Blogs | Sports | News
Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Thursday Wakeup Call: Best GM in franchise history?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

>> The weekly chat is today at noon. Come one, come all, leave the pitchforks at the door.

>> Ray Shero is the Penguins’ greatest GM, according to columnist Joe Starkey in today’s Trib, and he puts him even ahead of Hall of Famer Craig Patrick.

Do you agree?

Patrick, let’s remember, shaped this franchise into the model it remains even 25 years later.

Another point here: Take a look at the list of Shero’s successes in the trade market. It’s impressive, to say the least. And it’s something to consider the next time you hear or read any argument defending any GM’s trades that basically amounts to, “Well, what did you EXPECT him to get for so-and-so?”

Good GMs get it done.

>> We’ll find out today if Jim Boeheim was simply blowing smoke about Pitt back on Feb. 5, when he floored a roomful of us by declaring that the Panthers were “the best team we’ve played, without any question. It’s not even close.”

Yesterday, as our Kevin Gorman reports from the Garden, Boeheim backed off a bit.

Tipoff is at 2 p.m. Should be fun.

This, again, was my Wednesday column advancing Pitt’s tournment outlook.

>> It’ll be interesting to see if Dan Bylsma leaves Brandon Sutter with that second line tonight in Toronto, as he did — with tremendous results — for the third period two nights ago.

By all accounts, the Penguins won’t be without Evgeni Malkin long, so this isn’t some big issue, but I like this team’s chances of pinning the Leafs deep in their zone a lot better than the chances of their D-man keeping up with a hot Phil Kessel. He’s got five goals and four assists in his past five games.

>> The podcast of my TribLIVE Radio studio visit with John Steigerwald yesterday, talking Pitt and pucks.

>> Video from Bradenton of Josh Bell, a drafted hitting prospect in the Pirates’ system and, thus, formally registered on the International Endangered Species list …

>> Hope to have you in the chat!

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.


  1. Hey Dejan,

    I’m catching up with columns, etc. since my return from Spring Training.

    Your column on Gerrit Cole from last week implied only two options——keep him with the big club on 25-man from beginning of season and lose a whole year of control . . . . or wait until mid to late June and have him for an extra 3 1/2 months + 6 years.

    Isn’t the best option of all to send him to AAA for 2 weeks (3 starts), then bring him to Pirates for the whole rest of the season? That gives the Pirates 5 1/2 months of Cole at his best! [A major season is 181 days long . . . anything less than 172 days on 25-man counts as less than a full season.] Two weeks in Indy would assure less than 172 days.

    The only “cost” to the Pirates is that Cole would gain Super Two status, thus getting arbitration a year early and getting 4 arbitrations instead of 3 (like Garrett Jones.) However, the Pirates get almost 7 full seasons!!

    Thus, after two weeks, the Gerrit Cole issue becomes a “Nutting money” issue!!! Not an “extra year of control” issue.

    Dejan, isn’t this unnamed in your column 3rd option the best option of all?!?!

  2. Eric Bowser says:

    Patrick managed to assemble two Stanley Cup winning teams as GM and helped significantly shape a second generation that lost one and won one. For me, I think Shero needs to show what he can do over the next three to four years winning at least one more title and doing a better job with draft and player development.

    I’ll be curious to see what Shero does to address the worst 4th line in hockey.

    DK: The drafts have to get better, no doubt.

  3. Eric Bowser says:

    I’m with you… take your best 25 and play for today and not 8 years later.

  4. Ghost says:

    I’ve argued that the Pirates should roll the dice now and put Gerrit Cole on the 25-man (IF he is ready). This is because I don’t trust the present regime’s competence or MO. Ordinarily, I am a guy who takes the long-term approach and am willing to invest in the future, rather than take the instant gratification. This would mean prioritizing years of control of a prospect we believe is the real deal. But I have no faith in the Pirates and where they might be eight years out. In 2013, the Pirates find themselves in a relatively weak division. Here and there, they have some ballplayers (Cutch, Walker, Burnett, Rodriguez). They should just go for it.

    That said, one thing I did overlook when I first threw in my two cents is that eight years out — or even two or three years out — Coonelly, Huntington and Stark should be gone. Now, Bob Nutting may well replace them with similar stooges who know how to milk the revenue-sharing welfare cow but are clueless about acquiring and developing talent. But let’s put on some rose-tinted glasses: maybe the next regime will actually develop the organization. In that case, we’d want them to have Cole in their stable.
    Actually, not that this debate matters for today. Nutting’s stooges run the show for now: they’re sending Cole down even if he is ready now. Period.

  5. Ghost says:

    Rashard Mendenhall became a Cardinal just in time to help pick the new pope.

  6. aglebagel says:

    I’m unreasonably upset that some genius decided to paint the keys blue for the Big East Tournament. It’s our last one, and it doesn’t even look like the Garden! Give me that orange!

    Wow, it’s late.

  7. Drew71 says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if the Garden could borrow the Charities sign for the “tornament”?

  8. Drew71 says:

    So Agle’s up late and I’m up early. Somewhere between us lies pitt’s Last East chances.

  9. Drew71 says:

    By the way. Congratulations to your brother, HagelBagel

  10. Drew71 says:

    Where is everybody?

    What do you people do all night?

  11. radio wave says:

    Garden floor used to be painted blue in the 70’s.

  12. radio wave says:

    You have taken the Florida “early bird” to new level.

