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Insider Only Morning Pens Buzz: The structure of the Penguins front office on who has power projects to be much different

A power struggle?
Former Penguins GM Ray Shero had complete control and final say (clause in his contract) on all hockey decisions. Team President David Morehouse on Friday sure made it sound like that a new GM like Shero will have complete “autonomy” when it comes to hockey decisions.
That is BS and potential candidates know it. The reality is the hockey operations structure of the team will be much different than it was with Shero when it comes to who has power.
Ownership strongly desired over the last year to be more involved in personnel decisions and the Penguins losing in Game 7 to the New York Rangers was finally their out to make a change and get that opportunity as ownership felt Shero mis-managed the roster for the last several years. Even if the Penguins made the conference finals, very unlikely Shero still would have survived.
As the smoke has cleared, the Penguins had been eyeing this opportunity (to remove Shero and gain more control) for months now. Was their a power struggle developing? Those close to Shero sure believe so but when you underachieve for five straight years, your bosses are going to start questioning you.
David Morehouse’s anticipated heavy involvement in personnel decisions, is already raising red flags with some candidates and possibly leading to some not being too keen on the job, sources say.
So where does the Penguins GM search take shape this week as official in person interviews are expected?
The usual suspects will garner interviews but the Penguins top target is and remains super agent Pat Brisson. I’ve learned there’s been some stuff behind the scenes for a while now brewing between both sides. Brisson who is very close to Penguins ownership, notably Ron Burkle, has been aware of this potential opportunity for months, a source close to the situation says.
The Penguins are pushing very hard for him but there are still doubts Brisson is ready to up and move his family for a rigorous, stressful job. However, there’s a good sense we’ll know this week where things are headed on this front, likely early this week.
One theory out there is this: The Penguins could open a significant high profile position for Brisson to run the organization (maybe a piece of ownership), similar to Joe Sakic’s title in Colorado, “Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations/Alternate Governor” where he would oversee all operations and work very closely with Morehouse and ownership.

Brisson would pretty much be the GM but the official GM title would go to Jason Botterill or another candidate whose main role would be more focused on the draft, handling contracts. Colorado has this exact same structure where Greg Sherman who has the “General Manager” title but Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy (Coach/Vice President of Hockey Operations) are the true GM’s when it comes to personnel decisions at the NHL level. They have all the power.
— Could Dan Bylsma end up with a significant front office position? There’s certainly some chatter inside the organization in the last 24 hours that it’s been discussed by ownership. Would be a shocker but someone likes him. As one source joked: “He’s paid like an executive, why not?” Bylsma is one of the NHL’s highest paid coaches, making around $2.5 million per season.
— Tension between the Penguins organization and Ray Shero seems to have really been building over the last year. The talk of ownership nixing a Kris Letang trade last summer won’t go away (I’m not buying it tho) and Shero I’m told has been furious over the organization making former team doctor Chip Burke the scape goat over the Sidney Crosby fiasco a few years ago.
— Former GM and Penguins Pro Scout Don Waddell is very interested in the Penguins GM position. Could garner an interview I’m told but doesn’t sound like he’s high on the Penguins list. Firing Shero means you gotta get rid of a lot of his cronies.

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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