position on the PK or whatnot. So I think you definitely improve every time you put some work into it."

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PITTSBURGH -- Jim Rutherford doesnt believe the Pittsburgh Penguins need
to undergo a massive overhaul to regain their spot among the NHLs
elite. Patrick DiMarco Jersey .
One thing is for certain: Dan Bylsma wont be part of the process.
The Penguins fired the franchises all-time winningest coach on Friday
while hiring Rutherford away from the Carolina Hurricanes to replace Ray
Shero as general manager. Rutherfords first decision was to end the
three weeks of limbo for Bylsma, whose star-laden teams had fallen well
short of the Stanley Cup since winning it all in 2009.
"What ownership wants here is a complete change in direction, one with
the GM and one with the coach," Rutherford said.
Bylsma won 252 games behind the bench and was the Jack Adams Award
winner in 2012 as the NHLs Coach of the Year but failed to produce a
bookend to the championship he captured with stars Sidney Crosby and
Evgeni Malkin in 2009. The Penguins were just 4-5 in playoff series
since raising the 2009 Cup, with each loss coming to a lower-seeded
team.
Pittsburghs latest defeat came last month when the Penguins fell to the
New York Rangers in seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Rutherford met with Bylsma on Friday morning as part of an
organization-wide shake-up. In addition to dismissing Bylsma, the
Penguins promoted Jason Botterill to associate general manager, named
Bill Guerin and Tom Fitzgerald assistant general managers.
The 65-year-old Rutherford takes over for Shero, who was fired on May
16. The new gig is a homecoming for the former goaltender. Rutherford
played for the Penguins in the 1970s before spending 20 years with the
franchise that began as the Hartford Whalers, moved to North Carolina in
1997 and won the Stanley Cup in 2006.
The Hurricanes struggled maintaining that success, missing the
post-season each of the last five years. It led to Rutherford stepping
down in April when the Hurricanes promoted Ron Francis -- who helped
Pittsburgh win consecutive Cups in 1991 and 92 -- to the GMs job.
Rutherford took on an advisory role in Carolina with a small ownership
stake in the team, a position he will relinquish in the near future.
The Penguins, meanwhile, plan to get their moneys worth out of a man
closer to the end of his career than the beginning. Rutherford allowed
he will likely only be around "two or three years" and will serve as a
mentor to his new staff, adding he will give Botterill and company "big
roles with a lot to say."
Rutherford hopes to find Bylsmas replacement by the time free agency
begins in July. Considering the talent at the top of the roster, the job
will certainly be attractive. Finding the right fit, however, may be
challenging.
"With some changes, they dont have to be sweeping changes, we can (win
another Cup) in the near future," Rutherford said.
While its unlikely Rutherford will do much to mess with the core of
Crosby, Malkin and defenceman Kris Letang, there are some serious depth
issues, particularly along the bottom two lines.
"Our supporting cast needs to be improved," Rutherford said. "I look at
our fourth-line players and some of those guys are in double-digit
minuses and we cant have that."
What the Penguins do have is arguably the leagues best player in Crosby
and one of its most dynamic in Malkin. The duo has dominated during the
regular season when healthy -- with Crosby the favourite to pick up his
second Hart Trophy as league MVP after leading the NHL with 114 points
this season -- but that success hasnt translated into deep playoff runs.
Crosby struggled in the post-season. He scored just once in 13 games
while maintaining he was not injured. Rutherford will try to find the
right kind of role players to take some of the pressure off his
high-wattage stars.
Coincidentally, the Hurricanes are also looking for a new coach --
Francis first big decision in his new job was firing Kirk Muller after
three years -- and Carolina has been mentioned as a possible landing
spot for Bylsma.
The move by Rutherford -- who won 44 games in net for the Penguins from
1971-74 -- is the latest in a series of significant ties between the
organizations.
Carolina has the longest active playoff drought among Eastern Conference
teams. Its last post-season appearance came in 2009 -- when the
Hurricanes were swept in the East final by a Penguins team that went on
to win its only Stanley Cup under Sheros leadership, the crowning
achievement of his eight years as Pittsburghs GM.
Rutherford and Shero orchestrated the blockbuster trade of the 2012 NHL
draft when forward Jordan Staal was sent to Carolina and reunited with
big brother Eric in exchange for Sutter and prospects.


