Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: jim rutherford
from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Crisis is supposed to reveal true character, right?
General manager Jim Rutherford lost his cool after the Penguins' 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Monday night to fall within two defeats of a first-round elimination in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
After exiting a media elevator and while walking with other reporters to the Penguins' dressing room, Rutherford addressed this columnist, a frequent critic since his hiring last June, in an obscenity-laced diatribe.
“Thanks for your support,” Rutherford said repeatedly.
“You're a (expletive) jerk,” Rutherford said repeatedly.
Rutherford followed the jerk comment with a suggestion to “go sell ice cream now,” then a challenge to look him in the eye, which I did while explaining my role as Trib Total Media's lead sports columnist.
My role is to provide opinion.
“Well, your opinion is (expletive),” Rutherford said.
As (expletive) as my opinion might be, it remains that Rutherford has botched an attempted retooling of the Penguins. If this unfortunate incident is any indication, he lacks the poise necessary to move that project foward.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
The talent is obvious, with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the lot. But there’s a reason this team has not returned to the Cup final since 2009. Rutherford’s eyes, which have seen more hockey than most, are tasked with spotting what the missing ingredients are, but really, who knows what the Penguins truly have?
The mumps and injuries have ravaged Pittsburgh all season, including the loss of stellar young defenceman Olli Maata (shoulder surgery) and veteran winger Pascal Dupuis (blood clot in his lung) for the remainder of the season.
“We haven’t seen this team yet,” Rutherford said. “We’ve managed to stay near the top of the East with all the adversity that we’ve dealt with, and all the different players who have come in. Now, I’m hoping we get to see our team. And even with that, Maata won’t play ’til training camp, and Dupuis is a top-six forward.”
Rutherford’s dad was in the car business, and that’s a good thing. Because in his first year as Penguins GM, there will be some wheeling and dealing to do prior to the deadline. He wants a defenceman for sure, and a left-winger to put next to Malkin is also a priority.
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
Rutherford oversaw the move of the Hurricanes from Hartford, Conn., where they were the Whalers, to Carolina. He built teams that made the Stanley Cup finals in 2002 and won the cup in 2006. He is generally respected for his trade acumen and people skills.
Yet he has never known media scrutiny like he will encounter in Pittsburgh, a two-newspaper town with hard-core sports-talk radio shows and rabid hockey fans who accept nothing less than titles. Further, he is 65 years old and out of his comfort zone. There are whispers that he has lost his fastball.
Rutherford smiles at that sort of talk. He says he is energized by the challenge ahead of him. He also might — might — be motivated to prove himself outside the umbrella of Carolina owner Pete Karmanos, for whom he worked for 30 years. Rutherford took Karmanos’ kid, Jason, with him to Pittsburgh as the Penguins’ vice president of hockey operations.
There’s another old-boy GM, Glen Sather, running the New York Rangers, who have salary-cap problems of their own and will be dumping contracts in the coming days. By the time the dust settles, the best team in the New York area might be located in Uniondale, where the Islanders reside.
All of this is fascinating viewing in other Metro Division cities, particularly Columbus, which has hot new rivals and designs on greater glory.
more on Rutherford...
Does this count as interviewing a "renegade coach?" The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Rossi reports that Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has something of a fall-back plan:
“My concentration right now is on a guy that would have been on my original list, but I was told he had a commitment,” Rutherford said Tuesday.
Rutherford would not identify his candidate, but team and league sources told the Tribune-Review that Mike Johnston has interviewed with Rutherford. Johnston is the general manager and coach for Portland of the Western Hockey League, where he worked with Penguins top prospect Derrick Pouliot.
His Portland clubs qualified for the WHL playoffs in three of his four full seasons, but he also was suspended for most of the 2012-13 season after a league investigation found Portland violated rules by providing benefits to players and their families.
Among Portland's team penalties were a $200,000 fine and forfeiture of first-round selections in the bantam drafts from 2014-17. Portland ownership and Johnston disputed the severity of the punishment, but Johnston also accepted it.
On Wednesday evening, TSN's Darren Dreger spoke with the NHL Live's EJ Hradek and Steve Mears, discussing the Penguins' messy coaching search (see: Willie Desjardins and Bill Peters declined Jim Rutherford's advances), the possible departure of James Neal (for cap space?) and Ryan Kesler's "fit" in Chicago or PIttsburgh (Dreger says that the asking price for Kesler remains "incredibly high"):
Update: Dreger made very similar comments on TSN.
