Pens make Johnston hiring official, name Rick Tocchet assistant

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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.