Reirden and his crazy eyes.
Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach Todd Reirden was not unemployed long. After the Pens hired the WHL’s Mike Johnston as their new coach early on Wednesday, Reirden was fired. A mere eight hours later, Reirden was employed once again, this time by new Capitals coach Barry Trotz. Reirden will take over parts of both Calle Johansson and Blaine Forsythe’s roles with the team.
So who is he? First and foremost: a former player that was in my old video games. Long since retired, Reirden’s been an assistant coach since 2008. Working with the Pens last season, Reirden worked closely with Pittsburgh’s defensemen (ranked 7th in goals in 2013-14) and the power play unit, which — according to the Capitals PR — scored the most power-play goals (164) and posted the highest power-play percentage (22.3%) in the NHL since 2011. That’s exciting.
Pittsburgh has been an elite team for a long, long time with a slew of offensive superstars in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. It’ll be interesting to see how much Reirden’s systems and coaching impact the Capitals.
But baby, I’m ready for the ride.
Per the Caps:
The Washington Capitals have named Todd Reirden assistant coach, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
Reirden, 43, spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins and worked closely with Pittsburgh’s defensemen and power-play unit. Under his guidance, the Penguins’ power play scored the most power-play goals (164) and posted the highest power-play percentage (22.3%) in the NHL since 2011. Reirden oversaw a defensive corps that ranked seventh in goals (38) in 2013-14, sent three players to the 2014 Winter Olympics (Olli Maatta, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik) and ranked in the top 12 in goals against in three of his four seasons with the team. He also helped develop defenseman Kris Letang into a two-time NHL All-Star and 2013 Norris Trophy finalist and helped Matt Niskanen post the highest plus/minus (+33) among NHL defensemen in 2013-14.
Reirden joined the Penguins organization in 2008 as an assistant coach with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL and was promoted to head coach following Dan Bylsma’s promotion to Pittsburgh. In his two seasons as head coach of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Reirden guided the team to a 55-43-8 record and has seen 36 of his former players reach the NHL, including 15 defensemen who played in the NHL during the 2013-14 season. During the 2009 playoffs, the Deerfield, Ill., native joined Pittsburgh’s extended playoff coaching staff and assisted with in-game adjustments, helping the team capture the Stanley Cup. Prior to joining the Penguins organization, Reirden spent one season as an assistant coach with his alma mater – the Bowling Green Falcons.
Reirden was selected by New Jersey in the 12th round, 242nd overall, in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft. He recorded 46 points (11g, 35a) and 181 penalty minutes in 183 career NHL games with Edmonton, St. Louis, Atlanta and Phoenix.