  13. Drew71 says:


  14. John Lease says:

    Whoever the GM was of the Penguins when they had ‘Battleship’ Kelly has to be in the running for #1.

  15. Drew71 says:

    Especially if the GM gave Kelly that nickname.

    – Lusitania Drew

  16. Thundercrack says:

    to address the worst 4th line in hockey.

    And I thought Pirate fanatics were never happy and loved to nitpick.

  17. Drew71 says:

    Long range forecast: 82 and mostly sunny.

    Nit THAT.

  18. Thundercrack says:

    “There’s very little doubt in our minds Sands is going to help us (in the majors) at some point, probably this year and maybe sooner than later,”

    In the article is says Sands will play RF at Indy. But I still have to think the ‘maybe sooner than later’ might have something to do about GI Jones’ future

    And do you see what I did there?! Nitpicked the GM’s quotes

  19. JAL says:

    JAL’s Molly Malone Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Spring Training Tracker

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Today’s Cuts Bring Up the Hanrahan Trade Again

    Pirates Notebook: Karstens Has Enough Time to be Ready For the Season

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates need depth, but what kind?

    Pirrates, Blue Jayz, Barry Bleals perish in epic flood after meaningless extra-inning spring training game

    7 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates Hoping to Outsmart League with Veteran Signings

    8 Bleacher Report

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Season Preview: Middle Infield

    9 Rumbunter

    Four Reasons Gerrit Cole Should Go To Indianapolis When Pirates Spring Training Ends

    10 Green Weenie

    Bucs Beat Jays In OT 5-4

  20. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Bradenton Herald

    Spring training | Andrew McCutchen emerges as Pirates superstar, looks for ways to get even better

    12 Sporting News

    Pittsburgh Pirates preview

    13 Tampa Bay Times

    Now I’m a Pittsburgh Pirates fan

    14 KDKA

    Zagurski Trying To Win Spot In Pirates’ Bullpen

    15 Portsmouth Daily Times

    Councilman: name Al Oliver “Mr. Ambassador”–name-Al-Oliver-“Mr–Ambassador”

    16 Globe and Mail

    Travis Snider still searching for power stroke in Pittsburgh

    17 IS Sports

    The best of the NL Central

    18 PBC SITE

    McDonald works into sixth inning in win over Jays

    Notebook: Mixing speeds key to McDonald’s solid effort


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    9 The Evolution of World Series Celebrations

    20 Fangraphs

    Hitting ‘Em Where They Are

  21. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Keenan Lewis visiting New Orleans Saints

    Steelers release guard Willie Colon

    22 Steelers Depot

    -Harrison’s Agent Says No Negotiations With Ravens Yet


    23 Daily Telegraph

    Bayern Munich 0 Arsenal 2; agg 3-3: match report

    Lionel Messi inspires brilliant comeback against AC Milan to confirm ‘Barca are back!': Spanish paper reaction

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 13th March, 2013


    25 CBS Sports

    Pittsburgh at Toronto—Game Preview

  22. JAL says:

    Molly Malone Dubliners live performance sometime in the past 10 years. Formed in 1962 the Dubliners were very influential in Irish folk music and had some success in the US, appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show. After 50 years in music they retired as a group in 2012.

  23. Jandy says:

    I’ts freakin snowing here and you’re rubbing 82 in my face.
    That’s just mean.

  24. Jandy says:

    Actually, I slept in until 4:40 this morning. Shame on me!

  25. Thundercrack says:

    You’re finally catching on Jandy.

    And he’s more than mean

  26. JoeyBats says:

    Don’t trust Syracuse Coach Boeheim about any comments outside of his program. EVER !
    He’s all about 2 BRANDS ….the ‘Cuse….and Boeheim.

  27. Jandy says:

    I’m going to do a little nit-picking myself.
    Starkey calls Shero the best TRADER for the Pens. He really doesn’t say best GM. In that respect, I agree Starkey is correct. Some of the deals Shero pulled off have been highway robbery ala the James Neal, Real Deal trade. How he managed to get Sutter, Dumoulin AND a pick for Staal (with Staal’s right foot out the door) defies belief. Getting Dupuis as a throw-in with Hossa for Whitney is amazing. Some of that might be luck, but there’s no denying the end result. It’s a win for Pittsburgh.
    Is Shero the best GM in Pittsburgh ever? Not so fast. I tend to agree with Eric Bowser here. Shero has yet to be successful with the draft. I’ll still give Craig Patrick best GM to this point. But, that could change in the next 3-4 years should Shero improve in that category.
    One question for you hockey guys out there: Is it more difficult in the last say, 8 – 10 years to be successful in trading/drafting than it was in Patrick’s time? That would definitely have some say in Shero’s track record when compared to Patricks.

  28. Dom says:

    I forgot that Sunday is St. Patricks day. Maybe it’s just me but I’d think it be more fun if it wasnt on a Sunday.

  29. Jandy says:

    Yeah, we all work Monday morning, and I know I for one can’t drink too much and expect to get up and function lol

  30. Jandy says:

    TC, I’m tellin ya! I HATE snow, and that friggin rodent predicted an early spring. He lied! Curses on that rodent!
    Then Drew has to go and rub it in. I’m crying here :(

  31. Jandy says:

    Groat!!!! great to see you here, I missed you, friend.

  32. Dom says:

    The pats signed Danny Amendola to fill the void from Welker. Can this be an improvement?

