The Pittsburgh Penguins failed to make the postseason for the first time in nearly two decades in 2022-23, and the entire front office got the axe after a brutal campaign.
“The Penguins have relieved President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke, General Manager Ron Hextall, and Assistant General Manager, Chris Pryor of their duties,” Fenway Sports Group announced on Friday.
Absolutely insane scenes in Pittsburgh, who have one of the oldest cores in the NHL and failed to build a strong enough team around stars Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang this season.
“We are grateful to Brian, Ron, and Chris for their contributions to the organization over the past two seasons, but we feel that the team will benefit from new hockey operations leadership,” John Henry and Tom Werner said in a statement. “While this season has been disappointing, we believe in our core group of players and the goal of contending for the Stanley Cup has not changed.”
Fenway Sports Group has said that the search for new hockey operations leadership will begin “immediately.”
It looks like head coach Mike Sullivan is safe for now, as the FSG has said that he will assist in the transition of managerial duties of hockey operations, along with current Director of Hockey Operations Alec Schall, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton General Manager Erik Heasley and Hockey Operations Analyst Andy Saucier.
Before this season, the Penguins had the longest active playoff streak among professional sports teams in North America at 17. The last time they missed the dance, captain Crosby was in his rookie season and still a teenager in 2005-06.
The Penguins are one of the most successful teams of the last 15 years, winning three Stanley Cups in 2009, 2016 and 2017, but that all seems a long way away after Friday’s news.
With Crosby, Malkin and Letang all a year older in 2023, it’ll be interesting if the new hires in Pittsburgh will be able to build another championship team around their three aging stars.
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