BRISSON/BOTTERILL WAS PENGUINS PLAN A
The Penguins plan A going into firing Ray Shero was bringing Pat Brisson on board to run the hockey operations part of the team and hoping to keep Jason Botterill as a significant member of the front office.
On Monday one theory out there had been the Penguins trying to sell Brisson on the idea of opening a new position similar to Joe Sakic in Colorado, executive Vice President of Hockey Operations/alternate governor with a possible ownership stake.
For now that plan appears to be a longshot but anyone who knows Ron Burkle says it’s unlikely he closes the door on trying to get Brisson to join the organization whether it’s this summer or at another time in the near future. This was and is the guy they really want but all indications are is that Brisson is lukewarm of making the move to Pittsburgh because of family reasons not a possible paycut.
Even with Brisson telling the Penguins no, I’m hearing Brisson is so well thought of by Lemieux and Burkle that the team is picking his brain on potential candidates, a source says.
RANGERS GORTON INTRIGUING
Team sources say, the Penguins never reached out to Boston’s Jim Benning who will reportedly be hired by the Vancouver Canucks this week. Might they look into Boston’s Don Sweeney? Not much chatter on him but he’s very well thought of around the league.
Many are throwing around Nashville’s Paul Fenton who is interviewing for other openings but little chance the Penguins go the Nashville route again.
Rob Rossi of the Tribune-Review threw out an interesting name yesterday in his blog, Rangers assistant GM Jeff Gorton, saying he’s a dark horse candidate for GM opening’s around the league.
It was a long time ago but Gorton had a pretty impressive run as interim General Manager for the Boston Bruins in 2006. He was named interim General Manager in March 2006 and served until July 15, 2006.
Gorton is still known in hockey circles as the man who stole Tuukka Rask from the Toronto Maple Leafs when he traded goalie Andrew Raycroft who was the 2004 Calder Trophy Winner to the Maple Leafs for the rights to Rask who is now one of the NHL’s best goaltenders.
Gorton had an excellent 2006 draft class with the Bruins as interim GM, nabbing Phi Kessel, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand in that draft. Gorton spent 15 years with the Bruins organization before joining the Rangers in 2007.
Compared to the 2006 GM search, you could argue now that the Penguins should go in the direction of a more established GM candidate like a Gorton or Rick Dudley than hiring a young rising star in the business.
LOT’S OF NOISE ON BRISEBOIS
As I reported yesterday, Tampa Bay Lightning assistant GM Julien BriseBois will interview with the Penguins this week and the Penguins are looking very hard at him. Sources say ownership has gotten very strong recommendations about BriseBois and not just from people working for the Tampa Bay Lightning. If they want a guy similar to Botterill but without the Shero ties, he’s their guy.
MCGUIRE RUMORS WON’T GO AWAY
Due to a close relationship to Mario Lemieux, the Pierre McGuire rumors won’t go away. Is he at the top of the Penguins wishlist? I’m hearing no but no one seems to want to rule him out emerging just yet.
Darren Dreger appearing on 937 The Fan this morning also didn’t want to throw cold water on the possibility of McGuire being a candidate.
McGuire has actively sought to be an NHL GM and was a candidate for the Canadiens job in 2012 and a finalist for the Minnesota job in 2009 that went to Chuck Fletcher.
McGuire has gone on record saying he has no interest in the Penguins job because he has “too much honor” for Ray Shero who is his best friend and that he would never do that to Ray.
Funny thing is, Shero’s the type of guy who I’m sure would tell McGuire to take the job.
McGuire was on TSN Radio Friday and said all the Penguins need is another scorer. Okay? There’s no question McGuire has a strong knowledge of the game but he has been out of the game (management/coaching role) for far too long.
If you’re going to be interested in a TV analyst, the Penguins would be better off looking in the direction of former General Manager Craig Button. There’s not a person out there who knows the NHL prospect pool better than him who is TSN’s head scout.