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Mike Johnston | Center

Team: Pittsburgh Penguins
Age / DOB:  () / 1/1/2050

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Pittsburgh GM Jim Rutherford didn't seek compensation from New Jersey when they hired Ray Shero due to his initial interpretation of the rule.
"The rule is not as clear as it should be," Rutherford said. "We felt that the intent of the rule was for employees that were working with the team, not terminated employees." Then Boston got compensation for Edmonton hiring former Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli and the landscape changed. In acknowledgement of that, the Penguins sought compensation for Buffalo's hiring of coach Dan Bylsma and will get a third round pick in return. We'll have to wait and see if the rule remains as is, but for now seeking compensation for fired employees is clearly fair game. May 29 - 10:45 AM

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Pittsburgh GM Jim Rutherford is looking to trade back into the first round.

The Penguins dealt their first round pick to the Edmonton Oilers earlier in the season as they received David Perron in return for Rob Klinkhammer and what turned out to be the 16th pick. Rutherford will be looking at teams who have two picks in the first round which include the Oilers, Buffalo, Toronto, Winnipeg, Arizona and the Philadelphia Flyers.
May 24 - 8:00 AM

Penguins GM Jim Rutherford wants to see the Pittsburgh Penguins play a more disciplined game in 2015-16.

That was a big issue for Pittsburgh this season. The squad had the second most minor penalties in the league with 349. If not for a strong penalty kill, the Penguins might not have even made the playoffs under those circumstances. It was a significant change from the 2013-14 campaign when they were a middle of the road team with 298 minor penalties.
Apr 29 - 5:46 AM

Pittsburgh Penguins CEO David Morehouse said that they aren't firing GM Jim Rutherford and head coach Mike Johnston.

There's been some speculation that the team might part ways with the front office members after their first season with the franchise, but it appears that is not the case. This might not quell rumors that the organization is dysfunctional, though.
Apr 25 - 2:43 PM

Penguins GM Jim Rutherford apparently got into an argument with Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writer Rob Rossi.

As Rossi described it, Rutherford addressed him as the writer was making his way to the Penguins' dressing room following their 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Monday. Rutherford reportedly called him an "(expletive) jerk." While we're willing to take the blow-by-blow of what happened with a grain of salt given that we're ultimately getting just one side of it, it's typically a bad idea for an executive to lose his temper with a columnist if for no other reason than columnist then gets to write about it, which is what happened in this case. It's also noteworthy because the Penguins' first season under Rutherford has been a disappointment and if they lose their first round series against the Rangers, which seems likely after falling down 2-1, it will be interesting to see what happens.
Apr 21 - 11:45 AM

Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has thrown his support behind coach Mike Johnston.

"He's done a very good job with what he's had to work with," Rutherford said. "Given all the injured players and difficult circumstances, we've been very happy with the job that Mike and his staff have done getting the team to the cusp of the playoffs." The Penguins have had to deal with some injury problems, but given the talent of this roster, we have a tough time buying into the idea that missing the playoffs or even just barely making them should be regarded as an acceptable outcome. That being said, it's not surprising to see Rutherford support Johnston because it is the standard for a general manager to publicly support his coach regardless of what the results have been. Because of that, any general manager's endorsement of a bench boss has to be taken with a grain of salt. It's also worth noting that Johnston will still end up looking like a hero if his Penguins enjoy a lengthy playoff run despite their shaky regular season.
Apr 9 - 11:32 AM

Mike Johnston's mom passed away Friday night at the age of 81.

Our condolences to the Johnston family. Johnston will coach the Penguins for both games on the weekend before returning to his native Nova Scotia for the funeral next week.
Mar 28 - 10:56 AM

The slumping Pittsburgh Penguins are not blaming head coach Mike Johnston.

The Penguins are 3-5-2 in their last 10 and are in fifth place in the East but only one point ahead of Washington and Detroit. "I've been very pleased with how the coaching staff has handled this situation," defenseman Rob Scuderi said. "This isn't easy, being in a funk like this. The last thing you need to see is your coach unraveling. Everyone seems to stay calm because Mike is calm. And that's what we need. He's been consistent since Day 1. He's pushing some buttons right now, nitpicking a little bit. But he needs to right now. He's been great."
Mar 28 - 10:47 AM

The Pittsburgh Penguins have lost six of their last eight games.

