Thursday, March 29, 2012

Canadiens Fire Pierre Gauthier

In a move that no one - and by "no one," I actually mean everyone - saw coming, the Montreal Canadiens today announced the firing of General Manager Pierre Gauthier.

The other parts of the news are that Serge Savard has been appointed an advisor for the selection process of finding Gauthier's replacement - a strong move given that for all of Geoff Molson's passion and concern, he isn't truly a hockey guy. The official appointment of Savard, long speculated about by many, indicates that along with Gauthier, Bob Gainey's time of influence on the organization is also be at an end. Gainey occupied the role of special advisor to Gauthier since he stepped down as GM. Finally, the temporary Larry Carriere behind the bench experiment has come to a close, as he returns to his role as Assistant GM, taking on hockey operations (e.g. call-ups) duties until a new GM is in place.

Why was it right to fire Pierre Gauthier? I think anyone who has read this site has seen my enumerate reasons on many an occasion. Mismanagement of assets, a lack of back-up plans that forced the team to give up 2nd round picks year after year, this season's inexcusable inexperienced defense, the Scott Gomez trade likely having been one of the worst trades in the last decade or more, this season's Tomas Kaberle deal saddling the club with another big contract, the lack of class with which Gauthier handled some issues, and so much more. Gauthier's "plan," if there really was one big picture, failed. He tried to adapt on the fly, to bring in more size, to fix holes, to acquire future assets... but it was too little too late, and it was certainly time for him to go.

Why now? Well it didn't make sense to rush the process and get Gauthier out the door prior to the trade deadline, since it was important to have a hockey person in place to manage that busy time. The Canadiens need to search high and low to find the best possible replacement, and there are far fewer candidates available mid-season than during the summer. We'll go over candidates for the new GM in the coming days, but today Geoff Molson indicated winning and finding the best person for the job are top priorities (though language is also important), while Serge Savard indicated that - without doubt - the new GM will be capable of speaking French. Why not wait till season's end? At this point, it makes little difference. With Greg Pateryn signed, there are no upcoming close deadline for the Canadiens from a player management perspective, so the search is completely free to get underway.

More to come, now that we're back up and live on Dan's Daily Dose - Your Canadiens!

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