FORMER NHL GM DOUG
Risebrough used to say, “In hockey, two plus two does not always equal four.” He observed that certain players who appeared to have all of the component requirements could never put everything together, while other players became much more effective than the sum of their parts. Matthew is an example of the latter. His game has an “extra” dimension beyond his overall talent level. He has the “X-factor.” I remember vividly the championship game at the 2016 Memorial Cup. The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies seemed to have the momentum over Matthew’s London Knights. But in sudden-death overtime, Matthew was the dominant player on the ice, controlling the play and scoring the game-winning goal. Prior to joining the Knights, Matthew was the perfect complement to Auston Matthews on the U.S. under-18 team: he was able to get the puck to Matthews; he sensed when Matthews was tiring and would carry the puck himself; and when older players on USHL teams were trying to rough up Matthews, Matthew arrived in a hurry – and in a foul mood – to stand up for his linemate. Early in his NHL career, the Flames were struggling late in a game and looked fatigued. Matthew turned the game around. He stole the puck, drove to the net and competed for a rebound. He drew a penalty and, even though he wasn’t involved in the power-play winner, he was a prime factor in the victory. I knew then that his NHL career was off and running. Brady has not had the same high-profile opportunities as his older brother. He competes well in big situations, but it remains to be seen whether he can respond in the same seize-the-moment manner as Matthew. Not all good hockey players have the X-factor.