PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – With the hiring of new General Manager Jim Rutherford today and his subsequent move of removing Dan Bylsma as the team’s head coach, the Pens filled one void but opened another.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Pens beat writer Rob Rossi joined Starkey and Mueller to talk about the hiring of Rutherford, but also spoke about his search for the team’s next head coach, adding that, based off the attributes Rutherford said he is looking for in his next head coach, current Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock fits the bill.
“Pure conjecture on my part, but I think if anybody thinks that the Pittsburgh Penguins are out of the running next year for Mike Babcock, I don’t think there’s any question in my mind that they are going to try and negotiate some sort of way to get Babcock out of Detroit before next year because everything I’ve heard about the next coach they want screams Mike Babcock.”
Babcock remains under his current contract with the Red Wings, but that expires after next year, and there has been much speculation that the Pens would be interested in trying to lure him away from Detroit.
“I don’t know if they’ll be successful,” Rossi cautioned. “I think that’s the guy they want coaching this hockey team, and I think they know that it’s a bad idea to go hire a guy and then try to wait on Mike Babcock, so I think they’re going to try and figure out if they can do that, and Jim Rutherford will be at the GM meeting this week, and I would imagine he’s going to have a conversation with (Red Wings General Manager) Ken Holland about that, what’s it going to take. And you know what, until Mike Babcock commits to another year, I’m not going to believe anything anybody says because remember, three weeks ago, the Penguins told us that Dan Bylsma had a shot to keep his job and the new GM came today and said basically he listened to the advice of ownership and Dan Bylsma wasn’t retained for that reason. I’ve maintained from the very start, I think the Penguins want Mike Babcock, and I think they’re going to go try to get him. Doesn’t mean I think they’ll be successful or that they will be successful, but I think that’s the guy they want coaching their hockey team.”
In the audio link below, you’ll also hear Rossi talk about how long Rutherford will be with the Penguins, why he thinks they still don’t have their long-term answer as GM and why the Pens were so concerned about making sure they didn’t lose now Associate General Manager Jason Botterill during this process.