WILL LOSING RUIN DEVELOPMENT?

Jason Gregor
November 16 2010 09:44AM

I’ve been reading how some readers/posters are worried that if the Oilers continue to lose it will have a negative impact on Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi and possibly hurt their development. We’ve long heard the phrase, “Losing builds Character.” I couldn’t find out who coined that phrase, and I’m not sure there is any truth to it, but it seems that great players will produce regardless of wins or losses.
 
Losing sucks plain and simple. Whether it builds character or not, varies from player to player, but many great players endured their fair share of losing early in their careers, over came it, and still managed to become great.

TALKING BOUT LOSERS

In Joe Sakic’s first four seasons he totaled 62, 102, 109 and 94 point-seasons, despite winning only 75 games and losing 205. In his rookie season the Nordiques went 27-46-7 and followed that with records of 12-61-7, 16-50-14 and 20-48-12. Sakic made the playoffs in his 5th year, and then missed them again in his 6th. It took him seven seasons to win a playoff series. Losing didn’t seem to beat him down.
 
Mario Lemieux missed the playoffs in his first four seasons, despite scoring 100, 141, 107 and 168 points. The Penguins won 24, 34, 30 and 36 games during those years. Losing didn’t impact the Magnificent One in a negative way, and he went on to win a Cup in his 7th season. 

The Penguins went 22-46-14 in Sidney Crosby’s first season. The next year they made the playoffs and lost in the five games. I don't think anyone thinks losing 60 games his first year crushed Crosby's spirits.

Alex Ovechkin won 29 and 28 games his first two seasons, and he has only won one playoff round in his five NHL seasons. In those five years he’s scored 269 goals and 529 points. Losing 100+ games in his first two years didn’t damper his enthusiasm at all.

Ilya Kovalchuk made the playoffs in his fifth year. In his rookie season the Thrashers won a whopping 19 games. In his eight years in Atlanta he made the playoffs once. He eventually got traded, but if the Oilers only make the playoffs once in Hall, Eberle and Paajarvi's first seven seasons then either management is awful, or the trio didn't pan out like people expected.

It took Rick Nash six seasons before making the playoffs and in his first five years he won between 24 and 35 games. Nash recently signed a long-term extension with Columbus, despite only making the playoffs once in his first seven years. Nash is considered a very good player, he just hasn't had much  talent around him.

Mats Sundin made the playoffs three times in his first eight seasons, but never won a playoff round until his 9th year. In those first eight years he tallied 632 points in 611 games. Sundin never won a Cup, but he was a pretty dominant player.

Jarome Iginla’s first two NHL games were in the playoffs in 1996. He tallied one goal and an assist, and then he went seven years without a sniff of the postseason. His first foray in search of the Cup resulted in the Flames Cinderella run in 2004. During those seven losing seasons, Iginla continually improved culminating with a 52-goal, 96-point season in his 6th year. 
 
Vincent Lecavalier won 19, 19, 24 and 27 games in his first four years. In his 4th year he only scored 37 points, despite 67 and 51-point seasons prior to that. He rebounded with 78 points in his 5th year and won a playoff series, before winning the Cup in his 6th year. 
 
Dany Heatley missed the playoff his first three years in Atlanta. He got traded to Ottawa and in his first season with the Senators he scored 50 goals, and that came after the horrific off-ice car accident.
 
Steven Stamkos won 24 games in his rookie season, and only 34 last year, yet he found a way to overcome all the losing by scoring 51 goals and 95 points in his second campaign. This year he leads the NHL with 15 goals and 28 points.
 
Mike Gartner missed the playoffs during his first three years winning only 27, 26 and 26 games during that time. He never won a Stanley Cup, but he did score 708 goals and 1335 points. Not every player will become a champion, but the great once will produce regardless of wins and losses.
 
Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne missed the playoffs in his first four years with Detroit, while averaging 30 wins a season. He got traded to the Kings after his fourth year, and despite never winning a Cup, he became one of the most prolific scorers of all-time with 731 goals and 1771 points. 

WILL LOSING MAKE YOU WORSE?

  
There are some players that have played on losing teams consistently, and you wonder if that eventually that does affect them.
 
Jay Bouwmeester is in his 8th NHL season, and he has yet to play one playoff game. He missed the playoff six straight years in Florida, but his best offensive season came in years five and six. So did the losing get to him, or did it inspire him to want to do more? I'd suggest both.
 
He was a better player in years five and six, but eventually he wanted out of a losing situation. Too bad for him he went to Calgary where it looks like he might be in for another long stretch of losing.
 
