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Pittsburgh’s AHL coach to interview for Pens gig


One of the first candidates for the vacant Pittsburgh Penguins head coaching job has been announced.

AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton coach John Hynes will be interviewed next week, GM Jim Rutherford told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Hynes, 39, has spent the last five season at WBS and is the first official interviewee to be confirmed since Dan Bylsma was fired last week.

More, from the Trib:

Rutherford said then he had a short list of candidates to replace Bylsma, the Penguins’ leader in regular-season and playoff victories, and that official interviews will begin not before June 16. The Penguins will have a new coach by July 1, when free agency begins, Rutherford said.

As a coach, Hynes is reputable as a defensive-minded teacher that is unafraid to challenge players. Penguins’ prospects to play under Hynes have described him as tough, but also honest and fair.

He also is known for his in-series adjustments, including spearheading playoff victories when Wilkes-Barre/Scranton trailed 2-0 and 3-0.

Hynes has worked closely with Jason Botterill, Tom Fitzgerald and Bill Guerin during his time with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Botterill, Fitzgerald and Guerin were each retained and promoted by Rutherford.

Needless to say, Hynes is an interesting candidate. He’s coached at a number of different levels over the last decade — NCAA (Wisconsin), the US National Team Development Program, USA Hockey at both the U-18 and World Junior level and, of course, in the American League.

He’s also a product of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton coaching tree.

The AHL club has enjoyed tremendous success sending bench bosses through to the NHL over the last 10-15 years. Todd Richards had the job before moving onto Minnesota and then Columbus; his successor was Byslma, who had the job for two years before jumping to the Penguins.

Bylsma’s successor, Todd Reirden, spent one year in WBS before moving to an assistant coaching gig with the Penguins, a job he still (tentatively) holds.

Other WBS coaches currently in the NHL include Wild bench boss Mike Yeo (who spent six seasons as an assistant) and Montreal’s Michel Therrien, who won the AHL’s Eastern Conference championship in 2004.

Memorial Cup champion goalie Appleby signs with Devils

Ken Appleby
The Canadian Press via AP
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Ken Appleby never got drafted, but his efforts during the New Jersey Devils’ training camp have earned him an entry-level contract, per the Bergen Record.

Although no team saw it fit to take him before the preseason, the 20-year-old is coming off of a very strong season. He had a 2.08 GAA and .924 save percentage in 50 games with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. He went on to lead them to a Memorial Cup championship and earned the the Hap Emms Memorial Trophy as the tournament’s top goalie.

Appleby is the fifth goaltender the Devils have under contract after Cory Schneider, Keith Kinkaid, Scott Wedgewood, and Yann Danis. He’ll likely begin the season in the ECHL.

Alexandre Goulet and Jacob Sweeney also participated in the Devils’ training camp on an amateur tryout basis, but both of them have been released.

PHT Morning Skate: NHL stars weigh in on McDavid

Connor McDavid
The Canadian Press via AP
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Some of the NHL’s top players discuss Connor McDavid‘s potential and the hype surrounding him. (Toronto Sun)

While we’re on the subject, Wayne Gretzky recalls what it was like for him going into the NHL and what’s in store for McDavid. (Edmonton Sun)

Sam Gagner is about to start a key season in his career. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

It’s time for the Washington Capitals to make some tough calls, particularly when it comes to Derek Roy. (CSN Mid-Atlantic)

With Raffi Torres hearing scheduled for today, here’s a look back at his suspension history. (San Jose Mercury News)

The Chicago Blackhawks have gotten their championship rings. (NHL.com)