My soapbox to proclaim on hockey, football, politics, life. Spotlighted will be the Montreal Canadiens, and the San Diego Chargers, at least until the Vancouver GlassSmashers' inaugural NFL season.
Monday, 7 May 2012
Does Alex Galchenyuk's knee injury make him damaged goods like Dan Marino was?
Some fans are leery of Sarnia Sting centre Alex Galchenyuk, in part because of his reconstructed right knee. Dan Marino is used as an example of a player who fell in the draft due to his ACL reconstruction, but I remember there being more this story.
Dan Marino was a can’t miss star quarterback out of the University of Pittsburgh, and would have been drafted first overall in his junior year, except he wasn’t allowed to enter the draft until after his senior season. That senior season was subpar for various reasons, including injuries. In hindsight, many think that he lost his focus having nothing left to prove, and coasted during his last season. This loss of focus manifested itself off the field, and he was rumoured to have made full use of his Big Man on Campus status, and gone on a year-long college farewell party of Matt Leinartian proportions.
When the draft came around, he and John Elway were the can’t-miss prospects at quarterback, and Elway went first overall. The off-field rumours and poor play pushed Dan Marino out of the top 5, then top 10. A weird phenomenon then took over, whereby teams who were on the clock had not done their due diligence on him, thinking he would never get that far down the draft. In the meantime, they had done their homework on other players and fallen in love with them, and decided to stick with their chosen player and let Mr. Marino slip by.
Even teams that needed quarterbacks fell prey to this, and it caused Todd Blackledge, Tony Eason and Ken O’Brien to be chosen ahead of Mr. Marino. I remember the New York Jets GM, when challenged on Ken O’Brien (“Ken Who?”), vowing that while he was from a smaller college with less media attention, Mr. O’Brien would prove to be a quarterback for the ages, that he had all the tools and Hall of Fame ability.
It took until the Dolphins in the 27th and penultimate selection in the first round to shake their heads and leap to the podium with their selection. They realized that they were getting a huge bargain, and instead of believing the rumours that were inflating by the minute, they trusted the game tape and Dan Marino’s production on the field.
Eventually, John Elway, Dan Marino and Jim Kelly landed in the Hall of Fame, while the other three had more muted success. Together, these six quarterbacks formed what was known as the Great QB Class of 1983.
This process of teams falling in love with the one or two guys who they think will be available when it’s their turn to choose, and being unable to react when a blue-chip prospect falls in their lap was in effect when the Canadiens saw Nathan Beaulieu fall in 2011. Whoever they had targeted, they quickly adjusted and grabbed the putative Top Ten choice when he proved to be available at 17th overall, about ten spots lower than generally expected.
Marc Bergevin’s assertion that he will beef up the scouting team in Québec is heartening, as well as his desire to build a larger front office. Let's hope he just builds up the scouting team in general. This will allow the team to more completely cover the prospects available in the draft, and be ready to respond when opportunities present themselves. There is a fear that too many voices at the table can lead to confusion, but with good leadership this risk is alleviated, and there is more value to having more information than to having a smaller, more unified group when decisions need to be made.