This was a long post, so I figured I'd post it as a Fan Post instead of in the main thread on Kent Hughes .
I didn't comment much yesterday about the hiring of Hughes. I was cautiously optimistic but didn't know much about him other than he was a successful agent and good friends with Gorton. I gotta be honest and say I was a little worried this may have been Foxhole Buddies 2.0. After reading the articles in the links section, I feel A LOT better about Hughes.
This isn't a case of Foxhole Buddies 2.0. Instead, it was that friendship that allowed Gorton to know just how qualified for the job Kent Hughes is.
A few highlights, some in rough point form, from the articles in the links section which I recommend reading in their entirety.
Brilliant but somewhat humble - never acting like the smartest person in the room even though he might often be. People often say others are smart or really smart. When someone throws out the word brilliant, I think that kicks it up a notch. I also think he won't be saying things like "if you want loyalty get a dog". In fact, he seems like the kind of guy that might relieve you of your duties but you end up asking if he'd like to grab a beer afterwards lol
An extraordinary knowledge of hockey and its main players, of course. An extremely intelligent man, curious, thoughtful, modest, Cartesian, discreet too (Cartesian - that's google translate for ya)
Phone conversation with the author of the article in French that lasted 20 minutes (as it has for the past 15 years). It seems like language should not be an issue if he's speaking on the phone with someone in French for that long. I'm sure we'll get confirmation of this in today's presser.
More about Hughes and the French connection
But believe me, he knows and understands the culture of hockey in Quebec and the meaning of this club to people across the province.
Kent Hughes won't be a Yes man
"Kent Hughes is not a yes-man and Jeff Gorton knows very well that Kent Hughes is not a yes-man,"Madigan laughs.
Speaking with colleagues, Hughes is seen as a great communicator and listener who brings everyone on the team in when it comes to input. He sees the positives in people and wants to do things the right way:
Process vs. Results
This line below is exactly what I wanted to hear. Above all else, this probably says it all.
When you work with Hughes, you learn how to think deeply on a subject.
He's an excellent hockey head, he will surprise many people in the organization whether they are professional or amateur recruiters.
I don't think Lecavalier would have said that lightly. I have a feeling he knows how capable Kent Hughes is and as a result, many people will be surprised by both the process and the results.
He laughs today remembering that he told Hughes that he would only need to take care of his contract and talk to him about once a month. Quickly, he realized that it was beneficial to talk to him once or twice a week instead and they became great friends.
I'm not saying Hughes is responsible for Lecavalier becoming the superstar that he became, but I'm guessing there were good reasons for him to want to speak to Hughes more often than he originally thought he would that made Lecavalier think "hmm, this guy's going to be good for my career above and beyond the contracts that he gets for me".
RinkWise podcast: Kent Hughes on dreaming big, pro qualities of Patrice Bergeron
I also found a great podcast and accompanying article talking about Hughes. I still have to listen to the podcast (50 minutes or so). But in the article, he talks about Bergeron and what made him so successful and makes me confident that Hughes gets it.
It is mental Olympics. It’s very challenging and you have to be prepared for what is involved. You have to train yourself to handle adversity and I think in this generation we probably don’t do a great job of that at the young levels. As a result, some of these players, they’re not prepared for it," Hughes said.
Great quote in the article about Bergeron being in the Top 1% in all of sports, not just hockey, when it comes to competitiveness and mental toughness.
There was another part either in the article or in the few seconds of the podcast that I listened to where he says that players need to understand the game, not just play it. In order to get better, they need to watch video and "see" what's happening on the ice - not just do drills (or something to that effect). Again, seems like a small thing or an obvious thing, but this guy gets it.
In summary ....
Molson hit it out of the park by hiring Gorton, who then hit it out of the park by hiring Kent Hughes.
Consider me officially optimistic about the Habs' future. Things won't happen overnight. The Habs' draft picks won't all be slam dunk picks. Some players may not develop as we may have hoped. But overall, I think we're going to see some great things from Gorton, Hughes and the Habs.
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