Penguins name Mike Johnston as head coach

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 25, 2014 12:41 PM

(Reuters) - The Pittsburgh Penguins have named Mike Johnston as their head coach, the National Hockey League team said on Wednesday.

Johnston, who was coach of Western Hockey League's Portland Winterhawks since early in the 2008-09 season, replaces Dan Bylsma, who was fired three weeks ago.

The move is the latest by a Pittsburgh team that fired its general manager last month after another early exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs and promised to overhaul the team's operations in a bid to return to championship form.

In Johnston's first full season with the Winterhawks, he led the team to the biggest turnaround in franchise history in 2009-10, improving the team by 48 points.

Prior to joining Portland, he was an assistant coach of the NHL's Vancouver Canucks from 1999-2006 and associate coach of the Los Angeles Kings from 2006-08.

Bylsma, a former NHL coach of the year who led the Penguins to a Stanley Cup championship in 2009, came under fire after Pittsburgh blew a 3-1 series lead to the New York Rangers in the second round of the 2014 playoffs.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by David Goodman/Mark Meadows)