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Front office change coming for Canes

Posted March 24

— Multiple sources close to the Carolina Hurricanes said Monday that team president and general manager Jim Rutherford plans to step away from some of his duties after the season.

Rutherford, 65, has been the GM for 20 years and is part of the ownership group. His tenure dates to the team's days in Hartford, Conn., and he has seen the Canes make two trips to the Stanley Cup Finals and win it all in 2006.

Canes play-by-play man Chuck Kaiton told Adam Gold and Joe Ovies on 99.9 FM The Fan said the move had been hinted at, and that the team has a clear line of succession.

"I think a lot of people probably saw that coming when Ron Francis became the assistant general manager after he came out of the coaching box," Kaiton said. "The baton is going to be passed to him."

Rutherford has had conversations in the past saying he would be willing to give up day-to-day management for the good of the team, but he had no comment Monday about his decision and declined to get into specifics of the when and why.

"I will make a decision at the end of the season," Rutherford said.

The Canes are in seventh place in the eight-team Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference and, at 27-35-9, appear to be on the way to a fifth straight postseason on the golf course instead of the ice. Carolina's last playoff appearance came in the 2009 conference finals where they lost in a sweep to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Rutherford's timing likely hinges on that streak and offers a chance for a new perspective in the front office from Francis, who has essentially been learning on the job, Kaiton said. 

Francis has had input in recent seasons in scouting, contracts and the draft, and he has demonstrated his eye for hockey talent. Without holding a general manager title, Francis has shown that he is ready for the role.

33 Comments

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  • onecaniac Mar 25, 4:53 p.m.

    It is TIME for JR to step-back. Remember when the Hurricanes first came here and were HUNGRY for fans. Their humility has turned into out-right greed! I will NEVER go to another game until TWO things happen. 1. They LOWER ticket and parking prices BACK to 2010 levels (the year after the last time they made the playoffs) keep them there UNTIL they make the playoffs again. 2. They MAKE the playoffs. I love the team itself and want them to stay. However, I have grown to despises the selfish greed of the millionaires that run the front office and have priced the poor-man and lower middle class out of the arena. The price-hikes for next year are insane and it's time to boycott until this changes. I call on ALL caniacs to stay home on the last home-game of the year in-order to signal our un-happiness. And give them something to think about.

  • jscott13 Mar 25, 4:24 p.m.

    I missed that! Neither of them, Ward or Khudobin, should be slamming their sticks anywhere. Maybe the man who wears the C should address this...although he had his own little tantrum a couple of months ago as well.

  • millers Mar 25, 3:23 p.m.

    Millers, I agree with everything that you just posted. Are you saying that Khudobin smashed his... View More

    — Posted by jscott13

    Exactly. Like I said, I doubt you could find a replay of it anywhere unless you DVR'd the game. When Columbus scored, Khudobin violently slammed his stick against the cross bar. Then after the game he just started skating away (when the team comes to congratulate him). It wasn't the normal head bumps you see after a win. It was uncomfortable to watch especially after such a big win.

  • same ole story Mar 25, 8:48 a.m.

    Many years overdue!! Jimy has lot touch with the future and lived in the past. This team needs young fresh players who want to play every night!!! (are you Listening eric staal??) It is easy to get players with a good past but what about the future? Keep on rising the ticket prices for low end talent and the fans stay home!!!!!

  • thomasew Mar 25, 7:51 a.m.

    I think this is the equivalent in the corporate world of giving the CEO a way out without... View More

    — Posted by 123skipjack

    Yep, I agree, make it as easy and painless for the bigs, that is the way of this world we live in.

  • wlcat609 Mar 25, 12:32 a.m.

    I am glad to see a change - finally. If Ron Francis inherits this current situation don't look for any immediate changes - it is going to take time as he hasn't had the formal responsibility of being a GM yet. Ron will need to grow into the position gradually and, yes, he may make a few mistakes along the way. I personally think you have to give him five years in the job to see any real difference - too many long term contracts now thanks to JR. It should be interesting to see what happens - que sera, sera!

  • jscott13 Mar 24, 9:02 p.m.

    Millers, I agree with everything that you just posted. Are you saying that Khudobin smashed his stick on the net and caused the guys to be hesitant to go near him.

  • 123skipjack Mar 24, 8:56 p.m.

    I think this is the equivalent in the corporate world of giving the CEO a way out without getting fired.

  • millers Mar 24, 8:21 p.m.

    JScott13 - the moment I referenced was at the very end of the Columbus game. I doubt you could find it somewhere but, as a fan, I was embarrassed. The rest of the team picked up on it too and seemed scared to even go near him. Like I said, I would have been ticked if I were him as well, but you just won a big game and need to act better than that. Cam is not the future. Khudobin might not be either. The competition between the two seems to be working right now. The goalie position is not the issue....in my opinion big contracts for average players is. I'll take the guys like Gerbe, Malhotra, Harrison, Hainsey, etc any day of the week over these high priced "show up when you feel like it players". Hopefully the new GM can shake things up.

  • jscott13 Mar 24, 6:57 p.m.

    Millers...Saturday was one game. He has a good one occasionally. The problem is that he is not, and has not been, durable for 3 years now. That's what happens when players get older. A team can't rely on a goalie with continual health issues. And maybe I missed something, but I saw Cam slam his stick on the net and throw a mini tantrum a few games ago. I have not seen Khudobin behave like that...did he. Please clue me in. I don't like that type of behavior from anyone.

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