To most this is probably going to be a minor detail, but for some reason, it bothers me that many ignore it, are ignorant to it, or simply prefer the alternate reality in which it is not true.
It’s about the front office and the chain of command. How they operate now and how they’ve operated since the very beginning of the franchise way back before they were even officially recognized as a franchise by the NHL.
The fact is, George McPhee and Kelly McCrimmon, no matter what the placard on each of their doors says, work collaboratively as a pair.
Shortly after McCrimmon was hired on August 1st, 2016, he and McPhee had a “fantasy draft” of sorts.
I divvied up the teams, I said you take these 15 NHL teams, I’ll take these 15 NHL teams. You deal with them all year, I’ll deal with these and we shared everything. -McPhee on May 2nd, 2019
It’s a story each has recounted publicly upwards of 10 times, including most recently on an episode of the Cam and Strick Podcast.
In Year One, in terms of the division of responsibilities, George came to me early on and said he wanted to split the teams. He thought it was too much for one guy and I would do a good job with my teams. So, we split the teams and it was pretty random how we split them, I had 15 teams I was responsible to deal with the general manager of and bring the information back to our group and George had 15. –McCrimmon on Cam And Strick Podcast
Both have maintained this style of management has continued on ever since.
We basically co-managed for three years and that will continue. -McPhee on May 2nd, 2019
Over the course of that year, and every day since, our titles have changed but we do everything really collaboratively. We work together every day. That’s the way we’ve run it from the outset. –McCrimmon on Cam And Strick Podcast
McPhee’s quotes are from a press conference at City National Arena the day McCrimmon was named GM. It’s the same day we first learned of the phrase “President of Hockey Operations” which became McPhee’s new title.
Literally however insignificant a move we’ve made, it has never ever been someone overruling the other. -McCrimmon on May 2nd, 2019
So, why is it so important to me that this fact be more widely known? Well, it’s because of where much of the credit and criticism has fallen over the past few seasons.
Many credit McPhee for everything that went on in the first two seasons and give McCrimmon the acclaim for the last three. It makes sense based on the title and who is standing behind the podium answering questions from the media, but it doesn’t when you consider the Golden Knights’ process.
Any credit given to the organization for the epic build-out from the Expansion Draft belongs to both McCrimmon and McPhee. While any critique of the changes that have been made since belongs to both as well.
Happy about the Stone and Stephenson trades? Angry about the Tatar one? Pumped about the run to the Cup Final? Livid about the excuse-ridden playoff-less season? Amazing culture in year one? Callus nature of the roster shuffle the past few? Three coaches, cap hell, Eichel, Pietrangelo, Lehner?
You name it, read the quotes above and realize all of it should be viewed as a joint effort.
So, if you are defending the front office, or doing the exact opposite, do it properly and dole it all out to both Mc’s, not just the one that had the arbitrary title of General Manager at the time of each event.