Montreal is a special hockey market, there’s no doubt about it. And when Chantal Machabée accepted the job of VP of Communications, she knew it too well. Still, after multiple discussions with the Montreal Canadiens’ senior management, she accepted the role she had been offered and not many people think that she cannot do the job well. She will be of great help for Geoff Molson, Jeff Gorton, the soon to be announced new GM and the head coach, whether they retain Dominique Ducharme or not.
GM to be announced soon!
Speaking of the GM search, the process is showing, once again, how “special” the Montreal market truly is. While most good reporters stick to the facts, there are some a little less reputable who want to create controversy. In spite of the fact that 17 other NHL teams have a different person for Hockey Operations and General Manager, some feel the need to feed the crowds the belief that the next GM will be nothing more than a puppet, a French figure, for Gorton who will actually have the role of GM.
And it doesn’t matter that what Gorton or Molson say about it. Their mind is made up that the new GM will, in fact, be an assistant-GM. In his first press conference, Gorton clearly stated that the new GM would be the one in contact with other GMs around the league but that fact goes over too many people’s head as a lie, a cover-up. Why is that, you ask? Because it fits a narrative.
Narrative of the puppet
That narrative goes like this… They believe that since the Canadiens, in their current market, cannot hire an anglophone as General Manager, Geoff Molson couldn’t give Gorton both the VP of Hockey Ops and GM titles, as Marc Bergevin had. They don’t believe Molson when he said that in retrospect, he realized that it’s a two-men job in Montreal. Instead, they chose to believe that it’s a cover-up, that both Molson and Gorton are liars and that they’re not searching for a GM, but for a couple of assistant-GMs. That’s the narrative they want people to believe and many truly believe that deep inside… in spite of the facts, or what the organisation is saying.
Here’s the deal. Yes, Geoff Gorton will have the last say when it comes to Hockey Operations. The fact that they’re looking at a very green GM – green meaning inexperienced – will, indeed, ask more of Gorton while he trains his new protégé. The reality, from what the organisation says, is that Gorton’s role when it comes to the GM duties, will diminish with time as the new GM gets more experience. Gorton will always supervise because he’s the boss, the VP. That’s how it is in any Corporation and it’s perfectly normal. But the new guy will have more and more freedom as he gains experience.
The disconnect between the truth and the narrative is where or when this job splitting will diminish, or where the line will be drawn between Gorton’s role and the new GM’s role. And that cannot be determine by any of us outside the organisation for the time being. What we do know is that there is a person as VP of Hockey Ops and there will be a General Manager, and that Gorton stated that the GM will have a GM role. The rest is pure fabrication, imagination and wishful thinking to fit a narrative. Some of it is justification (in some people’s mind) as to why Patrick Roy wasn’t selected.
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