A few days after owner Geoff Molson finally decided to fire general manager Pierre Gauthier, it’s time to have a look at the potential candidates for one of the most important position in the NHL! The top candidates will need to have some experience in a managerial position or have worked in the NHL, whether in the media or for the NHLPA, to be seriously considered for the position. A renowned and storied franchise, the Montreal Canadiens will need to select the right man for the job as Gauthier and his predecessor Bob Gainey failed to build a Stanley Cup contender in the last few years despite the unexpected long playoff run of the Canadiens in 2009-10 when they reached the Eastern Conference final after upsetting the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins both in seven games.
This season the Canadiens are dead last in the Eastern Conference following a series of bad decisions and a rash of long-term injuries to key players such as Brian Gionta and Andrei Markov.
Below you will find a list of potential candidates in alphabetical order:
A former defenseman who played 1,191 games in the NHL with the Blues, the Penguins, the Lightning and the Blackhawks among others, Bergevin, a Montreal native, also speaks French.. After his retirement, Bergevin was named a pro scout with the Blackhawks’ organization. Three years later in 2008, Bergevin was named an assistant coach with the organization before accepting a job as director of player personnel in 2009. Last summer, Bergevin was promoted to the position of assistant general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks replacing Kevin Cheveldayoff who had accepted the General Manager position with the new Winnipeg Jets team. While Bergevin certainly has some knowledge as how to manage an NHL team, he doesn’t boast a lot of experience, having worked only one season as assistant to Hawks’ GM Stan Bowman.
A lawyer by trade, Brisebois has been working with the Tampa Bay Lightning as an assistant general manager to Steve Yzerman since 2010. Very good with numbers, Brisebois, a native of Greenfield Park near Montreal, knows all aspects of contract preparation and negotiation, salary arbitration and player transaction. Another candidate who is bilingual, BriseBois worked for the Canadiens for nine years before joining the Lightning’s AHL affiliate, the Norforlk Admirals in 2010. During his tenure with the Habs, he worked as director of legal affairs, before adding director of hockey operations and then vice-president of hockey operations to his duties. In 2007, BriseBois was named the general manager of Montreal’s top affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL. Well regarded in hockey circles, BriseBois earned a Master’s degree in business administration from the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University so he definitely knows the financial aspect of the business of hockey. However, BriseBois never played hockey in the NHL or at any high level of competition, which is certainly an disadvantage when it comes to be named as the Habs’ next general manager.
The über agent who represents the likes of Sidney Crosby, Daniel Briere, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews is a native Quebecer and a very close friend of former Los Angeles Kings sniper Luc Robitaille. Brisson is a long shot to become the Habs’ next GM because he has never acted as a GM and is now based in Los Angeles. While Brisson played junior hockey in QMJHL, he never played in the NHL. Brisson is currently the agent of Habs’ player Louis Leblanc.
A former Canadiens player, Damphousse played more than 1,378 games in the NHL with the Maple Leafs, the Oilers, the Sharks and the Canadiens. Damphousse was a member of the last Canadian team that won a Stanley Cup back in 1993 when Montreal won its 24th Stanley Cup. Currently working as an hockey analyst for RDS, the Bleu Blanc Rouge official broadcaster in French, Damphousse has never occupied a managerial position for an NHL team, but he was a member of the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) executive committee, serving as vice president under Trevor Linden. Damphousse is a proven winner and was part of the Canadiens when Serge Savard was the general manager. We all know that Molson has appointed Savard as a senior consultant to help him nominate the team’ s next general. This relationship with Savard could very well be a serious advantage for Damphousse as the two men have known each other for decades now.
A native of Sainte-Foy, Quebec, Giguere is currently unemployed after working with the Colorado Avalanche as a former general manager and executive vice-president until 2009. He was replaced by Greg Sherman, who is still acting as the Avalance GM. Giguere is a dark-horse candidate as he’s been out of the NHL for three years. He also worked in the Quebec Nordiques organization between 1990 and 1995 before the team moved to Denver. I would believe Giguere would be a more serious candidate when/if another NHL team moves to Quebec City in a near future as he was born in the area.
A former center who played 616 games in the NHL for the Red Wings, the Devils, the Nordiques, the Maple Leafs and the Islanders, Loiselle has been working as assistant general manager to Brian Burke of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Loiselle currently negotiates NHL contracts with the team, but he never played for the Canadiens and doesn’t have a very good track record with the Leafs in the past few seasons. A native of Ottawa, Loiselle also speaks French, but he is not considered a favorite to land the prestigious job in Montreal.
The well-known television analyst, and former NHL assistant coach and head coach has been working for NBC and TSN in the past few years. However, he has interviewed for general manager positions in the past without much success. Born in New Jersey, McGuire grew up in Montreal and also worked as a pro scout back in the 1990s. . He knows the league inside out, especially since he popularized the “Inside the Glass” broadcasting position with TSN. Another advantage is that he’s also bilingual, but his lack of experience as in a managerial position will most likely eliminate him as a serious candidate for the job.
The former NHL goaltender won the Stanley Cup four times with the Montreal Canadiens and the Colorado Avalanche. A close friend of Serge Savard, Roy is currently managing and coaching the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL and his son Frederic. Also a native of Sainte-Foy, Quebec, Roy is obviously bilingual and has played for a decade with the Canadiens before asking to be traded following an incident with head coach Mario Tremblay back in the 1995-96 season. A very hot-headed and vocal head coach, Roy doesn’t have any experience at the NHL level as a head coach or a general manager. While some experts believe Roy is a serious candidate to replace Gauthier, I would believe Roy would prefer to accept a position as the Habs ‘ head coach replacing interim HC Randy Cunneyworth.
A combo of former teammates Patrick Roy (head coach) and Vincent Damphousse (general manager) would be the perfect combination as both players were well-respected and liked when they donned the Habs jersey in the early 1990s. Damphousse, who is a posed and calm person, would perfectly balance Roy’s hot-blooded temper.
Other potential candidates: Jim Nill, Doug Risebrough, Andre Savard
Who would you like as the Canadiens’ next general manager?
A long-time Joe Sakic fan, Fred, 35, is a freelance sports writer and translator. Fred earned a Bachelor of Translation in 2002 at Laval University in Quebec City. He also writes on the Montreal Canadiens for HabsAddict.com and he is an associate editor and a baseball columnist on Dobberbaseball.com. He is also fluent in English, French and Spanish.