The hole gets deeper

Bench
The loss to Buffalo – along with a win by the Islanders and a point for Tampa Bay – dropped your Montreal Canadiens into 13th place.

Pat Hickey’s game story

Quotes from the room

Dave Stubbs column

Red Fisher column

Dario Ayala’s photos

Pierre Ladouceur’s game report card

Mitch Melnick fills out Pierre McGuire’s job application

The Sid saga

343 Comments

  1. Habpino says:

    Solution for the McGuire GM conundrum…knowledgeable but no recent GM experience – Clean house, hire Pierre as GM and Claude Loiselle as assistant GM.

  2. boing007 says:

    Price is overrated. Trade him for some young, quality players.

    Richard R

  3. MasterHab says:

    I don’t know if McGuire is the BEST candidate for the GM job but I know this much: he is better than Pierre Gauthier (how could he not be?) and that’s good enough for me.

    McGuire rubs a lot of people the wrong way, especially Habs fanboys who can’t handle it when someone tells them the truth about their mediocre hockey team. Well all I can say to that is that the truth hurts but the truth also sets you free. The biggest problem with the current front office regime is self-delusion. Instead of accepting reality they seem bound and determined to blow their collective brains out trying to make the playoffs. And since they have no chance to actually do anything in the post-season other than get embarrassed in four straight, the only person who would benefit (in the short-term) by mortgaging the future for a shot at 8th place is Geoff Molson, who would pocket a few more millions in gate receipts. This type of delusional, short-term thinking got the Habs into the hole they’re in today.

    McGuire doesn’t mince words and I suspect that one of the reasons why he doesn’t get hired is because teams know that they can’t control him. The Habs, more than most corporate entities, are obsessed with controlling the message. If McGuire, as their GM, came to his bosses and told them that he needed x amount of dollars spent in order to achieve a goal and they cheaped out on him, he might not keep his mouth shut about it. The dirty little secret about the Habs is their inherent cheapness. Sure, they spend to the cap because they’re a high-revenue team and spending under the cap would look bad. But the real reason why they spend to the cap is because the cap is a matter of public record. It is the visible tip of the iceberg, so to speak.

    But where the Habs pinch pennies is under the surface, in all the aspects of the organization that aren’t open to the public. How many scouts do they have? How much are they paid? How many scouts to the Red Wings have? How much are they paid? The off-ice stuff that’s so important to building a winning team is largely invisible to the public so if a team wants to cut corners this is where they’ll get away with it. McGuire the GM would never stand for that, which would make him a problem for his bosses.

    Even McGuire, with his vast knowledge, has said publicly that he really has no idea how the Habs run their business. They are so secretive, especially under Gauthier. But he does know how the most successful clubs run their affairs and it obviously differs from how the Habs are doing it because the proof is in the end results. I personally don’t care how the Habs do things; all I know is that whatever they are doing and however they’re doing it does not work.

    People need to bear in mind that McGuire’s on-air persona is just that: a persona that he invented for television. It is the reason why he is able to work for TSN, NBC, various radio outlets and Sports Illustrated all at once. In the media, especially TV, personality is all important. If you’ve ever tried to suffer through some of the analysts on the NHL Network you recognize this immediately. McGuire is encouraged to be bombastic on the air. That’s what he gets paid to do. But don’t expect him to be that over-the-top when the cameras are off and he’s squirrelled away in his office on the 7th floor. Pierre knows the difference between being a TV personality and a team executive. Back when he worked for the Pens, Whalers, and Sens, you didn’t know who he was. It was only when he became a media personality that people started having issues with him. And when he does his radio spots on 990 and other stations across the country, he is much more reserved than what you see on TV. So I would caution people to take the on-air persona with a grain of salt.

    To say that McGuire is a no-nothing blowhard just because you disagree with him is weak. He knows plenty and he’s far more humble than some people currently employed as GM’s around the league (yeah, I’m talking to you, Brian Burke)

    The bottom line for me is that I feel more is needed than a simple GM change. The Habs need a complete culture change and they won’t accomplish that by hiring a guy like Loiselle or Brisebois. The term “thinking outside the box” is over-used but that’s precisely what Geoff Molson needs to do here. Hiring McGuire will be a signal to the hockey world that the times are a-changing down on de la Gauchetiere Street. When I look at the list of plausible french-speaking candidates other than McGuire, the only thought that pops into my head is “come meet the new boss, same as the old boss”.

