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Penguins can see more changes, says GM Rutherford

"I'm usually very patient," he said, "but my patience is over." Following the announcement that Penguins had signed a three-year…

“I’m usually very patient,” he said, “but my patience is over.”

Following the announcement that Penguins had signed a three-year contract for the 2021-22 season, Rutherford spoke of imminent change. During his first of two press conferences on Wednesday, he said that Pittsburgh had done a trade. Less than an hour later, the penguins announced that they acquired Tanner Pearson from Los Angeles Kings forwards Carl Hagelin .

[RELATED: Hagelin traded to Kings by Penguins ]

Rutherford then spoke again.

“We are not tracking at winning a Stanley Cup right now,” he said during the second session, “and changes are necessary.”

Handel Hagelin, 30, who may be released on July 1, 2019, for Pearson, 26, could be the first of several difficult decisions Rutherford tries to help the penguins (7-6-3) return to shape. They are 1-5-1 in their past seven games and host Atlantis-leading Tampa Bay Lightning on PPG Paints Arena on Thursday (19:00 ET, TVAS, ATTSN-PT, SUN, NHL.TV.)

“Everyone wants to win a championship. I still believe we can, says Rutherford. “If we can come out and do it this year or if we have to make some changes and do it next year, I still think we have a window here. We’ll start making changes this time here … We will make some changes and hopefully get it on track. “

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During a radio interview with 105.9 FM In Pittsburgh on November 7, Rutherford expressed disappointment before the penguins lost a fifth straight game later that day. He said that some players were reluctant to move forward Sidney Crosby Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel and defenseman Kris Letang – all who are 31 years or older Han also described goaltending as inconsistent and said the penguins seemed inadequate.

Rutherford did not change that story on Wednesday, but he said he does not know the penguin, who won the Stanley Cup 2016 and 2017, has bottomed.

“As bad as we know right now, when the penguins are right now and how we play, I do not think we’re at that time,” said Rutherford. “Certainly in the next few months, I see the situation much closer to see where we are.”

President and CEO David Morehouse said he was convinced that Rutherford would do what was necessary.

“We are a bit in a decline, but we are not panicked about it,” said Morehouse. “He will do what he needs to do to make the team better. It’s his job. “

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Rutherford did not waste time by shopping Hagelin, who won the Stanley Cup twice with penguins after having acquired by Anaheim Ducks for David Perron and Adam Clendening January 16, 2016. Hagelin played mostly second-line left-wing with Malkin in the middle of this season and had three points (one goal, two help) in 16 matches.

“At some point we have to make some tough decisions on some good players who are favorites,” said Rutherford. “Of course, most of our players are favorites because when you win a championship, that’s what happens. And turn these players to younger players.”

Penguin coach Mike Sullivan said he hopes for this trade and someone in the future will light a fire under his player.

“I think it should be an alarm clock for all of us that we need to find some consistency in our game,” said Sullivan. “Part of the responsibility when you have success is the expectations are extremely high. Nobody has higher expectations than the people in this changing room.”

Hagelin was popular in the storage space, Rutherford said. He went on to say he was sure that Hagelin’s departure would affect his chemistry, which could be the best.

“I’m not sure how strong chemistry is right now based on what I see,” Rutherford said.

When asked if chemistry has been a concern, Letang said the results spoke to themselves.

“I do not think we’re playing as we want right now,” said Letang. “I do not think we are happy with the result. I think [trades] happens under these circumstances. … When you do not get the results, it’s clear that there is a problem. [general manager] and the coach has some work to do. That’s what they are trying to do. They try to kick things up and try to get on the right track. “

Letang’s review or penguins seemed to reflect Rutherford’s. But despite its critics, Rutherford expects Pittsburgh to succeed.

“I just think we’re in a fun now,” said Rutherford. “We are a delicate team. We are struggling, but most of the time I still think so.”

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