Shaya also does an excellent job in his interviews. He asks open-ended questions and lets the person being interviewed talk. Last night he interviewed Jim Rutherford during the second intermission. I got a tweet asking me to summarize the Jim Rutherford interview so here goes:
Jason Shaya asked Rutherford to give his analysis of the game. Jim Rutherford responded that he thought the Rockford game was well-played and had great pace; but that Charlotte was the better team and should be ahead by far more than it was. [Unfortunately, the Checkers ran out of gas with Dalpe being hurt, and Rockford came back in the third period to win the game].
Rutherford also noted that he liked a lot of the players tonight, and specifically mentioned Nash and Bowman. Rutherford also stated that he felt with the Checkers' players additional experience and maturity they had a chance of going even further in the AHL playoffs.
[As a sidenote, Dalpe took a dirty hit last night from Youdas and was hurt when he crashed into the boards. Bowman flew in and began pounding Youdas. Bowman is a tough kid and last night he went even higher in my view. It was a spontaneous act of leadership that had to have been noticed by Rutherford and Muller. Dalpe was reported walking around normally and had at least one Tweet so he seems ok. I'm guessing Dalpe was bombarded with well-wishes on Twitter, so his Tweet was one way of indicating he was not in the dark room isolation.]
State of the Canes:
Shaya asked Rutherford if his phone is ringing more and more. Rutherford did not respond directly, but stated that the Hurricanes started out with a bad couple of months; but over the last five or six weeks he liked how the team is playing. Rutherford said some players who weren't doing well are stepping up. Jim Rutherford also mentioned that he had meetings with the coaches, owner, and scouts. His view was that the team still have work to do but was doing better. He noted that the Canes needed to add a couple of players
Rutherford then compared the Hurricanes/Checkers to the Ottawa Senators and stated that the Senators took players from last year who did well in AHL last season, put them into games in the NHL and played them. As a result the Senators are doing well this year. [Clearly it is the expectation by Rutherford that Checkers players are going to be called up and given significant ice time with the idea the Hurricanes will be competitive next season].
For fans like me who wonder what Rutherford is thinking about Dalpe and Boychuk, Rutherford was asked whether Bowman, Dalpe, Boychuk are NHL ready. Shaya did not include Nash in that list, but clearly Shaya knew he left one guy out because he was trying to find the name in his brain when Rutherford answered. Rutherford responded that he would not say all of them were NHL ready. He said he thought that Nash and Bowman are ahead of the other two now.
Rutherford stated that the other two (Dalpe and Boychuk) are really top prospects, no question (his words); but Rutherford noted that to play at the NHL level you have to play sixty minutes. Rutherford then concluded by saying "All those guys are good prospects." Rutherford then said that the Hurricanes call up the prospects and then send them down to teach them what it takes to be an NHL player.
Rutherford then concluded by talking about how remarkable a player Faulk is and that it is really rare for a young defenseman to be able to play such large minutes and to do so well. He said that Faulk really was overlooked by the NHL media. Rutherford concluded by saying about Faulk, "Faulk has had a great year and has had a great future."
By the sounds of this interview and the body language, Rutherford seems to be happy with the progress being made by the prospects. He doesn't seem anxious over Boychuk or Dalpe. Nash and Bowman are getting praised for their consistency, which seems to be that they have excellent two way games and make very sound decisions and reads on a consistent basis. It is also my impression that there are going be quite a number of changes for the Hurricanes. It sounds like house-cleaning is a real possibility. The reference to Ottawa's rebuild approach through their AHL prospects is what Jim Rutherford has in mind.