“What’s the Pittsburgh model?”
Brian Burke snapped that question back to the media during a postseason press conference on Tuesday [...]. The [...] question had been about preaching patience to the fan base and [the idea of collecting] high draft choices through years of unsuccessful hockey [as a way to turn Toronto into] a Stanley Cup contender.
“[Pittsburgh] won a goddamn lottery and they got the best player in the game. Is that available to me? Should we do that? Should we ask the League to have a lottery this year, and maybe we pick first?” he said.
“The Pittsburgh model? My ass.”
[...]“Ray Shero’s done a good job. He’s an excellent GM and he’s a friend of mine. But I love when people talk about the Pittsburgh model. The simple fact is that they got the best player … we came in second that year in Anaheim. We got Bobby Ryan. Impact player, good player. They got Sidney Crosby [...].”
(Anyone want to wager what percentage of Burke’s ire here is based on the premise that he’d still be living in California if the Ducks had landed Sidney Crosby?)
Burke can live wherever he wants. Maybe he does still live in California, I don’t know. I find it hard to believe Burke would prefer still working for the Ducks to working for one of the two or three coolest franchises in hockey. Cool the way the Dodgers are still cool, even when they suck. Cool the way the Ducks are never cool, even when they win the cup.
I’m sure a lot of people are nodding in agreement, reading Burke’s assessment of the Penguin’s “grand scheme.” It’s not just the fact that anyone could have won that lottery — the 2005 draft being the one coming out of the lock-out where there were no 2005 final standings to seed the draft (since there was no season) and so the entire drafting order was chosen randomly. In the six playoffs since the Crosby pick, the Penguins have been “contenders” exactly twice. Once they lost in the finals but could have won. Once they won the cup. That’s nothing to sneeze at. But they also lost in the first round twice and the second round once. And the year they won the cup, they fired their coach mid-season.
That doesn’t sound like much of a plan. It sounds more like a team with some world-class talent (like a lot of teams) and decent management (like a lot of teams) fighting their way through the Normandy invasion that is the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with more success than most teams but by no means a corner on any ingenious formula for winning.
#1 Sidney Crosby, #2 Bobby Ryan, #3 Jack Johnson
Burke’s right. As good as Ryan is, he’s not Crosby. and JJ isn’t Ryan. (p.s. the highest scoring player in the ’05 draft class, behind Crosby, is Anze Kopitar, picked 11th by Dave Taylor.)