Habs nation rejoice! The man who helped run this franchise ashore has been canned, or resigned. Who cares- the point is he will no longer be a part of this team.
But before we pop the champagne corks, it’s important to note that the removal of Gauthier from the Habs GM chair is only one part of the equation. The ball is now in Geoff Molson’s court to find the best replacement, and not simply to bring in a guy who checks a bunch of politically-driven boxes.
With Bob Gainey still reportedly in the picture, it makes sense that the long awaited regime and culture change that the Canadiens need, and that fans want to see is not a guarantee. If Gainey sticks around, you can bet that it will be the same old, same old, and that somebody with prior experience with the team and market will be brought in to fill Gauthier’s vacated office. Won’t that temper your excitement? I would certainly squash my excitement. Bob Gainey, as great a player as he was and as great a man that he is, his reign as Habs GM was only mildly successful. He is at least partly responsible for the mess that is this Habs organization. His time has expired with this team. It’s time for Gainey to move on.
EDIT: With reports today that the Canadiens suspended their 2012 exhibition game in Quebec City, it’s a strong clue that the Nordiques are going to back in the NHL. While the timing has some scratching their heads, the move is not only symbolic, and an olive branch to the fans – it’s the waving of the green flag – off to the races! If the Nordiques version 2.0 are in fact on their way back to Quebec City, then it stands to reason that they may also be in the hunt for a new General Manager (even though their current one has done good work). It would serve the Habs well to make sure they have the pick of the litter before local competition arrives to usurp potential candidates.
The day has come for Pierre Gauthier, and now it’s up to Molson to prove that he means it when he says that the Cup is his ultimate goal. Only a laser-like focus on excellence can bring the Cup back to Montreal, and hiring less than the best – for any reason at all can only lessen those chances.