Tag: Jaroslav Spacek

Pierre Gauthier

Blackhawks name Gauthier director of player personnel


Pierre Gauthier has landed on his feet in Chicago.

Less than four months after being fired as general manager of the Montreal Canadiens, Gauthier has joined the Blackhawks as the director of player personnel.

In an amusing twist, Chicago found itself with an opening in the front office after assistant general manager Marc Bergevin left the club to become the new GM of the Habs. The director of player personnel role needed to be filled job after Norm Maciver was promoted to assistant general manager earlier this summer.

Gauthier had a tumultuous 2011-12 season in Montreal. Most notably, in December, he fired head coach Jacques Martin and replaced him with unilingual Randy Cunneyworth, a move that rankled the team’s French-speaking fans.

Gauthier also faced criticism for acquiring defenseman Tomas Kaberle from Carolina for Jaroslav Spacek and shipping Michael Cammalleri to Calgary for Rene Bourque.

Say what you will about his work in Montreal, but you can’t question his experience. Gauthier has been GM of three NHL teams — Ottawa, Anaheim and Montreal.

He’s also made some impressive late-round draft picks, including Sami Salo at No. 239 in 1996 and PA Parenteau at No. 264 in 2001.

Here are the few, the proud, the UFA defensemen

Dennis Wideman

As Halford mentioned earlier, the list of pending unrestricted free agent defensemen is getting pretty thin. Here are the few notables that could be available July 1.

Ryan Suter – But you already knew that, so let’s move on.

Dennis Wideman – The 29-year-old has said he wants to stay in Washington, but his contract demands could be steep given the 46 points he put up in 2011-12. The Caps might be better served spending their money elsewhere. Obviously they’ll be hoping Mike Green won’t miss as much time next season, and young John Carlson could take on more of an offensive role if Wideman moves on.

Jason Garrison – Talks between the Panthers and the 27-year-old have yet to produce a deal. Though he’s best known for the 16 goals he scored in 2011-12 playing alongside Brian Campbell, Garrison brings more to the table than a cannon from the point – he’s a big guy that can play in all situations and doesn’t mind getting his nose dirty.

Matt Carle – The 27-year-old logged 25:19 per game in the playoffs and wants to stay in Philadelphia. In fact, he might already have re-signed if not for the “tagging rule” that prevents teams from exceeding this year’s salary cap in commitments for next season.

Other pending UFA d-men below the age of 35 include Michal Rozsival, Bryan Allen and Shane O’Brien.

Elder statesmen include Hal Gill, Jaroslav Spacek, Sami Salo and Bryce Salvador.

Are we forgetting anyone?

Oh, Jeff Finger. His contract’s up, too.

Spacek paints picture of dysfunctional Habs organization

Jaro Spacek

In an article curiously titled “Jaroslav Spacek has fond memories of Montreal“, Dave Stubbs of The Gazette spoke with the former Canadiens defenseman about his two-plus seasons in Quebec.

In turn, Spacek spoke of an organization lacking leadership and communication.

“So much bad stuff,” Spacek said. “In my 20-year hockey career, I’d never seen anything like it. If you don’t like the way I play, kick me in the ass. But no one said anything. It was terrible.”

Spacek spoke with Stubbs off the record, but it’s not difficult to figure out who the key figures of dysfunction were.

The Czech rearguard was signed by then-Montreal GM Bob Gainey in 2009. Gainey’s assistant at the time was Pierre Gauthier — who would later ascend to Gainey’s position in 2010 — and Spacek’s head coach for the duration of his time in Montreal was Jacques Martin.

It was in Spacek’s final season when things really went haywire. First, assistant coach Perry Pearn was fired less than a month into the regular season. Then Spacek was dealt to Carolina, a move which caught him by surprise.

From The Gazette:

“I worked so hard last summer and arrived at camp in maybe the best shape I’ve been in,” Spacek said. “Then, when I was hurt right away (suffering separated ribs in the season’s second game), everything dropped off.”

His trade to Carolina gave surreal a whole new meaning, then-GM Pierre Gauthier telling him he’d been dealt but not telling him for a time where he was going.

The Spacek-for-Tomas Kaberle trade happened on Dec. 9. Eight days later, Gauthier would fire Martin and replace him with Randy Cunneyworth.

Sounds like a fun place to play, huh?

Speaking of fun places to play, Spacek thoroughly enjoyed his time in Carolina. Now 38 and an unrestricted free agent, he says he’d welcome welcome a return to the Hurricanes.

“To be honest, I’d like to go back to Carolina,” said Spacek. “I started some good stuff with the kids on that team. Even if I don’t play much, as a fifth, sixth or seventh defenceman, I’ve got a good relationship with them. They look up to me and I look up to them.

“They’ve made me a little younger.”