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PHT Morning Skate: Pittsburgh columnist rips Rutherford, coaching search

Jun 23, 2014, 8:06 AM EDT

Jim Rutherford AP

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

New Penguins GM Jim Rutherford was heavily criticized by columnist Ron Cook over his handling of the team’s coaching search. Cook questioned whether Rutherford knows what he’s doing and later added “it’s as if the organization has become a joke.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

The Detroit Red Wings are generally regarded as a team that has done a good job in drafts, but it doesn’t always work out for them. Here’s a list at five of their worst drafts over the past two decades. (Detroit Free Press)

Here’s a look at the 2014 Hockey Hall of Fame candidates. The inductees will be announced at 3:00 p.m. ET today. (Toronto Star)

The Chicago Blackhawks will start their 2014 training camp in Notre Dame. (CSN Chicago)

Would it make any sense for the Flyers to target Jonas Hiller as a mentor for Steve Mason? Even if Hiller was open to the idea, would the risk of creating a goaltending controversy between the two make it not worth it for Philadelphia? (CSN Philly)

President and CEO John McDonough is honored that the Chicago Blackhawks have been picked to participate in the 2015 Winter Classic. (Chicago Tribune)

  1. mangoman1966 - Jun 23, 2014 at 8:14 AM

    Not only is the search for a coach a joke the pick of the general manager was a joke. Hope Burke and Mario have something magical up their sleeve because this stuff gets worse everyday. We are further away from the cup then ever.

  2. bencia823 - Jun 23, 2014 at 8:42 AM

    there’s this guy by the name of Dan Bylsma who’s apparently looking for a gig. JR should call him up right about now

  3. hockeyfan1701 - Jun 23, 2014 at 8:55 AM

    Huge Pens fan here, this is a disgrace, the have/will only downgraded their management staff when all done.

    • hockey412 - Jun 23, 2014 at 9:20 AM

      How the HELL is that a disgrace? They didn’t get their guy – they are asking for a lot, a shorter term contract is a big deal for a coach. It cost them “their guy”, but you know what? There are other good coaches out there. They just want to be sure to get the right one. Maybe they DO intend to go after Babcock next year. Who knows.

      But fair weather fans sitting back calling this an embarassment, while at the same time calling themselves “huge fans”, when clearly management is trying to take steps to strengthen the team not just right now but for the future, is kind of a disgrace also.

      • girouxsalem89 - Jun 23, 2014 at 9:53 AM

        Babcock isn’t leaving Detroit to go to the sinking ship that is the Penguins organization.

      • hockey412 - Jun 23, 2014 at 9:56 AM

        You’re ugly.

      • hockeyfan1701 - Jun 23, 2014 at 11:15 AM

        I have stuck with the Penguins through thick and thin, through the Rick Kehoe era, through the Rico Fata era, etc. Say what you want about my opinion, yes I am allowed to have one that differs from yours believe it or not, but I assure you I am not a fair weather fan.

      • hockey412 - Jun 23, 2014 at 11:23 AM

        Well then you’ve seen some true disgraces. This isn’t one. The team is doing what it needs to do to get Jason Botterill fast-tracked to GM and is investing a lot of time getting a coach. They watched Dan and Shero’s plans fall flat for FIVE YEARS…four of those coming in a really embarrassing fasion. So now they are fixing it, and that’s a disgrace? Wow….I’m not sure that’s “sticking with them”.

      • malkamania71 - Jun 23, 2014 at 10:29 PM

        Don’t kid yourself, this is absolutely embarrassing. Why would a GM EVER say “they didn’t get their guy”? So whenever they interview their next candidates they will all know they weren’t the orgs. first choice? Now he comes out with these ridiculous quotes about Nisky & Jokinen needing to get their payday. I just can’t seem to find a logic behind this guy. This whole situation is a mess

      • hockey412 - Jun 24, 2014 at 8:16 AM

        So go cheer on the Flyers, then. Jesus it’s not even draft day and the fair weather fans in this city are already whining…I deflect a lot of critics from other cities and protest that we do actually have fans that have faith in this city, but we definitely have just as many fair weather whiners. They need a coach. So they’ll get one. Doesn’t have to be the first guy. It has to be the right guy. There were several factors that didn’t work. You’re upset that they didn’t just cave and change those factors to get that guy.

