Tag Archives: Detroit Red Wings

Draft Schmaft?

If you only read one article today (besides this one of course) check out the hockey news story by Ryan Dixon. It’s another story on how securing a top draft pick is not the only way to build a winner:

Consider if you will:

” the more you look around the league, the more you realize the folly of this sentiment. High picks are to NHL GMs what miracle diets are to the lumpy couch potato; sure, they can give you an immediate jolt, but if you want sustainable results, you have to hit the gym. In the case of NHL GMs, you need your scouts to scour gyms, arenas and any other place you’d expect to find a burgeoning hockey player who has yet to be spotted or has, at the very least, been underrated. That way, your ability to select impact players isn’t restricted to the 20 minutes immediately following the chorus of boos Gary Bettman receives right after saying, “Welcome to the NHL draft.”

There is no question about this. It’s never about 1 guy, it’s a team game and you will win and lose by your roster.

“Want three examples of why you don’t need famine in order to feast in the NHL? Start with Detroit, San Jose and Boston, also known as the three best teams in the league. The highest any of those clubs have chosen since 2000 is No. 5, which is where the Bruins got Phil Kessel in 2006. Boston has selected in the top 10 on two other occasions over that time frame, while San Jose has three top-10 picks, the highest coming at No. 6 (Milan Michalek). Detroit, as you’d expect, has none.All of those teams got to the top – and can expect to stay there – because they’ve done an exceptional job of drafting in the mid-to-late first round and beyond.”

Keep in mind folks this is in the new NHL era. It is the one reason I have hope. The old days of building teams are over, the need for an influx of new minds is every present.

“Once upon a time, the Sens were among the NHL’s best at unearthing draft gems. In 1997, they nabbed Marian Hossa with the 12th overall pick. Two years later, with the 26th selection, they grabbed Martin Havlat. But Ottawa’s depth has been undermined by its inability to continue finding players of that quality. In the virtually idiot-proof first round of 2003, Ottawa drafted Patrick Eaves 29th overall. Boston took Patrice Bergeron with the 45th pick and Nashville hit a home run with Shea Weber four slots later at No. 49.
The year before that, in 2002, Ottawa took Jakub Klepis No. 16 overall. Oops.”

Again, stories of pre salary cap NHL aren’t overly relevant. Teams operated completely differently back then (look at our leafs). The Sens much like the leafs (but to a different degree) haven’t adapted to the post war era. Their GM is still stuck in the old mindset. He has over priced talent that he can’t move and remains steadfast in their value despite their lack of production. Detroit isn’t a fair comparison. They were SO bad for so long that when they started to get it right they had built a system that was for lack of a better word recession proof. The machine was built pre Cap and still works post Cap. Let’s see what they do next season and the season after. The pressure will be higher because expectations are high AND the cap isn’t supposed to increase, rather it’s supposed to go down. The pressure to draft properly especially from the bottom of the rounds will go way up.

“I completely understand why bottom-feeders like the Islanders, Atlanta, St. Louis and Toronto are drooling at the prospect of drafting a John Tavares or Victor Hedman. Those teams are, to some degree, devoid of talent and need a new cornerstone around which to build. But being bad and picking very high for a number of years does have its perils. First of all, the boom only comes after a bust and who knows how many fans a prolonged down cycle alienates if you’re not in a market where hockey is the undisputed No. 1 sport.”

Thankfully that isn’t a Toronto problem. At least not right now. We have suffered so long without a marquee name (an elite, best of the league type) for, well almost ever! ( i know certain Sundin lovers will throw shit at me for that, but the truth hurts).

“Secondly, at some point you’re going to be paying out a huge amount of salary to a small portion of your team. For example, the Chicago Blackhawks will have to pony up for both Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews after next season when their entry-level deals both expire.”

Having two young studs is a problem I can live with. Dixon brings up the Pens with this problem too. I have a difficult blaming the fact that they have 2 guys who are going to make big bucks as the problem. It’s a problem when you don’t have a GM who knows how to put the right pieces around them. I mean no disrespect to Detroit’s grind line, but they are the type of team that they are because their muckers and grinders- Plumbers as Burke calls them are better then anyone elses. That’s where the good teams make the big difference. Great players are great. It’s the guys who get dirty where you need to seperate yourself from the pack.

