PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Dave Cramer didn’t want to be removing the Stanley Cup Playoff banners from the outside of CONSOL Energy Center Friday afternoon, any more than Pittsburgh Penguins President and CEO David Morehouse wanted to dump his general manager.
Both would have preferred to be getting ready for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals this weekend.
“With the quality star power that they have, you would think they would be able to advance further,” said Ed Strong, of Indiana County. “They had to do something.”
But the decision of Penguins’ ownership to relieve general manager Ray Shero of his duties was far from embraced by their customers.
“I disagree with that completely,” said Eric Tremdulak, of Whitehall. “He built the team up to what it is and the guys just didn’t perform. It’s as simple as that; they just didn’t play up to their potential.”
The players don’t disagree.
“I think, as a team, we didn’t go out there and perform well enough,” said Penguins forward Lee Stempniak.
As for Dan Bylsma not being fired, many fans were caught off guard.
“I think he’s gone. There’s no doubt in my mind,” said Rick Kesich, of South Park, when asked about Bylsma’s future.
John Kocur, from the North Side, agreed, “I think he’s next to go. I think they’ll wait for the new GM to come in and make that decision.”
That was the opinion of many of the people we talked to at Jerome Bettis Grille 36 Friday night.
But like Shero, some feel the coach can’t be blamed for superstar players who didn’t deliver.
“Coach can’t go out there and put it in the net, so I do believe the players let us down as much as anybody else,” said Sharon Oelschlager, of Cecil Township.
But with Bylsma’s job in the hands of the future general manager, the coach is hanging in hockey limbo.
“That makes it hard for him; it’s a tough business,” said Bob Holland, of Bethel Park. “Certainly a position I would not want to be in.”
Chaz Crawford thought it would be a calculated decision: “I think they’re going to wait to see if there’s any other opportunities for coaches out there.”
While Beth Kocur also thought Bylsma would eventually be let go, she wishes it wouldn’t happen: “I’m going to be the rare person here. I think he should keep his job. I think he’s done a really good job!”
Penguins Fire GM Ray Shero, Future Uncertain For Bylsma (5/16/14)
Lemieux Reinforces Bylsma’s Resume, Says Ownership Proceeding Swiftly But Thoroughly (5/16/14)
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