The Pittsburgh Penguins have announced the firing of general manager Ray Shero, while electing to allow their new GM to decide the fate of head coach Dan Bylsma.
Reports earlier Friday had both Shero and Bylsma on their way out.
Assistant GM Jason Botterill will take over the GM role on an interim basis, and will be a candidate for the permanent position, team president David Morehouse announced at a news conference
Whomever is hired as the permanent GM will decide whether to retain Bylsma, Morehouse said.
Pittsburgh was ahead three games to one in its second-round playoff series against the New York Rangers just a week ago, one win away from a second straight appearance in the Eastern Conference final.
The Penguins proceeded to lose three straight to the Rangers, outscored by a combined 10-3, with captain Sidney Crosby held off the scoresheet.
Since winning seven of eight playoff series in 2008 and 2009, capped by a Stanley Cup in the latter year, Pittsburgh has won only four of nine series.
High price of contending
Shero succeeded Craig Patrick as GM in 2006. The 51-year-old previously spent several years in front-office roles with Nashville and Ottawa.
While the club has been a perennial contender for years, making a run at the Stanley Cup in most seasons has not come without a price.
For example, the Penguins had no picks in the first three rounds of the 2008 NHL draft.
Last season, Shero acquired veterans Jarome Iginla, Douglas Murray, Brenden Morrow and Jussi Jokinen just before the deadline. Pittsburgh was subsequently swept by Boston in the conference final, with the the moves in total costing them three prospects and five draft picks.
Of those acquisitions, only Jokinen remains with the club.
Pittsburgh has also not been able to cash in on recent drafts. There are no everyday players on the roster from their picks made between the 2007 and 2011 drafts.
Botterill, 37, is a former professional player who received his MBA and joined the Pittsburgh organization in 2007. He just completed his fifth full season as assistant GM.
Bylsma will await word on his status. The Grand Haven, Mich., native has amassed a 252-117-32 regular-season record since taking over from Michel Therrien in February 2009, and he won the Jack Adams Award as the top NHL coach in 2010-11.