ESPNradio1250 talk show host Mark Madden is reporting if the Pens lose tomorrow to Florida, there could very well be a very significant administrative shakeup in the organization. Madden says, he has learned from Penguin insiders that Michel Therrien could be fired and replaced by former LA Kings coach Andy Murray. When brought in as General Manager Ray Shero was not aloud to bring in his own coach by the current ownership but since the Penguins are to be under Jim Basillie’s control, the ball is in Shero’s court. Therrien has been a lame duck since the beginning of the season and the 7-3 start gave him some room to breathe but the recent 12 game stretch may put him on the unemployment line. I am not campaigning for Therrien to be fired. He has done a solid job this season but the NHL is a business that is about the W’s and when you have a Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on your team, losing 11 out 14 is not a option.
How much truth is there to Mark Madden’s rumor. Mark gets bashed by websites especially http://www.letsgopens.com/ and Bob Smizik of the Post-Gazette but the guy does not fill his air time with crazy rumors regarding Pittsburgh sports. You don’t see him going out and saying the Pirates really have a shot at Jeff Suppan like some of the media around here is reporting. The one rumor everyone likes to bash Mark about is “Kovalev is a done deal”. Get over it people. Everyone including Mario Lemieux thought Kovalev was returning to Pittsburgh. The problem was Mario let Craig Patrick go into free agency with the idea that the top tier players would take a discount to play along side Mario and Crosby.
Madden went on to say during his show that Shero is fed up with the lack of ice time for Nils Ekman and Jarko Ruutu. Both were two primary off-season additions made by Shero. One issue i have with Therrien’s personnel decisions is Max Talbot getting more ice time than Ruutu. Talbot is a 4th liner and that’s it at the moment. He has the potential in a few years to develop into a quality third line center but Ruutu gives the team the best chance to win. He was brought in to be a energy player and since the first couple weeks of the season he has not been given that chance. As for Nils Ekman, i am not so high on him. Except for his hat trick against the Lightning and the Devils game on the 24th of October he has been non-existent. It may not be Wednesday morning, but if the Penguins skid continues Therrien will be out the door sooner than later.
Buzzontheburgh’s Penguin Notebook
Ryan Malone has been cleared to play and will be a game time decision
Michel Ouellet will also be back in the lineup this week
Jocelyn Thibault will start in net
Micki Dupont will play the left point on the 1st team power play
Malkin – Crosby may play together on the top line
John Leclair was not claimed off waivers. His agent is meeting with Ray Shero tommorow morning