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Rutherford, Johnston returning for Penguins: report

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General manager Jim Rutherford and coach Mike Johnston will return for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2015-16, CEO David Morehouse told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Saturday.

The Penguins did not secure a place in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs until the final day of the regular season, then lost to the New York Rangers in an Eastern Conference First Round series in five games.

"I know there's been a lot of speculation out there, but [co-owners] Ron [Burkle] and Mario [Lemieux] never once considered a change," Morehouse told Jason Mackey of the Tribune-Review. "Jim Rutherford's our general manager, and Mike Johnston's our coach."

Pittsburgh was without defensemen Kris Letang and Christian Ehrhoff during the series against the Rangers because of concussions. Olli Maatta, another top-four defenseman, had shoulder surgery in January and did not return.

Center Evgeni Malkin played through what he called a couple of minor injuries during the series. The Penguins lost four times to the Rangers by a 2-1 score, and yielded 11 goals in five games.

Rutherford and Johnston were hired before the 2014-15 season to replace Ray Shero and Dan Bylsma as GM and coach.

"We had a new coach who almost never had a chance to coach his full team because of injuries," Morehouse said. "I don't know if there's a team in the League that could have succeeded in the playoffs without three of its top four defensemen. That's the situation we faced."

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