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Penguins coaches to lead PlanetUSA

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. ... The American Hockey League announced tonight that head coach Todd Richards and assistant coach Dan Bylsma of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins will lead the PlanetUSA team at the upcoming 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic.

Richards and Bylsma earned the honor as the Penguins have clinched the best points percentage in the league at the end of play Sunday, the predetermined deadline. Wilkes-Barre sits at 26-7-2-3, good for 57 points and a .750 points percentage.

Richards, 40, is in his first season as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s head coach following four years as an assistant with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals. In Milwaukee, Richards won a Calder Cup championship in 2004 and returned to the Finals in 2006, and served as the assistant coach for the Canadian team at the 2005 AHL All-Star Classic in Manchester, N.H.

A native of Crystal, Minn., Richards played 12 pro seasons as a defenseman and won a Calder Cup title with the Springfield Indians in 1991.

Bylsma, 36, is in his third season as an AHL assistant coach and first in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton; he worked with the NHL’s New York Islanders in 2005-06 and the AHL’s Cincinnati Mighty Ducks in 2004-05.

The native of Grand Haven, Mich., played 12 professional seasons from 1992-2004, including 429 games in the NHL. He was teammates with AHL All-Star honorary captains Steve Thomas and Adam Oates on the 2003 Stanley Cup finalist Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

By virtue of winning the Calder Cup in 2006, Hershey Bears head coach Bruce Boudreau and assistant coach Bob Woods will lead the Canadian team at the 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic, which will take place January 28-29 at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto.
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