Penguins fire GM Ray Shero, Bylsma safe for now
Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Penguins have fired general manager Ray Shero, but head coach Dan Bylsma still has a job ... for now.
Penguins president David Morehouse made the announcement in a Friday morning news conference.
It had been reported earlier on Friday by TSN Canada that Bylsma was also out, but Morehouse said the entire coaching staff would be evaluated by the new general manager.
"We have not fired Dan Bylsma," said Morehouse on Friday. "What we wanted to do was first address the situation at the top. We didn't want to clean house right away."
Assistant general manager Jason Botterill has been named the interim GM and will be a candidate for the vacancy.
Shero had been the general manager since May 2006 and the Penguins reached the playoffs each year under his watch, winning the Stanley Cup in the spring of 2009. However, the Penguins have been eliminated by a lower-seeded team in each of the five subsequent postseasons.
"We feel it is time to move our franchise in a new direction," said Penguins co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle in a 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."
There has been speculation about Bylsma's future since Pittsburgh was swept in the Eastern Conference finals by Boston last year, but the franchise rewarded him with a two-year extension last summer. He repaid that trust by leading the club to a 51-24-7 mark and the inaugural Metropolitan Division crown, but the Penguins struggled past Columbus in the first round of the playoffs and could not overcome the New York Rangers in a Game 7 on home ice in the conference semifinals, blowing a 3-1 series lead.
"We've had five consecutive years of underachievement in the playoffs," added Morehouse. "This is a lot different than a team that needs a complete overhaul. We just have high expectations and ownership thought this was necessary at this point."
The 43-year-old Bylsma has the best regular-season winning percentage of any coach in Penguins history (.670) with a record of 252-117-32 in six seasons. He was the recipient of the Jack Adams Award as the league's top coach in 2011.
Shero, the ninth general manager in Penguins history, built a team that reached the Stanley Cup Finals twice. In addition to the 2009 title, the Penguins lost to Detroit in the 2008 championship series.
The son of late Hall of Fame coach Fred Shero joined the Penguins after eight seasons as an assistant GM in Nashville and six in the same position with Ottawa.
05/16 11:52:29 ET