Sidney Crosby is currently in Vancouver, attending Hockey Canada's end-of-hockey-year awards banquet, and ESPN's Pierre LeBrun also happens to be attending the event, so LeBrun asked Crosby to weigh in on the Penguins' front-office tumult (i.e. the firing of Ray Shero and then Dan Bylsma):
"Yeah, it's a new situation for us," Crosby told ESPN.com on Monday, in town with other Canadian Olympic teammates to receive their championship gold medal rings.
"We haven't had a big change like that since going back to the year we won when you think about it. It's never something you want to see happen, Crosby said. "Obviously with the expectations being so high like they are in Pittsburgh, we understand that it comes with it. The unfortunate part is, most times the coach or the GM pays the price. It's definitely not something you want to be dealing with every year. We didn't do a good enough job. Personally, it wasn't the playoff I wanted to have. It's something I have to learn from and definitely be better for it."
Crosby, off to Las Vegas on Tuesday where he's favored to win his second career Hart Trophy as NHL MVP, said he's spoken with both Ray Shero and Dan Bylsma since their firings. The Penguins hired Jim Rutherford to replace Shero, but remain in the market for a new head coach.
"Yeah, I mean we won a Stanley Cup together. You feel like you let them down," Crosby said. "As a player you have to get the job done. You feel a sense of responsibility for that and like I said, the coach and the GMs are usually the ones that pay the price. We had some good years together. You know that they'll be working pretty soon and be part of another team. But it's still not easy."
Crosby and LeBrun continue...
Updated 2x at 9:19 PM: Paul did a helluva job of covering the "gist" of the GM's meetings, but here are some items that I noticed on Twitter and feel merit mentioning, starting with Craig Custance's chat with Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman...
In Penguins and Maple Leafs news, from Sportsnet's Chris Johnston...
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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 Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch ponders the fates of Dany Heatley, Andy MacDonald, Andrei Markov, Dmirtri Kulikov and others in his weekly rumor column, but he's been talking about executives for some time and I haven't paid those quips much heed, so it's time to talk about the gents in suits. In addition to wondering about the shelf lives of Dallas Eakins and Mike Yeo, Garrioch says that the Carolina Hurricanes' only general manager may be moving on up...
While Carolina GM Jim Rutherford is expected to move upstairs into a full-time role as president at the end of the season, the word is owner Peter Karmanos has to sign off on the decision to elevate Ron Francis. You’d have to think it is a rubber stamp and if that’s the case then coach Kirk Muller will likely be thanked at the end of the season.
And I can't deny that I've had this thought as well:
Former New York Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro tells the Globe and Mail's Viv Bernstein that he's doing quite well in the AHL at least on a personal basis, and the current Charlotte Checkers (the Carolina Hurricanes' AHL affiliate) goaltender tells Bernstein that he's very happy to be taking one final kick at the pro hockey can, but it sounds like DiPietro's going to have to move on to the next stop if he is to resurrect his career:
DiPietro has had a difficult start with Charlotte. He is 0-4 with a 5.18 goals-against average and an .846 save percentage in his first five games, including a 4-3 loss to the Rockford IceHogs on Sunday in which he made 26 saves. On a recent night when [Hurricanes GM Jim] Rutherford went to a mostly empty Time Warner Cable Arena to watch him play, DiPietro allowed five goals on 15 shots against the Hershey Bears and was pulled midway through the second period of a 5-3 loss.
“He doesn’t have his confidence now,” said Rutherford, a former NHL goalie. “That position, more than any other position in hockey, it’s important to have your confidence, and so he’s probably thinking too much while the game’s on, which isn’t a good thing.”
from Doug Harrison of CBC,
You signed free-agent forward Alexander Semin to a one-year dea llast July with hopes he would play alongside Eric Staal. So far, Semin has played well offensively (one goal, six points) and been responsible defensively (plus-7). Do you consider him your best $7-million investment in recent memory?
“Yeah. I don’t want to discount other guys but both Alex and the Hurricanes entered this as, let’s do this [deal] just one year and see if it fits for both sides. Boy, he’s been a very good player for us. He could have five, six goals by now, he’s hit so many goal posts. But it’s not even the fact he has one goal. He’s played the game at both ends of the rink. Players have to focus on him all the time.
