Shelly Anderson's Penguins chat transcript: 05.16.14

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Shelly Anderson: With today's news of the Penguins firing general manager Ray Shero and letting the new GM decide the fate of coach Dan Bylsma, we're holding a special chat. We go live at 1 p.m. Eastern, but you can submit questions beforehand.

Comment From Anthony: What players,coaches and staff are on pens radar?

Shelly Anderson: Impossible to say Anthony, because that radar will belong to the new general manager, and we don't know yet who that will be.

Comment From Scott Hunter: Wasn't Shero the guy who gave Bylsma future HOFer Iginla, and Bylsma played him in a position he's never played before? Does it make sense? I love Bylsma as a human being, but doesn't adapt well as a coach. Am I lost?

Shelly Anderson: Ray Shero did a lot of good things. Both men are good at their craft. But the Penguins obviously are looking for a change while Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are still in their prime.

Comment From stephen: Do you agree, there is only one way to botch this and the Pens did it.

Shelly Anderson: No, you can't say they botched anything at this point. Judgment will come after we see the full extent of the moves, and even then it will be some time before we see results. That said, it is a bit of a strange way of doing things. Comment From Guest: Do you think it is ownership's goal to have the new GM fire Bylsma and selected staff? I do not see the point of holding on to Byslma. What is your take on this?

Shelly Anderson: Again, a bit strange. My guess it that once it was decided that Ray Shero would be fired, the upper powers wanted to make it clear to prospective GM candidates that they would have autonomy to make any and all choices, and having Dan Bylsma still on staff would just give the new GM one more option. It also keeps Bylsma from jumping to another club -- two in the Penguins division are looking for a coach.

Comment From Rahb Zambie: When do you expect a new GM to be announced, and how soon after that do you expect Danny to get fired?

Shelly Anderson: Really not sure, especially since it was mentioned that assistant-and-now interim GM Jason Botterill can oversee the draft process. The draft is more than a month away. And while it seems like a longshot that Bylsma would be retained, Mario Lemieux told PG columnist Gene Collier today that it's not a sure thing that Bylsma is gone. Depends on what the new GM wants. What if the new GM is Botterill, and he has confidence in Bylmsa? We'll have to see how it plays out.

Comment From MKinVA: Do you think there would be any real market if the Pens decided to trade James Neal and Kris Letang?

Shelly Anderson: Yes, of course. Letang, though, has a modified no-trade clause, I believe.

Comment From Guest: Is Bylsma not being fired just something for the new GM to do?

Shelly Anderson: Again, it was made clear that that will be up to the new GM. What we don't know is whether GM candidates might be weeded out based on their response to questions about the coach.

Comment From Engo: Shelly..first question...what just happened?!?!?

Shelly Anderson: Yes, this was a bit of a stunner in the way it went down. The bottom line is that the Penguins are making significant changes.

Comment From Rambo: Do the Pens now have an excuse to tank next year for the opportunity to be in the lottery for Connor McDavid? Lol. Serious though. The world may implode.

Shelly Anderson: Quite the opposite, actually. Expectations will be higher than ever.

Comment From ForShame: Odds of Bylsma getting another year? Because if he stays this team won't get another cent from me until he's gone and things look less embarrassing.

Shelly Anderson: No way of knowing that until we know who the new GM is and what he has in mind. You have every right to support the team or not, financially or otherwise, but, boy, as a fan, I would not choose to turn away for a year from a team with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Comment From Nick: Is this a classless move by the Pens to not fire Bylsma when every media outlet is reporting him to be fired? Especially since he could get another job?

Shelly Anderson: It only made sense that if the GM was gone, the coach was, too, and our reporting that Bylsma was as good as gone was based on solid info. Things could have changed. It's true that Bylsma now is left in limbo when he could be looking at other jobs that could be filled before he knows his fate here.

Comment From pghgolfgirl: Can we assume that Interim GM Jason Botterill will be handling the draft? If that's the case, does that mean a new GM won't be hired by then and thus, we could be waiting over a month or so regarding who's going to coach? This is so bizarre.

Shelly Anderson: CEO David Morehouse said that Jason Botterill, promoted from assistant GM to interim GM, will be handling draft issues for now. He's certainly familiar with the scouting staff and the draft procedures. That doesn't necessarily mean it will be six weeks (the time of the draft) before a new GM is named.

Comment From Alan: do you think they will ask GM candidates if they favor keeping Bylsma, or will that GM really be able to keep Bylsma if they want to?

