Eddie O-ver and out  

December, 15, 2005
The Penguins fired head coach Ed Olczyk and assistants Joe Mullen and Randy Hillier on Thursday. The club now turns to their minor-league head coach Michel Therrien, who'll get a second chance at the NHL level after a stint in Montreal. Therrien has done a great job at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, which recently set a pro hockey record for consecutive road wins.

For Olczyk, it has been a very difficult time at and away from the rink. His young daughter, Alexandra, has been battling a mysterious illness. It would be impossible for something like that not to constantly weigh on his mind. I can't imagine how he could possibly focus on the task at hand under such circumstances. I hope and pray for her speedy return to good health.

Olczyk, who successfully lobbied Penguins GM Craig Patrick for the job in the summer of 2003 despite having no previous coaching experience, took over when expectations were extremely low. The Penguins were cutting payroll. Outside of the oft-injured owner/captain Mario Lemieux, the Pens were a band of journeymen and inexperienced kids. By the end of his first season behind the bench, Olczyk had managed to get his dismal team to work hard. They didn't win much, but they did work hard.