Penguins hire Mike Johnston as head coach

By Michelle Kapusta,

The Pittsburgh Penguins have hired Mike Johnston to fill their head-coaching vacancy.

According to ESPN, the team announced the decision on Wednesday.

The 57-year-old will be taking over duties for Dan Bylsma who was let go this offseason along with general manager Ray Shero after the team failed to meet expectations. The Pens went 51-24-7, but fell to the New York Rangers in the early rounds of the playoffs.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted that Johnston has been the coach and general manager of the Portland Winterhawks in the Western Hockey League. He also had experience in the National Hockey League as an associate coach with the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks.

"As a career coach, you aspire to get to these positions," Johnston said. "It's been my goal. It's been my dream."

The team also announced that former NHL player and coach Rick Tocchet will also join the staff as an assistant.

"He thinks out of the box," Tocchet said of the new coach. "And that's what I like."

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