Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: jim rutherford
from Jim Rutherford at the Players' Tribune,
I was standing at the blue line with our coaching staff in San Jose on June 12 when the gentlemen in the white gloves brought out the Stanley Cup. This was a moment I had been chasing for 10 years, since I first won the Cup as the GM of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006.
Our captain, Sidney Crosby, lifted the Cup over his head, and I felt great for him, knowing all the hard work he put in to lead us to this point. But I felt even better for the guy Sid handed the Cup to next.
Trevor Daley had hobbled out onto the ice for the celebration with a broken ankle. He had changed into his uniform and was still sporting a full playoff beard. Sid skated right over to him, said a few words and handed him the Stanley Cup.
It was one of the more emotional moments I’ve had in my 30-plus years as a general manager.
A lot of people probably thought Trevor was the captain’s choice because he was a 32-year-old veteran who had sacrificed his body for the team and had just won his first Stanley Cup.
But there was a much more important reason. Trevor’s mother, Trudy, was watching on TV from her hospital bed in Toronto, where she was battling cancer.
Trevor’s mother had made him a promise, and he was holding up his end of the deal.
Jim Rutherford of the Pittsburgh Penguins is the 2015-16 winner of the NHL General Manager of the Year Award. Voting for this award was conducted among the 30 Club General Managers and a panel of NHL executives, print and broadcast media at the conclusion of the Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
From the New York Post's Larry Brooks:
A year ago at the top of Entry Draft week, Phil Kessel was a Maple Leaf, Nick Bonino a Duck and Carl Hagelin a Ranger. Which is to say that in a league in which trades have become tools of last resort, Gentleman Jim Rutherford was able to pull off three of them over the course of seven months to construct what became the most dynamic line in hockey.
The Pittsburgh general manager remade his team and organization on the fly in a process that began with the July 1 acquisition of Kessel, included a coaching change in mid-December, and culminated with a Stanley Cup victory that proves championship windows that seem shut can reopen darn quickly, even in a cap world.
Going into last June’s Entry Draft, Brandon Sutter, Blake Comeau, Paul Martin, Nick Spaling, David Perron, Daniel Winnik, Rob Scuderi, Ian Lapierre and Steve Downie were still Penguins a couple of months removed from a first-round defeat to the Rangers. So was Mike Johnston. None was with the team by the end of January.
The Penguins did not create a template to follow on the ice as much as they perfected the one adopted by teams throughout the league that want to play with speed and with the puck. It is not just one-way speed or north-south speed on the rush. It is speed on the backcheck to negate attacks as much as speed on the forecheck to create turnovers. It is speed to the puck in both end zones to create battles to be won.
The Penguins-Sharks Stanley Cup final was all but devoid of drama. Never truly caught anyone’s imagination. Never was as competitive as the scoreboard connoted. Was not able to carve a niche in the national profile. The modicum of suspense in the series — through which Pittsburgh’s three-zone speed made San Jose look clunky, bad and out of place — was created singularly by the brilliance of Sharks’ goaltender Martin Jones.
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Tags: blake+comeau, brandon+sutter, carl+hagelin, daniel+winnik, david+perron, ian+laperriere, ian+laperriere, jim+rutherford, martin+jones, nick+bonino, nick+spaling, paul+martin, phil+kessel, pittsburgh+penguins, rob+scuderi, san+jose+sharks, steve+downie
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
It was only 26 days ago when it appeared that four general managers had perfectly positioned their NHL clubs to win the Stanley Cup.
Then, a week ago, it looked like two general managers had done so.
Now, Jim Rutherford stands alone, poised to do something that just isn’t done in the NHL, something Glen Sather, Brian Burke, Jay Feaster, Bob Gainey, Cliff Fletcher and Punch Imlach, among others, tried to accomplish but couldn’t. Something Lou Lamoriello and Peter Chiarelli are just starting to attempt.
The achievement? Win a Stanley Cup as general manager of one NHL franchise, then do it again with another.
Six months ago, of course, it looked like Rutherford, GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins, might not get the chance. The team was in deep trouble, Sidney Crosby was playing terribly and the 67-year-old Rutherford was being blamed for everything.
Now, one win away from his second Cup after capturing his first back in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes, Rutherford looks like the smartest guy in the room, the executive who understood what had to be done and did it.
