Penguins Fire Hlinka

Archived from 2001-02 season.

NHL teams

Starting the season 0-4 seems to have been too much for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who fired head coach Ivan Hlinka and replaced him with assistant Rick Kehoe.

Hlinka coached the Czech Republic to the 1998 Olympic gold medal and took the Penguins to the Eastern Conference finals last spring. However, his limited command of English sometimes made it difficult for him to communicate with players.

"We're 0-4, and we can't afford to be 0-5 or 0-6," general manager Craig Patrick said. "We've got a number of young guys who need to learn the game in the NHL and if there's any kind of communication problem, it's going to slow down their progress. At 0-4, we can't afford that, we've got to be at the top of our game as soon as we can."

Kehoe, who is the third-leading scorer in Penguins history behind Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr, becomes their fourth coach in three seasons following Kevin Constantine, Herb Brooks and Hlinka.

"I think in the past, he may not have wanted to be a head coach, but now I can sense he wants to be," Patrick said. "The last couple of years, he's become much more assertive, much more outgoing and much more take-charge than before."

"I've had the opportunity to work with some great coaches, to watch how they operated," Kehoe said. "Now I've got the opportunity to take over and give it a shot."

Contact The HockeyNut - Front Page - Archive

Copyright©1997-2001 The HockeyNut