Kovacevic: This time, Rutherford had his back to the wall


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Jason Zucker. - AP

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Funny how a script can flip.

Nearly a month ago at PPG Paints Arena, the Penguins had slashed up the Wild, 7-1, a massive embarrassment for Bill Guerin making his homecoming, for Bruce Boudreau hilariously making out the wrong lineup card and for everyone on the Minnesota side. And minutes after it was done, I couldn't help but notice -- and reported -- that Jim Rutherford and Guerin were walking side-by-side toward the locker rooms, as they'd done for so many years, before Rutherford asked Guerin to step into an office space.

One can only imagine the conversation that ensued between the venerable Hall of Famer and with his vulnerable former protege: 'So, Billy, my boy, that team of yours ... whoa! Good luck with that, huh? Might take you a decade to fix all that up! Hey, anything I can do to help out? Y'know, for old time's sake?'

I'm kidding, of course. As I wrote then, one can pretty much be certain they were talking about a Jason Zucker trade.

Well, fast-forward, and here we are. Only in a far different setting, a far different circumstance.

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