It wasn't going to be an easy fix, but the former player agent and son of Hall of Fame coach Fred Shero was up to the task. He stressed the importance of long-term building and not a one-season fix to reach the playoffs, having a vision and definitive plan in place.
Under his reign the Penguins qualified for the playoffs each of the next eight seasons and won the third Stanley Cup in franchise history in 2009. But major postseason pitfalls since that championship run cost Shero his job Friday.
The seven-game series loss to the New York Rangers in the 2014 Eastern Conference Second Round appeared to be the final straw for co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle, who stressed in a joint statement that "it is time to move our franchise in a new direction."
The Penguins had advanced past the second round of the playoffs once since 2009.
In eight seasons as Penguins GM Shero experienced his share of ups and downs. Still, the 2013 NHL GM of the Year helped build a perennial contender that made two Stanley Cup Final appearances. He also was able to lock up the team's core players in Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang to long-term contracts.
Here is a look at some of the defining moments of Shero's career in Pittsburgh:
May 25, 2006: The Penguins hire Ray Shero as general manager.
May 31, 2007: The Penguins name Sidney Crosby captain.
Feb. 26, 2008: Shero trades forwards Colby Armstrong and Erik Christensen, the rights to forward Angelo Esposito and a 2008 first-round pick to the Atlanta Thrashers for forwards Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis.
May 18, 2008: The Penguins shut out the Philadelphia Flyers 6-0 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final to reach their first Stanley Cup Final since 1992. They go on to lose in six games to the Detroit Red Wings.
Dec. 15, 2008: Consol Energy Inc. and the Penguins announce a 21-year deal for the naming rights for the new Pittsburgh multi-purpose arena. Consol Energy Center becomes home to the Penguins starting with the 2010-11 NHL season.
April 11, 2009: Bylsma ties a record for the best 25-game start (18-3-4, 40 points) in NHL history for a coach hired during a season, joining Bep Guidolin (20-5-0, 40 points) with the Boston Bruins in 1972-73.
May 26, 2009: The Penguins advance to their second straight Stanley Cup Final by eliminating the Carolina Hurricanes in a four-game sweep with a 4-1 victory in Game 4 at Carolina.
June 12, 2009: The Penguins win the Stanley Cup after defeating the Red Wings in Game 7 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
Oct. 2, 2009: The Penguins raise their 2009 Stanley Cup championship banner during a pregame ceremony in their final home opener at Mellon Arena. Pittsburgh defeated the New York Rangers, 3-2.
Nov. 17, 2010: The Penguins' consecutive sellout streak tops the 3-million fan mark (3,018,894).
May 12, 2010: The Montreal Canadiens defeat the Penguins in Pittsburgh in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
March 12, 2011: The Penguins celebrate their 200th consecutive sellout (including playoffs) against the Montreal Canadiens.
April 27, 2011: The Tampa Bay Lightning defeat Pittsburgh in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The Lightning rallied from a 3-1 series deficit.
June 2, 2011: Bylsma becomes the first coach in franchise history to win the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's most outstanding coach.
April 22, 2012: The Flyers defeat the Penguins in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals to win the series in six games.
June 22, 2012: Shero trades forward Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for forward Brandon Sutter, defenseman Brian Dumoulin and the eighth pick of the 2012 draft, which was used to select defenseman Derrick Pouliot. Later that night the Penguins draft defenseman Olli Maatta with the No. 22 pick.
July 1, 2012: Shero signs captain Sidney Crosby to a 12-year contract extension through the 2024-25 season.
March 30, 2013: The Penguins win their 15th consecutive game to establish the second-longest winning streak in NHL history.
June 7, 2013: The Boston Bruins win Game 4 against the Penguins to cap a four-game sweep in the Eastern Conference Final.
June 13, 2013: Shero signs center Evgeni Malkin to an eight-year contract extension that carries through the 2021-22 season.
June 14, 2013: Shero is named the NHL General Manager of the Year.
June 28-29, 2013: Bylsma is named coach of the 2014 United States Olympic Team and Shero is named the country's assistant general manager.
July 2, 2013: Shero agrees to terms with defenseman Kris Letang on an eight-year contract extension through the 2021-22 season.
May 13, 2014: The New York Rangers win Game 7 against the Penguins in the Eastern Conference Second Round series. The Rangers rallied from a 3-1 series deficit.
May 16, 2014: Shero is fired after eight seasons.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter: @MikeMorrealeNHL
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