Friday, January 15, 2010


During the lockout I heard Darcy Regier interviewed on the radio fairly often. He was at the forefront of the rule change initiatives, so he got quite a bit of air time.

I remember an interview when he talked about Al Arbour's influence, what follows is just by my memory. In his story he asked Arbour 'what were the keys to building a contender?', expecting a laundry list like "a sniping winger, two quality shut down defenceman, a powerplay quarterback, a great checking center, a top notch first line center and two power forward wingers". Arbour replied by saying "Just get good players. Keep adding good players. You'll end up with a good team."

I've searched the web for an article that relays this story, and this quote from a Steve Simmons' piece in the Toronto Sun captures the essence of it.
Regier grew up playing for Al Arbour with the Islanders, learning the hockey business from Bill Torrey.

"I once asked Al, what's the secret to building a team? He said no secret, it's not complicated, get good players."
Lowe and Tambellini appear to be made from Al Arbour antimatter, and I think that's a bad thing.


Blogger Black Dog said...

Top five picks! ;)

Matt Fenwick had a quote from Jack Parker, coach at BU, back in September: 'The best way to win a lot of hockey games is to get off the bus with the best players.'

Its pretty straight forward shit, really, but Lowe and Tambellini have shipped out a whole lot of quality these past four years.

And while thats ok if you're bringing in quality its not such a good idea if you're bringing in nothing.

From the star players like Smyth and Pronger to the role players like Reasoner, Thoreson, Bergeron, Brodziak and all of those in between its an awfully long list.

1/16/2010 9:31 am  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Yeah, I know you've been beating this drum for a while. A lot of players gone who were effective players in their role, replaced with long shots. Youngish guys with big holes in their games, but impressive draft pedigrees.

The Oilers have become the NHL's low point drain for disappointing first-round draft picks.

1/16/2010 10:45 am  
Blogger Black Dog said...

What did you used to say? All sizzle, no steak?

Read references to a Shero interview earlier today or last night, can't remember. Anyways he spun a little bullshit as to the nonimportance of the draft, easy to say when you have a stockpile of top picks as the centrepiece of your club - Crosby, Malkin, Staal, LeTang, Gologoski, Fleury - plus Talbot, Kennedy and Orpik were all Pens picks plus they traded Whitney and Armstrong for useful pieces the past two years.

Anyhow he talked about something that is an obvious philosophy of his, one that the Oilers would be smart to emulate, picking up role players and giving them one or two year contracts. Detroit does the same. Of course they have the ultimate lure - hey there, career looks to be in the toilet? come play with us for a year, you get to play with Sid or Evgeni, your numbers are going to be good unless you're totally done and you've got a good shot at a nice playoff run.

Can't beat that for recruiting but they have added a lot of veteran guys over the past few couple of years on short term deals. Some work out, some don't. A lot better to sign Satan to a year than Moreau to four though.

Thing is, Oilers seemed to have that figured out - Peca, Tjarnqvist, Sykora, Garon - all veteran guys on short deals.

Oh well.

1/16/2010 12:35 pm  
Blogger Olivier said...

What never cease to amaze me is that the Oilers are a cap team, not a floor one.

It always makes me smile to see MAB's name pop up in those discussions. As you said somewhere else, Pat, "the little guy is chaos". But as a bottom-6/7th D/PP Howitzer, he is a beautiful player.

I read Darcy Jennish's book on the Habs centennial over the christmas break, and I was surprised to see how many smart people came from those 1940 to 1970 behemoths. The expansion and the draft tore it apart (and it's a good thing if you want competition and to expand the market), but the habs organization was just huge, and so, so many bright and inventive minds of the 70's and onward came from there (and from the other big O's too, of course).

Hopefully someone does a more in-depth study of how personnel from those orginial 6 disseminated around the league as it expanded and how they brought methods, style and organisational patterns with them. Pipe dream, I know. But reading Roger Neilson was a coach for one of Pollock's farm teams, I couldn't help but wonder.

1/16/2010 12:44 pm  
Blogger Olivier said...

That should have been "Bottom-6 F / 7th D / PP Howitzer".

Dude is Hockey's Chone Figgins!

Word verification: "Terse". No shit google, you tell me...

1/16/2010 12:46 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...


Have the habs tried plying Bergeron on the wing?

1/16/2010 1:20 pm  
Blogger Olivier said...

Ever since Markov got back , Martin has rolled out the following D:

Markov+Gorges: Tough opposition/Big minutes at ES/PP

Hamrlik+Spacek: ice time split pretty evenly against the opposition first 3 lines, big ES and PK minutes, 2nd string PP.

Gill+Mara/O'Byrne: 12-14 min at ES, essentially against 3rd/4th line (they played a lot against Dallas top line Thursday and got slaughtered).