Alex Steen was the 24th pick in 2002. He missed the playoff his first three years with Toronto, 2006-2008, then got traded to the St. Louis in his 4th year. The Blues made the playoffs, but never won a game. Last year he broke out with 24 goals, but the Blues just missed the postseason.
 
This year he is off to his best start ever and is on pace for 58 points. Steen is similar to Eberle in that he waited a few years after being drafted before making the NHL, and is early 20s draft selection. Being a loser four out of five seasons, hasn't made Steen a worse player, in fact, it seems he is only getting better.
 
In Phil Housley's first 15 seasons, he won ONE playoff series. He missed the playoffs six of those years, and actually the only time he won a series was in his rookie season. He got a taste of the playoffs and then for 14 years never felt that again, yet he was considered one of the better D-men in the game.
 
I know he was a bit soft, but he had six 70+ point seasons. Losing might have got him down, but he never quit and made it all the way to the Cup final with Washington in 1998 only to lose to the Wings. 

HOW WILL THEY HANDLE IT?

Maybe losing often will wear down the kids. Maybe it will drive them insane and they'll end up on some crazy Japanese reality show wearing Wanye's best saturday night outfit, but I doubt it. 

The above examples don't guarantee that HEP will all become stars and live up to their first round selections. There is no guarantee the Oilers will improve and become an elite team, but it seems clear that many of today's top stars have lost early in their careers, but still improved.
 
Hall, Eberle and Paajarvi are only 16 games into their NHL careers, so it is way too early to worry about whether a few losses will dampen their spirits. You don't become a first round pick without overcoming some adversity along the way. I think that facing hurdles in life, and finding a way to get over them shows character and perserverance, and I'd like to think that HEP are strong enough to not let one or two losing seasons derail their talent.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#101 BigDawg
November 17 2010, 09:57AM
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I think most of us can handle the rebuild.. its the effrot thats the problem.. we are not seeing much of it..

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#102 madjam
November 17 2010, 10:10AM
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Truthfully , gutting what core you had and replacing it with a worse one can hardly be called a rebuild ! It's another backwards step in reality - one of many we have endured in last 4 seasons . When you take on more voids, and do not fill adequately ones from previous seasons your not in a rebuilding stage even yet . You'll know we are in a rebuild when we start getting the voids filled with upgrades and not till thenn will the rebuild even begin !

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#103 Ryan14
November 17 2010, 10:10AM
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@S.Tambellini

Yes I know. Just showing that he is a player that this team could use although.

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#104 Ryan14
November 17 2010, 10:15AM
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@Woodguy

And what happened after one year of futility? Rebuild. What happened after years of horrible seasons with EIG? Souray, Penner,Vanek and so on.

Katz acknowledged the teams problems, and endorsed a rebuild. EIG threw money at the problem hoping that one of the people brought in would be the answer.

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#105 freeze
November 17 2010, 10:35AM
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@skidplate, @Travis Dakin http://yfrog.com/jum120gifg

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#106 Senator Theo
November 17 2010, 10:53AM
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@freeze

Haha - that's magic. I can't turn away.

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#107 Skidplate
November 17 2010, 11:07AM
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freeze wrote:

@skidplate, @Travis Dakin http://yfrog.com/jum120gifg

Those girls sure can dance.

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#108 Skidplate
November 17 2010, 11:09AM
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Rumor: Iggie to LA for Schenn, Hickey, prospect and 1st round pick.

Seems like an overpay for LA. Maybe we can weasel our way in there.

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#109 Dyckster
November 17 2010, 11:17AM
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Skidplate wrote:

Rumor: Iggie to LA for Schenn, Hickey, prospect and 1st round pick.

Seems like an overpay for LA. Maybe we can weasel our way in there.

Wow, surprised, if true, he'd stay in the West.

Source?

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#110 Matt Henderson
November 17 2010, 11:23AM
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@madjam

I'm sorry that, even after almost a full year of people explaining to you what a rebuild entails, you still dont understand what it means.

You are stuck in Oilers circa late 90's mode where the team tries to make 8th spot every season with guys that are just good enough to lose in the 1st round.

It's rebuilding via the draft. This is done by losing and ensuring a better opportunity to select better players. Example: The Oilers upgraded their strength on the wings by drafting Hall, thought by many (not all) to be the best player available.

It might also mean trading more established players for a few younger ones or a single blue-chipper.

This process is slow. Sometimes it might not appear to be happening at all because the majority of work is done over the course of one weekend every year (the draft) or at the trade deadline.