  4. esracerx46 - Jun 23, 2014 at 9:05 AM

    Ron Cook seems a little full of himself in the article. Evidenced by his statements of thinking the Penguins were one of the best franchises in sports just prior to this debacle. And his thinking they can get Babcock next year. With all that said, I can’t say I disagree with him in how they’ve handled the firing of Shero and Bylsma. And the hiring of their predecessors.

    • erbaker67 - Jun 23, 2014 at 9:16 AM

      I completely agree. I think its the Penguins Pipe Dream to get Babcock, but just about every team would want him. If you watch the 24/7 Red Wings Leafs, you can tell he is happy there, that he takes pride in coaching that team, an original six team, with all that history. He is a guy that really appreciates that. I cant see him leaving the Wings unless he goes to another Original Six Team. Just my opinion on him.

      It is extremely frustrating as a Penguins fan to watch what has happened in the last month, month and a half. From losing to the Rangers to the front office moves, its disheartening. The Penguins need to have a plan before they make any kind of announcement, and make sure that if you say you found your guy, that you have your guy. I will never understand the Rutherford hiring, and Im not sure if I will understand the next coach. One thing from the article that stands out is that last line about seeing Crosby, Lemieux, and Rutherford standing in front of the cup, I dont think I can either.

      • tmoore4075 - Jun 23, 2014 at 9:26 AM

        As a Wings fan, I hope the Babcock stuff doesn’t happen. I agree I think he’s happy here and people are just trying to create drama because his contract is in it’s final year. It would take some crazy crap for them to get him next year. It would also be a bad way to run your organization if you are hire some guy just to fire him a year from now. I don’t think that’s what they are doing cause it sounds like Peters was a guy on their list and he went to the Canes, and I have a tough time believing Babcock would have been ok taking his former assistants job after one year. I hope he signs an extension soon here and puts all these rumors to bed.

        This coaching search has been weird. I’d love to know what was going on behind the scenes. I mean you had Peters and Desjardins say now and Crawford withdraw to stay in Europe. Peters reasoning for wanting to build his own program there, I get. Desjardins I’m wonder why he didn’t want it. Should be an interesting summer in Pittsburgh.

    • jennjenn0186 - Jun 23, 2014 at 10:14 AM

      Ron Cook is full of himself. He always has a negative opinion and hate everyone and everything. However, Rutherford was a questionable choice as GM, and being a Pens fan living in NC, I’ve watched him as the GM of Carolina for years and always laughed at him. Needless to say, I was a bit appalled when the Pens hired him. After his welcome press conference, it seemed like he was saying all the right things and I thought well, maybe he was just burnt out at Carolina after all the drama there and with these Pens players and the rest of management, it’ll turn out alright. While I understand some coaching searches take longer than others, the way that he is so open with speaking to the media about how the search is going is a little concerning. I don’t think this would seem so negative if he could just shut up until the search is over. The Raleigh media barely covered the Canes, but there were times when even I thought Rutherford needed less facetime in front of them. Being in Pittsburgh, where sports is a lot of times the top story on the nightly news, and having Rutherford who will say anything, is really concerning.

    • c9castine - Jun 23, 2014 at 11:25 AM

      when you look at fan relations, TV ratings, merchandise sales, success, attendance, net worth, playing venue, etc,…doesnt matter if other fans want to ackonowledge it or not, the Penguins are one of the best organizations in pro sports. the facts and accolades are there to support it.

      course, last couple months are sure put that off track a bit. and thats the whole point.

      dont make me defend ron cook. hes an idiot. been crapping onto the pages of the Post Gazette for yeeeears.

  5. pone27 - Jun 23, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    I wouldn’t be so quick to jump on what Ron Cook is saying. Cannot forget he is a media guy. This is an easy bash fest for any sports writer.

    Thing is, none of us on here know what goes on behind closed doors. It could easily have been a situation where the other coaches that have been hired easily chose those teams over the Pens. Just because the Pens have Sid and Geno does not mean every coach wants to go there. I personally think the Pens financial woes are what stops coaches from jumping on. Where is the room for the future to bring in guys a certain coach wants to utilize their system? Shero went to the ceiling of the cap with little wiggle room and IMO, that is the biggest issue of it all.

