Storm Front: Hurricanes Revamp Front Office As Francis Replaces Longtime GM Rutherford
Hurricanes VP/Hockey Operations Ron Francis officially became the team's GM yesterday as President & GM Jim Rutherford "stepped down after 20 years," according to a front-page piece by Chip Alexander of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER. Francis also will serve as Exec VP. Hurricanes Owner Peter Karmanos Jr. said that Rutherford will "remain as team president but in an advisory role." Karmanos said that Rutherford, who has two years remaining on his contract, will "continue to represent the team at NHL meetings." Meanwhile, Francis said that he had "no reservations about taking over a position he has been groomed for in recent years." Rutherford became President & GM in '94 while the team was still in Hartford and was one of the NHL's "longest-tenured" GMs. He said that the decision to cede his GM duties was "given much thought and not a product of a disappointing season." Alexander notes Francis' "first major move will be in handling the coaching staff" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 4/29). Alexander notes Karmanos yesterday "casually mentioned" that he "planned to move to Raleigh from Detroit" and oversee the team's business responsibilities. He also said that he "plans to be more actively involved with the team" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 4/29). The GLOBE & MAIL's David Shoalts writes Rutherford "will be missed." He was "not just an amiable fellow -- he was an important voice at the GMs’ table, a strong advocate for player safety and against fighting." When the GMs were "taking their first hesitant steps toward dealing seriously with the concussions that plague the sport, Rutherford was one of the leaders who pushed for what became Rule 48, outlawing hits to the head" (GLOBE & MAIL, 4/29).
LIGHT MY FIRE: The Flames yesterday named Coyotes VP/Hockey Operations & Assistant GM Brad Treliving GM. He will report directly to President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke. He will be responsible for all team personnel decisions, both players and staff; manage the amateur and pro scouting staffs; as well as other administrative duties. He also is responsible for all player personnel assignments with the Flames' minor league affiliates (Flames). In Calgary, Scott Fisher notes Treliving spent the last seven years with the Coyotes, and Burke said that his work there "was impressive." Burke: "Brad has learned at the knee of a GM I have great respect for, Don Maloney. He has a key mind and a reputation as a hard worker." Treliving said, "I'm a proud western Canadian. My family is excited to be here. I'm ready for this. I know I'm ready for this. I know the expectations and the expectations of this fanbase" (CALGARY SUN, 4/29). Treliving said of Burke, “He is the single most significant factor for me being here. I look forward to working with Brian” (CALGARY HERALD, 4/29). Also in Calgary, Eric Francis writes you would be “hard-pressed to find anyone around the league who doesn't glow about Treliving and his tremendous work ethic," including NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly who "worked closely" with Treliving and Maloney when they ran the Coyotes for the league for three years (CALGARY SUN, 4/29).
BY GEORGE: In DC, Brian McNally noted former Capitals GM George McPhee learned Saturday his contract with the team “would not be extended.” He said, “That’s the business. Am I disappointed? I was terminated, of course. But it’s not the end of the world. I’ve had worse days in my life.” McNally wrote McPhee and his family are “ready to move on to the next stage of their lives.” Whether that will include another GM job elsewhere in the NHL “remains to be seen,” but at age 55, McPhee’s career is “far from over.” McPhee: "No one’s ever told me I have to be a GM for a living. I signed up for this. There are some dark days, but there are a heck of a lot of good ones. It’s been a fabulous experience. It’s been a fun ride” (WASHINGTON TIMES, 4/28). Also in DC, Katie Carrera notes McPhee, who is "well-respected around the league ... may not be out of work long and he expressed a desire to jump right back into managing if the right opportunity arises." McPhee's contract "doesn’t expire until July 1, meaning that until then any teams considering bringing him aboard must first obtain permission from Capitals ownership to speak with him" (WASHINGTON POST, 4/29).