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Insistent Conspiracy Theories Dominate Penguins Talk

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pittsburgh penguins GM, evgeni malkin

Did you hear that former Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford and Mike Sullivan were at war? Did you know that Rutherford wanted to trade Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, and the cotton candy guy who used to take off his shirt, but Mario Lemieux figuratively slapped the cuffs on Rutherford?

Did you also know these wild spun theories are absolute trash?

Hey, if the Chinese government interfered with voting machines and green berets stormed a storage facility in Germany, while simultaneously old Venezuelan adversaries who are long dead conspired to alter the U.S. Presidential election anything is possible, right? Surely the wily and crafty Jim Rutherford had several trades on the launchpad ready to bring the Pittsburgh Penguins an unprecedented fourth, fifth, and sixth Stanley Cup in the salary cap era.

Welcome to our world, I suppose.

If only Rutherford weren’t feuding with the head coach. If only the Penguins ownership weren’t more concerned about jersey sales. And that’s why Rutherford resigned. Am I right, or am I right?

Ok, enough sarcasm.

It’s time to listen to facts and reason, but unfortunately, the truth isn’t nearly as sexy and fun as the yarns being spun to explain what is somewhat unexplainable.

I must absolutely confess Rutherford’s resignation was a “Holy Sh*t” moment. In fact, my phone blew up with those exact words from at least two colleagues and several friends.

Now some hard truth. Do you think a trade the scope of which would involve Malkin could be kept under wraps? Malkin would have to approve it, too. The last time a team kicked the tires on Malkin, we knew it.

But, let’s assume a few people could keep the secret. Everyone involved, including Rutherford, not only denied it but dismissed it with denigration.

You’ll notice not a single legitimate reporter, from Elliotte Friedman at Sportsnet to Darren Dreger at TSN, had a whiff of such a trade.

Let’s take the denials one step further. Most GMs in the league have dabbled with trades that ownership or team presidents scuttled. It’s not a reason to quit with only a few months remaining on a contract, especially from a team that has your back.

It’s not just implausible; there’s zero chatter that it was legit. None. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Bubkis. Bunk.

Why do I feel your keyboards already banging out angry replies? Be careful about believing what you want to be true, rather than the simplest reasons.

Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford decided to walk away. Perhaps there was something he didn’t like. Rutherford’s mistakes were beginning to pile up, and one of his Houdini-like escapes seemed less and less possible.

Update: There was clearly something he didn’t like, but the public theories are don’t line up. What did happen was longtime assistant Jason Karmanos was fired. Dale Tallon was widely believed to be ready to accept a senior advisor or assistant role, then it didn’t materialize.

Rutheford used the Mark Madden radio show on the Penguins flagship radio station to call rumors that he resigned over trying to trade a star “farfetched.”

In his resignation, he cited personal reasons.

Look, I’ve covered fishy situations in which parties issued denials that smelled worse than the fish dumped into the back of my minor league GM’s car one summer. If you’re objective, you can tell. There’s a huge difference between rejecting truth and rejecting a story because the denials are disconnected doublespeak.

Trade Malkin!

The time to trade Evgeni Malkin was the summer of 2019 when Florida came calling with a hefty package. But it can’t be overstated what happened in the wake of the discussions.

Multiple outlets, including Pittsburgh Hockey Now, reported the internal conclusions: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang should be allowed to retire with Penguins if they choose.

That fact was restated by all involved, again, this week.

Malkin is scuffling this season. There isn’t a doubt, and the Penguins big man owned up to it on Thursday night.

It may seem like a lifetime ago, but that was Evgeni Malkin carrying the Penguins last season with 74 points (25g, 49a) in just 55 games. Malkin’s admission that his conditioning was affected by COVID restrictions holds water; he’s not the only veteran slow to reach his optimal game.

What’s with the vitriol towards Malkin? It’s a bad look.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Eric Young
Eric Young
8 months ago

Rust must have missed the conditioning memo and no fans no energy memo. In case you need an older player to relate to see Chara. That bs excuse holds no water with rich millionaires paid to be in shape. Good thing for us you have all the answers 🙄 It is a shame YOU can’t be objective instead of accusing your paying sybcsribers of being non-objective. Though I agree Malkin being traded wasn’t what caused him to step down, attacking your paid subscribers hardly seems intelligent from someone in your position.

Jay95
Jay95
8 months ago
Reply to  Eric Young

Huh?