Shelly Anderson: That would be a fair question, I would think. Whether upper management will choose a GM based on the answer remains to be seen.

Comment From dougtee: do the higher ups recognize that they look more like a laughingstock than a Cup competitor based on how this has been handled?

Shelly Anderson: I'm not sure why they would be considered laughingstocks. They handled this in an unconventional way, but they are smart, shrewd people. The Penguins still have the makings of a Cup contender.

Comment From Guest: Is SID a GM killer?

Shelly Anderson: No, not at all. Remember, Ray Shero was GM of the year for 2012-13, and he did not seek Sidney Crosby's approval for moves that he made.

Comment From Sad Engo: Who is in charge of finding the new GM? And will the first question of the interview be...so you're gonna fire Dan right?

Shelly Anderson: The three names would be Mario Lemeiux, Ron Burkle and David Morehouse. And, again, you would expect the topic of who or what kind of coach would a candidate want, but if there were an absolute expectation of firing Bylsma, the team probably would have done that today.

Comment From Clint: How stunned were you when you realized Shero was out, but no call on Byslma yet?

Shelly Anderson: A bit surprised but not stunned about Shero. We had heard that he might go. A little surprised about letting Bylsma sweat it out.

Comment From Mike: Isn't this situation similar to what Vancouver just did with Linden?

Shelly Anderson: Yes, I believe it is. Eventually, John Tortorella was fired.

Comment From Benny Hill Hockey: We have to believe Dan is gone. The backlash would be incredible if he was retained. With that said could this be a move to keep Dan away from the Capitals coaching job?

Shelly Anderson: It's possible the Penguins are keeping Bylsma under contract to keep him from going to a competitor, but if they think he's going to go to, say, Washington or Carolina and do a great job, then why not keep him? This incarnation of the Penguins has gone out of its way to give its GM and its coach the chance to do their job without being micromanaged, and it could just be that they want the incoming GM to have all available options to make his own choices.

Comment From Ryan: Who are some candidates for Gm now that Ray Shero has been fired?

Shelly Anderson: Funny you should ask. Excellent PG Penguins beat man Dave Molinari already has compiled a list on the Penguins blog. I'll let you peruse it at your leisure.

Comment From westCoast: Do you believe they will look for a GM who will add grit and toughness to their lineup and not let Sid and Geno take all the abuse?

Shelly Anderson: It's possible. If I had to guess, I would think that the ownership will be looking at the overall philosophies of the GM candidates. Perhaps how a guy would deal with the physical beat-downs in the playoffs will be a topic in interviews.

Comment From Grace: Do you sense that there was disappointment that Mario did not attend the press conference? Firing Ray Shero is a significant move and I think that's the type of announcement that should be made by ownership.

Shelly Anderson: Yes, I think fans would have liked to hear from Mario Lemieux, the Hall of Fame center and co-owner. However, he did sit down with a few select reporters today, and one of them was PG columnist Gene Collier, so be sure to check out what Gene writes. And follow him on Twitter @genecollier.

Comment From Mo Wanchuk: Please give your opinion on if Crosby and Malkin "tuned out" Dan this year. Reports have said they did. Also could you see either of them demanding a trade if Dan is in fact retained?

Shelly Anderson: No. I have seen and heard no evidence of that, on or off the record. And no, I do not anticipate either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin asking for a trade regardless of the coach.

Comment From Guest: I was confused that Mario hasn't spoken to the press at all yet. I guess he doesn't like doing it but can we expect him to give some kind of statement anytime soon? Maybe when there's a new GM to announce?

Shelly Anderson: We'll have to see. Lemieux rarely speaks publicly since retiring as a player. It's just not his thing. Certainly, it would be welcome. And it's too bad the public not only doesn't hear from him, but no longer gets glimpses of his personality.

Comment From Guest: Do you think that this will appease the fan base with respect to season ticket sales?

Shelly Anderson: Good question. I can't speak for them, but they will speak collectively in terms of keeping/renewing their season tickets, buying Penguins merchandise, etc.

Comment From Guest: Shelly, is it possible to exchange draft picks for a coach similar to what the LAC did to obtain Doc Rivers from Boston in the NBA?

Shelly Anderson: No. Trades involving coaches aren't allowed in the NHL. And no, you can give up on thoughts of Mike Babcock coming to the Penguins.

Shelly Anderson: OK, everyone. Realize it's a big news day, but gotta run. Thanks for the questions.


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