“Fans of struggling teams can cry for a complete rebuild if they want, but a steady diet of top picks can leave you with nothing more than a bloated salary cap if you’re not supplementing it with a nice dose of hidden gems.”

Or some great plumbers!

you can read the story here


The Ego Of Larry Brooks

Love when the weather is guy is wrong the wrong way! 5-10 cm’s my butt!

Love Larry Brooks article today, it’s so self serving it’s actually funny.

“The marketing people are suggesting that the Jan. 1, 2010 extravaganza might be held in Las Vegas, or at the Rose Bowl, sexy sites that have absolutely nothing to do with the league or the sport.
Would the league get a one-day bump and terrific TV ratings for a neutral-site outdoor game between the Penguins and Caps? No doubt. But would the day advance the league’s interests beyond a one-and-done? Would the showcase improve the state of either franchise? The answers are no and no.”

I agree, an oudoor game in either place would be dumb.

” Now that it has a hit on its hands, the NHL should whenever possible use the Winter Classic as a vehicle to help needy markets and franchises.”

I totally agree.

“Which is why next season’s Winter Classic should be played in New York between the Islanders New York Islanders and Rangers New York Rangers , whether at this new rich mans’ palace masquerading as Yankee Stadium or at the Mets New York Mets ‘ new ballpark with the stigmatized name, or in Central Park. ”

Huh? Needy markets and franchises, got it. New York??? New York is as needy a market as Toronto is or Montreal for that matter!

“No franchise in the league needs more help than the Islanders, the team that time has forgotten. And no city could do more with the spotlight than New York. The biggest market could use some love once in a while, too.”

What???? the team that time has forgotten? What is Larry smoking. The Isles are owned by the one guy Larry bashes more then Bettman! New York is now the “biggest market?” by virtue of what? That there are three teams in the greater Manhattan area? Let’s see the Rangers do well, granted. Very well. The other 2 get pretty poor support. Before you go blaming the arena for the Isles trouble, look at the Devils, who are in a brand new arena. In terms of percentage of the building is full the Devils rank 22nd! Based on overall average which is a tad hard to judge because no 2 arenas have the same capacity, the Devils are 25th!

“A Jan. 1, 2010 outdoors Battle of New York would energize and elevate the Islanders. It would give this woebegone club a spotlight event. It would put hockey on the back page in New York, and not only for a day, but for a number of days. The event should feature a Legends Game modeled after the Heritage Classic the Oilers hosted on Nov. 22, 2003.”

And, what would an event like that be without Scroodge telling everyone how BAD all things related to the game are??? I mean can’t you just imagine, the game in New York and one guy booing loudly from the pressbox??? The game would be on the back page for sure, what would Larry’s headline be? NHL players party hard on Park Avenue?

“But a New York-New York Bowl would benefit the league’s most important American market. That in itself would benefit the league. And this game would benefit the Islanders New York Islanders , the team that time has not only forgotten, but the franchise that is running out of time.”

Excuse me, the most important market? What is that based on? What criteria other then the location of the games most vocal critic determines “the most important market?” What about Detroit, Chicago, Boston or Minnesota?

“The NHL has an opportunity here. It can sell out and chase ephemeral glory in Pasadena or Las Vegas or some other exotic location. Or it can celebrate New York while coming to the aid of one of its historically greatest franchises. Seems like it should be a relatively simple call.”

Here is the funny part. I have no objection with the game going to New York. I think the Rangers hosting a game would be fantastic. I do think though that these criteria as defined by the Ego are nuts. I wouldn’t have the Rangers play the Isles, I would sooner do the Capitals (I mean the best player in the league is on that team, why not display the best you have to offer?) then the Isles. The league is going to play an exhibition game in Kansas City to come to the aid of the Isles (and of course the LA Kings who manage the building in KC right!!?? That will certainly force the good folks of Nassau to build the Isles a new building so that sir Charles can hand out some more 15 year contracts. Oh wait, isn’t the Isles trainer about ready to take over as the next GM??? I am sorry Isles fan, our leafs have a longer drought then you do, I used to be a huge isles fan (I still have a Mike Bossy poster around somewhere)….but Brook’s arguments are nothing but self serving.

