While I was away camping, hockey legend Sam Pollock passed away. He was 81. Because I'm a little late for this boat, I'm afraid I don't have much to offer that hasn't already been said before. Instead I will highlight the best of what has been said.
Legendary sports reporter Red Fisher called Pollock the greatest general manager in hockey history. Fisher, who has seen more hockey than almost anyone alive, may be right. Here's a look at his drafting history. He was also an incredibly swindler, landing many big trades. All put together, Pollock put together two of hockey's greatest dynasties: the 1964-69 Montreal Canadiens and the 1975-79 Montreal Canadiens.
His success his almost impossible to duplicate, though Bob Gainey is trying to do just that, using Pollock's teachings as a mentor. Gary Bettman calls Pollock a giant, referring to a legacy that far outreaches his 9 Stanley Cup victories in 14 seasons. He left hockey and quietly worked with the Toronto Blue Jays until 2000, but has been absent from the sporting landscape in the past number of years.
The Globe and Mail offers an amazing photo tribute. But I think Evan Grossman of NHL.com covered Pollock's career and life best. Be sure to read it, but also read Lowetide's post calling Pollock a "ruthless administrator who would stop at nothing to protect his empire. Both of these articles are mandatory reading.