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"I feel like I let everyone in Edmonton down” -Bonsignore

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:30 pm
Late last night, Team 1260 had an interview with former Oiler Jason Bonsignore, drafted 4th overall in 1994.

He is a man we all consider a bust, but he told his side of the story. You can find audio here, and they have a written transcript about the interview here at Kuklas Korner.

He had some candid things to say about the organization, ranging from "it just seemed like there were only a few people that were really there to help me" to "Glen [Sather] just never seemed to, I mean one of the first things he ever said, I mean he never even said hello, was I’m not going to give you a million dollars."

Supposedly, the Oilers even refused to trade him stating "nobody wants you" when Bonsignore's agent said the exact opposite. In the very least, the situation reminds me a lot of Schremp's in that the chance was very limited if there at all... It kind of hit home for me, because we always say we had terrible drafting in the 90's, but maybe the problem was development.

“I don’t know, it’s just how do you explain 10 or 15 or 20 guys over the years all being first round flops with the Oilers? You just got put in situations maybe they weren’t ready for but a lot of those guys were drafted in those slots because they had earned it to that point." -Jason Bonsignore

I have no idea what the case is, what is true, what isn't true, how much is attitude or what... in the very least it was an interesting read for me. Check it out.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:06 pm
Kind of doubtful that he was the NHLer we thought he was (when we drafted him).. but that said, Edmonton is a tough city to play in, and I feel for the guy because yah, we Edmontonians have made it clear that we think he was a disappointment. No sense sugar coating it. Up until recently, he was the teams highest draft pick ever, and he barely saw any action. The fact that he really had no great success anywhere tells me that he wasn't a very good player. I am not trying to be mean to the guy, but really... he was a 4th overall pick and barely played in the NHL. His NHL numbers were bad, his AHL numbers were OK at best... he didn't even really cut it in the ECHL.

My best guess as to why he failed has to do with 1 of 2 reasons:
- He cracked under the huge pressure fans put on him here.
- He really wasn't a good player at all to begin with.

Any other comments by him just sound like sour grapes to me. I think our drafting really was just that bad, unfortunately.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:17 pm
Lots more quotes over at Oilers Nation:

http://oilersnation.com/2011/9/1/an-epi ... ton-oilers

I'd love for their to be an interview from Sather's side as a rebuttal.

This part though is what seals it for me though as him not making a very good defense case for himself:

"I didn’t have the greatest work ethic the first couple of years there. I didn’t understand what it took to play at that level. I mean when you’re a junior hockey star and you’re playing 35 minutes a game you don’t have to worry about conditioning and it comes naturally when you have the puck half of the game.

"When you’re scoring a bunch of points and you’re on the power play and you’re in control of things you don’t end up playing a lot of defensive hockey and your defensive skill aren’t what they need to be to get to the pro level.

"There were a lot of things that I needed to learn and it just, for a stretch there, they had me going to the rink at 5:30 in the morning, alone for an hour, an hour-and-a-half with the strength and conditioning coach, just getting skated into the ground. And they’d put 300 pucks out in front of the net and I would shoot 300 pucks, then go into the corner and hit the heavy bag after every shot and then get wind sprinted for 45 minutes straight as a 19 year old kid by yourself."


Sorry, but it's the NHL... it maybe is tough love, but the players that excel are the guys that do this kind of shit out of their own motivation. You either want it badly or you don't, you know?

Also Robin Brownlee mentioned in that article that he's offered Slats to do an interview to say his side.

There definitely are some flaws in how the Oil handled it if what Bonsignore says is true... and I feel for the guy. But at the same time, I think Slats was used to guys self-motivating themselves more. Maybe he tried to motivate Bonsignore by getting him fired up and trying to prove himself... who knows. At any rate.. I'd say Bonsignore is as much to blame though.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:12 pm
Yeah, I kind of had the feeling he didn't really want it enough, or that he had some kind of "i'm hot stuff" attitude that the team was trying to get rid of.... that being said, I wasn't in the locker room then, and even if I was I'd likely be too young to remember anyway.

