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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.

Video: Mike Fisher ends Nashville’s nasty goal drought

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No, the Nashville Predators did not forget how to score goals … or at least they were lifted from that amnesia on Wednesday.

Mike Fisher lifted the curse 13:52 into the first period of tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. You can watch that rare beast in the video above.

They had been shut out for three straight games and pretty close to four in pure game time.

On this subject, PHT’s Jason Brough asked Predators GM David Poile if he was considering moving a defenseman to improve in another area earlier today.

Struggling Sabre Tyler Ennis out with upper-body injury

Tyler Ennis, James Wisniewski
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Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.

Perhaps some of that has to do with health?

Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.

The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.

“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”

He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.

WATCH LIVE: Wednesday Night Rivalry (Flyers-Islanders; Blackhawks-Sharks)

Ryan White, Matt Martin
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You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.

Here are the handy links for the two contests.

First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.


After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.


Braun out with upper-body injury; Zubrus to make Sharks debut

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The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.

Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.

“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”

Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.

Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.

Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.

Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer