In announcing Jim Rutherford as their new general manager, Pittsburgh Penguins CEO Dave Morehouse said the team didn’t offer any other candidate a contract. But that doesn’t mean the Penguins didn’t discuss contract terms with any of the other four finalists, like NBC analyst Pierre McGuire.
In fact, the talks with McGuire went so deep that the former Penguins assistant coach felt he had landed Ray Shero’s old job as Pittsburgh GM.
“Oh yeah, for sure,” he told TSN 690 in Montreal on Friday. “When I left that second interview, I was so jacked up.”
McGuire said he had two in-person interviews with the Penguins, along with a slew of phone calls during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. After the second interview, the sides discussed contract terms.
“Any time after that second interview, and you get a call to discuss contract and other things, you have a pretty good feeling you’ve got the job,” he said.
McGuire refuses to share details on those contract demands, except to say they were a significant facet of the negotiation. Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet reported that McGuire wanted a 5-year contract while the Penguins were only willing to go three years.
Please note that Rutherford expects he’ll remain with the Penguins for “two or three years.”
Rutherford’s hiring was a surprise to many, partially because of the new structure of the Penguins’ front office: He’s the general manager, but underlings Jason Botterill (associate GM), Bill Guerin and Tom Fitzgerald will all play significant roles in the brain trust. Rutherford’s job is to groom them to eventually take his place.
Would that have been the same setup under McGuire?
“I’m not going to talk about that, it’s not appropriate,” said McGuire on TSN, in one of a dozen of his denials-followed-by-revelations, as he admitted “all those guys would have stayed on if I had gone there. They wouldn’t have had the same positions, but they would have stayed on there.”
Does he think the Rutherford set-up will work?
“I think that if they win, the succession plan will work. If they don’t, they’ll have to re-evaluate it,” he said.
What would he have done with Dan Bylsma? McGuire wouldn’t share it, but he said he offered a list of potential replacement coaches to the Penguins.
The interview with Mitch Melnick is a good one, revealing the true disappointment McGuire felt in getting passed over by his favorite team (the Montreal Canadiens) and his former employer (the Pittsburgh Penguins) over the last few years. McGuire said he spoke with NBC Sports producer Sam Flood, and that he won’t be going through the GM hiring process again, focusing solely on his television work.
But as for specifics on his negotiation with the Penguins … well, let’s just say Pierre McGuire The GM Candidate is a little less verbose and forthcoming than Pierre McGuire The Broadcaster, out of respect to the Penguins.
“I will never disrespect a team that Mario Lemieux’s a part of, ever,” he said.