Remember when the Capitals fired Bruce Boudreau and the following day he was on a plane to Anaheim to be announced as the new head coach of the Anaheim Ducks?
Could the same thing happen to Ray Shero, who on Friday was fired as general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins?
But you better believe Shero’s cell phone is burning up right now, and not just from people around the NHL sending along their condolences.
Shero, 51, is considered one of the brightest minds in hockey, assembling a team in Pittsburgh that made eight straight playoff appearances, including back-to-back trips to the Stanley Cup Final in 2008 and 2009, winning it all in 2009, three years after his hiring.
Shero also won General Manager of the Year honors in 2013 after the Penguins finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference after bold trade deadline deals that brought the Pens Brenden Morrow, Douglas Murray, Jussi Jokinen and Jarome Iginla. He was also named associate GM of the 2014 U.S. Olympic hockey team.
His entry in the pool of potential GM candidates is significant when you consider there are only two other teams – the Capitals and Vancouver Canucks – looking to hire a new general manager.
Jim Benning, the assistant general manager of the Bruins, is considered the leading candidate to replace Mike Gillis in Vancouver, while Wayne Gretzky has been rumored as the Caps’ next president.
Adding Shero to that equation could alter the plans for Benning, the Capitals and Canucks.
It also muddies the waters over who will be the next head coach in Washington.
Shero’s dismissal in Pittsburgh was a strange one in that his head coach, Dan Bylsma was not fired with him. A year ago, when Bylsma was under attack after the Pens were swept by the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference finals, Shero gave him a two-year contract extension through the 2014-15 season, matching the expiration of his own contract with the Penguins.
During his news conference on Friday, Penguins executive David Morehouse was asked if there was an element of weirdness that Bylsma was retained and he said it is up to interim general manager Jason Botteril to determine Bylsma’s fate.
Later, Morehouse said of Bylsma: “I have complete confidence if Dan is indeed not the coach here, he'll be quickly picked up somewhere else. He's a great coach.”
Not exactly a vote of confidence.
If the Capitals decided to hire Shero as their next general manager, would Shero bring along Bylsma as his head coach?
If not, would he consider hiring Jacques Martin, whom he worked with in Ottawa and Pittsburgh?
And to add even more intrigue to the equation, would the Penguins consider George McPhee as their next general manager, creating the possibility of Shero and McPhee switching teams and creating yet another twist to the Caps-Pens rivalry.
What are your thoughts?