Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Cult Of Clark

I consider myself to be really lucky as I have had the chance to talk to and learn from some of the best minds there is in hockey.

Gordie Clark, Tom Renney, Tommie McVie and the late E. J. McGuire are among those who have opened my eyes as what to look for  out of all those tiny details when trying to evaluate talent.

It is funny how you see all these schools popping up all over the place claiming they can teach you how to scout. What they really are good at is separating you from your own money because the stuff you really truly need to know is never going to come from a classroom.

Having spent the last couple of days transcribing my phone call with Gordie Clark a couple of things stood out that you know I never really thought of until Clark mentioned it.

If I sound biased you bet I am as if there was a Cult for followers of Gordie Clark then count me in. This year's lesson was so hidden that it was very much one of the more common things that we tend to overlook.

PP: This year you have fewer picks because of trades how do you adjust your draft to that?

GC: It is not as hard, we don’t have a 3rd or 6th and 7th but listen you’re real bread and butter is your first two picks. We have 2 picks in the second and we are hoping to take advantage of them.

You can use one of those picks along with your first to move up in the draft to get a guy you really have an eye on. We did that in the Staal year so there is a lot of options you can do when you have 2 picks like that.

The options are endless as to what we can do from this position.

We can always keep them too as we got Stepan in the 2ndround, there is still some NHL players hanging around in the second. So let’s look at the 2nd pick (from the Sanguinetti trade) as our 3rd pick.

You have your 4th and 5th but when you get down to the 6th and 7th there is nobody you really had listed as higher still there. There you are looking for the one who had a bad year but you know is a lot better.

You look for a guy who had a good last 10 games and you take like a Hail Mary shot at someone. You know when the draft was 12 rounds I took Hal Gill in the 9th round and I am telling you he looked pretty goofy.

For 4 years I had people telling me that he was never going to play for me in Boston. Hal was a football quarterback and you know that no matter how bad a league you are playing in you have to make decisions as a quarterback.

You have to look to see if I am going to pass it or hand it off but you still have to make decisions. He had a bit of a learning disorder but he was very good in school and I am talking 9th round so you take a shot at him.

I had a little insider information from Mike McShane who was his coach up in Providence and you know Gill never played a game in the minors. He went right to the NHL but he also had Ray Bourque to play with and a Don Sweeny.

You know think about it as if you had guys like that to break in your kids; it is something we just did not have for Staal, Girardi, McDonagh, and Sauer. We never had that guy, that veteran guy to break these guys in.

They had to do it all on their own. Sure they may had made mistakes but people forget that when you have that veteran guy that he will make up for a lot of your deficiencies and bring the kids along a lot better so I give those 4 kids on our defense a lot of credit.

In case you are wondering the main part of the Clark interview will be in next month's Blueshirt Bulletin. It is so large that I suggested that they break the interview into 2 parts.

What also did not made the final cut was where does Clark think the state of the franchise/prospects is in.

GC: Glen is so committed to drafting properly and doing as much developing as you can. All these camps we have, the development camp we have; everyone is all on board with. 

Everyone is on deck when we hold a camp, all NHL coaches, all AHL coaches,  the scouts, the trainers, Glen, and Schonfeld. Everyone is there because it is just so important and you know they (the Rangers) had older teams in the minors back then.

Picks were being traded as were players so we are very committed to Connecticut where we play out of Hartford. When you look at it, Staal saw little time there, Girardi you know was a free agent that Rich Brown (scout) really liked.

He played there (Hartford) and then he gets sent to the ECHL but when he came back to the AHL then everything just took off for him. Stepan he never spent a day in the minors.

Callahan, Anisimov and Dubinsky that was a huge line for us when Gaborik went down early in the season. All 3 of them played there (Hartford). 

Sauer and McDonagh they went through and you know Jeff Gorton and I, we saw Boyle in Manchester (Los Angeles Kings AHL team) which is 30 miles away (from home) for the both of us so we watched him go through (development) too.

We watched Boyle with our own eyes, he was playing defense then playing offense and LA wanted him to play a rougher style and he is just not like that. We thought Boyle had more skill than what he was being credited for.

Now Del Zotto goes down there, he had a tough sophomore year which a lot of guys do so now he can go down there (to work on his game. You have Kundratek doing his thing there and now Weise he has had 2 good years there.

Grachev was just 19 in his first year in the AHL but he probably should have been in junior scoring 50 but he was down there, He had a nice year this year so that is just how important development is to us.

It is where Horak will be going next year as will most of the guys we just signed; Stajcer, Jason Wilson and others. Those are the guys who are coming into the system like Carl Hagelin of Michigan.

You know a lot of people say we got some nice kids now but more importantly I have a coach (Tortorella) who will use them. A lot of coaches they don't put them in but ours he does use them.

He is going to be hard on you but he is also hard on the older players too but he is not afraid to put them out on the ice and that is an advantage for us.

Thanks to the Rangers for setting up my chance to talk to Gordie Clark and thanks to him as well because at this time of the year he took what little free time he had and talked with us.

(Clark/New York Rangers)


Leatherneck said...

Did he hint on who he likes in the draft?...I don't want to know the prospect....just curious if they have a player they have targeted like last year in McIlrath...McIlrath was my hope last year...this year I have my two hopes...Biggs and McNeill

Anonymous said...

thoughts on the Erixon trade? Was he worth Horak and our two second rounders? Guess its never bad too have a lot of young D....but some more forward prospects would be ince

Jess Rubenstein said...

I never ask Clark about the draft as I know he will not answer me. But you know I should have seen the Erixon deal coming as THAT he opened the door for.

I like the Erixon deal because both teams win. Calgary gets Horak who fits in with another Calgary prospect Ryan Howse.
Erixon is a very good 2 way defender who just solidifys the defense

I also do not think the NYR are finished trading either