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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Habs GM Search: Are Marc Bergevin and Pierre McGuire the Finalists?

When thinking about the upcoming announcement (who knows when!) that the Montreal Canadiens have hired a new General Manager, my mind drifts to AC/DC's "For Those About To Rock..."

If you don't know the song, here's the Youtube link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKhTk0IynHM

More than just the song, it makes me think about the 21 gun salute they do near the end.

For those about to rock, we salute you...BANG, BANG, BANG (21 times).

I saw them play that song live many moons ago, and to say the cannons firing was deafening would be the understatement of the millennium! The drama of the gun blasts, however, can in a lot of ways, be compared to the potential (probable?) backlash that is sure to come no matter who the Canadiens hire to run this team.

For those about to rock, we salute you...cue the series of fan heads exploding.

Let's wait and see

According to TSN (and several other sources), the Canadiens have interviewed Pierre McGuire and Marc Bergevin (among others). But what is salient is that these two seem to be the two finalists. At least unofficially they do.

Click here to read the TSN piece.

I wrote about the virtues of Bergevin a few weeks ago, and there is no question that he is widely considered to be a prime candidate for this or any potential GM job. When it comes to McGuire, on the other hand, I haven't seen or heard of another candidate who is such a polarizing figure.

Many are staunch McGuire supporters (mostly on TSN radio 990) and feel he is the best man for the job, while others, (mostly in the Twitterverse) feel he would be the worst thing to happen to the Habs since Rejean Houle.

While it remains to be seen who will ultimately be chosen, my money says it will be McGuire. Why? Well, to be honest, I just get a feel that he'll be the guy, and for no other reason. I also happen to think that he is an excellent candidate—a statement that is sure to open the flame-flood gates!

Personal preferences aside, my Hockeybuzz colleague, Eric Engels, wrote a brilliant piece on the matter this morning.

If you haven't yet read it, now's the time to check it out. Not only does Eric clearly lay out the many challenges and decisions that any incoming GM will have to make, but he makes an even more important point.

And that is that regardless of who is chosen, it is important that fans do not rush to judgement.

Most people know nothing of the inner workings of these GM interviews and, more importantly, don't know what either Bergervin or McGuire's plans would be upon being named GM. The assessments of Bergevin and McGuire, from the public, are mostly based on liking or disliking their personalities and/or their existing bodies of work.

Make no mistake, however, that Geoff Molson and Serge Savard are no idiots. They are not going to put someone in the GM's chair unless they truly feel he is the best man available for the job. So whoever they chose, we have to believe that the two-headed GM selection committee feels they have the best plan to get this team to the promised land.

And, so far, Molson has been a man of his word and seems like he is doing whatever is in his power to make this team a winner.

So, to Engels' point, let's wait and see what the incoming GM plans to do and how their plan unfolds before deciding that they are a good or bad choice for the job.

Or, in other words, for those about to rock...breath through the nose first.

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

Follow Kamal on Facebook and Twitter


(photo Canadian Press - Paul Chiasson)

8 comments:

An interesting read...

http://articles.courant.com/1994-05-21/sports/9405210429_1_pierre-mcguire-whalers-general-manager-paul-holmgren

Good one, but i have to say the Engels one seems a bit out there?
Thinking this years draft will have any impact on current roster is a bit far fetched.
A draft pick will usurp Gionta or Bourque in the top six role? He isnt serious is he?
Bourque contract is a dead weight contract? a 25 goal scorer for $3/year, yes terrible.
And i agree need a bigger centre either as #1 or #2, but not gonna sink the team with 14, 51 and 81 as top 3 centres.
A bit melodramatic it seems, but he likely has many who agree with him, so what do i know.
As far as Molson goes, a bit scary when first he cuts legs of new coaches a couple dasy after hire, just to cowtow to crazy fans and Quebec politicians (showing lack of backbone); then he hires Savard who seems to think language and status of Habs in Quebec, is more a priority than team success?

just my 2 cents

How about both? Bergevin as GM, and hire McGuire for scouting. McGuire knows everyone in the game, so he can be a good resource for trade decisions, draft decisions, and for the new coach (NOT Patrick Roy, please!!!), to help with strategic ideas for opposing teams.

And even better... they both speak French!

But do NOT hire Patrick Roy to coach!!!

My 2¢...

@Anon (the first one): Yep, read that article. You did notice the date on it, right? 1994.

There are two things I would say to that article. First is that McGuire was asked about it one air, and said that he willingly went down as the scapegoat in that deal, and that the story that came out was not a reflection of what really happened.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, that was almost 20 years ago. I'm not sure how old you are but I'm 38. And if I think back to myself 18 years ago, you'd better believe I've changed a hell of a lot since then!

So even IF this story was true, I think 18 years will do a lot to help someone learn from past mistakes.

As such, I feel this piece has no bearing on the present situation.

@anon (the second one): I think Engels brings up a lot of interesting points but, as I pointed out, the most salient is when he says we need to reserve judgement.

I think that, to me, was really well said (the way he said it). People always just to panic/freak out mode no matter what the Habs do and, in this situation, it would do fans well to let the incumbent GM do his job before deciding whether it was a good hire or not.

As for Molson, it wasn't him who threw Cunneyworth under the bus, it was Gauthier. And as much as Savard says language is paramount, Molson is ultimately THE guy who will have final say...regardless.

Just look at the fact that he went hard at Jim Nill (who speaks NO French).

I give him the benefit of the doubt, at least for now. This summer a lot needs to change. We'll see if Molson has the testicular fortitude to let his new GM pull it off!

@HabsFan47: That's an interesting idea and not necessarily way out in left field. The thing is that, at this point, I think BOTH Bergevin and McGuire want to be running the shipo themselves, not playing second fiddle.

That being said, I could see McGuire (IF he is named GM) having, say, Blair Mackasey, as an assistant. That could be a dynamite tandem!

Anon#2
Kamal, Engels has some interesting points, sure.
But i disagree with some and think some are a bit overblown, no big deal.
And very easy for me to criticize than write one myself.
And if Gauthier cut up the Randy's, what was point of Molson chiming in with his 2 cents, which was basically an echo of Gathier, other than to make sure Beer sales dont drop.
I am surprised that "reportedly" and Anglo got consideration for GM.
True or not?
I am dubious bout that, but all i said was that Molson makes me nervous, is he just a spolied little rich kid with new toy??
LIke you i hope for the best and that i am off-base in assumptions.

cheers

The Engels article was good...for Engels. Hardly brilliant. There hardly any insight, and nothing new that you can't read in any other blog. The article above is better than that.

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