successful Canadian furniture retailer, The Brick.

Comrie had a business major at the University of Michigan, but turned pro before getting his degree. He never worked in the family business, although a brother does.

And while he didn't have the economic incentive to reach the NHL that many players do, Comrie said he never lacked motivation to get to this level. He readily acknowledges that his father contributed significantly to the success he's enjoyed, but there were some things he had to accomplish on his own.

"Everybody has worked hard to get to where they are in pro sports," Comrie said. "It doesn't matter what you come from or what you have. People make it with every different background.

"My dad helped me a lot. He knows the game very well and helped me get to where I needed to be. He gave me the ability to get here. Every player will tell you that you need to put in the time and effort."

U.S. Postal Service can't be happy

Here's a new way for an agent to market clients.

Paul Corbeil, who represents free-agent defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron, sent an e-mail to the Post-Gazette -- and, presumably, other news organizations -- last week in which he described Bergeron's surgery in July to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee as "a complete success" and called his progress in rehabilitation "outstanding."

The e-mail also noted that Bergeron "is expected to resume full-contact NHL training in the last week of November" and included a chart comparing a number of offensive defensemen.

And then there was the money line at the end of the email: "Do you think that M-A Bergeron could be a good asset for the Penguins?"

Catching up with ...

A few years ago, former Penguins left winger Randy Cunneyworth was one of the rising young stars in the coaching business. He was running the bench for the Rochester Americans of the AHL, and looked to be a can't-miss NHL prospect.

Cunneyworth left the Americans in 2008 to join Atlanta as an assistant coach, a logical career move but, like the rest of the Thrashers staff, lost his job in April.

He wasn't out of work for long. Cunneyworth landed on his feet as head coach of Montreal's AHL affiliate in Hamilton, Ontario, and came into the weekend having guided the Bulldogs to a start of 3-1-1, with two shootout losses.

Don't be shocked to see him back in the NHL at some point.


Dave Molinari: dmolinari@post-gazette.com .


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