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Thursday November 26 2015
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Shero, Penguins reflect on disappointing postseason exit

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Penguins general manager Ray Shero and head coach Dan Bylsma met with the media to put the team’s season into perspective. Both struggled to find answers for the disappointing end to a season once filled with promise.

PSR Penguins beat writer Alex Nseir covered the highlights as Shero attempted to put the Pens’ season to bed. She also spoke with James Neal, Matt Niskanen, Pascal Dupuis and Sidney Crosby. Below are notes from the press conference.

General manager Ray Shero
Shero began by offering congratulations to the Flyers—a team his father coached to consecutive Stanley Cups in the 1970’s, the franchise’s only Cups—and notes that Philadelphia was the better team.

Shero was also quick to add that the Pens “unraveled” – he also proclaimed that Dan Bylsma is the "right coach for this team."

"It's going to take some time to sort through this," Shero admitted, noting that the new collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players must be kept in mind as he attempts to do so.

While stating that it is his goal to re-sign centers Sidney Crosby and Jordan Staal to contract extensions this summer. Shero added that he needs to sit down with each of them first.

Shero on embattled defensemen Zbynek Michalek and Paul Martin: they were a “big part of the team’s overall decrease in goals against” ... “they have proven they are good players.”

Shero acknowledged that the final 11 games of the regular season were not good defensively.

"I'm responsible for the outcome of the playoffs," said Shero, while refusing to question the team's character and leadership.

Shero maintained that the Penguins did not execute in their six game playoff lost to the Flyers, adding that he has to figure out why the team “unraveled in 10 days.”

When asked about the team’s ability to retain their three star centers, he left a bit of wiggle room in his answer, noting that the model has worked in past, but he will “have to see what works in future.”

Update on players' health: Defenseman Matt Niskanen – shoulder; winger James Meal – thumb; winger Steve Sullivan – foot; defenseman Kris Letang – hip; center Sidney Crosby – OK from the hits received in the series; defenseman Paul Martin – suffering from Paul Martin concussion-like symptoms.

Shero: “I like our coaching staff."

Head coach Dan Bylsmaphoto by Chuck LeClaire
"We did not play at our best," Bylsma said, while taking responsibility for the team’s postseason performance.

Asked if the team became less defensively-responsible once Sidney Crosby returned from injury, the Pens coach responded, "Sidney Crosby knows how to play defense."

Bylsma maintained that he was not disappointed in the character or leadership of his team.

Defenseman Matt Niskanen:
On his status as a free agent this offseason: "I've fallen in love with this organization; I hope I'm back. That's not entirely up to me."

Winger Pascal Dupuis
On the team’s horrendous penalty kill in the playoffs: "It's a game of confidence. (The Flyers powerplay) gained some and we lost some as they were scoring every game."

Center Sidney Crosby
On how he feels after a tough series: "I took a couple of hits there. I would've liked to feel a little better after those, but..."

On choosing not to play for Team Canada this offseason: "I think right now to make sure I have a healthy summer, that's really the most important thing."

Winger James Neal
On the disappointment of the team’s playoff loss: "I definitely don't think we'll be getting over it easy."

Neil Walker’s contract expires after the 2016 season. The Pirates second baseman is due for a big raise in arbitration this offseason—likely to $10 million—and signing him to a long-term extension will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $12-$15 million annually.
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