Mar 31, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider (35) speaks with NBC

What Would Hiring Pierre McGuire Reveal About The Pittsburgh Penguins?

While in-house option Jason Botterill and Tampa Bay assistant GM Julien BriseBois would certainly be more logical choices to fill the Pittsburgh Penguins’ vacant general manager’s office, I have to admit I’m a little intrigued by the persistent reports that NBC analyst Pierre McGuire has participated in multiple interviews with Pens ownership.

They say there’s no accounting for taste, but it’s clear McGuire’s showy, somewhat pretentious broadcasting style has soured most hockey fans on his legitimate credentials. I’ve got bad news for some people out there: you probably wouldn’t like a lot of folks if they broadcast games on a regular basis.

Don’t get me wrong, personality does matter in many situations, but by most accounts McGuire gets along with most of the big names in the hockey business. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t be as plugged in as he is. It’s mostly the viewing public that disapproves, and sorry to say that factor doesn’t amount to much in deciding whether someone is fit to perform in a high-powered hockey operations role.

There are certainly valid objections to McGuire’s candidacy for Penguins general manager. For one, he hasn’t been employed by an NHL team since the 1990s, and not in a prominent position since his unpopular coaching tenure with the Hartford Whalers in 1993-94. He was later a scout and assistant coach in Ottawa, but jumped to the media side of the business in 1997 and hasn’t turned back since.

McGuire has reportedly been a candidate in other recent GM searches, but his name hasn’t lingered in such a discussion until now. Perhaps part of that can be attributed to his previous relationship with Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux, who got to know McGuire when he was part of the Pittsburgh coaching staff in the early 1990s.

McGuire is obviously a sharp observer of the sport at all levels, that much comes across clearly in his work on NBC in his country and TSN in Canada. Whether that ability would translate to a management position is uncertain, but there is value in seeking a fresh perspective.

BriseBois would also deliver on that outsider’s viewpoint, while still bringing the connections he’s created during his time in NHL front offices. I see him as the middle ground candidate for the Penguins, in case they don’t want to stick to the familiar in Botterill.

Hiring McGuire would obviously represent the complete opposite of Botterill, as he would be a stark departure from what Ray Shero built during his eight years in charge. No matter what the Penguins’ decision ends up being, we’ll discover a lot about how much the Shero firing was personal and how much of it was a desire for a change in organizational direction.

Tags: Jason Botterill Julien BriseBois Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Jeff Webster

    This team already has enough attention on it for the collection of top-tier talent who haven’t lived up to the expectations placed on them. Adding McGuire to the picture, only brightens the spotlight and for the wrong reasons. My hope is that Mario and Burkle turn to a guy who’s ready to make the jump like Botteril or Brisebois. Isn’t that what we got with Shero, and he worked out pretty well until the last few years. Get a cap cruncher and talent evaluator instead of guy who will think he is larger than life, or at least the team itself.

    • Matt Gajtka

      Appreciate the comment, Jeff. Ultimately I don’t think McGuire’s hiring happen, but I don’t think it’s that far out of the realm of sanity. haha

      I would be pleased with Botterill or BriseBois. I like the idea of (relatively) younger guys getting a shot.

  • Chad

    I think Pierre Maguire is a terrible choice for the GM role. Being a ‘sharp observer’ of the sport doesn’t translate to management positions. I thought Eddie Olcyzk would make a good head coach when the Penguins hired him as a head coach. I thought he had ‘sharp observations’ as well, and could point out what the Penguins, who at the time had been one of the leagues worst teams for a couple of years, were doing wrong. He lasted a little over a season to less than satisfying results. As much as a lot of fans would love him to get this job so they won’t have to hear him anymore on TV broadcasts, the smart choices are Botterill or BriseBois.

    • Matt Gajtka

      Thanks for the comment, Chad. Olczyk wasn’t bad with the bare-bones 2003-04 team – remember how optimistic we were after a late-season surge that year? – but once some talent started coming through he had a tough time adjusting to that.

      I don’t think his lack of lasting success should sour us on people working in the media.

      • Skip Carlsbaugh

        The guy and his hockey philosophy is so SOFT his name should be Vagina McGuire. This is the LAST thing this team needs. Would be about the final nail in the pansy coffin to hire him.

  • Skip Carlsbaugh

    Skip Carlsbaugh
    WTF?? Carolina hurricanes brass? And total limp wristed pacifist McGuire who is anti fighting and thinks ALL head shots should be severely punished regardless of intent or accident… zero tolerance. Well I have zero tolerance for the pathetic soft team the pens have become and will get worse under these type of tissue soft gms