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Wilkes-Barre's Hynes to interview for Pens' coaching job

| Monday, June 9, 2014, 2:54 p.m.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Bryan Rust looks on as Wilkes-Barre coach John Hynes instructs players during the Penguins' development camp Wednesday, July 17, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Wilkes-Barre coach John Hynes instructs players during the Penguins' development camp Wednesday, July 17, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.

John Hynes will interview for the Penguins' coaching vacancy next week, general manager Jim Rutherford confirmed Monday.

Hynes, 39, has spent the past five seasons with AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, including the last four as head coach. The AHL Penguins reached the Calder Cup semifinal round each of the past two postseasons.

Rutherford was hired last Friday as the 10th general manager for the Penguins, and he immediately fired Dan Bylsma as head coach.

Rutherford said then he had a short list of candidates to replace Bylsma, the Penguins' leader in regular-season and playoff victories, and that official interviews will not begin before June 16.

The Penguins will have a new coach by July 1, when free agency begins, Rutherford said.

Bylsma, 43, lasted a franchise record five full seasons as Penguins' coach.

He has not been available for comment since his firing, though he was scheduled to join the NHL Network's coverage for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night.

The league reported in a news release Bylsma would serve as a studio analyst.

Bylsma had two years remaining on a contract that will pay him around $2 million annually.

Under previous general manager Ray Shero, the system used by the Penguins' coach was implemented throughout the organization.

Hynes was no exception, and neither was his success in the regular season. His clubs won at least 40 games every season, and he was the 2011 AHL Coach of the Year.

This past season, Hynes guided Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to a 42-26-8 mark in the AHL regular season despite playing without a handful of projected regulars because of the Penguins' NHL-worst 529-man-games lost.

As a coach, Hynes is reputable as a defensive-minded teacher that is unafraid to challenge players. Penguins' prospects to play under Hynes have described him as tough, but also honest and fair.

He also is known for his in-series adjustments, including spearheading playoff victories when Wilkes-Barre/Scranton trailed 2-0 and 3-0.

Hynes has worked closely with Jason Botterill, Tom Fitzgerald and Bill Guerin during his time with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Botterill, Fitzgerald and Guerin were each retained and promoted by Rutherford.

Note: The Penguins expect to introduce an alternate jersey to be worn for select games next season. One confirmable detail about the third jersey is the return of Pittsburgh Gold to the team's uniforms for the first time since 2001-02 season. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said he has ordered yellow leg pads and gloves to be worn when the Penguins' don the alternate jerseys.

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rrossi@tribweb.com or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.

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