Lost in the insanity of the playoff races across the NHL this offseason have been the various job searches taking place. One job that comes with great power and thus great responsibility is the GM position of the Montreal Canadiens. Several people have tried and failed in years past, they’ve turned aside various folks in their current efforts to take things over, and now, it appears, we are down to our final three.
1) Marc Bergevin currently of the Chicago Blackhawks
2) Julien BriseBois currently of the Tampa Bay Lightning
3) Pierre McGuire of NBC
Yes, that Pierre McGuire.
I can’t really imagine the world where door number three yields the best results. Granted, McGuire has held down jobs as a scout, assistant general manager and coach with NHL teams and varying degrees of success.
His time in the front office in Pittsburgh seemed to have endeared himself well with other front office types in the NHL. Scotty Bowman had close ties to the Penguins around the time McGuire held down a job there and has publicly endorsed McGuire to be the man in Montreal.
On the contrary, his time in Hartford as a coach was less productive. His tenure as head coach lasted all of 67 games and, if I recall correctly, I listened to an interview with Sean Burke who spent a fair portion of his career with the Whalers franchise and described McGuire’s rein with the Whalers quite diplomatically.
“He had some very interesting strategies I hadn’t seen then, and I haven’t seen them since.”
At any rate, it would be one heck of a narrative. McGuire did live in the Montreal area for a fair portion of his life and broke into the broadcast booth as a member of Montreal’s play-by-play team. In a way that makes the Habs at least partially culpable for what has transpired since.
I’m not going to speculate on what makes an NHL general manager successful. A lot of it is luck, a lot of it is genius and a lot of it is something I don’t have a word for. I will say that they all leave their job eventually regardless of how great they are and that, as much as their job is to build a perennial winner, it is equal parts making sure you don’t ruin it forever. Dale Tallon built a powerhouse in Chicago and Stan Bowman is still clearing out the cap mess. There will be a day when Ken Holland isn’t the general manager of the Detroit Red Wings regardless of how many more Cups he wins. Change is the nature of the job.
I don’t think Pierre McGuire would be a good general manager. There’s something about hiring a guy who has been out of the personnel game since 1997 that leads me to believe that he may not be the best man to keep on top of the nuances of the game in 2012. I’ll also be the first to admit that I’m not his biggest fan in the booth.
He’s enthusiastic and I will give him that. If I could be a “McGuire’s Monster” of hockey writing, that would be really cool and a definite goal to strive for. I also really love the Hartford Whalers and wish all the best for anyone who have that on their resume.
He may not be the best man for the job, but I will definitely vouch for him to get it. It would be extremely entertaining.
If he could parlay the current Canadiens franchise into Dion Phaneuf, Mike Richards, Jonathan Toews and Marc Staal, I would applaud.
I really want this to happen.
Do you think McGuire could cut it as an NHL GM?
UPDATE: According to Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune, the Montreal Canadiens have hired Marc Bergevin to be the team’s next general manager. Bergevin, like McGuire, has held several positions in the NHL and the Blackhawks specifically – Assistant Coach, Director of Player Personnel, Assistant GM. He is a Montreal native which will no doubt be a hit with the locals and, as Kuc notes in his news brief, he is the second Blackhawks Assistant GM to be hired by a Canadian franchise in two years. You’ll take care to note that Kevin Cheveldayoff of the Winnipeg Jets held the post prior to Bergevin.
While the Habs appear to have found their man, those of us who wanted a team to be comprised of McGuire’s Monsters will dream on. We shall dream and dream and dream some more, and ideally one day we will wake up to find it wasn’t a dream at all. Until then, never change Pierre.