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Insider Only Source: Pens Brass determined prior to Avs game Coaching Staff would get more time


All of the focus was on Mike Johnston’s future coming into Wednesday night’s game vs Colorado, and it wasn’t just the Pittsburgh media, as some big guns nationally like Bob McKenzie were wondering if this was a do-or-die game for Johnston.

It’s felt like there’s been at least three or four games/stretches this season where Mike Johnston’s seat starts to get very warm to the point he might be coaching for his job but the Penguins come out of that game or stretch of games with wins.

Wednesday night it played out that way again with the Penguins coming from behind with three goals in the third period, en route to a 4-2 win over the Avalanche.

The Penguins played the way they should be playing vs Colorado. Tempo, pushing the pace through the neutral zone and in attack mode off the rush.

On the flip side that’s how things should go against an extremely poor defensive team in the Avalanche.

The Penguins will surely take a 2-2 road trip and now the big test comes.

Can the Penguins play the way they did vs Colorado against quality teams and Cup contenders? The answer has been a resounding no to this point but that’s what management wants to see.

The Penguins get the Kings again on Friday night, followed by the Capitals and a home and home series with the Bruins.

It will surely be Mike Johnston watch all over again by the end of next week if the Penguins struggle during this upcoming stretch.

Was Johnston coaching for his job vs the Avalanche? All indications out of the organization are he wasn’t and that many were reading too much into Rutherford’s comments Sunday night when he was caught at a bad moment following a loss, a source says. Rutherford then backtracked his comments a bit to the local papers on Monday but Johnston was clearly put on notice as was the team.

Rutherford held an informal meeting with co-owner Ron Burkle over the weekend and Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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