Hockey Critic

Penguins fire head coach Ed Olczyk

Ed Olczyk became the first coaching fatality of the 2005-06 season as the Pittsburgh Penguins fired him and his coaching staff. Assistant coaches Joe Mullen, Randy Hillier, Shane Clifford and strength and conditioning coach John Welday were also let go. Michel Therrien, who was coaching the Penguins' AHL affiliate team in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has been promoted to the head coaching position with the big club. The move comes as the Penguins have floundered with a 8-17-4-2 record and are currently stand last in the Atlantic Division. They added several key free agents like Ziggy Palffy, Mark Recchi and John LeClair in the off season and also drafted rookie phenom Sidney Crosby. Their inability to play defense and the lack of goaltending also played a role in their poor start.

Michel Therrien is 42 years old and coached the Montreal Canadiens between 2001-03. His Wilkes-Barre/Scranton club had an AHL best 21-1-2 so far this season and reached the Calder Cup final in 2003-04, losing to the Milwaukee Admirals. Olczyk's demise comes after the Pens went through a brutal losing streak, including a 5-0 loss at the hands of the Minnesota Wild. “The Minnesota loss was very disturbing - the team had shown its face and for whatever reason they weren’t listening,” said Pens GM Craig Patrick. The Penguin players are in store for a very different attitude in the locker room. Ed Olczyk was a known to be a "players coach" but Therien is a strick disciplinarian. He is bound to extract a lot more in the short term from this underachieving hockey club.

posted at 15:23:50 on 12/16/05 by HockeyCritic - Category: GMs and Coaches

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