Tainted Love?


Buried at the bottom of Wednesday's DP blurb about Adam Foote's pending retirement (not linking because of the ridiculous auto-playing video) was the mention that Joe Sakic would be joining Foote with the Colorado Thunderbirds Under-13 program next year, thought of as a short-time gig before he joins the Avalanche front office.I have to admit, I'm a little conflicted about this.

On one hand, who wouldn't want Super Joe in the Avalanche front office? He's the greatest player in franchise history, a proven winner and an all-around classy guy. Obviously, Joe knows hockey. It's not unheard of for a cornerstone franchise player to move into that team's front office after retirement. Joe Nieuwendyk is currently the GM for the Dallas Stars, a team he won a Conn Smythe trophy for. He replaced Brett Hull, who scored that goal that UZ probably still claims didn't happen. 3 of 5 the players who have had their jerseys retired by the Kings have served in LA's front office: Luc Robitaille, Dave Taylor and Rogie Vachon. Bobby Clarke had a Hall of Fame career in Philadelphia before spending 19 years as the Flyers' GM. Longtime Oiler Kevin Lowe has been in the Edmonton front office for years.

And how many Stanley Cups do those star players have as an executive for those franchises? None. Although there's been some success - Vachon was the GM who acquired Wayne Gretzky from Edmonton, while Clarke's teams went to 3 Cup Finals - the ultimate success has eluded them. Greatness on the ice doesn't always translate to greatness upstairs.

Let's not forget about Rejean Houle. He wasn't exactly a star in Montreal, but he was a former 1st overall pick who won 5 Stanley Cups with the Canadiens. As a GM, he is the guy who traded Patrick Roy to the Avs. But his credentials don't stop there:

Following this trade, he traded away marquee players like Mark Recchi, Vincent Damphousse and Pierre Turgeon for players of little value. He was also criticized for frequently trading with non-contending teams, being unable to sign big name free agents and signing marginal players to inflated contracts. Houle's drafting was considered even worse as he was criticized for taking players like Matt Higgins, Jason Ward, Eric Chouinard and Marcel Hossa, the younger brother of then rising star Marian with his first round selections as well as trading away a top ten pick in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft for an underacheving Trevor Linden

What happens if Joe Sakic is a lousy GM. When Eric Lacroix becomes the next GM of the Avalanche and crashes and burns, no one will have their on-ice memories of him tarnished. If Sakic were to replace him and stink up the joint, would it taint our memory of the great years he gave us on the ice? We here at MHH have no problem making fun of Avalanche front office staff when they make mistakes. But Sakic? Super Joe? Not quite sure I'm ready for that one.

[stick tap to a whole bunch of SBN hockey writers who gave me some great examples of star players who moved to the front office. Also, the person who suggested Garth Snow]

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