(Photo: Jamie Sabau/SB Nation)
After the Pittsburgh Penguins loss on Tuesday night, many speculated that come next season head coach Dan Bylsma would not be behind the bench. So when Bob McKenzie tweeted that the Pens were going to fire Bylsma along with General Manager, Ray Shero, it did not come as a surprise. What did come as a surprise, however, was that the press conference was not about letting both men go, but instead just Ray Shero.
At the 11:30 press conference, Penguins president David Morehouse, announced that Ray Shero was out, and that current assistant General Manager, Jason Botterill, was going to be interim GM. He is also a candidate for the full-time position.
The search has officially begun for the new GM, but the team is not targeting anyone in particular other than Jason Botterill. It will be the new GM who will evaluate Dan Bylsma and his future with the team. At that time he will also look at the rest of the coaching staff.
“Our ownership group led by Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle felt that it was time to move the franchise in a new direction,” Morehouse said. “Like our fans, they have been very disappointed with our early exits from the playoffs. They made this decision because we believe new leadership can help us get back on track to achieve our goal of winning the Stanley Cup.”
This change comes after five consecutive seasons of being eliminated by a lower-seeded team. Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle agreed that the team needed new leadership in the general manager’s office. They hope it will bring a new approach and new energy to help the team return to championship form.
“We’ve had success in the regular season. We have a good team,” Morehouse said. “This is a lot different than a team that needs to have a complete overhaul and a revamping, that has missed the playoffs for consecutive years. We’re a team that’s a good team that has high expectations and want to get better.”
The Penguins have no time frame to hire the new GM, but they would like to make the decision before the 2014 Draft which is set to be held on June 27-28. If no decision is made by that time, the team is comfortable with Jason Botterill making the decisions.
“We want to do it as quickly as possible to have the new GM and do the evaluation process as fast as we can, but we’re not going to rush it because of the draft,” Morehouse said. “With Jason Botterill and with our scouting staff in place and [assistant to the general manager] Tom Fitzgerald, we have a group in place that can take of us for the draft.”
Prior to the Penguins, Shero was GM of the Nashville Predators, but was hired by the Penguins in May 2006 as a replacement for Craig Patrick. Thanks to him, the Penguins qualified for the playoffs in eight straight seasons, won two Eastern Conference titles and the 2009 Stanley Cup. He became popular with fans for his agressive approach at the NHL Trade Deadline bringing in Marian Hossa, Billy Guerin, and Jarome Iglina, throughout his tenure.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Penguins had the second-best record in the NHL during Shero’s tenure as GM (373-193-56), trailing only the San Jose Sharks (371-179-72).
“We thank Ray for his work and we wish him and his family nothing but the best.”