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Rossi: GM search chatter from Stanley Cup Final


There is a lot of chatter about where the Penguins’ general manager search is headed – and actually, how and when it might end – by well-connected hockey folks at the Stanley Cup Final.

It’s only chatter, however; and there are only four men that could confirm if any of the chatter is accurate. Those four men: Penguins majority co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle, CEO/president David Morehouse and COO Travis Williams.

None of those guys are talking; not to the media, not to their closest confidants within the organization, not – seemingly ­– to family members and close friends.

So, consider this the full disclosure. The Penguins are not addressing anything about their search for Ray Shero’s replacement. Silence can and will be viewed many ways, but the safest way to identify it is as being consistent.

That said, some people in the hockey world would know what is going on with the Penguins’ search. Those people would be top-ranking NHL executives, all of whom have been in Los Angeles since Monday. The chatter started making its ways through the pipeline early Tuesday. Feel free to draw conclusions.

This is a summary of what the most consistent chatter was as of Wednesday night:

  • >> The Penguins were very close to making a decision between from a group of final candidates for general manager.
  • >> Interim GM Jason Botterill, Tampa Bay assistant Julien BriseBois and NBC Sports broadcaster Pierre McGuire were finalists.
  • >> An announcement could be made on one of the off days between Games 1 (Wednesday) and 2 (Saturday) of the Cup Final.
  • >> All GM finalists were challenged by Penguins ownership to identify candidates for a new coach in the likely event that current head coach Dan Bylsma was fired as the new GM’s first act.
  • >> Bylsma could end up quickly being tabbed by Florida to fill its head coach vacancy.
  • >> Teams were already letting James Neal’s representatives know they would be interested in working out a trade with the Penguins’ new general manager.

Again, all of that information was from chatter that proved most consistent from a variety of usually well-informed people within the hockey community.

All of it is intriguing and perhaps insightful, but none of it is confirmable.

That lack of confirmation from Penguins personnel making this decision is extremely important to remember when reading this or anything else regarding the general manager search.

Information is out there, though – and at this point our readers deserved to know what information is most consistent and creating the biggest buzz as Penguins approach the three-week mark since Shero was fired May 16.


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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