I mean wouldn’t this be the type of news the league would dream of if the big game where in New York?:

“You know, we feel very strongly that the situation in Phoenix and Tampa Bay -and affecting other cash-poor franchises – could be avoided if only the NHL had a salary cap.”

Again, to put the game in New York is fine. To do so for the reasons Brooks states would be as ludicrous as the personal agenda items veiled as stories in Brook’s articles.

You can read the ego here

Article of the Morning….

Elliotte Friedman’s blog on the Vinny situation is as good a read as I have seen. The only thing missing from it is an accurate read on how dire things are in Tampa Bay. Elliott’s analysis of the current financial implications and the realities of a trade of this magnitude are bang on.

“So, how many teams are really in this race?

Montreal, for sure. Vancouver definitely could be. It has cap room and prospects. Toronto has cap room, but no prospects. It fits Edmonton’s profile, since the Oilers threw bags of cash at Jaromir Jagr and Marian Hossa. I also wonder about a Colorado, a Dallas, or an LA.”

Take the Leafs out of the picture. It’s not happening. Could you imagine Vinny in Vancouver with Sundin??? Almost happened in TO!

“Lecavalier is a great talent, and a durable one, too. Only twice in his nine seasons has he played less than 80 games – 68 in 2000-01 and 76 in 2001-02. Those two things are extremely attractive to any GM interested in anyone with a long-term deal. But you know what’s become even more important to these GMs? Flexibility.”

Damn straight. Look at the ducks current cap situation, ummmm, who made that mess again ? 🙂

“Other execs are wondering what Chicago is going to do with Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook – tough choices despite Nikolai Khabibulin’s $7 million per season clearing this summer. Even Detroit, the model franchise when it comes to drafting, developing and getting players to take hometown discounts, has team-altering decisions to make. Henrik Zetterberg, Marian Hossa, Johan Franzen and Jiri Hudler (restricted) are all up, and Zetterberg is testing the Red Wings’ limits. (They gave Hossa a one-year deal equal to Nicklas Lidstrom’s $7.45 million, and a 10-year, $75 million offer to Zetterberg has apparently been rejected.) The Lightning themselves are in this situation because of the Stanley Cup gifts awarded to three players, Lecavalier being one.”

Folks- this is why it is good to be a Maple Leaf fan right now. Keep your heads up. If Burke plays this right he is going to be able to have a buffet of choices for top players fairly soon. Be patient. Wait until the cap goes down, then watch teams squirm to get under the cap! This is going to be interesting as hell.

“Then, there is the economic collapse. Teams are under the impression that, at best, the cap will stay the same next season, before decreasing in 2010-11. From Oct. 1, 2007, until the financial lunacy began in mid-September, 37 NHL players signed contracts of at least five years in length. That’s an average of three per month. Since then, there have been three in total .”

That’s right. How would you like to the Isles with a goalie tied up for 13/15 more years who has suffered long term injuries of late. The goal is to build properly. Our building is full every night. MLSE is patient enough to get this built properly.

“Managers exhibiting buyer’s remorse are recognizing a painful reality – that if you want to trade one of these contracts, you’re going to have to make the kind of deal that is difficult to explain to your fans. What they’re hearing from potential partners is some variation of this: “If you want me to help you take this contract off your books, well then you’re going to have to take my brutal contract. Oh, you don’t want to do that? Well, you’re going to have to take something else I don’t want – like a middling prospect or a later-round draft pick. You’re not getting anything of value from me for an asset you’re desperately trying to get rid of.”

Keep an eye on guys like Jason Blake and even, gulp Sean Avery…..These are guys who’s contracts get moved in order to accommodate other moves.

