Cornwall Ontario – All GM’s have their ups and down as Hab fans prepare to watch PK Subban enter the realm that is the Stanley Cup final for a team that’s reached it for the very first time ever; coincidently, the first year after trading swapping out their heart, soul, and captain, who never led them past the second round for our former star.
Now GM’s always get praise when they get it right, but honestly, Dave Poile and Jim Rutherford have had down years too. It’s not a crime to fail. It takes guts to be a successful sports GM.
But Marc Bergevin is GM for the Montreal Canadiens. Those shoes are like being GM for the NY Yankees. These are storied, deep pocketed franchises where winning is expected. This isn’t a Leaf Nation sort of rah for the blue no matter how badly they stink, and even they turned things around.
How did they do that? Well ownership built a management team that they felt would succeed. They pulled together some old and some new. Old school hockey sense from Lou Lamoriello and people like Kyle Dubas and Mark Hunter, all under the vision of President Brendan Shanahan.
That vision turned a hot mess into a team that within two seasons rebranded and rebuilt itself. While some would say they had a bit of luck landing Auston Matthews, others might say that good luck comes to those that deserve it.
Marc Bergevin has had five years to build a team in his vision and get results. By all measurements he’s simply failed, and failed on the biggest stage in the NHL when it comes to fan loyalty. Geoff Molson is fiscally supported by Hab fans. There’s no reason to penny pinch or cheap out. The team should have the finest of management team and coaching in place. But instead we’ve had Bergy’s buddy JJ Daignault as D coach instead of say…..Hall of Famer Larry Robinson, who btw, is available now.
Instead of snatching up a talent like Guy Boucher, who besides being a talented young coach while available, is a francophone, which is important in Quebec, Bergy bled his loyalty to Michel Therrien. We’ve all seen what Boucher did with the Ottawa squad this season. Did anyone really think they’d get farther in the playoffs than Montreal this season if Carey Price was healthy?
NITTY & GRITTY
Good GM’s don’t just go by the talent. It’s small club of 31 men who love the sport of being a GM. Instead of getting excited about snatching a 20 goal scorer from the waiver wire, which is nice, a GM is more excited about grabbing a first line talent centre.
Good GM’s don’t try and fool anyone. They don’t try to rip off another GM because reputations count, and who wants to trade with someone while fearing being ripped off? It’s a small circle of men that have to deal with each other during their careers. Compete for a good deal yes, but make the other look foolish??
And right now every GM in the league knows that there’s blood in the water and that will taint any negotiation that Bergy has. The other guy knows that he’s under the gun; especially for any talks involving a centre.
The same for contract negotiations and the Carey Price situation. Does Carey want to stay in Montreal? Is he willing to do so ala Steve Stamkos? If he wants $10M per year Bergy has to trade him while he has peak value. Again, with blood in the water how does that roll? Could Bergy call up Mr. Shero in NJ and land Corey Schneider and one of their many centres for Price?
Alex Radulov was only signed to a one year deal. An odd decision. Does anyone think that he’d have refused a 2 or 3 year deal at the time at that cap hit? And while Alex clearly loves the city does he want to play with Phil Danault as his Centre? There not only is cash opportunities out there, but also better linemates. If RADULOVE leaves; which it sadly looks like will happen, where does that leave Montreal? Sure they can try and sign one of the UFA’s this year, but none come close to the package that Radu has. In other words all of the leverage is in the player’s hands, and that’s never a recipe for success.
Hockey fans spend a lot of money each season supporting the team they love. Jersey’s, cable packages, game tickets, beer, and all that comes with it. Do they deserve a wasted season or worse, a potential weakening of the player value the team has?
Molson has to pull the trigger asap. He simply can’t have a five year failure make the key decisions this team is facing:
Is it retinker or blow up time?
Price, Pacioretty, and Radulov.
Defensive transition as Markov is near the end, Emelin is in his final year, and Petry is over 30.
Who to trade and who to sign.
Revitalizing the AHL squad. Why was Lefebvre resigned with no history of winning after the amount of years running the minor league squad; especially with the team moving to Laval? You can’t teach winning. You have to put players in a position to win and hope the cream rises. That’s why players that win the cup come with a premium in trade talks. Winning is contagious. You have to win in the minors to help win in the show.
The questions that Molson has to face is whether Bergy really can solve any of the above. The betting money is that he simply can’t for the same reason that he couldn’t land a centre in five seasons. He simply isn’t the man for this job in Montreal anymore than Michel Therrien was a coaching solution.
Bergy had this season to go all in. If his moves were honestly the best he could do going all in that alone is reason to say Buh bye.
What do you think Hab fans? You can post your comments below.
Go PK! Bring Lord Stanley’s Cup to Montreal!