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I started this near riot.  Sorry.  Just repeating what Metzer was discussing this morning.

 

So, I decided to look up what picks JR gave away.  From what I can see, JR only gave away one pick so far under his tenure, and it was a 7th rounder.

 

Big flippin' deal.

 

I suspect more of what I heard this morning was reporting on the collective panic from the fans.  Fan bases of good teams freak out pretty badly when even one thing doesn't go their way.  Not just Pens fans either.  I think some over exaggeration is happening within the Pens fanbase.  Of course, even giving away one pick versus picking up first round picks (ahem...) could be a shock to the system.

 

Now, all that said, I still hope "JR steers the ship on the rocks" too.

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In all fairness, didn't JR inherit a Pens franchise with a significant cap crunch? 

 

JR inherited a Pens team with two of the top players in the world and have been a playoff fixture every season.  He has turned them into a team hoping to stumble into the playoffs.  Where have we seen this story before?

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Good discussion and venting session on another failed season!! On the subject of Jim Rutherford, IMHO, we Caniacs would be remiss to not tip our collective hats for the success of the early teams thru the Stanley Cup year. Where it fell apart was from that year forward, a fact thoroughly recognized by all who post here. Where I personally resent his latter days incompetence, and I venture many on here feel similarly, really has more to do with my own naïve state of hockey inexperience, in so far as buying into the frequently bantered aura in which the man continually was panned by our local media as having a "pimp hand". That expression seemed to convey that JR was a "genius" at what he did, thus my senses were lulled into believing that despite how desperate things were looking, Jim would be our savior. Little did I realize how vast the erosion was getting, until key injuries exposed the shallowness of this team.

 

Now, it is generally recognized that lengthy, unrealistic contracts with NTC's, vast monies tied up in underperforming key players, and unwise trading of draft picks put this franchise, with a shoestring budget owner in the conundrum where we find ourselves today!!

 

Now, on a more upbeat topic, am I misunderstanding the sequencing of playoff tie breakers, or, by virtue of the overtime(SO) loss of LA last night, didn't they move ahead of Calgary with whom they are tied in points? The NHL site states that they are currently "out" of playoffs, but I thought that after points, the 1st tie breaker was actual games won(somebody on here I thought said that this would be games won+SO)!! Correct me on this please.

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Kjun, you are right about being thankful for JR's earlier contributions.  I personally think he got too close to the players after the Cup year.  He always had too much faith in "the group" and always thought they were too close to blow it up.  It seemed that he didn't want to see the fact that his chosen few did not have what it took.  I also think he put too much credit on his ability to find the diamonds in the rough.  He hit a couple earlier on, but that ability left him.

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Now, on a more upbeat topic, am I misunderstanding the sequencing of playoff tie breakers, or, by virtue of the overtime(SO) loss of LA last night, didn't they move ahead of Calgary with whom they are tied in points? The NHL site states that they are currently "out" of playoffs, but I thought that after points, the 1st tie breaker was actual games won(somebody on here I thought said that this would be games won+SO)!! Correct me on this please.

 

Calgary has the higher ROW, so you are correct.  Calgary's ROW is 39, LA's is 37.

Edited by wxray1

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JR inherited a Pens team with two of the top players in the world and have been a playoff fixture every season.  He has turned them into a team hoping to stumble into the playoffs.  Where have we seen this story before?

 

If the franchise was in such good shape, why in the world would it replace both the head coach and GM last offseason? :unsure:

 

Hey, I have nothing against criticising JR for how he left the Canes. And I'm not saying he's done a great job in Pitt.  I just think putting all of the blame for the Pens current situation on JR may be based as much on emotion as it is on reason.    

Edited by LakeLivin

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If the franchise was in such good shape, why in the world would it replace both the head coach and GM last offseason? :unsure:

 

Hey, I have nothing against criticising JR for how he left the Canes. And I'm not saying he's done a great job in Pitt.  I just think putting all of the blame for the Pens current situation on JR may be based as much on emotion as it is on reason.    

 

I don't think their issue is all JR, but I don't see how they thought he was going to be the one to lift them out of the position they were in.  I don't know why a team that finished 6th in the league last year with 109 pts, would fire the GM and coach and hire a GM that led a team to April tee times for 5 straight years to fix the problem.