    I really can’t understand how some people can believe that hiring McGuire will make things worse. They can’t get any worse than what they are right now. Getting rid of Gauthier and replacing him with just about anyone not named Milbury or Houle would represent an improvement.

    To those who say “if McGuire is so good why can’t he get a job?” I would say simply that the job he has pays better and offers him more security. He isn’t going to leave for just any job which is why suggesting that he take an assistant GM or scouting director job isn’t going to fly. Assistant? Assistant to whom excatly? To Gauthier? A man who isn’t fit to tie McGuire’s shoes?

    Face it: the Habs need McGuire. Not only that, the Habs need McGuire more than McGuire needs the Habs. Sure, maybe on paper he should be setting his sights a little lower than the top job but the reality is that he doesn’t have to. He can afford to pick and choose. Nobodies like Loiselle and Brisebois can’t afford to turn down a job opportunity because it might be the last one they get. I don’t want a guy in the GM’s chair who’s only thinking about how he can keep his job for one more day. I want someone who isn’t afraid to do what needs to be done because he doesn’t care if he gets fired or not.

    But guys with the kind of independence that McGuire has and with the kind of autonomy he’d demand, frighten the bejeezus out of corporate executives. They like people they can control. They like people who are beholden to them for their livlihood. Giving McGuire control means they have to give up a little control. I’m not sure they’re up for it.

    But I do know this much: it needs to happen, and soon.

    • Stev.R says:

      I don’t have time to read your nonsense but I’ll ask you this, how can you blame a GM for bringing together a team who at the start of the season everyone here was boasting about how we were so close to being an elite team? We may see now that our team was further off than we had thought, but that’s hindsight (look it up). This season does not fall on the shoulders of PG. It falls on:

      1. Injuries
      2. Star players underperforming – Again, easy to criticize after the fact.
      3. Bad PP – He has basically done everything he could to try and fix a PP that for some reason is dreadful compared to last season
      4. Developing youth – We’re in the middle of a rebuild so you can expect growing pains.

      Lets look at the good deals PG has made:
      Bournival for O’Byrne – easy win.

      Kaberle for Spacek – Brought in a veteran guy who is .5 ppg since he’s been here and his salary hit is such a non-issue it’s insane how much attention it gets.

      Cammy for Bourque – Got rid of a cancer, brought in a solid forward.

      Signed Markov – Signed one of the top 5 defenceman in the league that is homegrown. Doctors said he would be back early in the season. Doctors were wrong, not PG. Either way it has had no real effect on this season.

      Let Wiz walk – Wiz sucks and is overpaid this year

      Let Halpern walk – This is a tough one but he was an aging player who was banged up pretty good at the end of last season. Also needed to make room for Engvist but when he wasn’t ready we:

      Claimed Betts: Would have been an awesome waiver pickup if only he weren’t injured.

      Signed Gorges long term – No arguments on this one.

      Signed Cole – He’s been our best player.

      Fired JM – JM was a scapegoat but this is what everyone wanted right? Hasn’t really turned out like the angry mob imagined though.

      I could go one but I’ll end by just telling you to grow up and realize that there is never one person to blame for anything. If anyone is to blame, it would have to be the retarded fans who put so much ridiculous negative pressure on the organization that nothing positive can thrive.

      • MasterHab says:

        First of all, not “everyone” at the start of the season was boasting about how the Habs were close to being an elite team other than perhaps the Habs’ front office. Anyone who wasn’t a total fanboy could have told you then that this was a thoroughly mediocre team that would live and die on the strength of its special teams. McGuire himself predicted that unless the Habs were a top 5 power-play team they wouldn’t make the playoffs. He (again) was right.

        I’m not blaming PG for this mess alone. He’s had plenty of help but he’s the most responsible and he needs to go. He was a failure in Ottawa, a failure in Anaheim and he’s been a failure in Montreal. The haters claim that McGuire has no credibility among hockey people. Wrong. It’s Gauthier who they laugh at behind his back.

        You can’t blame it all on injuries, either. The only players of significance who have been injured for long stretches are Markov, who’s barely played at all for 2 years now, Gionta, who hasn’t been a difference-maker in years, and Gomez. who was the punchline to a joke even before he was hurt.

