FIRE PIERRE GAUTHIER? – Let’s Give It A Second Thought

Mar 25th, 2012 | By | Category: Canadiens, Latest News

There were two noteworthy events arising from Saturday night’s Canadiens/Flyers game in Philadelphia.  With their 4-1 win, the Flyers clinched a playoff berth for 16th time in the last 17 seasons.  At the same time the Canadiens were officially eliminated from the playoffs for the seventh time in those same seventeen years.

A close examination of the path these two franchises have taken leads to one startling conclusion.  While the  administration of the Flyers has been a monument to stability the Canadiens have been nothing short of a chaotic mess.

Over the last seventeen years the Flyers have had two general managers, Bobby Clarke and Paul Holmgren.  The Canadiens have had five; Serge Savard, Rejean Houle, Andre Savard, Bob Gainey and Pierre Gauthier.  And, if the carnivorous and often vindictive Montreal media has it’s way, there’s a sixth on the way.

While the Flyers have had stable management, the Canadiens have changed leadership every three and a half years or so.  And with each change comes a new philosophy and another one of those five year rebuilding programmes.

The last time the Canadiens were consistently successful was the Serge Savard regime from 1983 to 1995.    During those twelve years the Canadiens were in the Stanley Cup final three times and won it twice. In the seventeen years since Savard was replaced the best the team can brag of was one trip to the conference final two years ago.   Each GM has felt the need to take the team in a different direction from his predecessor; in effect one rebuilding programme after the other.

Which brings us to Pierre Gauthier.  Not since Al McNeil in 1971 has a member of the Canadiens come under the unrelenting media assault that Gauthier has in the last four months.  The last time we saw anything resembling this attack was 1971 when the local press went after coach Al McNeil during a successful Stanley Cup run.

The main complaints are the injury induced moves Gauthier was forced to make, none of which ultimately improved the franchise, plus his penchant for keeping his own counsel when it comes to the inner workings of the team.  What local reporters would prefer is a Brian Burke who, at the drop of a microphone, will mouth off on every issue from the state of his team’s goaltending to potholes on the Gardiner Expressway.

I must admit, as part of the media group, I kind of like the Burke approach, but I don’t know what it accomplishes when it comes to running an NHL hockey club.  But I also operated in the Sam Pollock era, and he was never a fount of information either.  His penchant for producing Stanley Cup winneers made same media bulletproof.

Gauthier may have had a bad year, but he’s the same guy who traded for James Wisniewski a year ago when the Canadiens defence was in desperate shape.   He did get Josh Gorges under long term contract.  He battled to get free agent Erik Cole signed to a long term contract and, in moving Cammalleri and Kostitsyn he has managed to clear enough cap space to ensure that Subban, Price and perhaps Pacioretty and Eller are part of the long term future of the team.  Not to be forgotten as well is the fact that his team made the Stanley Cup semi-final two years ago and pushed the eventual Stanley Cup champion Bruins to overtime in the seventh game last year.

The final decision on Gauthier’s future will be made by Canadiens president Geoff Molson.  One can only hope he shows more wisdom than Ron Corey who, in 1995 replaced Serge Savard with the horribly inept Rejean Houle and started the cycle of mediocrity we’ve seen since.

His won’t be an easy decision.  Molson can opt for the status quo and stability or make a change and doom the team to extended mediocrity.   Molson may have reasons other than the obvious for not retaining Gauthier but should he elect to keep him, he’ll be operating in the face of a Montreal media horde that thinks itself a dictatorship when it comes to the Canadiens.   .

Now let’s consider the alternatives.   Can anyone be serious about Patrick Roy’s candidacy?  It’s one thing to run the richest team in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, it’s another to jump directly into the NHL with no professional experience either in the GM or coaching ranks.  The risk is another earn-while-you-learn regime like that of Rejean Houle.  There are others out there.  Claude Loiselle in Toronto comes to mind.  I always like what Andre Savard did in the brief time he ran the Canadiens before Gainey took over.

 

Tags: ,

4 Comments to “FIRE PIERRE GAUTHIER? – Let’s Give It A Second Thought”

  1. Philippe Ouimet says:

    Ron
    I tend to agree with most of your assesment of the CH. As an old timer of latin decent and a big fan of the CH in my humble opinion Ronald Corey has to be our Benedict Arnold he’s the guy that sent the team downhill by firing Savard and my very good buddy and former teammate André Boudrias for unknown reasons ( I say it was jealousy). Your spot on for André Savard ( the guy was competent) but politics…..the sale of the team to Gillet who was finacially shaky ( just like Loria and the Expos) …Pierre Boivin the marketing wizard all this mish mash paved the way for laid back Gainey and his Murray Boys club who by the way never won dam thing but created havoc everywere they went.
    The Canadien and it’s fans deserve better the franchises future and it’s IDENTITY is in the hands of Geoff Molson lets just hope he gets it right and surrounds himself with real winners not POLITICAL PUSSYFOOTERS real people that COMMAND RESPECT, know the game, played the game SUCCESFULLY and wear Stanley Cup rings!!!! and you Ron as an old timer know exactly what I’m talking about. As you know Montrealers take their hockey seriously and love no WORSHIP

  2. Philippe Ouimet says:

    Ron
    I tend to agree with most of your assesment of the CH. As an old timer of latin decent and a big fan of the CH in my humble opinion Ronald Corey has to be our Benedict Arnold he’s the guy that sent the team downhill by firing Savard and my very good buddy and former teammate André Boudrias for unknown reasons ( I say it was jealousy). Your spot on for André Savard ( the guy was competent) but politics…..the sale of the team to Gillet who was financially shaky ( just like Loria and the Expos) …Pierre Boivin no hockey expereince but a money maker a real marketing wizard all this mish mash paved the way for laid back Bob Gainey with no managerial hockey expereince and his Ottawa Murray Boys club who by the way never won dam thing but created havoc and spent a lot of money everywere they went.
    The Canadien and it’s fans deserve better the franchises future and it’s IDENTITY is in the hands of Geoff Molson lets just hope he gets it right and surrounds himself with real winners not POLITICAL PUSSYFOOTERS but real people that COMMAND RESPECT,that know the game, KNOW THE FANS, played the game SUCCESFULLY and wear Stanley Cup rings and are PASSIONATE!!!! and you Ron as an old timer know exactly what I’m talking about. God I whish we had a farmer Frank SELKE with coaches like motivator Jacques Demers, Pat Burns or a Scotty Bowman, Toe Blake or a Dick Irving right now ….but there is two passionate pitt bulls available…. Roy and Hartley they can walk their talk ( two diamonds in the rough) but if they could be mentored by a Serge Savard ….I think we could be on the right track!!!! It’s time…. the Fans are fed up they want a winning team.

  3. Bill Carlson says:

    Firstly – Bobby Clarke is still there and Holmgren has always and still is his man.

    Gainey likewise is still here and it is now 8 years and 11 months that he and Gauthier have run the Habs and today the Habs are sitting in 29th place out of 30 teams. It is time long overdue to clean house at the management level. Gauthier has been in the NHL AT LEVELS OF aSST gm, 3 times GM, etc. for nearly 30 seasons and has never been with a team to even REACH the Stanley Cup finals.

  4. philippe ouimet says:

    finally some good news. Geof Molson has started to clean house…the Gainey empire!!!! was shaken up this morning …..GEOFF FIRED GAUTHIER!!!!! …..thank God.

Leave a Comment