In a shocking and strange change in events, the Pittsburgh Penguins have to find a replacement for Jim Rutherford. Yesterday, Rutherford announced his resignation from the position. At 71 years old, people thought health reasons were going to be the cause of his resignation. However, he ended that speculation, as he cited personal reasons as the cause of him walking away from the position.
What Did Jim Rutherford Do During His Tenure With the Penguins?
Since becoming the general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2014-15 season, he has led the team to some great accomplishments. He helped lead the Penguins to two consecutive Stanley Cup championships during the 2015-16 and the 2016-17 seasons. He made some fantastic decisions that helped lead the team to their success.
One of the smart decisions he made was hiring Mike Sullivan as the Penguins head coach. At the time, the Penguins were in the midst of a tough time and not performing to the level expected. Sullivan was brought in after the firing of his predecessor. Sullivan brought a different message that motivated the group and got them back on track. Eventually, the Penguins were vying for a playoff spot so Rutherford made another smart decision as he decided to acquire puck-moving defenseman, Justin Schultz. Schultz went on to play 15 games for the Penguins and help them win the first of back-to-back Stanley Cups.
Jim Rutherford got right to work to try and follow up the 2016 Stanley Cup championship with another. For starters, he locked up the franchises starting goalie and head coach to three-year contracts. At the time Matt Murray and Mike Sullivan were two of the newer faces on the NHL scene. Murray was the goaltender that manned the crease for the majority of games during the Penguins magical run to the Stanley Cup. As head coach, Sullivan came up with the game plan to turn around and inspire his players. This ultimately was enough to make the Penguins repeat as Stanley Cup champions.
In 2019, Jim Rutherford was officially recognized for his part in making the Penguins back to back Stanley Cup champions as he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. His legacy as one of the most successful General managers during the mid-2010s will live on as he was ensuring in the Hockey Hall of fame, located in Toronto.
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