Shelly Anderson's Penguins chat transcript: 5.19.14

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Shelly Anderson: We'll get started in just a moment. This will be the last regular Monday chat of the season, so ask away.

Ross: You're Dan Bylsma. You have read and heard everything the media and the Pens have said in the past week. Shero is gone and your fate is in the hands of Jason Botterill or future GM. Despite being under contract for another year, what do you do? I like Dan, but how can he realistically be brought back after all of this?

Shelly Anderson: Nice way to set that up. Well, the Penguins didn't fire him and have said the new GM will decide who he wants as coach. So Bylsma can sit tight and see how that plays out, or he can quit and look for a new job. We haven't heard anything about him quitting. Mario Lemieux told the PG's Gene Collier that "absolutely" Bylsma could wind up remaining as coach. We'll see.

pghgolfgirl: Any idea why 2 of the Pens most vocal leaders - Orpik and Niskanen - didn't speak to the media on Locker Clean Out Day? I just thought it was very unusual given that they both often face the media in both good and bad situations. Or am I reading too much into this...

Shelly Anderson: We reporters greatly appreciate the candor and accessibility provided by defenseman Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen, and the guess is that fans do, too. They were among a handful of Penguins who did not speak to reporters on breakup day. My guess is that they weren't avoiding the subject of the team and the playoff loss, but likely they did not want to be put on the spot about their impending unrestricted free agency status. Orpik has previously and steadfastly avoided that topic.

pghgolfgirl: I always assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that Burkle was just the money behind the Pens and had no real interest in the operations. After reading Gene Colliers column of his meeting with Mario and Burkle, it sounds like Burkle (and not just Mario) is really quite involved with operations and personnel decisions. Is that the same impression that you have or can you clarify his role?

Shelly Anderson: Ron Burkle is not based in Pittsburgh, but he doesn't just blindly provide equity in the Penguins. He is involved. To this point, however, ownership has not micromanaged the GM or coaches. It sounds as if they might be a little more involved moving forward.

Nick: Now that brisson is out, who are the other candidates the pens should look at.

Shelly Anderson: Pat Brisson, agent for Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews and others and a good friend of Mario Lemieux's told TSN today that he is not pursuing the Penguins GM job. We have reached out to Brisson seeking independent confirmation. As mentioned in the special Friday chat, colleague Dave Molinari put together a strong list of potential candidates, most of them up-and-coming assistant GMs. You can read it here:

Nick: In your opinion, whot are the best coaches available if Dan is let go.

Shelly Anderson: That's difficult to say without knowing who the GM will be. His philosophies will dictate what kind of coach he needs. Plus, it's hard from a distance to know some of the top assistants around the NHL are without knowing exactly what their responsibilities are. For instance, Ulf Samuelsson could be a name out there, but no idea if he might fit in with the new GM.

Nick: Do you know when letang broke his hand and foot, and how severe the breaks are.

Shelly Anderson: Looking into that. As we reported last week, Letang told us on breakup day that he got a broken hand in Game 7 but that it would not curtail his rigorous offseason training. Word of of Montreal today was that he also has a broken foot, from Game 6, and that he will be limited for a month or so. Again, we haven't confirmed the foot injury.

JamesinNYC: Can you explain why Shero got the ax but not Byslma? OK he shouldn't have brought back Scuds obviously but most of his trades were decent and how much blame should he take for Crosby not getting more than a goal? Did Crosby and Geno have some sort of falling out with him?

Shelly Anderson: The Penguins' explanation is that they were not happy when they looked at the past five years. They wanted to do things systematically and so fired the head of the hockey operations. A GM makes the decision on coaches, so they apparently are keeping Bylsma (who is under contract two more seasons) around in case the new GM wants him as his coach. At least, that's the way it looks. I do not believe Sidney Crosby and/or Evgeni Malkin had a falling-out with Bylsma.

Ryan M: Heading into this year's draft, will interim GM Botterill be taking the same scouting/drafting personnel as Ray Shero? Or has he had to quickly assemble his own people?

