The Penguins gave Coach Mike Sullivan a four-year contract extension. He is signed to coach the Penguins through 2023-24.
Combine that with Phil Kessel being traded, and we certainly know who won that war.
If Sullivan completes the entire term of his new deal, he will have coached the Penguins for a little over 8 1/2 seasons. The longest tenure in Penguins history belongs to Dan Bylsma, with five years and change (2009-14).
A four-year extension is a bit long. I'd have offered Sullivan three. But what's the difference?
Sullivan was going into the last year of his contract. This past season was the team's first bad one under Sullivan, and that's relatively speaking. He simply had to be extended.
Sullivan's new deal guarantees he won't get fired during the coming season no matter what. Probably not the season after that, either.
Sullivan has done a great job. Two Stanley Cups in four years is an excellent record.
But will Sullivan adjust the team's style? That appears to be required. The core is aging. There's been a makeover around that core.
Will there be more structure? That seems needed.
Will the team be forced to rely on speed a bit less? It appears like that should be so.
Or will Sullivan be stubborn like Bylsma? I hope not. But that's how Bylsma punched his ticket out of Pittsburgh.
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