(Pittsburgh) Sidney Crosby is used to change. The captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins knows very well that these are part of the reality of professional hockey.
But not all changes are the same. Sure, teammates get swapped, others take an offer from a rival team, or just end up on the long-term injured list. However, the architect’s sudden departure behind the Penguins’ two consecutive Stanley Cup victories does not fall into those categories.
So, yes, it was strange for Crosby and his Penguins teammates to learn after Wednesday’s practice that their general manager Jim Rutherford had decided to step down. Rutherford did not give any specific reason other than to cite personal reasons, and did not explain his decision to anyone, not even Crosby.
“Everyone was surprised,” Crosby admitted Thursday.
The number 87 believes, however, that Rutherford’s contribution to one of the NHL’s most prestigious dealerships says it all. And the Penguins aren’t in such a bad shape, after all.
“And I believe there are still some very good people in place who will continue the good work,” continued Crosby.
Patrik Allvin will now be able to take over from Rutherford. The 46-year-old, who was on the Penguins’ scouting squad for many years before becoming an assistant at Rutherford last fall, has also become Sweden’s first NHL general manager. Allvin, however, did not take the time to assess the extent of this appointment.
“It’s a real whirlwind,” Allvin said. Emotions are jostling. I don’t know what to think of it. ”
Allvin believes that the philosophy implanted by head coach Mike Sullivan and the fact that he can borrow certain ideas from owner Mario Lemieux means that his reign will be a continuation of Rutherford’s.
“I believe the work of ‘Sully’ (Sullivan) over the past five years, the team’s philosophy and its identity sets the stage for eventual success,” Allvin said.
“We have just been put to the test and we have always adopted the mentality of the neglected, he recalled. It will test the depth of our organization, but also the character of our players. ”
In the meantime, Allvin will have to develop his relationship with Crosby – even though they arrived in Pittsburgh around the same time, the two have traded very little so far – and Russian Evgeni Malkin, in particular.
Meanwhile, Penguins president David Morehouse has indicated that Allvin is among the candidates for the general manager job. The coming months will be decisive in the process of hiring the next person to fill this position, without an acting label.
“I don’t expect anything other than to be in Pittsburgh and be ready to face the music,” Allvin said. This is my message to the staff. Obviously, I will chat with “Sully” further to determine his needs.
“But I think we have a lot of quality pieces in place. I’ll do my part, my job, and we’ll see how far it gets us. ”