The Pittsburgh Penguins announced on Wednesday that they would not be renewing the contracts of assistant coaches Sergei Gonchar, Jacques Martin and Mark Recchi.
FROM PENGUINS MEDIA RELEASE
The Pittsburgh Penguins will not renew the contracts of assistant coaches Sergei Gonchar, Jacques Martin and Mark Recchi, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
“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.
Jim Rutherford: “I plan to move forward with the core. These are good players. They still have good hockey left in them. I always have to say, if some amazing trade comes along, you have to look at it, but I will not actively be looking at trying to trade our core players.”
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) August 11, 2020
The Penguins were a quick exit in this year’s postseason play, losing their play-in round series to the Montreal Canadiens, who were huge underdogs.
All three coaches were members of the team’s two most recent Stanley Cup championships in 2016 and ‘17.
Gonchar, an all-star defenseman who spent five seasons with the Penguins as a player, rejoined the organization as a defensive development coach in 2015.
Gonchar was the first round pick, 14th overall, of the Washington Capitals in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft. Gonchar spent 10 seasons with the Washington Capitals, from 1994 to 2004.
In the 1998–99 season, Gonchar became the first Russian defenseman to score over 20 goals in the regular season. The following season, Gonchar broke the 50-point mark for the first time in his career. He also finished in fifth place in Norris Trophy voting as the NHL’s best defenseman.
By Jon Sorensen