I give new Penguins GM Jim Rutherford high marks for his off-season moves. Faced with dire cap constraints, he refused to overpay the team’s free agents, signed skilled defenseman Christian Ehrhoff to a bargain contact, and inked key RFAs such as Brandon Sutter and Nick Spaling to new deals. Along the way JR significantly upgraded the team’s [...]
During the Sidney Crosby era, it seems that the one key component that is the cause for the numerous untimely exits from the playoffs has been a physical defenseman. The Pittsburgh Penguins have been lacking a defenseman that can change the momentum of a game or series with a single hit. They are lacking a defenseman who is willing to defend [...]
I’ll never forget the day then-Penguins GM Craig Patrick chose defenseman Brooks Orpik with the 18th overall pick at the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.
Having been fed a steady diet of Robert Domes, Milan Krafts, and Konstantin Koltsovs the selection of Orpik signaled an abrupt change in the Pens’ drafting philosophy.
“In the past, we haven’t emphasiz [...]
In the wake of Ray Shero’s dismissal in May, Penguins owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle repeatedly stressed the need to add more grit and character to their hockey team.
On the first day of free agency new GM Jim Rutherford devised a novel approach for addressing that need. He let the Pens’ grit-and-character guys bolt.
In a mass depa [...]
It didn’t take long for new Penguins GM Jim Rutherford to swing his first high-impact trade. On June 27 he pulled off a classic two-fer, shipping All-Star right wing James Neal to Nashville for right wing Patric Hornqvist and left wing Nick Spaling.
The deal signals a significant shift in the Pens’ paradigm. “We wanted to change the mix of th [...]
With the NHL free agent signing period set to begin July 1, here’s a list of Penguins free agents by category.
Unrestricted free agents (such as Jussi Jokinen and Matt Niskanen) may sign with any team without compensation. Under certain conditions restricted free agents may sign with other teams. The Pens then would receive compensation in t [...]
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford announced today that he hired Mike Johnston as the team’s new coach, ending a prolonged three-week search that began when Dan Bylsma was fired on June 6 and included at least one much-publicized swing and miss.
Rutherford also announced that one-time Pens power forward Rick Tocchet joined the club as an assistant co [...]
Following the Pittsburgh Penguins announcement that they had hired Jim Rutherford as their new General Manager, I spoke with many people who were very excited. The unusual thing is that it wasn’t Rutherford that they were excited about, but the promotion of Bill Guerin to Assistant General Manager.
It is a strange thing for someone to be exci [...]
Somewhere Craig Patrick must be smiling. Not an arrogant, misery-loves-company smile. More of a rueful, knowing grin.
Aside from Mario Lemieux, no one did more to save the Pittsburgh Penguins than Patrick. He literally dragged the franchise from the gutter of mediocrity in the early 1990s and willed it onto a championship course. However, fol [...]
When the Pittsburgh Penguins traded promising young goalie Jim Rutherford to Detroit back in 1974, nobody dreamed that one day he’d return as the team’s general manager. Yet there he was, standing at the CONSOL Energy Center podium on Friday, fielding questions about his new assignment as coolly as he once gloved opposing slap shots.