Q&A with new assistant Agnew
We had a chance to speak with new Penguins assistant Gary Agnew, who was hired today to complete coach Mike Johnston‘s staff. Agnew, spent the past two seasons as an assistant with the St. Louis Blues and earlier was with Columbus for four seasons, primarily as an assistant but also briefly as interim head coach. He was a head coach of Syracuse of the American Hockey League for six seasons and in the junior Ontario Hockey League for 11 seasons.
Here is what Agnew had to say:
On joining the Penguins: I’m thrilled, looking forward to getting going. First and foremost is the opportunity to work with Mike Johnston. He‘as a brilliant hockey mind, and just coming to this staff with Rick Tocchet and seeing what my role will be. And the chance to work with [GM] Jim Rutherford. It‘s an opportunity to coach in an organization such as Pittsburgh, which has been on the top of the pile for a few years, to be able to work with some of the elite-level players. We had that in St. Louis, too, with the [Alex] Steens, the [David] Backesses, the [Alex] Pietrangelos. I‘m anticipating the same thing in Pittsburgh.
On his duties with the Penguins: We’ve touched base a little bit, but I don’t think we’ve dug in on the details yet. I’ve been coaching so long, I’ve pretty mch worked with everybody. One season in Columbus at one point I took over in the goalie department for a few months, so I’ve done that, too, with a young Steve Mason. I think I‘m experienced in all areas.
On his defensive philosophy: I had a great mentor the past six years in Ken Hitchcock. Working with a guy like Ken Hitchcock allowed me to see how the game should be played. If you don‘t have the puck, you‘d better find a way of getting it back, so you have to check. That‘s a defensive philosophy, but that‘s the reality.
On whether there‘s much of a style difference between the conferences: I think there probably is a little bit. It’s a way to play the game the right way. We were able to find some success in St. Louis, and Ken Hitchcock found the right way to play in both Dallas and Philly. The game is ever-changing. Everybody makes adjustments.