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Shero enjoys eventful day at Governors meeting

by Shawn P. Roarke /
PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Everywhere Ray Shero turned Monday, the hockey news of the day seemed to be involving him.

It certainly made for an eventful day for the Pittsburgh GM as he arrived for the start of the two-day NHL Board of Governors meeting here.

After spending the morning putting in motion a plan to deal with Bill Guerin's announcement that he planned to end his playing career as a Penguin, Shero spent the afternoon in three hours of presentations about the state of the game as the Board of Governors meeting got under way.

"The game is good," Shero told Monday evening. "A lot of things are up. There's a lot of good things going on. I think it was a positive meeting for the League -- where it is and where it is going."

Monday, the Governors discussed the potential sale of the Phoenix Coyotes, which have been owned by the League for the past 15 months. Chicago-based businessman Matt Hulsizer, the potential buyer, made a presentation to the executive committee which was well received.

In other news, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the governors received an update regarding next season's salary cap. This season's cap is $59.4 million per team. It is expected to increase moderately for next season.

"We gave very preliminary salary cap projections, as we usually do with the board in December," Daly said. "We look at league revenue forecasts, and we try to build in a whole lot of variables and try to give them a sense of where that might be."

But, for Shero, it was some of the so-called secondary items on the agenda that had him the most excited.

And, one of the most exciting things happening in the League this season is HBO's decision to turn its award-winning 24/7 documentary on the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, which features Shero's Penguins hosting the Washington Capitals at Heinz Field.

Monday, the governors were provided an update on the initiative and watched the 12-minute trailer that HBO aired last week to hype the series. Shero said the reaction from his peers on Monday was positive, as it has been for the most part since the project was announced.

"I think it will be great for the game and another positive step for the game," Shero said. "I think people associate HBO with doing things the right way and 24/7, they have done NASCAR, they have done boxing and now they are doing hockey. I think it is fantastic the way they are doing this stuff.

"I've seen the boxing, I've seen the NASCAR one and I'm not a NASCAR fan  by any means, but when I saw that Jimmy Johnson one , I wanted to see the next week and then that (Manny) Pacquiao one, I really got into that and I probably followed the fight because of it. I'm a casual observer and if we can pick that up with some of the hockey fans and different sections of our fan base I think it will be great for our game. I think everyone is excited about it. It's a great thing to promote the League more."

Shero was also interested to hear the presentation from USA Hockey that took place Monday afternoon. The NHL provided USA Hockey with funds to spur the development of the game in the United States and Monday, USA Hockey officials explained how that money has been put to use, focusing primarily on youth development models and the progress of the National Team Development Program.

Shero has long been an advocate for USA Hockey and served as part of USA Hockey's advisory committee that picked the men's team for the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. The United States took silver in that tournament, losing to Canada in overtime of the gold-medal game.

"It was a really good presentation by USA Hockey on youth hockey, the developmental model, the development program," Shero said. "I'm a big USA Hockey guy obviously and it was about where USA Hockey has come in a relatively short time since the developmental model came along."

But, it may well have been the retirement of Guerin and his decision to retire as a Penguin that had the most profound affect on Shero on Monday. The Penguins honored Guerin a pre-game ceremony before Monday's game against the New Jersey Devils at CONSOL Energy Center.
"It means a lot to us that he and his family are retiring as a Penguin," Shero told "He's had a long, distinguished career and for him to select the Penguins means a lot to us and our ownership group. It's a great day for the Penguins, a great day for Billy and his family. We're having a ceremony for him tonight. I wish I was there, but I think this has some meaning to with New Jersey, the team that drafted him, gave him his opportunity and he won a Cup with them, too. I think it will be a big night, an emotional night."
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