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Vellucci Misses Out in Boston; Pro Scouting Head Joins Ottawa



NHL trade chatter, Pittsburgh Penguins Mike Vellucci

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ coaching staff will remain intact.

For at least a while longer, anyway.

Assistant coach Mike Vellucci, who had been a finalist to become the head coach in Boston, is out of the running for that position.

Vellucci has been in contention for several other head-coaching jobs around the league this year, and fellow assistant Todd Reirden was a candidate for the one that eventually went to Luke Richardson in Chicago.

Both remain on Mike Sullivan’s staff, but there’s no guarantee that will be the case indefinitely. In fact, president of hockey operations Brian Burke sounds as if he’ll be surprised if that proves to be the case.

“The way our industry works is, it’s up-and-out, if you’re a top guy,” Burke said. “They’re both being considered, and they’ll both be considered again if they don’t get it this year.”

While the assistant coaches are staying put, the head of the Penguins’ pro scouting staff is headed for Ottawa.

Ryan Bowness, 38, will be an assistant general manager with the Senators, effective July 1. He is the son of former NHL defenseman and coach Rick Bowness, and spent the past the past six seasons with the Penguins, the final three as head of pro scouting.

Vellucci’s resume includes a Calder Cup with what was then Carolina’s American Hockey League affiliate in Charlotte, and Reirden sandwiched a two-year run as head coach in Washington around a pair of stints as an assistant with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

For well-regarded assistants to be in the mix for head-coaching positions isn’t unusual; for it to happen with two guys on the same staff is.

“What’s unique about this year is, I’ve never been asked for two assistants from one team to be interviewed,” Burke said.

He added that the Penguins are prepared to fill the void if Vellucci or Reirden moves on, whether it’s next week or next year or whenever.

“Absolutely,” Burke said. “You have a list (of potential replacements) for every job in the organization. … We’ve got backup plans for everyone. That’s how Ron Hextall does things.”

The quality of their list is about to be tested, though, since Bowness’ departure leaves a vacancy on their front-office depth chart.

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Dan N
Dan N
1 month ago

Too bad about Bowness….But man Hextall and Pryor call ALL the shots…Pryor prints will be all over this draft..and his prints only

Irish Hammer
Irish Hammer
1 month ago

I would look at the Tampa Bay scouting staff. They can judge talent extremely well. Plus the got great leadership on that team. They’ll make some off season moves and be a threat again

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