Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins are turning the page following former general manager Jim Rutherford’s resignation Wednesday.
Crosby, the Penguins captain, was informed of Rutherford’s departure after practice Wednesday afternoon. He said a discussion took place Thursday before the Penguins moved on to prepare for their game against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden that night (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SNE, SNO, SNP, NESN, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV).
“It wasn’t anything formal, per se,” Crosby said. “I think everyone got the news all at the same time. I think everyone was surprised. But it was addressed today, since we basically kind of left the rink yesterday when the report came out.”
After acknowledging Rutherford’s success with the Penguins, who he helped win the Stanley Cup twice (2016, 2017) in his seven seasons, Crosby said the Penguins can’t dwell on the change..
“We addressed it,” Crosby said. “I think it’s something that, you just have to continue to move on. Like I’ve said, these things do happen, whether it’s a trade or signings, or [player] movement. There’s a lot of that within a season. Not typically with a general manager, per se, but things like this, they come up.
“I think that’s part of hockey that you learn to understand, that sometimes these changes, they happen. You’ve got to continue to move forward.”
The Penguins are 4-0-1 since starting the season 0-2-0, with an injury list that includes forward Evan Rodrigues (lower body), and defensemen Brian Dumoulin (lower body), Mike Matheson (upper body), Marcus Pettersson (upper body) and Juuso Riikola (upper body).
Dumoulin, who usually plays on the top defense pair with Kris Letang, will be out week to week after being injured during a 3-2 overtime loss to the Bruins on Tuesday.
The injuries, especially at defenseman, and Rutherford’s departure could give the Penguins more reason to come together, coach Mike Sullivan said.
“Sometimes when adversity hits and these types of things occur in pro sports, and this is a reality in our business, we have an opportunity to rally around one another,” Sullivan said. “Make sure we utilize the game as a means to stay focused and to accomplish what we set up to accomplish. Right now our mindset is on the game tonight. We’re not going to look beyond it.”
Like the players, Sullivan also was told of Rutherford’s resignation after practice Wednesday. During his six seasons as coach, Sullivan said he formed a close friendship with Rutherford.
The two were “in-sync on how the day-to-day operations of the team ran,” he said. But Sullivan doesn’t plan on altering his approach without Rutherford.
“My job doesn’t change,” Sullivan said. “I’m going to coach this team the best way I know how. … Our positions here don’t change. We’re going to do our very best to put this team in the best possible position to win.”