The Pittsburgh Penguins made two major moves on Friday, announcing the hiring of Jim Rutherford as general manager and firing Coach Dan Bylsma after six seasons.
The Penguins fired General Manager Ray Shero last month after the team collapsed in the Stanley Cup playoffs against the New York Rangers. At the time, the team retained Coach Dan Bylsma, pending the hiring of Shero’s replacement, but Bylsma was not in Rutherford’s plans.
“Dan is a good man and a good coach, but I thought we needed a change in direction moving forward,” Rutherford said in a statement released by the team. “I have no doubt that he will go on to be a head coach in the National Hockey League and have success. The search for our new head coach will begin immediately.”
[Related: Penguins’ collapse was not Bylsma’s fault.]
After Bylsma led the Penguins to the Stanley Cup in 2008-09, his first season, they advanced to the conference finals only once: last season, when Pittsburgh was swept by the Bruins.
Rutherford was general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes for 20 years — helping mold the team that won the 2006 Stanley Cup — before being replaced by Ron Francis in April. He was expected to stay on in Carolina as the team’s president before taking the Pittsburgh job after interviewing on Thursday.
“This is a job most GM’s would like to have,” Rutherford said in a news conference on Friday.
All of our best to our old boss as he heads to Pittsburgh. Except when we play the @penguins, of course.— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) June 6, 2014