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Francis to lead ‘fresh start’ in Carolina; Muller’s future uncertain

Apr 28, 2014, 1:16 PM EDT


Ron Francis promised today to review “every aspect” of a Carolina Hurricanes organization that’s missed the playoffs in each of the past five seasons.

The 51-year-old Hall of Famer has been promoted to executive vice president and general manager of the ‘Canes, with Jim Rutherford remaining as president after stepping down as the GM. In addition, Brian Tatum will become an assistant GM, and Mike Vellucci has been hired as assistant GM and director of hockey operations

Francis called today’s moves a “fresh start” for the club; however, he was predictably short on specifics. The future of head coach Kirk Muller remains up in the air, with Francis saying only he’d make a decision in the “next little bit.”

The “consistency aspect” of the Hurricanes was one area of concern that Francis did highlight. Similarly, he hinted the team’s willingness to battle wasn’t where he’d like to see it.

Said Francis in an interview with the club’s website: “I want guys who love to compete, guys that want to come to the rink each and every day, whether it’s a practice or a game, whether they are a little banged up or healthy, and every time they stop onto the ice, they’re going to give me all they have, because I think that’s the only way, as a team, you get to be successful: everybody is buying in and competing hard for each other. When the logo on the front of the jersey becomes more important than the name on the back, I think you have a successful team.”

Captain Eric Staal and goalie Cam Ward have both heard their names come up in trade rumors, but Francis wasn’t asked to comment on that speculation.

Related: Staal, Ward say they want to stay in Carolina

  1. trbowman - Apr 28, 2014 at 1:30 PM

    I don’t think JR did a bad job as GM. If you ask me Muller is just a brutal coach and grossly misused his players. He absolutely has to go, that shouldn’t even be a question.

    I find the idea of trading Eric Staal asinine. I don’t use this word much because it’s usually wrong and not applicable, but Carolina does strike me as a team that needs a bit more re-tooling. Not a rebuild. As for Cam Ward, they should be thankful to get a couple spare pucks for any other team that wants him. Also, if Jeff Skinner wants to make any effort to develop a two way game that’d be cool for them too.

  2. JoeAvg - Apr 28, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    With this hiring I’ve officially become a Carolina supporter. No classier guy has ever laced ’em up.

  3. earpaniac - Apr 28, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    I don’t think they need to be blown up either. They should be better than they are, they’re just missing something. I’m not sure what that is, and that’s why I’m not a GM.

  4. withseidelinn - Apr 28, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    Could he have dropped more cliches in that quote?

  5. storminator16 - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:16 PM

    /me dancing in the streets.

  6. kaptaanamerica - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:00 PM

    Ron Francis was awesome in Hartford and started to get the recognition when he went to Pittsburgh. I’m glad he’s back in the spotlight, hopefully he makes a solid exec like Cam, Steve Y or Mario before him, not like Gretzky who was a total disaster off the ice.

  7. bravesfan1966 - Apr 29, 2014 at 8:07 PM

    The Hurricanes have always been about their “system”, and with the exception of ’02,’06, and a surprise playoff run in ’09, that system has NOT worked. They have also never been known as a team that plays with “physicality”. They’ve always had a couple of guys willing to fight, but they’ve never had a true enforcer. I’m not advocating going out and landing a goon, but with a couple of physical forwards and a true enforcer, teams will be much more reluctant to take liberties with guys like Skinner, and the other “skill” players. The Canes also need to make a coaching change in Charlotte. Jeff Daniels is about as ho-hum as they come, never smiles, and the Checkers were way too talented to be as inconsistent as they were this season. Maybe Rod Brind’amour as coach in Charlotte? I bet he’d hold the players more accountable and light a fire under the team.

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