The Canadiens took their time, talked to more than a few, including the high-profile Patrick Roy and Pierre McGuire, and finally made their choice. Marc Bergevin, a Montrealer, just 46 years old, former assistant general manager in Chicago, and a guy who most certainly watched the turmoil unfold in Montreal and decided that he can do the job and do it well.
Bergevin was a player, as many NHL executives once were, and he wasn’t exactly a game-breaker. Thirty-six goals in 1191 games won’t see him in the Hall of Fame anytime soon, but who knows, maybe he’ll be inducted another way – as general manager of the Montreal Canadiens, as the man who led the team out of the depths of hell, back to where they belong, as an elite winner, a team that pushes for a Cup every year, a team that racks up number 25 and 26 and then beyond.
That’s Bergevin’s mandate and he’s fully aware of it. Bring the team back to the winner’s circle. Shape them into a force to be reckoned with. Get them out of the humiliating basement and onwards and upwards. See how Pierre Gauthier and Bob Gainey did it and do the opposite.
The new guy has to get Carey Price and PK Subban signed, and if he needs money, I’ll work overtime and send him what I can. These two need to be on the dotted line. As far as Scott Gomez is concerned, I’m sure general managers around the league have tossed ideas around during the regular season while sitting in the hotel rooms watching Sports Centre and the name Gomez came up on the screen. Bergevin probably has it already figured out and has for some time now.
He needs to select the best possible youngster with the 3rd pick in the June draft, and it’s in his hands to do the absolute right thing here, for the team and for the fans. There can be no mistake made in choosing. He needs to make sure the kid knows what it means to put the sweater on, to wear the CH, and to have some sort of idea of the history of the franchise. There can be no player picked who floats for four games, plays for one. No player who longs the old country when his ice time decreases. No player who wishes he played in a city where nobody knows him.
A high and mighty draft pick, one who will become a star in Montreal, has to be the end result of the crapshoot. But maybe, like the Gomez situation, Bergevin also has this figured out too.
And of course we need a coach. Now a whole new set of names will be flying around.
I’m excited about our new guy. The pin was pulled on Pierre Gauthier, and now we go to Act 2 with new blood in place. It’s the second big step on the road to recovery.
I can’t wait to see how he handles the job. And until he does something nutty, which hopefully will never occur, I’m as optimistic as anyone on the Habs planet. We’ve hit rock bottom and we’re working our way back out, beginning now.