PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan)- Former Pittsburgh Penguin Rick Tocchet joined “The Cook and Poni Show” Tuesday morning to discuss the Penguins’ early exit and the search for a new general manager and the speculation of a new coach.
Tocchet said the Pens’ early exit was because they lacked the intensity of the New York Rangers in the final three games.
“Game 5 was alarming,” Tocchet said. “I did not see the urgency. They played good in Games 6 and 7, but not good enough to win.”
He is very familiar with one name that keeps surfacing regarding the Pens’ search for a new general manager. There are reports that NBC Sports NHL Analyst Pierre MaGuire is a leading candidate.
Tocchet says he can see why the Penguins would find him a viable candidate.
“Absolutely,” Tocchet said. “You want a guy in a GM that can find guys with the right chemistry. He has a world of knowledge. He knows everybody. He understands talent.”
Tocchet is not surprised by the firing of General Manager Ray Shero because early exits cause change. However, he is curious how the team is handling current head coach Dan Bylsma, who everyone expected to be fired.
“It makes no sense,” Tocchet said. “If you are scared of him going to another team, then you should keep him because he is a good coach.”
Tocchet says that if and when Bylsma is let go, he will have no trouble getting picked up for another job and candidates would be lining up for this job.
“This is a job people want,” Tocchet said. “Look at the pieces you have here. You have two of the greatest players in the world who should be highly motivated next year.”
Would he be interested if the Pens called?
“I would like to get back into the fire obviously,” Tocchet said. “It’s not like I am in a position to pick and choose, but the situation has to be right.”
Tocchet says he expects Mario Lemieux to be very active in all of these upcoming decisions.
“He will be rolling up his sleeves on this one, ” Tocchet said. “He is not happy.”
Tocchet says the Rangers are the clear underdog in the Stanley Cup Finals that begin Wednesday night.
“They were considered a Cup contender when the playoffs began, but not a favorite,” Tocchet said. “They are heavy underdogs, but I would not be shocked if they won. Surprised, but not shocked.”