In another move that bolstered the Pittsburgh Penguins coaching staff, general manager Ray Shero and head coach Dan Bylsma promoted Mike Bales to goaltending coach. The move was announced Monday, August 19th.
Of his promotion, Bales said, "When I first came on to Pittsburgh two years ago, that was a very exciting time for me. I hoped that one day that job would eventually lead to the NHL for me. I didn’t know when or how, but it’s been a quick two years here and I’m just really happy that I get to be a coach now in Pittsburgh.”
Mike Bales was the organization's netminder development coach the last two seasons were he worked with prospects and helped guide them to become NHL ready. Bales also had a hand in scouting and evaluating amateur goalies. His draft influence brought youngsters Tristan Jarry, Matt Murray, and Ryan Maguire to the Penguins. Under his guidance, Jeff Zatoff and Brad Thiessen were the dominate goalie pair in the American Hockey League last season. They allowed only 178 goals, the fewest in the AHL, and Zatoff's 1.93 goals against average was tops (bottoms?) in the league.
The 42-year-old Bales also played professionally, being selected by the Boston Bruins 105th overall by the Boston Bruins. He played only twenty-five minutes for the Original Six franchise against the New Jersey Devils on January 9th, 1993, stopping nine shots and allowing one goal. He signed with the Ottawa Senators in 1994, appearing between the pipes for twenty games in '95 (he went 2-14 with a 4.15 GAA that season). Bales played the last nine years of professional career overseas in Europe.
On working with Marc-Andre Fleury and Tomas Vokoun, Bales explained his coaching philosophy by saying, “Obviously as I move forward here and we get out on the ice together and stuff, we’ll start working on things I feel are important and we’ll do that together. I don’t take it all towards just me dictating to the goaltenders do this, do that. I’m more of the open-minded type where there’s more than one way to skin a cat as a coach."
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