Molson Presser

Montreal owner Molson on GM search: “It is our preference to have someone that can speak French”


Shortly after the announcement that GM Pierre Gauthier had been relieved of his duties, Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson conducted a press conference to reveal plans for the future.

Some highlights:

— Molson was praised for his delivery, poise…and for starting the presser speaking French (gotta love Montreal.) John Bartlett of TSN Radio 990 said Molson “was prepared, confident and looked like someone in full control today,” while Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette said the Canadiens owner “sparkled in this news conference.”

— As the posts title suggests, the general manager search will (at least partially) involve finding a dual-language speaker. Molson did stress, though, that the top criteria is finding the best possible GM.

— On the subject of hiring Patrick Roy, Molson said he hasn’t spoken with Roy since his jersey retirement celebration. Which is weird, because Roy’s jersey was retired in 2008.

— Former Habs GM Serge Savard has been retained as advisor in the search for a new general manager. Also, Larry Carriere returns to his duties as assistant general manager and will take on hockey operations responsibilities until the appointment of a new GM.

— Molson added that special advisor Bob Gainey has left the organization.

— On the subject of interim head coach Randy Cunneyworth, Molson said he would leave it up to the next GM to determine if he’s retained.

Finally, here’s the entire press conference for your viewing pleasure. (Note: his en francais introduction isn’t included but, as many have noted, Molson opened speaking French.)

Timeline: Pierre Gauthier’s GM tenure in Montreal

Pierre Gauthier
1 Comment

As reported earlier, the Montreal Canadiens have fired GM Pierre Gauthier.

The move makes Gauthier the shortest-tenured (2010-12) Habs general manager in 70 years — the last one with such a short shelf life was Jules Dugal, who moved up from the coaching ranks to manage the club for the 1939-40 season.

Gauthier took over Montreal’s GM gig from Bob Gainey on Feb. 8, 2010 and made a number of player and front-office decisions. Here’s a look at some of the more noteworthy ones.

Player transactions

June 17, 2010: Trades Jaroslav Halak to the St. Louis Blues for Lars Eller and Ian Schultz.

June 23, 2010: Signs UFA Tomas Plekanec to a six-year, $30-million deal.

June 29, 2010: Trades Sergei Kostitsyn and future considerations to Nashville for Dan Ellis, Dustin Boyd and future considerations.

Sept. 2, 2010: Signs RFA Carey Price to a two-year, $5.5 million deal.

Dec. 28, 2010: Acquires James Wisniewski from the Islanders in exchange for 2011 second-round and 2012 fifth-round picks.

June 24, 2011: Signs Andrei Markov to a three-year, $17.25-million deal.

June 29, 2011: Trades Wisniewski’s rights to Columbus for a 2012 fifth-round pick.

July 1, 2011: Signs Erik Cole to a four-year, $18 million deal.

July 23, 2011: Signs Josh Gorges to a one-year, $2.5 million deal.

Dec. 9, 2011: Traded Jaroslav Spacek to Carolina for Tomas Kaberle.

Jan. 1, 2012: Signs Gorges to a six-year, $23.4 million deal.

Jan. 12, 2012: Traded Michael Cammalleri to Calgary for Rene Bourque.

Feb. 17, 2012: Traded Hal Gill to Nashville for Blake Geoffrion and a 2011 second-round pick.

Feb. 27, 2012: Traded Andrei Kostitsyn to Nashville for a 2013 second-round draft pick and a conditional 2013 fifth-round draft pick.

Coaching moves

July 21, 2010: Named Randy Cunneyworth coach of AHL Hamilton (replacing Guy Boucher.)

July 23, 2011: Named Cunneyworth assistant coach of the Canadiens (replacing Kirk Muller.)

Oct. 27, 2011: Fired assistant coach Perry Pearn (replaced by Randy Ladouceur.)

Dec. 17, 2011: Fired head coach Jacques Martin. Named Cunneyworth interim head coach.


The defining moments of Gauthier’s regime will be the Halak deal (which Habs fans hated), the Markov contract (Montreal’s second-highest paid skater has played 15 games in the last two years) and naming Cunneyworth the Canadiens’ first unilingual head coach since Bob Berry in 1984.

What might stand out the most, though, is that Gauthier inherited a team that went to the Eastern Conference finals in 2010. Today, they’re the Eastern Conference’s worst team.

PHT Related

Taxi! GM Pierre Gauthier out in Montreal

Who will be the next Habs GM? — Here are 10 candidates

Taxi! GM Pierre Gauthier out in Montreal

Pierre Gauthier

The Montreal Canadiens have parted ways with general manager Pierre Gauthier.

Gauthier, who had been with the club since 2003 and was named GM in 2010, sent out a farewell tweet en francais shortly after the news was announced. The English version read, “Thank you to Mr. Molson and the entire Canadiens organization. Farewell and good luck.”

It’s not surprising that Montreal — 29-34-14 this season, last in the Eastern Conference — fired Gauthier, though the timing of the move is. Gauthier was the trigger man on a number of bold personnel decisions this season and was at the forefront of the acrimonious Randy Cunneyworth hire, yet managed to retain his GM gig through 77 regular season games. (Why turf a guy with five games left? We’ll find out soon…)

Canadiens owner Geoff Molson will hold a news conference at 11:45am ET to discuss the move. At the time of writing, no replacement GM had been named.

PHT Related

Timeline: Pierre Gauthier’s GM tenure in Montreal

Philadelphia beats Montreal, secures playoff spot

Ilya Bryzgalov

It might have been a foregone conclusion before, but now it’s a fact: the Philadelphia Flyers will participate in the 2012 playoffs. The Flyers picked up another two points on Saturday with a 4-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.

Although he was the subject of criticism and the center of controversies earlier in the season, Ilya Bryzgalov has been a key component of the Flyers’ recent success. Bryzgalov hasn’t surrendered more than two goals in any of his last 11 starts. If he can carry his hot streak into the playoffs, then the Flyers will be a formable team going forward.

Philadelphia is unlikely to make up the five point gap between them and the Atlantic Division leading New York Rangers in the last seven games of the season. However, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the fourth seed are certainly within their reach. Pittsburgh suffered a rare setback on Saturday in a 8-4 loss to Ottawa, which allowed the Flyers to pull within two points of their division rival.

Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are scheduled to play each other in two critical matches in the final two weeks of the season.

You can check out highlights of the Flyers’ victory below.

Former NHL exec: Patrick Roy to be next Montreal GM, Bob Hartley to coach

hartley roy

Former Capitals goalie Shawn Simpson — who has worked as a Maple Leafs scout and as the director of hockey operations in Washington — has tweeted an interesting rumor:


The rumor makes sense (logistically speaking):

— Roy and Hartley won a Stanley Cup together with the Avalanche in 2001.

— Despite his anglophone-sounding name, Hartley’s first language is French (he’s a Franco-Ontarian). He spent two seasons coaching Laval of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

— In case you haven’t heard, it’s beneficial for the Habs coach to speak French.

— Roy’s already rumored to be leaving his QMJHL team, the Quebec Remparts, at season’s end. (Though he did shoot down those rumors recently.)

— Current Habs GM Pierre Gauthier has struggled through a nightmarish campaign and Randy Cunneyworth was essentially hired to be fired. Both could be out the door after the season’s done.