Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Calm Down! Stop Pressing the Panic Button; GM Shero Won't (and Shouldn't) Answer It

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Calm Down! Stop Pressing the Panic Button; GM Shero Won't (and Shouldn't) Answer It

Article excerpt

Thoughtful reflection these days often consists of nothing more than the time needed to pound out a message on Twitter.

Instant gratification isn't nearly fast enough for some people, and when a team is sputtering the way the Penguins have through the early weeks of 2012, the demands for action -- any action -- can get loud.

Never mind that the Penguins' greatest problems are the by- product of major (but likely not season-ending) injuries to key players, not any glaring flaws in the makeup of their roster. Or that when their lineup actually was intact for a few games, the results were pretty impressive.

Didn't matter, at least to a segment of the fan base. Not when a two-week snapshot captured nothing but losses, and the Penguins tumbled to the lower edge of the Eastern Conference playoff field.

But while general manager Ray Shero surely has been exploring personnel moves -- good luck finding any GM who isn't looking for ways to upgrade his team pretty much every time he reports to work - - the worst thing he could do would be to make a significant trade designed primarily to provide short-term help.

Shero has assets, like NHL-caliber depth on defense, that he should be willing to part with under the right circumstances. But dealing high-end prospects like Simon Despres or Beau Bennett should not even be considered unless the return is exceptional.

And, most important, the trade must make long-term hockey sense.

That has to be the guiding principle behind any major move Shero tries to make over the next six weeks.

If the Penguins can get reasonably healthy during the second half of the season, they should be serious contenders for the Stanley Cup.

But if Shero sees, as the deadline approaches, that they won't be, it would be foolhardy for him to gut the franchise's future simply for the sake of making a long-shot run at a championship this spring.

Awards aren't handed out in January ... but so what?

There's a good reason the NHL doesn't hand out its trophies and awards in mid-January: The second half of any season can have every bit as many, or more, twists and surprising performances as the first half did. Nonetheless, here's a look at the frontrunners for the league's major individual player honors as Week 1 of the second half begins to wind down:

Hart Trophy (most valuable player): Claude Giroux, Philadelphia. He's chasing an NHL scoring championship and has teamed with Jaromir Jagr and Scott Hartnell to form of one the league's most effective lines. His body of work might be even more impressive if he hadn't missed a few games because of a concussion. But Giroux hardly is the only prominent time player to lose some playing time because of one of those.

Norris Trophy (best defenseman): Shea Weber, Nashville. …

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