The Pittsburgh Penguins will look different next year, not only on the ice but behind the bench and in the front office, too.
Superstar center Sidney Crosby is partially to blame for those changes. That might seem unfair for a player who might win another Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP, but Crosby is the captain of a Penguins team that has failed to meet expectations in the past few seasons.
As a result, the Penguins fired both general manager Ray Shero and head coach Dan Bylsma in what’s been an offseason of change. Crosby knows that those two aren’t the only ones to the blame for the overhaul.
"We haven’t had a big change like that since going back to the year we won (the Stanley Cup), when you think about it," Crosby told ESPN.com. "It’s never something you want to see happen. Obviously, with the expectations being so high like they are in Pittsburgh, we understand that it comes with it.
"The unfortunate part is, most times the coach or GM pays the price. It’s definitely not something you want to be dealing with every year. We didn’t do a good enough job. Personally, it wasn’t the playoff I wanted to have. It’s something I have to learn from and definitely be better for it."
The Penguins held a 3-1 series lead in the second round against the New York Rangers. However, New York stormed back to shock its division rival, completing the comeback with a Game 7 win in Pittsburgh.
Crosby scored just one goal in the playoffs and didn’t record a single point in the Rangers’ three wins to close out the series.
Shortly thereafter, Shero and then Bylsma were relieved of their duties.
"We won a Stanley Cup together. You feel like you let them down," Crosby said. "As a player you have to get the job done. You feel a sense of responsibility for that and like I said, the coach and the GMs are usually the ones that pay the price. We had some good years together. You know that they’ll be working pretty soon and be part of another team. But it’s still not easy."
Shero was replaced by longtime Whalers and Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford. He’s yet to find a new head coach to replace Bylsma, whose name is being tossed around in regard to open coaching jobs.