Tag: Pierre Gauthier

Jacques Martin

Are the Montreal Canadiens as bad off as they seem?


It’s no surprise that the Canadiens fired GM Pierre Gauthier. He made a number of controversial decisions and the end result was simply not satisfying. When you look at the Montreal Canadiens right now, you see a team that’s grossly overpaying several players and in the Eastern Conference basement. The next general manager will have a very difficult job because the 2012-13 squad already has over $44 million in cap space tied to 13 players and that’s not including Carey Price or PK Subban, who will both be restricted free agents this summer.

Still, as former Canadiens coach Jacques Martin recently pointed out, this team isn’t exactly devoid of talent. There’s a good young core of players that includes Subban, Price, and David Desharnais. They also have a couple of forwards whose roles could increase in the coming years, including Louis Leblanc and Lars Eller. Throw in a healthy Andrei Markov and, according to Martin, this franchise might be better off than you think.

“The team has to add pieces,” Martin said. “But the key elements are in place.”

It might be more complicated than simply adding pieces, given how bad their cap situation is. Still, it is true that the foundation for a competitive team is already there.

Martin, by the way, is interested in returning to the Canadiens as their general manager. However, it seems unlikely that Martin will go from being fired as the head coach to being selected as the same organization’s general manager in less than a year.

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

Molson Presser

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
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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

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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

Cunneyworth blasts Bourque: “He seems like a tough player who is not playing tough”

Rene Bourque

It seems no matter where he goes this year, Rene Bourque can’t escape criticism.

On Thursday, the Canadiens winger was taken to task by head coach Randy Cunneyworth, who told the Canadian Press he was “definitely unsatisfied” with Bourque’s play.

“He has the potential to do much more,” Cunneyworth said. “We’ve got to push him to get better results. He knows and is working harder, but he’ll have to get it into a higher gear.

“He seems like a tough player who is not playing tough.”

Bourque has been a disappointment in Montreal since getting traded from Calgary for Mike Cammalleri. In his 27 games as a Canadien, he’s scored 4G-3A-7PTS with a minus -16 rating, and his physical play has disappeared.

“With his style and reputation he should be making the space near the net but he’s got to play his game,” Cunneyworth said. “He’s got to fight harder in front of the net to create space.”

This is the second time Bourque’s come under fire for lacklustre play. During a November game between Calgary and Colorado, CBC Hockey Night in Canada (and former LA Kings goalie) Kelly Hrudey lambasted Bourque — then a Flame, believed to be on the trading block — for his poor effort, questioning why anybody would deal for him.

Hrudey: “Who in the world would trade for this guy? Come on, that’s a joke they’re saying teams are calling for him and everything. It’s a great start for Calgary right, 3-0? Have you noticed him? You know, this guy — and I’m going to say this politely — but this guy’s passion meter isn’t low on a scale of one to 10…it’s turned off. This guy has to learn that you actually have to have passion in a game, that you can play with hatred.

“The four Hall-of-Famers that we had in the pregame show [Doug Gilmour, Mark Howe, Ed Belfour, Joe Nieuwendyk] talked about the compete level of athletes. There are a lot of guys that have talent and this guy…I don’t even think he cares about the game. He should apologize to his teammates and start playing. He’s got 66 games to go to actually care.”

Three months later, Habs GM Pierre Gauthier answered the question, “Who in the world would trade for this guy?”