Rutherford has finished his career in Carolina as a complete disaster and a liability to the franchise. While it’s true that it wasn’t always like that and that there was a time once when Rutherford was a good thing for the Hurricanes, that time is over, and so is Rutherford’s tenure.
Running an NHL franchise is a “what have you done for me lately” sort of endeavor. It’s cute sometimes to look back at what a swell guy someone once was back when they ran the team with some sense, but that’s not constructive and does nothing for the team. That sort of rose colored hindsight will sell newspapers, but does nothing for the team.
To celebrate Rutherford’s departure is perfectly justified. While he might have set up teams that went to the Stanley Cup finals and made solid playoff runs, what remains is the last five years where the Hurricanes have missed the playoffs and have embarrassed the city of Raleigh.
All of this while Rutherford did nothing.
This is a man who sat idle at trade deadlines, threw money at players who didn’t deserve it, and allowed agents to walk all over him. No matter how many banners sit in PNC Arena and how solid a following the team has, what matters is what is and will be happening, which is a complete farce.
Rutherford took a great franchise and made them a punchline. If he’s walking out, he needs to take head coach Kirk Muller with him. These two guys have been running the Hurricanes like they had a bet with the Buffalo Sabres as to who could screw their franchise up the fastest.
Replacing Rutherford with VP of Hockey Operations Ron Francis is what will usher in the rebirth of the Hurricanes. This is a man who was responsible for putting the Hurricanes on the hockey map with his leadership and solid play. In his time in the front office, he has established himself as one of the premier talent scouts in the league.
With Francis at the helm, it’s a near guarantee that things will turn around. Not overnight, and not a “new look” squad, but not the sick joke brought about by Rutherford’s senility.
The only nod to Rutherford’s successes that needs to be out there, is hanging in the PNC Arena rafters. Other than that, fans should say good riddance to bad rubbish.
If he was so amazing, why is Carolina in the spot they’re in now?