The Penguins search for a new general manager lasted 22 days and landed on former Hartford/Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford. The Penguins had an initial list of 30 candidates. They interviewed 22. Nine were brought into Pittsburgh to personally interview with the team’s upper brass. Then four finalists did a second interview, until the team landed on Rutherford. Below is a timeline of the hiring process.
Thursday, May 16
The Penguins relieve general manager Ray Shero of his duties. The team launches a search for a new general manager.
“When we started identifying candidates, we knew (Rutherford) was someone we needed to talk to,” Penguins president/CEO David Morehouse said.
Thursday, May 29
Morehouse contacted Rutherford, who transitioned from general manager to president with the Hurricanes in April, to gauge his interest in interviewing for the job.
“I got a phone call while sitting on my back porch from David wondering what I was doing and (about) my position (with the Hurricanes), whether I would consider running another NHL team,” Rutherford said. “Obviously the fact that it was the Pittsburgh Penguins, it didn’t take me long to say yes.”
Morehouse contacted Hurricanes owner/CEO Pete Karmanos for permission to interview Rutherford for the position. That permission was granted.
Saturday, May 31
Rutherford flew to Pittsburgh to interview with Morehouse and Penguins owners Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux.
“We had the opportunity to discuss a lot of things. It was a great meeting,” Rutherford said. “We exchanged ideas. More importantly for me was what was going on here, what ideas are coming from ownership. Giving that some thought, I left on Saturday and they said they’d get back to me.”
Monday-Wednesday, June 2-4
Over the course of the next few days Burkle and Lemieux made the decision that Rutherford was their guy.
“Mario and Ron got together and discussed it this week,” Morehouse said. “They determined Jim was the man for the job.”
Thursday, June 5
The Penguins contacted Rutherford in the afternoon and asked him to fly to Pittsburgh. That evening he met with Lemieux and other team executives to sign his contract as the team’s new general manager.
“(Rutherford) flew into Pittsburgh yesterday, met with Mario and our executive team, signed his contract and now he’s ready to go,” Morehouse said. “We’re very lucky that he said yes.”
Friday, June 6
Rutherford is announced as the Penguins new general manager.
“We had the chance to speak to many outstanding hockey people in this process,” Morehouse said. “There were some really good candidates in the mix. But Jim Rutherford, his resume was tough to top.
“We’re very fortunate to have someone like Jim Rutherford interested in coming to Pittsburgh and helping us.”
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