The Penguins and their fan base are beginning to digest the hard truths of the team's stunning departure from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Those have to be going down like a heaping bowl of broken glass.

Inside the team offices, it is a time for thoughtful assessments of all that went wrong in the Penguins' furious plunge into the offseason, and how best to fix them.

Outside of Consol Energy Center, however, the discussions aren't always so measured.

There are places where nothing less than a complete house-cleaning -- followed by a house demolition -- could begin to suffice as a response to the Penguins' pratfall in the Eastern Conference final.
But only after a human sacrifice or two to set the proper tone.

Based on a cursory foray into cyberspace Saturday, some segments of the public are ready -- if not downright eager -- to volunteer coach Dan Bylsma for one of those.
And not without reason.

Bylsma, like most coaches, preaches accountability, and when NHL teams underachieve, the head coach generally doesn't have to accept responsibility. Others are quick to heap it on him.

Certainly, there is much blame to be shouldered after Boston, a decided underdog, ran the Penguins out of the Eastern final in four games. The Bruins held the NHL's most prolific offense to two goals in four games. Neutered the league's most menacing power play. Exposed and exploited flaws in defensive coverages.

Bylsma's players are culpable for some of that, of course. Bylsma didn't tell them to score on two of 136 shots against Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask. He didn't instruct them to turn the puck over at every opportunity in the travesty that was Game 2.

Replacing Bylsma, believed to have a year left on his contract, is an option general manager Ray Shero likely has contemplated, at the very least, even though he has said nothing publicly on the subject.
Shero's history says he is not given to emotion-driven judgments. He evaluates personnel matters carefully and acts only when satisfied that all pertinent information has been considered.

But ever as facts and circumstances change, one thing doesn't: The organization's stated objective every year is to win the Stanley Cup. And the Penguins haven't done it since 2009.

What's more, their past four playoff exits have been orchestrated by teams that finished below them in the regular-season standings.

That happens all the time in hockey, of course. Whether it should happen to a team annually is another matter.

At the same time, nothing that transpired the past four springs can -- or ever will -- erase the simple reality that Bylsma was behind the Penguins' bench when they won that Cup in 2009, a few months after he succeeded Michel Therrien.

So much for any argument that the Penguins can't win a championship with him as coach. The real question is whether he is capable of doing it again, at least with this franchise.

While firing a coach -- especially one whose popularity seems slightly lower than that of pink eye -- is easy, that doesn't automatically make it the right move to make.

The most important facet of a potential coaching change is not who gets fired, but who takes on the job.
If it's the right guy, as Bylsma was four years ago, he can catapult an organization forward.
If it's not, games -- and, more important for the Penguins, precious time -- can be lost before the mistake is realized.

If Shero concludes he needs a new coach, he has to make certain he picks wisely, whether he goes for Dave Tippett (should he go on the market), John Hynes, Dallas Eakins, Alain Vigneault or anyone else.
Not necessarily the right guy for the Penguins as they are constituted today, because major personnel turnover is coming for this club, but for the team Shero expects to have in training camp this fall.