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PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins hired Ray Shero as general manager eight years ago with the mandate to build a roster around two of the games brightest stars and turn ticker-tape parades through downtown into an annual rite of spring. Nearly a decade -- but just one Stanley Cup later -- Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin find themselves on a perennially underachieving team. And Shero finds himself out of a job. The Penguins fired Shero on Friday, three days after another early playoff exit, this one a seven-game loss to the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Coach Dan Bylsma remains in charge until Sheros replacement gets a chance to evaluate the entire organization top to bottom. "We share the disappointment of our fans that we have not had success in the playoffs over the past five seasons," co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle said in a joint statement. "We believe that new leadership in the general managers office will bring a new approach and new energy, and help us return to championship form." Assistant general manager Jason Botterill will serve as general manager on an interim basis. Penguins President and CEO David Morehouse called Botterill a candidate to take over and believes whomever the team brings in wont need to make major changes on a club that won 51 games in 2013-14. "Its not a complete rebuild," Morehouse said. "This is a team that has had a level of success. What were trying to do now is get from good to great." Its a destination the Penguins reached only briefly during Sheros tenure, spending most of the time in a murky middle ground that made them one of the leagues model franchises during the regular season but a symbol of disappointment once the calendar crept into May and beyond. Pittsburgh won the franchises third Cup in 2009 but has failed to produce a bookend. Pittsburgh is just 4-5 in playoff series over the last five years after blowing a 3-1 series lead against New York. Morehouse didnt blame the 51-year-old Sheros ouster on one specific misstep. "This is a decision thats been in the works for a long time since weve won the Cup," Morehouse said. "We wanted to get back to the Stanley Cup finals and we havent and were going to make some changes." The Penguins brought Shero in before the 2006-07 season and tasked him with finding the right kind of players to complement Crosby and Malkins otherworldly offensive talent. It culminated on a giddy night in Detroit in 2009, when the Penguins edged the Red Wings 2-1 in Game 7 to earn the franchises third Cup, a run that included the crucial trade deadline acquisitions of forwards Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin. It was supposed to mark the beginning of a dynasty. Yet five seasons have come and gone with the Penguins in a familiar position: watching the final stages of the playoffs go on without them. It hasnt been for lack of trying. Shero remained aggressive in investing in a "win now" mode as the ensuing disappointments piled up. He enthusiastically said the Penguins were "all in" last year after trading for Jarome Iginla, Jussi Jokinen, Brenden Morrow and Douglas Murray. The moves often created headlines but little else, and boatloads of regular-season victories and a sellout streak seven years and counting proved no longer good enough. Whether Bylsma will be along for the ride remains unclear. The affable, open-minded Michigan native was a revelation when the Penguins promoted him from their American Hockey League affiliate in the spring of 2009, hoping his optimism would help a loaded team break out of a midseason funk. It worked brilliantly. Four months after taking the job, the former NHL nomad who spent nine seasons as a gritty fourth-line forward was raising the Cup in ecstasy. Considering Crosby and Malkin were both in their early 20s at the time, champagne toasts were expected. A half-decade later, Bylsma is the winningest coach in franchise history with 252 wins but the wait for another Cup run continues. While Pittsburgh enjoyed nearly unparalleled success from October to April -- including easily capturing the Metropolitan Division this year despite losing more than 500-man games to injury -- the Penguins again struggled to adapt in the post-season. Morehouse said the new general manager will determine whether Bylsma and the rest of the staff gets another shot. The 43-year-old Bylsma has two years remaining on his contract, the product of an extension he received last June as a vote of confidence from Shero following a four-game sweep at the hands of Boston in the Eastern Conference finals. The deal came with a promise to adopt a more defensive-minded approach. The Penguins even brought in longtime NHL coach Jacques Martin as an assistant, an old-school yin to Bylsmas new-school yang. Crosby took the blame for the teams underperformance as the Penguins cleared out their locker on Thursday. A day later the general manager ordered to put the leagues leading scorer in a position to keep