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HogsHaven.com - Ted Leonsis Shares His Ten-Point Rebuilding Plan


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I thought this was an interesting read, click the link for the full article. I know just from watching the Caps and from meeting Ted Leonsis that he is a smart man and knows what it takes for building a complete championship team. The caps even traded (Chris Clark) the team captain yesterday for a reasonable player in hopes of bettering the organization... We can learn from this and I hope that this wasn't already posted..... Click link below for full article

by KevinE on Feb 26, 2009 3:45 PM EST

What I have learned about a rebuild to date: A 10 point plan. A Washington Capitals perspective:

1. Ask yourself the big question: "Can this team--as constructed--ever win a championship?" If the answer is yes -- stay the course and try to find the right formula -- if the answer is no, then plan to rebuild. Don't fake it--really do the analytics and be brutally honest. Once you have your answer, develop the game plan to try to REALLY win a championship. Always run away from experts that say, "We are just one player away." Recognize there is no easy and fast systemic fix. It will be a bumpy ride--have confidence in the plan--"trust and verify: the progress -- but don't deviate from the plan."

2. Once you make the decision to rebuild--be transparent. Articulate the plan and sell it loudly and proudly to all constituencies, the media, the organization, the fans, your partners, family and anyone who will listen. Agree to what makes for a successful rebuild--in our case it is "a great young team with upside that can make the playoffs for a decade and win a Stanley Cup or two."

3. Once you decide to rebuild--bring the house down to the foundation--be consistent with your plan--and with your asks--we always sought to get "a pick and a prospect" in all of our trades. We believed that volume would yield better results than precision. We decided to trade multiple stars at their prime or peak to get a large volume of young players. Young players will get better as they age, so you have built in upside. Youngsters push vets to play better to keep their jobs, and they stay healthier, and they are more fun--less jaded by pro sports.

4. Commit to building around the draft. Invest in scouting, development, and a system. Articulate that system and stay with it so that all players feel comfortable-- know the language-- know what is expected of them-- read the Oriole Way*. It worked and it is a great tutorial. Draft players that fit the system, not the best player. Draft the best player for the system. Don't deviate or get seduced by agents, media demands, or by just stats or hype. Envision how this player will slide into your system.

5. Be patient with young players-- throw them in the pool to see if they can swim. Believe in them. Show them loyalty. Re-sign the best young players to long term high priced deals. Show the players you are very loyal to them as compared to free agents who achieved highly for another team. Teach them. Celebrate their successes. Use failures as a way to teach and improve. Coaches must be tough but kind to build confidence.

6. Make sure the GM, coach, owner and business folks are on the EXACT same page as to deliverables, metrics of success, ultimate goal, process and measured outcomes. Always meet to discuss analytics and don't be afraid of the truth that the numbers reveal. Manage to outcomes. Manage to let the GM and coach NOT be afraid of taking risks, and make sure there are no surprises. Over communicate. Act like an ethnic family--battle around the dinner table--never in public. Be tight as a team. Protect and enhance each other. Let the right people do their jobs.

7. No jerks allowed. Implement a no jerk policy. Draft and develop and keep high character people. Team chemistry is vital to success. Make sure the best and highest paid players are coachable, show respect to the system, want to be in the city, love to welcome new, young players to the team, have respect for the fan base, show joy in their occupation, get the system, believe in the coaches, have fun in practice, and want to be gym rats. Dump quickly distractions. Life is too short to drink bad wine.

8. Add veterans to the team via shorter term deals as free agents. Signing long-term, expensive deals for vets is very risky. We try to add vets to the mix for two year or three year deals. They fill in around our young core. They are very important for leadership, but they must complement the young core (NOT try to overtake them or be paid more than them). Identify and protect the core. Add veterans to complement them, not visa versa.

9. Measure and improve. Have shared metrics--know what the progress is--and where it ranks on the timeline-- be honest in all appraisals; don't be afraid to trade young assets for other draft picks to build back end backlog-- know the aging of contracts-- protect "optionality" to make trades at deadlines or in off season; never get in cap jail. Having dry powder is very important to make needed moves.

10. Never settle--never rest--keep on improving. Around the edges to the plan, have monthly, quarterly and annual check ups. Refresh the plan when needed but for the right reasons-- "how are we doing against our metrics of success and where are we on our path to a championship." Never listen to bloggers, media, so called experts--to thine own self be true. Enjoy the ride.

http://www.hogshaven.com/2009/2/26/772915/ted-leonsis-shares-his-ten

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Invest in scouting, development, and a system.

this seems like one of our current weaknesses, but it should be a strength. without a salary cap on team management, snyder should spend his dollars on scouting so that when it comes to to actually pay a player, someone worth the money will be receiving it.

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1(a) Get lucky and draft the best player of the current generation

I keed, I keed, though a certain amount of luck does go into it.