    • levelhead58 - Jun 23, 2014 at 9:54 AM

      i assume you meant to say “salary cap woes” and not “financial”? the pens don’t have financial issues. several top tier teams have salary cap issues, that’s not unique. how they manage it is what will matter.

      you are exactly dead on that reading too much into a Ron Cook article is a waste of time….his opinions are pretty much wrong most of the time.

      the only mistake that has been made so far is Rutherford announcing he had his man before he had his man. That’s a surprising move from a veteran GM. But who knows what transpired from the announcement to the time if fell apart? a 57 year old coach with 2 years NHL experience as an assistant is not exactly a huge loss. they’re moving on, it will work out….hopefully.

      • mangoman1966 - Jun 23, 2014 at 11:22 AM

        I wouldn’t hire any hockey coach by the name of Willie by the way. Think tocchet will be there man. Just a feeling.

  6. tmoore4075 - Jun 23, 2014 at 9:29 AM

    Also to the Wings article, amazing how people (even media here in Detroit) have to try and find the negative. Sure they have had some bad drafts and bad trades but here they are. In 98 I remembering thinking after that 2nd Cup that around 03 or 04 they’d be done and struggling. Yet here they are with still a playoff team and with a few moves could be a contending team again, assuming health of course.

  7. flyboystransport - Jun 23, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    Teams like the penguins that have superstars always have a hard time getting a coach because coaches don’t usually win if there’s a different mind set with those players. Those players know they aren’t going anywhere so it all usually falls on the coaches

  8. Hard to BeLeaf - Jun 23, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    I don’t see the big deal. There’s still plenty of good coaches available and plenty of time before the season starts.

    • erbaker67 - Jun 23, 2014 at 10:35 AM

      I have to ask who though? Im not saying that there isnt a coach out there that cant win. I just dont see Mike Keenan helping the Penguins win? Do you bring in Horachek (ex Panthers coach) since he was able to help the Panthers turn it around with not as much talent? Or another Panthers coach in Dineen? What AHL or other league coach can they bring in? I dont mind the idea of calling up WBS coach but wasnt one of the “benefits” of him being down there and Bylsma coaching the Penguins was that they play the same system so it was a “hit the ground running” for the players called up? Not saying I do not believe in the Penguins or anything like that because with the Geno and Crosby, anything can happen, for better or worse, but the biggest thing for the next coach is to put a system in place that will utilize the current roster that best suits their strengths.

      • dueman - Jun 23, 2014 at 11:08 AM

        Ron Wilson

      • Hard to BeLeaf - Jun 25, 2014 at 9:33 AM

        I agree with dueman,
        Ron Wilson would be a good coach. Most people discount him because of his time with Toronto, but he was a fine coach with San Jose and Washington (both top teams with star players at the time, unlike Toronto). A top team with star players like Pittsburgh would be a good fit.

        There’s also Guy Boucher, Andy Murray, Tom Renney, Brian Sutter, Marc Crawford, Jacques Martin, Larry Robinson, Kirk Muller, Kevin Dineen? Plenty of experienced coaches out there.

  9. 6superbowls - Jun 23, 2014 at 10:11 AM

    Ron Cook is a tool. He rips everyone about everything. He’s an ignorant, angry adult that has absolutely zero respect for anyone but himself (and I’m not sure he even respects himself). That includes his listeners and callers. So take his article for what it is. Garbage.

  10. lallin66fan - Jun 23, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    Pens should sign Jukka Jalonen. Do it. Do it now.

  11. yvrmike - Jun 23, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    It looks like super Marios team is going down and no one can help him this time.
    Or Wait a sec maybe they can redo the draft process and super Mario can win the lottery again and get the first round pick. :-) :-) :-) ha ha ha
    Look a coach chose to go to Vancouver over Pittsburgh. What does that tell you. Open your eyes Pittsburgh in the dressing room must be a mess and soon enough no free agents will want to sign there.

  12. pitpenguinsrulez - Jun 23, 2014 at 11:49 AM

    Seriously screw that miserable clown Ron Cook! Can’t stand him one bit

  13. pastabelly - Jun 23, 2014 at 4:23 PM

    It seems a bit odd that the Bruins have played in only ONE outdoor game. Teams in other cities are now on their third and fourth games. I can’t help but think a stadium game vs Montreal would be huge for the league and fans from north of the border would make their way down to Foxboro as well.

  14. plazzman - Jun 24, 2014 at 2:23 PM

    Ron Cook is a blowhard that is despised by many fans in Pittsburgh. He is a self proclaimed curmudgeon and is a negative as negative can be. Please don’t waste your time with him.

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