Curtain to Close for Craig Patrick in Pittsburgh

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Postby Stoosh on Tue Mar 14, 2006 11:03 pm

Perhaps an even greater indictment of the job that Patrick and Greg Malone did (or more accurately, FAILED to do) with the drafts in the mid-late 1990s is shown if you look at all of the players drafted from 1993 to 1998. It shows that they did not just fail miserably with first-round picks. The Pens' drafts from those years read as a cautionary tale.

Beginning with Stefan Bergkvist in 1993 and ending with Matt Hussey in 1998, the Pens selected 60 players. Of those 60 players, only 15 of them went on to establish some degree of a presence in the NHL, and as you see by this list of luminaries, we'll use the term "presence" loosely here. This was the best of the bunch...

1993 - Dave Roche, Patrick Lalime, Hans Jonsson
1994 - Richard Park, Sven Butenschon, Serge Aubin and Chris Wells
1995 - Aleksey Morozov, J.S. Aubin, Jan Hrdina
1996 - Michal Rozsival
1997 - Josef Melichar, Andy Ference
1998 - Milan Kraft, Rob Scuderi

That's it. 15 remotely recognizable names out of 60 for a sparkling "success" rate of 25%. And it's not like there are many redeeming names in that bunch, either. That's not just bad. That's "Cincinnati Bengals" bad. That's "L.A. Clippers" bad. That's embarrasing.

It gets worse.

Drafting in any of the pro sports is at best an inexact science. It's even tougher in a sport like hockey where you are trying to project the abilities and potential of an 18-year old kid into a game dominated by players a decade (or more) older. But at the VERY LEAST, teams would hope that the players they take in the top 100 of the draft each year (typically Rounds 1-4) would develop and contribute at the NHL level.

Between 1993 and 1998, the Pens picked 21 players who went in the top 100 of their respective drafts. Let's look at these names...

1993 - Stefan Bergkvist, Dominic Pittis, Dave Roche
1994 - Chris Wells, Richard Park, Sven Butenschon, Greg Crozier, Alexei Krivchenkov
1995 - Aleksey Morozov, J.S. Aubin
1996 - Craig Hillier, Pavel Skrbek, Boyd Kane, Boris Protsenko
1997 - Robert Dome, Brian Gaffaney, Josef Melichar, Alexandre Mathieu
1998 - Milan Kraft, Alexander Zevakhin, David Cameron

How bad is it when you can look at a list of 21 players and the best two you can pick out are Aleksey Morozov and Josef Melichar? There isn't one player in that group who has remotely approached star status. There is at best one, maybe two players in that group who might be recognizable names to an above-average hockey fan. At best, you're talking a success rate of what, maybe 10-15%?

How in the hell did Greg Malone manage to keep his job through all of those drafts?
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Postby netwolf on Wed Mar 15, 2006 12:21 am

Your point is well made Stoosh, but I am loathe to hang that whole mess on Malone and the scouts. The Pens whole attitude towards development stinks. I have railed on this issue before, but I am absolutely dumbfounded at how a professional ice hockey team (particularly a lower income one that has to rely more on drafting) can take the attitude that development it up to the player. A player has to want to succeed, but that doesn't mean the organization shouldn't do everything in their power to help those players get there.

The team used to get a pass there becuase their minor league affiliate was an IHL team (Cleveland) and that league wan't really about development. They switched over to an AHL team eventually (Syracuse), but were sharing them with another NHL team who had priority. The finally got their own AHL affiliate and more importantly, they owned it which afforded them complete control. They are light years ahead of the Cleveland days, but when you look at the head coaches the parent club has put there (Glenn Patrick, Michel Therrien, Joe Mullen) and it makes me think they aren;t getting full value out of that environment.

Maybe all those picks were beyond crap, maybe not. All I know is that those picks never had much of a chance to get developed.
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Postby Daniel on Wed Mar 15, 2006 2:07 am

Ya know, I agree with your post. I think the biggest problem started with the lack of money. I think every decision was made by money. I also think that having WBS is a huge help towards developing players.

