The Pittsburgh Penguins have fired head coach Mike Johnston and have named Mike Sullivan as his replacement, the team announced in a release Saturday morning. Assistant coach Gary Agnew was also relieved of his duties.
The Penguins are 15-10-3 through 28 games this season and currently sit fifth in the Metropolitan Division. They're 4-3-3 over their past 10 games.
Johnston was hired as Penguins head coach on June 25, 2014. In his 110 regular season games behind the Pittsburgh bench, the club had a record of 58-37-15.
“I felt it was time for a coaching change because our team has underachieved,” Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said in the release. “Our expectations are much higher with this group of players.
“Mike Sullivan has been a head coach and an assistant coach in the NHL and we’ve been very fortunate to have him with our AHL club this season. He’s done an outstanding job in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and he’s ready to step in.”
Sullivan previously served as an NHL head coach with the Boston Bruins from 2003-06. In his two seasons with Boston, the club compiled a regular season record of 70 wins, 56 losses, 15 ties and 23 overtime/shootout losses. He has also served as an NHL assistant coach with the Bruins (2002-03), Tampa Bay Lightning (2007-08), New York Rangers (2009-13) and Vancouver Canucks (2013-14).
In 23 games this season as head coach of the Penguins' AHL affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Sullivan guided the club to an 18-5-0-0 record, good for first place in the AHL's Atlantic Division.