Bergeron lines up on the 4th line LW

And then there is the nifty switch-a-roo Martin pulls out for special teams:

On the PK, Gill and Gorges are the go to guys, followed by whatever allows him to throw Markov out there, but only for the first minute. After that, it's Gill-Gorges and whatever mish mash allows Martin to get either Markov-Gorges or Hamrlik Spacek out for the switch to ES. Just terrific PK unit.

On the PP, it's Markov and Bergeron for 1+ minute, and then Hamrlik-Spacek for the rollover to ES. Again, pretty darn good unit.

If I'm not mistaken, that's the way things have been since game # 20593.

1/16/2010 2:01 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

I don't read french, but I did see that Gomez and Gionta (I think, maybe Cammalleri) had some kickass PK scoring chance numbers with fairly limited icetime. I'm assuming Martin is running them out there just at the tail end of the PK, so as to roll them against weak opp in the all-important first shift after. Is that right.

And how is Bergeron doing as a 4th line winger?

1/16/2010 2:06 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...


Yeah, I rate Shero. The thing, too, is he never buys what is popular and expensive. When a lot of folks decided a few years ago that defensive Dmen were not important in the new NHL ... he was acquiring them. And grabbing veteran forwards after an off year ... that's a smart move if the term is short and the dollars are reasonable. I've never checked, but I suspect that history likes the chance of you winning those bets, or more correctly ... at todays wager prices, those bets have a hell of a chance of increasing your chip stack.


And the Oilers teams of a few years ago had a lot of really good players. Not much sizzle, but a lot of steak. As you say, now it's the opposite, and there are no signs that Oiler management has figured it out. What the fuck happened?

1/16/2010 2:12 pm  
Blogger mc79hockey said...

I actually posted a longer form version of this after the Oil took out Detroit in 2006. Here's the quote:

When I was starting out in Long Island, I wanted to know how you build a Stanley Cup team, said Regier. I expected Al to say, well, you need two scoring lines, one checking line and one role line; and three offensive defencemen and three defensive defencemen and a great goaltender.’ Instead, he said, first of all, you need good players.’ Then he said, it’s four rounds, you need a lot of luck.’ When I reflect back on it, I think, yeah. He was talking about having so much respect for the process and this is a guy who won 19 straight playoff series."

1/16/2010 2:27 pm  
Blogger Olivier said...

The missing data point to properly assess how good the habs PK have been this year and how that goodness has enabled players like Gionta and Gomez to generate SC for is the number of shifts per minutes played. The team is pretty darn good at clearing the zone in general and when they do that, it allows Martin to rifle 30 seconds shifts for his forwards.

Now, to answer your question: no, Gionta-Gomez aren't just running at the tail end. The forwards are rolled out thusly on the PK: Plekanecs and Moen gets the first shift, then it's Gomez/Gionta. If the PK allows Martin to rifle quick shifts, he then sends out a 3rd pair, right now it's Lapierre and Pouliot.

When Gionta went down, Sergeï Kostitsyn took his shifts on the PK and at ES. He and pretty much duplicated Gionta's numbers on the PK (and couldn't hold to dear life at ES). Plekanec's and Gomez's duos are the heavy lifters.

Actually, Pleks and Gomez are the team's heavy lifters, period. You could say, looking at Zone Starts, that Pleks is getting the tougher assignments zone-wise (44% vs 55% of OZone Starts), but I sometime wonder up to which point a part of those numbers aren't simply attributable to the fact that Gomez is just so fucking good at legging the puck out of the zone. Dude takes the puck and carries it to the opposing blue day in and day out, it's unreal.

Bergeron is a very nice 4th line LW if you ask me. He's actually is pretty good at rushing with the puck but looks like he wonders what to do next once he's up agains't the opposing D :). Right now he plays the 4th and very few minutes, but I wouldn't mind seeing him on the 3rd with 10 minutes a game. No top-6 player tough. He's been there for the last 7 games and is +13/-16 at ES for the scoring chances; he was +2/-6 on his first game, but then picked it up. Knowing he plays around 7 minutes a night and most of them with poor, old and barely mobile BGL, it's pretty darn good.

Man, I should save some of these for my blog...

1/16/2010 2:31 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...


Ah fuck, that quote is much better, I wish I'd found that. I would imagine that Regier has told the same story many times in different ways. I especially love any quote with "luck" in it. :)

1/16/2010 2:58 pm  
Blogger Black Dog said...

Terrific stuff, Ty.

Watching the Habs game right now, they're down at this point but having Markov and Gionta back certainly makes a big difference for these guys. And Pouliot, like the guy he was traded for, seems to be benefitting from the change in scenery.

And Alfredsson with a goal plus a dominant PK where he set up some kid's first NHL goal. He's still a hell of a player.

