Penguins, Wolves name assistants

bylsma_200.jpg The Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday named Dan Bylsma assistant coach of the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Bylsma spent last season as an assistant coach with the National Hockey League’s New York Islanders, and the previous year in the same capacity with the AHL’s Cincinnati Mighty Ducks.

A native of Grand Haven, Michigan, Bylsma’s 12-year professional playing career included 429 NHL games with the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks. He also played parts of five seasons in the AHL with Cincinnati, Lowell, Springfield, Moncton, Albany and Rochester, and appeared in the 1994 Calder Cup Finals.

Prior to turning pro, Bylsma played four seasons at Bowling Green State University.

nelson-t_200.jpg On Friday, the Chicago Wolves named Todd Nelson the team’s new assistant coach.

During his first two seasons as a head coach, Nelson captured back-to-back United Hockey League Championships in 2004 and 2005 with the Muskegon Fury. In 2004, the 37-year-old former defenseman led the Fury to an unprecedented 11-0 postseason record en route to the Colonial Cup.

Last season, Nelson guided Muskegon to a third straight semifinal appearance. He departs the Fury as the franchise’s all-time winningest coach, compiling a .696 winning percentage (149-58-25), which includes setting club records with 51 wins and 111 points in 2004-05.

The Prince Albert, Sask., native played 12 seasons of professional hockey, which includes stints with the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals. Nelson also collected 131 assists, 168 points and 223 penalty minutes in 306 career AHL games with the Portland Pirates, Hershey Bears, Rochester Americans and Grand Rapids Griffins, and captured the 1994 Calder Cup championship as a member of the Pirates.

Nelson was an assistant coach in Grand Rapids in 2002-03, helping the Griffins to a division championship.