PENTICTON, BC. – There is no question that our perspective influences how we prioritize the qualities important to guiding a professional sports franchise. In my opinion, even if it goes against our personal beliefs, bilingualism is key and should be forefront in any list of general manager candidates that we put together for the Montreal Canadiens. But beyond the language debate remains the reality of the situation. While he contradicted owner Geoff Molson, Serge Savard clearly stated that the next GM of the Canadiens would speak French. So keeping that fact in mind, I’ve created a list of ten men who could be qualified for the job.
It goes without saying that some are more qualified than others and they are, in no particular order:
Vinny’s name has been circulating a lot recently. He played in the NHL from 1986 to 2004 and he won the Cup with the Canadiens back in 1993. After retiring from hockey, Damphousse was the NHLPA’s Vice-President. He left in 2007 to focus on personal projects.
BriseBois is Steve Yzerman’s assistant-GM with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 34 year old is also GM of the Norfolk Admirals, the Lightning’s farm team in the AHL. It’s with the Canadiens that it all started though, when he was hired at 24 years old, dealing with legal aspects for the Habs. He was promoted to Director of Hockey Operations in 2003 and V-P of Hockey Operations in 2006. In 2007, he also became the Hamilton Bulldogs’ GM. He knows the CBA inside and out and under the supervision of Serge Savard, he must be considered a top candidate.
The 50-year-old McGuire had different positions in the NHL between 1991 and 1996. He won the Cup twice with the Penguins as an assistant-coach. He was assistant-coach and advisor to the GM in 1992 and 1993. He then became assistant-coach and scout for the Ottawa Senators between 1994 and 1996. Having spent the last 10 years as a commentator for TSN and NBC Sports, McGuire knows junior hockey players and is said to be a good judge of talent and he’s a good friend of Geoff Molson.
Roy needs no introduction in Montreal and had it not been for a bad decision by Ronald Corey, he might have played his entire career for the Habs. St-Patrick is GM and coach of the Quebec Remparts in the QMJHL. While his name is being mentioned for the position of General Manager as well, he might be better suited for the head coaching position.
The 47-year-old Brisson is a well-known players’ agent around the NHL, representing many high profile players including Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, the Sedin twins and Jonathan Toews, amongst others. He is recognized as one of the most influential people in the NHL. It is unlikely that he would leave a job at which he excels, for one paying less and bringing more headaches, but people were saying the same thing about Mike Gillis before he took over the Vancouver Canucks.
The 46-year-old former NHL player Bergevin is the assistant-GM to Stan Bowman for the Chicago Blackhawks. He has been with the organization since 2005 as a scout, Director of Player Personnel, and took over his current position in 2011 when he replaced Kevin Cheveldayoff, who left the Blackhawks to become GM of the Winnipeg Jets. Important to note that he also worked under Dale Tallon in Chicago.
The former player Loiselle, 48, was raised in a French-speaking household in suburban Ottawa, and said he learned English though television and playing hockey. He was the assistant General Manager for the Tampa Bay Lightning and General Manager of the Lightning’s AHL farm team, the Norfolk Admirals. He spent seven years as Associate Director of Hockey Operations for the NHL and was involved in salary arbitration, discipline and collective bargaining, while also serving as the liaison on hockey operation matters between the NHL and the AHL. Loiselle is now assistant-GM to Brian Burke in Toronto. He also worked as a scout for the Anaheim Ducks prior to that.
While not a popular choice amongst the media, Carriere is well respected in the hockey community. The former NHL defenseman worked as a scout, then moved to the front office in Buffalo. He was working with the Washington Capitals before joining the Canadiens’ organization. As we know, Carriere was assistant to Pierre Gauthier before moving behind the bench after Perry Pearn was fired. While he may not be the top candidate for the position, the 60-year-old Carriere should be getting some consideration.
As I was writing a few weeks ago, the 63-year-old Lacroix is perhaps my personal favourite candidate, combining experience, respect and winning history. He is currently the President of the Colorado Avalanche, a team which he lead to two Stanley Cups as General Manager. Would he accept moving back to his home province and take on the challenge of straighten a once proud franchise? No one will know unless he receives the offer.
Martin was recently fired as head coach by Gauthier, replaced on an interim basis by Randy Cunneyworth, but he is still under contract and works as a pro scout for the organization. He does have experience in the role, as he served as both coach and GM for the Florida Panthers, and he is respected around the NHL. He is perhaps my least favourite candidate off this list as I personally don’t buy into his defensive, lack of physical play mentality.
My personal preference would be, in order:
1- Pierre Lacroix
2- Julien BriseBois
3- Claude Loiselle
4- Marc Bergevin
What are your priorities for choosing the next Habs GM? Who is on your list?
About the Author (Author Profile)Habsterix is a fictional character created for the sole purpose of the internet. Based on the cartoon Asterix of Gaule, his magic potion is his passion for the Montreal Canadiens. How old is he? His close friends will tell you that he’s so old, his back goes out more than he does! He was born when Béliveau lifted the Cup and remembers the days when seeing the Habs winning was not a wish, it was an expectation. For him, writing is a hobby, not a profession. Having moved to beautiful British Columbia in 1992, he started writing mostly in French to keep up his grammar, until non-bilingual BC friends pushed him into starting his own English Blog. His wife will say that he can be stubborn, but she will be the first to recognise that he has great sense of humour. He is always happy to share with you readers his point of views on different topics, and while it is expected that people won’t always agree, respect of opinions and of others is his mission statement.
Sites That Link to this Post
- Out of the Red, White and Blue: GM, Coach, Draft, Subban | All Habs | April 30, 2012
- Is Discrimination Hurting the Habs? | November 28, 2012