Quotes like this don't really help his case either: "He (Sather) called me to the office one time and told me I was fat and overweight and that I was going to get fined if I didn’t lose 10 pounds in three days. And it wasn’t going to be $50 or $500, it was going to be $100,000 or $200,000 and I was going to have to move in with him. It was an abrasive way of handling things and some people kind of, later on, talking to me about it said that it was kind of like mental abuse."

That being said, it sounds liek the schedule they had him on was a little ridiculous. Early morning skate, then practice with the rest of the boys, then a workout, then a nap at home, then an evening workout...

Like I said, it is interesting. You saw guys like Smyth, Cleary, Weight etc deal with it fine. I dunno what to think.

*shrug*
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:22 am
Ya I don't take too much pity cause crosby and ovi and them didnt just slack out of junior. High school football players get put through worse in the states. You want to be the best, you have to put in a lot of effort and time. His full time job is hockey. Not like he had to go flip burgers that day in addition.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:34 am
I just think the scouting was bad. All the points that Racki makes, didn't they interview him and 4th overall why would you take a guy lik that? Today they look at how a guy plays on the ice and how he carries himself and what his commitment is. When you draft a player its buyer beware. The Oilers weren't very good buyers.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:36 am
On the scouting side of things, I remember in a radio interview with Stu the Magnificient Bastard the things he holds the highest when scouting a kid, is talent and character and then the physicality. And man that kind of practice (bag skate/immense amount of intensity + time) is a very oldschool way of thinking. I'm always looking for seminars to listen to on hockey conditioning and strength training and the other day I watched a pretty good one where Matt Nichol gave a lecture and apparently some stuff they are still doing to the players or recently anyways is still quite out dated. That's not something you really want to screw up :p
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:14 pm
iCanada wrote:Yeah, I kind of had the feeling he didn't really want it enough, or that he had some kind of "i'm hot stuff" attitude that the team was trying to get rid of.... that being said, I wasn't in the locker room then, and even if I was I'd likely be too young to remember anyway.

Quotes like this don't really help his case either: "He (Sather) called me to the office one time and told me I was fat and overweight and that I was going to get fined if I didn’t lose 10 pounds in three days. And it wasn’t going to be $50 or $500, it was going to be $100,000 or $200,000 and I was going to have to move in with him. It was an abrasive way of handling things and some people kind of, later on, talking to me about it said that it was kind of like mental abuse."

That being said, it sounds liek the schedule they had him on was a little ridiculous. Early morning skate, then practice with the rest of the boys, then a workout, then a nap at home, then an evening workout...

Like I said, it is interesting. You saw guys like Smyth, Cleary, Weight etc deal with it fine. I dunno what to think.

*shrug*


I'm not sure that the above quote reflects worse on Bonsignore. Whether it's true or not, that kind of man management is not something I believe in. Giving people near-impossible goals like that is just begging for a poor relationship.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:59 pm
zackman35 wrote:On the scouting side of things, I remember in a radio interview with Stu the Magnificient Bastard the things he holds the highest when scouting a kid, is talent and character and then the physicality. And man that kind of practice (bag skate/immense amount of intensity + time) is a very oldschool way of thinking. I'm always looking for seminars to listen to on hockey conditioning and strength training and the other day I watched a pretty good one where Matt Nichol gave a lecture and apparently some stuff they are still doing to the players or recently anyways is still quite out dated. That's not something you really want to screw up :p


Yeah, seems kind of brute force to me. That being said, it kind of sounds like he just had a poor work ethic in general... as a swimming instructor myself, you often push those with the most talent the hardest. Maybe we didn't want him to waste his natural talent?

That being said, I never played real super high level hockey, so long as you weren't gassed after every 1 minute shift my coaches would usually just say "Do like 20+ pushups a day, run around the local school 2-3 times a week, and do as many squats while adding your body weight as possible" and that was pretty much it. The idea was running helped your endurace/speed, squats helped your first steps/center of gravity, and pushups gave you an advantage in the corners. (along with the squats of course. :P)

I do recall Bobby Ryan saying the Ducks wanted him to exclusively work his lower body and legs, and looking at guys like St. Lious and O'mark I think your legs are likely the most important part of holding the puck.