        The “star players underperforming” angle won’t wash either. First of all, they aren’t “stars”; they are simply the least mediocre players on the roster and they are only underperforming if you consider them to be more than what they actually are. Given the reality of these players, I’d say they were performing pretty much as expected, at least by people who can take their bleu, blanc, rouge glasses off long enough to see.

        The powerplay power outage was predictable before the season began but PG didn’t even attempt to address it until the season was basically lost and then, in a panic, he grossly overpaid for a guy who’s contract will be a millstone around the team’s neck for two more seasons. Kaberle may be better than Spacek but that isn’t saying much. And as bad as Spacek is his contract was going to be off the books at the end of the season. Instead we have Kaberle for 2 more years.

        He may have lucked out in the Cammalleri deal but let’s remember that the deal had nothing to do with how badly Cammy was playing. If he hadn’t shot his mouth off, he’d have been left alone to suck just like Gomez. It was only after his comments painted the team in a bad light, only when the corporate image of the club was sullied, that PG decided he had to be traded. That speaks volumes about what is wrong with the front office. They are not proactive. They are reactive and panicky and they place too much importance on things that have nothing to do with the winning of championships.

        As I wrote, what needs to happen isn’t a simple changing of the guard. We need more than regime change; we need a cultural change. McGuire offers the possibility of such change. The other candidates will only perpetuate the status quo. So in the end it comes down to this: how much more of this garbage are you prepared to endure before you decide you’ve had enough?

      • shootdapuck says:

        Looking objectively at Goatiers’ body of work as both Chief Pro scout and GM the negatives far outweigh the positives.

        Goatier provided the “intelligence” for the dubious acquisitions of Gomez, Cammalleri, Niinimaa, Samisnov, Audette.

        On his own he let Dominic Moore, Halpern, Hamrlik walk for nothing.

        He should pursue his his “roofing” interests and forget about hockey.

        PK Subban – Million Dollar Legs, a Ten Cent Brain and a Costly Attitude!

  4. Mavid says:

    i scored 100 level seat center ice for the Sens Bruins game later this month..the big question is who do I cheer for..or should I say who do i boo louder?? decisions..decisions..

  5. kempie says:

    I’d rather see Jerry McGuire get the job.

  6. VintageFan says:

    Memo to Jeff Molson: As President, you are the leader of the Club de Hockey Canadiens. LEAD!

  7. shootdapuck says:

    Why hasn’t Mcguire been hired by any other organization in the last 15 years?

    Probably because team presidents have come to the conclusion that the “encyclopedic knowledge of Junior players” might just be the result of the research department of the media outlet he’s associated with.

    Has anyone spoken to him away from scripts and studios? Sure and for 15 years he didn’t get hired!

    BTW what purpose does knowing the mother’s name and favorite food of every member of Canada’s WJC team serve?

    PK Subban – Million Dollar Legs, a Ten Cent Brain and a Costly Attitude!

  8. Phil C says:

    If hiring Pierre Mcguire would get Scotty Bowman back as a consultant, it would have to be seriously considered. Bowman should have been handed the torch from Pollock ( and Selke before him). Bowman is the last connection to the franchise’s former greatness on the management side of the house.

  9. mdp2011 says:

    McGuire for GM
    For the people who ask “why has he not been hired or how come he’s been passed over so many times?” or he hasn’t had a job in the NHL since 1997. Shero offered him a job as assistant GM of the Penguins which he turned down. Mcguire makes an extremely good living as a media person, so maybe, just maybe, he can actually pick and choose what he wants to do or where he wants to go. Who’s to say he hasn’t been offered other jobs in the NHL that we don’t know of. Also, look at the jobs he’s interviewed for and didn’t get, Minnesota Wild , they are a disaster, Tampa -disaster with apparently two hockey genius running the show, Calgary-disaster. So maybe, just maybe, the people who didn’t hire McGuire as their GM are wrong?

    • Storm Man says:

      You can’t make posts on here like that… It goes over a lot of heads on here. It is funny how they bash him as someone the Habs should look at but don’t come up with other names.

      • Chris says:

        People have come up with a host of names. You’ve simply missed those conversations, I suppose.

