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The Upper Canadien

Au Revoir, Mr. Gauthier - but does his replacement NEED to be French?

It’s a decent news day in Montreal. As you know, Pierre Gauthier is out as Habs GM after, arguably, their most disappointing season ever. Also out is former GM and Senior Advisor Bob Gainey. Before we go anywhere, a quick note:

Thank you Bob Gainey.

Bob Gainey built a 1st place team in 2008 that had a lot of talent but couldn’t get it done in the playoffs. He drafted some key pieces. His work got the Habs within 2 wins of their first Stanley Cup appearance in 16 years. Moreover, Bob Gainey did much of this while fighting through the grief of losing his child, in a life that has been marred by tragedy, yet continued to serve the team he loved. Yes, Bob Gainey failed to bring a championship, and yes, Bob Gainey made mistakes. But it’s never nice to see someone lose their job, especially not someone who cared so much.

Now, onto the next chapter. What next for Les Canadiens? The airwaves are burning up with callers. Left and right I hear that the new General Manager “must” be French. Must be French? Why? Was Pierre Gauthier not French? Can we not choose the best man available? French could result in more of, well, this. Surely you don’t want that, do you?

Patrick Roy, Claude Loiselle, Francois Giguere, Julien Brisebois, Jim Nill, I’ve heard many names, all of them competent, all of them qualified in some way, shape or form. But the man who should fill the General Manager’s role, in my mind, is a native Montrealer, fluently bilingual, and a very controversial suggestion. I wrote about it two months ago, but I’m going to state it again:

Pierre McGuire is my choice as the next GM of the Montreal Canadiens.

Why? McGuire is an expert talent evaluator. He’s a scout at heart. He knows the players inside and out. He’s got NHL experience. He’s won Stanley Cups. Sure, he’s never been a GM, but he’s declined many job offers to stay close to family. The man is one day going to be a GM, I would bet any amount of money on it. Therefore, why not in Montreal? He’s an encyclopedia of hockey knowledge. That’s what the Canadiens need.

They don’t need a hot head. They don’t need an ex-star. They don’t need a former Habs GM, player or coach. They need a fresh start.

Would Pat Roy be good, with all that emotion, as a General Manager? Would Francois Giguere, after no discernible achievements, be the right fit? Is Julien Brisebois, obviously an accomplished young man, really the answer and not just more of the same?

Serge Savard is in as an advisor. A good move, as he’ll provide stability going forward. Larry Carriere is back as Assistant GM. He was never a coach. That wasn’t fair to him. Good move.

Now, it’s time to get it right. Stop hiring ex-players with no NHL experience. Stop hiring guys based on ethnicity.

Geoff Molson, get it right. Please, hire Pierre McGuire as the next GM of the Montreal Canadiens.

You’ll make me happy doing it, and I think you’ll make a lot of other Canadiens fans happy as well.

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Comments

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Pierre McGuire is my choice as the next GM of the Montreal Canadiens.

Please, God, make this happen.
Also, Eddie Olcyk would make a great assistant, wink

Posted by jwad on 03/29/12 at 07:02 PM ET

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Whle he is no John Davidson, at least he isn’t Mike Emrick.  They could do worse and hire Patrick Roy, even though it would be nice to se him fail miserably.

Posted by sean_o_sean on 03/29/12 at 07:04 PM ET

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Congratulations on being free of Gauthier! I have not seen such an inept GM’s handling of a team since the Mike Keenan experiment in Vancouver during the mid-90s.

I agree with you about the best man for the job, but I think it may be in the best interests of the franchise (and notice that I did not use the word “team”) to hire either a bilingual coach or a bilingual GM. I do not think that both are necessary, but placating the masses by hiring one of the two would be beneficial.

I think Brisebois or Maguire would be a decent bet as a GM. If the Habs do end up hiring Maguire, then I look forward to him building a team composed entirely of “Monsters”.

Posted by Etterbeekers on 03/29/12 at 07:52 PM ET

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You make a decent case. That said, MacGuire’s awful boom or bust.

Posted by larry from pitt on 03/29/12 at 08:10 PM ET

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Pierre McGuire was born in New Jersey… he’s not a native Montrealer at all.

Posted by meMan from Calgary on 03/29/12 at 08:38 PM ET

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Forgot to add… he grew up and finished High School in New Jersey too so it’s not like he was transplanted to Montreal at a young age either.

Posted by meMan from Calgary on 03/29/12 at 08:40 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Oonagi jwad

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/29/12 at 08:52 PM ET

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MeMan: to my knowledge, McGuire spent much of his childhood in Montreal, at least one of his parents was a native Montrealer, he spent most of his adulthood based in Montreal, and his children have been, until this year, raised (and I believe born) in Montreal.

So: I call that a Montrealer.