Yeah Vic, the dummies always say 'well Shero, he's not all that great, look what he inherited' but the reality is a situation like that can go south quickly. He's had to walk a bot of a tightrope with the cap but he's made good choices three years running now. I remember stumping for Fedotenko and Guerin as guys the Oilers should be looking at a few years ago and who signed them? Garth Snow. And then Shero signs one and trades for the other and then signs both again. The acquisition of Hal Gill. Kunitz, who I like quite a bit. He hasn't scored a lot but the guy is a quality player, imo. Sykora to provide secondary scoring.

Even Miro Satan last year. A guy who was on the downside. Give him a year at little cash. It didn't work so they went out and got guys before the deadline.

Smart management.

1/16/2010 6:36 pm  
Blogger Olivier said...

Pat: Fucking Sens scored on theur first 3 scoring chances and are currently led 11-6 (6-4 at ES) in that department. Allow me to grouse.

But yes, Alfie's a terrific player. Too bad they borked up his prime.

1/16/2010 7:04 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Yeah, Alfredsson does everything you could want in a player. Sizzle AND steak. Glad to here he's still got game. If it was just for one season, I'd take him over Heatley or Spezza seven days a week.

And I agree with everything you've written there about Shero. Though like Ty's Arbour quote says ... you need luck too. They were probably the better team in the WSH series, but not by a tonne. A couple of bad bounces and they could have lost that one. And they were fortunate that three of the best wings (Lidstrom, Datsyuk and Hossa) carried serious injuries into the final.

IMO the luckiest thing for Shero is that his team plays in the Eastern Conference.

1/16/2010 7:59 pm  
Blogger Black Dog said...

oh for sure Vic, luck plays a big part in it, unless you're the 70s Habs or 80s Oilers and even then you need a little ;)

but absolutely they got some breaks, I think most teams do, the 08 Wings were the last club that looked pretty solid start to finish and they still had a G7 v the Ducks did they not? A bad break there and it all gets derailed. Of course they had some bad luck in the last few years at times so it might just even out.

But in 07 the Ducks are 90 seconds away from going down 3-2 and then Datsyuk gets a cheesy penalty and Niedermeyer gets a deflection off of a stick, Lidstrom's I believe, and then its OT and they are up 3-2 instead.

And in 06 the Canes look done in the first round but then Koivu gets hurt and the Sabres are down to two regulars on the blue and the Oilers lose Roloson.

And in 04 Gelinas scored in G6 I think but its disallowed and then St. Louis evens the series in OT.

Of course I'm a firm believer in you have to be good to get lucky. The Oilers this season could get all of the luck in the world and they'd still suck balls. Injuries and bounces are a part of the game and in the end they tend to even out.

I think? ;)

But yeah playing in the EC is a sweet gig for sure. The Oilers have enough guys who should be in Springfield, maybe they can apply for membership based on that.

1/16/2010 8:36 pm  
Blogger Black Dog said...

Olivier - yeah if they'd had a goalie, eh? Remember they had Alfie, Hossa and Havlat on the RW. Jesus.

Good game tonight though. Habs probably deserved to win. They look far better than they have, not a surprise considering the return of Markov and Gionta. I think they may make the playoffs. Ottawa is less impressive although they certainly work hard for Clouston.

1/16/2010 8:38 pm  
Blogger Olivier said...

Those turn of the century Sens were sick. I think it was as much bad luck as bad goaltending tough. Don't forget Chara and an effective Redden on D.

As for the habs, Gill and Mara were murdered at ES tonight, all the while playing Ottawa's 3rd and 4th line. Those dudes, with kids like D'Agostini and Pacioretty and poor old George are what will torpedoe the team this year. Nice people, and nice specialists too. But not good hockey players as Alger meant it I think.

This is a transition team, imho, and the rotten first half (injuries-wise) will make it a tough road to the playoffs. Ottawa is less impressive, but they are a trade away from pulling in front for good and there is no way in hell Philly is denied a pl;ayoff spot.

I think we are fucked. Oy...

1/17/2010 1:23 am  
Blogger spOILer said...

The way I took Shero's comments w.r.t. the draft is that you can't take the time to develop 3rd line types or PvP wingers or (whatever type of responsible player) in the A because by the time they're good enough to trust, they're already gone.

I don't think he was referring to the Crosby-types (except perhaps from the p.o.v. of contract).

So those guys are either going to have come as hired hands per the contract he described, or as kids thrown to the lions too early, or as older FA pickups at the minor league level.

The Pens have been using option 1, the Oil option 2.

But this last option seems oft over-looked, especially as it might displace one's own draft picks from playing spots on the top farm team, but I think it is one that maybe should be explored a little more. And these guys would definitely fit into Vic's philosophy of shopping for what isn't this year's Tickle-me Elmo.

1/17/2010 1:05 pm  
Blogger Jim Philips said...

It is a pity the radio isn't the same of some time back. but I really into the podcast and It would be great if he can be in one of those and some advises for my pph free demo

5/30/2013 11:52 pm  

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