A step backward in the regular season might be two or three steps forward at the draft. So try to see this rebuild for what it really is.

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#111 OILERSORDEATH
November 17 2010, 11:24AM
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Skidplate wrote:

Rumor: Iggie to LA for Schenn, Hickey, prospect and 1st round pick.

Seems like an overpay for LA. Maybe we can weasel our way in there.

Wow that seems like a bit much to give for Iggy. I doubt Dean L. would be that crazy. Where are you hearing this??

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#112 Matt Henderson
November 17 2010, 11:26AM
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Skidplate wrote:

Rumor: Iggie to LA for Schenn, Hickey, prospect and 1st round pick.

Seems like an overpay for LA. Maybe we can weasel our way in there.

Are they trading for Iginla circa 2003 or the current version? Sutter would be sainted if he pulled off this heist. No way it's ever going to happen.

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#113 Skidplate
November 17 2010, 11:29AM
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@Dyckster

Dean Millard on the Pipeline show.

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#114 Dyckster
November 17 2010, 11:31AM
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Skidplate wrote:

Dean Millard on the Pipeline show.

Thanks! Sportsnet is reporting it now as well.

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#115 positivebrontefan
November 17 2010, 11:35AM
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I agree somewhat with madjam, we are not in full rebuild mode yet, we are still in the dismantle mode of the rebuild. Dumping salary, putting up with and in some cases encouraging mediocrity by putting players in siuations they are not suited for, thus exposing weaknesses and hopefully learning from them.

It's gonna be a long harsh ride before we see any sort of success.

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#116 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
November 17 2010, 11:51AM
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Skidplate wrote:

Dean Millard on the Pipeline show.

I think it was Dreger that was on the morning show saying it was false.

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#117 VK63
November 17 2010, 12:08PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

Are they trading for Iginla circa 2003 or the current version? Sutter would be sainted if he pulled off this heist. No way it's ever going to happen.

~Sutter has to make cap room for the 3+ mill a season glenX wants~.

Fn tambo... wheres that compromising sheep footage of Lombardi needed to get Penner down there and Schenn up here.

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#118 madjam
November 17 2010, 12:58PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

I'm sorry that, even after almost a full year of people explaining to you what a rebuild entails, you still dont understand what it means.

You are stuck in Oilers circa late 90's mode where the team tries to make 8th spot every season with guys that are just good enough to lose in the 1st round.

It's rebuilding via the draft. This is done by losing and ensuring a better opportunity to select better players. Example: The Oilers upgraded their strength on the wings by drafting Hall, thought by many (not all) to be the best player available.

It might also mean trading more established players for a few younger ones or a single blue-chipper.

This process is slow. Sometimes it might not appear to be happening at all because the majority of work is done over the course of one weekend every year (the draft) or at the trade deadline.

A step backward in the regular season might be two or three steps forward at the draft. So try to see this rebuild for what it really is.

Let me explain to you dyslexic people what a proper rebuild is in terms you might better understand .

You don't rebuild your home with replacement parts worse than the ones your rebuilding with for starters . That would be assinine to begin with . You don't rip out an old carpet and replace it with another carpet in worse condition and call it a proper rebuild . There , you finally get the picture of what A PROPER REBUILD AT LEAST STARTS WITH !!

Now show me anywhere we have even started on a proper rebuild . Our replacement parts are worse than what we started with once again . A proper rebuild like on a house does not begin with replcement parts in worse condition than the ones your replacing . Obvious that logic is to advanced for some of you .

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#119 Skidplate
November 17 2010, 01:03PM
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@madjam

Wow

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#120 Dyckster
November 17 2010, 01:27PM
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madjam wrote:

Let me explain to you dyslexic people what a proper rebuild is in terms you might better understand .

You don't rebuild your home with replacement parts worse than the ones your rebuilding with for starters . That would be assinine to begin with . You don't rip out an old carpet and replace it with another carpet in worse condition and call it a proper rebuild . There , you finally get the picture of what A PROPER REBUILD AT LEAST STARTS WITH !!

Now show me anywhere we have even started on a proper rebuild . Our replacement parts are worse than what we started with once again . A proper rebuild like on a house does not begin with replcement parts in worse condition than the ones your replacing . Obvious that logic is to advanced for some of you .

We are in FULL rebuild mode. And to use your logic, a full rebuild means tearing everything down and starting with a solid FOUNDATION. We have that foundation with the likes of Hall, Eberle, MPS, Peckham, Gagner... and some of the current OKC Roster. We currently have a supporting cast, kind of like the 2x6's used to support a wall while it's being permanently fastened. Soon those supports will be removed and replaced with a more permanent solution.

