Mike Sullivan is in the final year of his contract with the Penguins, and Jim Rutherford has made it clear he feels no particular urgency to work out a new deal. Rutherford has consistently praised Sullivan's work, but that apparently hasn't translated to any serious talks about a deal to keep him here.
Rutherford summed up his perspective on the situation this way a few days ago: "Mike's a terrific coach who's done a very good job here. He has good communication with the players, and I would like to see him stay long-term. But when I will get to that, I don't know."
Not surprisingly, that has led to a lot of speculation outside the organization that the two have had a falling-out, that their partnership will end when Sullivan's current contract does, if not before. Such thinking got a boost a week ago, when Mike Vellucci -- who has ties to Rutherford and led Charlotte to the Calder Cup this year -- was hired to coach Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
It's worth noting, though, people inside the organization don't appear to have any concerns about how Rutherford and Sullivan are getting along.
"In all honesty, no," said one member of the organization. "These guys have the exact same relationship they've had. It's absolutely something that's more of an issue for those outside."
Not much wiggle room there, although the person in question added, "I totally get why people would feel that way."
• The acquisitions of Alex Galchenyuk and Brandon Tanev, combined with the subtraction of Phil Kessel, couldn't exactly represent a sea change for any organization, certainly not of the scope Rutherford seems to have coveted since the season ended. Specifics are scarce since that run of activity, but the feel I get from within the team is that they're open to another move up front, that they're open to -- though not optimistic about -- finding a taker for Jack Johnson's contract, and that they're very comfortable moving Marcus Pettersson and/or Juuso Riikola into more prominent roles. But no, nothing seismic there, either. -- Dejan Kovacevic