C.J. Tudor once said: “Rumours are like germs. They spread and multiply almost in a breath and before you know it, everyone is contaminated.” For many people, rumours are more desirable than the truth. To use the transports analogy, truth travels by bicycle while rumours travel by plane. In fact, rumours often sound more attractive than the truth. Either because it suits a narrative, or a profound desire for them to be true, or because for the media, it creates listenership, viewership, readership and website clicks… and that’s money to them.
In the case of the Montreal Canadiens, the future of General Manager Marc Bergevin is the center of rumours. Here’s a fact: we don’t know why he’s not signed beyond this season. What we know is team’s public relations Paul Wilson announced that there would be no contract negotiations until the season is over. It’s easy to figure out that the order came from team President, Geoff Molson. But by doing so, Molson has created a monster: rumours and uncertainty.
As the team is up to a slow start, the last thing they need is a circus side show following the team everywhere. If you don’t want to sign Bergevin, fire him now! If you want him, then sign him. Leaving your GM sitting as a lame duck, particularly in a market like Montreal, is not the way to go. Do we really want this to be the focal point all season? Players feel the instability. As much as they’re professionals and try to go about their business, it affects them. Many have a great relationship with Bergevin, who cares about his players. And players appreciate that.
One rumour out there (and I’ll put the link although that’s what they want: clicks) states that Molson wants Patrick Roy in place. They go further as to saying that the Canadiens’ President has met twice with Roy and that the whole commercial between Mario Tremblay and Roy was planned. But the Canadiens’ playoffs’ success put a stop to that.
Let me remind Mr. Molson of something:
- In 1995, Roy quit on his teammates, on his team and on his fans with a public knee-jerking reaction, walking behind the bench telling Ronald Corey that he had played his last game for the Habs.
- In 2002, Roy’s wife Michelle called 911 and dropped the call. She told police that she was afraid of what he would do as they argued about in-laws. Roy admitted pulling a bedroom door off its hinges and damaging another in rage. While the domestic violence charges were later dropped, the Judge issued a restraining order, which required Roy to refrain from alcohol and illegal drugs and possession of guns or weapons. He could not travel with the Avalanche to out of state games.
- In 2002, because Team Canada wouldn’t guarantee that he would be the starting goaltender, Roy told them to F-off and declined to join Canada’s Olympic team in Salt Lake City.
- In 2007, while head coach of the Quebec Remparts, he faced assault charges after going after and punching Chicoutimi Sagueneens owner Pierre Cardinal who was trying to disperse a crowd from around the Remparts’ bus after a game in Chicoutimi.
- In 2008, Roy gestured (on video) his own son Jonathan – a goalie – to go participate in a brawl. As a result, Jonathan Roy was suspended for seven games and fined $500, while Patrick Roy was suspended for five games and fined $4,000. The Quebec Ministry of Public Safety had launched a police investigation into the matter and Jonathan was charged with assault in Saguenay Courts.
- In 2016, knowing full well that the good coaches had all been hired by other teams, Roy waited to mid-August to hand his resignation to Joe Sakic and the Avalanche, leaving the franchise high and dry. He hasn’t found work in the NHL since, a case that’s not without reminding Habs’ fans of how he left them in 1995. It’s also reminiscent of a certain Ted Nolan, then head coach of the Buffalo Sabres, who had stabbed John Muckler (his GM) in the back and was black listed in the NHL thereafter.
So you think Patrick Roy is the right candidate to run the Montreal Canadiens? Again, it would be the single biggest mistake in team history since the firing of Serge Savard and Jacques Demers and the following hiring of a rookie GM (Réjean Houle) and coach (Mario Tremblay).
Drafting a young player who made a serious mistake and was charged is one thing: he was young, made a mistake, paid for it (and still is) but fans will get over it with time. Mistakes happen, particularly at a young age. But hiring a grown man with multiple violence/assault charges, with a history of hot temper and quitting when he doesn’t get his way, would be a voluntary gesture that would be unforgivable for a franchise like the Canadiens.
Los Angeles rumours
Now, a second rate hockey reporter, most known for his feuds with former Rangers’ coach John Tortorella, is saying that Bergevin will be going to Los Angeles. According to Larry Brooks (again providing the click bait here) claims that the Canadiens’ GM will be taking a position as assistant to the President of the LA Kings, Luc Robitaille.
But think about it for a second. How would a second rate journalist, who has invented trade rumours with a success rate lesser than Eklund, would know about the business of the LA Kings and Bergevin? Further, if the Kings had approached Bergevin while he’s still under contract, it would be tampering (typo in the tweet, sorry). It makes no sense… again.
There is no doubt that if Bergevin was to be let go from Montreal, that there would be tons of interest around the league. In his nine years at the helm, no other GMs have received more top-3 nominations for the Jim Gregory Award as the leagues’ best General Manager than Bergevin, with three. Six times out of those nine years, his team has made the playoffs and in two of the three times he’s missed them, he had Carey Price out for one season and Shea Weber out for the other season.
Brian Burke, for one, has always spoken very highly of Bergevin, calling him one of the best judges of talent in the entire NHL. He’s come to his defense after the Subban and Weber trade and rightfully so, as fans know by now but maybe not then. Burkie, now President of the Pittsburgh Penguins, would definitely be interested in hiring Bergevin into the folds.
So please, please Mr. Molson, for the sake of your franchise, for the fans of the Montreal, for the players, please put a stop to those rumours. In all due respect, either sh*t or get off the pot, as my late grandfather would say. Either you fire him or you give him an extension. But the stupidity, the frenzy, the rumours must stop as right now, the Habs are the laughing stocks of the NHL.