  33. Jandy says:

    OK one more here, then I have to get some of that four letter word done…starts with a “w” and ends with a “k”.
    Regarding the “worst fourth line” in the NHL: is Adams getting too “old” to get his defensive job done? I don’t expect a lot of scoring from him, but it seems his defensive game has slipped a lot this season.
    Glass I expected a bit more from as well. He hasn’t been terribly noticeable in any way since he came here.
    Vitale is my exception. I see a lot of flashes from him, and I think given decent line mates, he’d score a bit more. Nothing like a Kunitz or a Dupuis, but maybe 10 – 12 goals. His energy is catching. I think I’d switch him and TK and see what happens. TK would ride the pine before Vitale would in my book.

  34. Drew71 says:

    You found my wife’s term of endearment for me.

  35. Jandy says:

    LOL mean? no no just kidding…you must mean rodent.

  36. Drew71 says:

    Start Saturday. Or Friday.

  37. Drew71 says:

    Allan Sherman version…

    She wheels her wheelbarrow
    Through streets that are narrow,
    Her barrow is narrow, her hips are too wide.

    So wherever she wheels it,
    The neighborhood feels it,
    Her girdle keeps scraping the homes on each side.

    In Dublin’s fair city,
    Where girls are so pretty,
    My Molly stands out ’cause she weighs 18 stone.
    (That’s 256 pounds.)

    I dont mind her fat–but,
    It’s not only that–but,
    She’s cockeyed and muscle-bound, Molly Malone.

  38. Jandy says:

    Drew the Slosh…add another alias to the list ;)

  39. Pucknutz says:

    Ya gotta 1A line a 1B line (malkin healthy) 2nd line, 3rd.
    Did not even know we even had a 4th line! LOL

  40. Thundercrack says:

    ‘Starkey calls Shero the best TRADER for the Pens. He really doesn’t say best GM.’

    Ahhhh, a nitpicker after my own heart.

  41. Jandy says:

    good point! ;)

  42. Wally Kanowski says:

    And I think the next track, Drew is:

    All day, all night, Cary Grant
    That’s all I get from my wife is Cary Grant
    What can he do that I can’t
    Big deal, big star Cary Grant

  43. AL says:

    “Successful with the draft” depends on how you look at it. I asked DK about this a few months ago and his response was that Shero is drafting and stockpiling good defensemen (the most prized commodity in the NHL right now) like poker chips to be used as trade bait for good proven wingers (i.e. James Neal).
    Other teams, like Edmonton, who’ve had the first draft pick for what seems like the past 30 years or so, has drafted the prized scoring wingers which would make them a good trading partner for the Pens.
    Has this philosophy paid off yet? Only time will tell.

  44. Jandy says:

    “only time will tell”….yes we agree…ask us in about 3 – years. :)

  45. Jandy says:

    that should be 3 – 4 years…friggin typos

  46. Jandy says:

    hey, Spunky! :p :p :p :p :p

  47. Bizrow says:

    So are we saying that Shero is part of the BMTIH??

  48. dwf says:

    Sorry, but I am not ready to give “The Great Ray Shero” the crown just yet! While he has made some very good trades, that you can’t dispute. He has also, as Starkey pointed out made some terrible ones. Hey, I realize that you can’t hit a home run every time out. But, as both Eric and DK point out, his drafting and player development leave a lot to be desiredl! It appears that his idea of player development is to hoard a handful of top dman prospects and pray that you can find a desperate/dumb enough peer to trade with! Until TGRS can prove to me that he has a solid plan on drafting and developing players within this organization instead of depending on the kindness/stupidity of rival GM’s then I’m stickin’ with CP as the champ.

  49. Jandy says:

    he** yeah! ;)

  50. Jandy says:

    Under the Kilt
    Tell me, what’s under an Irishman’s kilt?
    Is it an item to cause him some guilt?
    When he’s outdoors, does it get a bit breezy?
    When windy and wild, does it get a bit sleazy?
    Whether an old guy, or some well-built hottie,
    Does winter wind makes bumps all over his body?
    Well, that is my guess, in an Irishy lilt.
    As I still do not know what is under that kilt!

    by Denise Rodgers

  51. SJB says:

    I’m having a hard time deciding what’s more enjoyable his hockey season…watching the Capitals fall of the face of the earth, or seeing the Flyers Implode into nothingness. All I’d need to top it all off is to hear that Tort’s took a header off the Brooklyn bridge. That, or finding out Ovechkin had a panic attack and decided to finish his downward spiraling career in the KHL.

    Sometimes it’s the little things make the NHL season so awesome. ;)

  52. Bizrow says:

    Amendola can’t stay healthy, I’ve had him in my fantasy league the past two years, when he plays, he’s very good

  53. Naje says:

    From the If-you-can-beat-him-sign-him department: Gradkowski signed to backup No. 7. At least the Steelers won’t have to lose to him, or come dangerously close to losing to him again.

  54. Jandy says:

    ahhhh….gotta love those struggles. I’m mean sometimes. But I have to admit I’m enjoying it LOL

  55. Pucknutz says:

    Lots and lots of +’s

  56. Saw a guy in a kilt at Walmart here a couple years back. I’m surprised he made it out of town without being shot by these good ole boys.

    Then again, there are the Highland Games in Glasgow, KY, near here. Lots of tough-looking guys in kilts there.

    What’s under them, I pray I never know.