Of course, the Pens have no money to hire real coaches for WBS, other than Therrian. :?

Of course, I simply replied to your post to brag about my new stash of icons, oops, stolen stash of icons.

ImageImageImage

Just wanted to edit because it feelis like I am Image whenever I steal your stash. I am also sure it makes you feel like Image
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Postby netwolf on Wed Mar 15, 2006 9:14 am

Now you have gone too far. :shock: :twisted:
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Postby Mad City Mike on Wed Mar 15, 2006 9:51 am

Stoosh wrote:Perhaps an even greater indictment of the job that Patrick and Greg Malone did (or more accurately, FAILED to do) with the drafts in the mid-late 1990s is shown if you look at all of the players drafted from 1993 to 1998. It shows that they did not just fail miserably with first-round picks. The Pens' drafts from those years read as a cautionary tale.

How bad is it when you can look at a list of 21 players and the best two you can pick out are Aleksey Morozov and Josef Melichar? There isn't one player in that group who has remotely approached star status. There is at best one, maybe two players in that group who might be recognizable names to an above-average hockey fan. At best, you're talking a success rate of what, maybe 10-15%?

How in the hell did Greg Malone manage to keep his job through all of those drafts?


Ding ding ding ding. One can harp all they want on bad trades by Patrick. But one can just as easily argue that he was forced into the Kovy and Jagr trades solely by money issues. But he has made his share of good deals, too.

The part of the recird that is impossible to ignore is what you just pointed out. Pathetic drafting and development through the late 90s put this franchise in a hole from which it has yet to dig out. Had they done their job during this period, they wouldn't have been in such dire straits these past few years, as they would have had a steady stream of young talent coming through the pipeline. This is the real and justufiable indictment of Patrick and Company. And that company includes Greg Malone, a guy who should have been on the street long ago.
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Postby NIN on Wed Mar 15, 2006 10:34 am

Mad City Mike wrote:The part of the recird that is impossible to ignore is what you just pointed out. Pathetic drafting and development through the late 90s put this franchise in a hole from which it has yet to dig out. Had they done their job during this period, they wouldn't have been in such dire straits these past few years, as they would have had a steady stream of young talent coming through the pipeline. This is the real and justufiable indictment of Patrick and Company. And that company includes Greg Malone, a guy who should have been on the street long ago.


Going from Bowman to Malone is a huge downgrade but going from Bowman to ANYBODY is going to very a huge downgrade.

Have the Penguins been that bad or is Bowman really the Bill Belichek of the NHL?

I look around the league and I can see that Detroit, Colorada, New Jersey, Dallas, and maybe one or two other teams have been able to find talent with low draft choices and evelope them. The real secret to the success of these teams is there ability to keep together a solid core. Jagr was our Sakic and Modano. Jagr made Kip Freakin Miller look decent sometimes so you cannot under value core players. They are rare and not to be let go, traded, or dumped for nothing under any circumstances. I don't care how deoressed they sound to the media :cry: !!

Finding the next core player has'nt worked out well for any teams with picks like the Penguins have had over the years. However, finding players good enough to compliment their core and being able to spend more in FA has alot to do with how good those other teams development looks.

Patrick has earned the right to stay and rebuild this franchise with a new economic playing feild. I think he can learn from the Edzo era and make this team a winner faster and better then any other GM could.
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Postby Bowser on Wed Mar 15, 2006 10:46 am

Scotty Bowman was the Director of Player Personnel, totally different from Scouting Director. The Pens kept Bowman's position unfilled until CP was forced to do something to fix the minors by hiring Herb Brooks to do the job.

When Herbie passed away, Patrick ignored the position... again.
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Postby NIN on Wed Mar 15, 2006 10:50 am

Bowser wrote:Scotty Bowman was the Director of Player Personnel, totally different from Scouting Director. The Pens kept Bowman's position unfilled until CP was forced to do something to fix the minors by hiring Herb Brooks to do the job.

