In 1997, Eddie Johnston stepped down as coach of the Penguins. He no longer had that particular job, but has worked in the organization ever since, most recently as a community ambassador of sorts. Not a bad gig.

That’s what the Penguins are doing with Paul Steigerwald.

Steigerwald, 62, was replaced as Penguins’ TV play-by-play announcer on ROOT Sports by Steve Mears, 37. Steigerwald will work for the Penguins in the communication and marketing departments. Steigerwald was the team’s marketing director before becoming radio color analyst in 1985.

Mears, a Murrysville native, works for the NHL Network. Before that, he spent four years with the Penguins, contributing to various media platforms. Mears previously spent three seasons doing PbP for the New York Islanders.

Mears is very talented, and was in demand. The Penguins’ PbP position is his dream job, but he wasn’t going to wait forever.

So the Penguins made the move.

Truth be told, it doesn’t really matter. Penguins’ TV broadcasters get huge ratings, and would do so regardless of the PbP man.

Mears will do great. I’m sorry to see Steigerwald get replaced, but the Penguins are giving him a full-time job, and deservedly so. Steigerwald still has a lot to offer, and the organization is loyal to those who display loyalty. That was evident with Johnston, and now with Steigerwald.

This has zero to do with Steigerwald’s quality. He still did excellent PbP. This is about transition, and about big-picture.

The decision makes sense, was handled well, and has a happy ending for everyone involved.

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