Thread: Ray Shero
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02-11-2013, 12:31 PM
Liver-Eating Johnson
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there are a few things that have been nagging at me but certainly aren't fireable offenses. i think there are instances where i think Shero hasn't been able to leverage an apparent competitive advantage.

1. Malkin is on this team. Gonchar and Kulemin just about consider him their brother. Datsyuk adores him. Kovalchuk is his friend. Radulov is his buddy. his relationship with Ovechkin seems more complex, but nobody can look at that famous picture of a despondent OV, his head buried in Geno's shoulder, being consoled by our man and not think there's some measure of respect. point is, it appears that Malkin is downright beloved among the Russians - they appear to love him in a way you can't say about OV or Semin. I'm not sure that Shero has done his best to exploit this. He's made some moves - acquiring Kovalev and the Ukrainians Poni and Fed, drafting Pechursky and Zlobin but on the whole they don't really amount to more than 'dipping a toe in the water'. I'm talking about the way Detroit or Ottawa have leveraged the presence of say Lidström and Alfredson and incorporated the Swedes on their roster. and i'm not saying he should acquire every Semin and Andrei Kostitsyn but don't give the bullcrap about floating Russians being incompatible with North American/Dan Bylsma hockey. the coach himself called his system 'Ruslan Fedotenko' hockey, Kulemin is pro-typical Bylsma hockey, Sergei Kostitsyn plays in Nashville the proverbial ur-text of Bylsma/Shero's blueprint, the Nikitin-Tyutin pairing is one of the most defensively sound in all of hockey. So maybe it's nearly impossible to get the KHL guys to come over. Maybe he did the best he could to talk to Mozyakin, Perezhogin, Popov and the like but we haven't even really heard rumors to that effect. there's got to be some free agent forwards who'd be enticed by the chance to play next to Geno. i'd be fine if he struck out with all the KHL guys, found most of the Russian draft prospects lacking, and has evaluated all the guys already in the NHL, but i'm not even sure he's looking in that direction. it's not really about signing all of Malkin's friends, it's more about exploiting a competitive advantage. maybe he's tried the best he's can but nothing worth reporting has come to fruition. i don't know.

2. this one is far more controversial. concussions. the way i see it, this team has had to deal with some high profile concussions, they take a lot of pride in their relationship with UPMC, and they have a billionaire owner - therefore i would think that this team has spent more time and money trying to understand the nature of concussions than other organizations. i don't know if that's the case, but i hope a team that is committed to Crosby and Letang and has the resources would do everything in its power to learn about the injury and adapt. if that's the case, that seems to me to be an advantage - we know more about dealing with concussions than other teams, therefore we should be able to take on guys who might be undervalued around the league because other organizations are relativity under-equipped in dealing with these things. i'm not talking about fulfilling a Paul Martin fantasty and having a team of skating eggshells, but guys like Peter Mueller and Guillaume Latendresse were available in free-agency, Bouchard could have been traded for while his value was low. granted, maybe the inverse is true - listen to Colorado fans talk about how they don't think their team will ever sign or trade for someone with concussion issues because of their history with them. maybe the Pens research has yielded little of note, maybe we are paying the best doctors in the business and all they have to say is don't sign people with concussions. again i don't know, but i am left feeling that a potential competitive advantage - namely an ability to pick up talent that other teams may be weary of - is being ignored.

3. paying the best doctors, i hope we're doing that. cause as TR would say, there's no cap on coach, scouting or medical staff. we have Atlanta's failed GM and Colorado's failed coach on our payroll. maybe these guys are amazing at their current tasks, the results haven't really borne that out. Shero can afford to go out Jack Kennedy style and stock his staff with "the best and the brightest." maybe he has, but i'm not seeing it. a guy like Paul Coffey says he'll consult the PP and we know he's in love with Letang - and now it's a running gag - by why not bring in more consultants, more hockey minds. to use another presidential analogy, where's his 'team of rivals'. then again maybe front offices don't work like that. he was able to leverage the fact that Bill Guerin enjoyed his time here and now the guy is a developmental coach. that's fine, but yet again it amounts to little more than 'dipping a toe in the water'. The Stars just added Modano, Recchi and Turco to their organization and i think they had to make up some titles for them.

these aren't earth-shattering indictments. i'm not foaming at the mouth over what really just amounts to minor annoyances and i admit i could be completely wrong about all of them, but more than anything they seem to reveal a real lack of creativity and imagination. a lack of creativity seems to be a theme that runs through this organization from our 'no-hands' wingers to our 'cliche spouting' coach to the GM.

Last edited by Crafton: 02-11-2013 at 12:44 PM.
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