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The Malik Report

The Model Franchise

from Chad Finn of Boston.com,

Maybe the rules of superstition suggest we should wait for the Bruins' first-round playoff series with the long-admired Detroit Red Wings to be complete before making such a declaration.. But it's the truth now, and it should be acknowledged now.

The Bruins, not the Red Wings, have become the model franchise in the NHL. And the exclamation point on that sentence will be provided by this series, which starts Friday night at TD Garden.

Make no mistake, the Wings are worthy of the respect Bruins fans are affording them. Much of that is due to their remarkable success over the last quarter-century, give or take a season or two....

No, it won't be easy. The Wings did win three of four matchups this year, including one of Boston's rare clunkers, a 6-1 Detroit win on November 27 in which Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi didn't even play.

The Bruins' lone win was by a 4-1 score in the second game of the season; it was so long ago that Jordan Caron was one of the three stars.

And it won't be easy because they are the Wings. Accomplished, respected, skilled and decorated. They wear that sweater with pride. They have a lot going for them. still.

Just not as much as the Bruins, their successor as hockey's model franchise.


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Chet's avatar

They can say what they want. We’re a very dangerous 8 seed.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 04/15/14 at 05:23 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

Good grief.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 04/15/14 at 05:32 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar


Heh heh…

Heh heh heh…

This will be amusing.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 04/15/14 at 05:36 PM ET

MNWing's avatar

Boston will probably win the series. We have a chance, and deserve the respect the Boston fans are giving us.

Where this tool gets it wrong is when he says the Bruins are now the model franchise…this franchise missed the playoffs in 05-06 and 06-07, therefore missing the playoffs more in the last decade than the Wings have in two decades.  The Wings have sustained it in pre and post salary cap eras, through 3 GM’s, 4 coaches.  Their potential to be real contenders (again) in the next couple years is outstanding. Boston has 1 cup, and I’m pretty sure I saw that Chiarelli himself said he looked at the Red Wings when building his Boston teams….so, how are you the model if you are designed with the standard in mind?

Oh well, put it on the board Wings….and remember, lower seeds have taken Boston 7 games in the last 3 years…..

Here’s hoping we can finish off the new “Model Franchise”

Posted by MNWing on 04/15/14 at 05:38 PM ET

Jaromir Blogger's avatar

I think Chicago would have something to say about that, as well…

And BettmanSucks79 is dead on - the Wings have outstanding potential to become seriously heavy hitters again in the next few years. And with how well the next generation of players is doing in both the NHL and the AHL, I’d say that potential is likely to be realized.

Posted by Jaromir Blogger on 04/15/14 at 05:41 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

... the Bruins, their successor as hockey’s model franchise.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 04/15/14 at 05:44 PM ET

Hootinani's avatar

That was a nice bit of auto-fallacious journalism.  Wonder if Finn had to remove any ribs to be able to write that article.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 04/15/14 at 05:50 PM ET

socalwingnut's avatar

It doesn’t even bother me when media types say things like this. When you’re on top and earn the title of “model franchise” it is bestowed upon you by others, not some homer media guy.

Being the model franchise not only includes what you do when you’re the best, it’s also what you do when you’re not at the top of the standings. That’s the true measure.

I suppose the right people to ask are the ones actually in the game. Who’s getting hired and interviewed for the coaching and GM jobs? I don’t notice a lot of Boston executives and assistant coaches taking over as GM’s and head coaches.

Just sayin’

Posted by socalwingnut on 04/15/14 at 05:54 PM ET


a 6-1 Detroit win on November 27 in which Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi didn’t even play.

Because Bertuzzi is the difference between a win and a loss for the Wings…

Posted by neffernin on 04/15/14 at 06:00 PM ET


While the games that determine such legacies are still ahead of them, it is possible that this Bruins team is superior to any of recent vintage. They won the President’s Cup for the first time since 1990 with 117 points, scoring 84 more goals than they allowed.

So, Mr. Finn, when did the NHL rename the Presidents’ Trophy to the Presidents’ Cup? LMAO. Dude lost ALL credibility not only in this article, but as a journalist, with that huge oops. Bro, if you’re going to make an argument, make sure you get all the facts, references, and sources correct, otherwise you’re just another troll who has no clue what s/he’s talking about.



Posted by ZandPasha11 on 04/15/14 at 06:04 PM ET

awould's avatar

The “model” is the original process and design that others copy. It will be a long, long time before the Red Wings are no longer the model. You may have other teams perform better from year to year, and Detroit is certainly in a trough at this point, but the model remains and it is Detroit.

