Like the GM search, the Pittsburgh Penguins appear headed to hiring their third or fourth option for a head coach and they’re finding out this is not as attractive of a job as they thought or think it is.
The Penguins have had the mindset with the GM search previously and now the coaching search that candidates will accept their terms without any push back. That hasn’t been the case. In Jim Rutherford they found a GM who would accept their terms and now they’re trying to find the right coach who will.
Strong indications are indeed that Pittsburgh had settled on Detroit Assistant coach Bill Peters late Wednesday night and were prepared to offer him the job Thursday afternoon before he committed to Carolina, creating some shock in the Penguins organization. Few can blame Peters for going to Carolina as his job security would be much more secure (less pressure), despite a much lesser salary. All candidates hear the Mike Babcock talk and the Penguins preference for a short-term deal had caused a lot of pause with candidates as it’s no secret, a quick playoff exit and you could certainly be one and done.
It’s a reason that going the route with a veteran experienced coach like Ron Wilson has made the most sense from the standpoint that he has nothing to lose to come in here on a two year deal. However, the Penguins focus had been on assistants and AHL coaches among their finalists.
Will that suddenly change if Desjardins pulls his name out of the mix?
For coveted assistants like Peters, Willie Desjardins, and Ulf Samuelsson, you have to get at least three guaranteed years and some power.
Once Peters fell through, Pittsburgh moved quickly yesterday onto Desjardins who met with Penguins brass last night but there’s been some push back from Desjardins on some unknown issues regarding concerns he has, possibly contract term and power when it comes to assistant coaches.
There’s no confirmation that Desjardins is out of the picture but where this search is headed is anyone’s guess right now and that’s the sense from some very close to the situation as a big shocker here, there is frustrations already brewing between decision makers on the inside.
If Desjardins moves on from the Penguins, does Pittsburgh turn their attention to Ulf and try to sell him on taking the job or does Pittsburgh decide to go the veteran route with a Ron Wilson or Tom Renney? No one seems to know right now. Some I hear from wouldn’t be surprised if the Penguins end up being stuck with going the route of John Hynes and Rick Tocchet as head coach and associate coach.
It’s going to be an interesting day or couple days