Pittsburgh at the top was cleaning out his office. Whoever ends up redecorating will have his tough choices to make. At the same time, he gets to start with Crosby and Malkin firmly entrenched. Both players are signed through the rest of the decade. There are worse places to start. "A lot of teams would like to be where we are," Morehouse said. "However we do have high expectations and we do want to get to them." Juwan Howard Jersey . Al Harrington, another former Knicks forward, scored 22 of his 24 points after halftime for the Nuggets, allowing them to withstand Anthonys attempt to rally the Knicks after his poor shooting had them behind until the final minutes of regulation. Anthony finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds, missing 20 of 30 shots in the Knicks sixth straight loss. Markieff Morris Jersey . Bradwell was scheduled to become a free agent Tuesday. Born and raised in Toronto, Bradwell is entering his sixth CFL season, with all six played for his hometown Argonauts. http://www.officialwizardsprostore.com/ ... -jersey/.C. -- Kevin Harvick won his first career pole at Darlington Raceway on Friday as he looks to chase his first Southern 500. Wes Unseld Jersey . Justine finished first with a score of 22.44 while Chloe was second with 21.66 points. Defending champion Hannah Kearney of the U.S., was third at 21.49. A third Dufour-Lapointe sister, Maxime, failed to make the final group and finished 12th while Audrey Robichaud of Quebec City was 10th. Michael Jordan Jersey . The shortstop still grieves, but it will be nights like the one Segura had in a 5-2 victory Monday over the Cincinnati Reds that will provide some distraction. NEW YORK -- Rather than ban home plate collisions outright, Major League Baseball and its players adopted a rule limiting them this season. In what both sides said was a one-year experiment, the rule allows collisions if the catcher has the ball and is blocking the runners direct path to home plate, and if the catcher goes into the basepath to field a throw to the plate. "Its not a radical departure from what it had been," Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon said. The new rule, 7.13, states "a runner attempting to score may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate)." A runner violating the rule shall be declared out, even if the fielder drops the ball. "Its good, I think it takes away the malicious intent behind the play at the plate," Texas Rangers catcher J.P. Arencibia said. "Obviously the runner doesnt always have to slide, and the catcher still has the ability to block the plate once he has the ball in hand." Along with the rule, the sides agreed to a pair of comments umpires use for interpretation. The first comment says "the failure by the runner to make an effort to touch the plate, the runners lowering of the shoulder, or the runners pushing through with his hands, elbows or arms, would support a determination that the runner deviated from the pathway in order to initiate contact with the catcher in violation." The comment says players who slide appropriately are not in violation of the rule. The second comment says that "unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of the runner as he is attempting to score." The runner shall be declared safe if the catcher violates that provision.dddddddddddd In addition, it is not a violation "if the catcher blocks the pathway of the runner in order to field a throw, and the umpire determines that the catcher could not have fielded the ball without blocking the pathway of the runner and that contact with the runner was unavoidable." "There are some things that often times can make the water a little muddy," union head Tony Clark said after meeting with the New York Yankees. "Over the course of the off-season, the concern was protecting players, but trying to draw up something that not only made sense on paper, but also was going to make sense to the players that were playing on the field." The umpire crew chief can use the new video-review system to determine whether the rule was violated. "It stops guys just going out of their way just to try to dislodge the baseball when they (catchers) have the plate," Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington said. Debate over plate collisions has intensified since May 2011, when San Franciscos Buster Posey was injured as the Marlins Scott Cousins crashed into him at the plate. Posey, an All-Star catcher, sustained a broken bone in his lower left leg and three torn ligaments in his ankle, an injury that ended his season. In Game 5 of last years AL championship series, Detroit backstop Alex Avila was pulled a couple of innings after being run over at the plate by Bostons David Ross, a fellow catcher. "I think its fair. A runners path is to home plate," Oakland catcher Derek Norris said. "Any deviation and hes not trying to score, hes trying to harm. A runner going out of the basepath trying to break up a double play is declared out. This is the same concept as a double-play slide." 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