Former Habs GM Serge Savard, who team president Goeff Molson asked to help him select a new GM for the Canadiens, spoke with Mitch Melnick, Rod Francis and Chris Nilan on TSN 990 late Thursday afternoon. You can listen to audio of the interview here).
Among his remarks, Savard said he would not be a candidate for the GM’s job himself (which will disappoint many, including The Gazette’s Red Fisher) and he would not speculate on whether there might be a position for him with the club after the new GM has been selected. “I’m 66 years old and I spent 33 years in the Montreal Canadiens organization. I’m very happy to help in this process but, believe me, I won’t interview myself.”
Savard said the next GM does not have to be from Quebec, nor a French Canadian, but he “has to be able to communicate to the people in French. If my guy doesn’t speak English, he’s not qualified either, because he has to communicate with the people in English as well.”
Asked by Melnick what the top qualification of a new GM would be, he replied “judgement.” He also said a being a former player was a plus, and referenced himself and Bobby Clarke as two GMs who were former players with no previous management experience.
Melnick asked pointedly about Pierre McGuire, who repeated earlier on the program that afternoon what he has said before, that while he is very happy with his job at NBC, he would be interested in talking about the Canadiens GM job. Savard remarked, “Sure, he’s a nice person, I’ve been to his golf tournament, two years ago, three years ago in Tremblant. He’s a good person, very good person. Tell him to come down, play golf (with me) in Hilton Head.”
Savard said he didn’t really know what the time frame for a decision would be, but “as quick as possible,” but he’s not saying 10 days or two weeks. “We’ll see how it goes.”
Commenting on the current state of the franchise, Savard said, “As a former Canadien, as a former manager, and Chris is there too, to talk about that, it’s painful when you see that, when you see your favorite team. In football, I’m a Packers fan and when I see the Packers go down, I’m hurt. We had the CH on our chests our whole lives and it hurts. In my case when I was let go as a manager and when I saw everything what happens after, it hurts. We want the Canadiens to be the team that it was before….We have to find the right person that’s going to bring back the tradition of the Montreal Canadiens for the next generation to come.”