The focus in the trade market has changed drastically.:

“As much as Senators fans are making Jason Spezza the scapegoat, how happy would they be if Bryan Murray traded him for a mid-level prospect and a draft pick that wouldn’t be in the first round? A couple of different executives said unless Murray is willing to take on an ugly contract in return – and he probably isn’t – he may not get much more for his best centre. If you believe the whispers, that’s why number 19 remains in the nation’s capital. A harsh reality for the Senators and their fans. But, if you think trading Spezza is going to bring in the players who will start an immediate turnaround, you’re mistaken.”

This is the reality of life in a cap world. In the NBA they talk of trading salary slots. The NHL is moving towards that. For those who love trades and banter, it’s boring as hell.

“Considering some pretty smart hockey people are now saying they knew about the captain’s availability a week ago, chances are the Lightning know all this already. They might as well roll up the sidewalks outside the rink if they screw up this one. Maybe they can’t afford to keep him. But they can’t afford to trade him for what’s being made available, either.”

I am not so sure on this one. If things are as bad as I am hearing (and who the hell am I?) then I cant imagine how bad things really are.

Under 50 days to go until the deadline…. Buckle up!


Kaberle, Modano, Hull, Avery, Rentals, Caps & Raps… Oh My

I love this quote from Bruce Arthur. Can’t you just picture the scene in the Leafs locker-room, all the regular’s are gathered around Kaberle’s locker, they ask him about his NTC:

“”We haven’t spoke about anything, and obviously my status stays the same,” Kaberle said with an air of finality. “We can talk about tonight’s game if you guys want to.”

After a pause, one sharp reporter said, “Not really.”

That is right out of a SNL skit… whom do you think the “sharp reporter” 10:1 Howie 5:1 Jonas

Oh to be on the Dallas Stars next flight with Modano and Brett Hull… Let’s see, sitting in 11 a is Mike Modano, here is your boarding pass and in 11 C is Brett Hull, here you go…

“”I think we would have analyzed (the signing) a little bit more over the summer before you go into the free-agent market. Do a little more homework and detailed analysis (and get the opinions) of players who have played with him, or how guys feel about it,” said Wednesday the 19-year veteran.
“It could have been avoided, I think, but I think (co-GM) Brett (Hull) felt having him as a teammate (while with the Detroit Red Wings), he saw something in him. “Talent-wise, he’s a very skilled kid. But I think character-wise and his personality didn’t blend with the criteria that we’ve always had as Dallas Stars. Since Bob Gainey was here, we implemented a kind of personality and character-figure in Tom Hicks. That’s kind of where it went off and tail-spinned, and got corrected.”

One word…. Ouch…Gotta love when a guy like Modano suggests that maybe, just maybe it would be a good idea to do some , ummmm, what’s the word for it, oh yeah HOMEWORK before signing a player…. The fact that he references Bob Gainey is even more classic.

Good job of accumulating a list of rental players from Kevin Allen in his USA Today hockey blog:
Jay Bouwmeester (Florida)
Keith Tkachuk (St. Louis Blues)
Mathieu Schneider (Atlanta)
Andy McDonald (St. Louis)
Nik Antropov (Toronto)
Doug Weight (New York Islanders)
Bill Guerin (New York Islanders)
Gaborik (Minnesota)
Maxim Afinogenov (Buffalo)
Sean O’Donnell (Los Angeles)

Another great quote: “Citing declining sales, the CBC has pulled out as a carrier of Toronto Blue Jays telecasts.” William Houston, Globe and Mail. There is no surprise that the CBC balked at a rate of $150k per game to broadcast the Jays games. “Beeston said 145 of the Jays’ 162 games will be televised, 125 on Sportsnet, which is owned by Jays proprietor Rogers Communications, and 20 on TSN.” By the way, did anyone else here this gem from Mr. Beeston while on with Pad Thai (Watters) and Brady ” I am almost finished writing up the job description for Blue Jays President.” Please, someone tell me just how long that should take and what Mr. Beeston (whom I am a huge fan of) has been doing since he took the job???? I guess with the rate of signings and trades he realizes there is no rush to do…..ummmmmm, anything

A subject that drives Howard Berger nuts seems to have been resolved in the media’s favor in Montreal:

“Growing weary of widespread rumours and gossip surrounding injured players, Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau on Wednesday said anyone sidelined indefinitely will now have the nature of their injuries released to the media. No longer will the team report such players have upper- or lower-body injuries.Carbonneau said the decision was reached following a meeting between himself, general manager Bob Gainey, vice-president (hockey operations) Julien BriseBois and the team’s communications department.”

