“I found Behind the Moves very revealing. I love it!”

// December 5th, 2011 // No Comments » // Book Reviews, BUZZ, Lou Nanne, Reader Reviews


Lou Nanne, Minneapolis MN – former Minnesota North Stars GM

“I found Behind the Moves very revealing. I love it!”

Who’s the Toughest? Jeff Marek’s The Sheet

// December 5th, 2011 // No Comments » // Book Reviews, BUZZ, You Make the Call!

The Sheet

December 4, 2011, 12:02 pm

Had a lot of fun on the ‘Marek vs Wyshynski’ podcast Friday afternoon with the Brian Burke story of challenging Kevin Lowe to a barn fight (and isn’t there just something delicious about the term ‘barn fight’?) which got me to thinking a couple of things:

1 – Who do you think the toughest GM in the NHL is?

Hmmm, good one.

I think it comes down to two: Philadelphia’s Paul Homlgren and Washington’s George McPhee. McPhee is also, pound for pound, one of the toughest players to ever suit up in my estimation. Garry Howatt would top that list, but I digress.

2 – Has something like this ever happened before where two rival GMs roll up the sleeves and brush up on their Marquees of Queensbury rules?

Well, we’ve seen coaches go at it before or at least try to go at it. Jacques Demers and the late Herb Brooks tried to mix it up during a spirited Detroit-Minnesota game. Also, Pat Burns infamously tried to get at Kings bench boss Barry Melrose during the Los Angeles/Toronto 1993 semi-finals.

But those four gentlemen never actually came to blows.

Washington Capitals GM George McPhee however, was involved in one such altercation. After a preseason game against the Chicago Blackhawks, he stormed into the Hawks room and belted Chicago coach Lorne Molleken in the face. McPhee, ironically was incensed over Molleken’s use of “goon tactics” against the Caps in the game. Molleken dressed seven tough guys for the game forcing the Caps to scratch Peter Bondra and Adam Oates from the contest for fear they would get hurt. Dave Manson cross-checked Steve Konowalchuk in the head and received a one game suspension in a game that featured several fights. Washington forward Trevor Halverson suffered a career-ending concussion after fighting three times in the game. McPhee was suspended for 30 days and fined $20,000.

Another such scuffle occurred in 1957, when Maple Leafs General Manager Howie Meeker punched owner Stafford Smyth “between the eyes” after a heated exchange between the two men.

A little known story involves an owner and a skater, as former Detroit Red Wings owner Bruce Norris confronted Parker MacDonald at a team function. Apparently, Norris tried to strangle the winger before players separated the two. It is believed that Norris may have been over-poured that evening.

Brian Burke, by the way, has seen a couple of GMs almost come to blows over a player. As documented in John Farris’ excellent book “Behind the Moves: NHL general managers tell how winners are built”, Burke tells the story of a Montreal and Minnesota GM came close to slugging it out.

“In my first year with the league, I think it was 1993, we had a GMs meeting at The Ritz on Dana Point in California. I thought Bob Gainey and Serge Savard were going to have a fight. Montreal had signed a contract that Gainey, who was the Minnesota GM at the time, didn’t like. Gainey started giving it to Serge and the next thing you know they were face to face…yelling in French and English. I remember Gary Bettman saying, ‘What are we going to do? It looks like they’re going to fight.’ I said ‘we’re going to watch’. I was actually looking forward to it. (Laughs). People were pushing tables out of the way because it looked like they were going to go. Then, Bob Gainey called a (GM) meeting and kicked everyone (who wasn’t a GM) out of the room except me and Bettman. In that meeting, Gainey went right back at Savard. He felt Savard had overpaid one of his own players and (screwed) up the salary structure. To this day I’m amazed they didn’t fight.”

On a side note, this GMs book by Farris is one of the most fascinating hockey reads I’ve had in a long time. We’ve all read plenty of books about players, coaches, referees but there is very little if anything written about the craft of assembling and running an NHL team from a GM’s point of view. “Behind the Moves” is an enormous undertaking that transcribes just about every aspect of putting a hockey team together, told by the men who’ve done it. We’ll have Farris on the podcast very soon.

BUZZ – Behind the Moves Jason Farris News

// November 19th, 2011 // No Comments » // Behind the Scenes, BUZZ, CEO Corner

Vancouver Sun, November 19th, 2011, Greg Douglas

HERE ‘N’ THERE: Local self-publishing hockey author Jason Farris has landed the position of vice-president, marketing with the Dallas Stars. Farris travelled to 31 cities throughout North America interviewing past and present NHL general managers for his latest book Behind the Moves. When it was made official Friday that Tom Gaglardi had been endorsed by the NHL as the new owner of the Dallas Stars, the Farris appointment became official. The two have been chums dating back to their boyhood school days.

GM Meeting Summary – Sportsnet’s John Shannon

// November 17th, 2011 // No Comments » // Book Reviews, BUZZ, Press Box

John Shannon – Top of the List


The November general managers’ meeting is now done. As usual, nothing was really decided, although some concerns were raised. Some insiders would suggest the Tampa Bay-Philadelphia trap issue and the Milan Lucic-Ryan Miller collision in the past few days made the meetings worthwhile. The agenda was rather thin without those two events.

The managers did voice their opinions concerning Brendan Shanahan’s process and rulings, but as expected when the decibels increased, the commissioner stepped in to defend the new system, and preach patience. Probably the right call, when you consider that we’ve only been playing regular season hockey for 45 days (of a 185 day season).

