From the two and a half Pens fans I talked to, the consensus was executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero should have been the one on the chopping block after his inability to sign Marion Hossa and not finding proper replacements for character players like Gary Roberts and Ryan Malone.
Once thought a very deep team, the Penguins suddenly have lost that support that Sid Crosby and Evgeni Malkin had just a year ago. They sorely miss Sergei Gonchar on the back line and I don't think his return is going to help them close that gap to the playoffs.
There are some coaching aspects that did affect the Penguins directly however. The power play for example was ranked 4th in the league a year ago, now it is a dismal 24th this season.
One thing is for sure, it is a good thing the Pittsburgh Steelers took the NFL championship or else the Steel Town faithful's tears it would overflow the Monongahela river.
- Even though Michel Therrien was fired, he still optimistic about the Penguins making the playoffs. Although that is Dan Bylsma's job now and his first game was a shoot out loss. In the post game interviews, you would have thought someone died.
- The trade deadline is looming, and already the Atlanta Thrashers are in selling mode. The Thrashers dumped Mathieu Schneider to the Montreal Canadiens for some draft picks. Another Southeast Division foe that will be easier to beat.
- Toronto Maple Leaf Tomas Kaberle is reported to have given GM Brian Burke a list of teams he would want to be traded with. The running rumor out of Toronto is Washington is on that list. Also rumors have been circling around a Duck coming to DC (among other places), J.S. Giguere has also been rumored to be moved before the deadline.
- 2010 is only a year away, and Team Canada talk is the buzz of the hockey world north of the border. Pierre McGuire already has his picks out. No surprises that Mike Green is the Capital representative at the Winter Games even getting some pretty amazing praise: "Green has established himself as the world's best goal-scoring defenceman." World class, that's how we roll!