The Hockey News is in the business of informing and entertaining, crafting relevant stories that resonate with our audience and hopefully create a buzz in the industry.
That mandate, while embraceable and exciting, has its challenges. Take this week's cover story.
Internally, we've been talking much of the season about doing a ranking of the NHL's GMs. It's a story with bite, founded on hard analysis and fitted with lightning rods.
Early on in the campaign, we shelved the idea because there hadn't been enough time to properly evaluate each of the 30 men. A legitimate excuse, but one that no longer exists. So when the concept re-emerged as the trade deadline approached, we had to ask ourselves: Is the reward worth the risk?
Clearly, we decided it is.
The risk in this case is alienating sources, a concept with which we're familiar. We understand this feature may upset some of the GMs we've spotted among the lower echelon. But that's the nature of a ranking ? somebody has to finish last.
The reward is a stellar story that fulfils our mission, a philosophy that is based on feedback we've received from our readers. And we decided if we're going to take the plunge and potentially rankle NHL team personnel, we wouldn't be milquetoast about it. Senior writer Ken Campbell used direct language and a 1-through-30 rating system that clearly separates first from worst and all the GMs in between.
Here's what senior writer Ken Campbell wrote about the Red Wings' Ken Holland, The Hockey News' General Manager of the Year:
"Holland is in the Binghamton Sports Hall of Fame and looking at the numbers he put up as a 5-foot-8 minor pro goalie, we'll be darned if we can figure out why. But know this: Holland will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder one day and it will be well deserved. "To me, Ken Holland is the best GM in hockey and there's nobody even close to him," said one NHL team executive. Holland built great teams when he had money and he has done the same under the constraints of a salary cap that his Detroit Red Wings never needed. His scouting background has given him a strong foundation in identifying talent both in the amateur and pro ranks. But Holland's best attribute is his decisiveness."