Pittsburgh Penguins May Regret Letting John Hynes Leave


Somehow, the Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils kept a low profile while agreeing that the Devils could speak with John Hynes regarding their vacant Head Coach position. But, the news broke today that they could announce Hynes as their future Head Coach as early as tomorrow. In fact, as I write this they’ve announced a 12pm press conference.

Highland Park Hockey, a blog dedicated to covering the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins broke the news this evening on Twitter, and I can’t help but wonder, why allow Hynes to slip out of your grasp at this point in Mike Johnston’s career?

There were a few rumors swirling in hockey circles as the IIHF World Championships were underway that John Hynes and Bill Guerin were attracting attention this summer for potential role’s with other teams. But, as we stated previously, the Pittsburgh Penguins would have been wise to keep Hynes in the organization for at least one more year.

I’m not being greedy in saying that, but simply looking out for the best interest of this organization and accounting for the fact that demand for John Hynes in the NHL would not have decreased next summer. Are you completely sold on the fact that Mike Johnston is the right man for the job with the Pittsburgh Penguins?

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It’s simple, the jury is still out on what Johnston can do with a star-studded roster in the NHL. This past season provided very little insight to his abilities due to injuries that were impossible to overcome. But, just because we can’t blame him for this past season doesn’t mean he’s the future of this organization.

When the Pens were struggling in 2009 they made a bold move and fired veteran Head Coach Michel Therrien, just eight months after leading the team to a Stanley Cup Final. They hired Dan Bylsma, as he was coaching the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins at the time and the rest is history. Bylsma went on to win a Stanley Cup in his first season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, earned a Jack Adams award in 2011 for NHL’s best coach, and completed his tenure in Pittsburgh with a 252-117-32 record.

I’m not saying Hynes is guaranteed to recognize the same success as Bylsma, but it’s easy to see that he definitely has the potential to be a very good bench boss in the NHL. Let’s say the Pittsburgh Penguins find themselves in a situation that entails firing Mike Johnston at mid-season. Wouldn’t it be nice to have John Hynes hanging around in the AHL and available for a promotion?

I’m personally happy that Hynes will have the opportunity to coach at the next level. There’s no doubt he deserves it. But, the Pens should have done a better job of protecting themselves in this situation with a backup plan in case Johnston proves to be unworthy. Although, maybe they’re confident that they’ll once again be able to find an NHL-caliber coach to take over in Wilkes-Barre.

They certainly have a good track record so far.

Next: Is Dan Bylsma the Answer in Buffalo?

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