"We're making the playoffs, put it that way," Shero told Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Thursday. "Anything less is unacceptable. … Just making the playoffs is never our goal."
The Penguins have lost six games in a row and currently sit in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. They are without captain Sidney Crosby, top defenseman Kris Letang and center Jordan Staal because of injuries. Other key players such as Evgeni Malkin, Paul Martin, Zbynek Michalek and Brooks Orpik have missed time with various ailments this season.
This recent slump has knocked the Penguins, once competing with the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, out of the top eight.
"I like the team we have now," Shero said. "We have good hockey players. We just need to play better. And hopefully I have all those guys back by the trade deadline so I don't have to make a deal."
Shero told Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the team has not considered shutting down Crosby for the season.
"I'm happy he's joining the team on the trip," Shero told Sam Kasan of the team's website. "Sid is a hockey player and he wants to play hockey. He wanted to join our team because we're in a tough stretch. He badly wants to play and be out there, but he's not cleared to play. We want to be very careful. Once he's cleared to play, he'll be the most excited guy on the ice.
"We've been through a lot with concussions. I know this injury and what it takes to come back from it. Every player is different. We're getting more educated throughout the League. It requires patience."