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Constantine named new coach of Sharks

Kevin Constantine, a 34-year-old minor-league coach, became the NHL's youngest coach Wednesday when he took over the San Jose Sharks.

He inherits a team that set NHL records for futility last season. The Sharks went 11-71-2, breaking the record for most losses in a season. No other second-year franchise has finished with 24 points.

Constantine replaces George Kingston, fired four days after the Sharks' season ended. Kingston, 53, led the team to a 17-58-5 record in its inaugural season.

At the time of the firing, Sharks president Art Savage said he was looking at about 18 to 22 candidates. He said the team likely would wait until after the Stanley Cup finals to name a coach.

Last week, Sharks executives interviewed five candidates, amid concern a coach should be in place by the June

26 entry draft.

The Sharks hired a consulting firm to draft up to 80 questions for the interviews. The sessions lasted from eight to 13 hours.

Constantine spent the past two seasons coaching the Kansas City Blades, the Sharks' IHL affiliate, compiling a 102-48-14 record. In his first year, Constantine led the team to an IHL championship. Last season the Blades advanced to the playoff semifinals.

Report: Penguins may

bring back Johnston

PITTSBURGH _ The Pittsburgh Penguins' new coach may be their old coach.

In looking to replace Scotty Bowman, the NHL's winningest coach, the Penguins may turn to former coach and general manager Eddie Johnston, who had one of the worst coaching records in the franchise's 26-year history.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Johnston could be hired by the end of the month, perhaps as early as next week. Neither the team nor Johnston would comment.

Johnston coached the Penguins from 1979-83, posting a record of 79-126-35. But he hasn't coached in the NHL since.

Bowman left the Penguins several weeks ago to pursue other coaching jobs. He was hired Tuesday by the Detroit Red Wings.

Oilers: Finnish star Juha Riihijarvi, who had 25 goals and 31 assists in 41 games last season for JypHT in Finland's Elite Division, signed a two-year contract with Edmonton. Edmonton selected the 23-year-old right wing with the 254th pick in the 1991 draft. Financial terms were not disclosed.