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- Did you know?
- Peter Budaj received just 2.13 goals per game in support from the Habs last year. That's the lowest goal support total for a Montreal goalie (min. 10 GP) since Jocelyn Thibault (2.10) in 1998-99 (before getting traded to Chicago).
In Part Two of our analysis on the firing of Pierre Gauthier, our writers take a look at some other elements. What will he best be remembered for during his tenure with the Canadiens? Beyond his trades and other decisions, were there other contributing factors to his eventual failure, plus some thoughts on Gauthier's predecessor, Bob Gainey.
Brian La Rose: I was never a card carrying member of the fire Gauthier bandwagon but I'm not losing any sleep over the decision either. I'm not as down on some of the moves as most are, I think the best is yet to come from Tomas Kaberle and Rene Bourque in particular. The timing of this is what really caught me by surprise, which, given that this is a big theme of the season thus far, really shouldn't have. Yes, the organization gets 10 extra days to do this search but they really didn't need them. Most organizations won't allow interviews with their assistants and/or scouts until after the year anyway. Good on the search committee to get started but this was more about placating the fans than anything. Given everything that's happened this year, that's not a bad idea either.
As for who could come in, there are really a multitude of options. Fortunately for Molson (and Serge Savard who took all of a half hour to try to discredit Molson's suggestion that the GM doesn't have to be bilingual), most of them can speak both languages. As a fan who always preaches that it's nuts to artificially limit a limited talent pool, this puts my mind at ease especially when there are no names readily available (aka, don't have really stringent contracts) that jump out as must hires. With a season that has had very few aspects to follow with interest, this will be an intriguing search to follow leading up to the draft...which is only 11 weeks away now.
Alex Létourneau: I didn’t think Pierre Gauthier would be fired this year. Not because I thought he was doing a brilliant job but because I didn’t think upper management had it in them. But, Geoff Molson’s eloquent and passionate press conference Thursday showed Canadiens fans and the hockey world that he has been paying attention. This season was unacceptable, plain and simple. Looking back on it, it would seem Gauthier did everything in his power to hurt the organization, which I would like to think was not done on purpose. Classless dismissals and poor trades, hiring a coach and throwing him to the wolves almost immediately after and the outright refusal to ever make himself available to the media will define his time in Montreal. Many things he did reflected negatively on the team and his removal was necessary.
While Gauthier takes the brunt of the heat, Bob Gainey was pulling the strings as well. I can appreciate what the man did for the organization. This is a man who lost a wife and a daughter within a decade and still came to work, sometimes into toxic situations, and conducted himself like a consummate professional. Hockey decisions aside, I have nothing but respect for Bob Gainey. However, the teams he put on the ice were never winners. They were built for the new NHL, which seems to be returning to the old NHL, and they were built to make the playoffs. Outside of riding Jaroslav Halak's stellar play, the teams Gauthier and Gainey have built together were never going to be champions. So, maybe this season was a blessing in disguise. The sun sets on two men at the forefront of the team’s mediocrity for nearly a decade. Let’s see where the sun rises.
Jonathan Rebelo: It was a foregone conclusion that Pierre would be gone at seasons end but Geoff Molson decided to make the move last week when his Canadiens had been officially eliminated from the playoffs. Gauthier's many moves failed to show much forethought or resemble any type of plan which had to be the main reason he was removed from power. What excites me most about the future of the management of this team was the words spoke by Molson at the press conference. Molson said a lot of great things many fans wanted to hear. It will be quite interesting to see if those words hold weight. Gauthier's tenure in Montreal will probably be remembered by a few moves 1. The trade of Halak to the Blues. 2. The Cammalleri trade to the Flames and 3. Picking up Kaberle. Time will tell if he wins the latter two deals but the 1st one was a win in my books. Gauthier was a failure as GM because the team got worse under his control but I d hope he returns to amateur scouting for the Canadiens, which is something his track record suggests he is quite good at.
Mitchell Tierney: It was no surprise that Gauthier was relieved
of his position. It has been in the works for a long time now and the timing of
the dismissal was about the time it should have been. It was, for once this
season well timed by the organization. While it was defiantly the correct move
by the team it should be noted that I was not as opposed to Pierre Gauthier as
some in the fan base and media of the Canadiens. Gauthier was dealt plenty of
poor cards when he joined the club as a GM and while he may have added a few
more poor cards of his own he did add some important pieces to this team that
are key to the franchise long and short term. While letting Gauthier go was an
important move in changing the direction of the organization, something that was
clearly needed, this doesn't necessarily guarantee that his replacement will be
any better. The current pool of potential general managers for the Montreal
Canadiens as suggested by the media is not a particularly strong nor experienced
group. Any one of them could be a far worse GM than Gauthier ever was and could
lead this organization to more failure.
While the Gauthier move was the one that caught the attention of all the headlines and the discussion it was not the most important move made by the organization on the day. The most important move was the announcement that Bob Gainey would have leaving the organization. Serge Savard will be effectively taking his spot in the organization but that is not what is really important. What is truly important is that this signifies the end of an era for the Montreal Canadiens organization as was outlined and headlined by several media groups. It was an era that needed to end and the Bob Gainey move truly signified the fact that the team was "cleaning house" if you will and completely changing the management team. It was a change of direction that was the key theme in all of this. The organization is changing for what seems like the better and both of these moves reflected that change. Finally we can take the focus off Gauthier and turn it towards the organization and moving forward.
- Writers Weigh In: Gauthier's Gone, Part One posted by B. La Rose