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New Pens coach flying to Russia to meet with Malkin

Mike Johnston, Jim Rutherford, Rick Tocchet

Mike Johnston, center, answers questions at a news conference after the Pittsburgh Penguins introduced him as the NHL hockey team’s new coach on Wednesday, June 25, 2014 in Pittsburgh. General Manager Jim Rutherford is at left and Rick Tocchet who was also announced as a new assitant coach with the team is at right. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)


New Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Johnston wants to make a good first impression with his stars. One way of doing that is to pay a visit to them at home, even if home is in Russia.

Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review shared an interview with Johnston in which he says he’s flying to Europe to meet up with Evgeni Malkin at home and it’s not just to talk hockey either.

“I want to talk with Geno (Evgeni Malkin). I want to get to know him,” Johnston said. “I think it’s a good thing for a player who he gets to meet his new coach on his home turf. I think it will be comfortable for Geno. It’s a chance for me to meet him, and for us to talk, and I think it’s important. When training camp comes, you don’t really get too much time to talk.”

It’s a bold step for Johnston to go to such lengths to meet and talk with your stars. Considering the pressure Malkin and Sidney Crosby have been under to bring another Stanley Cup to Pittsburgh, getting on the same page as them is a smart move.

Follow @JoeYerdonPHT