  57. Jandy says:

    LOL Spunky. I can’t imagine a guy havin’ the brass to wear a kilt these days.

  58. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    My take on Sugar Ray Shero…

    1. Excellent trader, no doubt. Granted the SEAL is in a different sport, but the overall impact of each GM’s trades are day and black hole. To get something beyond draft pick for Staal was impressive considering his FA situation. Overall quality better than Patrick in trades- like Starkey said, he hasn’t imploded the team on a trade.

    2. Draft- beyond a couple promising maybes (finally) like Despres and Bennett, a bunch of hooey so far. Staal was a success, but nothing else has panned out and Staal’s gone.

    3. Free Agency- Shero’s Achilles, bane, wooden stake, kryptonite, etc. Continual overvaluation:

    -Michalek ($20mil; 4 per year from Shero, made 1.5 prior) Talk about a Kennedy.

    -Martin: $25mil, 5 per year; this guy was never Letang level let alone Lidstrom level to deserve that much.

    -Richard Park: heard he was around for another season in Pittsburgh.

    -Tyler Freakin Kennedy: 2 years, $4mil. That’s all Forrest has to say bout that.

    -Asham: hardly played. Forgettable. Until sinking to Philthy level.

    Undervaluation: Scuderi, Gill, Talbot, Rupp, Gonchar.

    Some major resource allocation mishaps in FA. None of these guys signed huge contracts anywhere else and the money spent on the above named shmo’s could have kept these guys around.

  59. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    TK should be riding a bull in the Canadian Pro Rodeo Circuit. He can’t do much worse there than he is here.

  60. AL says:

    Just be glad Torts wasn’t elected the new pope.
    I can just picture him greeting the crowd from the balcony “You all suck; at a time when you can’t afford to suck”.

  61. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I reserve judgement on Disco being a part of that until we once again make it past the first round of the playoffs. For once. In 4 years. Hopefully.

  62. NMR says:

    Not nitpicking at all, Jandy.

    I think just about everyone would agree there is a HUGE difference between what Starkey said and what Dejan said he said he said he said. he said.

  63. Iceman says:

    I watched the Philly-NJ game last night and man Philly looked bad. They could not get anything going at all. Makes me wonder if there won’t be a coaching change soon if they don’t string together some wins.

    On a side note, Kovalchuck had another short handed goal. Would sure be nice to have someone like that on the PK.

  64. TJ says:

    Brad I think your totally off line on your observations on Martin and Michalek.

    At the time of those signings we had just lost Gonchar and every expert in the business said the Pens had signed the 2 best FA defensemen. Its easy to sit back and say NOW that they perhaps did not live up to their contracts but that is not the fault of Shero. He had to give market value for players that had good track records to that point.

  65. Jandy says:

    Hindsight is always clearer than foresight.

  66. Jandy says:

    I can’t believe teams give Kovalpunk the amount of space they do. He should be shadowed until he leaves the ice.

  67. TJ says:

    I have liked a lot of what Shero has done as a GM of the Pens; however as much as I love what he has done I just as much hate what he has not done. Everyone has heard my complaints about this past off season and the tone being sent that early round playoff exits are unacceptable but then did nothing other than Vokoun to improve this roster. Sure we got Sutter but lost Staal. A team that was torched by the Flyers last year is supposed to some how be better this year in the playoffs having done nothing to improve in the off season? Hopefully Shero has a few deadline deals up his sleeve or it will be another early exit for this team.

    As for Patrick setting the foundation of this team; isn’t that somewhat easy to do when your drafting in the top 5 for 6 years or so? The backbone of this team was top picks; not jewels found in the late rounds. So while yeah we can give Patrick a ton of credit for drafting these guys shouldn’t there be some mention of the fact that he was the GM when they needed to draft in the top 5 for all those years? Sure he lost his job; but saying he set up the model for this franchise is like saying the Nationals GM set them up forever because of Strasburg and Harper.

  68. Arriba Wilver says:

    Well said.

  69. NMR says:

    Yeah, I respect Dejan a lot, but I don’t know how you can even begin to argue that Ray Shero is the best GM in team history. And yes, thats exactly what Dejan is saying or else he wouldn’t have turned Starkey’s “best trader” column into a “best GM” column.

    Real quick, take Patrick’s players out of the lineup and tell me where this team is at.

    And while we’re making poor cross-sport comparisons, anybody care to tell me what “leverage” Neal Huntington, Dave Littlefield, or Cam Bonifay has had with any player? Everybody is giving Shero this excuse with Stahl. Raise your hand if you think ANY general managers in major league baseball thought Bob Nutting would pay Jason Bay and Joel Hanrahan.

  70. JohninOshkosh says:

    The Trib should have sent Dejan to NYC for the Big East tournament. It’s a big story. The big wigs should be there.

  71. NMR says:


    It’s about results. Period.

  72. Patrick says:

    Craig Patrick managed to get the most underrated least talked about superstar in NHL history Ron Francis for essentially John Cullen. He also traded for Paul Coffey without giving up anything that amounted to much. ( Though they did lose Moe Mantha, which has to be one of the coolest sounding hockey names ever. Sounds like the bad guy from a 70s Blaxploitation kung-fu movie. Anyways…)

    And before we pin medals on Shero’s chest for his work on this team let’s not forget that Fluery, Orpik, Crosby, Malkin and Letang were all PATRICK’s draft picks…not Shero’s. The core of the team that won the cup in 2009 was every bit as much Craig’s team as Shero’s. He also drafted Goligoski and Malone.

