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Coach Mike Sullivan gets extension from Penguins

Three years added to contract after winning Stanley Cup last season

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan signed a three-year contract extension through the 2019-20 season Monday.

Sullivan, 48, took over as Penguins coach after Mike Johnston was fired on Dec. 12, 2015. The Penguins finished the season 33-16-5 and won the Stanley Cup for the fourth time in their history with a six-game series win against the San Jose Sharks in the Stanley Cup Final.

"It's nice to have some assurance and certainty," Sullivan told the Penguins website. "To be a part of the Penguins for me has been a privilege. It's a great organization to work for.

"I think of that saying, 'To whom much is given much is expected in return.' We have very high expectations as an organization. That's always exciting to be a part of as an athlete or coaches because the reason we're in it is because we want to win championships. 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 part of that development process. They do everything within their power to give the organization a chance to compete for championships. To be a part of that is exciting. I'm very grateful for the opportunity that I've been given here, and I look forward to the challenges ahead."

Sullivan became the sixth American-born coach in NHL history, and the fourth coach after taking over during a season, to win the Stanley Cup. The Penguins were 16-8 during the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs and are 55-24-10 in the regular season since he took over. Under Sullivan, they have won 14 of their 55 games (25 percent) when trailing by two goals or more and have played 109 straight games (including playoffs) without back-to-back regulation losses.

This season, Pittsburgh has the League's best winning percentage (.429) when trailing after the first and second periods.

"We're only a few months away from him entering his [current contract's] final year," general manager Jim Rutherford told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. "I felt he did the best coaching job in the League last year, and he's continued to do it. He's 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."

The Penguins are 22-8-5 this season, one point behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for first place in the Metropolitan Division, and play the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, MSG-Plus, ROOT).

"Some people would view this as an easier job than maybe some of the up-and-coming, rebuilding teams, but quite frankly, I think it's the opposite," Rutherford said. "It's very difficult. Teams have a standard of play in May and June, and everybody expects that same standard when the [next] season starts, which isn't even possible. What he does is he makes the team accountable and reminds them on a regular basis that this is a very good team and we're expected to win. No time off here. He keeps them accountable."

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