The Pittsburgh Penguins announced on Monday that they have signed head coach Mike Sullivan to a three-year extension.
Sullivan replaced Mike Johnston as the bench boss for the Penguins just over a season ago, before turning Pittsburgh’s season around and leading them to their fourth Stanley Cup. With the extension, Sullivan will continue to guide the team through the 2019-2020 season.
Sullivan said on the Penguins website, “It is nice to have some assurance and certainty. To be a part of the Penguins for me has been a privilege. It is a great organization to work for. We have high expectations as an organization. That is always exciting to be part of as an athlete or coach, because the reason we are in it is because we want to win championships.”
He continued, “When you look at how this organization has been run over the years, they do things the right way that give this team the best chance to compete for a championship year in and year out. They have a great scouting staff. They have a great development department. They make a huge investment in Wilkes-Barre and the minor-league team as a part of that development process. They do everything in their power to give the organization a chance to compete for championships. To be a part of that is exciting. I am grateful for the opportunity that I have been given here, and I look forward to the challenges ahead.”
Sullivan became just the sixth American-born head coach and fourth coach to take over behind the bench mid-season to lead his team to a Stanley Cup Championship. During the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs the Penguins went 16-8 enroute to hoisting the “Silver Chalice.”
Since taking over behind the bench, he has led the Penguins to a 55-24-10 regular season record. 14 of those 55 wins have come after falling behind by two or more goals. Pittsburgh has also gone 109 games, including the playoffs, without a back-to-back loss in regulation.
Penguins general manager, Jim Rutherford told The Pittsburgh Tribune Review, “We are only a few months away from him entering his [current contract’s] final year. I felt he did the best coaching job in the league last year, and he has continued to do it. He is a guy that can relate and communicate with our players, so this is good not only for the Penguins, but also for him, knowing [he has] security here in Pittsburgh.”
This season the Penguins are 22-8-5 and sit just one point behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for first place in the Metropolitan Division. As they come out of the Christmas recess, Pittsburgh will travel to Newark on Tuesday night to take on the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.