Largely dissatisfied with the performance of his Pittsburgh Penguins, general manager Jim Rutherford said he wanted to make changes and he kept his promise on Wednesday, sacking assistant instructors Jacques Martin, Sergei Gonchar and Mark Recchi.
The three men were associated with the Montreal Canadiens earlier in their careers, a team which in fact eliminated the “Pens” in four games during the qualifying round. Having supported driver Mike Sullivan, they paid for the club’s recent playoff setbacks, which was swept away in the first round by the New York Islanders in the spring of 2019.
“We are in a process of review within our organization as we have not performed well in the playoffs over the past few years,” Rutherford said in a statement. We thought we needed a change of dynamics in our coaching staff. We have high standards for success here in Pittsburgh and we want to keep fighting for the Stanley Cups. The message to our supporters is that we are not in reconstruction, but only in repair. ”
Having been the head coach of the Ottawa Senators and Habs, Martin joined coach Dan Bylsma’s squad in 2013 and became senior hockey operations advisor the following year. In December 2015, he returned to the assistant behind the bench and helped the Penguins win two Stanley Cups.
For his part, Recchi had been hired as coach responsible for player development in 2014. The former flagship of the “Pens” and the Canadian, among others, worked as an assistant since 2017. As for Gonchar, who has finished his hockey career in the Bleu-Blanc-Rouge uniform in 2015, he had landed an instructor position with Pittsburgh in the fall of the same year and had been acting as a regular assistant since the summer of 2017.