Thursday, April 12, 2012
GM Search Updates
Seeing bits and pieces of General Manager news all over the place and having trouble keeping tabs on all of it? Then you've come to the right place! Today we consolidate all the news as to where the Canadiens are at in their search for a new head honcho.
First, know that the team is in absolutely no rush to conclude the GM-hunt and name a new manager. The next real "deadline" is the NHL's Entry Draft on June 22nd, and the Habs' scouting staff is already hard at work preparing for it. If the Canadiens end up hiring someone serving in another role for another club, then there is little doubt that person is also preparing for the draft as well. Thus, the new GM likely doesn't need more than 3-4 weeks with Montreal's staff to be prepared, meaning the search could go on for another month or so. It is also possible that within that timeframe, some other GMs are fired, increasing the candidate pool beyond what it is today.
Next, know that the earlier rumour of Serge Savard being named a permanent Senior Vice President to whom the new General Manager would have to report has not been confirmed, even being denied by Savard himself. This doesn't mean it won't eventually happen, or that Savard won't remain a permanent part of the staff in some capacity, but officially his role remains a temporary advisory one for now.
As for the candidates themselves, here are the names we have confirmed and their statuses.
CURRENT CONFIRMED CANDIDATES
Marc Bergevin: Bergevin is the Assistant General Manager in Chicago and a guy who has been a part of the club in various capacities through their full revival as a top NHL franchise. It is confirmed that the Habs asked the Blackhawks for permission to speak with him, though it is likely that even if he is the team's guy, any announcement would come at the end of the Hawks' playoff run, or if it is a deep one, at least during a small break between rounds.
Julien Brisebois: Brisebois is the former Canadiens Capologist and current Assistant GM to Steve Yzerman in Tampa Bay. He's another guy that the Habs have been confirmed as wanting to approach, though one highly unconfirmed source stated that Brisebois would have passed up the opportunity. Many consider Brisebois one of the top candidates at this point, though personally I think his work with the Lightning has been quite overrated.
Claude Loiselle: Claude Loiselle is an Assistant / Capologist within the brain trust of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He's another guy that Darren Dreger has confirmed the Canadiens have asked for permission to speak with, and given he works in Toronto, a playoff run is no barrier in his case (heh). Toronto's salaries haven't been the best the past few seasons, so Loiselle's work far from speaks for itself, but he is considered an up-and-comer and should be part of the process.
Luc Robitaille: Yesterday, it was revealed that the Canadiens had asked for permission to speak with the Kings' Director of Business Operations, Lucky Luc Robitaille. Certainly Robitaille has a great hockey pedigree as a player, but his current job is on the business side, not hockey operations, which makes him a strange fit as a GM. They may be interested in him as part of a team, however.
Ron Hextall: In addition to Robitaille, it was also said the Habs asked for permission for multiple members of the Kings' staff, and Hextall's name was later added to the "confirmed" list. Hextall is the Assistant GM in L.A. and fans should not base opinions of his work on his unorthodox career as a goaltender. He was a pro scout and then Director of Professional Player Personnel in Philadelphia, before becoming Assistant GM in Los Angeles in 2006. He has the experience to make a move to another level. But does he speak French? I have doubts.
Francois Giguere: Another name on the confirmed candidate list is former Colorado Avalanche GM Giguere. Giguere won two Stanley Cups in Colorado (while Assistant GM and Vice President of Hockey Operations), but has been out of a job since 2009.
Pierre McGuire: There is no confirmation that media star and former NHL executive McGuire is receiving consideration for the job, but his name has been popping up more and more frequently the past few days. A reporter asked him about the situation, and he was said to have smiled, paused, and eventually responded that he "couldn't comment on the situation."
Paul Fenton: Fenton's name is far from confirmed as being in the mix, but the Nashville Predators' Assistant GM has been included in a number of speculative "contacted" lists. Like the other playoff-bound candidates, any serious talks may be delayed by the Preds' run. Not a French-speaker.
Patrick Roy: There is no real confirmation that the Habs have approached Roy about the job, but the media loves to throw his name in there in any capacity they can. He is thought of more as a possible future coach, speculation added to by a Tweet from top prospect Mikhail Grigorenko who plays for him with the Quebec Remparts ("Cant wait to be drafted and maybe play for Roy again"). But some also say he wouldn't take any job in Montreal unless he had "full control," which might indicate the GM job is the one he aspires to (he fills both roles of GM and Head Coach in Quebec).
Guy Carbonneau: I think including him as a GM candidate is a little far fetched, but in the name of exhaustiveness, Carbonneau has said that he wants to be part of a solution in Montreal in any capacity. He hopes to be a candidate to return as head coach, but would consider any role.
Jack Ferreira: Here's a name that has NOT popped up in rumours, but Ferreira is another member of the L.A. Kings staff meaning the Habs may or may not have inquired about him. He currently serves as Special Assistant to the General Manager, but has filled many roles over his career, including that of GM in Anaheim, San Jose, and Minnesota. Most notably, however, he worked with Serge Savard as Montreal's Director of Pro Scouting back in 1993, so the two are familiar with one another and he has experience in this market (though I don't know anything about his mastery of la langue Moliere). He seems like a logical candidate, with the main downside being his age. He turns 68 in June, and if the Habs want stability longer-term, they may seek more of an up-and-comer. A possible solution is to bring him in along with a younger, less experienced guy to learn under him and eventually take over.
Vincent Damphouse: Damphousse was quite unqualified for the position with very limited experience, but announced he was pulling his name out of the race anyway for personal family reasons.
Pat Brisson: Player agent Brisson was considered a top candidate, but withdrew from the process to focus on his agency, one of the biggest in the game with clients like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, the Sedin brothers, Jonathan Toews, and Patrick Kane.
Jim Nill: Pierre LeBrun today confirmed that the Canadiens have contacted Detroit about speaking to the unilingual Nill, considered very capable of taking over a team after serving many functions including Assistant GM with the Red Wings over many years. LeBrun adds, however, that Detroit has traditionally not permitted teams to speak with Nill, and/or Nill has declined for personal reasons, so he remains an unlikely candidate. UPDATE: Renaud Lavoie confirms that Nill is not interested in the position.