 

Lake, I think that is our issue here.  It isn't a surprise that they are where they are.  I'm not blaming JR, but I don't see how anybody thought he was going to fix a problem that the only solution was to win the whole damn thing.  If it ain't broke, don't hire JR to fix it.

Edited by super_dave_1

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If the franchise was in such good shape, why in the world would it replace both the head coach and GM last offseason? :unsure:

 

Hey, I have nothing against criticising JR for how he left the Canes. And I'm not saying he's done a great job in Pitt.  I just think putting all of the blame for the Pens current situation on JR may be based as much on emotion as it is on reason.    

 

Didn't say that.  

 

But did say that the boat was adrift, and now we hope that JR points it squarely toward land with full sails.

 

So far he isn't disappointing.  

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Looking back at what we got for Sekera which was a HUGE bargain price and what we got for Jussi Jokinen which was also a HUGE bargain price.  I don't see us being competitive again for a significant amount of time.  There is no way that we draft someone who comes in and he starts playing lights out.  I more see whoever we draft probably taking the path of development which Lindholm went through.

 

Don't expect us to start winning until both Cam and Eric's contracts are gone and/or restructured when they're resigned at a discounted price.

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I don't think their issue is all JR, but I don't see how they thought he was going to be the one to lift them out of the position they were in.  I don't know why a team that finished 6th in the league last year with 109 pts, would fire the GM and coach and hire a GM that led a team to April tee times for 5 straight years to fix the problem.

 

Lake, I think that is our issue here.  It isn't a surprise that they are where they are.  I'm not blaming JR, but I don't see how anybody thought he was going to fix a problem that the only solution was to win the whole damn thing.  If it ain't broke, don't hire JR to fix it.

 

s_d, from what I've read the Pens were more broke than just not winning a cup recently.

 

Here's 2 articles that I think give a reasonable accounting of Rutherford, Shero, and why the Pens are where they are now.  (I added highlighting to the points I thought were most relevant)

 

One is from just after JR was hired and highlights the salary cap mess that Shero left. http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/penguins/2014/07/02/Ron-Cook-Penguins-general-manager-deals-with-salary-cap-mess/stories/201407020093

Excerpts:

Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said the team had “a really good day” Tuesday, the first day of the NHL’s chaotic free-agency period. It did to a degree, thanks to Rutherford’s shrewd move to bring in front-end defenseman Christian Ehrhoff. But that doesn’t mean the Penguins are a better team than when Rutherford replaced Ray Shero, who was fired May 16. They are not. It is not even close.

 

Not much of that is Rutherford’s fault. Blame him, if you like, for not getting more than wingers Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling in the James Neal trade with Nashville last week — that’s a debatable point — but give him credit for what he did Tuesday, making at least something out of the salary-cap hell created by Shero, who allowed the roster to become top-heavy and old. There was no way Rutherford could match the four-year, $16 million contract that Jussi Jokinen received from the Florida Panthers. Certainly, there was no way he could match the insane deals that Matt Niskanen (seven years, $40.25 million) and Brooks Orpik (five years, $27.5 million) took from the Washington Capitals and the even more absurd contract that Deryk Engelland (three years, $8.7 million) signed with the Calgary Flames.

______________________________________________________

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The second is from a week ago and highlights what they view as the biggest mistake JR made this offseason. http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/eye-on-hockey/25132557/injuries-cap-management-putting-unnecessary-stress-on-penguins-d

Excerpts:

When it comes to the play on the ice, things probably still are not as bad as they seem, especially given their recent string of injuries that has taken Evgeni Malkin, Patric Hornqvist, Kris Letang and Christian Ehrhoff out of the lineup at different times -- and in some cases, at the same time -- over the past couple of weeks. They're a different team when those guys are in the lineup, especially when it comes to Malkin (in their past seven games without him in the lineup, Sidney Crosby is the only player on the roster that has more than two points in those games -- he has eight).

 

One of their issues, which isn't getting anywhere near enough attention, has been the fact they have had to play the past two games -- Sunday's shootout win over San Jose and Wednesday's loss to the Flyers -- with only five defensemen in the lineup. On Wednesday, they did not even have a full roster of players at their disposal, something that they have had to do two different times over the past week with the playoffs just around the corner.