When Herbie passed away, Patrick ignored the position... again.


Bowman ran the show. Do you really think Patrick is dumb enough to trust anybodys opinion over Bowmans? Was that Patrick,Johnston, and Malone at the podium when the "best management in hockey" proclamation was made? No. Job title job smitle. Bowman has won more Cups then Randell has told lies and O' Connor has taken vacations.
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Postby Stoosh on Wed Mar 15, 2006 11:50 am

Netwolf makes a good point that I didn't mention in the interests of time and space. It's impossible to know what would've become of some of these draft picks if the team had its own AHL club in place during that entire time.

Then again, once they got the Wilkes-Barre club installed for the 1999-00 season, they lost maybe three or four solid years because the Glenn Patrick regime was such a disaster. I think back to Orpik's comments about what a mess that program was, and it makes me wonder if Glenn Patrick didn't almost singlehandedly ruin the Big Three from the Jagr deal. But that's a whole other topic.

I agree that you can't really place all the failed development on Criag Patrick and Greg Malone for those 93-98 drafts. But that's still an almost indefensible record of futility. Not one of those players really came close to becoming a marquee player other than maybe Patrick Lalime (and for the record, I thought CP handled Lalime's contract demand situation with the Pens well...Lalime washed out of two other clubs before catching on with Ottawa).

The other thing I didn't get was the almost cavalier attitude they seemed to take with some of risks they took on these picks. I'm talking about guys like Craig Hillier, Brian Gaffaney and to a lesser extent, Robert Dome. I don't know whether they didn't do their homework on these guys. Specifically, I'd love to know how much the Pens sat down with some of these players or the hockey people around them (coaches, teammates, etc.).
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Postby Stoosh on Wed Mar 15, 2006 11:53 am

Do you really think Patrick is dumb enough to trust anybodys opinion over Bowmans?


Actually, NIN, given what I've heard of Patrick's ego and his inability to admit that he's wrong...

I don't THINK Patrick would trust his own judgment that much over Scotty Bowman's, but let me just say it wouldn't entirely surprise me if he did.
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Postby tluke53 on Wed Mar 15, 2006 1:47 pm

disaster. I think back to Orpik's comments about what a mess that program was, and it makes me wonder if Glenn Patrick didn't almost singlehandedly ruin the Big Three from the Jagr deal. But that's a whole other topic.

I agree that you can't really place all the failed development on Criag Patrick and Greg Malone for those 93-98 drafts.


Question, isn't it CP's job to hire/fire Greg Malone and Glenn Patrick. In my mind that makes him 90% accountable.
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Postby Jim on Wed Mar 15, 2006 2:04 pm

YEp. He runs the boat. While it is NOT his "fault" for receiving the bad information (on draft picks, trade prospects, etc) it IS his fault for continuing to employ those that feed him the bad info.
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Postby ExPatriatePen on Wed Mar 15, 2006 2:13 pm

Jim wrote:YEp. He runs the boat.


Is that a pun? :D

You know that CP lived on a houseboat at the Fox Chapel Yaht club for most, if not all, of the 90's right?
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Postby HomerPenguin on Wed Mar 15, 2006 9:59 pm

NIN wrote:
Bowser wrote:Scotty Bowman was the Director of Player Personnel, totally different from Scouting Director. The Pens kept Bowman's position unfilled until CP was forced to do something to fix the minors by hiring Herb Brooks to do the job.

When Herbie passed away, Patrick ignored the position... again.


Bowman ran the show. Do you really think Patrick is dumb enough to trust anybodys opinion over Bowmans? Was that Patrick,Johnston, and Malone at the podium when the "best management in hockey" proclamation was made? No. Job title job smitle. Bowman has won more Cups then Randell has told lies and O' Connor has taken vacations.


LOL, Ed Rendell lies every time his mouth moves and Bob O'Connor's life is one big vacation. But I get your point.
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