Posted by awould on 04/15/14 at 06:06 PM ET

aerodude's avatar

I heard Boston has been having some of the best air quality since atmospheric records started being kept.

Meteorologists were at a loss to explain it until they realized almost all the smoke in Massachusetts was being blown up peoples asses about how good the Bruins are this year.

Let’s play the series, bean bags.

Posted by aerodude on 04/15/14 at 06:51 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

I’m also pretty sure the Wings and their owner weren’t pushing for the 3rd lockout in fewer years than the wings have consecutively made the playoffs.

A perfect example of how a team should be run indeed.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 04/15/14 at 06:55 PM ET

SYF's avatar

I’m also pretty sure the Wings and their owner weren’t pushing for the 3rd lockout in fewer years than the wings have consecutively made the playoffs.

A perfect example of how a team should be run indeed.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 04/15/14 at 06:55 PM ET


Posted by SYF from A tall cool pint of Guinness on 04/15/14 at 07:19 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I’m starting to lose count. How many Model Franchises has the NHL had in the last five years?

Kill parity.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/15/14 at 07:21 PM ET

Rdwings28's avatar

When Mr. I owns the Bruins I may consider his opinion. Very funny his misname of the Presidents trophy. what a dope

Posted by Rdwings28 on 04/15/14 at 07:25 PM ET


So here’s the thing. Boston’s got a crop of good young players and a nice mix of veterans right now. They’ve had a nice run the last 7 years. They’ve built up a team that’s won a Cup and one that came close last year (and one that’s got a shot this year and the next couple seasons).

The Spurs and Red Wings share one thing in common that the Bruins have yet to do: churn out teams that win championships every 4-7 years for a sustained stretch (i.e., 20 years). Wings were contenders probably through 2011 (and I truly believe the way the Wings were designed, it came down to matchups as to whether or not they’d win - I think San Jose was just an awful matchup for the Wings; had they not run into San Jose in 2010/2011, there’s a serious chance at least one more banner flies at the Joe).

The Wings had legitimate Cup aspirations beginning in 1993-1994, in my judgment. One year later, they went to the Cup Finals and lost and followed that with a tough loss to Colorado in the Conference Finals. Then back-to-back Cups. Four years, three Cup appearances and a Conference Final against that year’s champs. Fast-forward four years. Another Cup victory. Fast-forward seven years and the team played for back-to-back Cups (won one) and followed that with two seasons where I considered them to be legitimate contenders (bad matchups).

In contrast, Boston’s put together phase one. To become a model program, they’ve got to do this for a longer time. And they need to pull in at least a second core. The core they won in 2011 is the same they’ve got now (Bergeron, Krejci, Chara, Lucic). The Wings and Spurs were only able to establish longevity because they built at least two distinct cores over their championship runs. If their system is so spectacular, they’ll churn out another core and have another 10 years where they are legitimate contenders in more than five of those years and at the very least, playoff teams the rest of the time.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 04/15/14 at 07:35 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Posted by VitoLambruski on 04/15/14 at 07:35 PM ET


Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/15/14 at 07:48 PM ET

voline's avatar

Hubris. This will not end well for Agamemnon.

Posted by voline on 04/15/14 at 09:35 PM ET

WingFanFormerlyInLA's avatar

I think Chicago would have something to say about that, as well…

And BettmanSucks79 is dead on - the Wings have outstanding potential to become seriously heavy hitters again in the next few years. And with how well the next generation of players is doing in both the NHL and the AHL, I’d say that potential is likely to be realized.

Precisely my thoughts on both Chicago and BettmanSucks79’s post.  If any team has taken the mantle it would be Chicago.  And I hate that thought but they not only won twice, they keep reloading and churning out young talent.

I think Boston is an excellent team, and certainly have done a good job the past 5 seasons or so.  But they haven’t past both Detroit and Chicago, even though I think they will win this series against Detroit.

Posted by WingFanFormerlyInLA on 04/15/14 at 09:40 PM ET

Primis's avatar

A writer in STL thinks they’re now a model franchise.
A writer in LA thinks they’re the model franchise.
I’m sure Dater has the article proclaiming COL the model franchise already written.
Writers in CHI and PIT will cry that they are and have been the models.
A TB writer is toying with the idea of writing it about TB.
VAN writers I’m pretty sure already wrote it about the Canucks.
I bet a CBS writer busts out an article about the Jackets as a “new model” soon, even if they still can’t and don’t win a playoff game.

Did I forget anyone?