 

It is entirely due to salary cap restraints, and it is completely absurd.

 

Part of it is bad luck.

 

Nobody ever plans to be without three of their top-four defensemen (which the Penguins currently are) or a couple of their forwards -- including one of the best offensive players in the world -- all at the same time. But injuries happen. Over an 82-game season you're going to run into some weird situations that you have to work through. Sometimes you can't avoid that.

What you can avoid, though, is putting yourself into a situation where you literally can not call up a single player on a league minimum contract to fill out an entire NHL roster because you haven't given yourself enough salary cap space to work with. When that happens during the home stretch of the regular season with the playoffs just around the corner, making your remaining healthy defensemen take on an increased workload, it just puts the situation under an even brighter spotlight.

Especially when three of the defensemen that have to take on those extra minutes are over the age of 30.

 

With Crosby and Malkin in their late 20s the Penguins are in a win-now mode -- and should be -- and are going to do what they can to put a winning team on the ice around their two superstars. They are going to be a team that spends to the cap, which makes finding cheap, productive players all the more important. Former general manager Ray Shero didn't exactly leave a stocked cupboard of young, cheap talent ready to break into the NHL that could fill complementary roles, and he left more than one bad contract behind.

But Rutherford hasn't really done anything to remedy the salary cap situation, and that's a problem.

 

Shero left more than one bad contract behind (Scuderi; Chris Kunitz's deal isn't going to look very good in the coming years, either), but Rutherford hasn't done anything to fix it.  He has overturned more than half of the Penguins' roster since taking over the team back in June, and when you look at the moves individually, they for the most part look pretty good. Ehrhoff, Steve Downie and Blake Comeau were all excellent free agent additions. Patric Hornqvist and David Perron are legitimate top-six wingers.

 

But that salary cap situation. It's only getting worse. To the point that not only did they have to recently keep Pouliot in the minors due to his salary cap, but can't even put six healthy defensemen on the ice. How does a team with a GM that has been around the game as long as Jim Rutherford has been -- and during the entire salary cap era -- not give itself any wiggle room to allow for callups in case there is a run of injuries? Especially with this team where injuries seem to be a constant.

_____________________________________________________________________

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Like I said, I'm not making a case that JR is doing a great job in Pitt.  But the recent crisis seems to be more the result of Shero created cap issues and a rash of recent injuries than JR mismanagement. Which, so far, seems to be mostly not leaving enough seasonal cap space to weather the injuries (certainly not a problem he encountered at Carolina :P )

 

As others have mentioned, I'll be happy if the Pens bad fortune continues. :D

Edited by LakeLivin

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I can't speak for anyone here, but you do realize how many old wounds just gashed open again, right?

 

Excuse me while I go puke. 

 

Then I'll kick YOUR dog.

 

Sarcasm alert.

Edited by coastal_caniac

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Sorry, let me fix that:

 

Jim Rutherford hasn't stopped beating his wife. Rumor has it that he's a closet communist and we have yet to receive confirmation that he isn't a pedophile. French authorities are investigating the possibility that Rutherford, not the co-pilot, was behind the Germanwings flight 9525 crash.

 

Better? :P

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By the way, coastal, "gashing open old wounds" might be what we all need to really being determined to get rid of all the old stones we wear around our collective necks. That way, there really is no additional sentimental attachment to ones who might be "fan favorites".

You know that I'm just picking with you cc, as I am just as guilty as anyone who has a favorite like Manny and hated to see him play elsewhere.

At any rate, the powers that be need to be very surgical in reshaping the team this off year, and please limit the "recycling" that seems to be a lethal flaw. Loyalty is an enviable attribute, I am the 1st to agree, but certainly can cloud judgement at times.

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Hey, I was messing with Lake.  He had to go and present facts to go with my emotional response.

 

Frankly, I think Lake is right, JR hasn't had enough time to completely screw the pooch. I have time to wait. Should be anytime now.  ;)

Edited by coastal_caniac

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Well, JR did sign 30yo Marc Andre Fleury to a 4 year $23m extension.  If Fleury tanks, that will hurt a bit.