    I would say Shero has been more steady. He hasn’t failed as often as Patrick. Patrick was the Adam Dunn of hockey GM’s. He either struck out or hit a mammoth, game-changing homerun.

  73. NMR says:

    You haven’t been on this blog very long if you don’t think that is EXACTLY what people believe about Mike Rizzo.

  74. TJ says:

    Get off the high horse NMR. I guarantee at the time you were not complaining about the signings of either player. And right now Martin is playing very well.

  75. While we’re pinning medals, let send one to Littlefield for all the starters on this year’s Pirates’ team.

    We might be out of medals, though, since Neal, Frank and Kyle issed themselves one for all the “progress” they’ve made in the last 5 years.


  76. TJ says:

    Not sure whats gotten into you today NMR; maybe forgot your reading glasses? I couldn’t really care less about what people think but was rather comparing the success of Patricks draft picks to those of Rizzo and pointing out that the “model” was easy to set when your consistently drafting in the top 5 unless your the Pirates.

  77. TJ says:

    Bologna its all about results right?

    Real quick… Are you saying Shero wouldn’t have drafted the same players?

    Real quick; where did Patrick get the team the last 5 or 6 years he was in Pittsburgh?

    Yep its all about the results.

  78. TJ says:

    I think its going to be called the Ray Lewis tournament going forward; sponsored by Deer Antler spray

  79. Jandy says:

    Francis is my all-time favorite hockey player. An assist master, argue-with-the-ref time-for-catching-your-breath master, lady Byng player. AND he was easy on the eyes ;)

  80. Jandy says:

    I prefer smoked ham ;)

  81. Patrick says:

    not entirely true.

    Patrick got Malone in the 5th in 1999. In 2002 he got Eric Christensen in the 3rd and Max Talbot in the 8th.

    He might not be on the team anymore but Matt Moulson was drafted in the 9th round in 2003.

    Say what you want about TK this year, but he played a substantial role in the last 4-5 years and only cost a 5th round pick in 2004.

    And in 2005 his final draft yielded not just Crosby, but Letang in the 3rd and Vitale in the 6th. Personally I think anytime you can get contibutions from the fifth round or later is gravy. I think his late round picks were excellent actually.

  82. Brad, Indiana PA says:


    I think you missed my point. My point about Michalek and Martin is that we let guys go who were equal if not better and ended up paying more. The money paid for the FA’s I mentioned could have kept Gonchar, Gill and Scuderi. Just because M&M were considered the best FA D doesn’t mean they were the best options.

    Martin’s playing better, sure. Even I’ll concede that. But what did he or Z do prior to signing here that warranted a salary that equaled Gonchar’s or Scuderi’s? If 20 and 25 mil were the price, it should have been apparent we were overpaying when we could have kept our own proven guys for about the same or possibly less since Gonchar was only looking for 3 year contract. So it’s really not even about hindsight.

    Guys like Talbot and Rupp had clear value to this team and were let go to spend that money on D. This doesn’t totally make sense because we had some pretty good blueliners already and let them go for possible upgrades.

    In the end, Patrick=2 Cups, Shero=1. Until that’s equal, I think Patrick deserves best GM in franchise history. That’s not to say Sugar Ray may not change that, though.

  83. NMR says:

    High horse? Because we disagree?

    Rod Barajas and Clint Barmes were the best two free agents at their positions the Pirates could afford.

    You make the same argument for them that you’re making for Martin/Michalek and everybody and their mother theresa would be calling you an “apologist”.

  84. tpbco says:

    Man, just love 20-20 hindsight.

    1. No question both guys did well trading and Shero just a little better.

    2. Shero, since he came in, has in general been drafting in the bottom 1/3 of the draft.
    The philosphy of drafting offensive Dman that can be used for trade bait is no different than in baseball drafting pitching over hitting. It wasn’t real tough to draft Geno, Crosby, Jagr…i do give CP credit for trading up for Fluery

    3. Gee, the entire league lauded the Pens on signing Michalek and Martin, even knowing the salaries. Guess lot’s of people were “wrong”.

    4. Richard Park and Asham were 4th line chess pieces and they did, basically what they were brought in for, no different than Tanner Glass, who does lead the team in hits and is one of only two guys on the team who will drop the gloves, you know, kinda like a 4th line checker is supposed to do.

    5.Kennedy was a reach, but was done because it looked like he was starting to break out. He didn’t. He probably will not be resigned, if he isn’t lumped in on a trade. If they had let him go and he did break out, some people here would have had an embolusim.

    6. They had NO cap room for Scuderi, Gill and Talbot, based on the offers they got…NONE. Scuderi was a 3rd pairing Dman, unti the playoff series. Prior to that none knew him nor cared to.

    7. Again, they match Gonchar’s deal, at his age…..

    8. The one guy I did regret was Rupp, but from all indications, he’s used up and done, so the second guessers would have had a field day with that one too.

    9. I would guess somewhere north of 25 teams would fire their GM today, to sign “Sugar Ray”, based on his track record with the Pens.

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, let’s just keep reality in the room.

  85. NMR says:

    My reading glasses?

    I’m agreeing with you, dude. Relax.

