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‘Canes GM Rutherford ‘about as frustrated as you can get’

Apr 4, 2013, 5:45 PM EDT

Jim Rutherford Getty Images

On Mar. 12, the Carolina Hurricanes were 15-9-1, sitting third in the Eastern Conference with 31 points, looking good for a playoff spot.

Fast forward to today — just 23 days later — and things look decidedly less rosy.

The ‘Canes are in a tailspin, having lost nine of their last 10, and head into tonight’s game against Tampa Bay sitting 12th in the Eastern Conference.

That’s drawn the ire of GM Jim Rutherford, who said he’s “about as frustrated as you can get” over Carolina’s struggles.

“We’re not sitting here saying [the season's] over,” he told the Raleigh News and Observer. “But the most frustrating thing is that in the first part of the season we showed what kind of team we had — and we played very well.”

Carolina’s slide has coincided with a number of crucial injuries. Starting netminder Cam Ward (sprained MCL) was lost for the regular season, and backup Dan Ellis missed time with a skate laceration.

Top defenseman Justin Faulk has been out with a knee sprain of his own, and the No. 2 defenseman — Joni Pitkanen — broke his heel bone on an icing chase this week, which ended his season.

Tuomo Ruutu‘s only played in four games after undergoing offseason hip surgery, and checking forward Chad LaRose missed extensive time with a concussion.

Add it all up, and you’ve got a team struggling to overcome a massive stretch of bad luck and worse health.

Now, the Canes are four points back of Winnipeg for the Southeast Division lead and five back of New Jersey for the eighth and final playoff spot.

What makes this slide even more frustrating is that Carolina spent big bucks to assemble its current team: $35 million for Alex Semin, $60 million for Jordan Staal and $34.35 million for Jeff Skinner.

It’s something Rutherford alluded to in voicing his frustrations.

“We spent more money on our team this year. I believe we had a team in place that was a very good team,” he explained. “But when I talk about it coming at a worse time, this is a year we have decided to raise ticket prices and do different things.

“That doesn’t sit right with the paying customer, when they watch a team that was so good in the first half and a team that wasn’t good in the second half.”

  1. bak72 - Apr 4, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    I don’t believe that he is as frustrated as us ‘Canes fans.

    • tdrusher225 - Apr 4, 2013 at 8:57 PM

      But honestly, I think he’s done a pretty good job with this team. It’s a pretty devastating blow when you’re #1 goalie who normally plays up to 70 games, along with your #2 for a brief period, are not in net for you. Rutherford has put together a very nice group of forwards and has a Vezina-caliber goalie in Cam Ward. I think the blue line is the clear issue for the Hurricanes, and that is what Rutherford needs to focus on. But I think Canes fans have a lot to look forward to with this group.

  2. gotampabay52 - Apr 4, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    Well money doesn’t buy a winning team. Tampa Bay wins tonite move into third place we also play three games after Jets finish the season watch out Canes Bolts beat yeah tonite

    • govtminion - Apr 4, 2013 at 6:28 PM

      It’s like you started mashing random words together. The little word magnets on the fridge in my office make more sense than this.

  3. ednacrabapple - Apr 4, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    Let the curse of Semin begin.

    -Caps fan!

  4. iamcline - Apr 4, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    Skinner needs to sit a few games out. He needs to quit trying to score every time he touches the puck.

  5. cameltoews - Apr 4, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    Money does not by any means by success (being a life long ranger fan taught me that). You must have players that buy into the system and sacrifice for each other. The Staals buy into this but I don’t see Semin or Skinner as players who will sacrifice themselves/stats for the good of the team. You have to be careful when Semin doesn’t have a contract to play for. He seems to get verrrrry comfortable when he is paid.

  6. blastardo - Apr 4, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    Tough break for the Canes this season. Injury concerns have pretty much put them out of the playoff race. It’s a shame too since they have some real talent on their team.

    At least the Staal brothers and Semin are still healthy and performing well.

  7. rg3isvictory - Apr 4, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    Lonespeed anybody? Has anybody seen Lonespeed? He has basically disappeared since schooling us football fans on our lack or hockey knowledge while implying he and his great Canes franchise are better than us in DC. Lonespeed, wha happen? Why don’t you come out to play? We miss you over here in DC!

    • lonespeed - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:42 AM

      Sorry, I’ve been too busy laughing about the Forsburg trade.

      Hurricanes are abysmal right now. I don’t know why. I share Rutherfords frustration. I’d still take there roster any day over the ‘Caps current roster. I’d also take Rutherford over McPhee any day of the week too.

      Season’s not over yet.

      You’re still the typical Washington market fan. Make a huge deal out of the most marginal success stories. Can’t act like you’ve been there before.

  8. thehairychestsportsblog - Apr 4, 2013 at 8:35 PM

    ?????? I thought the Caps handed Carolina the best player in the NHL and he would take the Canes to the promise land?????? Where did all of you tarheel trolls go???????

  9. valoisvipers - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    Semin is playing good hockey for the Canes with 10 goals and 26 assists in 36 games makes him a point a game player again and he is a plus 12 on the the ice.
    Ovi has 37 points in 37 games but is a minus 2.

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