5 - Rejean (Pinote) Houle - Montreal: Until Garth Snow's resume is up, Houle will likely stand as the most unqualified of the unqualified. Essentially, Houle was a puppet of president/control maniac Ronald Corey's puritan whims. Corey thought the Canadiens image a saintly thing, not recognizing the fact that the Cup is usually won by the most unsavory group of antagonizing bastards. Corey has heave-hoed the likes of Chelios, Corson, Claude Lemieux and finally Patrick Roy when their public personas become detrimental to the presidents preferred squeaky clean Hab dream. Once Houle took a whopping three days worth of upping antes on Roy he shuffled him off to Colorado, basically handing them the Cup. The bad deals snowballed from there to give the Habs their worst decade in a hundred year history. I could go way beyond this, but it's torture! Lesson: Owners and Presidents should never mingle with the running of teams.
4 - Gord Stellick - Toronto: Managed to make a last placed team worse through a series of debungles that included trading Russ Courtnall to Montreal for soon to be corpse, John Kordic. Stellick was the ultimate organizational kiss-ass, starting in the Ballard years as a photo copy boy and working his way up the cracks and crevises of the Leafs front offices. His tenure was mercifully short, lasting less than a season. His few acts, however, kept the team sunk for a few more years. Lesson: Your best brown noser is your worst GM candidate.
3 - Craig (Belly) Button - Flames: Button's buffoonery still looms large over the spectre of the Flames future. He rid the Flames talent pool of draft picks youngsters the likes of J.F. Giguere (his 1st move), Martin St.Louis, and Marc Savard for a book of matches. He then burned himself by signing Jarret Stoll five minutes too late, allowing him to re-enter the draft and become and Oiler. He then mistook Roman Turek for Vladislav Tretiak and rewarded him with a contract of noose like proportions. Button went on to be the head scout for the Leafs. Lesson: If his shoes are brown and his pants are blue - he don't have a clue!
2 - Mike O'Connell - Bruins: This Bruins GM is easily displeased and changes his vision like disposable contacts. In six seasons he waded through five coaches, including himself. He came on board with three time Jack Adams Trophy winner Pat Burns at the helm only to meddle with his coaching style and derail the team from the get-go. His solution: Replace Burns with a coach of identical tactics, teachings and theory - Mike Keenan. To compound ridicule, he lays out bonus for Keenan to achieve ( a + .500 record), which he does, but fires him for missing the playoffs. He then triplicates his original error by getting another coach of whom bastard is the highest qualification. Robbie Ftorek lasts a season and a half before the GM cans him also. Ftorek had become known as a coach who cannot take 1st place teams beyond the first round. Read the resume Mike! He then hires the successful but inexperienced Mike Sullivan over his own Peter Laviolette. Sullivan duplicates Ftorek's career downturns by blowing a 3-1 series lead over a gagged and bound Habs squad. O'Connell then blows mucho big bucks on a cast of unwanted yesterdays heroes such as Bryan Leetch, Martin Lapointe, and Alexei Zhamnov and the teams collective playoff hopes go wayward by December. To rectify that matter, he concludes he must trade his only superstar and rebuild. This, after fussing over salary with Thornton all summer. Big Joe thanks him for the change of address by winning the Art Ross with San Jose - the only time in history a traded player has done so. Brilliant move. His final act of desperate desolution to save his own ass is the firing of the seemingly competant Sullivan. In a move reminiscant of his entire tenure, O'Connell announces his termination just as the Bruins see a final flicker of playoff hopes, being 8 points out with all of ten games remaining. To compound the shroud of his mysterious ways, the GM states that the coach, although fired, will remain in place until the seasons end. Lesson: Being decisive and patient are prerequisits of any GM hiring.
1 - Mike Milbury - NY Islanders: Of course, who else but Mad Mike in the #1 spot. Milbury is to hockey knowledge what axe murderers are to tender love. This master of disasters resume of fuckups reads longer than a Rita McNeil grocery list. He has traded away, over the years, Luongo, Bertuzzi, McCabe, Chara, and Spezza, to name but the most obvious and infamous. At the draft, he has passed over Dany Heatley and Marian Gaborik for Rick Dipietro when he already had Luongo. He has given up too early on Raffi Torres, Eric Brewer, and Tim Connolly. Ironically Milbury has done some good work. Inexplicably he has undone most of it himself. After missing the playoffs for seven straight seasons, he finds a coach in Peter Laviolette who gives him back to back playoff spots. As a reward - he fires him! Within two years Laviolette's name is on the Stanley Cup! In his final act as man of all messes for owner Charles Wang, Milbury assists in choosing his successor and the teams next coach - not letting the new GM do his own thinking - that would be foolish! As testament to his complete lack of hockey wherewithall, this Gilligan of smooth sailling lands two of hockey best known exiles in GM Neil Smith and the presumably blacklisted backstabber Ted Nolan as coach. Not only are duo unlikely, they are also completely incompatible. Just as Smith begins to piece together what appears to be a solid lineup - he is fired 40 days into his contract. One can only assume that the vision threw off the entire organization. Lesson: Pick one!