The coaching staff is taking a lot of blame right now and they should but General Manager Ray Shero deserves just as much if not more of the blame. You can‚Äôt blame Shero for not resigning Ryan Malone and Marian Hossa but he failed to bring in the right kind of personnel this season. Pittsburgh was one of the toughest teams in the league last year and they could play any kind of game. This year they may be one of the softest teams in the league.
Right now they have too many perimeter players. It has been a common theme this season that the Penguins can‚Äôt win battles and they don‚Äôt do the little things like driving to the net. They don‚Äôt have a Mike Knuble type of player who can cause havoc in front of the net. They need to watch the tape from Saturday‚Äôs game and see how the Avalanche were driving to the net at every opportunity.
Among Shero‚Äôs biggest blunders this off-season were the signings of Miroslav Satan and Mark Eaton along with the failure to address the team toughness they lost via free agency.
Ownership: Missing the playoffs is not a option
This shouldn‚Äôt come as any surprise but within the last week, ownership has gone to Ray Shero and made it known that missing the playoffs is not a option according to a CBC Hot Stove intermission report. A source told me yesterday that Shero will be on the hot seat if the Penguins fail to make the playoffs and if that happens ownership will take a more active role in personnel moves this summer. The Penguins are budgeted for at least one playoff round and missing the playoffs, including spending up to the cap will lead to financial losses as the Penguins aren‚Äôt bringing in much profit while still playing in Mellon Arena.
This past off-season was Ray Shero‚Äôs first with the opportunity to spend up to the max. When a team has two franchise type centers due to make $8.7 million each per season; a goaltender with a cap hit of $5 million per season and almost $13 million tied up to your top three defensemen, blunders like signing Mark Eaton who would be your 6th or 7th defenseman can‚Äôt happen in the salary cap era. The $4.5 million the Penguins have tied up to Philippe Boucher and Mark Eaton could be used in other areas.
Players despise Therrien?
The CBC Hot Stove was full of Penguins rumors tonight. Regarding the coaching situation they claim the majority of players on the Penguins despise Michel Therrien. While Therrien is not very likeable in the locker room It is not as bad as the outside media makes it seem to be. Therrien and players like Marc Andre Fleury don‚Äôt see eye to eye but rumors (mostly from Canada) that the team asked Sidney Crosby to go to management about firing Therrien are not true.
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