Monday began busy for the Carolina Hurricanes.
GM Jim Rutherford held a much talked-about meeting with head coach Kirk Muller and VP Of Hockey Operations Ron Francis about how to turn around the “slide” Carolina is in. This signals the first time Rutherford has actually admitted the Hurricanes had any sort of issue. There were promises made of trades and doing things that need to be done. Forget that those things needed to be done a month ago — this is Rutherford we’re talking about.
It took until after dinner-time, but something finally was done. Hurricanes forward Kevin Westgarth was traded to the Calgary Flames in exchange for Greg Nemisz. Westgarth has had zero goals, zero assists, is skating at a -2, and has only shot the puck six times. He’ll fit in nicely in Calgary.
The best part is not even Nemisz’s stats. No, the best part is that Nemisz will be reporting to Charlotte (AHL).
Rutherford made every implication Monday afternoon that stuff was about to get real in his office. We’re making some trades, he said. People will have to step up, he said. This is getting turned around, he said. The first move he made was to trade for a guy, then send him to Charlotte. It’s pretty tough to score goals for the Hurricanes when you’re in Charlotte.
The kicker is Rutherford’s statement. He was quoted on the team website as saying, “Greg is a young player and a former first-round pick that we hope will continue to develop into a solid NHL player.”
Well that will do wonders to help the current ‘slide’ the team is on right now, won’t it? Here’s to the future.
To make a salary cap argument is to take the chicken way out. Westgarth was pulling down $750,000 a season. The Hurricanes spent more than that painting stall numbers in the parking spaces outside PNC Arena. It’s not a cap thing. Before this bad trade, Carolina had $3.6 million cap space to play with. It’s not a cap issue, Rutherford is just that maladroit.
The next 12-36 hours will prove crucial. Rutherford showed some spark of reason even calling Monday afternoon’s meeting. Hopefully this stupid trade was something he had to get out of his system before the actual change comes.
Keep telling yourselves that. Just keep saying it.