Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Right now, it appears as if Rutherford, 2½ weeks into the job, doesn't have a clue what he's doing. Even worse, it looks as if everyone in the team's management has no clue.
It's stunning, the long, hard fall taken by the Penguins front office since it fired highly-regarded general manager Ray Shero May 16, sloppily dismissed coach Dan Bylsma three weeks later, hired Rutherford, a retread from the Carolina Hurricanes, and was turned down by its first choice to be the new coach. We are talking about an organization that had been regarded as the best in hockey, one of the best in sports. People wanted to work for Lemieux and co-owner Ron Burkle because they treated their employees with such class. Crosby took less money to stay here. Other players wanted to come here to play with Crosby and Evgeni Malkin because they believed it gave them their best chance to win a Cup.
Now the Penguins have to settle for Rutherford, who failed late in his long, distinguished career with the Hurricanes and was pushed aside for new general manager Ron Francis?
And Rutherford can't find a coach after reportedly being turned down Friday by Calder Cup-winning coach Willie Desjardins of the American Hockey League's Texas Stars?
People around hockey are laughing at the Penguins. It's as if the organization has become a joke.
added 8:32am, from Mark Madden of the Times Online,
Michael Farber examines the Penguins' controversial 1983-84 season in which the team may have tanked to land the No. 1 pick, which they used on Mario Lemieux.
Watch it below...
Tomorrow, finalists for the NHL Awards will be made available to the media from 2:30pm until 4:00pm ET. in Las Vegas.
Even though the atmosphere is much more relaxed than let's say a post-game dressing room plus all different types of media probably have been granted access, I don't think I would want to be in Sidney Crosby's shoes.
Assuming he will be in attendance, I am sure he will face a barrage of questions regarding the current state of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The hockey media types will want his opinion and will ask him the same type of questions but with different angles. The media who are in attendance for the event itself, well you don't know what type of questions Crosby will be asked and it could be a long 1 1/2 hours for Crosby.
At an event where everything usually has a positive vibe to it, it just may be the opposite for Crosby.
added 2:30pm, Just received an update, Crosby will not be at the media availability event tomorrow but will be at the Red Carpet event on Tuesday.
added 2:42pm, This may explain the reason why Crosby is not available (Babcock too) on Monday.
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.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
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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