The only potential rule change that appeared to get any traction was hybrid icing, which appeared to have a bit more support this fall. When you consider the results of the Eric Nystrom-Taylor Fedun collision in pre-season, additional support isn’t surprising. Hockey operations used the USHL hybrid icing video to explain the execution and success of the rule, which appeared to help the managers understand it better. But I’m told while there will be further discussion in March, “It doesn’t have enough traction to go any further.”

The GMs walked out of their meeting Tuesday with a little gift, courtesy of author/researcher Jason Farris. Farris delivered copies of his new book “Behind the Moves” to all of the managers. It is a fascinating account of the role of the manager, the history of the position, how they got their jobs and who influenced them. It is an absolutely fantastic coffee table book.


Rick Buker – Featured Guest Blogger

// November 10th, 2011 // No Comments » // Book Reviews, BUZZ

NHLGMs is excited to feature Rick Buker as a Featured Guest Blogger – he’s going to let us know what he thinks of Behind the Moves. So why are we excited?

Rick Buker

Rick writes for PenguinPoop.com – the ultimate blog for Pittburgh Penguins  fans. Boasting a panel of knowledgeable and energetic bloggers who share a deep and abiding passion for the black and gold, PenguinPoop truly is the place where “the poop hits the fans!”

He also writes about his beloved Penguins in his books – his latest titled 100 Things Penguin Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die.  We can’t wait to read what he thinks!

BUZZ – First reader testimonial

// November 3rd, 2011 // No Comments » // BUZZ, Reader Reviews

“When I first heard about Behind the Moves, I thought this was going to be some kind of book…….I am absolutely in awe of the end result…..I truly love the stories, gossip, quotes, notes and more from the GMs…… The author’s Jim Robson book was great, his Cesare Maniago book was great, the Canucks Captains book was great, but Behind the Moves is superb, fantastic, incredible etc. etc. etc……. It is a very special addition to my library of hockey books.”  – Andrew C., Ladner, BC

Book delves into mysterious world of the NHL GM – news1130 review

// October 26th, 2011 // No Comments » // Book Reviews, BUZZ, Press Box

‘Behind the Moves’ is local author’s third hockey book

John Streit  Sep 27, 2011 21:17:37 PM
VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – It’s a secretive world rarely seen by those on the outside: The boardrooms and offices of the elite men responsible for steering hockey franchises to victory.Local author and publisher Jason Farris pulls back the icy curtain in his new book, Behind the Moves: NHL General Managers Tell How Winners Are Built.

Farris says he feels pretty darned fortunate to have had access to the league’s winning GMs from the last half century.

“I had a good in with Brian Burke, and he and I spent close to ten hours together talking through this concept of really trying to go behind the scenes and let fans understand how the GMs work and how they interact together,” he tells News1130.

Farris says from there, he was able to gather more than 120 hours of recorded interviews with every living general manager who has taken a team to the Stanley Cup Final since expansion.

As far as a blueprint for creating a winner – specifically speaking about the Vancouver Canucks – Farris says it has certainly changed. So have the Canucks been following that plan?

“You see the effective GMs are the ones able to adapt as the structure of the league has changed,” he says. “Canucks GM Mike Gillis has been at it for three years and shares one common thing with the other successful GMs.

“He appears from afar to be a very independent thinker, and while he may be prickly on the outside and people may not like his approach a lot, I do think come hell or high water he’s decided to build it his way, and that tends to be the way winners are built.”

Canucks fans will enjoy the backstory of the signing of obscure goalie Martin Brochu in 2001, and how everyone looked skyward when Brian Burke did it.

Farris says Burke believes Islanders GM Mike Milbury “totally screwed him” in that deal.

“He had a deal all lined for Garth Snow at the time and that got pulled on him and he was left holding the bag and having to take Martin Brochu as back-up goalie,” he says.

Farris says the wording is a lot stronger from Burke and fans will enjoy reading about those kinds of things.

Check out www.nhlgms.com to learn more about the book and see sample pages.

BUZZ on Twitter

// October 26th, 2011 // No Comments » // BUZZ

Tweets about Behind the Moves

Ryan Morissette @Morissette_15 just tweeted:

Just purchased the book @BehindtheMoves ! #can’t-wait-to-read-it #besthockeybookeverwrittenimo

BUZZ – Greg Douglas Short Hop

// October 10th, 2011 // No Comments » // BUZZ, Press Box

Vancouver Sun

8-Oct-2011, page I9

SHORT HOPS: Brian Burke has written a lengthy memo to the hockey masses promoting the latest Jason Farris book Behind the Moves: NHL General Managers Tell How Winners Are Built.  Farris, a Vancouver-born software and financial executive, as well as a self-confessed hockey nut, interviewed 34 past and current NHL general managers in person as part of a two-year research mission.  An enthusiastic Burke has penned the foreward, suggesting that “GMs have been the brains and conscience of the game since the league opened for business in 1917”…

BUZZ – Dennis Kane blogs about Behind the Moves

// October 3rd, 2011 // No Comments » // BUZZ

Dennis-Kane.com is a great blog about anything Canadiens.  Dennis is knowledgeable and funny and his posts make a great read.

Here’s his first mention of Behind the Moves

And just to set the record straight – the email did come from Burkie himself :)

BUZZ on HFBoards

// October 1st, 2011 // No Comments » // BUZZ

“A pretty expensive book, but it looks like an essential purchase for anyone who considers themselves a connoisseur of fine hockey literature. Just thought I’d post it here to make everyone aware it’s coming out.”

seventieslord, moderator