Shelly Anderson: It would be nearly impossible to quickly assemble a scouting staff that might be temporary and lame-duck. The Penguins' staff has all of its notes on prospects already done. What we don't know is whether the Penguins will hire a GM before the draft, or how much before.

Shane: I know much of this depends on the hiring of the new GM, but what is the likelihood we see some key roster pieces move this offseason? Namely Letang, Fleury. Any word about interest in Miller?

Shelly Anderson: You're right, Those are all things that the next GM will decide, so it's impossible to know. I will say that I would be shocked if the Penguins ditched Marc-Andre Fleury in favor of Ryan Miller, who today was cut loose by St. Louis.

Marc: Is James Neal a possible candidate to be moved as a shakeup attempt? Have you heard ownership or management being frustrated with him?

Shelly Anderson: He's a candidate in that he doesn't have a no-trade clause in his contract and the team might be looking to get some salary cap relief. Beyond that, the guy has a 40-goal season on his resume and has chemistry with Evgeni Malkin. Only the new GM will know how to solve that equation.

Marc: What's your take on where Sid is mentally? Did he look more depressed, frustrated or angry at season's end?

Shelly Anderson: I don't spend quality time with Sidney Crosby, but I didn't notice much different in him in terms of his demeanor off the ice.

Luci: I don't know if this was answered last time, but considering the many, many tough decisions that a new GM will face, and given that draft is coming up at end of June and free agency in July, how soon do you expect a new GM to be hired?

Shelly Anderson: I wouldn't expect it to be a snap decision. It could be a couple of weeks at least, and I suppose it could drag on for a while. Vancouver and Washington are still looking, too.

John: Most analysts would say Ray Shero has done a fantastic job overall as GM of the Pens. That being said do you think the owners made the right choice in firing Shero?

Shelly Anderson: Ray Shero made a lot of trades that certainly benefited the Penguins. Ownership seemed to believe his downfall was in not drafting and developing forwards who could provide NHL quality at a cap-friendly price while on their entry-level contracts; and in not having enough gritty players.

edo: With all the targeting/abuse Crosby takes, why does he spend so much time around the crease where anything goes? Just makes him an easier target. Other superstars dont seem to camp out at net like that. Is that bad coaching or am i off base? Seems to me he should be the guide flashing to the net, not camped out there. I give him credit for being willing to be attacked that way on an ongoing basis

Shelly Anderson: Sidney Crosby has never been shy about skating in traffic, and goals often come from around the net. That's certainly what the Penguins were preaching against the two strong goalies they faced in the playoffs this season. Take Crosby away from the net, and you ask him to play a game that isn't his. He's not going to lift a backhander past a goalie from 50 feet.

IC: It's been reported that the new GM will report to David Morehouse unlike how Ray Shero reported directly to the owners. Why is this changing and do you see it as a positive or a negative that the new GM will be reporting to someone who doesn't have any reputable background as a "hockey" person?

Shelly Anderson: Hard to say. Reporting to CEO David Morehouse doesn't mean that Morehouse will question the GM's hockey moves.

Hipcheck: It appears all the young talented defenseman are more offensive - minded than 'stay at home' physical types. Assuming Orpik doesn't return who takes that role?

Shelly Anderson: Robert Bortuzzo fits that mold. If he is re-signed, Deryk Engelland does, too.

Steven: Do you see the Penguins trading Neal or Letang this offseason?

Shelly Anderson: Again, that's difficult to say because "the Penguins" in this case means the new GM, and we don't know who that will be or what his approach will be.

Alan: what time frame would you expect a new GM named

Shelly Anderson: Again, that's an unknown. The fact that Dave Morehouse mentioned that assistant-turned-interim GM Jason Botterill is capable handling the prep work for the draft would indicate that the team isn't going to rush in finding a new GM.

Shelly Anderson: OK, everyone. Thanks for all the good questions all season. Keep your eyes open for an occasional chat related to breaking news.

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