In a bizarre twist, Ray Shero has been fired but Dan Bylsma has not.
Team President David Morehouse announced moments ago that Shero has been let go, stressing the Penguins are seeking to get back to championship level.
“Search for a new GM has already begun,” Morehouse said. Assistant GM Jason Botterill has been named interim GM and is a candidate for the full time job, Morehouse said.
Pat Brisson and Jim Rutherford are among a shortlist of 5-6 candidates the Penguins already have in mind, two sources say.
“We feel it is time to move our franchise in a new direction,” Co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle said in a released statement. “We share the disappointment of ours fans that we have not had success in the playoffs over the past five seasons. We believe that new leadership in the general manager’s office will bring a new approach and new energy, and help us return to championship forum.”
Lemieux and Burkle were not present during the press conference.
Morehouse said the goal is to go from “good” to “great” and feels new leadership at the top of the hockey operations can get them there. “This is not a complete rebuild. We want to go from good to great,” Morehouse said.
As for the coaching staff? “We have not fired Dan Bylsma,” Morehouse said. The entire coaching staff remains in place for now. “I have complete confidence if Dan is indeed not the coach here, he’ll be quickly picked up somewhere else. “He’s a great coach. Morehouse said of Bylsma.
Morehouse said the new GM will decide on the coaching staff and that they are doing things systematically.
Have Penguins players behind closed doors potentially saved Bylsma’s job?
Word is buzzing here that several Penguins in exit interviews with top team officials came to the defense of the coaching staff.
We’ll see how this plays out but it was a bizarre situation. However, this could be a ploy from the Penguins to save millions and have Dan eventually ask to be released from his contract if another team is trying to hire him as Ray Shero is expected to be a top contender for the Capitals GM position.
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