  86. SJB says:

    So far, I think Patrick’s drafts were head and shoulders above Shero’s (at least early on) landing players like Jagr, Straka and Naslund (not Patrick’s fault Naslund failed to fit with the Pens) and the trade pieces he acquired in ’91 with Ronnie and Ulf and then again in ’92 with Tocchet were great deals, not to mention the less talked about ones that resulted in adding players like Mullen and were key to the first Cups.

    During the mid to late 90’s his drafting slipped a bit but at the end of it all, he’s the GM who ultimately put together the core of star players we have now and therefore more responsible for the Penguins success since 2006 than Shero, whether or not players like Crosby and Malkin were no-brainer drafts or not.

    None of us know what he must have been dealing with in the way of financial constraints and from pressure from ownership when he was forced to let players like Francis go and trade Jagr for essentially nothing, so I can’t say he was completely responsible for that disaster, but I do think it’s too early to even compare Patrick to Shero until we can compare their complete careers with the Penguins. Shero may go on to make some bad trades at some point and he may eventually draft a few star core players. Right now, the book is still out on him IMO.

  87. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    So they had absolutely no leverage? Ever? With any trade?

    If it’s about results and we’re looking at winning, I don’t see how Neal and Shero are a poor cross-sport reference.

  88. Patrick says:

    I really expect something pretty big to happen in Philly soon. This isnt a slump its a season meltdown. This team was supposed to be an eastern conference favorite and is just free falling. Since the Pens came back to beat them 5-4 they have been in freefall. Hlmgren wont sit long. Owners and Fans wont tolerate it. The Schenn for JVR deal looks like a clear bonehead move. Their whole defense is a mess. I wouldnt be surprised if he tried to blow it all up again.


  89. tpbco says:

    And please, can we stop about Jordan Staal. HE WAS LEAVING. There was ZERO chance of him staying. He even came out and said recently for the tenth time. His brother called him and THAT WAS THAT.

  90. NMR says:

    Can you explain your argument a little more? Not really sure what you’re getting at.

  91. NMR says:

    When did I say never?

    And instead of asking me, why don’t you name one?

  92. JHadar says:

    Another advantage would be that Cole breaks into the majors early in the seasons while everyone is still sorting things out instead of at mid-season when the level of play is a wee tad higher, slightly easier learning curve — also one of the starters goes to long relief and we take our weakest journeyman out of the bullpen. The whole staff gets better early.

  93. Bizrow says:

    Patrick won two Cups, Shero one so far. IMO whoever wins the most is the best GM?

    Based on that, I’m hoping Shero gets the crown ;-)

  94. NMR says:

    “I don’t see how Neal and Shero are a poor cross-sport reference.”

    First off, ALL cross-sport references are bad. Different leagues, different finances, different priorities.

    Second, if the blog is asking whether or not Shero is the best GM in team history, using Neal Huntington as a point of reference leaves you about a thousand miles away from relevancy.

  95. JHadar says:

    I was watching Boise State and San Diego the other day and wondering why Boise State didn’t have a totally blue gym floor to match their football field. Seemed dull in the context.

  96. SJB says:

    I will say though, the trade Patrick made that send Naslund to Vancouver for Stojanov was about as bad an unforced trade as there ever was, so if there is an argument to be made for Shero being the better GM, it could be won on that trade alone.

  97. Patrick says:

    The cost of defensemen escalated very quickly 4-5 years ago. Remeber when Scuderi signed in LA for 4.5 mil and the hockey world thought it was the worst overpayment ever. Now it looks like a baragin. Same with the Orpik signing. He has played poorly LATELY, but the Pens got a top pai defensemen for the last 4 years for a paltry 3.5 mil per.

    Point is, a lot of the signings that happened over the last 4-5 years look either very good or very bad because the cap was growing so much each year. The went from 45 mil to 72 mil(+62%) in 6 years. When talbot first signed in Philly a ton of people thought 10 mil for 5 years was an enormous price for a 4th line guy. Turns out to be a a bargain.

    With that much market uncertainty its hard to really hammer a GM for a bad signing. Truth is, at the time, guys like Martin and Michalek cost 4-5 mil apiece. That’s just what the market value for their services was at the time.

  98. Iceman says:

    Talbot doesn’t count. He was offered way to much money from Philly. I agree that he was a great locker room guy, but no way the Pens should’ve matched Philly’s ridiculous offer.

  99. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Sorry I don’t meet your lofty standards, NMR. How do you get up on that horse?

  100. Patrick says:

    I agree. Cross sport references are terrible.

    But really, and i dont want to muck the water up to much, but Shero has always dealt with a salary cap, Patrick didnt. From that perspective alone its hard to compare what Patrick did to what Shero is doing now. A salary cap changes Sssoooooo much.

  101. JHadar says:

    We have a foot of that unnamed white stuff on the ground, but the sun is shining and when I opened the garage door this morning I heard a cardinal singing.

    (Of course we don’t have spring out here on the prairie — we have about three weeks of “Greening Up” in April or May depending on the winter — then the sun comes out with a bang and a flash and the wind swings around to the Southwest and turns hot.)

  102. Iceman says:

    I won’t say that Patrick was a bad GM, but lets not forget that the team almost got run out of Pittsburgh while he was running things. I can remember many years when I was in school going for student rush to get some great seats for $10 because there was nobody in the arena. I know that there were some ownership issues going on at the same time, but the GM has to be held responsible for some of that too.

  103. NMR says:

    Good point, Patrick.

    But doesn’t the cap actually help the Penguins in this case? This may not be true, but I’ve read the team counts every last penny, including playoff games, just to break even. Doesn’t sound like they’d be spending much more without a cap.

