The Pittsburgh Penguins coaching staff will look much different in 2020-21. The team has announced it will not renew contracts for assistant coaches Sergei Gonchar, Jacques Martin, and Mark Recchi. The three had been with Pittsburgh for several seasons but the team will go in a different direction as it moves through the end of the Sidney Crosby era. The team announced the contract decisions early Wednesday afternoon.
The Penguins will not renew the contracts of assistant coaches Sergei Gonchar, Jacques Martin, and Mark Recchi.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) August 12, 2020
Penguins Coaching Staff Changing
Gonchar and Recchi were both named assistant coaches in 2017. The two are among the most notable hockey players of their generation and they helped Pittsburgh reach the playoffs in two consecutive years after the team’s last Stanley Cup victory. Gonchar played for 20 seasons in the NHL with 220 goals and 811 points. Recchi has an even longer career with 577 goals and 1,533 points over 22 seasons. Both brought a wealth of experience to the bench.
Martin was also an accomplished member of the Pittsburgh staff. The 67-year-old joined the organization in 2013 and helped the team win two Stanley Cups during his tenure. Martin survived two coaching changes when the team switched from Dan Bylsma to Mike Johnston after 2014 and from Johnston to Mike Sullivan in 2016. Martin was a head coach for many years with four different franchises before joining Pittsburgh. He has over 600 wins in that role.
What This Means for the Future
It’s impossible to know what direction Pittsburgh will head towards at this point. They have lost decades of experience on their bench but there are plenty of veteran hockey minds available if they want them. The team could also shift its coaching philosophy towards a younger generation. The game is getting faster almost every year and skill players dominate in a way they didn’t or couldn’t when Gonchar and Recchi played. A younger staff might be more well-equipped to handle a skill-based roster built around helping Crosby and company win one more Cup. The only thing we know for certain is Pittsburgh’s offseason just got more interesting.