Jim Rutherford is the new President of Hockey Operations and Interim General Manager for the Vancouver Canucks. Without regurgitating his resume’/CV yet again, this conveys his most important accomplishments …
President and General Manager, Carolina Hurricanes – 2006 Stanley Cup Champions
General Manager, Pittsburgh Penguins – 2016 Stanley Cup Champions
General Manager, Pittsburgh Penguins – 2017 Stanley Cup Champions
First of all, Rutherford will be hiring a GM and not holding on to the job himself. He’s 72-years-of-age, he’s been in the trenches plenty, and it’s time to mentor the next guy and help this franchise get to the playoffs and beyond. That said, it might take the remainder of this season until he’s able to give up the dual role, especially if the person or people he’s most strongly considering are presently under contract and working elsewhere.
“So, I have compiled a list of forty people, and I’ve put them in categories as possibilities of potential general managers,” Rutherford said. “One category is guys that have already been GM’s and are no longer with their team, the other group is a lot of assistant general managers that would be entry-level GM’s that I could mentor or work with, that I really enjoy.
“That’s what we’re going to look for, I’m going to start to work on this maybe even later tonight, start to make some calls and make people aware,” Rutherford continued. “I do have one assistant manager that I’d like to bring in this week, I’m just waiting to see if that’s possible or not.”
Rutherford would not reveal that assistant GM’s name but did verify the person would be filling an AGM role and wouldn’t be a candidate for general manager.
As for evaluating the current Vancouver Canucks roster, Rutherford pointed out that he’s been watching the Canucks from 3,000 miles away and needs to get his feet on the ground. He’s seen a lot of the Vancouver Canucks games because he watches hockey most nights from 7 pm to 1 am eastern.
“I’ll look and watch it through the month of January, and being here, I’ll have a better idea of where we’re at,” Rutherford pointed out. “We’re gonna have a real tough road trip in January, you know, going through the gauntlet there of Florida, Carolina and Washington. But we’ll get a better read on this team at that time.”
For now, he’ll support his old friend Bruce Boudreau. The two have known one another for fifty years and Boudreau brags about scoring his first NHL goal against Rutherford, then a goalie for the Detroit Red Wings. Rutherford says he remembers it.
“Very much so, very much so,” he started, “he had trouble scoring on other guys and I was his friend so I let him score.” He earned a good laugh.
“We always kidded that we’d really like to work together someday, we just didn’t know it was going to take forever to do it,” Rutherford said.
Boudreau and Rutherford introduced one week apart: Two down, one to go, and the team can be as picky as it needs to be in finalizing a GM. The coach and president are more than capable of moving the Vancouver Canucks franchise forward in the meantime.