Fletcher likely GM candidate
Saturday, April 18, 2009

At least two NHL clubs, Colorado and Minnesota, are shopping for a general manager, and a few others might be in coming weeks.

But, for the moment, no team has asked Penguins general manager Ray Shero for permission to discuss a job with his assistant, Chuck Fletcher.

Shero won't be shocked, though, if he does receive such a request.

"I think Chuck definitely is ready to be a general manager," Shero said. "I would expect him to be a candidate for several of these jobs, so we'll see what happens."

Shero brought in Fletcher, 41, during the summer of 2006, a few months after Shero was hired to succeed Craig Patrick. Fletcher came from Anaheim, where he had spent four seasons in the front office after a nine-year stint in management with Florida.

"He's probably the only assistant in the league who's been to the [Stanley Cup] final three times with three different teams," Shero said.

Fletcher's duties include negotiating contracts, overseeing player-development and running the team's scouting department, in addition to serving as GM of the Penguins' farm team in Wilkes-Barre.

"The way I set it up, he's done everything the way I did it in [as David Poile's assistant in Nashville]," Shero said. "He's my right-hand guy, in terms of the final call on players.

"He's the last guy I'll go to and get his opinion before I make the final decision [on a potential personnel move]. He's been a really good fit."

Not stirring the pot

Center Max Talbot, recipient of a blow to the back of the head by Philadelphia's Daniel Carcillo after a faceoff in the waning seconds of the Penguins' 4-1 victory in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series against the Flyers, gave no indication of how he felt about the one-game suspension Carcillo received from the league.

Not to reporters, anyway.

Asked his reaction to the suspension yesterday, Talbot said simply, "Nothing."

After an extended and rather awkward silence, a follow-up question got Talbot to acknowledge that he would expect to receive a similar punishment if he committed an act like Carcillo's.

"If the game was 4-1 for the other team and you were doing something like that, I think so," he said.

At that point, Talbot smiled broadly and, speaking to a cameraman, said, "That was boring TV, huh?"

Checking out old friends

Left winger Chris Kunitz has pretty full agenda these days -- he brought his new-born son home from the hospital yesterday, and has been immersed in the series against the Flyers -- but still found time to watch his old team, Anaheim, in its playoff opener against San Jose Thursday night.

The Ducks, who sent Kunitz and prospect Eric Tangradi to the Penguins for defenseman Ryan Whitney Feb. 26, defeated the Sharks, 2-0, in that game.

"[The Ducks] definitely played well," Kunitz said. "It looks like they're jelling, having a lot of fun."

Nonetheless, he declined to predict which club will make it to the second round.

"I don't know," he said. "The Ducks looked really good [in Game 1], but you know San Jose has another gear. ... It's going to be a tight series."

Slap shots

The Penguins scratched wingers Eric Godard and Miroslav Satan and defenseman Philippe Boucher for Game 2 against the Flyers last night.

Dave Molinari can be reached at
First published on April 18, 2009 at 12:00 am