May 2, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) skates with the puck against the New York Rangers during the second period in game one of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Penguins' Coaching Staff Wants Mobile Defensemen To Tire Out Opponent

As the season nears, we’re starting to understand the new head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Mike Johnston, a little more each day.

While there’s no idea what Johnston has in store for Pittsburgh until that puck drops, we do know he’s set to focus more on tutoring the centers and defensemen. But Johnston likes defensemen who move the puck too.

Johnston, as well as assistants Gary Agnew and Rick Tocchet, and general manager Jim Rutherford want their mobile defensemen to have an even bigger impact on the game for the 2014-15 campaign. So much so, that they deteriorate the opposition.

According to Dejan Kovacevic of DK on Pittsburgh Sports, Johnston and crew reportedly wants their mobile defensemen to bear down on their adversary and wear them out other than just by beating them up the ice by hustling more.

It sounds as though Johnston has got the right mind when it comes to defense, and boy does Pittsburgh need a defensive-minded coach.

Although the Pens struggled to perform offensively in their playoff ouster, their defense was equally, if not worse than that. Not only were they committing too many unforced errors, but they were oft-confused; bewildered on who had which assignment, and caught flat-footed all too frequent.

Johnston’s plan to maneuver the defensemen, and get them more involved with every aspect of the game seems to be a step in the right direction. Of course, you don’t want your defensemen losing sight of their true roles, but having them take on more responsibility will help the forwards score more, given their duties will in result become more effortless.

There’s that old cliché where defense is said to win championships, and it’s got to be correct, because Pittsburgh hasn’t played any over recent seasons. There’s another cliché of if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, the Pens’ defense is certainly shattered, so it’s time to reshape it.

Johnston, and crew, are intending to do just that.

Tags: Pittsburgh Penguins

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