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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Habs Firing of Perry Pearn: In Retrospect It Actually Makes Sense

Imagine, for an instant, the Vice President of Marketing at any given firm under the following scenario:

After many years in the top-tier of sales, the firm begins to struggle. Where the company once seemed assured of success, sales have dipped dramatically and the organization is now well behind its competitors.

And this, even though the VP of Marketing has been given significant new resources to help promote and improve the product. Eventually, the CEO decides to shake things up and fires the VP of Marketing.

Does this story sound so farfetched? Does it seem so out of line?

I didn't think so. So why then would the firing of Perry Pearn mystify so many people?

When a team regularly ranks at the top of the league in powerplay efficiency and suddenly—in spite of additional tools in Erik Cole, David Desharnais and Raphael Diaz—finds itself floundering, it's not complete folly to fire the coach responsible for this particular facet.

Add to that the fact that the team had an overabundance of coaches and a rather quiet group at that. As such, putting the much more vocal Randy Ladouceur behind the bench makes sense on other levels as well. Also, as a former defencemen, Ladouceur brings a perspective behind the Habs bench that has been lacking since the departure of Rick Green in 2005.

Fans and media constantly decry Pierre Gauthier’s stoic demeanour and seemingly infinite supply of patience. Yet, when he decides to replace someone responsible for an underachieving area, Gauthier is accused of using Pearn as a scapegoat in order to deflect criticism or to buy time.

Jack Todd, amongst others, even said as much in today’s edition of the Montreal Gazette.

Perhaps Gauthier truly felt Pearn's performance had slipped. Perhaps the two had a disagreement. Perhaps he was buying time. Perhaps he was simply trying to shake up his team.

So what?

Pierre Gauthier’s job is to use the best people at his disposal to promote a winning environment, not to look like a "good guy" in the eyes of the media.

At the end of the day, Gauthier fired an Assistant Coach who was running an anemic powerplay. He replaced the coach with a more vocal, motivating figure who, due to his previous experience as an NHL blueliner, also offers fresh insight to the team.

If a CEO replaced the Vice President of an underachieving department in any other company, no one would blink an eye. Why is this any different? We constantly sing the refrain that hockey is a business. Yet, when Gauthier makes an executive decision, he is painted as a bad guy.

He is not a bad guy. Just a manager doing his job.

---
Louis is an Associate Editor at HabsAddict.com and an Editor at HabsWorld.net. Louis was born in Chicago but grew up in Quebec City where he earned Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Université Laval. He currently lives in Ottawa and works for the Coaching Association of Canada. He can be reached at l.moustakas@habsworld.net

(Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images Sport)

6 comments:

The analogy may be an accurate reflection of the hockey business. If this applies in the Habs situation, then the Vice President in this scenario would be Martin, not Pearn. In business, the person being fired should be handled by his/her supervisor. So, it Pearn is the culprit then Martin should be the one doing the firing.

PG is hardly some sort of genius because the habs have won three games after pearn was fired. What exactly are the good moves he's done to improve the team. They''re still going to be fighting for 8th spot.

I think that I have to agree with the (first) anonymous on this one:

In business, a subordinate is always fired by their boss...not by their bosses boss.

That, to me, is what smells fishy about the whole situation. To me, this whole things smells like Geoff Molson got involved in the process and perhaps forced Gauthier's hand.

If you saw Gauthier's press conference, he was not his usual stoic self at all. He seemed rattled and was babbling a lot of the time.

Did you hear that part about the sun coming up in the morning? WTF?

Either way, whether it was Gauthier firing the coach (who Martin tried to convince him not to fire), or Molson forcing his hand there are clearly the first cracks in this management team.

If this team starts sliding again and isn't able to continue their recent success more changes could be coming down the pipe...

@anon1: It is not a perfect analogy, but the bottom line is that Pearn was running the powerplay and, this season, the man-advantage was dismal early on. On top of that, he was a quiet coach on an already quiet bench, which is an issue the incoming Randy Ladouceur can also help address.

@anon2: I never claimed PG was a genius, simply that this recent move can be justified and actually makes some sense. Besides, whatever PG does, he will be ill-viewed by fans and media. If the team loses a few in a row, it is all his fault. But if they start winning, it has nothing to do with him.

Louis,
Understood that it is not a perfect analogy. I guess I just wanted to point out that if the failure in special teams is the reason why he was and should be fired, then Martin should be the one doing it. However, there is also the question about who is actually responsible for the lack of PP becasue the use of resources in those situation is paramount. Does Pearn have a free reign in terms of who he should use? That is to say, is he the one who decide not to use Cole and Kostitsyn and over-use Darche? If so, then Martin should have fired him a while back.
Anon1

Are you guys off your rocker?

Yes there is a chain of command but when it comes to firings often times it is not by the book. We are speculating as to the reasons of who got involved, why it is fishy.....there is nothing there.

As Louis said Pearn was responsible for the PP. Why I am not sure because he was a PK genius while with the Rangers. None the less, let's look at the facts.

1) We had 3 assitant coaches when 99% of the teams have 2.

2) We are a team that depends on the PP and we were among the worse at it with Pearn at the helm.

3) We had Ladouceur on the payroll to teach the very young D-men (Suban, Weber, Diaz, Emelin) but I beleive he didn't even have this roll on the team.

Why is the hockey world up in arms. Pearn was not doing his job with the responsibilities he was given and so was repalced and asked to find other employment in the company. if anything, this is standard business practice.

If I am in charge of the mail room and keep sending letters to the wrong people, guess what, I'm going to be replaced.

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