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Thread: E.J. Hradek Interview With Ray Shero

      
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    Default E.J. Hradek Interview With Ray Shero

    Each Friday, I'll be quizzing some of the league's top execs, coaches and players, and it makes sense to start with the Penguins' Stanley Cup-winning GM Ray Shero, the son of the legendary Cup-winning Flyers coach Fred Shero. This season, the Penguins have begun their Cup defense with a strong 6-1 start, and, while happy, the GM notes that his team has a long way to go yet.




    To read E.J. Hradek's interview with Shero and get the GM's impressions on the Pens' fast start, his top prospects and his favorite Stanley Cup story, you must be an Insider.


    HRADEK: What have been the keys to the good start?



    SHERO: I think we've been fortunate to get some real good goaltending. Marc-Andre Fleury has been very good for us. And even though he lost to Phoenix in his only start, I thought Brent Johnson did a nice job. Our goaltending has helped us win some close games.



    We've also been getting great contributions from guys like Craig Adams, Tyler Kennedy, Mike Rupp, Matt Cooke, Jay McKee and Mark Eaton. They aren't star players, but they've filled their different roles really well. They've helped take a little pressure off Sid and Geno [Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin].



    HRADEK: Do you see any potential problems you need to address?



    SHERO: I think it's a little too early for that. In the first few weeks of the season, I'm looking to see the team develop its work ethic and camaraderie with one another. Plus, there are some guys that are off to better starts than others.



    After about 15-20 games, I'll have a better idea of any worrisome trends that might develop.



    We should be getting Max Talbot back in five or six weeks. When he comes back, he'll fill a hole for us up front.



    HRADEK: What do you think about the first few weeks of the season?



    SHERO: The teams in this league are good. You can't relax. We had a two-goal lead in the third period against the Hurricanes on Wednesday. They got a couple of quick chances and tied the game up. On most nights, there's just not a lot of difference between winning and losing.



    There are a lot of skilled players. When we played the Coyotes, they had a power-play chance, and I remember thinking that they had five really skilled guys on the ice. Every team has skilled guys that can beat you.



    And, there are so many good young players in the league right now. We're seeing more really young defensemen getting an opportunity to play important minutes. It's hard to find good defensemen. With 30 teams, it's not like each club is six-deep in NHL-caliber D-men. If a kid can play, he's getting a chance.



    HRADEK: Which prospects have a chance to crack your roster in the near future?



    SHERO: Well, we really liked how our first-round pick, Simon Despres, looked in training camp and his exhibition games. We signed him to a contract and he went back to his junior team. He needs more time there.



    Robert Bortuzzo, who was a third-round pick in 2007, really surprised us in camp. In fact, he paired with Despres on a couple of occasions. He had a shoulder injury last season with his junior team in Kitchener. That set him back a bit. He's another kid with good size. He had a good camp and he's gotten off to a good start in Wilkes-Barre [AHL].



    We also have Eric Tangradi, who we got from the Ducks in the [Chris] Kunitz trade. He played well in camp, too. We don't want to rush him, though. We just figure it's better to let him develop properly. Young forwards like Tangradi and Luca Caputi are in our future plans. In a year or two, we're going to need them to play because of the salary cap.



    HRADEK: Do you have a favorite story about the Stanley Cup?



    SHERO: I have so many great memories from the summer. I think the funniest thing I remember is getting a call from [then-interim assistant coach] Tom Fitzgerald the morning after we won the Cup. It was a Saturday morning around 11:30. He told me he was having lunch with the Cup at the restaurant in the Marriott. It was just him and the Cup. Dan Bylsma had taken the Cup to the hotel where he was staying. When he decided to go up to the room and take a nap, Tom took the Cup for lunch.



    I asked Tom if he knew what the schedule for the Cup would be. We were able to arrange a little impromptu party with the Cup at my house around 5:30. We slapped some food and drinks together quick. We rounded up [team president] Ken Sawyer and some of our other management people, as well as our coaches and their wives. We kept it at my house until around 9 p.m., when some of the guys took it downtown to continue the celebration. That was something that was really special for us.

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    Default Re: E.J. Hradek Interview With Ray Shero

    Good stuff, man. I remembering hearing from a broadcast or someplace that Shero always took the season a 1/4 at a time, to evalute players performaces anyway. And to hear that we are able to let a few of the younger guys come along on their own... That's great, although I still think we may see Tangradi up at some point this season.

    Can't wait to get Max back this year! Seems like he's coming along just as expected.

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    Default Re: E.J. Hradek Interview With Ray Shero

    Quote Originally Posted by jmd View Post
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    Good stuff, man. I remembering hearing from a broadcast or someplace that Shero always took the season a 1/4 at a time, to evalute players performaces anyway. And to hear that we are able to let a few of the younger guys come along on their own... That's great, although I still think we may see Tangradi up at some point this season.

    Can't wait to get Max back this year! Seems like he's coming along just as expected.
    The only thing with seeing Tangradi up here is that it will have to be virtue of injuries. When Max comes back, this roster is complete filled, Bourque will go back down. They really need to get rid of Dupuis. trade him for some scrub minor leaguer they can get rid of in the offseason, but he's taking up a roster spot that can be filled by better and cheaper talent in Tangradi and Caputi.

