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Penguins notebook: Johnston calls Quinn ‘phenomenal’ coach, person

BOSTON — Four years into his coaching career at Camrose College, a naive Mike Johnston wrote letters to several NHL general managers, letting them know he was ready to hit the big time.

One man responded: Pat Quinn.

Quinn died Monday at 71.

Johnston got to know Quinn, the longtime NHL coach, while he was an assistant with the Canucks and in junior hockey, where Quinn was co-owner of the Vancouver Giants in the Western Hockey League.

“Phenomenal coach. Phenomenal person,” Johnston said. “It’s sad news in the hockey world hearing that.”

The death of Russia’s Viktor Tikhonov at 84, also affected Johnston.

Working with Hockey Canada, Johnston developed a healthy respect for what Tikhonov did on the international level.

“His presence as a coach internationally, he’ll always be one of the top coaches,” Johnston said. “In the greater picture of the international hockey world, he was a key figure in putting those teams together.”

Megna given chance

The Penguins scratched Zach Sill and inserted Jayson Megna into their lineup.

Megna, who had nine goals in 17 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, joined a fourth line with Craig Adams and Marcel Goc.

The Bruins got Brad Marchand back from injury, but scratched Chris Kelly, Matt Fraser and David Krejci.

First-round pick David Pastrnack made his NHL debut.

Morrow makes it

Bruins coach Claude Julien loves how unflappable defenseman Joe Morrow is, how “nothing bothers him.”

Good thing.

Once considered a part of the Penguins’ future, Morrow, who was the Penguins’ first-round pick in 2011, was traded to Dallas in 2013 in the deal that netted Brenden Morrow.

He spent a couple months with the Stars before being traded again that July.

Morrow debuted this season and got his first NHL goal in his 12th game Monday against the Penguins on a shot from the point at 2:11 of the second period.

“Teams took their time with me,” Morrow said. “They realized that I did have some sort of talent somewhere in there, and they just had to bring it out of me. It doesn’t matter how long it took. It took as long as it did. I’m here now and enjoying myself.”

Chara skates

Defenseman Zdeno Chara skated on his own before the Bruins’ gameday skate Monday.

It’s the first time Chara had skated since tearing the posterior crucial ligament (PCL) in his left knee Oct. 23 during a collision with Islanders forward John Tavares.

“It’s a start,” Julien said. “It’s his first time in a long time. It’s always encouraging to see your player back on skates, that’s for sure.”

Jason Mackey is a staff writer forTrib Total Media. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.


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