No one in the Penguins organization faces more scrutiny than GM Ray Shero.
With every struggle and success during this season, people have looked to Shero for answers. When the Penguins started the year off to the best start in franchise history, he was praised. His off-season acquisitions of Miroslav Satan and Ruslan Fedotenko looked like genius moves.
How quickly that all changed. After struggling at the end of November, and then losing records in the months of December and January, the fanbase and media did a 180. Now he hadn’t done enough. He hadn’t gotten Sid what he needed and the season was a waste.
Sure, Michel Therrien was highly criticized, with many calling for his firing. But it was Shero’s decision to make. With the recent success of the Pens and their ascent back in to the playoff picture we all need to adopt the motto: “In Shero We Trust.”
Look at the moves he has made recently.
Firing Therrien was huge. Many liked it and many hated it. What we all can agree on is that it was the right move. The Penguins would not be where there are right now under Therrien — that place being the playoffs.
Since Dan Bylsma has stepped behind the bench the Pens are 5-1-1. They have won three games in a row for the first time since mid-November. And, most importantly, the players are voicing confidence in themselves and the system.
That system is more uptempo and is focused on a strong forecheck that leads to turnovers. The defensemen make more of an effort to stand opponents up at the blue line and make gaining the zone a difficulty.
Bylsma sat defenseman Kris Letang for three games after being named interim head coach. Since returning to the lineup he has been a totally different player. On that same note, Bylsma moved Satan back to the top lines and he has scored in two straight games.
More recently Shero dealt away some dead weight in defenseman Ryan Whitney. The honest truth is that he was being paid too much for his production. In return Pittsburgh got LW Chris Kunitz, who has been nothing but spectacular in his first two games as a Penguin.
Kunitz entered the lineup and immediately sparked something in Jordan Staal, who has scored in two straight games.
The team is different and it’s because of the changes that Shero has implemented. It allowed Bylsma to push the right buttons and utilize players in the most effective manner.
Shero is likely not done as well. Many believe that the Pens will make at least one more move before the deadline. Many more are pushing rumors as the deadline approaches.
Whatever is the case, Shero’s moves are the trustworthy kind. We all should believe that by now. This marks the third straight year that Shero has done his thing before the deadline and we’ve seen it pay off in the form of success.
As the deadline draws nearer — “In Shero We Trust.”
Chris | PPT