My wish list for the future of the franchise

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My wish list for the future of the franchise

Postby ExPatriatePen on Fri Apr 07, 2006 4:38 pm

Oviously #1 is a new Arena with favorable terms so the Pens not only stay in Pittsburgh, but so that they thrive here.

#2 is a new head scout - Greg Malone has shown *NOTHING* in his 12 years.
Sure he drafted Malkin and Crosby and MAF but the homeless guy living under the West-End bridge could have done that. I can't remember any late round picks that have worked out for him. He has to go.

#3 is a rebuilding of the developmental organization. Glen Patrick at Wheeling is unacceptable, Mullen at WBS is marginal and here's virtually no communication between the front office and the prospects.

Which leads me to #4... CP... Until about March 1st I was still in CP's corner, now, I believe it's time for him to go...

#5 borders on Blasphemy, but Mario needs to take the role of figurehead and truly give the Hockey part of the business over to Ken Sawyer or someone even more qualified.
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Postby Stoosh on Fri Apr 07, 2006 9:52 pm

#1 - Ditto. You'll get no argument here. And the closer we get, the more confident I am that this will happen. The groundswell of public support for the IoC plan will mean quite a bit in the end. And even if IoC doesn't get the license, I think the Plan B provides at the very least a framework for an alternative plan to fund an arena.

I'm going to lump #2-4 in together. I think it's time for changes across the board. Let's start at the top.

Patrick needs to go and I believe he will. I think within that week after the season ends, there will be an announcement that Patrick and the Pens have mutually agreed to part ways. As soon as the vacancy opens up, I'd be on the phone talking to people like Steve Tambellini, Neil Smith, Rick Dudley, Jim Nill (assistant GM in Detroit), Ray Shero (assistant GM in Nashville). This job would have to be incredibly attractive because the collection of young core talent in this organization thanks to the last few years is unparalleled around the league.

A new GM would almost certainly bring his own scouts, so I think it's safe to say Malone would be seeking employment elsewhere. This organization's inability to draft and develop prospects during the mid 1990s is beyond laughable. When you can look at the players this club drafted from 1993 to 1998 and realize the only player that this franchise developed that ever came remotely close to star status was Aleksey Morozov, then there are problems (and by most accounts, Morozov was an underachiever).

And I agree on the developmental end as well. Back when Olczyk and Therrien were hired, there was tons of lip service paid to the idea that there was going to be implemented this organization-wide system. It would be taught extensively at the AHL and NHL levels - much like the structure employed by the New Jersey Devils. This way, players who came up to the big club would essentially be playing the system they were in the AHL, helping to ease their transition to the NHL.

Apparently, this last one season. The greatest (and albeit unintentional) indictment of the lack of a system was Erik Christensen's interview with Mark Madden not long after EC came up. Christensen described with a great deal of accuracy and enthusiasm the system that Therrien employed at WB/S, his communication methods, and how both combined to create this incredibly efficient machine.

Pens fans who had been subjected to the first 10-15 games of the season had to have the same reaction I did when I was listening to Christensen. There was no way in hell that Olczyk was coaching the same system that Christensen was describing. Christensen was describing a well-oiled machine. We were watching Grabass on Ice.

So this is where I agree...the development needs to be more on the same page and, more importantly, these positions within the organization need to stop being given to the same people over and over again. There's something to be said for wanting to work with people you trust. But it seems that over the last ten years or so, the faces in the hockey operations of this organization haven't changed much. There's a revolving door of titles attached to each face, but the faces remain the same.
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Re: My wish list for the future of the franchise

Postby Defence21 on Fri Apr 07, 2006 11:45 pm

ExPatriatePen wrote:#5 borders on Blasphemy, but Mario needs to take the role of figurehead and truly give the Hockey part of the business over to Ken Sawyer or someone even more qualified.

I could be wrong, but I believe this already happened. I think Ken Sawyer is now in complete control of this team.

I'm not sure of what all is entitled in an ownership change -- and if Ken Sawyer would stick with the organization under new ownership -- but he really seems to be a saavy guy. I think he definitely needs to stay.

All your other points seem dead-on to me. Although, I will say that Mullen has done a very good job in WBS, considering about the time he was put in charge of that team, plenty of his better players were finding their way to Pittsburgh. He has kept the team on its winning ways -- though not as dominantly as while under Therrien. However, since the trade deadline, his team has turned into a pretty well oiled machine, from what I have read. Until he falters, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.
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Postby ExPatriatePen on Sat Apr 08, 2006 7:09 am

Stoosh wrote: We were watching Grabass on Ice.


I never heard that phrase before... It had me sitting here laughing with coffee squirting out my nose. :-)

I agree completely with you Stoosh.

Of the potential GM's you've mentioned, do you have a frontrunner?
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Postby Stoosh on Sat Apr 08, 2006 11:39 am

I'm a big Letterman fan and I've heard him refer to random things as "one big old game of grabass" from time to time on his show. For whatever reason, it sounded like an appropriate term for the disorganization we were seeing on the ice under Olczyk.

And for the record, I really liked Edzo and I do think he's going to make a very good coach in the NHL someday. I understood the reasons why he was brought on board (more of a P.R. thing to sell tickets than a search for on-ice results in 03-04), but I do think he was grossly overmatched when he was handed a team with actual talent. But that's neither here nor there.

As far as GMs go, I like all of these guys. If I had to start a list, Steve Tambellini (assistant GM of the Canucks) and Jim Nill (assistant GM of the Red Wings) would be at the top of my list. I'd love to see them make a push for Nill, honestly. You'll never get Ken Holland, but why not get the guy who works closest to him and knows the blueprint?

My next guy would be Rick Dudley, who is now the Director of Player Personnel in Chicago. Dudley may have been the man most responsible for building that 2004 Lightning club that won the Cup. The guy can draft and he can develop players. I'd follow Dudley up with Shero and Neil Smith.

I'd most like to have either Tambellini or Finn, but I'd be happy with any of these guys. This organization desperately needs a GM who will bring a modernized structure and view of the game to the club. As I said above, this club is the butt end of a lot of jokes in NHL circles because the people involved in the hockey operations never really change. The only thing that ever changes are their job titles. That needs to stop because this franchise is sitting on the cusp of something great. If they have to wrong people in place, a disaster could become of what should be a potential dynasty.
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Postby netwolf on Sat Apr 08, 2006 1:45 pm

Stoosh wrote: We were watching Grabass on Ice.


Yeah, but who doesn't enjoy a good game of grabass? Anyone that says they don't is lying. :lol:
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