You, my friend, do not understand what it means to rebuild a hockey team.

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#121 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
November 17 2010, 02:11PM
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madjam wrote:

Let me explain to you dyslexic people what a proper rebuild is in terms you might better understand .

You don't rebuild your home with replacement parts worse than the ones your rebuilding with for starters . That would be assinine to begin with . You don't rip out an old carpet and replace it with another carpet in worse condition and call it a proper rebuild . There , you finally get the picture of what A PROPER REBUILD AT LEAST STARTS WITH !!

Now show me anywhere we have even started on a proper rebuild . Our replacement parts are worse than what we started with once again . A proper rebuild like on a house does not begin with replcement parts in worse condition than the ones your replacing . Obvious that logic is to advanced for some of you .

Never mind, looks like Dyckster coverd the same points

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#122 Pajamah
November 17 2010, 02:46PM
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@madjam

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH!!!!ONE!!!

Are you seriously implying anyone here has a lesser understanding of basic english than yourself?

Are YOU taking shots at other commentors intelligence?

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

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#123 Buke
November 17 2010, 04:00PM
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Great Article Gregor! Could have done without the last image tho...time to drink that image out of my head!

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#124 madjam
November 17 2010, 04:41PM
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Pajamah wrote:

@madjam

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH!!!!ONE!!!

Are you seriously implying anyone here has a lesser understanding of basic english than yourself?

Are YOU taking shots at other commentors intelligence?

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Anybody regardless of status . Would you go out and rebuild a car two bitting you to death , and replace the good parts or even bad parts with worse working parts and call it a proper rebuild ? I doubt it ! I think we all know what you'd end up with . There is a huge difference between a sales pitch with litlle to no validity and a proper rebuild . Some buy the image however very easily, far more than the actual credibilty of the actual product !

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#125 Matt Henderson
November 17 2010, 08:57PM
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madjam wrote:

Let me explain to you dyslexic people what a proper rebuild is in terms you might better understand .

You don't rebuild your home with replacement parts worse than the ones your rebuilding with for starters . That would be assinine to begin with . You don't rip out an old carpet and replace it with another carpet in worse condition and call it a proper rebuild . There , you finally get the picture of what A PROPER REBUILD AT LEAST STARTS WITH !!

Now show me anywhere we have even started on a proper rebuild . Our replacement parts are worse than what we started with once again . A proper rebuild like on a house does not begin with replcement parts in worse condition than the ones your replacing . Obvious that logic is to advanced for some of you .

Are you suggesting that Hall, Paajarvi, and Eberle are worse parts than Moreau, Pisani, and Nilsson?

Because if you DONT think that, then I dont understand your position.

Explain. And google dyslexia: definition. You might be surprised.

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#126 Logan Hupka
November 27 2010, 09:49PM
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madjam wrote:

Truthfully , gutting what core you had and replacing it with a worse one can hardly be called a rebuild ! It's another backwards step in reality - one of many we have endured in last 4 seasons . When you take on more voids, and do not fill adequately ones from previous seasons your not in a rebuilding stage even yet . You'll know we are in a rebuild when we start getting the voids filled with upgrades and not till thenn will the rebuild even begin !

Would Like to Point out that it is too early to Assess what kind of players some of the rookies will be Steve Stamkos took 60 games into his first season before he started playing well and putting up points. The number one pick is generally a good player Crosby,Tavares Hall etc. So it is logical to assume He is a solid player and core player Jordan Eberle as well. The oilers problem as always is their defence is horrific apart from Whitney there are some real holes on Defence.Vandemeer should not be a top 4 defensman not even a top 6 7th for depth maybe Smid may become a top bottom 4 defenseman but right now he is a bottom 6. Simply put poor defenseman means trouble getting the puck out of your own end which severely inhibits the forwards abilities to produce. Hard to put up points when playing all game in own end. Lastly all of this severally affects morale.

Oilers will suck for a while but hopefully through some smart drafting next year they will begin to improve. If they get 1st overall pick again draft Larsson for god's sake..Draft Defenseman. Quit drafting the same type of forward. Also should have made a move at last years draft to pick up Cam Fowler who was still available until 14th pick Also sign a legitimate veteran to help teach the young kids properly.. Modano for one year would have been Nice or even a Veteran Defenseman. Crosby had Lemieux as a mentor Tavares had Doug Weight Who does Taylor Hall Have Shawn Horcoff (hahahah) Seriously lots of effort on Horcoff's part just not enough skill to begin with..

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