    Players salaries are certainly controlled in Shero’s era more than in Patrick’s because of the cap. That might be the only thing keeping the Pens current stars in the good guys uniforms.

  104. NMR says:

    We disagree. That is allowed. Get over it.

  105. Patrick says:

    Not entirely. AT THE TIME (famous last words) The Penguins were simply LOADED with forwards. Jagr, Francis, Sandstrom, Mullen, Lemieux, Nedved…and even after them they had a couple kids like Stu Barnes and Martin Stratka.

    So really…AT THE TIME…it just didn’t look like Naslund was going to get much playing time. Its almost impossible to say but I highly doubt he ever would have become the great player he became as long as he was playing a 3rd line role and 3rd line minutes in Pittsburgh.

    Still, the return on him was crap, even if it did make sense to move him.

  106. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Just to be clear, I’ve not once said Shero is a bad GM or that I think he’s doing a terrible job. I’ve made some points that I think are his weaknesses to keep it realistic.

    This is all at that time: M & M combined for 9 mil a year.

    Scuderi 3.4, Gill 2.25 and Talbot 2.25 with a lower salary after this year. So to say they couldn’t find a way to fit that in isn’t entirely true.

  107. Jandy says:

    Actually, Staal said he had every intention of staying…pretty much right up until the day before his wedding day, when his brother called…but yeah…he was gone, so what Ray Shero got from that trade was great. Should be no complaints.

  108. NMR says:

    You know it’s bad in Philly when they’re losing and people AREN’T blaming the goaltender.

  109. JohninOshkosh says:

    This is all harshing my mellow. Can’t handle Pittsburgh sports fans acknowledging any Pittsburgh GM is/was competent at his job.

  110. Jandy says:

    hey now don’t be taking my name in vain! ;)

  111. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I am over it. I just don’t understand why you had to be rude about it.

  112. MadTurk says:

    Wish I had said that

  113. Patrick says:

    Oh the cap most certainly helps them. No doubt. It makes the draft all that much more important since FA spending becomes such a muddled mess. Prior to the cap the Pens were never able to sign or retain top FA’s and forced into trading away great players (see:Jagr deal). They had watched powerlessly as Francis walked to Carolina a few years before and couldn’t afford to lose another great player for nothing.Without a cap I have little doubt Malkin and Letang would have been dealt for similar reasons.

  114. Jandy says:

    “One question for you hockey guys out there: Is it more difficult in the last say, 8 – 10 years to be successful in trading/drafting than it was in Patrick’s time? That would definitely have some say in Shero’s track record when compared to Patricks?”

    Thanks for answering my question from above, Patrick

  115. Jandy says:

    Pfffft! :P

  116. NMR says:

    “some ownership issues” is like saying Madden has a “little weight problem”. :)

    Your point is a good one to remember, though. I don’t think GM’s can be compared until they are out of office. Unless Shero leaves for bigger money or retires, he’ll almost certainly end his tenure on a bad note. That is, after all, why GM’s are fired. Nature of the beast.

  117. Patrick says:

    You know its really, REALLY bad when the goalie has probably been their best player all year.

    GLOOOrious I TELL YOU!! ::D:D

  118. NMR says:

    Truly Brad, this conversation has to be lost in internet translation.

    My tone was wasn’t meant to be anything but playful sports talk. Nothing more.

    My opinion is no better than yours. My apologies for offending you.

  119. Zico says:

    Actually, I would say we have a 1A, 1B, 2nd, and 4th lines. That bottom line is actually that bad, imo.

  120. Arriba Wilver says:


  121. JohninOshkosh says:

    My first “Pfft”! Now if I could just get one of those “Bolognas”.

  122. Drew71 says:

    Stop that

  123. Drew71 says:

    And I think he’s gonna be a game changing Pope

  124. MadTurk says:

    “harshing my mellow”

    Definity a 70’s term. lol

  125. NMR says:

    Thats balderdash!!

  126. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I agree. Sorry for overreacting. Onto the next subject…

    Which actually for me is Irish history in the 1960’s. Need to get my rear in gear so I can drive through the wind tunnel that is rt. 422.

  127. Drew71 says:

    And from the 70s…

    Whenever we were talking about Turkish, it was something other than a people or a country.

  128. MadTurk says:

    Comparing GM’s in any sorts is like determing a book before you finish reading it. They all have different settings, goals and endings. Best wait until they are completed then review and hash out your opinions.

  129. MadTurk says:

    Boy this topic is going up in smoke

  130. MadTurk says:

    Balderdash? Loved the game.

  131. tpbco says:

    At the time, the general consensus was, the offers were way out of wack and they could not match them on Scuderi and Talbot, moneywise, and Gill and Talbot were both longer term deals than the organization felt it could handle with cap uncertainty at that point in time and 87, 71 and other contracts being the great unknown and far more the priority.

    No, you did not say he was a bad GM, but you did pick a lot more nits than you did with CP, who also wasn’t perfect.

    My preference is to stand on the position that it is REMARKABLE to have two GM’s, back to back as successful as CP and RS. I think it’s unprecedented, certainly since I started watching the NHL 40 years ago.

  132. Like both the above.

  133. Bizrow says:

    Man, I just can’t wait till we get to talk about Huntington ;-)

  134. JohninOshkosh says:

    Excellent, NMR. My goal for today is to work “balderdash” into this morning’s meeting.

