I see a lot of posts making the connection between the Habs' French/Quebecois bias ( coaching candidates, Daniel Briere, etc.) and Geoff Molson's desire to protect Quebec beer sales. While it is hard to argue against that premise, there is also more to it than just that.
Remember that Geoff Molson is the chairman and CEO of a private ownership group, not a sole or even majority owner.
"Molson and his brothers Andrew and Justin are the lead investors in a group that will pay a reported US$575 million for the storied National Hockey League club. Geoff Molson will be chairman and chief executive officer."
"The ownership group includes Canada’s largest communications company Bell and the Woodbridge Company, owned by the Thomson family which controls Thompson Reuters. Both have large stakes in CTVglobemedia (Bell 15 per cent and Woodbridge 40 per cent), whose television holdings include TSN and its French-language cousin RDS"
"Others in the group are the Quebec Labour Federation solidarity fund; Michael Andlauer, a French-born, Montreal-raised businessman who owns the Canadiens top farm team the Hamilton Bulldogs; and Luc Bertrand, former head of the Montreal Stock Exchange. Two-thirds of the partnership is based in Quebec."
"The group’s structure was finalized when the Quebec government approved a $75-million loan it had offered to any Quebec-based individual or group that purchased the franchise "
* all quotes from http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=290589, I added the emphases *
That’s a lot of thumbs in the tourtiere. Given so many Quebec-based dollars, business interests, political considerations, and personalities it's about more than just 'la biere Molson'.
Ken Dryden wrote over 30 years ago that the Habs would have to decide between being French and winning. This ownership group has demonstrated that they are willing to put quite a bit of emphasis on French , thereby accepting a reduced probability of winning.
While I abhor the ‘French-first’ outlook that limits the coaching candidates and brought Daniel Briere to town, it appears to me that this ownership group likes it that way and it's hard to see them changing.