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The Liverpool striker, who hadnt played since undergoing surgery on his
left knee last month, lashed in the winner in the 85th minute, after
seeing his first-half opener cancelled out by Wayne Rooney.
After surprisingly losing its Group D opener to Costa Rica, Uruguays
qualifying chances have now been given a major lift, while Englands
hopes of advancing to the round of 16 are in real jeopardy after its
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The UFC announced Tuesday that light heavyweight Fabio Maldonado will
move up a weight class to replace the injured dos Santos to take on
Stipe Miocic on May 31 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.Patrice Bergeron started
earning acclaim for his defensive game four seasons ago when he was a
legitimate Selke Trophy candidate for the first time.
It has taken longer for Bergeron to be appreciated as one of the best
all-around players in the NHL. Maybe it started during the Boston Bruins
2011 Stanley Cup run or last years trip to the final, but after playing
a major role in Team Canadas gold-medal performance at the Sochi
Olympics, the 28-year-old is surely considered among hockeys elite
centres.
"I think what hes done is he opened a lot of peoples eyes," Boston coach
Claude Julien said. "I know at his first Olympics he didnt have,
whether it was the opportunity, to do what he did. The last one I think
people realized how good he is."
Statistically, Bergeron had just two assists in six games, but the
Quebec City native shifted from a fourth-line centre role to right-wing
alongside Sidney Crosby and never missed a beat. His nearly flawless
play wasnt a revelation as much as it underscored his growth from the
2010 Games in Vancouver, where he was the 13th forward.
In that tournament, as defenceman Chris Pronger told CBC Sports
recently, Bergeron had a smaller role that was "probably a little unfair
to him."
"Patrice would sit on the bench for long periods of time and then wed
get a penalty and turn to him and say, OK, go out and kill it," Pronger
told CBC. "Thats a pretty tough, but important, job."
Its also an important job to play with Crosby, whose unique talent level
and menatal acuity are often difficult to match. Bergeron said during
the Olympics that the challenge is to be at his best when on Crosbys
wing.
"Its about trying to find him when hes open but also its getting open
for yourself, not just trying to feed him," Bergeron said of Crosby.
"You give him the puck in your zone and he does his thing."
Bergeron said playing with not just Crosby but everyone on that deep,
talented Team Canada made him better.
"I think it helped me with the confidence being there, and the pace and
the level of the game down there, it definitely helped me coming back
here," Bergeron said last week in Detroit before the Bruins finished off
the Red Wings to set up a showdown with the Montreal Canadiens that
begins Thursday.
Sochi gave Bergeron an international showcase to show his stuff, but he
has been a key cog for the Bruins for a number of years. He has played
70-plus games in eight of nine full NHL seasons since entering the
league in 2003 and had 20 points in 23 games when Boston won the Cup in
2011.
This season, though, he was downright dominant at times. With 62 points
in 80 games, a league-best plus-38 rating and a 58.6 per centt success
rate in the faceoff circle, Bergeron was the Bruins most important
forward as they won the Presidents Trophy. LaRoy Reynolds Jersey. .
"I didnt think a guy thats already played eight or nine years can get
better each and every year, but he is," winger Brad Marchand said in
Toronto late in the regular season. "Hes the reason why weve won this
many games this year and why we won the Cup. Hes a phenomenal player, a
great leader, and every night hes on the ice hes a guy you want to
follow."
At one time Bergeron was the player doing the following. Even though he
was taught defensive responsibility while growing up in hockey, Bergeron
looked to Ted Donato and others who were winning faceoffs and playing
in their own end.
Now a veteran on the verge of beginning his US$52-million, eight-year
contract signed last summer, Bergeron is now in the position of
instilling those principles in younger teammates.
"I mean its how I play so Im always trying to talk about that, talk
about making sure we come back on the backcheck and we do the right
thing defensively to create some offence," Bergeron said.
Bergeron doesnt just help Bruins players. Red Wings centre
Riley Sheahan, who was a key piece of their run to the playoffs, said he
studies Bergerons game to improve his own.
Even players at other positions appreciate what Bergeron brings to the
ice. Detroit defenceman Brendan Smith has noticed Bergerons game even
more now that brother Reilly is his teammate in Boston.
"He reminds me of (Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg) because hes so
good defensively, hes so good offensively," Smith said. "Hes above the
play. He makes good decisions. Hes a second quick. Hes strong on the
puck. He makes good reads. You go through the list about a player like
Bergeron."
Brendan Smith said Reilly has picked up plenty of tidbits from Bergeron,
and according to Julien hes far from the only one who can say that.
"Anybody that plays with him and sees his work ethic doesnt have a
choice but to follow this guy," Julien said. "That just makes those
players better. If we see a player that has skill and some potential, we
know playing with Bergie that the other parts of his game will improve.
That certainly is something weve always looked at."
Forget about younger players. Even as Bergeron is a well-established
pro, hes trying to tweak elements of his game that arent quite perfect.
"Youre always trying to work on things," Bergeron said. "Coaches are
doing a great job of showing me some videos with my stick in the right
position on the PK or whatnot. So I think you definitely improve every
time you put some work into it."


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Posted 12 Sep 2016

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