The Pittsburgh Penguins have yet to hire a coach after having hired Jim Rutherford as their GM and firing former coach Dan Bylsma. With the season officially over, it’s safe to say the Penguins will look to get this process wrapped up more or less around draft day so they know who their coach will be when they enter the free agency period in July.
As Rutherford and the crew pare their own list of candidates, one name refuses to go away in the rumor mill, and it’s one that makes sense. While some other great names have come up in Pittsburgh’s search — names that could very well end up including the team’s future coach — it seems that the favorite is former San Jose and Toronto bench boss Ron Wilson.
According to Yahoo’s Puck Daddy Blog:
“Wilson wore out his welcome in Toronto thanks in part to some abjectly terrible goaltending (whose reversal of fortune has kept Randy Carlyle in a job), but Wilson’s a very good coach and a good fit for the team. Crosby and Malkin would love the up tempo style. The media would eat up his jokey but sometimes combative nature.”
The style of coaching is where Penguins fans should be most pleased. Wilson’s Maple Leaf teams were not suited for the style that Wilson employs, but the Penguins more or less are. Well, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin certainly are anyways. That’s all that really counts, right?
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Add in Wilson’s big-game experience (he coached Team USA’s men’s hockey team in 2010) and you may have the perfect recipe for a seasoned, veteran coach who can come in, offer a better structure and a steadier hand, and reap the rewards on a Pittsburgh squad that is still among the most talented in the league.