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Shero Glad To Have Therrien Coach Penguins

by Joe Sager / Pittsburgh Penguins
(PRESS RELEASE: Penguins Extend Therrien's Contract)


Ray Shero’s goal is to keep the Penguins' talented core together.

That includes head coach Michel Therrien.

Shero, the Penguins’ Executive Vice President and General Manager, inked Therrien to a one-year contract extension, locking up the coach through the 2008-09 season.

“It’s well deserved,” Shero said. “I think he did a great job last year with our group and we’re looking forward to having him back for at least two more years and hopefully more.”

Therrien had the upcoming season (2007-08) remaining on his original contract he signed when he was promoted to Penguins head coach in 2005-06. So, he signed a one-year extension to take him though 2008-09.

“He had a year left, so he wasn’t going anywhere, nor did he want to go anywhere, but I really believe that showing faith in your coaching staff and head coach, especially after the year he had, gives some stability to the franchise, which is important. I think this is just another step in the right direction for us,” Shero said. “What I talked to him about was, if I came in last year and there wasn’t a coach in place and I had hired somebody, I would have hired him for three years. A three-year contract is pretty standard and he has two years left, so he was very agreeable to that. I am hopeful this is something that is going to turn into something more long-term. We’ll see how things go moving forward.”

Michel Therrien guided the Penguins to 105 points in 2006-07. (Pittsburgh Penguins)

Therrien has a 61-53-19 record in 133 games behind the Penguins’ bench. He helped guide the team to a 47-24-11 record (105 points) last season. It represented a 47-point improvement over the previous year, which is the fourth-largest single-season turnaround in NHL history. The 105 points are the second-most in Penguins history, trailing only the 1992-93 team that earned 119 points on its way to winning the Presidents’ Trophy.

Therrien also guided the Penguins into the playoffs for the first time since 2000-01. The Penguins finished second in the Atlantic Division, two points behind New Jersey. The success of the season helped Therrien to be named one of three finalists for the Jack Adams Award which is presented the NHL’s outstanding coach.

“We had 105 points, which everybody remembers,” Shero said. “But I remember around late November and early December when we were floating around .500, which is actually kind of good from where the team had been the year before, but we had such a great second half. They did a heck of a job as a coaching staff.”

Shero, who was hired on May 25, 2006, forged a solid relationship with Therrien over the past year.

“I didn’t really know a lot about him and he really didn’t know a lot about me so I think it was a good situation for both of us, where we spent the year together getting to know each other,” he said. “There are things we don’t agree on, but we respect each other’s opinion. He’ll give me my space and I will give him his. I have been very fortunate – he is a very good company man. He’s very loyal. He’s always been very loyal to the players and to the management and ownership, so those are some great traits to have as a coach.

“The group as a whole, with Andre Savard and Mike Yeo, did a really good job for us on and off the ice. They gave a lot of structure to our group,” he continued. “We’ve come a long way in a year. I think a lot of the coach-manager relationships are based on trust and I think we have that, so I think it’s been a really good year for us and we’re looking forward to more.”

Shero hopes to keep assistant coaches Andre Savard and Mike Yeo around past this season, too.

“We haven’t discussed it yet, but I have every reason to believe they will,” he said. “I’d like to talk to them about that, getting another year extension so they would be in like with Therrien. That’d be great, but we haven’t gotten to that and there’s no hurry. Hopefully, by the end of the summer – by training camp – we can do that if they see it the same way I do.”


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