I have heard the arguments from both sides. The anti-reveal argument is if you reveal a player’s injury the opposing teams will attack that injury every chance they can. The pro-reveal argument is simply, we have a job to do and you shouldn’t hide information from us. If the former is true then the injuries shouldn’t be revealed, the hell with the latter.

Tonight’s shows on both stations were the worst I have heard since I have been pre-viewing/reviewing the drive home radio shows on both the Fan and 640, The interview with Steve Nash was pretty dull and almost unlistenable seeing how Nash sounded like he was in an aquarium for it. Kudos to Mccown and Kelley for interviewing an athlete (they rarely do) and for admitting that they taped it earlier (not that it would have made a difference to any of us listening), which they also rarely do. Those who preceded Nash and followed were equally as uninteresting. Over on 640 the lineup with the exception of Dean Lombardi was really dull. Perhaps it was the cold weather, but it seemed to be a night when both stations should have punted. Here’s hoping tomorrow is better.

You know the old saying about a sucker being born every second…
“Sources say the team is expected to be sold within the next two months with current owner Jerry Moyes retaining as much as 20 percent.” That according to Darren Dreger, speaking on the issue of the Phoenix Coyotes. With all the issues facing this team, most importantly a 30 year lease with brutal terms (no parking revenue for the team AND a share of each ticket sold being shared with the city) it’s hard to phathom who would buy the team. That is not to suggest that the team isn’t valuable. Truth is many would leaf fans would gladly change rosters wth the Yotes in a heartbeat… Why someone would buy this team is beyond me…especially right now…

Hats off to Jay Triano for finding Andrea Bargnani’s game. Man, anyone else see him put up 31 tonight in another loosing effort?? Quite an impressive showing for the Big Euro.

If you are a hockey fan, you had to watch, with a smile on your face the play as the Caps defeated the Pens 6-3 tonight. Way to go AO and my adopted 2nd team the Washington Capitals!

Have a good night all


The Best Article You Will Read Today

Friends, if you only read one thing today, read Michael Farber on Sean Avery. This is the type of work we hunger for and should demand more of. For every time we hear “there must be more to the story” there should be an article like this. Brilliant work Michael!

Here is the gist and some highlights:

Avery is a team killer. A train wreck. In complete opposition to what his dad, the NHLPA and other supporters have tried to say before, he is not just a good boy… Farber, at the end of the 3 page must read comes to the realization that someone will one day take a flier on Avery….

” Avery was guilty of hockey’s deadliest sin: being a lousy teammate. There can be room for personal agendas in other sports—think Terrell Owens with the Cowboys—but hockey takes a dim view of square pegs in their perfectly rounded holes. The ethos is different. Unlike baseball clubhouses, where players sit facing their stalls, or football locker rooms, where players are segregated by position, a hockey dressing room is designed so all players face toward the center, gazing at one another. Avery did not look at his teammates in Dallas. Between periods he would often sit by himself in the hallway, headphones on, a citizen of Planet Sean. When Avery was in the dressing room, according to Stars veteran Mike Modano, he was often on his phone, discussing a potential book deal or his movie project, a romantic comedy based on the life of the only NHL player to spend his summer as an intern at Vogue.”

One word….WOW

“Avery wore shorts with his sport coats to preseason games because, Modano said, “he didn’t feel he could express himself if he dressed the same as everybody [else]…. He just seemed unwilling to do what we were all asked to do, on and off the ice. He wanted to march to his own beat.” Avery was the iconoclast clown, throwing spitballs at hockey’s ways.”