  135. Brad, Indiana PA says:


    I just didn’t focus much on CP. I certainly agree he had his issues. Quite honestly, I was very young for much of his tenure so I don’t remember as much about him first-hand and I can’t really be as critical either way because of that.

    Ray’s accolades and abilities are well-documented. That’s why I didn’t bother to address them much. I just wanted to point out some things that I think tend to be ignored.

    It certainly is remarkable. Personally for me when examining each one’s legacy with Ray’s still being made, I give the overall success edge to CP because of the 2 Cups.

    I call him Sugar Ray because he makes some sweet deals. I wouldn’t be shocked if he could throw some jabs like the boxer though.

  136. NMR says:

    I think the biggest irony is that YOU are the history professor and I’m just a joe schmo, haha. Drive safe!

  137. MadTurk says:

    Okay there may be exceptions when dealing with an unknown writer who can’t seem to even nail down a title to a book.

  138. Jandy says:

    LOL Ronnie or Francis?

  139. Jandy says:

    This is one of the things I love about this blog…we all get over ourselves ;)

  140. Jandy says:

    ya’ll are killin’ me ;)

  141. Jandy says:


  142. tpbco says:

    Good Enough. I misunderstood your reference to “Sugar Ray”.

    I am also really happy to even have the discussion on which one was better.

    I was a season ticket holder before Mario, couldn’t afford them after, we had nose bleed seats that were $7.50/game and by the second period, could move down to center ice and hear the players cuss it was so quiet and lonely. Not quite the same today.

  143. Jandy says:

    you’re changing the rules, Mad Dude ;)

  144. tpbco says:


  145. Jandy says:

    Keep it there, JHadar, keep it there!

  146. Jandy says:

    Comment From Tim
    Is there any regret within the Penguins organization about demoting Mike Lange at this point?
    Dejan Kovacevic:
    No, there is not. Lange is absolutely back atop his craft right now. His goal calls remain, in my view, the very best in the NHL business, and his descriptions of the action and his feel for what’s ABOUT to happen also are unmatched.

    But anyone who thinks the TV broadcasts aren’t a success — and I sure do hear from a lot of you — only need to look at the scoreboard. The ratings have never been higher. That’s the language that TV execs, sponsors and the teams themselves understand.

    I got one word for ya:


  147. MadTurk says:

    Just trying to let Biz know he can compare Huntington anytime he wants. lol But you are right I did.

  148. CWalgton_67 says:

    A pivotal player in franchise history. Class act. Excellent human. Wish we still had a place in the organization for him, and his number should unquestionably hang in the rafters at Consol.

  149. CWalgton_67 says:


  150. NMR says:

    Couple baseball comments for discussion since Thunder is undoubtedly tired of all this hockey talk…

    Brewers extended CF Gomez for four more years. Interesting to Pirate fans because:
    -He’s pretty much what we should be expecting from Starling Marte. Great speed and defense, no walks, lots of K’s.
    -He bats 2nd and 7th, not 1st.
    -He’s a Boras client, yet actually signed an extension instead of testing free agency.

    Cardinals extended Allen Craig for five more years. Interesting for Pirate fans because:
    -Deal covers the same duration (four remaining years of team control plus one FA year) as the likely extension for Neil Walker, if it were to happen right now.
    -Deal is for only $31m including one free agent season at $11m. This is almost exactly the same contract that Fangraphs suggested Neil Walker would be worth.
    -Assuming that Craig is clearly the better hitter(.300/.348/.515 vs. .280/.339/.424), question becomes whether Fangraphs overestimated, Cardinals underpaid, or average defense at 2B is that much more valuable than average defense at 1B/OF.

  151. NMR says:

    Moving this over to the game thread, if anyone cares.

    Carry on with the pucks.

  152. Jandy says:

    hey I read ALL the baseball stuff, you guys are my tutors!

  153. Jandy says:

    Depres seems to be in the line-up for tonight…as reported on the Pens website.

  154. Drew71 says:

    Bad girl

  155. Jag7 says:

    Dang you people get up awfully early in the morning to stalk Dejan.It always amazes by the time I get on here during my lunch that there’s a gazzilion comments already. Jandy I hope that’s correct and I hope Engelland is the scratch.

  156. Jandy says:

    Jag, looks that way….we can only hope.

  157. MadTurk says:

    I raise you one :-)

  158. MadTurk says:

    TK may not play he has a cough

  159. Jandy says:

    Good! Play Vitale/Jeffrey!

  160. Jandy says:

    Yeah instead of where he is now…with the Hurricanes!

  161. Jandy says:

    When I’m good, I’m very good, when I’m bad, I’m BETTER
    (emoticon omitted for Drew, I fear he may lose it if I post one more here)

  162. Iceman says:

    The lines listed on the Pens Twitter would indicate that Eaton gets the scratch today and Engelland and Despres are both in.

  163. Theron Ten says:

    Just what I wish for Christmas is not my 2 front teeth (I have them), I want to apply some good weight and I desire it to be healthy weight. I do not wish to put on weight with empty calories, I desire to preserve my health.

Other blogs
Sports: Rob Rossi | Steel Mill | Chipped Ice | Bucco Blog | iPreps | Pitt Locker Room | Penn State Sports
News: This Just In | Trib List | ICycle | Flow Back | Stories Behind Trib Stories  

» Top Sports
» Top News
» Top Breaking News