They’re watching Semin, which opens [the ice] up a little more for Eric. He’s such a talented player, he can do whatever he wants, quite frankly. If he’s determined to score a goal, he’s gonna get his chances. If he’s going to play a two-way game, he can play it. He can kill penalties, play the power play. He’s been every bit as good as I hoped he’d be.
more Q & A regarding the Hurricanes...
“Playing defense in the NHL is very difficult and playing at 19 years old is even more difficult. But as long as I’ve been around the game, even as far back as when I played, I’ve never seen anyone handle the position like Justin Faulk has as a teenager.”
“We’ve had defensemen come into the League like [Bobby] Orr, [Denis] Potvin and [Phil] Housley, who were great offensive players, but I’ve never seen a player play so well defensively and offensively at his age.” I can’t describe it well enough to tell [fans] what they’re in store for having this great young player.”
-Jim Rutherford, GM for the Carolina Hurricanes. More on the Hurricanes from Mike Morreale of NHL.com.
RALEIGH, NC – Peter Karmanos, Chief Executive Officer, Owner and Governor of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has re-signed President and General Manager Jim Rutherford to a four-year contract extension. The new contract runs through the 2015-16 season.
“Jim is one of the premiere general managers in all of sports,” said Karmanos. “In the 14 years since the Hurricanes arrived in North Carolina, his leadership has allowed our franchise to host two Stanley Cup Finals, the NHL All-Star Game and the NHL Draft, bringing tremendously positive attention to the team and the area. This contract will take him through his 30th year with our hockey organization, and I am proud to have been associated with Jim for that long.”
The future is now in Carolina, where the old guard is out, an influx of youth is taking over and everyone is looking to put the injury-plagued woes that ruined things a season ago far, far behind them.
With the retirement of former captain Rod Brind’Amour symbolizing the changing of the guard in Raleigh, which started with Eric Staal succeeding Brind’Amour as team captain in January last season, the process of remolding the club is well underway. The 25-year-old Staal will have some veteran support in his first full year wearing the ‘C’ but Carolina’s heavy reliance on several key youngsters is a make-or-break formula for success this season. If the kids collectively respond to the challenge, the ‘Canes have enough going for them to cause trouble in the Southeast and surprise a lot of people. Some growing pains are sure to be felt, however, in such a transitional year for the franchise and immediate success probably takes a back seat to more long-term achievements.
Avoiding the injury bug has to be high on the list of priorities for a club that holds the unfortunate distinction of hitting the 300 man-games lost to injury milestone a year ago.
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“Jim’s great strength is his consistency, and because of that you see that kind of calm, evenness throughout the whole organization,. He doesn’t get overly excited and at the same time when we’ve had our tough stretches this year he has been the calming influence, he’s been the guy that settles things down when they need settled down. He’s got a great feel for the team, which is a talent because he’s not in the locker room every day. He’s not one of these guys who are down there micro-managing everything. He allows people to do their jobs. So, when he does come down with a concern or suggestion you know it’s going to be well thought out and there is quite a bit of merit to it.”
-Carolina Coach Paul Maurice on GM Jim Rutherford. Much more on Rutherford from David Droschak of CarolinaHurricanes.com.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
TSN has learned that Carolina Hurricanes’ general manager Jim Rutherford was formally offered the dual position as president and GM of the Leafs in August of 2007, at which time John Ferguson Jr. was still in place as the GM of the team.
Sources close to the MLSE board told TSN that the Leafs went through a prolonged dialogue with Rutherford that started in August of 2007 when the Leafs requested and were granted permission from Carolina owner Peter Karmanos to talk to Rutherford, the Toronto-area native.
From the Carolina Hurricanes:
Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has signed forward Chad LaRose to a one-year contract. The deal will pay LaRose $875,000 for the 2008-09 season.
“This should be the last signing to complete our team heading into this season,” said Rutherford. “We’re glad to come to an agreement and avoid arbitration with Chad.”
The Carolina Hurricanes are shaking up Peter Laviolette’s coaching staff.
The Hurricanes announced Monday that one of Laviolette’s assistants and the coach of their top minor-league affiliate are switching jobs. Tom Rowe is leaving Albany to become an assistant with Carolina, and Jeff Daniels is leaving the NHL club to take over as coach and general manager of the River Rats.
Carolina GM Jim Rutherford said the switch gives Daniels a chance to run his own team while the addition of Rowe infuses the Hurricanes’ coaching staff with fresh ideas.