Rutherford stays quiet

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:33 AM ET

Jim Rutherford might need to zip faster than his players in order to avoid being crushed by the Toronto media hordes today.

With the vultures looming over Maple Leafs general manager John Ferguson in expectation of his alleged imminent demise, Rutherford will be a sought-after commodity by reporters when his Carolina Hurricanes visit the Air Canada Centre tonight.

As a former Maple Leafs player, a native of nearby Beeton and a Stanley Cup-winning general manager with the 'Canes in 2006, Rutherford's name is omnipresent in various blogs and internet reports as a candidate to take over the Leafs during the summer if and when Ferguson is sent packing.

"I don't have any interest in (this topic)," Rutherford said last night, just moments after his Hurricanes arrived at their Toronto hotel.

"First off, I have too much respect for the people who currently are doing their jobs (with the Leafs). Secondly, I currently have a job with the Hurricanes.

"I've been lucky. I've worked for the same boss for the past 25 years."

Rutherford was referring to Canes' owner Peter Karmanos.

Though Rutherford signed a five-year extension with the Hurricanes last April, a report in a Toronto publication six weeks ago suggested Karmanos would not stand in Rutherford's way if the Leafs attempted to woo him.

Rutherford's reluctance to open up about the Leafs is understandable for a number of reasons, including the fact that beleaguered Toronto coach Paul Maurice is one of his best friends.

Former Leafs general manager/coach Pat Quinn understands how difficult it must be for Mats Sundin, Tomas Kaberle and other players who served under his reign that ended in 2006 when he was fired by Ferguson.

"When I see some of the guys around, especially some of the younger ones, I do feel bad for them," Quinn said in a phone interview from his Vancouver home.

"It's not really appropriate for me to go on about the past, but I will say that my respect was for the individuals.

"In my seven years, we made the playoffs six times and in three of those, I really thought we could win it. We just left something out there.

"There are a lot of distractions in Toronto so you have to focus on hockey. Many times a slump (lengthens) when you let those distractions get to you."


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