The Penguins announced some changes and while it looks like head coach Mike Sullivan is safe, he will have a completely new crew of assistants for 2020-21. The team announced on Wednesday that they will not renew the contacts of Mark Recchi, Jacques Martin and Sergei Gonchar.
“We just thought we needed to change the dynamic of our coaching staff,” general manager Jim Rutherford said in a press release. ‘We have very high standards here in Pittsburgh, and we want to continue competing for Stanley Cups. The message to our fans is that ‘We are not rebuilding, we’re re-tooling.’”
The re-tool will start with the coaching staff.
Martin, 67, has been an assistant coach in Pittsburgh since the start of the 2013-14 season. He has been in charge primarily of the defensemen and the penalty kill over the years. Martin has 1,294 games of an experience as an NHL head coach and was added onto the staff to bring that experience and structure, for then-coach Dan Bylsma. Martin won Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017 with the Pens.
Recchi, 52, was hired by Pittsburgh in July of 2014 as a player development coach. In July of 2017 his role changed and he was added to the coaching staff to replace departing assistant coach Rick Tocchet. Recchi has worked mainly with the forwards and the power play, the latter a very sore subject after it failed the team in the playoffs the past two seasons.
Gonchar, 46, has been with the Pens’ organization in a development role since October of 2015. Like Recchi, he was promoted to join the coaching staff full time in the summer of 2017, working with defensemen.
More from the team release:
“We want to thank Sergei, Jacques and Mark for their many contributions to the Penguins over the years, and wish them well in their future endeavors” Rutherford said.
The search for new assistants to work under head coach Mike Sullivan will begin immediately.
“We are in the process of conducting a review of our organization because we have underperformed in the playoffs the last few years,” Rutherford said. “We just thought we needed to change the dynamic of our coaching staff. We have very high standards here in Pittsburgh, and we want to continue competing for Stanley Cups. The message to our fans is that ‘We are not rebuilding, we’re re-tooling.’”
The contracts of Gonchar, Martin and Recchi expired at the end of June but were temporarily extended for the playoffs.