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Who's Next

While today's post title isn't a song title, it is the title of one of the greatest rock albums of all time so I think it will suffice. Besides, it's fits my topic better! The question of the moment is, who should the Canes hire to replace the recently "retiring", Jason Karmanos? Jim Rutherford says that he has a short list of possibilities, so Canes Country Blog will guess who is on the short list and see what each candidate can bring to the table. Candidate number one is Ron Francis. What needs to be said about "The Franchise?" He has name recognition, he has vast experience as a player, he's entrenched in the community, he gives the position and the team instant credibility, and he's a diligent, hard worker. He doesn't have much experience in management, but he can probably learn as he goes under the watchful eye of Rutherford. This choice would certainly make the fanbase happy. Francis recently told WRAL that he is interested in the position, so that makes him a front-runner, in my opinion.

Next on the list is Marshall Johnston, the current Director of Professional Scouting for the Hurricanes. While Francis lacks management experience, Johnston makes up for it in spades. He has 30 plus years of experience in the NHL, including past stints as general manager and assistant general manager. He's mostly noted for being the brain-trust behind Ottawa's rise to prominence from being league laughing stock to perennial playoff contender. He's getting up there in age though and at 65, is older than Rutherford. It's not like he will be able to take over when JR retires. If Johnston is hired, I would look at it to be more of a temporary stop-gap, not as a possible fill-in for Rutherford after Jim retires.

Next on my list of possibilities is Sheldon Ferguson. Ferguson was the Director of Amateur Scouting before he left the organization a couple of years ago, and has a long track record of over 10 years with Rutherford. He left this franchise to pursue the position of General Manager of the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL. In a mysterious turn of events, he ended up not taking that position and I'm not sure what he is up to currently. One must assume that since he was pursuing that type of position previously, he would be very interested in the Carolina opening.

Finally, Rutherford might have someone from outside the organization in mind. I won't even hazard a guess as to who that might be. If this person wasn't currently coaching the Maple Leafs, I'd have to say that Paul Maurice would be a good candidate. Maybe JR could hire Johnston to take over until coach "Mo" gets fired, then he can have Mo step in. (this isn't a dig at Maurice, all coaches eventually get fired.) Whoever ends up in this position will work very closely with Rutherford, so I'm sure JR will make a decision based upon, not only who could do the best job, but who he feels comfortable working closely with every day. In my opinion, it would be tough to say no to Francis after he has stated in public that he wants the job. The new poll allows you to make the decision. Who do you think Jim Rutherford will hire?

Last week's poll is down now and it seems that most of you think that Eric Staal will lead the team in goals scored this year. Justin Williams came in 2nd with Erik Cole coming in 3rd. What's somewhat surprising is that "Sugar Ray" Whitney got little respect from ya'll and came in a distant 4rth place. Ray led the team in goals scored last year. Can't he do it 2 years in a row? I have also replaced the old "Tube of the Week" with a new Tribute to Ron Francis. That montage will be touching for the old time fans out there.

The Who