Ray Shero

Penguins fire Shero; Bylsma still the coach…for now


Citing five straight seasons of underachieving in the playoffs, Pittsburgh Penguins CEO/president David Morehouse announced today that the club has fired general manager Ray Shero.

Despite an earlier report to the contrary, head coach Dan Bylsma has not been fired. The new GM will determine Bylsma’s fate, as well as the rest of the coaching staff.

In the meantime, assistant GM Jason Botterill will take over as interim GM. Botterill is also a candidate to become the new GM, who will be charged with evaluating the entire hockey operations department.

Morehouse said “there wasn’t one specific thing” that led to the decision to relieve Shero.

“We just have high expectations and want to get better,” he said.

The announcement comes three days after the Penguins were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the New York Rangers. Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2009, the Penguins, featuring superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, have failed to get back to the final. When they did reach the Eastern Conference Final last year, they were swept by the Boston Bruins, getting outscored 12-2 over the four games. That defeat came one year after Pittsburgh was eliminated in the first round by Philadelphia.

“We feel it is time to move our franchise in a new direction,” said co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle in a release. “We share the disappointment of our 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 form.”

Report: Sean Avery was arrested last week

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From the Southampton Press:

Sean Avery, the former National Hockey League player, was arrested by Southampton Village Police last week on two criminal charges.

According to authorities, Mr. Avery was arrested September 30 following a routine traffic stop on Jennings Avenue in the village at about 4:09 p.m. He was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief and two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, all misdemeanors.

Police said the criminal mischief charge involved an incident the day before, when Mr. Avery allegedly threw objects at passing vehicles.

As for those counts of possession, according to the newspaper, Avery was found to have “two prescription drugs, acetaminophen with oxycodone and roxicodone.”

He was released on $500 bail and ordered to appear in court at a later date.

Did we mention he’s supposed to get married this weekend?

H/t Gawker

Devils send ’15 first-rounder Zacha back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One

Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.

Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.

The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.

“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told NJ.com. “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”

At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.

The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.

Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.