PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Penguins’ search for a new coach is over.
During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, General Manager Jim Rutherford announced that the team had hired Mike Johnston to be the new head coach. Former Penguin, Rick Tocchet was also named as an assistant coach.
“I feel very strong that we got the right coach,” Rutherford said. “He brings great experience to this team.”
Watch The Press Conference Here:
Rutherford said one of Johnston’s strongest assets is the ability to make adjustments during games.
Johnston said he was, “thrilled and excited to be in Pittsburgh as part of the Penguins’ organization.”
As for Tocchet being an assistant, Johnston said he wanted a coach with playing and coaching experience at the NHL level.
“I’m excited to be back in the fire,” Tocchet said. “[Johnston] thinks outside the box and that’s what I like.”
This is Johnston’s first head coaching job in the NHL. However, he’s not worried about dealing with the amount of star power the Penguins have.”
“We’ll be very clear with all of our players what’s expected of them,” Johnston said.
Tony Granato and Todd Reirden, who served as assistant coaches under Dan Bylsma, have been relieved of their duties.
Johnston said he plans on adding one more coach to the staff, but did not elaborate on the process.
According to the Penguins, Jacques Martin will remain with the club in a yet-to-be determined role. Goaltending coach Mike Bales and video coordinator Andy Saucier will also remain with the team.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Johnston has agreed to a three-year deal with the Penguins.
Johnston led the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks to a 54-13-2-3 record to run away with the U.S. Division in the regular season this year.
The Winterhawks advanced to the finals of the Ed Chynoweth Cup playoffs before losing to the Edmonton Oil Kings in seven games.
Johnston has been the Winterhawks’ coach since the 2008-09 season and has previously served as an associate coach with the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks.
Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
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