Posted by The Upper Canadien from Toronto on 03/29/12 at 09:20 PM ET

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He doesn’t need to be French, he needs to speak French. Quebecois aren’t French. That ended a couple of centuries ago…

80% of the population speaks French in that part of the world. Unless you can convince Kenny Holland to leave Detroit, you’re going to get someone who can speak French fluently in the job, that’s a given. (Especially with the Nordiques returning. There’s going to be an arms race between the two clubs to own the hearts and minds of the locals… French ability is must in that context.)

My bet is Julien Brisebois. He’s ready and he’s a cap expert which comes in real handy.

As long as Trevor Timmins stays as head of scouting, I’m a happy camper. He’s done a very good job for the most part. Beef up the Q scouting and you’re in serious business with the scouting group currently in place.

The end of the Gainey era is a good thing. A very good thing… Bob was a great player and a great leader, but the results didn’t come so he has to go.

Posted by Marc10 on 03/29/12 at 10:21 PM ET

statelouis26's avatar

lmao Pierre McGuire

Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 03/29/12 at 10:28 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

this Buffoon is Challenging TPSH for Stupidity LOL

Posted by Evilpens on 03/29/12 at 10:51 PM ET

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Dunno Evilpens, I’m hearing he is a legitimate candidate. I would suggest the Serge Savar as permanent GM folks are perhaps the buffoons.

Posted by The Upper Canadien from Toronto on 03/29/12 at 10:56 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

this Buffoon is Challenging TPSH for Stupidity

Posted by Evilpens on 03/29/12 at 08:51 PM ET

You almost got a complete sentence in there.  Cheers!

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 03/29/12 at 11:33 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I have also heard it said the past couple months that he’d be a candidate for any GM spot that opened, montreal was mentioned specifically because of their struggles and the cunnyworth fiasco.

Still think it’s stupid, so I’m hopin’ they do it

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/29/12 at 11:47 PM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

hire Pierre McGuire as the next GM of the Montreal Canadiens.

No disrespect, but you are straight-up on glue.  And I am trying to balance politeness and honesty.  Being a GM isn’t about having the names of Midget teams memorized, or knowing the parents of players, it is about a number of things of which Pierre is incapable:
-coherent thought
-the ability to assess the relevance of information
-objectivity (and this would really kill him)
-intelligent views on the direction of the game
-humility
-social graces

Perhaps you didn’t watch all that much of him, but I have never heard someone put their foot in the mouth with an aimless rant to the degree that this little bald D-bag has.
Anyway, why exactly is a buffoon sportscaster more attractive than an actual executive like Nill?

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 03/30/12 at 01:03 AM ET

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tuxedo: I respect your opinion, but having listened to McGuire on Montreal radio as I grew up, and having been familiar with him since the early to mid 90’s because of that, I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on his personality. And I genuinely think he’d be great in the job.

As for Nill, he’s a non-starter. Firstly, unavailable - you’d need the hand of God to pry him from Detroit - and secondly, he doesn’t speak French.

Posted by The Upper Canadien from Toronto on 03/30/12 at 01:49 AM ET

awould's avatar

I’ve heard McGuire’s name tossed around as a potential GM for years now. I have no idea if he’d be a good GM or not. He is awful on tv though. So please, hire him as the new GM in Montreal. Or hire him as a greeter at a Wal-Mart in Nashville. Hire him for anything that gets him out of my tv.

Posted by awould on 03/30/12 at 03:15 AM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

having listened to McGuire on Montreal radio as I grew up

Fair enough, I’ve only heard him drooling on TV.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 03/30/12 at 12:01 PM ET

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Let’s see… Was Tommy Gorman French, or Quebecois?  What about Frank Selke, or the best GM Montreal (or any NHL) team has ever had:  Sam Pollock?

I think it’s more important to have a coach than a GM who can speak French.  After all, the coach has to spend more time with the press. 

That said, I just hope the Canadiens hire the best candidates for both jobs, whether or not they speak French.

Posted by Letic Lady from New York, NY on 04/02/12 at 11:15 PM ET

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About The Upper Canadien

The Upper Canadien is your one stop shop for all things Montreal Canadiens. Since the summer of 2010, I've been providing Habs related news, notes, and most importantly, opinions. As a blogger, I don't believe it's my job to report the news, it's my privilege to comment on it. You may disagree with what I suggest. In fact, you most likely will. But that's the great part about blogging: it spurs opinion, comment and engages all involved. I've really enjoyed all the debate and commentary from readers thus far and I encourage everyone to respond with ideas on lineups, trades, logos, sweaters, mascots, whatever. The Upper Canadien is a conversation for all hockey fanatics.

I've come to Kukla's Korner with four years of campus radio and three years of sportswriting from my time at Mount Allison University on Canada's East coast. Not only do I not have any professional journalistic training, after five years in the corporate world, I've spent much of the past two years completing an MBA. Business by day, hockey by night, I'm a Canadiens fan through and through. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I do writing.

Questions or comments? theuppercanadien@kuklaskorner.com