Penguins Notebook: New contract locks Shero through 2015-16
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Penguins general manager Ray Shero does a lot of negotiating, so working out the five-year contract extension he signed Monday was nothing particularly unusual.
Or, from Shero's perspective, difficult.
"It was relatively painless on my part," he said, smiling. "I can't speak for [ownership]."
Precisely how much money Shero will be getting from Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux before the agreement expires after the 2015-16 season isn't known -- that's a detail neither side was interested in divulging -- but it's safe to assume Shero's bosses aren't second-guessing their decision to keep him.
Since he replaced Craig Patrick in 2006, Shero has built upon the foundation he inherited and made the team a perennial contender, with one Stanley Cup championship and another appearance in the Cup final to its credit.
"To see how this has really worked out for everybody ... it's been obviously a great decision to come here," said Shero, who joined the Penguins after stints as assistant GM in Nashville and Ottawa.
Shero praised members of his staff and Patrick for helping to make the success his teams have enjoyed possible and listed a number of personnel moves he has made that worked out well: trading for Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin, signing free agents such as Mark Eaton and Jarkko Ruutu and hiring Dan Bylsma as coach, for example.
He also acknowledged that his batting average on player acquisitions isn't quite 1.000.
He mentioned sending San Jose a second-round draft choice for Nils Ekman, as well as giving Toronto Luca Caputi for Alexei Ponikarovsky, whose scoring touch deserted him when he crossed the Canadian border late last season.
"If you'd have told me that Ponikarovsky was going to score two goals for us ... I thought he'd do better than that," Shero said. "But you have to take that chance sometimes."
Shero said the Penguins didn't really feel like his team until "maybe two or three years in," and was quick to add that "it's still somewhat Craig's team."
The Penguins had, during Patrick's tenure, drafted the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marc-Andre Fleury and Brooks Orpik, which gave Shero a pretty good nucleus around which to build.
"This was a great position to walk into," he said. "I don't apologize for it. Someone was going to get the job. I'm just really fortunate that it was me."
Lowell MacDonald Jr., suspended indefinitely from his job as producer of FSN Pittsburgh's Penguins telecasts after a replay controversy last winter, will be back in that position this season.
During what became a 7-4 Philadelphia victory Jan. 7 at Mellon Arena, Flyers winger Simon Gagne scored a short-handed goal, but the on-ice officials ruled that the puck had not entered the net.
The replays initially shown by FSN were inconclusive, not enough to make officials in the league's war room in Toronto overturn the no-goal ruling. Only after that decision was finalized and play resumed, at which point the ruling could not be reversed, did FSN present a replay proving the puck made it across the goal line before goalie Brent Johnson could smother it.
Forward Casey Pierro-Zabotel has the first significant injury of training camp.
He broke a finger on his right hand when he was struck by a puck Sunday and is expected to be out of action for three or four weeks.
He and defenseman Alex Grant, who got a broken wrist and whiplash on a hit from behind during the recent prospects tournament in London, Ontario, are the Penguins' only lost-time casualties during September, although coach Dan Bylsma believes the demands of training camp are starting to show.
"We have been doing fairly well in that regard, but we're at the point in camp now where it's evident we're starting to see fatigue and that's played into what you see on the ice a little bit both in practice and scrimmages," he said. "We want to make sure we get the appropriate rest for players while trying to get the work we need."
Not coincidentally, the Penguins have a scheduled day off today.
Winger Brett Sterling, a free-agent acquisition this summer who's hoping to earn a spot on the NHL roster, scored twice in a span of about four minutes Monday to give Group C a 2-1 victory against Group A in the final training-camp scrimmage.
His first came from the left circle, the second on a rebound.
"I'd like to say I get the long one more often," Sterling said. "But it's the one in front -- stand in front of the net, puck just sitting there and you get a quick stick on it and put it in the net [that is the kind I typically score]."
First Published September 21, 2010 12:00 am