Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Loose Change Other Than Th Fairy Tale of 2009, the Club Hasn't Had Much Luck Changing Jockeys Mid-Race

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Loose Change Other Than Th Fairy Tale of 2009, the Club Hasn't Had Much Luck Changing Jockeys Mid-Race

Article excerpt

Jim Rutherford made it clear recently that investigating potential replacements for Mike Johnston as coach of the Penguins wasn't a priority for him.

Fact is, he pretty much said it hadn't turned up anywhere on his to-do list, let alone atop it.

While Rutherford didn't absolve Johnston of all culpability for the Penguins' so-so showing through the early portion of this season, he also gave no indication Johnston's job security is subject to a shift-by-shift evaluation.

While that presumably dismayed the segment of the fan base eager to see Johnston removed, history shows that the team's in-season coaching moves rarely have had the desired effect.

Oh, the most recent one - when Dan Bylsma took over from Michel Therrien Feb. 15, 2009 and led the Penguins to an 18-3-4 record down the stretch and, eventually, past Detroit for the organization's third Stanley Cup - couldn't have turned out better, but that was very much the exception.

Here are the Penguins' other in-season coaching changes:

1972-73: Ken Schinkel replaced Red Kelly after 42 games. The Penguins were 15-18-3 after the change and missed the playoffs.

1973-74: Marc Boileau went 14-10-4 after taking over from Schinkel, who had been 14-31-5, but the Penguins failed to qualify for the playoffs.

1975-76: Schinkel replaced Boileau after the Penguins started 15- 23-5. They were 20-10-7 after the switch and lost to Toronto in the preliminary round of the playoffs.

1989-90: Craig Patrick, hired mainly to replace Tony Esposito as GM, also supplanted Gene Ubriaco as coach. The Penguins, 10-14-2 under Ubriaco, were 22-26-6 with Patrick behind the bench and missed the playoffs with an overtime loss to Buffalo (Hello, Uwe Krupp) on the final day of the regular season.

1996-97: Patrick took over on an interim basis again, replacing Eddie Johnston. After going 31-26-5 under Johnston, the Penguins were 7-10-3 with Patrick and lost to Philadelphia in Round 1 of the playoffs. …

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