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Pittsburgh Penguins hire Mike Johnston as new head coach

By Leighton Schneider,

The Pittsburgh Penguins have hired Mike Johnston to become the team’s 21st head coach in the club's history.

Toronto Sports Net NHL analyst Darren Dreger was the first to report the news on Twitter.

Johnston has been the head coach and general manager of the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League since the 2008-2009 season. He has also been an associate coach with the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

He went 217-80 in his six seasons with the Winterhawks and has coached many draft picks, including his future player Derrick Pouliot, a first round selection by Pittsburgh in 2012.

USA Today reports that Johnston was not the first or second choice of the Penguins. The Vancouver Canucks and Carolina Hurricanes hired both of their top choices, Willie Desjardins and Bill Peters, respectively.

The Penguins fired Dan Bylsma after the Penguins lost in the second round of the playoffs after having a 3-1 series lead over the New York Rangers. Bylsma has the most wins in Penguins history with 252 in just over five seasons.

 
 

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