View Full Version : Familiarity breeds success for Wings

05-14-2008, 01:40 PM
May 14, 2008
Damien Cox

Toronto Star

The lesson of the Detroit Red Wings isn't to go forth, find a smart hockey man and let him build a champion.

It's go out and find a bunch of smart hockey men, create an environment in which they're all happy to work together and then watch the magic happen.

The marvellous Red Wings, up 3-0 on the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference final, are on the verge of making their fourth Stanley Cup final appearance in 13 years, a period of time in which they've never missed the playoffs, lost in the first round only three times and won three Cups.

And it's the same people, basically, who have made it happen.

They've had the same owner, Mike Ilitch, since 1982. In their hockey department, there are 10 significant individuals who have been with the club for at least a decade.

Jimmy Devellano's been there since Ilitch bought the team. GM Ken Holland joined up a quarter-century ago. Steve Yzerman, now a vice-president, has been with the organization since 1983. European scout Hakan Andersson joined the club in 1989. Assistant GM Jim Nill was hired in 1994, a year after Scotty Bowman. On and on it goes.

Moreover, nobody seems itching to leave. Four teams have been interested in talking to Nill about GM positions, but they've all been denied permission and Nill seems happy to stay.

It can't be the city that keeps people with the Wings, and it's certainly not aging Joe Louis Arena. The Wings also don't wildly overpay individual players or executives or coaches.

"We sell a culture, a little bit," said Holland yesterday. "It's not for everybody. I would say life isn't all about money and if every decision you make is about money, then probably Detroit isn't for you.

"But people like to be a part of winning. It's a hard thing to leave."

Since 1995, when the Russian Five became part of the Detroit scheme, the Wings have been able to establish a style of play and have stubbornly stuck to that puck-control style and the pursuit of the type of players that best fit.

Even last year, when the Anaheim Ducks eliminated the Wings, Holland denies there was any inclination to get some muscle and follow Anaheim's rough-and-tumble blueprint.

"Stick to the program, stick to the program, stick to the program," said Holland. "We've had our successes and we've had our disappointments. But we stick to the program."

Remarkably, few teams follow Detroit's system of stability and continuity. New Jersey for sure, possibly Dallas and Philly, with San Jose, Montreal and Nashville heading in that direction.

The Maple Leafs, meanwhile, have been denied permission to talk to any of the members of the Detroit hockey cabinet and decided not to pursue Bowman last summer when he was interested in coming aboard.

But you don't have to steal Detroit's people to follow the Red Wings' plan. Right now, for example, there are strong hockey people out there willing and available, people like Colin Campbell, Dave Nonis and Doug Armstrong, among others.

The Leafs could hire all of them, or at least the ones most likely to work together, thus using the wealth of the organization in an era in which only expenditures on players are limited.

Ken Dryden sort of tried to do it, but the people he selected Bill Watters, Anders Hedberg and Mike Smith couldn't get along. In a relatively short period both Hedberg and Smith were gone.

Then Pat Quinn was hired and he couldn't get along with Dryden.

So it's not easy. Heck, from the time Devellano joined the Wings, it probably took the club a dozen years before the right people willing to collaborate were found.

Most have never left and once again the Wings with only one player, Brad Stuart, ever selected in the top 10 of an NHL draft are on the verge of a championship.

Jack Butler
05-14-2008, 02:59 PM
Nice article!
Another Canadian Success story!
Are you sucking up?

05-14-2008, 03:07 PM
Detroit is in Canada now!!

Gotta' love Canadian geography!

Jack Butler
05-14-2008, 03:22 PM
You seem to miss the Canadian Names.
4 out of the first 7 names are Canadians.
The Wings may get the credit, but Canadians made it happen, again!
You are so dense, Yzerman and Bowman and Holland and Nill are Canadian!
Taking credit for making things happen, rather than actually making things happen!
Your a laugh.

05-14-2008, 03:27 PM
Illitch is American.

As usual, it doesn't happen until the American takes command. /ubbthreads/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/wink.gif

Jack Butler
05-14-2008, 03:34 PM
The best thing he does is, nothing!
I will give credit for his choice of leadership!
Just sit back and watch that Canadian magic!
4 out of 7 does mean there are some other counties involved.
Thanks, for pointing that out!

