HabsWorld.net -- 

Our two-part look at the hiring of Marc Bergevin as the Habs’ new GM
concludes today.  Once again, several writers have offered up their
thoughts on Bergevin’s selection as well as his decision to reinstate Randy
Cunneyworth as an assistant coach.  In our survey from earlier in the week
we asked for your thoughts on certain characteristics, how many of those does
Bergevin meet and how important did you rate them?

Brian La Rose: Among the candidates that hadn’t withdrawn from
the candidacy already, Bergevin was my preference.  I like that he had
dabbled in a few different areas of the front office, that experience will
surely come in handy along the way.  My one concern is his lack of time
spent as an assistant GM (less than a calendar year).  Although that’s not
quite Garth Snow territory in terms of lack of experience when starting out,
it’s not far from it.  That said, inexperience can be overcome by having
quality experienced personnel to help him out, retaining both Trevor Timmins and
Larry Carriere is a good first step while like most, I expect he will bring a
couple people he is familiar with into the fold as well.  Although I’m not
as relieved as most are with regards to his public persona (I’m of the mindset a
GM shouldn’t be speaking in public all that much), I do believe it will help to
repair some of the disconnection between the fans and the team. 

As for the decision to move Cunneyworth out of the head coaching position, I
don’t really think Bergevin deserves much if any applause for that move. 
Let’s face it, it was inevitable in terms of a team success standpoint and a
linguistic one.  I like Cunneyworth, I think he is a good coach to have in
the organization.  By choosing not to fire him right at the end of the
year, I’m hoping the team finds a role for him somewhere in the organization
even if the new coach chooses not to keep him on his staff.   

Jonathan Rebelo: Marc Bergevin or the anti Pierre Gauthier in terms
of personality made a pretty great first impression with the media and sure
that’s great but it will be his work he is judged by 5 years from now. From what
Bergevin said he wants to build a team full of guys that contribute and have a
team first mentality.

To be honest I had little knowledge of Bergevin
before the search for a new GM was underway but from what I read he seems to be
well connected and has had some great mentors during his career. Also he spoke
the most important words the day he was hired, "Trevor Timmins will be sitting
next to me at our draft table in Pittsburgh. He’s done an excellent job in the
past." Furthermore he thinks leading is about listening and surrounding yourself
with the best people. I truly enjoy that approach and believe he will be great
decision maker. His first test will be to sign P.K. Subban and Carey Price to cap reasonable contracts. I
hope Geoff Molson stands by his word and allows Bergevin to dispose of Scott Gomez
with ZERO cap hit.

Randy Cunneyworth was demoted back to assistant
coach and I do hope he sticks around in the organization; although his results
as a head coach left more than a bit to be desired I do believe the players did
enjoy his presence and I do believe he would have a continued positive influence
on Max Pacioretty and other young players in the organization.

Mitchell Tierney: I am not particularly familiar with Marc Bergevin compared to some of the
other managers who could have received the position. However, since being hired, Bergevin has said all the right things and appears to be on the road to success
with this franchise. The key thing that he outlined so far appears to be
change. Change is something that has been needed for a long time with this
organization as it is clear the previous regime was not working. While it is
unclear if Bergevin will be the General Manager who brings the Montreal
Canadiens its 25th Stanley Cup he should steer the team in the right direction.
He has a solid background in hockey and was with an organization that has
won the cup as recently as two years ago. He also appears ready to open things
up to the media and communicate in ways that Gauthier never did. While it
remains to be seen if he follows through on his promises the initial signs are
all positive.

The main thing that Cunneyworth’s re-assignment means is that a new head coach will be
brought in during the summer. We don’t know if this head coach will keep him around but for now he has been reinstated to his position as an
assistant coach. Keeping him around is not all that bad of a decision.
Cunneyworth proved to be a decent, not great head coach and I don’t really think
he was ready to step up. But as an assistant coach I think he has plenty of
experience and knowledge to bring to the team. The players appear to like him
and he knows the team inside out. It remains to be seen how long he stays with
the team but for now keeping Cunneyworth isn’t bad, especially to introduce a new
coach to the team. 

Norm Szcyrek:

I am pleased with the Habs hiring of Marc Bergevin as the team’s newest GM.
He’s one of the top 2 candidates that I felt were most qualified and most
likely to succeed in this position.   Bergevin comes highly recommended as a
player talent evaluator, and his reputation as a hard working NHL player has
carried forward into his hockey management career. His rise from his first
post-retirement position as a scout to the newest Canadiens’ GM within 7
years, is impressive. Bergevin, a very likeable guy, has a good network of
contacts among the rest of the teams of the league.  He has an excellent
reputation and came highly recommended by experienced hockey minds like
Scotty Bowman and Rick Dudley. One of his most encouraging comments during
his press conference dealt with being against rushing prospects to the NHL
before they were ready. It’s encouraging to know the Habs will carry that
philosophy forward, to keep from prematurely burning out their prospects.
One of Bergevin’s first moves, to contact Randy Cunneyworth, and inform him
he’ll be designated the team’s assistant coach was a classy one.  Yes, he
did say that it will be the next head coach’s decision to decide whether or
not Randy will stay in that role, but if that doesn’t happen, then I believe
the GM will give Cunneyworth a chance at a different position within the
organization. Bergevin now has his work cut out for him, to hire a head
coach and other support staff, (hopefully increasing the number of scouts)
and start to deal with the team’s list of restricted and unrestricted free
agents. Not to mention learning to deal with the ever zealous Montreal
media, ducking their slings and arrows in two languages.  I say welcome to
Montreal Marc / Bienvenue de Montreal Marc!

The Fans’ Choice

In the second section of our survey earlier in the week, we asked you to rate
the importance of certain criteria.  Obviously we don’t know if some of
them will apply to Bergevin but there are some that we know the answer to. 
Here is how Bergevin shapes up with the characteristics as well as the
importance placed on each by both our readers and writers.

For the purposes of the reader responses, the option that received the
most votes will be used.  Here is what each number corresponds to:

1) Not at all important
2) Not important
3) Important
4) Very Important



The ability to speak French Yes 2 2
previous managerial experience
Limited 3 3
To have played/worked in the
Yes 3 3
To have had
a successful NHL career
Yes 2 2
To have played for/worked for
the Habs
No 1 1

Interestingly enough, our writers and readers
share the same opinions, a trend that existed in quite a few parts of the
survey.  One area that caught my eye was the lack of importance placed on
having previously been a part of the Canadiens organization (and I agree with
the majority here).  It will be interesting to see if that discussion props
back up as the attention shifts to who replaces Cunneyworth behind the bench. 
With bilingualism being a must (as stated by Bergevin), several former Hab
coaches (and one goaltender) will surely see their names bandied about in the
days and weeks to come.  What importance, if any, will their previous ties
have?  I suspect it won’t be long before we find out.