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Report: With Nelson gone, Pens eyeing Sullivan for AHL gig

Mike Sullivan

Todd Nelson’s pending hire in Grand Rapids could be a boon for Mike Sullivan.

Sullivan, the former Bruins head coach that’s spent the last few years as John Tortorella’s right-hand man, is reportedly the leading candidate for Pittsburgh’s AHL gig in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, per the Tribune-Review.

Sullivan’s emergence comes after the Penguins were granted permission to interview Nelson, only to see the former Oilers coach take Jeff Blashill’s old job with the Griffins instead.

Pittsburgh has been looking for an AHL bench boss since John Hynes was hired away by the Devils.

Though he’s had a rough last few years, Sullivan would be a notable hire for the Pens. A veteran of over 700 NHL games as a player, he quickly transitioned to coaching following his retirement and spent one year in the AHL with Boston’s affiliate in Providence before moving to the bigs.

Sullivan spent two seasons behind the Bruins’ bench -- taking them to the playoffs in his first -- before getting fired and catching on with Tortorella.

The pair coached together in Tampa Bay, New York and Vancouver but were unceremoniously fired by the latter two. The Torts-Sully stint in Vancouver was regarded as something of a disaster, with both lasting just one season on the job.