It was a proud day for both Jim Rutherford and owner Peter Karmanos of the Carolina Hurricanes as they gave Rutherford's long time protege, Ron Francis, the keys to the franchise. As rumored now for some time, Rutherford stepped down as team General Manager on Monday. While he will remain in the organization as team President, no one will be reporting to him and his role will be advisory only.
"Jim will still be attending the league's Board of Governors meetings for me, because as we know, sometimes owners can say things that get themselves into trouble,' Karmanos quipped.
Other that, it seems Rutherford really will be out of the decision making process and he said he was fine with that. When asked if he would miss things, he replied that he was in a very good place, right now anyway.
"But I have been a competitor my entire life, first as a player, then as a manager. I can't say how I will feel three or six months from now," he said. "But regardless how I feel, my days of managing this franchise are over."
More about that later.
When asked by the media, Francis said that he would be reviewing the status of Carolina's coaching staff, (Kirk Muller was in attendance), and make a decision soon regarding that. His long term plans are to make the Hurricanes a perennial playoff team. He also wants the team to be bigger.
Brian Tatum and former GM of the Plymouth Whalers, Mike Vellucci, were both named assistant general managers.
Karmanos also mentioned that he was moving to the area and would be more involved in the day-to-day
hockey business operations of the team.
We will have much more coming up soon.