    I had heard about Shero evaluating seasons by quarters as well. That's a pretty fair and reasonable way to assess stuff. Players can have hot and cold streaks so you allow for a specific number of games to get a better bigger picture view. You could tell that's what he did with therrien last year. first quarter was alright, 2nd quarter we saw the nose dive, 3rd quarter it got worse and Therrien was fired

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    Default Re: E.J. Hradek Interview With Ray Shero

    I like Max Talbot and all...but I really dont think that he's a 20+ goal scorer even on Malkin's wing. Maybe I am wrong...but I would really like to see Caputi and/or Tangradi with Malkin. I would not even mind seeing, in the short run, Bourque play with Malkin some.

    I do agree that Dupuis is a complete waste and when Talbot comes back we'll have a better version of Dupuis in Talbot even...so I wouldn't care if we got rid of him somehow...just to clear space for better players.

    However, I dont think that Tangradi or Caputi should be brought up to play on the 3rd line...I think that really doesn't allow them to best utilize their talent. Sidney had needed wingers and we got him some...now I think its time we get Malkin one or two. I have no problem with Fedotenko--although he's hardly an amazing winger--but Malkin really needs someone else. Give Malkin a chance to find his "Guerin" and maybe we'll really roll offensively. I think that Tangradi with Malkin would be an absolutely awesome combination.
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    Default Re: E.J. Hradek Interview With Ray Shero

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    The only thing with seeing Tangradi up here is that it will have to be virtue of injuries. When Max comes back, this roster is complete filled, Bourque will go back down. They really need to get rid of Dupuis. trade him for some scrub minor leaguer they can get rid of in the offseason, but he's taking up a roster spot that can be filled by better and cheaper talent in Tangradi and Caputi.

    I had heard about Shero evaluating seasons by quarters as well. That's a pretty fair and reasonable way to assess stuff. Players can have hot and cold streaks so you allow for a specific number of games to get a better bigger picture view. You could tell that's what he did with therrien last year. first quarter was alright, 2nd quarter we saw the nose dive, 3rd quarter it got worse and Therrien was fired
    Well, maybe if they dump Dupuis they can bring one of those guys up and see how it goes. I don't know where they would put them though. I like Max on that 2nd line, If he plays the way he did on Geno's line throughout the playoffs, I wouldn't mess with that. 3rd line I wouldn't mess with either.

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    Default Re: E.J. Hradek Interview With Ray Shero

    Quote Originally Posted by jmd View Post
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    Well, maybe if they dump Dupuis they can bring one of those guys up and see how it goes. I don't know where they would put them though. I like Max on that 2nd line, If he plays the way he did on Geno's line throughout the playoffs, I wouldn't mess with that. 3rd line I wouldn't mess with either.
    You really think that Talbot is a top 6 winger though?
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    Default Re: E.J. Hradek Interview With Ray Shero

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBen2112 View Post
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    You really think that Talbot is a top 6 winger though?
    If he can continue to play like he did in last years playoffs. I don't know right off of the top of my head but, he would've been on pace for 20+ goals in a 82 game season. Although, I don't know, guess we'll just have to wait and see how it plays out. The guy seems to pick up his game a lot once April and May roll around.

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    Default Re: E.J. Hradek Interview With Ray Shero

    Quote Originally Posted by jmd View Post
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    If he can continue to play like he did in last years playoffs. I don't know right off of the top of my head but, he would've been on pace for 20+ goals in a 82 game season. Although, I don't know, guess we'll just have to wait and see how it plays out. The guy seems to pick up his game a lot once April and May roll around.
    And that seems to be the issue for me...I just dont know if he could be a permanent fixture for 82 games on a top line...at least until the playoffs LOL.
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    Default Re: E.J. Hradek Interview With Ray Shero

    Yeah, I hear what you're saying. I don't know man, I think they'll put him back on Geno's line once he gets back and see how it goes. Another reason I like having him on the 2nd line...At least during the playoffs last year; is that if Geno gets kicked out of the face-off circle we have another guy out there who can step in and win an improtant draw.

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    Default Re: E.J. Hradek Interview With Ray Shero

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBen2112 View Post
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    You really think that Talbot is a top 6 winger though?
    Hello BigBen!

    Max put up around 100 pts in a couple of junior seasons so there probably something there. He's performed well in the top 6 role for a couple of stints. He's definitely earned a shot and playing along side Malkin should make it a little easier. He is definitely an upgrade to Dupuis.

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    Default Re: E.J. Hradek Interview With Ray Shero

    I don't know how many goals Max can put up but what Geno's line needs much like sid's line needs is that grinder/energy type guy. The guy that will go into corners, guy that will take away time and space and allow Geno or Tank to get more open. Max provides that type of play. He's a grit guy but those lines need guys like that. Look at Kunitz on Sid's line. Kunitz isn't scoring for ****..... but he's that energy, that grinder, the guy that frees up space for sid and Dad.

    I honestly don't think you could put prolific scorers next to either Sid or Geno, they both sort of require certain types of players for their games. Talbot doesn't have the great hands but looking at what we have on the roster, Talbot is the most capable for the 2nd line wing roll. It was a pretty brilliant decision by Bylsma to throw Talbot on that line in the playoffs last year cause it was a little too soft and Geno was being hounded

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