Well, dear readers, what were you doing early Thursday morning?
In cased you missed it, the time has come to get Iggy with it: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/3742701-74/iginla-penguins-shero#axzz2OpxGKvCF
Some of what GM Ray Shero said during our phone conversation around 2 a.m.:
“This is something we’ve been talking over the past couple of weeks. I stayed in touch with (Calgary GM) Jay (Feaster) the last couple of days. I talked with him this afternoon and later tonight. I was just waiting to hear back from him.”
“Jarome is a guy we looked at even after adding (Brenden) Morrow and (Douglas) Murray. With this increased cap space we had options.”
“I know the background in terms of his character – great person, great worker, he wanted to come here. Sid (Crosby) and Marc-Andre (Fleury) know him. They know what he’s like in the room. It strikes me as important qualities adding to a team like ours.”
“I Just talked to Jarome a little while ago. It’s a big change, obviously. No different than Morrow. A lot of emotion. He’ll be an important part of our group.”
“Not any talks for extension. Nor have they brought it up.”
“There’s a week to go. We’ve picked up three players now. I’ve thought of that (adding too many players to a good team). It’s nothing I haven’t thought of. In 2009 we added (Chris) Kuntiz, (Craig) Adams and (Bill) Guerin – obviously. We’ll see.”
“This year just seems to be … we were one team preparing for the cap coming down. That has worked out OK for us. We were well below that, and had ability to add to our needs.”
“The great thing about a guy like Jarome is he wanted to come to Pittsburgh. He said he is accepting of any role.”
“(Coach) Dan (Bylsma) has over a month to find that chemistry. Names on paper don’t mean much. It will be important to perform on the ice.”
Best to let those words stand.
Some other thoughts on this development:
= The Penguins landed Iginla, Morrow and Murray – two top-nine wingers and a top-six defenseman – for draft picks and one top-end prospect (Joe Morrow). Just let that sink in.
= The Stanley Cup is no slam dunk. The greatest risk in sports – or so it says here – is to tinker with team chemistry. These moves do that, but the players the Penguins acquired are reputably good guys. That should go a long way toward easing concerns players are bound to have about their personal situations.
This will test Bylsma. However, he may have the perfect ideology and personality for such a test. Team USA will have very real evidence of how Bylsma handles high-profile personalities. (Not that there isn’t already evidence, right?)
= The Penguins still have nearly $14 million under the salary cap. Go back and read those quotes from Shero to find the answer if you are thinking, “Is Ray done?”
= So, #ALLIN is trending. Fair enough.
Keep this in mind though:
This is it for the Penguins as we know it. Management knows it will be impossible – especially with the cap decreasing next season – to keep this group together, and there is a commitment to spend whatever to keep C Evgeni Malkin and Crosby. If the Penguins keep D Kris Letang going forward, there is a chance they will have nearly $26 million committed to three players.
Changes will come this summer, as they did last summer.
For this group, the time is most assuredly now. These trades guarantee that. These trades indicate that management knows there will be some significant retooling this summer, as here are the current Penguins who can become unrestricted free agents:
Iginla, Morrow, Murray, LW Matt Cooke, RW Craig Adams, RW Pascal Dupuis and D Mark Eaton.
RW Tyler Kennedy is a restricted free agent, as is C Dustin Jeffrey.
And these Penguins will be entering the final years of their deals:
Malkin, Kuintz, C Brandon Sutter, C Joe Vitale, LW Tanner Glass, and Ds Brooks Orpik, Matt Niskanen and Letang.
The cap is going down, not to belabor a point.
The Penguins have to be #ALLIN right now.