John Hynes of Team USA poses for a portrait during the 2007 USA Hockey National Junior Camp in Lake Placid, New York.
By Shelly Anderson / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The change that swept through the Penguins management and coaching staff this offseason has begun to take hold with the club’s annual development camp.
But not like a tidal wave.
“It’s real important within the organization that we all get on the same page quickly,” John Hynes, coach of American Hockey League affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, said Wednesday after the second day of camp.
Hynes is overseeing most of the practices at development camp, something he has done before. This year, it’s a little different for him.
Not only is he learning about and beginning to teach the nuances of new coach Mike Johnston’s systems, but he also came in knowing what new general manager Jim Rutherford and his reworked staff want.
The latter is because Hynes was an early coaching candidate after the Penguins fired Dan Bylsma.
“It’s a situation where they wanted there to be some change — not just in the way that we play, but culturally and in how things went on,” Hynes said. “It was a real thorough process. I think those are the biggest things.
“It’s not broken. There are just some slight things that I think management and the ownership are looking for.”
Some of those things have been identified as speed and grit on the ice, and vocal leadership and cohesiveness off of the ice.
Hynes, 39, said he benefited from going through the interview process for the job that eventually went to Johnston because it required extensive research, planning and the need to focus on his vision as a coach.
“I enjoyed it. It helped me grow as a coach,” he said.
Johnston ran the first day of development camp practices Tuesday, with several members of the Penguins and Wilkes-Barre staffs, including Hynes, assisting. Hynes took over Tuesday, when the defensemen and forwards practiced separately.
The coaches are teaching the rookies and prospects only few elements or key ideas in what will be Johnston’s — and Wilkes-Barre’s — playing style. That’s because the coaches in the organization aren’t fully up to speed on it.
“That’s still in its infancy stages right now,” Hynes said. “I think we need to spend a little bit more time together.
“This camp, it’s more about establishing what it means to be a Penguin and just some certain things that Mike wants. Some of them are very similar to what we had done in the past.
“As far as the in-game adjustments, the systems things, we’re going to sit down as a coaching staff and really look at things we did in Wilkes-Barre, things we did in Pittsburgh and things that Mike wants to add and really iron that out as the summer goes on.”
Shelly Anderson: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1721 and Twitter @pgshelly.
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