Following a 2-1 loss to the Rangers in Game 7, all eyes turn to Pittsburgh on whether sweeping and big, big changes happen to the organization. As noted yesterday, the million dollar question is whether ownership doesn’t take a back seat for once and actually demands change and makes potential sweeping changes throughout the organization.
Are they finally fed up enough to break up the get along gang and make those responsible like Ray Shero and Dan Bylsma pay the price?
There is certainly lots of chatter tonight as sources close to the situation say that team President David Morehouse who reports to directly Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle, and has a lot of weight with those two, is absolutely livid and furious with the direction of the team under GM Ray Shero and could recommend to ownership to make sweeping changes, leading to potential firings of not only Dan Bylsma but also Shero.
Does this mean Shero is a goner? Absolutely not but the prospects of him losing his job is real for the moment as the Tribune Review reports that in addition to Dan Bylsma, “Penguins ownership will consider a sweeping overhaul that could include terminating general manager Ray Shero.”
When it comes to the Penguins collapse, Dejan Kovacevic of the Trib went as far in his column to say “Expect it to result in the firings of Ray Shero and Dan Bylsma.”
Some bold statements there.
The truth is that this ownership group is a very hard read, Lemieux and Burkle (who isn’t around a lot) let few close to them, leading to a lot of mixed signals, info coming out in the past like last year when ownership was reportedly furious, yet, they didn’t demand any change or do anything and gave Shero a blank check last summer to do what he wanted in keeping things status quo.
However, something about this just feels different than last year.
It’s reached the point where Lemieux has to take a more active role and examine where this team is headed and strongly weigh whether Shero is the right guy anymore. Everyone wants to throw Dan Bylsma under the bus but Shero is just as big of a problem as Bylsma, if not more in the type of team he has put together.
The fascinating thing is let’s say this is all accurate info coming out about Shero’s job being in serious jeopardy and if that’s indeed the case, which it is believed to be, then how can you turn around and keep Shero and let him pick the next coach when you’re thinking hard about firing him? Something to consider there.
When it comes to questionable personnel decisions of late, all you need to know about Shero is that he pulled a verbal offer (two years) to Clarke MacArthur minutes into free agency officially beginning last July 5th, according to an NHL source, so he could push forward to sign Rob Scuderi. MacArthur went on to score 24 goals and 55 points this season.
One complaint I hear about Shero is he develops too many personal relationships with players in a sense, and that has bothered some in the organization.
Ever since Michel Therrien made his players so miserable, Shero has been a driving force to making the Penguins locker room a country club atmosphere and making sure everyone is comfortable and happy. He’s gone too far into that direction and it’s become a huge problem and unlikely fixable with him at the helm.
In addition to poor drafts and putting together a soft team that has no bottom-6 depth, Shero’s inability to adapt to how the league is evolving, size up front (heavy/puck possession game) has to be something that ownership strongly looks at.
Ownership has taken a back seat far too long and not gotten involved enough in the past like when Shero was low-balling Jaromir Jagr so he could save money for Tyler Kennedy.
The organization has reached a critical period where Lemieux has to make his mark and the puck is now on his stick to shape the direction of the team.