Penguins 'shocked' by Rutherford departure, health not a factor in resignation

Penguins insider Rob Rossi says the it's a big blow to the Penguins
By Chris Mueller and Andrew Fillipponi

Penguins fans and the hockey world received shocking news on Wednesday, when Pittsburgh’s general manager Jim Rutherford announced he was resigning from his post.

The 3x Stanley Cup winner (two with the Penguins) cited personal reasons for his departure.

Speaking to the PM Team on 93.7 The Fan shortly after the announcement was made, The Athletic’s Rob Rossi says that he doesn’t believe anyone in the organization knew the move was coming other than Rutherford himself.

Rossi adds that owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle wanted to sign Rutherford to an extension.

Penguins CEO David Morehouse confirmed in a press conference that Rutherford is not suffering from any physical issues.

“There is nothing wrong with Jim Rutherford’s health.”

“I will also say though that Jim, he’s somebody who has really struggled to find that sort of spark . .
. during the pandemic that in my opinion from talking to him during this, I know he misses his daughter who lives in Carolina, he’s been isolated a lot, I don’t know if that has anything to play into this sort of the mental health aspect,” said Rossi.

Ken Campbell of the Hockey News says that Rutherford told him "it's time to take it easy," and that he could decide to return with another team

If the Penguins had any indication that Rutherford was resigning during the season, Rossi says the Penguins wouldn’t have made all of the offseason moves they did in the front office.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie says he has a feeling that Rutherford could take the rest of the year to reflect and could end up with another team next year. Rossi says that would be a big blow to the Penguins.

Rutherford was hired in 2014 and constructed back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships in 2016-2017.