Posted by Primis on 04/15/14 at 09:48 PM ET

Chet's avatar

“i NOW consider the boston bruins to be the model franchise of the NHL.”

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 04/15/14 at 10:25 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

Let’s not forget Chicago’s last “cup” should have been a half cup thanks to the Bruins/Jacobs lockout. There’s a pair of model franchises.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 04/16/14 at 12:23 AM ET


This whole notion of ‘model franchise’ is absurd, in much the same way blaming failure or crediting success on a hockey system is absurd.  Either implies some kind of secret information or strategy not available to other people.

The reason Detroit has been so successful for so long is because they’ve had great players, coached by (for the most part) great coaches, and both the players and the coaches were found by great GMs, who were themselves hired by intelligent owners.  Nothing arcane or opaque.  If anything, it feels like a drastic oversimplification of things, but it’s not.  That’s really all it takes to be good for this long.  “Just” have an owner with vision and passion, who finds a man with both of those as well as an expansive hockey expertise whom the team grooms for an executive position for over a decade from Scout to Senior Scout to DAS to Asst. GM to GM to GM and EVP (talking about ‘overripe’).  Then trust that guy to find your coaches and fill your roster.  Then trust those coaches and players.

There have obviously been mistakes along the way, and if there’s been an NHL team that’s had to deal with more impactful negative events which are tough to describe as anything other than freaks of nature I don’t know about it, but when you have competent people and you trust in that competence, things tend to work out for you over the long haul.

Or, you know, you can just do what 99% of the rest of the teams in the NHL do.  Suck for a few years then ride the backs of half a decade’s worth of #1 picks, alternatively firing the GM or the coach every 5 years if either the picks don’t work out or… just because the owner needs to feel involved.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 04/16/14 at 04:41 AM ET

w2j2's avatar

Perhaps a more interesting question is which teams have the worst “model” of franchise….What makes an organization suck ... decade after decade?

There are lots of candidate organizations, but it would be fun to start with all the Canadian teams.


Posted by w2j2 on 04/16/14 at 06:44 AM ET


I nominate the islanders for the worst franchise. Worst gm in history who just hangs around screwing things up? Check plus. Man,  is Garth Snow an idiot.

Posted by teldar on 04/16/14 at 08:52 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

Eh, I think given the new realities post-2005, it isn’t crazy to say Boston is one of the best models out there if you’re a team like the Oilers or Leafs, trying to figure out what you’re doing wrong and where to go next. That said, I think “one of” is the way to put it. Chicago has a better current run of short-term success going right now, so they’d want to lay a claim to this distinction, and rightfully so. They did it slightly differently, with some tanked years, but with more clever work on the UFA market after their first Cup. Pens deserve a claim here too. The Wings are still deserving of being considered “one of” these models given the longevity and essentially three different eras they’ve succeeded across. So I don’t think it’s unfair for Boston fans and media to pick the Bs out as “one of” the model franchises, but it’s not a situation like 2001 - 2009 where the Wings were essentially peerless until Pittsburgh and Chicago initiated a sort of changing of the guard.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 04/16/14 at 09:08 AM ET


HiHD - I agree it is kind of stupid and arbitrary. But everything you just described explains not why there ISN’T a model but why there IS a model. You’re right - there’s no secret here. But there’s something beneath the surface that reveals why Detroit has been successful since the early 1990s while Toronto can’t sustain a run (and can’t make it deep into the playoffs even when they’ve got a good team). There’s a reason why Edmonton, despite a serious amount of high draft picks, can’t get it right yet the Blackhawks and Penguins can. Why, despite all the regular season success, does San Jose fail each and every year (we’re talking like damn near 10 years now)? Why does a team like Vancouver go from Cup contender to out of the playoffs in three seasons (answer: Mike Gillis)?

Anyways, the point is: there is the system and there is execution of the system. What I suggest is that the good teams who sustain their success do it through execution. Scouting is better. Development is better. Coaching is better. Sure, the gameplan isn’t exactly a secret. But the Wings have spent the last probably 18 of 23 years as serious Cup contenders, without ever having the luxury of a draft pick in the top 15. In order to generate superstars and exceptional secondary and role players without high draft picks, it requires outstanding execution in the scouting, development, and coaching areas. Sounds simple. But the devil is in the details and it is obvious that a team doesn’t contend for that long by accident (with a fresh wave on the horizon, the team looks to be a possible contender again soon).

Posted by VitoLambruski on 04/16/14 at 09:34 AM ET


The Bruins have had some shrewd drafts and ballsy trades in the last several years, as Holland mostly sat on his hands trade-wise and re-signed old guys and ex-Wings due to a false sense of “loyalty.”  These mistakes allowed the Bostons of the NHL to catch up. 

