Dave Reid is hoping the qualities that served him well as a TV analyst will pay off for him as the the new general manager of the Peterborough Petes.
The rookie GM, who 29 years ago was a rookie as a player with the Petes, related Thursday that he's been collecting on-the-job training in his media role the past nine years with TSN and NHL Network.
"It's really nothing that I haven't done while working in the media," Reid, 45, who was a two-time Stanley Cup winner in across his 17-year NHL playing career. "Once I sent in my letter of intent (after the Petes announced in late March Jeff Twohey would not return), I just started doing my work, putting together depth charts that I could take to the interview. The Internet's a lovely thing for that.
"It was like I was building a team," Reid added. "I was fortunate in that I coached my son (Alec Reid) at the '94 level in AAA up until the minor midget year, so I knew al lot of the players in the GTA, the Ottawa area, the (Ontario Hockey) Alliance, even out of Syracuse, Rochester, who were up for the draft this year. The timing is great, if it was '92s or '98s, it would be diffrent. I'd seen draft lists, I'd talked to a lot of scouts, I was able to get a lot on info through my TSN connections, through (covering) the (world) under-17, under-18 tournament. So it was a lot of fun getting ready."
Petes president Ken Jackman related on Thursday that the Petes hiring committee was won over by the fact Reid, who played for the Ontario Hockey League club before going on to a playing and broadcasting career, did his homework -- the same way he might for a broadcast.
"When he came (for an interview), he came prepared," Jackman said. "We asked how much he knew about our team and he pulled out a chart, depth charts almost, of the team. That's coming pretty prepared. No else did that."
Reid's arrival has given Petes pride a shot in the arm. On Thursday, he was joking about how NHL Network colleague Gary Green will joke about being the only coach to guide Peterborough to a Memorial Cup title, in 1979.
"I love that challenge. I'd love to go up to Greener and wave a Memorial Cup ring in his face, 'look Greener I did it.' ... To me, that's the only level to be that. In my career, I was fortunate to play for teams like that. When I was with the Boston Bruins, first day of training camp, (long-time GM) Harry Sinden would say, 'Our goal was to win the Stanley Cup.
"When I got to Dallas with (then-GM) Bob Gainey and (coach) Ken Hitchcock, we were expected win to the Stanley Cup. I was able to win three Presidents' Trophys and two Stanley Cups (with Dallas and Colorado) in the last 4 years I played and nothing else was expected. I've learned that the only way to play is to play to win a championship. I'm not naive, you need to build up to it, but we'l do everything in our power.
The family aspect of Reid's hiring has been played to the hilt. Fellow alumnus Greg Millen, of Hockey Night in Canada,quipped on Thursday: "We travel all over and kid that it's the Peterborough Mafia when we're on the road. We're really excited one of our Mafia members is now the general manager."
Priority one on the ice, not surprising given Reid made his rep as a defensive forward, is cutting down the Petes' goals-against total from 277 this season.
That might involve a coaching change; Reid is interviewing candidates, and is set to met Friday with incumbent head coach Ken McRae.
The Petes went for D with their first two picks (Reid had no input into the draft), taking Slatter Koekkoek and Connor Boland. They have a good trio returning up front a strong trio up front with 18-year-old forwards Ryan Spooner and Austin Watson and 17-year-old Matt Puempel, who set a Petes rookie record with 33 goals, in just 59 games.
The strength of their young core was perhaps belied by a 62-point, sixth-place finish in the OHL Eastern Conference. Part of that was a perfect storm of a NHL raid on the roster and injuries.
Do-it-all defenceman Zach Bogosian moved up to the Atlanta Thrashers, joining Eric and Jared Staal as Petes of recent vintage who turned pro as a teen. The Petes also lost 210 man-games lost to injury, typified by the Jan. 21 game against Owen Sound when Watson, Spooner and right wing Jack Walchessen each went down on the same night. Watson, injured the night before the CHL Top Prospects game, took the warmup. Before the first period was out, Spooner suffered a season-ending broken clavicle and Walchessen separated a shoulder.
That was a cruel twist of fate for Twohey, and perhaps McRae. At the same time, it was a prompt for the Petes to make a change.
The bar, after all, has been set high in Peterborough. On Thursday, assistant GM Aaron Garfat recalled when the club won the OHL title in 2006, one hometown headline was "Petes win first championship in a decade," even though eight teams had won the previous nine seasons.
Reid embraces that.
"I wouldn't want to be in an organization that doesn't have that reputation. It's the only way to be. If you don't win the championship, you better have some pretty good reasons."
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Sports Canada. You may contact him at neatesager @yahoo.ca.
- Peterborough Petes