 

Actually, I'm wondering if JR will be around long enough to do any real damage beyond what was already there.  Speculation is that he's only temporarily holding down the job until assistant GM Botterill gets a bit more seasoning. Remember, the Pens kept their assistants on even though they fired Shero.  Here's what one of the Pens fans said on their board:  

 

"You also have to wonder how much the gaggle of assistant GM's are doing behind the scenes.  Botterill may be doing more GM functions than Rutherford at this point for all we know. "

 

Even if so, we can always hope for this: if JR is mentoring Botterill, he may pass on some of the traits that led him to be so beloved in Carolina. :P

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With the season almost gone I'm trying to think what good has gone on this season. Its difficult in such a dismal season to point to anything that stands out. I think there are a few good things. If I only had to pick one I would point to the play of Lindholm. He appears to have matured as the season has gone on. He belongs. I don't know what his future will be, how good he will or won't become, but he now plays the game in a much better way than just a season ago. He positions well, uses his body and can score.

 

Anyway if I could pick just one bright spot in the season it would be the improved play of Lindholm

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I think if we see Lindholm (only) as a bright spot---we are overlooking the

largest bright spot, THE COACHING STAFF :

 

Peters has done what he said he would do. He has hammered his style of play,

his system if you will,-without apology. He has held guys accountable, and benched

or cut ice time, like he said. Roddy has worked hard with the PP and we have seen

improvement. The D coach has the PK humming. The goalie coach helped Cam turn

around his play--most noticible the glove side.

 

BP has already formulated thoughts about each player going forward, and I think RF

will listen to him and work with him.

 

I would also add---Rask, the pickup of Nesty and Faulk"s improvement as bright spots.

Just my $.02

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My issue with this post is that the emergence of Rask, Netsy, and Faulk along with Lindholm's natural increase in production does not make up for the lack of production from Skinner, Staal, Staal, Semin, and Gerbe.  That lack of production falls on the coach IMO.  While Peters is probably a good defensive coach he so far has not been that great of an offensive coach.  Bottom line:  In my opinion the verdict is still out on Peters.

 

The only thing I will tip my hat to aside from Faulk is the goal tending.  It has been incredible this season which is surprising.

Edited by bluedevil58

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I wasn't saying Lindy was the only bright spot. I was saying that if I had to pick one bright spot that for me it was Lindy, Maybe because I wasn't sure going into the season that he was developing as was projected.

 

There is no question there are other bright spots including coaching, Rask, Faulk etc but for me Lindy tops my list.

 

I guess I'm really interested in finding out what others think is their top bright spot of the season.

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For me it's the organization's change of direction. I agree with the other positives already cited, Rask especially. But I am absolutely crazy about having a coach who uses the healthy scratch to incentivize players - and a GM who lets him do it.

 

Someone else said it already (KJUN maybe?) but with the right deals over the summer, I think we could be talking about BP for the Jack Adams trophy in one of the next two seasons. 

 

Shorter: BP has done what needed to be done. Now the question is whether Ronnie will.

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I think Lindholm is a good pick for the number one positive. Mainly because he represents the future and at a number five pick simply cannot be a miss. While he did not have a breakout season ( I believe that will come next year) he did make it clear that he is a NHL player that belongs in the top six.

The reemergence of Cam Ward is also pretty cool if nothing else because he could be traded.but also because if we do surprise people next year our goaltending tandem will be very solid.

Victor Rask is probably next for me simply because he was not expected to be this good. I also believe that he will emerge next year is a solid top six contributor. All of the talk of our poor drafting here is a second rounder who is going to be a top six forward who plays both ways, and he can play center which is a more valuable position.

Faulk emerging into a top two defenseman will be critical given our defense at the moment.not really surprised by him but pleased to see him develop so well.

And I to believe in the coaching staff and our special teams play is been nothing short of astonishing.

Nestrasil Will be a solid top nine player as well. And we have found an acceptable NHL fourth line. All without drafting any of them.

There are a lot of bright spots unfortunately they are all in the definition of not current high ranked stars with the exception of Cam Ward.

In fact much of the supporting structure for a good team is here good goaltending good coaching, defensive responsibility and strong role players and good up-and-coming youth.

If the guys being paid multimillions to play like star players delivered would be good.

Edited by remkin

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