Kenneth Colligan
Kenneth Colligan
8 months ago

Hey Dan, at risk of being called a conspiracy theorist, but if you think Rutherford woke up six games in and decided to pack it in you are one naive guy. That was a hostile act from a very nice man. It just did not happen. A lot goingon behind the scenes that Pgh. Media is not aware of at all. Most revolving around Morehouse. A few hints: Karmanos firing was huge. Also, remember Dale Tallon. Morehouse sure does. And the big one. About a year and a half from now. Selling of the team. But of course, we are… Read more »

Katz
Katz
8 months ago

Yes I agree with this column. It’s two separate issues being commingled. Rutherford’s departure seemingly for reasons unrelated to roster decisions and more likely personality conflicts and pettiness with individuals in upper management below ownership. The Malkin insertion has more to do with the last two playoffs and ongoing lackluster play by 71 morphed with the many trades made around the periphery of the core . Add the scuttlebutt after the last two seasons , including comments by Rutherford himself & the theme of Lemieux not wanting to trade any stars and ….. Bingo. Conspiracy theory . That being said… Read more »

noneof yourbusiness
noneof yourbusiness
8 months ago

your stupid political comments just cost you a potential customer dummy. no more clicks for you.

David Heyl
David Heyl
8 months ago

Enough, it is what it is. This is what I want to see. A pens SUPER LINE!!! Crosby, Malkin, and who ever might fit. Let the boys have fun as they head into the sunset. I am tired of the 3 rd line center issue, the Crosby winger issue, the 4 Th line sucks issue. I see peaks into the future Joseph, Marino, Kapp, etc. I am tired of the same old same old. All the building of playing 4 lines etc has distracted from the short time we have left with 87 & 71. The grey beards should have… Read more »

Ether
Ether
8 months ago
Reply to  David Heyl

They have a Super Line–it’s called their power play. And it has been dreadful to watch so far (for a long time really). No look passes that need to bounce over three sticks to work and such. I have been saying the same thing for weeks and weeks–put Jake with Geno at 5 on 5 and get a big body in front of the net. Both will start scoring. Yet Sullivan seems to punish underperforming lines by stripping them of their best performing assets. And always shuffling does not build chemistry.

pensfan
pensfan
8 months ago

letang has been le-turnover any true die-hard penguin fan will tell you the same what he brings on a shoot out or some rare occasional elite move in the o-zone does not equate to his liability on defense. Malkin is slow the skates look like he is pulling a tires on the ice. Good For GM Jim to leave this team which is likely to miss the playoffs

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[…] Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The rumors that Pittsburgh Penguins Jim Rutherford resigned over feuding with Mike Sullivan, that he wanted to trade Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang but owner Mario Lemieux wouldn’t let him aren’t true. […]

Keith Thomas
Keith Thomas
8 months ago

Well it is not uncommon for people to speculate on something that is for all intensive purposes completely inexplainable. JR was gliding along and everyone says things are normal… trying to patch the team together because of a rash of injuries on a struggling team. THEN in less than 24 hours….. 1) He resigns and did not speak to his wife about it. 2) The resignation caught everyone in the organization by total surprise “in shock.” 3) No one in the organization tried to talk him of the ledge & stick around for 6 months? 4) Everyone affirms there are… Read more »

David
David
8 months ago

Who knows that it’s not something simple that led to Rutherford resigning? Maybe his doctor recommended he has too much stress in his life. Maybe his wife had a health scare and he realizes he’s not getting any younger and wants evenings and weekends with her. Keep digging, but mere speculations aren’t fair to him, the Penguins, or readers. Still, I enjoy your writing.

trackback

[…] mentioned in that report, but there were also whispers of Malkin’s name being out there. Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now notes the rumors aren’t […]

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[…] mentioned in that report, but there were also whispers of Malkin’s name being out there. Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now notes the rumors aren’t […]

trackback

[…] mentioned in that report, but there were also whispers of Malkin’s name being out there. Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now notes the rumors aren’t […]

trackback

[…] Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The rumors that Pittsburgh Penguins Jim Rutherford resigned over feuding with Mike Sullivan, that he wanted to trade Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang but owner Mario Lemieux wouldn’t let him aren’t true. […]

trackback

[…] Letang was the center of the rumors in the previous report, Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now noted that Malkin’s name was also allegedly out there when it came to Rutherford’s […]

trackback

[…] mentioned in that report, but there were also whispers of Malkin’s name being out there. Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now notes the rumors aren’t […]

trackback

[…] mentioned in that report, but there were also whispers of Malkin’s name being out there. Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now notes the rumors aren’t […]

trackback

[…] Letang was the center of the rumors in the previous report, Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now noted that Malkin’s name was also allegedly out there when it came to Rutherford’s exit, but […]

trackback

[…] Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The rumors that Pittsburgh Penguins Jim Rutherford resigned over feuding with Mike Sullivan, that he wanted to trade Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang but owner Mario Lemieux wouldn’t let him aren’t true. […]

trackback

[…] mentioned in that report, but there were also whispers of Malkin’s name being out there. Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now notes the rumors aren’t […]

Thomas
Thomas
8 months ago

Appreciate you trying to be funny but keep your day job…

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