The Canadiens introduced new general manager Marc Bergevin to the local media yesterday, and it seems he did a pretty good job winning over what can be a merciless bunch. Better than his predecessor, Pierre Gauthier, at least.
At the risk of damning him with faint praise, let’s make one thing perfectly clear about the Canadiens’ new general manager: Marc Bergevin is funnier than his predecessor.
Of course, this puts Bergevin in the select company of about 7 billion humans on this planet who are funnier than Pierre Gauthier. The former general manager would not be on the short list of potential replacements if David Letterman left the Late Show.
Sitting beside a beaming and clearly relieved Geoff Molson, the Canadiens’ principal owner, Bergevin spoke of communication, something that was largely a rumour to his predecessor, Pierre Gauthier. He recalled his Point St. Charles roots, his minor-hockey days here, and talked of his pride in returning to a city where he watched the Canadiens often parade the Stanley Cup down Ste. Catherine St.
“The Montreal Canadiens are the Montreal Canadiens,” Bergevin suggested matter-of-factly, as if nothing else need be said.
He even called the crush of hockey media at his coronation “fine people,” either a playful poke or another sign he’s not been on the job very long.
Now Louis Jean of Sportsnet:
Contrary to what many have said, Gauthier is a qualified hockey person. Gainey’s resume speaks for itself. But the Canadiens needed change. They needed a new vision. They needed someone who will inspire the team, staff and fan base.
Marc Bergevin will do all those things. In just a few minutes at his press conference on Wednesday, he had the entire city, province and fan base eating out of his hand.
He’s not perfect. He’ll make mistakes. Remember, he’s a rookie in the position, but as Panthers GM Dale Tallon told me Wednesday, no one will work harder than Bergevin to give the fans what they’ve been longing decades for.
Finally, Francois Gagnon of La Presse (Google translated):
Have you noticed that during his first meeting with the press, Marc Bergevin smiled more often than did Pierre Gauthier in almost nine years with the Canadiens, including the last two years as GM?
In one day, Bergevin has started the reconciliation promised by owner Geoff Molson. With simple, honest answers, his answers in French interspersed with English words and others, given in English and spiced with a few words in French, Bergevin has shown that the new boss of the Canadiens is human.
Of course, a good first impression doesn’t buy an endless supply of rope with the media. (Just ask Brendan Shanahan.) Bergevin has a lot of work ahead of him, and if he doesn’t do it well, the media will turn on him. Nice guy or not.