Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Detroit's Jim Nill Says 'No' to Montreal Canadiens GM Position

According to an article posted on RDS this morning, it appears that Detroit Red Wings Assistant GM, Jim Nill, has said 'No' to taking over the reigns as the Habs GM.

Here's the article.

If you read the piece, it states that both Nill and the Habs were interested but an illness in the family is preventing Nill from making the move at this point in time.
Wow, is that ever sad for the Habs.

When all of the talk about a possible GM replacement for Pierre Gauthier surfaced, many, myself included, felt that the best Assistant GM in the league was Detroit's Jim Nill. Moreover, given how abusively over qualified he is as an assistant, not to mention his 14 year tenure at Detroit GM Ken Holland's side, Nill was the best qualified candidate.

Nill's experience as right-hand man to Holland, the architect of the perennially contending Red Wings, easily made Nill the number one choice, but I thought that there was no chance he would come to Montreal—given how well paid he was in Detroit.

So to read that he was interested and that the Habs reached out to him says two things to me.

First, it shows that no matter how well paid you are, as an NHL executive, and no matter how successful the program is that you work under, everyone worth their weight in gold would love a chance to run, or be a part of, the management team in Montreal.

Secondly, it says that the Habs really are leaving no stone unturned in their search for a new GM. Moreover, it says that they will not hesitate to hire a uni-lingual, Anglophone General Manager if that person is the best for the job.

And good for them, if that is the case.

The only way this team and this organization will once again rise to the elite level in the league is by hiring the best. Period.

That said, it is surely easier to hire an Anglo GM than it would be to hire an Anglo coach. I don't agree with that thinking, but there is a political reality at work that shrouds and handcuffs the Habs, as an organization.

But now, with Molson at the helm, we'll soon get to see just how much he let's the language debate enter into his decisions.

The last point on Nill, is that he did state that he is clearly interested in becoming an NHL GM. Perhaps this whole process with the Habs will open to door to him eventually (sooner than later) being hired to do just that.

So if/when Leafs' GM, Brian Burke, gets fired next season, will Toronto be the lucky benefactors?

Kamal is a freelance writer, Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of, Montreal Canadiens Blogger on and featured columnist on Kamal is also a regular on-air contributor on TSN 990, CJAD, LiveSport New Zealand, and other radio networks.

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(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)


I think that while this is very disappointing as he was probably the best man for the job. The fact that Molson realized this and went after him should be very good news to all Habs fans.
This may open the door to other very qualified people that the local media had completely written off.
Another candidate who might become a contender is Paul Fenton who is also considered to be one of the best GM prospects in the league.
Based on an article in the Detroit Free Press it does not sound like they offered him the job.|newswell|text|Sports|s

@Hockeyhype: Well, from the look of things, is Fenton is a good candidate the Habs are already talking to him.

Or at least you'd think.

And no, there was no offer to Nill, just discussions with both sides expressing interest. Unfortunate situation for the Habs but, for Nill, family understandably comes first!


It's funny. For years, we have all considered Nill to be a top candidate for a GM position. But, at this point, can he possibly live up to the hype?

In the end, it may have been better for him to take a position elsewhere earlier. Now, it may be impossible for him to live up to people's lofty expectations. Then again, I know it's hard to walk away from Detroit's generous salary and winning ways.

Nil's wife has cancer, that is why he doesn't want to move away from the Detroit area. It's as simply as that guys!


I understand - and sympathize - with Nill's current predicament.

My point goes to the fact that Nill has been a perpetual GM candidate for 5+ years.

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