Former Hurricanes GM Rutherford takes same position with Penguins

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

PITTSBURGH, PA. – It didn’t take long for former Carolina Hurricanes president and general manager Jim Rutherford to accept a management position with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday.

The Penguins held a press conference and presented Rutherford as the team’s new executive vice president and general manager.

“I’m excited by this opportunity to return to Pittsburgh and become general manager of a franchise that I’ve always admired,” Rutherford said.

“To have the chance to work with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the talented group of players assembled here is something that any GM would dream of. I’m looking forward to getting to work right away – it’s going to be an important summer.”

It didn’t take Rutherford long to assume managerial duties with another NHL team and one that he played for during his 14-year career as a goaltender.

While he will now put his hands on the control switches in Pittsburgh, his move fully cleaned out the upper office for new Hurricanes executive vice president and general manager Ron Francis in Carolina to work within.

Francis took on his new responsibilities when Rutherford assumed an advisory role as president of the Hurricanes on Apr. 28th, after leading the organization since 1994.

Stepping away from managing the operation of a team that won two Eastern Conference titles (2002, 2006) and a Stanley Cup (2006), Rutherford never ruled out the possibility that he would one day return to being actively engaged in making front office decisions.

He indicated he was still under contract with the Hurricanes for two more years, but never said that he wouldn’t consider a reasonable offer.

“Five weeks ago I decided to step down with the Hurricanes,” Rutherford continued during his press conference.

“I did both jobs (president and general manager) there and it became very difficult over the last two or three years. It really wore on me. And when I stepped down, I stepped down willing to move away further from the game, but still be a little bit involved; but with an open mind that if somebody called me that I would consider going somewhere if I felt I had a chance to win a championship.”

Back in late April, the look that Rutherford had in his eyes indicated that he still wanted to compete for another Stanley Cup.

He didn’t need to look too far in the distance for the opportunity to arise.

With his focus on a new team and his voice now speaking in another NHL city, Rutherford relayed the same vision and message that’s worked for him throughout his career.

“I have one Stanley Cup, I have two Eastern Conference trophies, but there’s no feeling, as everyone in here knows, like winning the ultimate prize,” Rutherford said.

“I believe we can do it here.”