Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier has been fired. The team has announced a press conference for 11.45 this morning to officially confirm the news.
In just over two seasons at the helm, Gauthier has been a mystery wrapped in an enigma, dunked in controversy. Appointed to the position in 2010 when Bob Gainey stepped away, citing personal reasons, Gauthier has continuously drawn the ire of fans in la belle province.
With fans and media alike losing patience with Gauthier’s lack of public persona and seemingly arbitrary personnel decisions, the writing has been on the wall for months now.
Gauthier will likely be remembered most for a series of baffling mid-season moves, which included the firing of head coach Jacques Martin, who was replaced by controversial Anglophone interim Randy Cunneyworth, and a mid-game trade of sniper Mike Cammalleri to the Calgary Flames. Last year, in his only full season as GM, the team placed sixth in the Eastern Conference, and was ousted from the playoffs in seven games by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins.
The question now becomes; who will replace him?
If a tweet from former NHL executive Shawn Simpson is accurate, legendary goaltender and current Quebec Remparts head coach Patrick Roy could be set to return to the city where he began his storied career more than 25 years ago.
While rumours of Roy’s return to the Canadiens have been swirling for months now, the vast majority of reports have had Roy stepping behind the bench to replace Cunneyworth as head coach. According to Simpson, however, it may be the role of GM which will be occupied by the polarizing St. Patrick.
“Getting from good sources. Patrick Roy will be the next GM of the Montreal Canadiens and close friend Bob Hartley will be coach!!!” read the tweet, which was posted late last week.
Roy, whose duties with the Remparts include GM and co-owner in addition to coaching, has emphatically denied reports that he is interested in the Canadiens coaching job…but has so far not made any statements regarding the idea of becoming the club’s next GM.
While rumour remains just that – a rumour- the idea is more than a little bit titillating to Canadiens’ fans, and has spurred some lively discussions amongst Habs’ nation.
With relatively little experience and a personality which is more often than not a lightning rod for controversy, Roy could easily be the best or worst possible choice for a team which has been in a constant state of turmoil for the past several seasons.
If the rumours are true, some have already gone as far as to predict the second coming of the Rejean Houle/Mario Tremblay era, leaving Canadiens’ faithful with a collective spine shudder. (Not lost, of course, is the irony that it was Tremblay’s coaching inadequacies which essentially ran Roy out of town the first time.)
Only time will tell what the future holds for the hockey’s most storied franchise, but if the past is any indication…the Colorado Avalanche may have just found the solution to their long-standing goaltending woes.
Relax, Habs’ fans. I’m just joking….
K. Ross Read is the lead hockey analyst for Backsportspage.com and co-host of the “Off the Krossbar” radio show and podcast. He also covers the Montreal Canadiens for TheHockeyWriters.com and is a feature writer with Canadian Hockey Online.
Covering all things hockey with an honest edge and keen wit, he continues to develop a loyal readership on both sides of the Canada/U.S. border. Offering refreshing insight and sharp criticism, K. Ross Read is quickly earning a reputation as one of hockey’s straightest shooters.
You can contact K. Ross on Facebook or twitter: @KRossRead