Tag: Mike Johnston

2014 NHL Stadium Series - Chicago - Practice Day And Family Skate

Martin rejoins Pens’ coaching staff as special assistant to Johnston


Jacques Martin will have a new role with the Pittsburgh Penguins next season the club announced on Tuesday.

Martin will now be a special assistant to head coach Mike Johnston.

During the 2014-15 season Martin was a part of the Pens’ coaching staff in a scouting and advisory role. The 62-year-old was in charge of pre-scouting opponents and providing the coaching staff with opponent’s tendencies, strengths and weaknesses.

“One is personnel, on players, some strengths and areas that we can exploit on certain players,” Martin said of his role last season. “The second component is looking at the team’s play, systems and what we can to do to counteract that.”

Martin will continue to pre-scout opponents next season, but will do it via video.

His new role will be to analyze games from the media level and provide instant analysis to Johnston and his assistants on the bench.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Martin said. “I have a good relationship with the coaching staff and management. Being closer to the team and provide feedback, use my experience from over the years, just giving them another opinion.”

Martin joined the club as an assistant coach in 2013-14 on Dan Bylsma’s staff. Last season his official title was senior advisor of hockey operations.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, assistant coaches Gary Agnew and Rick Tocchet will remain on the bench with Johnston.

Pens not interested in Babcock’s services

Mike Babcock

You can cross the Pittsburgh Penguins off the list of teams interested in Mike Babcock’s coaching services.

There was some thought that with Babcock’s ties to a number of Penguins, including Sidney Crosby; through his Olympic coaching experience that Pittsburgh could be a fit.

Penguins CEO David Moorehouse said last month that he has “never given any consideration” to replacing head coach Mike Johnston or GM Jim Rutherford.

Today Rutherford echoed that sentiment.

“We are committed to our present coaching staff,” Rutherford said.

Buffalo, Philadelphia, Toronto, and Edmonton are amongst the teams reportedly interested in Babcock.

Pens CEO says Johnston, Rutherford won’t be fired

Mike Johnston

Despite nearly missing the playoffs and then bowing out in five games to the New York Rangers, Mike Johnston and Jim Rutherford’s jobs are safe.

According to Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pens’ executive David Morehouse has “never given any consideration” replacing Johnston or Rutherford.

Molinari reports the Penguins brass believes the season was lost due to injuries. He adds that if the Rangers had been without key defensemen as the Penguins were, it could’ve been a different series.

The Penguins also have no interest in abandoning the “two-center model” featuring Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Pittsburgh finished the regular season with their lowest point total (98) in an 82-game season since the 2005-06 season (58), which is the last time they failed to qualify for the playoffs.

Pens’ Rutherford to columnist: ‘You’re a (expletive) jerk’

Mike Johnston Press Conference

Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford has had enough.

Following multiple columns from Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writer Rob Rossi, Rutherford confronted the writer in an elevator on Monday night.

Here’s the backstory.

Nearly two weeks ago, Rossi wrote a column typically reserved for a team that failed to qualify for the playoffs. Rossi criticized Rutherford, who is in his first season at the helm with the Penguins, for a number of failures.

Then last Wednesday, on Day 1 of the playoffs, Rossi wrote a column in defense of head coach Mike Johnston, the gist being that it was Rutherford, not Johnston, to blame for the Penguins’ failures.

Following Monday night’s 2-1 loss to the Rangers, Rossi and Rutherford shared an elevator at the Consol Energy Center, which is when the Pens’ executive apparently decided to fire back at the reporter.

Here’s the exchange, according to Rossi:

After exiting a media elevator and while walking with other reporters to the Penguins’ dressing room, Rutherford addressed this columnist, a frequent critic since his hiring last June, in an obscenity-laced diatribe.

“Thanks for your support,” Rutherford said repeatedly.

“You’re a (expletive) jerk,” Rutherford said repeatedly.

Rutherford followed the jerk comment with a suggestion to “go sell ice cream now,” then a challenge to look him in the eye, which I did while explaining my role as Trib Total Media’s lead sports columnist.

My role is to provide opinion.

“Well, your opinion is (expletive),” Rutherford said.

Perhaps the Penguins can channel their GM’s aggression into a win Wednesday night as they look to even their series with the Rangers at two.

Pens’ Johnston: ‘We probably got a good response from half of our group’

Mike Johnston

The Pittsburgh Penguins have dropped four straight games and Mike Johnston has seen enough.

Following the Penguins 3-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils Monday, the Penguins rookie head coach called out his team.

“We need a response,” Johnston said per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “We need to squeeze more out of each individual. We probably got a good response from half of our group. We didn’t get a good response from the rest of them. We need to squeeze more out of guys. There’s more to give. We needed more guys pulling on the rope. We didn’t have enough.”

Pittsburgh opened the scoring on captain Sidney Crosby’s 11th of the season; however, it was all New Jersey after that.

Travis Zajac and Jaromir Jagr gave the Devils a 2-1 lead after two periods. Adam Henrique’s 10th of the season at 5:32 of the third stood to be the insurance marker.

Due to injury and illness the Penguins had eight players in their lineup Monday, who started the season in the American Hockey League. Despite dressing a young roster, Johnston expects more.

“When a guy comes up, the first two games, they’re on Cloud 9, playing with energy and adrenaline,” said Johnston. “But now, they’ve got to play heavy minutes against top guys. Some guys are responding well, and some guys aren’t.”

The Penguins will look to snap the skid Wednesday night when the Carolina Hurricanes visit Pittsburgh. The two teams have split the first two meetings this season with Carolina winning 4-2 in Pittsburgh on Nov. 28 and the Penguins edging the Canes 3-2 on Nov. 29 in Carolina.