On Friday, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced that they had relieved Ray Shero of his duties as general manager. The move comes in the wake of a second round playoff exit, which saw the underdog New York Rangers overcome a 3-1 series deficit to hand the Penguins the latest in a string of early playoff eliminations.
"We feel it is time to move our franchise in a new direction," said co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle in a joint statement. "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.”
Assistant general manager Jason Botterill will serve as the interim GM; and, as of now, is the only confirmed candidate for the vacant permanent position.
"We have not fired Dan Bylsma," said Penguins president David Morehouse. "I don't think there's an element of weirdness. What we're trying to do, we're trying to do it systematically, and what we wanted to do is first address the situation at the top and the leader of the organization, that is the general manager.”
After a fantastic regular season that saw the Penguins finish second in the Eastern Conference standings with 109 points; the Penguins again failed to replicate that success in the postseason. Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2009, the Penguins have been eliminated from the playoffs by a lower-seeded team in each of the five subsequent seasons. While they appreciate what they have done well, the Penguins seem to believe that there are capable of more..
"This is not a complete rebuild,” said Morehouse. “This is a team that has had a level of success. What we're trying to do is get from good to great."