What do successful teams have in common?
In our sport goaltending is a big factor, but for the most part the
ownership of the team was huge. I’ve been close to some of the owners.
My first year in Montreal, Molson sold the team to the two brothers Edgar and Peter Bronfman.
They were around the rink, but they never interfered. They played hockey on Sunday mornings with friends before we practised. I think the team got the feeling that they would do anything to win.
In Detroit Mike Ilitch is the same way, and that feeling was there even in Pittsburgh with Howard Baldwin. In my first three years with St. Louis our ownership did things that were unheard of. We lost four straight games in the finals but they happened to own a hotel in Florida where for three straight years they brought all the players and their families, as well as the scouts and the coaches.
Success comes from ownership, goaltending, and I’ve always been thinking that you can have a fire-wagon type of hockey but your ability to play good defence has got to surface. The thread that ran through all of my success was undoubtedly ownership’s commitment to win. I’ve been quite close to some of the owners, and the Bronfmans’ passion for the game as owners in Montreal and the Ilitches’ commitment to create a winning team in Detroit contributed greatly to our success.