Geoff Molson is probably annoyed that every time a microphone is put in his face he is asked about the future of Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin.
Whether he is doing an interview about the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation’s annual fundraiser, or in Laval to discuss the Rocket’s reading initiative, the line of questioning goes towards the team’s management, even more so when the team is struggling. Two eight-game losing streaks in a year you were hoping to make the playoffs will do that.
It may not seem this way, but the Canadiens are not as bad as they appear to be right now. That doesn’t make things any easier.
The Canadiens have missed the playoffs in three of the last four seasons, and are in year eight of Bergevin’s tenure and Molson’s answers are mostly the same: he believes in Bergevin and that he understands the impatience and that he wants to win too. And this is absolutely not a knock on Molson. There’s not much he can be expected to say.
Six of the 32 NHL teams currently have somebody between the owner and general manager on the hockey side of things. Examples of this can be Brendan Shanahan in Toronto, and Pat Lafontaine in Buffalo. Other teams have a president more on the business side of things.
Simply, I think it would be better to have someone in between Molson and Bergevin. Bergevin has surrounded himself with good hockey people. Sean Burke and Scott Mellanby are candidates whenever a GM spot opens up. Joël Bouchard and Dominique Ducharme are two of the more successful QMJHL GMs in recent memory. John Sedgwick is known to be one of the better CBA and salary cap experts. But Bergevin reports to Molson.
Sometimes it helps to have someone in between the two levels. Geoff Molson can’t be expected to know the ins and outs of running a hockey team and likewise Marc Bergevin with running a business.
There are some obvious candidates for the positions, without even thinking too hard or outside the box. Serge Savard was a general manager and has served as an advisor in GM searches for the team. If you want someone who had Shanahan’s career path, Stephane Quintal has experience playing and in the league office. They can even go in a different direction and go with someone like Saku Koivu, although I doubt he’d want the role.
Accountability is important, as is nuance when making a decision on who will lead your hockey team. With public relations the way they are, it would also help to have someone who can provide updates that aren’t Molson or Bergevin.
The Canadiens organization has a lot of very important decisions to make, and not simply when it comes to the roster. It wouldn’t hurt to have another head in there to help.