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Hartnell: Poile ahead of his time

Predators forward says GM, who tied Sather for NHL wins record, man of his word

by Scott Hartnell / Special to

Nashville Predators general manager David Poile tied Glen Sather for the most wins (1,319) by a GM in NHL history on Tuesday. Poile, the Washington Capitals GM from 1982-1997, is the only GM in Predators history. He selected forward Scott Hartnell with the No. 6 pick in the 2000 NHL Draft. Here, Hartnell shares his thoughts on Poile.


[RELATED: Poile ties wins record for GM | Trotz: Poile always forward thinking in Nashville]


Mr. Poile has been able to adapt so well over the years. Throughout the '80s, the game was a lot different than it is now. It's basically a complete 180 from older guys and hitting, fighting and clutching and grabbing and all of that kind of stuff. Now, it's young and fast with speed and skill, and Mr. Poile has kept up with the times. 

In a lot of ways, he's been ahead of his time with the foresight to realize where the game is going and adjust his team accordingly. He's been around the block, and I'm sure he has some great stories. Trades or non-trades, the whole [Shea] Weber signing and that whole deal to get [Predators defenseman P.K. Subban] here. You can go on and on. It'd be great to write a book or sit down with him and pick his brain about the years that he's had as a GM. 

I remember doing a lot of meetings with different teams and GMs and their scouting staffs before I was drafted back in 2000. Just where I was ranked, I was really paying attention to those hotel rooms where you go to meet everyone. Mr. Poile was very quiet in the meeting. I think he was just watching and taking notes on how you interact with people and all that stuff. He remembers my smile just like I do when I was drafted by the Predators. I was on cloud nine.

Video: SJS@NSH: Hartnell chips home dish to double the lead

When you're a younger guy, I don't think you're as involved as you are as an older guy. But with Mr. Poile, ever since I first came into the League, in meetings that were good or bad, it was always productive. He'd say "You're not playing well." Or "You're not doing the right things on the ice in practice." I had a couple of those meetings when I was younger.

Mr. Poile was always wanting me to keep getting better. It was unfortunate that in the last couple of meetings in 2007 when the Predators ownership was in question and he had to let some guys go, including myself when I was traded to Philadelphia, I don't think it was something that he wanted to do. But his hands were tied. 

When you look at what he's done with a low-budget team over the years, especially in the first five or 10 years, he's got an amazing group. He's hired two of the best coaches I've ever played for in Barry Trotz and Peter Laviolette. He's just a real hockey mind and well-respected by everybody.

I remember talking with Mr. Poile about coming back to play for the Predators this year. It was a great conversation. He basically said there's a lot of opportunity for me to play. I think he's watched me the last couple of years and really liked my game still. I can play up and down the lineup and be on that power play in front of the net, so I've definitely had opportunities and have played up and down the lineup everywhere.

Video: NSH@DET: Hartnell gets piece of Josi's shot

He's a man of his word. It's nice when people actually mean what they say and they stand behind that. He's definitely a man of his word. It's hard to find those guys nowadays.

I've gotten to see a new side of Mr. Poile this year with Wyatt being born and him being a grandfather. Just seeing him bring him in the room before a game and watching us walk out for the national anthems, that kind of smile on Mr. Poile's face is something I've never seen before. It's like he's a kid again.

As a GM and as a person, he's lights out one of the best there's ever been. Congratulations, Mr. Poile, on becoming the winningest GM in NHL history!

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