That's part of a larger streak of mediocrity for Pittsburgh as they've gone 6-8-4 after a 22-6-4 start to the campaign. The Penguins had built up such an impressive cushion for itself that missing the playoffs still seems unlikely, but they're starting to lose ground when it comes to positioning. The Islanders have taken the lead in the Metropolitan Division and Pittsburgh is just four points ahead of the Rangers and Capitals. It's not outside the realm of possibilities that Pittsburgh could end up in a Wild Card spot if they don't start to turn things around.
Feb 2 - 11:29 AM

The Pittsburgh Penguins are only 6-7-3 against their Metropolitan divisional rivals this season.

This is in sharp contrast to their 20-4-3 mark against the rest of the team's in the NHL. Unfortunately, the Penguins take on the Rangers today and will have to go head-to-head against Metropolitan division teams in the early rounds of the playoffs if four teams from each division make it.
Jan 18 - 9:49 AM

The Penguins have called off their morning practice Saturday due to poor road conditions in Pittsburgh.

The Penguins host the Montreal Canadiens Saturday and it was hoped that David Perron would get in at least one practice with his new teammates. He won't.
Jan 3 - 10:09 AM

Pittsburgh has the best power play in the league, but they haven't been getting many opportunities lately.

The Penguins had 4.2 power plays per game in October, but it dropped to 2.7 opportunities in November. "We haven't had many power plays, and it has become a problem," assistant coach Rick Tocchet said. "We had one stretch where we had one power play in two games. It's hard to stay sharp when that happens. We'll probably practice it more this week. It's hard to practice with full pressure on the power play because you don't want people getting hurt, but we need it."
Mon, Dec 1, 2014 04:10:00 PM

The Pittsburgh Penguins worked on their penalty killing in practice on Friday after giving up three power play goals to the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday.

"With special teams, I always believe at the beginning of the year, the first three or four weeks, unless you’ve had the same unit, you’ve had the same coach from the year before, then you’ve got to get in sync, Johnston said. "It takes a series of eight to 10 games before you get your special teams in sync." If that is the case, expect the Penguins to be hurting throughout the month of October on the penalty kill.
Sat, Oct 11, 2014 08:54:00 AM

The Mike Johnston era kicked off on Thursday in Pittsburgh with the start of training camp, and one early focus the rookie coach plans to implement will be maintaining puck possession.

"The one thing I keep hearing is the puck possession, kind of the analytics of the game and being able to hold onto the puck instead of giving it away," said forward Chris Kunitz on Thursday. "If you keep the puck your shots go up, and I think we have a team that can skate up and down the ice." While the Pens made a few moves in the off-season to their roster, the most sweeping changes over the offseason came in shuffling off-ice personnel. "It's going to take a bit to learn a new system and to understand the expectations of our coaching staff," said Kunitz. "But I think we're all eager and excited to get into that process."
Thu, Sep 18, 2014 07:32:00 PM

Pittsburgh coach Mike Johnston has been prepping for training camp by watching video of the Penguins from the 2013-14 season.

"As far as player personnel for me and the style we want to play -- the up-tempo style, the puck-moving style, good decisions with the puck, play with pace, play with speed -- I like the personnel," he said. "I like it from the defensive point of view, where we've got defensemen who can escape the zone really quick. Make good decisions. Good skaters who can jump up into the play and create on the attack. From a forward's perspective, I think right now that ... we have some real quality players returning. Then we have some more depth than maybe they had at the end of last year through[out] the lineup." He's already thinking about potential line tinkering and he's looking forward to trying out different combinations during camp. Read more:
Tue, Aug 26, 2014 01:23:00 PM

Depth Charts

All Positions
C1Sidney Crosby
2Evgeni Malkin
3Brandon Sutter
4Maxim Lapierre
LW1Chris Kunitz
2David Perron
3Daniel Winnik
4Beau Bennett
5Nick Spaling
RW1Patric Hornqvist
2Blake Comeau
3Steve Downie
4Craig Adams
5Pascal Dupuis
D1Kris Letang
2Christian Ehrhoff
3Paul Martin
4Olli Maatta
5Rob Scuderi
6Ben Lovejoy
7Ian Cole
G1Marc-Andre Fleury
2Thomas Greiss