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Montreal Fires GM Pierre Gauthier

Ever since Geoff Molson made statements that undermined GM Pierre Gauthier after Randy Cunneyworth was hired as coach and an outrage started over the fact he doesn’t speak French people began to predict that Gauthier would be fired at the end of this season.  This firing became more obvious as the Habs season fell apart.  Currently they are in last place in the East Conference.  Today his firing was announced.

There is nobody ready to take over as interim GM right now.  It isn’t clear that Montreal has anyone in mind as their new GM except that he must be French speaking.  They are not concerned with finding the best possible GM candidate in the world.  They are limiting themselves only to candidates who speak French.  That is a mistake in and of itself.  The best possible candidate is not who they are interested in.

Gauthier has been the Montreal GM for over two years and he has not had success with the team.  Many of the problems were put into place before he was hired in Bob Gainey’s regime.  Gauthier did nothing to solve these problems. 

I am surprised that he was fired before the end of the season with no GM in mind.  Montreal will likely go through their remaining five games with no GM.  They will hire a French speaking new GM early into the off-season.  Whether or not it is an improvement depends on who is hired.  The problem is the Habs are not interested in hiring the best possible GM as they have limited themselves to people who speak French.

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Comments

Da lil Guy's avatar

With all the hype about Pierre McGuire and Patrick Roy, the darkhorse (or maybe not so dark horse) is Tampa Bay assistant GM Julien Brisebois.

Brisebois was assistant GM in Montreal under Gainey, but left to join Yzerman in Tampa. He had success as GM of the Hamilton Bulldogs and the Norfolk Admirals, has experience in the Monreal market, and is a francophone Quebecker. He’s also young and extremely smart, with a great take on the modern business of hockey.

In other words, he’s the ideal candidate for this job.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 03/29/12 at 03:48 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

“an outrage started over the fact he doesn’t speak French” This is what’s wrong with Montreal. This team has it’s work cut out for them.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 03/29/12 at 03:55 PM ET

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“The best possible candidate is not who they are interested in.”

I want to know where you take that from. Geoff Molson, asked by a French-speaking journalist if language mattered, said that it will be taken under consideration, but that it is not the goal itself, that the goal was to find the best hockey person. It would’ve been easy for him to say it’s mandatory. Later asked, in English, if a unilingual candidate would be considered, he refused to rule it out. Add to that the nomination of Randy Cunneyworth (a decision he supported at the time, and still agrees with) as interim head coach, and it seems clear to me that language comes second. Now, Serge Savard contradicted him later on saying that whoever the next GM is would have to speak French at least minimally, but he’s an adviser, and I’ll take his boss’ word over his.

I’m a French Québecer, though not at all a nationalist. I find it appalling that fans are giving the Habs brass a hard time for not hiring enough French talent, both management and on-ice. They are right, language indeed comes second for the Canadien, but I see that as a good thing, not a bad thing.

I’d love to see Trevor Timmins as GM. If all hockey operations were as well-managed as his scouting department, the Canadien would be a winner.

Posted by Jean on 03/29/12 at 04:06 PM ET

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So with Gauthier gone who will translate for Cunneyworth?

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 03/29/12 at 04:32 PM ET

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I want to know where you take that from. Geoff Molson, asked by a French-speaking journalist if language mattered, said that it will be taken under consideration, but that it is not the goal itself, that the goal was to find the best hockey person.

Team source told RDS today the new GM would absolutely be a French-speaker.

Take a look around the league, think about organizational track-records and ask yourself who the best executives currently are. Your list would probably be something like: Shero, Holland, Chiarelli, Poile…maybe Yzerman (team sucks, but he’s made some incredible moves considering the mess he inherited).

Now consider that the Canadians would not have hired any of them for reasons of regional marketing. Seem like the best way to try to win to you? That’s PSH’s point.

***to be clear, I’m not saying French speaking guys can’t be good or even great GMs. I’m saying French-speaking isn’t a trait that contributes to building a winner. Sorting through candidates with something unrelated to winning as a primary disqualifier makes the odds of finding an awesome GM quite a bit lower than they otherwise would be.

Posted by larry from pitt on 03/29/12 at 07:41 PM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

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