Gary Agnew was hired by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday to serve as an assistant coach under new coach Mike Johnston.
"The opportunity to work with him was really thrilling for me," Agnew told the Penguins website. "I've seen what he's done with his teams and areas he's coached in, and it's been fun to watch. He's done such a great job with the teams that he's worked with, so it's fun to have the opportunity to work with him and Rick [Tocchet] both."
Agnew, 54, had been an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues the previous two seasons and has worked as an assistant coach with the Columbus Blue Jackets, all under Ken Hitchcock.
"I think when you have the opportunity to work with a Stanley Cup champion and two-time Olympic champion coach and see how he performs, what he does and how he likes to see his teams play, it certainly gives you cause to jot a few things down," Agnew said. "So it was good. I really enjoyed it."
Agnew has been a coach with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League (2000-06) and in the Ontario Hockey League with the London Knights (1990-94, 1997-2000), Kingston Frontenacs (1994-97) and Oshawa Generals (2011-12).
"He's been a head coach, which I always believe is important," Johnston said. "If you're going to be a really good assistant, you should at one time have been a head coach because then you have a better feel for how to be an assistant coach."
Agnew explained his philosophy as offense based on defense.
"I like getting in with the players, I like making sure that they understand fully what we're trying to bring out of the coaches' office," Agnew said. "I think that, for me, it's a really simple philosophy: If you want to score, you need to have the puck. To get the puck, you need to check. If you don't have the puck, you better know how to get it back. I think there's a plan in place for that. Some may call it a sort of defensive philosophy. I call it an offensive philosophy. It's trying to get the puck back to go score. For me, that's kind of the stuff I like to bring to the table in terms of how I like to see teams play."