Posts Tagged ‘General Manager’

Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford says he wasn’t taking an intentional shot at the Columbus Blue Jackets when he made an assessment about Jack Johnson‘s usage that didn’t sit well with John Tortorella.

“I have nothing but respect for the Columbus Blue Jackets,” Rutherford told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Jason Mackey. “They’ve got a good city, a good franchise, a great owner, and (president of hockey operations) John Davidson to run the franchise. I feel bad that it either (came) out the way it did or it upset people; that certainly wasn’t my intent. They have a very good franchise there, and it’s very well run.”

After the Penguins made the signing of Johnson to a five-year, $16.25-million deal official on the first day of free agency, Rutherford told reporters the following about the veteran defenseman, according to The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline:

“I don’t think he had a bad year. He was a healthy scratch at the end of the season. I know the reason why. It wasn’t because of how he was playing.”

When asked Thursday to clarify what he meant by the latter remark, Rutherford declined to elaborate.

“I don’t think that’s going to do anybody any good at this point,” he told Mackey. “We feel comfortable with the homework that we did on this player.”

Rutherford’s initial comments, along with Johnson telling reporters on July 1 that, “I’ve been really wanting to be a part of a winning culture and a place where the expectations to win are as high as they can be,” clearly irked Tortorella at the time.

The always forthright Blue Jackets head coach issued an expletive-laden response in which he said that for Rutherford “to question our decision-making from three hours away, he must be a fucking magician,” later adding that the Penguins GM should “shut the fuck up,” and that Johnson’s statement was “utter bullshit.”

Johnson was scratched in all six of the Blue Jackets’ playoff games this spring and he collected only 11 points in 77 regular-season contests in 2017-18.

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Max Pacioretty‘s days with the Montreal Canadiens appear to be numbered.

Habs general manager Marc Bergevin told his captain there will be no contract negotiation, and that his intention is to trade him as soon as possible, an NHL source told Marc Antoine Godin of The Athletic.

The Canadiens reportedly had a deal in place at this year’s draft to trade Pacioretty to the New York Islanders for a first-round pick, then flip it to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Ryan O’Reilly, who was eventually dealt to the St. Louis Blues. It’s unclear what other pieces were involved, but the deal fell through once Oliver Wahlstrom and Noah Dobson fell to the Isles at picks 11 and 12.

Though the Canadiens are clearly ready to part ways, the feeling isn’t mutual.

“I’ll reiterate what Max has said a number of times, that he loves Montreal, he holds Montreal dear to his heart and he hopes to stay,” Pacioretty’s agent Allan Walsh told Godin.

Pacioretty, 29, is coming off a down year with the Habs in which he scored 17 goals and added 20 assists in 64 games played. He has one year remaining on his deal, which carries a cap hit of $4.5 million, before he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

Lou Lamoriello insists this time will be different.

Having digested the blow of John Tavares jetting to the Toronto Maple Leafs via free agency, Lamoriello told Postmedia’s Michael Traikos that the New York Islanders do not intend on living in the NHL’s basement like his former club did a few years ago.

When Lamoriello and Leafs coach Mike Babcock joined forces in Toronto back in May 2015, they were blunt about the team’s bleak short-term prospects, with Babcock famously warning fans about imminent “pain.” You won’t be hearing anything similar from Lamoriello or new Islanders coach Barry Trotz anytime soon, the general manager said Friday.

“There’s always pain when you miss the playoffs so many years in a row,” Lamoriello said, referring to the old Leafs. “But I think where the Islanders are today are more progressed than where Toronto was at the given time. It’s different.

“In saying that, we have to see. But no, I do not think it will end up the way the first year it ended up in Toronto. Mike (Babcock) and I went through (pain) for one full year in Toronto. I want to jumpstart that.”

Despite the Tavares setback, there is apparently no time like the present for the Mat Barzal-led Islanders. The club’s transactions in the hours and days immediately following Tavares’ decision, while criticized by some as knee-jerk reactions, certainly back up Lamoriello’s “jumpstart” mindset.

The 75-year-old Lamoriello inked pest Leo Komarov to a four-year contract, signed veteran Valtteri Filppula to a one-year pact, picked up winger Tom Kuhnhackl on a one-year deal, traded for fighter Matt Martin (who has two years remaining on his contract), and brought in goalie Robin Lehner for a single season.

“You don’t look back,” Lamoriello added. “You don’t complain. You just go forward.”

Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim was cited for driving under the influence on July 4, Chandler police confirmed to KTAR News 92.3.

“We are aware of the incident on Wednesday involving Steve Keim,” the Cardinals said Saturday in a statement. “He fully recognizes the seriousness of the situation and that this type of behavior is unacceptable and inexcusable.