05-14-2008, 03:36 PM
And who did those Canadians find to make the best team they could???

Europeans!! /ubbthreads/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/lol.gif /ubbthreads/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/rofl.gif

Jack Butler
05-14-2008, 03:46 PM
Mostly Canadians, that's my point!

05-14-2008, 03:53 PM
Only 38% of the Wings are Canadian.


Jack Butler
05-14-2008, 04:18 PM
11 CND 9 SWED, 4 USA, 2 CZE, 1 SVK, 1 FIN, 1 RUS
Coaching staff, all Canadian.

Jack Butler
05-14-2008, 04:22 PM
The picture of the eagle you use is appropriate.
I would have guessed, you had a small forehead!

05-14-2008, 04:45 PM
Eagles have foreheads??

05-14-2008, 04:46 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Jack Butler</div><div class="ubbcode-body">
11 CND 9 SWED, 4 USA, 2 CZE, 1 SVK, 1 FIN, 1 RUS
Coaching staff, all Canadian.


I count 18 non-Canadians!

Thanks for making my point, Mr. Knoff!! /ubbthreads/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/rofl.gif /ubbthreads/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/lol.gif /ubbthreads/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/wavey.gif

05-14-2008, 04:50 PM
Hot off the sports wire...

"...the Wings announce the signing of the second leading scorer(Ville Leino)in the Finnish Elite League and today they said that G Daniel Larsson of the Swedish Elite league signed a two year deal"

Just look at the coaching staff spend all that money on Canadian boys!!

Jack Butler
05-14-2008, 06:52 PM
Member, 11 is bigger, Ha, Ha, Ha?
Canada against the world, doesn't change things
I can see, it's really got to you!
Eagles have forehead, Buzzard, nice call!
They are just, really, really small, much like your own!

05-17-2008, 04:59 PM
Let face it, the Wings have a first class organization regardless of the player content.The style of the game is now being geared towards the European style of play so it would make sense to see an increase in these players.

If we were still playing the "grit style" of game you would definitely see more North American players.Coaches in North America have began teaching their players more about finesse and puck control trying to make their players more rounded and better adapted to the evolving style of play.

I will say the one thing about Canadian players. I believe a lot exhibit more determination and heart than most other players in the league.

Jack Butler
05-18-2008, 08:43 AM
I would agree.
Detroit is definitely a first class organization, run by first class individuals.
And, those first class individuals, all Canadians!
Player content is what this has been about.
The ratios are changing with the style of play, agreed!
The grit, determination, and skill, of the Canadian player, will keep the Canadian name dominate on Stanley!

05-18-2008, 10:45 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I will say the one thing about Canadian players. I believe a lot exhibit more determination and heart than most other players in the league. </div></div>

I hope you were saying that while dressed in some horrible-looking suit, with a huge shirt collar, sitting next to Ron McLean.

That's one of my favorite things about Canadian hypocrisy: Canadian love to lecture the U.S. on xenophobia and over-the-top patriotism, yet the national hero in Canada is Don Cherry, one of the most xenophobic, Europhobic, blindly-patriotic media personalities of all time.

Reason number 14,225 why we just yawn when you talk.

Jack Butler
05-18-2008, 12:50 PM
Poor Buzzard.
You can't put words in my mouth.
I compared Cherry to YOU.....member?
I think Cherry is a buffoon!
Xenophobe, Ha, the US is the ones building walls!
I glad the imports are there.
If the NHL is the best hockey in the world, than, it has to have the best players in the world.
It the reason Canadians dominate.
The yawn is typical, of your type.
You don't even know, you don't know!
Oh, one more thing......you conveniently missed the other thread.
The King is dead, long live the KING!

05-18-2008, 01:01 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Jack Butler</div><div class="ubbcode-body">
Poor Buzzard.
You can't put words in my mouth.

It's not words you're used to.

05-18-2008, 01:53 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> The King is dead, long live the KING!</div></div>

That is a very good example of the logic you use in here, Mr. Knoff.

Jack Butler
05-18-2008, 05:11 PM
Empty again...tsk, tsk!
You lose!

05-21-2008, 06:17 PM
Reason number 14,225 why we just yawn when you talk.

I'm sure America yawns when any nation speaks......it is of course what America does best.