PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Pittsburgh Penguins’ head coach Mike Johnston joined the Starkey and Mueller show Thursday to discuss his plans for the team moving forward.
One criticism of the Penguins during their early exit from the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season was that captain Sidney Crosby under-achieved. Johnston said he has not yet reached out to Crosby, but will do so soon.
“I want to talk to Sidney and some other players both on the phone and in person,” Johnston said. “It’s important for me as a coach to get to know the players a little bit. It’s nice to do that in the summer in a more relaxed setting. Also, for me to lay out how we’re going to play and our plan, and how they’re going to fit into our plan. That’s part of allowing Sidney to be the best player he can be.”
This, said Johnston, will require a game plan that allows Crosby and each of his teammates to thrive.
“Everything we do from training camp on lays the footprints for how we’re going to play in the playoffs,” said Johnston. “It’s the habits and the details that we gain in September, in October that are really going to allow us to be successful in the playoffs. I think it’s the process that we have to focus on.”
The new head coach also noted that Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang will continue to star on the power play, and that he wants to develop a system that allows those three to generate more offense in extra-man situations.
“Those are things I want to look at; the power play from last year, which was very successful how they executed, and just trying to put the guys in the best spots where they can be successful,” said Johnston.
When asked about adding some firepower to the roster in the offseason, Johnston noted he will have little say in moves made during free agency, but he did detail the role he will play in the search for a final assistant coach, saying his coaching staff should be completed within the coming days.
“I am going to be interviewing some candidates over the next couple of days and I talked to Jim [Rutherford] about presenting him with a person that I’m interested in shortly,” said Johnston. “I’d like to get our coaching staff finalized and start to move ahead as we prepare for development camp and our plans for the season.”
Full Interview Part 1: