It’s sad. The way Marc Bergevin found out that his job was practically over and the resignation of his friend and colleague Scott Mellanby. I may not have run multi-million dollar businesses or NHL teams, but I know a thing or two about personnel management. On that aspect, there’s a right way and a wrong way and Geoff Molson blew it. Bergevin learned about last night’s events through media while watching the game. You don’t treat a 10-year employee that way. Shame on Molson for that.
With that out of the way, we know that it’s a matter of time, likely hours, before this article is outdated and Bergevin finally finds himself unemployed. But the way he’s been treated this season, it will certainly feel like a relief. Still, Molson will keep his fanbase and will announce, by the sounds of it, that he’s giving the reigns of President of Hockey Operations to someone else. And it certainly looks like Jeff Gorton is his man, based on last night’s rumours. It seems like he will be in charge of hockey ops and will be the interim GM until he finds a suitable (bilingual) candidate.
As I started writing this article a couple of days ago, I thought I’d share the possible candidates that I could think off for both positions. I didn’t have Gorton on my list but I guess I better add him, right? Please note that I have no insight, that some (or all) candidates listed may not have wanted the jobs. So without further ado, here were my President of Hockey Ops candidates:
President of Hockey Operations
Jeff Gorton – He’s apparently Molson’s man. I’ll leave it at that as I’m sure the current Canadiens’ President will give us all the lip-service we’ll be able to handle about his choice.
Larry Robinson – Big Bird should have been back in the organisation a long time ago, either in the coaching staff or in Management. He has occupied multiple positions with other organisations over the years.
Jacques Lemaire – He needs no introductions and has a resume longer than most in hockey today. He would be an excellent candidate for the position.
Bob Gainey – Poised, experienced, knowledgeable are only a few qualifications Gainey brings. Like Robinson and Lemaire, he knows what it’s like in Montreal for players, coaches and GMs.
Marc Bergevin – I would have promoted Bergevin to that position prior to last season. My wish was for Bergevin to be President of Hockey Ops and promote Joel Bouchard as GM, where Bergevin could have helped teaching him the ropes. Because it didn’t happen, Bouchard left and that possibility vanished.
Martin Madden Jr. – He’s in his 14th season with the Anaheim Ducks, his second as Assistant General Manager. He spent the previous 12 seasons with the club as Director of Amateur Scouting. Native of Quebec City and still residing there, Madden oversees all of the club’s scouting efforts (professional and amateur) and assumes an expanded role in a majority of hockey operations directives and initiatives.
Mathieu Darche – He doesn’t have the experience Madden Jr. has, but he has a good head on his shoulders. He’s been the Lightning’s Director of Hockey Operations under Julien BriseBois since May 2019.
Dale Tallon – To be truthful, I don’t know if Dale speaks French or not. What I do know is that he was born in Noranda, Qc, and he has tons of NHL experience. He built that dynasty team in Chicago before helping put the Panthers on the map. He’s a very respected hockey man.
I would like to give an honorable mention to Roberto Luongo but he’s been on the management side too recently to take on such a big responsibility. Also, you will notice that I didn’t include Martin Brodeur in any role as I believe that he’s found his home when he left the St. Louis Blues to take on a major role with the New Jersey Devils, where he spent the bulk of his career. Same for Mario Lemieux in Pittsburgh.
So there you have it folks. By the time this gets published, it may be valid for a few hours, if that. Either way, you will see who I had for candidates and mostly, how disappointing Molson has been in his handling of this whole situation. You don’t tell someone, particularly one who works for you and is good friend with the GM you’re about to fire, that he doesn’t have the job, until you’re ready to make the announcement for the replacement. Much like this season on the ice, the organisation is a mess on the 7th floor of the Bell Centre as well. Stay tuned for the announcement of Bergevin’s replacement…