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Not A Good Start For Jim Rutherford

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.

read on

added 8:32am, from Mark Madden of the Times Online,

GM Jim Rutherford couldn’t make a deal with Desjardins. Sometimes that happens in a coaching search. When it does, resume the search. No big deal. It happens in sports all the time. It happens in major corporations all the time.

Desjardins did the Penguins a favor. The Penguins can do better, and will do better.

It would be funny if the Penguins turned to another relative unknown. The citizens will complain because they never heard of him … even as they continue to bemoan missing out on Desjardins, another relative unknown.

The perfect candidate just isn’t available. He won’t be available next year, either.

If Mike Babcock leaves Detroit after his contract runs out, he won’t come to Pittsburgh. He’ll go to Toronto to become the highest-paid coach in league history.

The search continues. Ron Wilson? Ulf Samuelsson? Does Rutherford go off his current board? Tocchet is a good bet to be top assistant. Why not make Tocchet head coach and hire an Xs and Os technician to be his top assistant?

Critics, meanwhile, will stick to the narrative. I heard the term “dumpster fire.” That has some poetry to it.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Down River Dan's avatar

If Jim Rutherford ...“doesn’t have a clue…” , then what does this say about the people who hired him?

Posted by Down River Dan on 06/23/14 at 12:36 PM ET

Mistercristo's avatar

“It’s as if the organization has become a joke.”

Oh, Ron, you’re not from around here are you?

Posted by Mistercristo from Cameron Frye's garage, circa 1987 on 06/23/14 at 06:12 PM ET

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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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