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Insider Only Latest Pens Buzz: Burke, Hextall putting too much weight into the Penguins winning division?

Ron Hextall is driving the bus

When the Penguins hired Brian Burke in the midst of a global pandemic by creating a new position of President of Hockey Operations that contractually gives Burke final say on hockey decisions, many around the league had the expectation that Ron Hextall would be doing all the leg work on the day-to-day operations, which has been the case, but that Burke would be more Toronto Maple Leafs Brian Burke than Calgary Flames Brian Burke in being the biggest voice in dictating the direction of the team.

That has not played out at all, sources close to the situation say.

Maybe things will change a year from now and they very well could, but to this point Ron Hextall has all the muscle in laying out a plan for the short-term and long-term. He’s the de facto No. 1 decision maker, sources confirm.

Burke has been described by one source as being more of a top advisor on hockey decisions than flexing his muscles and trying to dictate the agenda. Burke is said to be taken on the role to this point very similar to how he operated in the final couple years or so as Calgary Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"


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— One thing that’s become clear since the Penguins First-Round Exit, the front office is putting a ton of weight into winning the division. Maybe too much weight as some in the game say winning the division in hockey means little, it’s all about just getting in.

“The team did well. It deserves to be rewarded with being kept intact. We won a division for God’s sake,” Burke Burke said Thursday on 105.9 The X, via the Trib’s Tim Benz

Added Burke:

“Tristan Jarry was the reason we won the division.”


— Having a patient decision maker in the General Manager’s chair will certainly frustrate some of the fan base after a third straight first round exit, but this is exactly what ownership wanted with a General Manager change, whether it happened when it did or would have likely happened this summer.


— Former Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is on the hunt to get back into things. When Rutherford resigned, the two sides reached a verbal agreement Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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