But really, those are pretty good points. It's funny how self-explanatory everything seems to be, yet many organizations fail miserably.

^Damn you, STBonecrusher!

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The Caps are a good team and oozing with talent even without OV.

What the Caps have built in 5 seasons is astonishing.

Here is the difference in Football and in Hockey.

In hockey for every year you suck you build a "FARM SYSTEM".

In football for every year you suck you get a better draft pick than others.

The farm system gets lots of time to develop and play and watch how people do.

The draft to start in football leads to one and dones, luck of the draft, etc.

It's easier to draft a hockey player and not have a total miss then it is to draft a football player.

Ovechkin was a "SURE THING". You don't get those in football.

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would Ted have signed Albert H?

man ... he is great, but talk about being a jerk. the stomping thing, he had issues in college right? getting divorced, now the blache thing ... i mean, its tough to root for the guy.

and yeah...we locked him up for awhile right?

man

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And when did the caps win a stanley cup? I do like the no Jerks rule. and some of the things that could be used with young players. Another thing that would not work is trading players for young talent. I Think this applies to Hockey and Baseball as mention with farm teams.

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4. Commit to building around the draft. Invest in scouting, development, and a system. Articulate that system and stay with it so that all players feel comfortable-- know the language-- know what is expected of them-- read the Oriole Way*. It worked and it is a great tutorial. Draft players that fit the system, not the best player. Draft the best player for the system. Don't deviate or get seduced by agents, media demands, or by just stats or hype. Envision how this player will slide into your system.

This will be essential over the next several months. I really hope this FO can live by this.

As far as the rest goes, I have felt that this was Cerrato's biggest problem. He didn't have a plan, so therefore, he didn't know what would fit our system, so..."you get the best available player..." instead of getting the best player that fits here.

10. Never settle--never rest--keep on improving. Around the edges to the plan, have monthly, quarterly and annual check ups. Refresh the plan when needed but for the right reasons-- "how are we doing against our metrics of success and where are we on our path to a championship." Never listen to bloggers, media, so called experts--to thine own self be true. Enjoy the ride.

http://www.hogshaven.com/2009/2/26/772915/ted-leonsis-shares-his-ten

This. Make a plan & then stick to that plan, period. Don't let your desires to play Fantasy Football interfere with what you are trying to build on.

Nice post. I know when Leonsis started trading away everyone right before the strike, alot of people were scratching their heads wondering if Leonsis had lost his mind. But as he started to move & we started to see what the plan was... as a Caps fan, I was willing to wait now that I knew what the plan would be. Seeing all these young, talented kids coming in & hearing what kinds of things were going on with Hershey, it made me hopeful for the future.

It's hard to argue with what they (Leonsis & McPhee) have done. Snyder would do well to recognize that & at least attempt to emulate it.

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And when did the caps win a stanley cup? I do like the no Jerks rule. and some of the things that could be used with young players. Another thing that would not work is trading players for young talent. I Think this applies to Hockey and Baseball as mention with farm teams.

Sure the 2 sports are way different, but this is a good guide to keep the Skins FO from making the same stupid mistakes over and over again. At least the Caps are competitive and are now vying for the #1 seed. Baby steps man. They went from last in the league, to improving, to winning division titles to the #2 seed in the conference last year. It's been getting better every year. When did the Redskins actually get past the 2nd round? Win a division? Get to the SB? Win a SB? Glass houses man.

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A solid plan, and one which seems to be common-sense for the most part.

But Leonsis should admit that netting a superstar player makes the rest of those tasks much easier.

The Caps last season were very good, but still lacked on defense. They weren't a complete team then, but Ovechkin made up for that. Still, they didn't lock up their division until the last game. Without Ovechkin, Caps are nowhere near the playoffs, IMO.

So Leonsis needs to add to his plan, IMO, that if you identify a player as having that super star quality, you go for him, and you build the team around him, which I believe is what he's been doing.

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The Capitals would still be a good team without Ovie. He just makes them elite. They proved they could win without him when he was injured.

And suspended...that 2 games he was out, they scored 6 & 7 goals. They can win without him, but he elevates them to the next level.

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Without Ovechkin, Caps are nowhere near the playoffs, IMO.

Have you watched the Caps this year? He's been injured and suspended and they literally haven't missed a beat... Right now they are a top 3 team in the entire NHL. They aren't w/o Ovie, but it's definitely more than a one man time.

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Have you watched the Caps this year? He's been injured and suspended and they literally haven't missed a beat... Right now they are a top 3 team in the entire NHL. They aren't w/o Ovie, but it's definitely more than a one man time.

I was talking about last season with that comment.

Right now they have played well without him, but even then it's not enough to definitively say they could keep it up over the course of an entire season w/o Ovechkin.

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