Among Sportsnet's Damien Cox and Elliotte Friedman's Saturday Headlines:
- The John Scott trade to Montreal was legitimate in that Coyotes GM Don Maloney wanted Jared Tinordi badly and were afraid that the deal with the Canadiens would fall apart, so they didn't wait 3 weeks to make the deal, and Scott was the "only player who could go" back to Montreal in the trade;
- Cox states that the Canadiens got $200,000 in cap relief and a player in Nashville's Victor Bartley, who the Canadiens believe may actually contribute to their blueline;
- The NHL offered Scott the opportunity to go to the All-Star Game as a paid family vacation, but he's not responded, and Scott isn't sure whether he's going to bow out;
- Cox states that Pittsburgh and Anaheim made the Hagelin-for-Perron-and-Clendening deal at 3:15 AM Saturday morning, and Cox says that the Penguins are taking on 3 more years at $4 million for Hagelin, and Penguins GM Jim Rutherford still believes that his team will contend, while the Ducks' trade...makes people wonder if the Ducks are setting themselves up to trade for Jonathan Drouin;
- Friedman says that the Ducks' Simon Despres and Cam Fowler may generate trade interest, as will the balance of their blueline;
- Flames defenseman Kris Russell is generating interest, too, but the Flames still want to attempt to re-sign Russell;
- Eric Staal is "still in limbo," and his agent, Rick Curran, will try to clarify his client's situation;
- And Friedman says that the Kings still want to sign Milan Lucic to an extension if at all possible.
Watch the video below:
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Tags: all-star+game, anaheim+ducks, calgary+flames, cam+fowler, carl+hagelin, carolina+hurricanes, david+perron, eric+staal, jim+rutherford, john+scott, kris+russell, los+angeles+kings, milan+lucis, montreal+canadiens, nashville+predators, phoenix+coyotes, pittsburgh+penguins, simon+despres
from Jonathan Bombulie of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
“Am I disappointed? Yes. Makes me sick, actually,” he said. “More sick than I've ever been in my career when I've managed a team. I feel for the fans. I feel for everybody.”
But Rutherford also is optimistic.
In November 2005, when he was general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes, his team lost 9-0 at home to the lowly Atlanta Thrashers. Seven months later, the Hurricanes were celebrating with the Stanley Cup.
He sees no reason a similar turnaround can't be in the cards for the Penguins.
“The fact of the matter is we have a good group of guys here,” Rutherford said, “and we can still make this thing work.”
The Tribune-Review sat down with Rutherford while the Penguins practiced Sunday at Consol Energy Center to get his take on the state of the team.
from Sam Kasan of the Penguins' website,
Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford notified Mike Johnston and Gary Agnew that they were relieved of their duties on Saturday morning. WBS head coach Mike Sullivan will take over as head coach and Jacques Martin moves to the bench as an assistant coach alongside Rick Tocchet.
Rutherford spoke with the media in the afternoon. Here are the biggest takeaways from Rutherford’s media availability…
On making the coaching change:
I felt with where we are right now and how we’ve played over the first part of the season that this team has more to give. We have some areas that we have to be a lot better with. We have to have more will to win. Our power play has to be better. Over the last couple of games I saw a team that did have more fight in their game and more will to win, but I look at this snapshot over the first 27 games and felt that we’ve underachieved....
On the state of the team:
I don’t think we have a huge issue to fix. We’re really close to getting to where we need to get to. I’d like to add another player or two, hopefully we can so we can take a good run in the playoffs. This isn’t blowing something wide apart that’s broken. There are some good things that Mike Johnston did and some things Mike Sullivan is going to have to fix and do better. … We’re not far from the top of the division, but we’re not far from the bottom either. That’s where I had to weight this out and what’s the right time to do it. It’s bothered me, but I felt it was necessary.
added 2:09pm, watch Rutherford talk about the coaching change below...
via Jason Mackey tweets,
Asked GMJR if he was pursuing a trade: "Not really actively pursuing it. There’s not a lot going on right now.
"You can’t even find a lot of guys if you call them now. It’s really when we get into camp, and teams see what they have."
from the Pittsburgh Penguins,
Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford met with the media on Tuesday to wrap up the 2014-15 season. Here is the full transcript of his remarks.
Thank you for coming. Our season’s come to an end. We fell short of our goal. We fell short of our expectations. Obviously that’s very disappointing for us all. So now we have to move forward.
I’ll briefly run through our year. We started off the season, we had to make some changes, we lost some players to free agency. We made an offseason trade and so there were a number of changes for our team.
For the most part, our team competed well, played pretty well. We dealt with some adversity early, losing (Olli) Maatta and (Pascal) Dupuis. We were able to fill the hole that was Dupuis not totally, but by making a deal and getting (David) Perron. Perron came in early, did some good things, scored some big goals, helped us win some games.
There were a lot of things happened. I won’t go through them all but some of the strange things such as the mumps we had to deal with, certainly that affected some of our players. Not only in that window of having the mumps but the recovery period. I would say for most guys that had the mumps that was a three-week period that they had to deal with.
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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Tags: brooks+orpik, bryan+murray, buffalo+sabres, chicago+blackhawks, dale+tallon, dan+bylsma, dave+nonis, david+poile, florida+panthers, gerard+gallant, james+neal, jason+spezza, jim+rutherford, jonathan+toews, marc+crawford, matt+niskanen, nashville+predators, ottawa+senators, patrick+kane, pittsburgh+penguins, ron+wilson, shea+weber, stan+bowman, tim+murray, tom+renney, toronto+maple+leafs
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.