– 1200 game NHL career. Named assistant GM of Chicago Blackhawks last June replacing Kevin Cheveldayov, who took over the Winnipeg Jets GM position. Prior to that, assistant coach and director of scouting for the Blackhawks.
Bergevin was one of only three or four truly viable candidates for the position if you consider that the job should entail an intimate knowledge of the game on the ice as well as how the game as played out in the league’s front offices.
The Toronto assistant general manager Claude Loiselle fit that bill. Andre Savard, who was Canadiens GM before stepping aside for Bob Gainey was obviously qualified and so was Francois Giguere, the former failed Colorado GM. Ultimately, Serge Savard recommended Bergevin to Canadiens owner Geoff Molson.
Not qualified, although widely touted, were Tampa Bay assistant Julien Brisebois who’s resume has been limited to front office paperwork and Pierre McGuire, who has little direct experience in the administrative problems that are part and parcel of a GM’s work day.
There seems to be some question about Bergevin’s ability to operate in the current salary cap world of the NHL but Bergevin does have the option of retaining assistant GM Larry Carriere or hiring somebody else to do that sort of thing in the same way Bob Gainey employed Julien Brisebois a few years ago.
If there is one strength in the Canadiens it’s their scouting department under Trevor Timmins. Bergevin is not likely to tamper with that part of the organization.
It’s not the most pressing issue on his desk but in the next few weeks Bergevin will have to make the decision that could mark his tenure, the selection of a head coach. The pressure is already on to hire Patrick Roy, something Bergevin should resist at all costs unless he wants to assume the major headache that goes with someone who’s volatility is well documented. That said, there aren’t many options out there, at least so long as Alain Vigneault remains in the employ of the Vancouver Canucks.
Of more immediate urgency is the analysis of a team that finished last in the Eastern Conference. What went wrong? it will be his decision as to whether he builds upon the assets the team currently possesses or blow it up and start on another of those five year rebuilds. There will be free agent decisions to be made and the contracts of RFA’s Carey Price and P.K. Subban to be negotiated. And of course the June 27th NHL entry draft.
The fun has only just begun.
From the Canadiens Communications Department –
MONTREAL (May 2, 2012) – Montreal Canadiens Owner, President and CEO, Geoff Molson, announced today the appointment of Marc Bergevin as Executive Vice President and General Manager.
Marc Bergevin becomes the 17th General Manager in Canadiens history. Bergevin, 46, spent the last seven seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks organization, including the past season (2011-12) as assistant general manager under Stan Bowman.
A native of Pointe-Saint-Charles, Montreal, Bergevin has held various positions within the Blackhawks organization, including director of player personnel for two seasons (2009 to 2011), winning the Stanley Cup in his first season as director of player personnel in 2009-10. Bergevin served as an assistant coach on Joel Quenneville’s staff during the 2008-09 campaign. He also spent three years on the Blackhawks scouting staff (2005 to 2008), including one season as director of professional scouting (2007-08).
Originally selected by the Blackhawks in the third round (59th overall) in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft, Bergevin enjoyed a 20-season career as a defenceman in the National Hockey League, collecting 181 points (36 goals, 145 assists) in 1,191 regular season games with Chicago (1984-89), the New York Islanders (1989-90), Hartford Whalers (1990-92), Tampa Bay Lightning (1992-95, 2002-03), Detroit Red Wings (1995-96), St. Louis Blues (1996-2001, 2001-02) Pittsburgh Penguins (2000-01, 2002-04) and Vancouver Canucks (2003-04).
Bergevin also skated in 80 career playoff contests, reaching the Conference finals twice in 1996 (Detroit) and in Pittsburgh (2001).
Bergevin played his junior hockey in the QMJHL with the Chicoutimi Saguenéens, from 1982 to 1984 (136 regular season games).
Marc Bergevin and his wife, Ruth, have three children.