Hello Habs nation, It's been a while since my last appearance and while part of it is because I've been away, it's also partly because I've had trouble coming to terms with the dismal season the Habs delivered.
I've decided to skip my usual recap of their last two weeks of the season, and instead focus on their needs as they move forward.
While it's clear the Canadiens have some work to do in order to find success, I do believe they are closer than this season's results would have many believe.
Over the next few weeks I will be going over some changes that need to be made in order for the Habs to avoid any further embarrassment.
In this first installment, I will focus on the first thing the Canadiens need to do: fill the void left by Pierre Gauthier's departure and appoint a head coach.
Front Office Shake-Up
It's safe to say that whoever comes in to replace Gauthier will be an improvement. While I personally would like to see the job handed to Pierre McGuire, it's reassuring to see Habs owner, Geoff Molson, exploring all of his options before making his choice.
Current assistant GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning Julien Brisebois is an apparent front runner. Chicago Blackhawks' assistant GM Marc Bergevin has also been approached and RDS has reported that while the Canadiens were interested in Red Wings' assistant GM Jim Nill, Nill has no intention of leaving the Detroit organization
Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos reported last week that the Habs have reached out to the Los Angeles Kings with regards to Luc Robitaille, who is currently the Kings' President of Business operations, and Ron Hextall who serves as Vice President and Assistant GM with the team.
Kypreos' report went on to say that the Kings have confirmed the Canadiens interest in certain members of their organization but would prefer if things were dealt with after the playoffs.
Molson will more than likely make his choice before the June 22nd draft, but they would surely like to have their man in place sooner rather than later.
The draft would be a perfect time to bring in somebody like McGuire.
McGuire knows just about everything about anybody who has ever played hockey and his knowledge would be useful when choosing future prospects.
Whether or not it's McGuire who's appointed the team's next GM, there is no question that finding someone to replace Gauthier is the first step to improving this team.
The second step would then be finding a new bench boss.
Generally speaking, it's the GM who brings in his coaching staff, so it's possible Montreal will not have a new man for the job until the GM position is filled.
Although there are reports to the contrary, with rumors swirling that there is already a verbal agreement that would have Patrick Roy behind the bench next year. The idea is loved and hated throughout Montreal, as Roy's fiery temperament and controversial past is viewed as passion by some and immaturity by others.
The language issue does limit the Canadiens when trying to employ a new coach, but it's hard to believe there isn't a bilingual answer for the Habs somewhere in the hockey world. Bob Hartley and Marc Crawford are names that have bounced around along with Roy's.
Another name that will more than likely come up more often than not is Alain Vigneault. With his Vancouver Canucks down 3-0 against the Los Angeles Kings it is widely believed that he could be on his way out.
Vigneault has lead the Canucks to five playoff appearances in his six years in Vancouver, including the Stanley Cup finals last year losing in seven games against the Boston Bruins.
The Canucks have also won two Presidents Trophy's under Vigneault, who claimed the Jack Adams award as the NHL's top coach in 2007.
While language is important—mostly for the media's sake—there are other factors that need to be considered.
In my opinion the team needs somebody who can get the best out of his players, and who has the guts to hold top players accountable when necessary.
Sounds cliche I know, but both qualities are imperative for a coach to be successful.
Once these two positions are filled, the organization can start deciding what they want their team to look like, and start putting the pieces together.
How do you feel about the lack of a GM and coach right now? Do you think filling these voids should be done as soon as possible so progress can be made or do you have trust in Molson's patience?
Sean is a freelance writer currently contributing to HabsAddict.com. He is also a regular blogger and frequent panelist on the Habs post game show at MontrealHockeyTalk.com
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(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America)