The odd man out
Once upon a time, Max Pacioretty recalls, he and David Desharnais were the same player. “When we were in Hamilton, we were both passers and we were always setting up the other guy in our line,” Pacioretty said on Friday. “One day, Davey said to me that I had a good shot and I should use it more and we started developing some chemistry.” Pacioretty and Desharnais have established themselves as solid NHL players, which raises the question: What happened to the other guy on that line? His name is Mike Glumac and he scored 33 goals in 66 games with the Bulldogs in 2008-09. He never played a single game in the NHL and has spent the past three season with Mannheim in the German League.
The first commandment for owners
The first commandment for pro sports franchise owners should be: Thou shalt not fall in love with your players. George Gillett learned that lesson when he fell in love with José Theodore after the goaltender won the Hart and Vézina Trophies in 2002. When negotiations between Theodore and general manager André Savard for a new contract reached an impasse, Gillett stepped in and gave Theodore a three-year deal worth $18 million. That was a hefty raise from the $1.65 million the goaltender had been earning, but as Theodore’s salary went up, his performance went down, and in 2006 he was traded to Colorado for David Aebischer. New York Islanders owner Charles Wang also fell in love with a goaltender, and in 2006 handed Rick DiPietro a 15-year deal worth $67.5 million. Injuries have limited DiPietro to only 50 games since the end of the 2007-08 season, and on Friday he was placed on waivers for the purpose of sending him to the minors.
Love at first sight
It should be noted that former Islanders GM Mike Milbury was the first person to fall in love with DiPietro. In 2000, Milbury drafted DiPietro No. 1 overall out of Boston University and made room for him by trading Roberto Luongo and Olli Jokinen to Florida. In hindsight, Milbury would have been better off keeping Luongo and using that No. 1 pick on Marian Gaborik. Or Dany Heatley. Or, if he really wanted a goalie, Milbury could have gone with Ilya Bryzgalov, who backstopped Anaheim to the Stanley Cup in 2007, or Henrik Lundqvist, the 2012 Vézina Trophy winner.
NHL teams are getting smarter
If college degrees count for anything, NHL teams are getting smarter in the front office and behind the bench. Jarmo Kekalainen, who became the first European GM of an NHL team when he replaced Scott Howson in Columbus, was introduced to North American hockey when he played at Clarkson University. And Ron Rolston, the new head coach of the Buffalo Sabres, played college hockey at Michigan Tech. Twelve NHL GMs and 10 head coaches have played college hockey in the U.S.
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