By Brian Metzer
It has been a while since we have had anything from our pal George Von Benko up on the site, but that all changes today.
A few years ago George started a tradition of sitting down with Penguins’ General Manager Ray Shero a couple of times per season to get his take on a number of issues surrounding the team. The talks tend to take place at the beginning of the season and again right before the playoffs.
George sat down for his yearly post-season talk with Shero a couple of weeks back and got him talking about a variety of great topics:
- His head coach Dan Bylsma and the fact that the team has had to play for such extended periods of time with players from their Wilkes Barre-Scranton affiliate.
- The amazing season that Marc Andre Fleury turned in following his rough month of October.
- Sidney Crosby’s rehabilitation process and the chances of his playing again this season. At one point Ray even says, “He’s not been 100% ruled out…” something that he has been cautious of saying to this point.
- He talks of being part of a “vocal minority” that spoke out in favor of harsher penalties for players that dish out shots to the head.
- Shero gets into some of the details regarding the concussion that his own son has been dealing with and how it went undiagnosed early in the process.
- Educating players, coaches, and officials on concussions and their symptoms early on in their careers.
- Shero talks very candidly about the fact that he and the ownership were in favor of the penalties dished out to Matt Cooke.
- Shero’s take on the power play and its struggles.
- The importance of goaltending.
- The importance or lack thereof home ice advantage in the playoffs.
- Shero’s take on the Tampa Bay Lightning, the team that eventually ended up being the Penguins’ first round opponent.
- Shero’s take on the job that Steve Yzerman and Guy Boucher have done in turning the Lightning into a Stanley Cup contender.
As I said, George conducted this interview about a week before the playoffs were to begin, but the info is solid. I hope that you guys enjoy it! Look for more from GVB here in the near future!
(In case it isn’t obvious, you can hear the full interview via the player below.)
** George Von Benko is a long time fixture in the Western Pennsylvania sports scene and can be heard hosting his weekly sports talk show on WMBS Radio in Uniontown (AM 590) airing every Saturday from 10:15 am to 12:00 noon.