It’s true Anaheim is a completely superhuman team this season and has been embarrassing nearly the entire league, but the Hurricanes have far too much talent on their roster to look as horrendous as they did on Sunday night. With the playoffs within reach, the streak-and-slide pattern has proven to be Carolina’s undoing. At this point, it has many fans questioning why exactly anyone is bothering.
The Hurricanes’ front office is in complete denial at this point. With the trade deadline on its way, there seems to be nothing on the cooker. Furthermore, head coach Kirk Muller must have taken the same denial pills that GM and human houseplant Jim Rutherford has taken. Leaving Cam Ward in a game while being down 5-0 when three of those goals were entirely due to Ward having entered REM sleep is insane.
Rutherford, Muller and possibly owner Peter Karmanos are operating in some kind of fantasy land where you can run an NHL franchise based on loyalties and being a nice guy. There’s nothing stopping Karmanos from still hanging out with Rutherford after he’s fired him. It can be a thing, because this is not friendship — this is business. The point of running a professional hockey team is to win a Stanley Cup, not be pals with the help.
Muller’s decision to leave Ward in a game he was singlehandedly ruining shows that he is filed in this same drawer.
If Twitter is to be trusted — and it generally is — fans have had it. They are tired of watching everyone else make playoff runs while the Hurricanes play golf. They are tired of watching a GM quit on seasons in March. Season tickets to watch a playoff-less team will not sell nearly as well as playoff priority that can actually be used. It would behoove Karmanos to take a brief perusal of tweets from during and after Sunday’s disaster in Anaheim. It would open eyes.
If the season is to be turned around, there are two choices. Unload Ward as a sign of being serious about rebuilding, or unload Muller, Rutherford and anyone else who guides the team with heart and not head. There is time to salvage the season, and allowing personal allegiances to be any sort of deciding factor is hockey suicide.