MIKE JOHNSON FIRED IN PITTSBURGH
Mike Sullivan has been named head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins, it was announced today by General Manager Jim Rutherford.
Sullivan replaces Mike Johnston, who was relieved of his duties earlier today.
Assistant coach Gary Agnew also was relieved of his duties.
Sullivan, 47, was in his first season as head coach of the Penguins’ American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, leading his team to an 18-5 record and first place in the Atlantic Division.
The Marshfield, MA native was head coach of the Boston Bruins from 2003-06 and was an NHL assistant coach for eight seasons with the Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks. He spent the 2014-15 season as player development coach for the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.
Sullivan will be joined on the bench by assistant coaches Rick Tocchet and Jacques Martin when he makes his Pittsburgh debut Monday night against the Washington Capitals at CONSOL Energy Center.
Tocchet has been a Penguins’ assistant coach since the start of the 2014-15 season. Martin began the current season in a newly-created role of special assistant to the head coach, serving as an “eye in the sky” observer from the press box.
“I felt it was time for a coaching change because our team has underachieved,” Rutherford said. “Our expectations are much higher with this group of players.
“Mike Sullivan has been a head coach and an assistant coach in the NHL and we’ve been very fortunate to have him with our AHL club this season. He’s done an outstanding job in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and he’s ready to step in.”