Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/29/13 at 04:05 PM ET
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
Teams are much more likely to have sustained success by hiring guys such as Jim Nill, who was named the new Stars GM Monday. As a player, Nill appeared in 524 NHL games, each one of them because he worked more diligently than any other player on his team. Over the course of his career, he averaged about a goal every 10 games, but kept moving from team to team because coaches always liked having players like him around. And he never won a Stanley Cup as a player. Most years he never even came close.
Look at the best GMs in the history of the game. Sam Pollock, the greatest of them all, never played at a high level and started out coaching midget hockey and softball. Frank Selke was a hockey geek who managed a bantam team when he was 14. Glen Sather was a journeyman, Ken Holland was an undersized goalie who played four NHL games. Lou Lamoriello never advanced beyond college hockey. Jay Feaster, a guy who never played a game of organized hockey in his life and still doesn’t even know how to skate, won a Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay in 2004.
Compare that to the managerial careers of guys such as Phil and Tony Esposito and Brett Hull, all disasters. Other great players such as Frank Boucher, Bob Clarke, Bob Gainey, Dave Taylor and Rogie Vachon have had varying degrees of success, but for the most part the guys who have the ability to put together championship teams are the ones who either never had decent careers or had to scratch and claw their way through the careers they did have. Even Steve Yzerman, one of the greatest players of his era, is finding it’s one thing to put together an all-star team of players from the strongest hockey playing country in the world, but quite another to build an NHL organization. And the results have clearly been middling.
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