You are correct in saying they are “one of the NHL’s model franchises.”  Chicago, however, has clearly surpassed Detroit, and it’s not all due to “tanking” seasons, despite what most Detroit fans believe.  A Cup win this year and Boston can lay claim to having surpassed Detroit in the short-term as well.  I don’t think they will win the Cup, though.

Detroit is now back on the upswing and Boston, perhaps, is at its pinnacle and ready to start falling off.  We will see if they are able to maintain their recent success in the next 3-5 years.  It will be difficult, but not impossible, especially if Boston can continuing swinging top 5 draft choices through remarkable trades.  Being division rivals, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Posted by jkm2011 on 04/16/14 at 09:54 AM ET

peiz11's avatar

Surpassed Detroit in what though? I think that was my biggest problem with the article. I don’t know what we’re measuring. Who the best teams are the last 3 years? Continued success? What?

In the era of parity, I agree there is always going to be 3 or 4 “model” franchises instead of just one. But say Boston loses to Montreal in round 2 (of course they won’t get there but smile) are the no longer the “model” to go off of? If that’s the case, we should probably look at the many years that the Bruins have lost in the first/second rounds or missed the playoffs since the 05 lockout.

I guess I’m just confused as to what the model franchise is measured by, meaning I find the whole article to be a complete waste of time and a total homer type opinion that many team’s fans probably have.

Posted by peiz11 from Minneapolis on 04/16/14 at 11:39 AM ET


I don’t think you can establish something as a “model” or “blueprint” unless you take a snapshot over 10-20 years and see how a system works over time.

At the end of the day, it’s arbitrary and these debates are designed to get web traffic, sell papers/magazines, or fill TV or radio airtime.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 04/16/14 at 11:50 AM ET


But everything you just described explains not why there ISN’T a model but why there IS a model.

Then we’re not talking about models, Vito.  Having good people isn’t a ‘model’ just like having a bunch of good players isn’t a ‘system’.  A model means a specific manner of doing things, a strategy, something other teams don’t know to do.  That’s not what happens in Detroit, mostly because that thing doesn’t exist.

Detroit got good people, then those people got good people, and so on.  The ‘secret’ isn’t in what is done, but in the people doing the doing.  Holland is a success because a) he’s good at his job and b) Illitch enables and allows that success.  Bowman was good and Babcock is good because of A and B as well.  That trickles down to the ice, too.  The good players are supported, the less good players minimized and removed.


Posted by HockeyinHD on 04/16/14 at 01:24 PM ET


I’ll buy part of what you say, HiHD, but I will also say that I disagree that it isn’t a model. You’re right - execution of a system lies in the quality of the people doing it and how well they do their job. On the other hand, I think there are subtle yet serious differences in the details that we don’t know about. Those details make the model.

For example: Detroit’s model, from a high-level perspective, is to scout guys with talent but holes in their game and develop these guys through a stringent development process that includes learning the system the Wings play. But don’t tell me Detroit doesn’t have details in their scouting and development process that are not public information. The team has amateur scouts that help them draft plenty of the right players. They have a development process that somehow gets the best out of these guys, generally speaking. They have a pro scouting department that determines when the guys are ready. There are nuances to the development and pro scouting, in addition to the amateur scouting, that result in the team getting the most out of the guys they are able to draft.

Anyways, while I do agree to an extent that a lot of the comparison has to do with how good the people are in the organization and how well they execute their jobs, I also think there are details as part of the key processes that we don’t know that are part of the “system” or “model” that make the Wings successful. Ever wonder why Detroit seems to develop more high-performing management/administrative talent than other teams? Look at how well Yzerman has done in Tampa. Anyone think Jim Nill won’t be a great GM in the long-run down in Dallas? Do you get the impression that Ryan Martin will eventually get a GM job somewhere?

I don’t think the Red Wings simply hire the best people and that’s the only explanation for the high performance of the franchise.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 04/16/14 at 02:21 PM ET


The model francise. GEEZ.

So teams like Edmonton and Florida could follow the Bruins/Hawks/Pens blueprint for success. Ice a shitty team for 7 or 8 years and fill the team up with first round draft picks. Oh wait….

If Minnesota gets past the first round will they say they are the real Hockeytown again?

Sorry hockey World. Mr. I is the formula. The Blueprint. The Model. It starts there and no one else in baseball or hockey has a hope in hell.

Posted by leftwing on 04/16/14 at 03:11 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.