Do you think Glen Sather gets off too easily for the Gretzky trade?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Big Phil, Apr 21, 2011.

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  1. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    First off, we all know he was nothing more than a puppet for Peter Pocklington. Either that or Sather knew nothing about the game because a hockey man doesn't trade Wayne Gretzky in his prime plain and simple and the less you talk about what they got in return, the better. So we all know this was Pocklington's orders behind the scenes. But Sather was the GM of the Oilers at the time and you almost have to wonder why he would let his name be on this type of trade. For example, why not stand your ground more as the GM even if it is to the owner? Why not explain to him just how illogical it is to trade the best player in the NHL? Or why not just talk some common sense into him?

    So discuss this, does Sather get away with more than he should with this trade? We all know his poor track record over the last decade in New York, so...........
     
  2. Muscles Glasses

    Muscles Glasses Registered User

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    Am I the only person who thinks that the Gretzky trade wasn't all that bad of a trade to start, but turned out bad because of the Oilers awful scouting at the time? Gélinas had a decent long career, Carson almost scored 50 the first year in Edmonton, but the Oiler fans were too hard on him, and 3 first round draft picks. If the Oilers scouts did there job properly, they could of kept the train running into the 90's, but out of the 3 first rounders they aquired, in total they played a total of 4 games with the Oilers.
     
  3. begbeee

    begbeee Registered User

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    I agree, the Oilers dynasty could be successful without Gretzky, as we could see in 1990 and 1994. The key was IMO Jimmy Carson, if he did pan out properly they could keep running.
     
  4. Loto68

    Loto68 Registered User

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    Agreed, its not like the Jagr trade Craig Patrick made. Not that Jagr was Gretzky, but there standing as the most dominant offensive force in the game in their respective primes is the greater point.
     
  5. DisgruntledGoat*

    DisgruntledGoat* Registered User

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    I think its been fairly well-documented that the negotations were between Pocklington and McNall, with Sather pretty much on the sidelines. Pocklngton needed to ensure he got enough cash back to save his failing Gainers business. Hockey was secondary.

    Slats left his name on the deal (so to speak) because he was a pretty loyal soldier for Pocklington (its hard to see why, but he was. Its not a coincidence he left EDM for the Rangers before the ink was even dry on the sale of the team to EIG).

    I don't think Slats would have ever traded 99 if he didn't have to. He loved pretty much everything about Gretzky; from his skill-level to his competitiveness. You can this in any clip of Sather talking about Gretzky, and he has mentioned several times that if he could have kept that team together, he believes they would have been winning Stanley Cups into the late 90s.

    I think this is one of those very rare times when the public perception of an event is probably reasonably accurate.
     
  6. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    Well.............according to Phil Esposito when he was GM of the Rangers Sather came up to him in the summer of 1987 and asked if he wanted Gretzky. The deal was nearly inked up but the Rangers owners didn't care about it since they filled MSG daily anyway. Espo of course wanted to win. Plus there have been other times documented when Sather was shopping Gretzky long before the 1988 trade.
     
  7. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    Pocklington maybe, but not Sather that I'm aware of.

    The book Gretzky's Tears by Stephen Brunt documents the details of the trade. Sather and L.A. GM Rogie Vachon were only told about it after Pocklington and McNall had agreed on it.

    "Well, I've sold Wayne." Pocklington told Sather, just like that.
    "You've got to be ****ing kidding," Sather said.
    "I had to make the deal"
    "You're crazy. "We can't do that."

    In the heat of the moment, Sather acknowledges that he was tempted to deck Pocklington. (Gretzky's Tears pg. 123)
     
  8. Epsilon

    Epsilon #basta

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    There's so much BS surrounding the history and details of the Gretzky trade that I instinctively don't believe any of it (especially details released long after the fact) unless multiple parties (that were actually involved, not different journalists all quoting the same source) both authenticate that the actual conversation/event in question took place. A lot of it seems like guys trying to cast themselves in the best light possible.
     
  9. Loto68

    Loto68 Registered User

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    Take anything Trader Phil says with a grain of salt, the guy would trade his mother if he thought he could get two mothers back.
     
  10. Darrelle Lundqvist

    Darrelle Lundqvist Swagelin

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    I mean, the Kings won the deal, but the Oil won the cup the next season, so I don't know. But I do know one thing, he gets off for the Gomez,Drury and Redden deals too easily.
     
  11. Loto68

    Loto68 Registered User

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    Not amongst Rangers fans. Sather has never been great with UFA contracts, but he is still one of the best traders in the game. He turned Gomez into Brandon Prust, Ryan McDonagh and Marion Gaborik. Prust by trading Higgins (part of the original deal) and Gaborik by clearing the cap space.
     
  12. Mayor Bee

    Mayor Bee Registered User

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    For what it's worth, in baseball pretty much every player has a known value assigned to him. And that's not from guesswork either, it's from actually making calls and asking what would be offered in exchange for a certain player or two. This practice is also referenced in Daniel Okrent's book "Nine Innings", which was written in 1982, although I'm certain there are earlier publications that reference it as well.
     
  13. JackSlater

    JackSlater Registered User

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    I don't think Sather deserves much blame for that trade. Everything I've seen makes it pretty clear that Sather was not interested in trading Gretzky, but Pocklington was set on it, and it isn't as if Sather could overrule the owner.