To quote LT, “OMG” (oh my god)

“After he signed, I told him that now that he’d gotten the big contract, he could take it down a notch and just go out and play hockey,” said Red Wings forward Kris Draper, Avery’s friend and former teammate. “Unfortunately that’s not what happened.”

We all know it hurts the most when friends go on the record with stuff like this….

“POLL YOUR average American, suggests an NHL veteran, and Avery will draw higher name recognition than any active player aside from Sidney Crosby. Avery, who declined to be interviewed for this story, retains the services of a Hollywood public relations firm, the only active NHL player known to have a nonsports publicist. For him this is a reasonable investment. According to a former teammate, Avery was at a house party in New York City last summer when an actress from a popular television show started chatting him up. She said she didn’t know much about hockey, but she was mightily impressed that the NHL had made a rule just for him.”

It’s true but soooo sad. The guy is better known the Alexander Ovechkin.

“Dave Siciliano, his coach in Owen Sound, had his own Avery Rule, which he refers to as the 80/20: Siciliano devoted 80% of his time to Avery, while the other 20% went to the rest of the team. “You seemed to be dealing with something every day,” says Siciliano. “He had an overzealousness and a lack of discipline that would cause rifts on the ice, at practice, on bus trips.” On one trip Curtis Sanford, now a Canucks goalie, heard a scuffle at the back of the bus and wheeled in time to see captain Dan Snyder, upset by an Avery comment, being pulled off his mouthy teammate. Siciliano wanted to dump Avery, but Owen Sound G.M. Ray McKelvie recalls, “A lot of people had already gotten the idea that he wasn’t a team player. It was hard to make a deal that made sense for us, until one night in Kingston he had three [goals] and three [assists]. A couple of days later [Kingston G.M. Larry Mavety] and I had a deal. Sean could get people riled up, but he was an excellent player.”

Sounds just like the guy you want on your team….Me thinks LT was right on this one….

“after being traded in March 2003 to the Kings, a team less secure in its identity, Avery ran amok, by hockey’s standards. Even with a serendipitous do-over—he was kicked off the team with three games left in 2005–06 for refusing to participate in a drill and arguing with assistant coach Mark Hardy at practice but was allowed back after ownership replaced G.M. Dave Taylor with Lombardi that summer—he continued to roil teammates as much as opponents. He cruelly ridiculed the speech of left wing Dustin Brown, who has a slight lisp. “He was really hard on Brown, a quiet guy who just shut down,” says Conroy, now with Calgary. “He didn’t come out of his shell until Sean was gone.”

He’s just a nice guy eh Glen???? Did the PA offer to step in and assist Brown with this issue????

“There were dressing-room fisticuffs. Thornton and Avery had a “play fight” in Edmonton in late December 2006—it started when Avery hit Thornton with an exercise ball—and Thornton wound up breaking his wrist and missing 23 games. Lombardi, who after succeeding Taylor had announced that Avery was on “double secret probation,” traded him to New York five weeks after the Thornton incident, but not before warning Rangers president Glen Sather that “you’ll have him in your office once a week.”

Double Secret Probation??? That can only mean one thing TOGA PARTY!

“”Brett Hull criticized us when we traded Sean, saying our team was bad for Sean and bad for the game,” Lombardi recalls. “Freedom of expression. How does [Hull, the Stars’ co-G.M. with Jackson,] like it today? They spent $15.5 million to protect the right of free speech. Adams and Jefferson would be proud.”

OUCH!!!! Seriously, can this be made into a tv show or a movie????

“I think the persona Sean took on”—the Vogue-interning, starlet-dating, crossover celebrity who feigned indifference to the game—”became more powerful than the real Sean,” Hull says. “You know the Green Goblin in the Spider-Man movie? Like that. It just overtook him. He decided to be Evil Sean.”

Ya think???????????

“We spend time psychoanalyzing Sean,” Lombardi muses. “Maybe we should be doing it to ourselves.”

Does anyone else get the impression that maybe, just maybe Lombardi is a tad bitter towards mister Avery or feeling a lot bit vilified?

Then, Farber ends with the conclusion that I and many others have drawn….

