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.”
With training camp and the preseason now in full swing, it appears the Bruins are bringing in a veteran blue liner — at least on a professional tryout.
On Friday, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that unrestricted free agent blue liner Christian Ehrhoff is about to join Boston on a PTO following his showing at the World Cup of Hockey.
In six games with Team Europe, Ehrhoff had three assists — all at even strength — and nine shots on goal.
Ehrhoff is now 34 years old, and the Bruins already have a pair of seasoned defenders in Zdeno Chara (39 years old) and John-Michael Liles (35 years old) on their roster. Adam McQuaid turns 30 years old in October.
He was most productive during two seasons in Vancouver, a puck-moving defenseman that could effectively skate the puck out of trouble and move the attack that way if need be. But that was from 2009 to 2011. His production has dipped, especially over the last three years.
He was also pivotal to Vancouver’s power play, especially in 2011 when the Canucks won the Presidents’ Trophy and made it to the Stanley Cup Final — against Boston.
Again, that was five years ago.
Lehner (forearm contusion) to miss preseason game versus Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs play the Buffalo Sabres on Friday. But No. 1 overall pick Auston Matthews won’t be in the lineup, according to multiple reports.
“Sooner or later, he’s going to get in, but not tonight,” said assistant coach Jim Hiller, as per the Toronto Sun.
“The lineups are day by day. They (World Cup players such as Matthews, Milan Michalek, Leo Komarov and James van Riemsdyk) went through a solid three weeks. It’s a little break, a little down time. There are tons of games coming. They’ll get a lot of ice time. They’ll get in shortly.”
(The report also notes that Matthews is not dealing with a health issue, which is obviously good news for the Leafs.)
Matthews played for Team North America at the World Cup held in Toronto. He had two goals and three points in three round robin games, but the young North American team was unable to advance to the semifinal round.
The Maple Leafs play the Montreal Canadiens at home on Sunday.
McLellan: Maroon’s lower-body injury not considered serious
It appears Patrick Maroon‘s injury from Wednesday’s preseason game against the Vancouver Canucks looked worse than it is.
The Edmonton Oilers forward was in obvious pain immediately after he went hard into the boards from an awkward hit delivered by James Sheppard just past the midway point of the third period. Maroon needed help to the bench and was unable to put much, if any, pressure on his left leg.