Tag: Mike Bales

Rick Tocchet

Pens make Johnston hiring official, name Rick Tocchet assistant


The Pittsburgh Penguins made the hiring of Mike Johnston as the new head coach official this afternoon and with it there are more changes behind the bench.

The Penguins have hired Rick Tocchet to assist Johnston behind the bench and Tony Granato and Todd Reirden have been let go. Those two assisted Dan Bylsma and now with Johnston in charge, he’s bringing in a new group of assistants with one more coach to be hired. Assistant coach Jacques Martin’s role with the team is yet to be determined and goaltending coach Mike Bales will return.

Tocchet was last seen behind the bench with the Tampa Bay Lightning as the team’s head coach from 2008-2010. Now he’ll make his return to action coaching Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang among others alongside Johnston.

“Rick is going to be a very valuable member of the staff here ,” Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said. “He was an outstanding NHL player, a guy who brought toughness and intensity every night along with a high level of skill. The fans in Pittsburgh know that first-hand. He also gained great experience as a coach with three different NHL organizations. We all know he’s got a lot to offer in his new role with the Penguins.”

Tocchet was also an assistant with the Lightning, Colorado Avalanche, and Phoenix Coyotes.

Penguins name Bales goaltending coach

Eric Hartzell, Mike Bales
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After whittling the field down to three, the Penguins have picked their man and he’s a guy familiar with the team already.

The team named former NHL backup Mike Bales as their new goaltending coach and he’ll have his work cut out for him in trying to restore Marc-Andre Fleury’s game to a level fitting a No. 1 guy. He spent the past two years as the team’s goaltending development coach working with guys in the minors.

Penguins GM Ray Shero tells Michelle Crechiolo at the Pens’ website he’s confident Bales can get the job done.

“I’m very happy that we hired him a couple years ago to get him to this point, because you can see what he’s done for our organization and what he has brought,” he said. “So I think it’s a good hire for us and a real good opportunity for Mike.”

If he can get Fleury back into being a top goalie, that’ll go a long way to establishing his credibility. After the way the Pens have seen him play the past two years in the postseason, any kind of help would be appreciated.