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What He's Done: The Pittsburgh Penguins head coaching job is Mike Johnston's first in the NHL. From HockeyDB.com, Johnston served as an assistant and associate coach with the Vancouver Canucks for six seasons, then spent two years as an associate coach with the Los Angeles Kings before joining the WHL's Portland Winterhawks, where he served as coach and general manager.
Johnston took the Winterhawks to the WHL Final three times in his six years with the club. He was suspended for most of the 2012-13 season after it was determined that the team provided improper, undeclared benefits to players and their families, according to NHL.com.
What's Expected: Oh—just to "chase the Stanley Cup with a coach out of junior hockey," as it was put by Rob Rossi of Pittsburgh's TribLive.
The Penguins have been among the NHL's elite during the regular season. In the playoffs, they have consistently underachieved after winning the Stanley Cup in 2009.
Both coach Dan Bylsma and general manager Ray Shero were casualties in 2014 after the Penguins couldn't convert a 3-1 series lead against the New York Rangers into a second-round win.
Can He Do It? Well, Johnston will be coaching two of the best players in the game in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. And the Penguins hit a home run in free agency when they signed defenseman Christian Ehrhoff. But bringing in nearly-retired Jim Rutherford as general manager after five years of failure in Carolina was a questionable move.
We also know Johnston was the management group's second choice after another candidate, believed to have been Willie Desjardins according to NHL.com, chose not to accept the Penguins' job offer.
Prediction: FAILURE. Johnston will have all year to try to get the Penguins pulling on the same rope, but his success won't be measured until playoff time. Only one team can win the Cup; it won't be the Penguins.