PITTSBURGH, PA – NOVEMBER 11: Mike Johnston of the Pittsburgh Penguins talks to the team during a timeout during the game against the Montreal Canadiens at Consol Energy Center on November 11, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Penguins fire Mike Johnston, Mike Sullivan named new coach

Today it was announced that the Pittsburgh Penguins relieved head coach Mike Johnston of his head coaching duties. He will be replaced by Mike Sullivan, who is as of this moment the new full time head coach. In addition to Mike Johnston’s firing, they also let assistant coach Gary Agnew go.

Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had a slew of tweets from the post firing press conference that paint a much clearer picture. In the following tweets Rutherford refers to General Manager Jim Rutherford.

It looks like from this news that the idea had been percolating for a while and now finally came to a head. The honesty displayed by Rutherford is both refreshing and disconcerting for fans of the Penguins. He knows where his shortcomings as a team are and he knows that they must be approved upon. Overall, the offense has more depth but the defense is an unmitigated disaster. Players like Olli Maatta and Kris Letang are the most noteworthy of the bunch but players like Rob Scuderi and Ben Lovejoy aren’t cutting it.

While the handling of players and usage has been confusing, it seemed like the writing was on the wall once GM Jim Rutherford made mention of Daniel Sprong – the team’s shiny young prospect and the lack of ice time he got. When asked at the press conference if Sprong’s usage had any impact on the firing, Rutherford said that it wasn’t a factor.

Mike Sullivan will have his hands full with this team. They believe that he will be up to the task, but it seems like this is a no-win situation for the former NHLer. He was most recently a head coach from 2003 to 2006 with the Boston Bruins. Last season he served as the player development coach of the Chicago Blackhawks.

The bottom line is that there is too much talent invested in the forwards for this team to fail, but if the defense isn’t tended to quickly, Rutherford may be the next person on the chopping block.

About Sam Blazer

Sam is a self proclaimed chess prodigy. He once placed seventh in the state of Ohio in Chess when he was in kindergarten. He will rarely if ever mention though that only eight people were entered in this tournament. Contact him at sblaze17@gmail.com