NorwegianOiler wrote:I'm not sure that the above quote reflects worse on Bonsignore. Whether it's true or not, that kind of man management is not something I believe in. Giving people near-impossible goals like that is just begging for a poor relationship.

I think as a professional athlete you shouldn't be 10 lbs overweight in the first place... unless you went way too hard on your biceps or something, in which case just ween them out.

Unless they are just assholes, I feel like most teachers who set a goal for someone legitimately believes that they can accomplish that goal. If you really want to be the best you need to fight for it.

I don't even think a GM needs to have a good relationship with his players, I read the situation very much as a "Well, we've tried pretty much everything else... maybe money will set him off" kind of a thing. As much as it doesn't feel like it at the time, the fastest way to get me to do/prove something is to tell me I cannot do it.

That being said, it is fairly hard to read situations and tones based off of text, and it is only one mans side of the story as it is.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 2:12 pm
iCanada wrote:
zackman35 wrote:On the scouting side of things, I remember in a radio interview with Stu the Magnificient Bastard the things he holds the highest when scouting a kid, is talent and character and then the physicality. And man that kind of practice (bag skate/immense amount of intensity + time) is a very oldschool way of thinking. I'm always looking for seminars to listen to on hockey conditioning and strength training and the other day I watched a pretty good one where Matt Nichol gave a lecture and apparently some stuff they are still doing to the players or recently anyways is still quite out dated. That's not something you really want to screw up :p


Yeah, seems kind of brute force to me. That being said, it kind of sounds like he just had a poor work ethic in general... as a swimming instructor myself, you often push those with the most talent the hardest. Maybe we didn't want him to waste his natural talent?

That being said, I never played real super high level hockey, so long as you weren't gassed after every 1 minute shift my coaches would usually just say "Do like 20+ pushups a day, run around the local school 2-3 times a week, and do as many squats while adding your body weight as possible" and that was pretty much it. The idea was running helped your endurace/speed, squats helped your first steps/center of gravity, and pushups gave you an advantage in the corners. (along with the squats of course. :P)

I do recall Bobby Ryan saying the Ducks wanted him to exclusively work his lower body and legs, and looking at guys like St. Lious and O'mark I think your legs are likely the most important part of holding the puck.

NorwegianOiler wrote:I'm not sure that the above quote reflects worse on Bonsignore. Whether it's true or not, that kind of man management is not something I believe in. Giving people near-impossible goals like that is just begging for a poor relationship.

1) I think as a professional athlete you shouldn't be 10 lbs overweight in the first place... unless you went way too hard on your biceps or something, in which case just ween them out.

2) Unless they are just assholes, I feel like most teachers who set a goal for someone legitimately believes that they can accomplish that goal. If you really want to be the best you need to fight for it.

I don't even think a GM needs to have a good relationship with his players, I read the situation very much as a "Well, we've tried pretty much everything else... maybe money will set him off" kind of a thing. As much as it doesn't feel like it at the time, the fastest way to get me to do/prove something is to tell me I cannot do it.

That being said, it is fairly hard to read situations and tones based off of text, and it is only one mans side of the story as it is.


1) Certainly not, however, once someone is 10lbs overweight (if he was), setting an unreasonable (in my opinion) goal for the player does more to demotivate than to motivate.

Whether Sather believed it Bonsignore could cut that weight in just three days is hard to say. It is to me a quite unreasonable goal, which suggests Sather's handling of players/assessing of goals wasn't very good in that situation.

And no, we can't really tell what has happened.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:37 pm
I'd like to hear Sather's side of the story, because there are always too sides...

I think Sather is definitely a hard ass, so it definitely sounds like his M.O. to say some of things Bonsignore is saying, but I have a feeling that it was a case of the team being possibly frustrated by a lack of work ethic on Bonsignore's part which he even admits to being a problem early on. I still say nothing should be handed to you in the NHL. The team's best interest is to help their prospects out, but if you aren't doing your part, well.. not everyone will waste their time on you.

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