I am going to appologize in advance as this is a topic I found in an article about a month or so back (roughly when the blackhawks were ousted from the playoffs), but I have not been able to find it again. The reason I wanted to bring it up, is that the article spoke of how losing, specifically years of losing, may easily be linked to generational ownership. The example the article spoke of was the Chicago Blackhawks. The passing of Bill Wirtz, Chairman of the team, left the team in the hands of his son Rocky. However in the previous years, the team never seemed to make the right draft picks nor did they make even value trades for the talent they had. They would bring in proven talent, only to see careers come to a screeching halt while on the team. The result was years of losing and being ranked as one of the worst franchises in all of pro sports. Since Rocky has taken over though, in three years or so, the team has sharply turned itself into a young, up and coming, talent everywhere team. Making great draft picks, picking up solid contributors on the FA market and making smart even trades. Not to mention, doing all of this as the NHL has evolved & the Blackhawks have been ahead of pace in adapting to the new NHL.
So then I got to thinking about the Millen firing. Blah, blah, blah, Millen sucks & should have been fired sooner. Ok, now that we are past that point, who was the greatest influence (at least from what we saw in the media) in getting rid of Millen? Ford Jr. Now this may have been a play so that when Ford Sr passes the franchise down the family tree there is a history of a different mindset, but I don't think Sr is that strategic...or smart. I think that Ford Sr has run this team with his influence & what he thinks his team should look like for too long...and I don't think I am alone in that sentiment. His view of a succesful team is outdated vs. what is current in the NFL, I am giving Sr the benefit of the doubt that his vision would be successful in another time.
We have all talked about that mysterious and contagious "different feel" the kool-aid is providing this year...and I have too look at perhaps the influence of the next generation of ownership being right around the corner. If Ford Jr was brash enough to speak out enough in the media about his thoughts on Millens employment, one can only imagine the dinner table conversations. And I don't think those conversations stopped there. Once Jr realized his influence on his aging father, I think a lot of the front office choices & team philosophy have stemmed from him. The new, and/or promoted head office is more in sync than an F1 pit crew. They hired a HC with the same mindset, who brought in a top knotch (experience wise) coaching staff that has continued in that same philosophy. This has led to a very smart & strategic offseason with key FA pick-ups, draft selections, trades and more FA pick-ups. I think we have a backseat driver in Ford Jr. I am sorry that I cannot give Sr credit for being even a tad responsible for more than signing off on these moves...but I have to believe that performance stems from the top. If the right people at the top are making the decisions, the right people will be put in place to succeed. We see players (Foote & Janson)coming back to restore pride in the team and in the city. People are coming here with purpose and drive, something that I don't think has been so clear in all my time rooting for the team. We have seen glimpses, but again, there is something different about this years version.
I for one hope that this holds to fruition. I hope that Sr passes the reigns to Jr, if this is any indication of what influences Jr actually has. And if this is so...I think we can see a young, fast, hard nose and explosive team. Again, this could be the kool-aid speaking...but there are some parallels that I don't think can be overlooked.
Again I appologize for not being able to provide a link to the original article that spoke of this & directly speaking of the Blackhawks organization...but it sparked more hope in all that we have witnesses our team go through in the last 7months.
Here's to the hope for a generation of celebrating Lions triumph!!