Kukla's Korner Hockey
We will probably hear more like this but will we ever know the whole truth?
from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
“The guy I had is going to go in a different direction,” general manager Jim Rutherford said Friday afternoon.
Rutherford had said Thursday the coaching search was “coming to an end” and that he decided on one of eight candidates to interview for the job.
Rutherford declined to identify his chosen candidate.
Team and league sources said Rutherford spent Thursday night and Friday morning meeting with Willie Desjardins, a minor-league coach with only two years of experience as an NHL assistant. Topics discussed included assistant coaches, contract length and Desjardin's possible salary, the sources said.
“We couldn't make it work,” Rutherford said, adding he will start another coaching search next week.
“I'm going to take the weekend to sort some things out,” Rutherford said.
from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said Thursday he is “real close” to choosing the team's next head coach.
“The process is coming to an end,” said Rutherford, who has made a decision on one of eight candidates. “I'm still checking a few points with the lead candidate, but a decision is coming real soon.”
Rutherford declined to provide specifics regarding candidates or his choice. An announcement could be made within days provided details of a contract can be worked out.
Team and league sources said Rutherford's candidates included: former NHL coaches Ron Wilson and Marc Crawford; assistants Ulf Samuelsson (New York Rangers) and Bill Peters (Detroit); and Willie Desjardins, coach of Dallas' AHL affiliate.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are scheduled to talk to Marc Crawford and Ron Wilson about their head coaching vacancy, TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reported on Tuesday.
Crawford was the head coach of the Quebec Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings and Dallas Stars and coached 529 games with the Vancouver Canucks....
Wilson, 59, coached four NHL teams over the last two decades, including the Anaheim Ducks, Washington Capitals, San Jose Sharks and Toronto Maple Leafs with a 648-561-101-91 record. He led the Capitals to the Stanley Cup Final in 1998.
from Scott Cullen of TSN,
The Pittsburgh Penguins have made the playoffs for eight years running, but losing in Game Seven of the second round this year caused them to clean house, firing GM Ray Shero and head coach Dan Bylsma.
Off-Season Game Plan looks at a Penguins team that has a new general manager, Jim Rutherford, and is still looking for a coach, but will surely expect to ice Cup contender next season.
It's a little difficult to forecast what next year's Penguins club will look like, not knowing yet who will be coaching, but it's safe to expect some significant turnover on the roster. Pittsburgh's third and fourth lines were obliterated for much of last season and many of those players are unrestricted free agents, so that's a starting point for change.
Then, pending free agent D Matt Niskanen is coming off a career year that should price him out of the Penguins' cap, as will Brooks Orpik, so there will be openings on the blueline for young defencemen to step in and play.
In goal, maybe the new regime sticks with Marc-Andre Fleury for the final year of his contract, or maybe they will be more aggressive and go for sweeping changes.
from Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
As for what precisely happened over these past five years, there is no easy answer. Lots of things happened. At various times, the Penguins were undone by bad coaching, bone-headed plays, questionable roster building, thin drafts, cap issues, leadership vacuums, poor goaltending and stars wilting at the biggest moments.
It's been a team effort.
Then there are two significant factors that rarely see the light of day, because, you know, the Penguins were supposed to cruise to multiple Cup wins. These are not intended to excuse Bylsma, who easily could have been fired after the Philly flop and should have been after the Boston blowout.
They are just true:
1. Injuries. The Penguins were robbed of a significant chunk of their allotted time with the “Big Three.” Between 2010-11 and 2011-12 — Staal's final two seasons here — Crosby, Malkin and Staal combined to miss 207 regular-season games. Malkin and Crosby missed the '11 playoffs, when the Penguins seemed poised to roll through the East.
2. Good opponents. A terribly inconvenient fact, I know, but there really were TWO teams on the ice in every series.
from Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Guerin, 43, and Fitzgerald, 45 will be there, too, Rutherford made clear: “I will give them big roles, a lot to say.”
Honestly, it's hard not to be excited about this part in particular. All three, I can attest, are hungry. All are deeply invested in the franchise. And all you'd need to see to believe that was Guerin on Friday, all suit-and-tied, smiling ear to ear, shaking hands like he'd won the Powerball. It was pure joy, the kind that's been missing with this franchise for too long. When he beamed, “We're all going to work together to get back to our winning ways,” you could almost see him pulling on that No. 13 sweater.
It'll be fun watching this group, kind of a Generation X front office, choose a head coach in its image, oversee a draft, decide on Matt Niskanen and Kris Letang, swing trades and whatever else.
Some think this is about Rutherford. It isn't. He's a steward. A “mentor,” as he labeled himself. He's here to steer the ship through a critical time while also setting it on the next course.
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Firing Ray Shero as Penguins general manager was one thing. You can make a strong argument the team is old, soft and top-heavy and that it badly underachieved in the playoffs the past five seasons, losing to lower seeds. That was the position taken by Penguins president David Morehouse three weeks ago when he announced Shero was out to the surprise of many in the hockey world who thought Shero deserved better. But hiring Jim Rutherford as the new general manager Friday? Rutherford was pushed aside in Carolina after the Hurricanes failed to make the postseason in each of the past five seasons. He is 65, deep into the back nine of his long NHL career. This is the Penguins’ idea of a step up? Conducting what Morehouse called a “thorough” search involving 30 applicants and 22 interviewees and settling for a discard from one of the league’s worst hockey clubs? It makes no sense.
Keeping Shero would have been better.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are expected to announce Jim Rutherford as their new General Manager.
It is scheduled to start at 1:00pm ET and you can watch it below...
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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