Dreger: ‘Jimmy is going to go down swinging’

Jim Rutherford executed a trade on the same day he received a contract extension, and the general manager has more Cups on his mind for his Pittsburgh Penguins.

Darren Dreger had a Wednesday afternoon radio hit on Winnipeg’s TSN 1290, and was asked about how Rutherford “seems to get an extra bit of juice and fire out of trying to fix something like this” when his team is struggling as they have been of late.

“Is that one of the reasons he wants to be around for three more years at 69?”

“Yes, because Jim Rutherford believes that the Pittsburgh Penguins still have Stanley Cups to win,” indicated Dreger. “Under his guidance they’ve done very, very well. They’ve been incredibly successful.

“I think he can probably see the window starting to close, and that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be imminent in the next year or two that the Penguins are no longer considered contenders, but Jimmy’s going to go down swinging.

“He didn’t like the chemistry of this team. They didn’t respond to certain changes with lineup, etc, so he’s got to step in and make an adjustment. If it doesn’t work on the short term, then guess what - the veteran GM is going to be back at it trying to find something else.

“If he didn’t love what he’s doing, he wouldn’t be doing it. It’s not about the money, it’s about winning and continuing to build a Stanley Cup contender.”

Rutherford’s three-year extension with the Penguins will kick in next season, while Wednesday’s trade saw Tanner Pearson heading to Pittsburgh and Carl Hagelin departing for the Los Angeles Kings.