        Limiting ourselves to executives that can already speak French:

        Claude Loiselle.
        Julien BriseBois.

        Expanding the list with the caveat that the successful applicant must learn French:

        Lorne Henning
        Jim Nill
        Joe Will
        Wayne Smith

        The most successful franchises tap executives who have learned the ropes in successful franchises, working their way up the ladder. This was the case for Peter Chiarelli, Paul Holmgren, Doug Wilson, and Ken Holland.

        The only consistently good franchise that went a bit outside of the box was Vancouver when they hired Mike Gillis, and even there Gillis had over 15 years of experience as a player agent (nobody can argue his contacts are worse than those of McGuire…might be some bad blood, but he has the contacts!) and a law degree.

        • Storm Man says:

          I looked at the list and well can you tell me what the guys you have listed bring to the table besides two of the speaking french and featching coffee?The Habs are not a good franchise anymore and maybe someone who has followed the team as close as he did could do a good job…

          • Chris says:

            Loiselle worked as an NHL executive for 7 years, working particularly with salary cap and arbitration matters, two critical components of a GM’s duties. During that time, he earned his law degree.

            He was then hired as an assistant general manager by Tampa Bay, where his duties included acting as the general manager for their AHL affiliate. A role that would have ensured that he actually had some experience in managing a hockey team, a rather important experience for anybody aspiring to manage a hockey team.

            He worked as a scout for the Anaheim Ducks, and then was hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he has spent the past 1.5 seasons working on salary negotiations and cap management.

            And he makes a mean cup of coffee.

            He and BriseBois (the current assistant GM for Tampa, who is currently acting as the GM of their AHL affiliate) have the LEAST experience of the guys I mentioned. Yet they still have signifcantly more relevant and recent experience for GM duties than McGuire.

            My problem with McGuire is that he might be too interfering because of his own knowledge of scouting (albeit 20 years old). If you want to hire him as a Director of Pro or Amateur Scouting, I’d be okay with that. But the GM has to trust their lieutenants in those areas and not meddle too much. Their focus must be on assembling the pieces, managing the contracts, hiring the coaches and assembling a strong, capable leadership team. Nothing in McGuire’s resume suggests to me that he would be a strong candidate in that regard.

            Does he know the NHL players? Sure. But I’ve never heard of anybody touting McGuire as a super-scout from his scouting days, nor was his coaching record particularly distinguished. He has no management experience.

            If following the team as closely as McGuire does is a good criterion, then we should flit through HIO and pick somebody. Because with his current duties with NBC, McGuire does not follow the team as closely as some of us do. I’ll nominate JohnBellyful because the press conferences would perhaps become must see TV.

    • Chris says:

      True enough.

      McGuire can absolutely pick and choose where he wants to go.

      But he can’t whine when he doesn’t get any takers on his rapidly dating executive experience as well.

    • GrimJim says:

      Look at the Shero thing from the other perspective: He turned down a close personal friend offering him the 2nd in command post on a team that had just drafted Crosby, Fleury and Malkin and was in line to draft Jordan Staal. If you want to be a GM and for 10 years you keep getting turned down, how great a pad to the resume is it to say “worked with Pittsburgh since 2006 to develop team in Stanley Cup Champions…”? If he is such a great talent evaluator, how does he not spot what Pittsburgh will turn into with that talent set? What does it say that he does not recognize what I great career boost and opportunity working with Shero and the burgeoning Penguins would have been?

  10. Chris says:

    Regarding Pierre McGuire, it is relatively simple for me. If he is serious about wanting to be an NHL executive, and I mean really serious, then he should swallow his pride and take a low-profile Assistant GM position with a team. In that role, he would manage the AHL team for that particular franchise and get some hands on experience of being an NHL executive.

    There are literally hundreds of hockey executives in the NHL who have more recent experience than Pierre McGuire. The difference is that they don’t have a soapbox from which to voice their candidacy for any and all positions that come up.

    I am not against giving McGuire an interview. I just find it a bit strange that he could possibly be perceived as more qualified than the dozens of Assistant GM’s (such as Loiselle or BriseBois). If player development should be the focus, and I think many argue it should be, I’d be more interested in seeing an experienced executive from a team with a strong draft record of drafting and developing talent (Philadelphia, Vancouver, Detroit, or Boston, for example) getting a look.


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