Why shouldn't Shero be fired?
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Q: Please explain why you think Ray Shero should not be fired.
Walt, Olive Branch, Miss.
MOLINARI: Gee, that's a tough one. Aside from modernizing the Penguins' entire hockey operation, overhauling the scouting department and bringing it into the 21st Century, getting the team's collection of outstanding young players under long-term contracts and making personnel moves that allowed the Penguins to come within two victories of a Stanley Cup last spring, it's hard to think of anything significant Shero has contributed during his two-plus years as general manager.
At the very least, Shero should be publicly flogged in Market Square, then be forced to offer a tearful public apology for not having acquired Ilya Kovalchuk, Marian Gaborik, Brendan Shanahan, Jay Bouwmeester and every other player that any fan believes would be just what the Penguins need, as well as for having the audacity to not fire the coach who guided the Penguins to the Cup final in 2008.
After all, the last thing this franchise needs is a general manager who has a plan for developing a perennial contender, who isn't given to knee-jerk decisions and who actually considers the long-term repercussions of personnel moves before he makes them.
While Shero obviously has done some things that haven't worked out the way he anticipated -- he certainly didn't expect Miroslav Satan to score one goal in the past 18 games after giving him a $3.5 million contract, for example -- it's amazing how many sports fans feel that disposing of a player or management figure the moment their team of choice experiences adversity or does not perform to expectations is the most logical course of action. Wonder if those people have the same feelings about job security for folks in their own line of work.
Q: Does the collective bargaining agreement give a team a window to negotiate a contract extension with a free-agent-to-be who is with another club, then trade for him?
James Murtha, Hermitage, Pa.
MOLINARI: While there is no such provision in the CBA, a club that's looking to acquire such a player could seek permission from his current team to covertly speak with the player's agent about the viability of signing him to a new contract. (Without obtaining that permission, the team interested in trading for the player would open itself to a tampering charge.) No such contract could be formalized, however, until after the trade was completed, for obvious reasons.
Q: Do you think Shero will try to sign Mike Zigomanis?
Vikki, West Mifflin
MOLINARI: Shero is noncommittal about his plans for his players whose contracts expire after this season -- perhaps because those plans aren't firm yet -- and Zigomanis is no different from Petr Sykora or Rob Scuderi or Mathieu Garon or Hal Gill, among others, in that regard.
Assuming Zigomanis makes a full recovery from his shoulder surgery, though, it's hard to believe that Shero won't give serious consideration to bringing him back -- especially if there's no one else available who would represent an upgrade at roughly the same price. Although the acquisition of Zigomanis from Phoenix in October didn't get much attention at the time, his faceoff prowess made him an extremely pickup, and he did some nice work as a penalty-killer, too.
The simple truth is, the Penguins have missed Mike Zigomanis more than one would think any team could miss Mike Zigomanis, and their struggles since he was injured in early October have done nothing to suggest that it isn't in their interest to try to retain him. And because Zigomanis fit in here as well as, or better than, he has at any of his other stops in the NHL, it probably would behoove him to return if he's given that option.
First Published January 30, 2009 12:00 am