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Rutherford: Canes ‘might have been the most frustrating team to watch in a long time’

Apr 14, 2014, 11:35 AM EDT

Jim Rutherford Getty Images

Carolina GM Jim Rutherford didn’t hold back on Monday in expressing his displeasure with the 2013-14 campaign.

“So frustrating for everyone on our team, for our fans, for everyone involved,” Rutherford explained, per the Raleigh News & Observer. “This might have been the most frustrating team to watch in a long time.”

Rutherford, rumored to be on his way out as GM and replaced by Ron Francis, was reportedly dissatisfied with the ‘Canes throughout the year. He was said to be pursuing a trade to shake things up midway through the season but, and the end of the day, his lone move of significance was flipping Tim Gleason to Toronto in exchange for John-Michael Liles.

The Hurricanes went 36-35-11 this year and missed the playoffs for the fifth straight season. They’ve qualified for the postseason just once since winning the Stanley Cup in 2006, a big reason why Rutherford — and head coach Kirk Muller — are on the hot seat(s).

From the Raleigh News & Observer:

Muller has a year remaining on his contract. He said he has gotten no assurances from team owner Peter Karmanos Jr. or management about next season but hopes to return.

“We’ve got a good group of young guys,” he said. “As far as this year we’re not happy we didn’t make the playoffs, but I want to be around to turn this thing around. I want to get this team in the right direction.”

And here’s more, from the New York Post:

It is, according to sources, a fait accompli in Carolina that Kirk Muller will be dismissed a head coach at the conclusion of the season by incoming GM Ron Francis. The Candy Canes have made the playoffs once in eight seasons since winning the 2006 Stanley Cup.

Just to add fuel to the fire, the futures of a number of Carolina mainstays — Eric Staal, Jeff Skinner, Cam Ward — have also come into question as well. Why? Well, to hear Rutherford explain it, things simply can’t continue they way they went this season.

“You’d see the team play a certain way and feel good about it,” Rutherford explained. “A night later, you might not know it’s the same team playing.”

  1. gbart22 - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    Why in the world would they trade skinner though? I mean he’s so young and if they are going to embrace a rebuild by trading the staals, semin and ward then they might as well keep a really young forward, I think he’s 20 or 21, who’s shown he can score goals who theoretically should only get better. Him being available makes no sense at all just as trading away Faulk would make no sense.

    • storminator16 - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:58 AM

      Yeah, can’t see them trading Skinner. It looks like he was taking things to heart in the last few games there, very noticeable changes in his game for the better. He won’t be part of the problem going forward but moreso the solution. With that said, Canes should probably move on from Ward and Eric Staal. Time to reload without going to a full rebuild, which this team has stated a few times it will not do. Can’t say they could do a rebuild with their ticket gate situation.

    • hockeyflow33 - Apr 14, 2014 at 12:37 PM

      If they did I would imagine the return on him would be much better than for Staal or Ward. They might get a return like the Seguin trade.

    • govtminion - Apr 14, 2014 at 1:47 PM

      It would have to be a really good return on him to trade Skinner, but there are reasons. He’s injury prone, for one, which is hardly his fault but still isn’t a great trait in someone you want to build your team around for years to come. More concerning, to me, is that he has a bad habit of doing things like diving and questionable hits- which says to me that he’s a great player who isn’t really playing with his head. I think he can become a truly great player, with the right coach to build him and the right team around him, but for now there’s some question marks on him, to me.

      • 19inarow - Apr 14, 2014 at 7:20 PM

        Is he really a diver? That sucks.

  2. alicesrightfootesq - Apr 14, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    No one to blame but yourself.

  3. cynflux - Apr 15, 2014 at 10:55 AM

    The organization’s hands are tied, thanks to Rutherford’s exorbitant and ‘forever and a day’ contracts.
    These contracts have plagued the team for years and have constricted our options at the trade deadline.How can you build a winning team when you are getting players from the bargain bin every year? What worked in 2002, 2006 and 2009 is not working now. Agree with moving on from Eric Staal. I can only recall a few times where he exhibited some leadership and carried the team on his back. With the contract he has, he should be doing A LOT MORE. Who is going to take on that expensive contract in which Carolina will probably have to partially pay for? Khudobin has definitely earned the #1 goalie spot on the team, but he can’t stop all the shots with a porous defense. Cam can be a great backup goalie sometimes, but he can only be as good as the team in front of him. Rutherford is a hypocrite and expects lightning to strike in the same place twice. Thanks for the cup, but the franchise management needs some younger blood. I’m more inclined to support a GM who has many years of NHL experience being a team captain, winning some stanley cups, and being in the NHL Hall of Fame, rather than a sexagenarian ex-goalie with mediocre playing stats.

  4. Lupy Nazty Philthy - Apr 15, 2014 at 7:34 PM

    Most Frustrating? Try being a Leafs fan, Mr Rutherford.

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