“Steve immediately alerted the team who in turn reported it to the NFL as required under the league’s Personal Conduct Policy. We are continuing to gather information and will handle the matter appropriately and in accordance with all league policies as well as within the legal system.”

Keim, who’s been the Cardinals’ general manager since 2013, was released by authorities the same night he was cited. The Cardinals have taken a hard stance against similar incidents in the past, and in 2016 released wideout Michael Floyd following a DUI arrest.

“I truly regret my incredibly poor judgment and inexcusable actions,” Keim said in a statement. “Everyone associated with the NFL and its teams is held to a high standard of behavior and I obviously failed to meet that. I sincerely apologize to our organization and its fans as well as to my family. I accept full responsibility for my actions and hold myself completely accountable. Moving forward, I will take the steps to ensure that I never put myself or the Cardinals in this type of situation again.”

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John Tavares took a hometown discount to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but his $11-million cap hit could still make it difficult for the team to keep its big three of Auston MatthewsMitch Marner, and William Nylander.

Matthews and Marner will be restricted free agents next offseason, while Nylander is an RFA right now in need of a new deal. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that the trio could make roughly $25 million to $30 million combined annually. Factoring in Tavares’ contract, that could be close to half the salary cap for four players.

Despite the difficulties that lay ahead, Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas is confident he’ll be able to keep all three of Matthews, Marner, and Nylander.

“We can, and we will,” Dubas told Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek on the 31 Thoughts podcast.

If Dubas can lock all three up to long-term contracts, the Leafs will have four of the most skilled forwards in the NHL for years to come.

However, to remain a successful team despite four potentially massive contracts, the Leafs will need to continue to draft players who can be competent NHLers on affordable salaries in order to fill out their roster.

Only time will tell if they can make it work.

John Tortorella has repeatedly called the Pittsburgh Penguins “whiners” in the past and has unleashed his fury on both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, but his latest criticism is zeroed in on Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford.

Following Pittsburgh’s signing of former Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson, who inked a five-year deal in free agency, Rutherford spoke about Johnson’s varying usage in Columbus, particularly the postseason when he was scratched for all six games.

“I don’t think he had a bad year,” Rutherford told Aaron Portzline of The Athletic. “He was a healthy scratch at the end of the season. I know the reason why. It wasn’t because of how he was playing.”

Johnson’s remarks at an introductory press conference didn’t help matters, either, as the veteran defenseman said, “I’ve been looking to be in a winning culture.”

Clearly, those comments didn’t sit well with the Blue Jackets fiery bench boss.

“All I know is, this organization, from the lawyers, the front office, (president of hockey operations John Davidson), the managers, the coaches, players … has done nothing but try to help Jack,” Tortorella said. “And for him to backhand slap us like this is utter bullshit, and he should know better.

“No one wishes anything bad to happen to him and his family. We wish him the best. But for him to put it the way he put it today is bullshit. And to have a general manager question our decision-making from three hours away, he must be a fucking magician.”

Tortorella’s response comes after the Blue Jackets worked alongside Johnson to help him through an extensive personal bankruptcy case which saw him forfeit nearly all of his salary over the past two seasons.

 

“(Johnson) doesn’t have enough balls to call me back, because I’ve tried to get in touch with him,” Tortorella added. “You don’t shit on an organization that’s done nothing but try to help you. We all know Jack has had some problems along the way here. It’s very well-chronicled. All we’ve done is try to fucking help him.”

Tortorella then turned his aim to Rutherford.

“The thing that pisses me off the most is a general manager in this league questioning and talking about our decision-making,” Tortorella said. “Shut the fuck up!

“I don’t want to go to name-calling, because I know Jimmy. He’s a good man. They’re both good people. But what the fuck are they doing? Get on with your business! I hope (Johnson) plays his ass off for them, but stay the fuck out of our business when you don’t know what’s going on.”

Mark your calendars now. The first meeting between the Blue Jackets and Penguins this coming season is set for Nov. 24.

Shea Weber was expected to return to the lineup by training camp after his recovery from offseason foot surgery. However, the Montreal Canadiens blue-liner has now been sidelined five-to-six months after undergoing knee surgery.

“We were very disappointed to learn that this knee injury will extend Shea’s recovery period,” Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said in a statement. “Unfortunately, this is out of our control and we have to fully trust the medical group in these situations. We are confident that his recovery will go as scheduled and that Shea will return to action as soon as possible.”

Canadiens team doctor David Mulder added he expects Weber to be ready to return to the lineup by mid-December.

Weber has not played since Dec. 16 of last season, missing the remainder of the year with a foot injury. He had foot surgery in March.

Limited to just 26 appearances a year ago, Weber managed six goals and 10 assists in his second stint with the Canadiens. The 32-year-old is under contract through the 2025-26 campaign.