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Rossi: Gorton, BriseBois mentioned as good fits for Pens


This being a first go at a general manager search, one aspect has become clear. A lot more names are floated than it seems are being considered for the Penguins’ vacancy. As of Wednesday morning, there was no indication Penguins ownership had settled on a list of candidates to replace Ray Shero, let alone conducted formal interviews.

Of course, it has only been about a week since the Penguins were eliminated from the playoffs. Other teams have taken almost a month on their general manager searches.


>> Perhaps, though, cross Boston’s Jim Benning off the list. TSN reported Wednesday that Benning will take over Vancouver’s hockey operations department and become the Canucks’ general manager:


>> Shero remains quiet since his dismissal, but Katie Carrera of the Washington Post reports the Capitals have reached out to Shero:

Also, in that report, the Capitals are interested in Boston’s Don Sweeney and Nashville’s Paul Fenton.

Some thoughts to ponder:

If Sweeney heads to Washington, leaving the Bruins without GM Peter Chiarelli’s two assistants, would Shero perhaps join the Bruins in an advisory role? He and Chiarelli are good friends, and Shero’s son is headed to Boston College to play hockey. Taking an advisory role would allow Shero to stay in the NHL and wait on another opening while collecting his general manager’s role salary from the Penguins. It would also give the Bruins some insider information on the Penguins.

If Fenton heads to Washington, could Shero join the Predators in an advisory role? His mentor, David Poile, is the general manager with Nashville. Or, could Shero head to Nashville with the understanding he will become the general manager, say, after Poile’s potential last season before taking a different role in that organization?

Those are just some thoughts regarding Shero, who is sure to have options.


>> One name that keeps popping up regarding the Penguins is Rangers assistant general manager Jeff Gorton. Something to consider: He was Boston’s interim GM before the Bruins chose Chiarelli – largely because Shero picked the Penguins in May 2006. During his interim run, Gorton orchestrated the trade that brought Tuukka Rask to Boston.

Gorton is mostly behind-the-scenes with the Rangers, but he is viewed by people within the NHL offices as a rising star – very much in a manner similar to what was said about Chuck Fletcher before he left the Penguins during their 2009 Stanley Cup run to take over the Wild.


>> The other name that keeps getting dropped, though perhaps because the good relationship between Penguins and Lightning ownership is well known, is Tampa Bay assistant GM Julien BriseBois.

If the Penguins really like what current interim GM Jason Botterill does well – manage the salary cap, negotiate contracts, and scout – but believe Botterill is too close a link to the Shero era, BriseBois would make a lot of sense. Botterill and BriseBois are both young and viewed as up-and-comers that are ready to lead an NHL franchise.



Be EXCELLENT to each other,





Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi is the lead sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has been called many names, but “Rossi” is the one to which he most often responds. He joined the Trib in November 2002 and was promoted to the columnist role in July 2014. Previously, he had covered the NHL’s Penguins (2006-14) and MLB’s Pirates (2006), while also working on beats associated with the NFL’s Steelers (2005-06) and the NCAA’s Pitt (2004-06). He has won national and local awards for his coverage of youth concussions and athletes’ charities. Also, he is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association executive committee and the Pittsburgh chapter chair. Raised in Crafton and Green Tree and a graduate of West Virginia University, he has covered a Super Bowl, All-Star Games in baseball and hockey, the NCAA basketball tournament and over 100 Stanley Cup playoff games, including the Cup Final twice. Oh, and his sports reporting has led him to brief chats with Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen; so that’s pretty cool. He is a regular contributor on TV with WPXI, Root Sports Pittsburgh and TSN. Also, he is the authorized biographer of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

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