With Todd Nelson off to Grand Rapids, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is eyeing an interesting choice as head coach for the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins.
The Penguins on Tuesday officially offered the Wilkes Barre head coaching position to Mike Sullivan, who is widely regarded in league circles as John Tortorella’s right hand man and regarded as Tortorella 2.0 — Demanding, No nonsense –.
Sullivan was Tortorella’s top assistant coach with him during three different stints in Tampa Bay (2007-2008), New York (2009-2013) and Vancouver (2013-2014).
Sullivan was fired last summer along with Tortorella in Vancouver.
Sullivan began coaching professional hockey during the 2002–2003 season, when he became the head coach of the Providence Bruins of the AHL. In his only season, his team had a 41–17–9–4 record. Sullivan was named Boston Bruins head coach in 2003. During the 03-04 season, he led Boston to a 41-19-15-7 record, 104 points and a first-place finish in the Northeast Division. Boston was eliminated in the first round and following the 2004-2005 lockout, Boston was one of the worst teams in hockey in 2005-2006 and Sullivan was fired after the season.
He has been an assistant coach under Tortorella since.
Like Tortorella, Sullivan is regarded as being very demanding. When Roman Hamrlik was with the Rangers a few seasons ago, he told Chuck Gormely of CSNWashington that Tortorella and Sullivan ran practices like a “boot camp” and did not allow players to smile on the ice.