The Montreal Canadiens took the first major step today in restoring their former glory. As stated in my previous article, the need to fire their GM has been met. Pierre Gauthier was relieved of his duties this morning, hopefully giving some sense of change coming to this organization.
After 2 years of being the GM of The Habs (after taking over for Bob Gainey), Geoff Molson has decided that a new air was needed. Though Gauthier cannot solely be blamed for the team’s current condition, a change was necessary.
After last years nail-biting, last minute exit to the Boston Bruins in the 7th game of the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, there was hope that this year would bring a much more successful team to the table. He signed Erik Cole, who has been one of the nicest surprises in the NHL this season. Pacioretty came back from a career-threatening injury to have a 30 goal season and Camalleri had a great season last year despite missing 25 regular season games. And so, hopes were high to begin the 2011-2012 season however they somehow soured quickly.
Almost halfway into the season, he traded for Thomas Kaberle to try and bolster the power-play in the absence of Markov but his 3 goals and -7 rating, along with an expensive contract are not helping. Then the Cammalleri trade for Rene Bourque. Trading Cammalleri (known as ‘me, myself and Mike’ in many NHL dressing rooms) was a great idea after his ‘loser’ rant but what he got in return was a brutal rip-off. Bourque has 7 points thus far with The Habs and is a -18. He is a big body but he has not really been the dominating 2nd line presence that The Habs were hoping for.
Ultimately, moves like these two, along with the fact that The Habs are now in last place must have been the final straw. It seems that they are actually very committed to change because Bob Gainey is also gone as an adviser, leaving that ever-sour taste of Scott Gomez in the fans’ mouths. So what’s next?
There are a plethora of candidates for this job and I think three standout. Pierre McGuire, Patrick Roy and Scotty Bowman. Realistically though, I would want one of the first two guys on board because I just do not think that Scotty would take the job.
Pierre McGuire is one the best hockey brains in the world. He often rubs people the wrong way because of his over-the-top and egotistical approach to hockey but when it comes down to knowledge of the game, I think that there are none better. He knows everything about a player. From what he eats, to where he sleeps, to who his parents are, to what junior team he played for, to all their negatives and positives, he has it covered.
As for Patrick…that is a tough one. Most people in this province are screaming for him to be the coach of The Habs come next season. I would not be so sure as to say that they are trying to fire Randy Cunneyworth. We all know the language issue but I personally do not believe he is gone. Roy brings a fiery passion to the game and a recognition of what it takes to win. As well, he is a fan favorite here and that would go a along way into forgetting about the coaching situation.
If either Roy or McGuire get in, they will bring a new standard to Montreal. A familiar standard. They are both great communicators who do not hide anything. They tell it like it is and are not opposed to keeping fragile egos in check but the important thing is that they name a GM well before the entry draft in June. They will need someone there to study potential draftees and possibly work on some major changes as free agency creeps along on July 1st.
This has been an exciting day and the whole of the NHL should be watching this whole scenario unfold. Good luck Habs fans!