On the first day of development at the Canadiens Brossard training complex, general manager Marc Bergevin introduced the new members of his off-ice team.
Sylvain Lefebvre becomes coach of the Hamilton Bulldogs.
Martin Lapointe and Patrice Brisebois will work in developing the Canadiens’ prospects.
They will travel to Hamilton and to junior clubs and U.S. colleges. With the Bulldogs, Brisebois and Lapointe will draw on their own long NHL experience to help young players make the transition to professional hockey life.
An organigram of the Canadiens’ new front office would have Bergevin at the top, above his assistant GMs: Rick Dudley and Larry Carrière.
One level below are Trevor Timmins, who got a ringing endorsement from Bergevin, focusing on amateur scouting and Scott Mellanby concentrating on player development.
Below that level are Brisebois and Lapointe.
Regardless of the hierarchy, Bergevin stressed teamwork and the importance of collegiality in the culture he is trying to create in the Canadiens’ front office.
“It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do in the organization,” Lapointe said. “Marc’s attitude is put something together and I’ll listen. That’s how he works.”
“I always stress teamwork,” Bergevin said. “These epople hired today aren’t window dressing.”
When asked about the repatriation of Quebec-born executive talent, Bergevin described Lefebvre, Lapointe and Brisebois as “good solid hockey people who will help the Montreal Canadiens. They happen to be French, but they’re good hockey people.”
Bergevin had the funniest line of the day. When Tony Marinaro of TSN 990 asked the GM if this has been his busiest two weeks of talking to the media, Bergevin said: “Two weeks? It’s more questions than I had in 20 years of playing.”
On a more serious note, the Canadiens’ GM said the keys to NHL success are goaltending, solid defence and strength at the centre position.
The Canadiens are set with Carey Price in goal. Their best prospects at this camp are defencemen Nathan Beaulieu, Jarred Tinordi and Morgan Ellis.
Centre is another story … although Bergevin was at pains to heap praise on Tomas Plekanec as a hard-working, intelligent player.
Bergevin also said he has no interest in signing Georges Laraque.