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Battling Bucs : May Shero Be Eyeing More Than Lord Stanley?

By Kipper @pghsportsforum
First off as you can probably tell by my handle I am more a baseball mind than anything else but that does not mean I don't know my hockey (or football for that matter). I'm not a huge hockey fan but I love the Pens. The Penguins clearly reside third on my totem pole under the Pirates and Steelers so this time of year with Opening Day fast approaching and the NFL draft on the horizon it takes a lot for the Penguins to get my attention. Over the last week or so Ray Shero has done just that with his three big moves.
The moves to me seem like a little much for a team where things are rolling so perfectly. It is a big risk to take trying to fit three high profile players into a unit which is clicking so perfectly. In my view these moves could not possibly be made with only the intent of winning the Stanely Cup. A talented team and a competitor like the Penguins don't do this large of a makeover this late in the season just to try and win the cup; they supplement pieces and do things like possibly only adding a big body defenseman to help down low. The moves Shero made is much more than a supplement to the talent on hand so it got me thinking his sights must be set a little higher. I hear you what could possibly be higher than Lord Stanley's Cup you are asking? Well in the world of hockey there is only one thing I can think of, Hockey Immortality. (I'll note here the following is only my opinion of what Shero may possibly be thinking, I don't know the man and obviously he will never say its going on in the back of his head but in my opinion I believe it very well may be.)
For a player there are many paths to achieving hockey immortality. Most don't reach it but they can get there by compiling a large number of cups or posting an impressive stat sheet or even by captaining their country to a gold medal in the Olympics. For a coach it is a bit harder. One either has to hang around nearly forever compiling a lot of cups or a lot of wins or once again the Olympic route is a possibility. For a front office man like Shero though the options are essentially non-existent. The only true clear path a man in his position has towards immortality is to assemble a dynasty.
Dynasties don't come around everyday though. It takes a compilation of some unbelievable talent, a lot of time, a lot of money, a lot of resources and above all else a lot of luck. Shero has everything he needs at his disposal to build a dynasty in Pittsburgh but he can't be sure of the last piece of the equation. He seen over the last few seasons with Crosby's injuries and other struggles the Penguins have gone through that having the stars align multiple times over the course of only a handful of seasons is likely not to happen. Even if he does his job perfectly, never makes a mistake and fields some of the greatest teams the sport has ever seen his chances of building a true dynasty and thus achieving hockey immortality are still slim and completely riding on luck.
The question of what he could possibly do to improve those odds and make a true run at immortality had to be racing through him and then this season happened and it hit him. You see building a dynasty is only the most common way for a general manager to achieve immortality there is another admittedly more difficult but quicker path and that is to assemble a team that achieves something so unbelievably special during one season that it will never be forgotten. I believe Shero saw his chance at such a feat this season and is jumping at it.
Think about it things are likely to never be aligned so perfectly again. The Penguins are clicking at a great rate, the injury bug to date hasn’t crushed them and the shorten season even though it is compact has put less wear on the players. Essentially this is the freshest, healthiest, deepest and most cohesive group of talent Shero is likely to ever have going into the playoffs. So what does he do he adds more talent to, more high end ability makes it even harder for this engine he built to fail. Shero has assembled this group not for a mere run at Lord Stanley's Cup but for one at hockey history and immortality. Shero is attempting to build a team capable of running the gauntlet. He is trying to build this team to do what no others before it and what likely no others after it have or will be able to do. Shero is looking for that mystical, magical almost impossible 16-0 run right through all four rounds. He isn't looking to merely be the best this season but rather for perfection and the immortality that comes with it.

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