    ESPN's documentary King's Ransom deals with this trade, and both Pocklington and Sather agree seem to agree that it was pretty much all Pocklington's idea and that Sather was against it. I can see why Sather would want to pin the blame on Pocklington after the fact, but Pocklington has no reason to blame himself unless it was true.
     
  14. Epsilon

    Epsilon #basta

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    Bruce McNall, who despite being a crook ironically comes off as the most honest of the bunch when the major players discuss the Gretzky trade, claims it went something like this:

    McNall: I need Wayne Gretzky

    Pocklington: I need 15 million dollars

    and from there it was just ironing out the details to make it look like a "hockey trade", when in actuality it was a sale.
     
  15. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    i haven't read gretzky's book in 20 years, but my memory of it is that sather was convinced up to the day the trade happened that he could get pocklington to change his mind.

    it wasn't a great trade, certainly the draft picks were probably not going to be high ones and, even if they had drafted well, the picks were staggered (at LA's request), which would further diminish the impact an influx of young talent could have on the team.

    but at the same time, edmonton got really unlucky with both simpson from the coffey trade, and carson. both guys looked like future hall of famers their first few years and then for different reasons didn't pan out.

    in the end though, the proceeds from that trade (gelinas, and graves, murphy, and klima, who all came from detroit in the second carson deal) gave them the all-important forward depth they needed to win a fifth cup.

    that's not worth gretzky obviously, but i think sather was choked up enough about having to trade gretzky and the only real power he had in the situation (because all pocklington cared about was the money changing hands) was to at least ensure that gretzky went where he wanted to go (again, according to gretzky's book, which to be fair seemed really self-serving, even to a nine year old). once it became clear that the deal had to be with LA, i don't think sather had much chance of getting a lindros-like return.
     
  16. JT Dutch*

    JT Dutch* Guest

    ... I don't believe for a second that Sather was Pocklington's puppet.

    Sather ran the hockey product for the franchise, and Pocklington made an exception to that with the Gretzky deal because he needed money.

    I can see a noticeable reluctance from Sather to stand up more to Pocklington than what he did, seeing as how he team that Sather built was still strong and he didn't want to leave that situation, but if you're to believe what's been said about the deal - Sather told Pocklington over and over that it was the wrong move to make and that the deal was apparently in limbo until the final moment.

    I don't know whether McNall would have responded with legal action if the deal was nixed, but if you're to believe Pocklington's words to Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal, it was apparent that Pocklington had it in his mind that the deal was going to happen no matter what, and that he was trying to justify the deal by painting Gretzky as the greedy, selfish player - the same tactic that owners have been trying with players since the beginning of professional sports.
     
  17. Epsilon

    Epsilon #basta

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    The way McNall tells it, he secretly let Gretzky listen in on a conservation between Pocklington and himself where Pocklington proceeded to badmouth Gretzky, calling him greedy and saying he had a huge ego and so on. It was supposedly that conversation that swayed Gretzky's opinion on the trade.
     
  18. OneMoreAstronaut

    OneMoreAstronaut Reduce chainsaw size

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    Omg, I burst out laughing. :handclap: I might just have to steal that line sometime.
     
  19. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    Maybe so, but I believe this one tale from Phil. Read his book, he goes into extreme detail about it. Apparently the trade was all but complete before the Rangers owner (Dave Checketts?) voided it. This was 1987. Personally I'd have resigned before I'd ever have inked my name on that horrible trade.

    And let's face it, the Gretzky trade was just downright awful anyway. Even if Carson panned out you are never going to get return value for the best player in the game. On a lower scale, look at the joke Boston did when they traded Thornton. The best player in the deal usually ends up being the winner for the team that gets him. With Gretzky you just multiply it.

    But hey, Pocklington wrote his own book entitled "I'd Trade Him Again" :shakehead
     
  20. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    ...and he ended up going bankrupt anyway.
     
  21. greatgazoo

    greatgazoo Registered User

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    I've read Stephen Brunt's book "Gretzky's Tears" and it has all the details of the how & why of the biggest trade in hockey history.

    Basically, Gretzky orchestrated the deal himself and Sather was lucky to get the players the Oilers got back from L.A because if Pocklinton had his way, it would've been a straight Cash deal.

    BTW..Sather tried his best to get the deal killed.
     
  22. greatgazoo

    greatgazoo Registered User

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    Where's the like button for this comment.

    Sather was furious.
     
  23. Epsilon

    Epsilon #basta

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    I think you might have this site confused for somewhere else.
     
  24. JackSlater

    JackSlater Registered User

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    What else could Sather have done? Pocklington was clearly going to force the deal and did not care all that much about the players that went back his way, and the Kings knew it.
     
  25. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    I guess so........typical owner who knows nothing about hockey meddling in affairs he has no business in

    By the way, Gretzky's 1990 book talked a lot about this trade. It was only two years after it was done and we all know how complimentary Gretzky is of everyone and everything but in this case you could sense he was still bitter about the trade in his comments about Pocklington and even Sather. Still a good read 20 years later. Gretzky at times sounds so................."un-Gretzky-like"
     

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