“Sometime, somewhere, there will be a comeback. Avery will do the requisite scraping and bowing because, as Calgary’s Michael Cammalleri, Avery’s friend and former Kings teammate, says, “Without hockey Sean would just be some guy doing some crazy stuff.” An e-mail message to SI from Nicole Chabot, Avery’s publicist, late last month read, in part, “We at this point are just trying to weather the storm as best we can. The comeback story will be amazing, but we are a ways away with all the details still to be sorted out.” Oprah, schedule some couch time.”

Pass this article along folks, when you read a Toronto daily today, remember it. This is sports journalism as we should demand. Thank you Michael.


The Detroit model, easier on paper then in reality

Just got back from a quick trip to Detroit. In reading the two local dailies it was hard to get beyond the scandal that is the mayoral situation there. The Lions and Tigers (and beard oh my) were on the front cover of the sports pages. The Tigers for trading Pudge, the Lions as they start training camp. The Wings were buried later in the paper as the news of Scotty’s departure was discussed. One paper explained the move as one out of compassion. Scotty’s son, who works for the Blackhawks is unwell and the article urged fans to view the move as exemplary, a father wanting to live and work closer to his ailing son.

On the 4 hour drive back to the big smoke, it occurred to me that as teams around the NHL try to follow the Red Wings front office model how difficult it will be to accomplish that. It was hard not to find it a tad ironic when i read John MacKinnon’s article in the National Post:

“By design or not, the Oilers front-office begins to resemble the gold standard, that of the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings.

In Detroit, single owner Mike Ilitch has an all-star hockey department, led by GM Ken Holland, assistant GM Jim Nill, vice-president and GM-in-training Steve Yzerman, with longtime hockey man Jim Devellano in the mix as senior vice-president.”

As the Oilers add Steve Tambellini as GM and move Kevin Lowe to the President’s office it will be very interesting to watch this from a far. The Red Wings model, in my opinion will be very difficult to replicate. You had a very experienced senior adviser in Scotty Bowman, the ex coach. You also have the very senior ex Jimmy Devilano, who has been there for decades. You then have Ken Holland the GM and Jill Nill his assistant. Lastly you have Steve Yzerman the face of the franchise for the last couple of decades as a newly groomed exec. What all of these guys have in common is longevity with the Red Wings.

it won’t be hard for the Oilers, the Leafs or anyone else for that matter, to add in layers of experience in building a hockey department in attempt to replicate the Red Wing model. It will be very difficult to replicate its functionality because of the lack of synergies and years of working together. It wasn’t so long ago that the Leafs had Mike Smith, Ken Dryden and Pat Quinn as an executive team. We all know how well that worked. The solution is not just putting together a list of guys with experience. Rather it is putting together a TEAM that can and will work together. That is not easy to do. Detroit works because, with the exception of Yzerman, who played his entire career for the DRW, all of the guys have worked together forever too. Holland as a scout, Scotty (even though he is gone) as a coach, Jimmy D as a life long exec and so on.

Keep in mind that the Wings haven’t always been the success that they are today. There were some pretty dark years there to. When Illitch first bought the team times were pretty lean. In the early 90’s before becoming hockeytown, they lost in the playoffs to the Leafs and the Sharks in playoff disapointments. However, by putting the right pieces in place, and building a foundation they became the definitive model for the rest to try to replicate.

This is not going to be easy given all the different egos, as you try to build the foundation. Kudos to the Oilers new owner for trying. Hopefully the Leafs too will get there. For neither team will it come easy.


Scotty Bowman bolts the wings for the Hawks..Leafs fans to pay

Well leaf fans expect the bud bashers to be in full force on the airwaves this afternoon and in print tomorrow as TSN is reporting that the Chicago Blackhawks have hired Scotty Bowman away from the Red Wings in a senior advisory role.

Good on the Hawks, they are emerging from the hell that was life under Bill Wirtz. They are quickly becoming a fun Western team to watch.

Button down the hatches leaf fans it could be a nasty weekend with this news and if Mats decides a fate that doesn’t include the blue and white