Habs’ new GM in 2 or 3 weeks; Rangers, Devils advance

Doug Risebrough

Former Canadien Doug Risebrough might be another name in the Canadiens’ GM hunt.
Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images (2009 photo)

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It’s been a couple of weeks since we last looked at what is known about the Canadiens GM search, so here’s the latest:

While the Canadiens brass has maintained their general silence on the the hiring of their next general manager, reports have surfaced that they continue to speak with candidates. Renaud Lavoie of RDS, who seems to have good sources on this search, wrote on his blog this week that while Geoff Molson is not in any rush, it’s very possible the new GM could be in place within two or three weeks.

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, Rangers’ Marian Gaborik post-game.
Bruce Bennett, Getty Images

When you think about all the new boss will have to do as his first tasks – including hire a coach, prepare for the draft and beginning of the free agency period on July 1 — that seems like a realistic time frame.

Lavoie named the candidates he believes the Habs have zeroed in on at this stage of the process: Marc Bergevin, Julien Brisebois, Pierre McGuire, François Giguère and a relatively new name that had previously been hinted at, former Canadiens forward Doug Risebrough.

Risebrough was the GM of the Calgary Flames from 1991 to 1995 and then became the first GM of the Minnesota Wild from 2000 to 2009. He has been with the Rangers as a consultant to President and GM Glen Sather. He previously worked for Sather at the Oilers as VP of Hockey Operations between his GM stints in Calgary and Minnesota.

Although McGuire’s candidacy had been urged by various media types and he was endorsed by Scotty Bowman on a TSN 990 interview, adding his name to those who are believed to have been interviewed is also a relatively new development. He was not mentioned among the first group of candidates to be contacted.

In fact, on the CJAD blog, Rick Moffat wrote this week that Brisebois and McGuire “are believed to be 2 of the 4 or 5 GM candidates granted 2nd interviews.”

One other intriguing report this week: Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill confirmed he had spoken the the Canadiens and was interested but declined to persue the opportunity for personal reasons. It had been thought Nill would not consider leaving Detroit, where he is well paid and highly prized.

The man who has worked hand in hand with Ken Holland to make the Red Wings the most successful club in the league over the last 15 years, Nill told Ansar Kahn of the Michigan Booth Newspapers that he had two good discussions with the Habs and would like to become a GM. “I was interested, they were interested,” Nill said. “But it’s not the right time.”

Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News reported later the same day that Nill’s wife is suffering from cancer, although she is doing better. “I would have loved the opportunity there but it wouldn’t have been fair to Montreal and my wife — it wouldn’t have been to just pick up and move,” Nill said.

There has been no further word since the initial reports linking Ron Hextall, Luc Robitaille or Claude Loiselle to the job.

Patrick Roy, of course, has stated he’d be more interested in coaching were he to return to the NHL.

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