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Buyer Beware: Former GM Bergevin Considered For Job Opening

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Montreal Canadiens, Marc-Bergevin, Shea Weber

Even though former general manager Marc Bergevin left the Montreal Canadiens after a rather difficult divorce, it should come as no surprise that he’s being considered for the job opening in Columbus seeing as the NHL’s management recycling program ensures most members of the old boys club get several opportunities to prove their worth.

The Columbus Blue Jackets recently fired their longtime general manager, Jarmo Kekäläinen, after almost 10 years of service to the organization. The Blue Jackets made the playoffs five times since they hired Kekäläinen in 2013, however, they failed to secure a playoff berth in the last four seasons, with their last playoff appearance taking place in 2019-20.

Bergevin quickly found a new job as a special advisor with the L.A. Kings after the Canadiens fired him, a role that kept him out of the spotlight for the first time in almost a decade. He spent parts of 10 years as the decision-maker in Montreal, finishing his tenure with a 344-265-81 record. His greatest achievement will forever be tied to the 2021 team that put together one of the most exciting runs in recent NHL  playoff history.

That team eventually bowed out to the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games of the Stanley Cup final, effectively marking the end of both Carey Price and Shea Weber’s careers in the NHL.

Buyer Beware

While Bergevin should be given credit for leaving the franchise in relatively good shape from a draft capital point of view, it must be said that his final year at the helm was marked with difficult contract negotiations, an unstable situation in the AHL, and a rather disrespectful series of decisions that led to a fracture between the franchise and its many legends.

Players like Jean Béliveau and Guy Lafleur were barred from walking near the Montreal Canadiens locker room, as Bergevin considered them to be distractions that would only hold the team back as they looked to write the next chapter in the organization’s glorious history.

While the Habs certainly look to the past too often, treating members of the Holy Canadiens Trinity as distractions is about as low as it gets from a human relations standpoint.

MUST READ: Marc Bergevin Disrespected Montreal Canadiens Legends During His Time As General Manager

The issues went beyond his disgusting treatment of team legends.

The stress of the job had clearly gotten to Bergevin, who replaced his pleasant demeanour with an outright hostile attitude toward members of the media.

Of course, working in Columbus would be quite different, especially from a public relations point of view, as the media presence around the Blue Jackets is much less demanding than anything he experienced in Montreal.

And we also have to allow for personal growth.

But even if we give him the benefit of the doubt, the Blue Jackets must be careful to ensure Bergevin’s controlling personality will not come to the forefront as it did on numerous occasions in Montreal.

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habbernack

He loved to talk about character. Look at what he did to Markov. He made the trade for Drouin who refused to go to Syracuse. Talk about character. That was a political trade . He wanted the name on the back of the jersey. Nothing more. It’s still the same today Language is more is more important than the Stanley Cup. 3 French coaches won a Cup . What would the Canadiens legacy be with political correctness? We have been witnessing this for years. Language is more important than competence. We have interpreters. Would the fans diss a Cup win because the coach didn’t speak french? Throw political correctness in the garbage where it belongs.

Tyrone

I believe that Drouin trade had more to do with ownership/Molson pressing for more Francophones due to the pressure from French media than Bergevin’s desire. I believe Bergy wanted Dubois, but when he couldn’t get it done, Drouin was plan B (hence the putting a square peg in a round hole by trying to make Drouin a C when PLD was naturally one). He eventually got Dubois while in LA, but the jury is still out on whether it was a good move or not. Initial results would say no, but there’s plenty of time still for it to work out. If Bergevin only cared about language, he wouldn’t have let Danault walk over a mere 500K difference in salary too. Ironically, they’re both back together in LA. While I’m 100% in agreement with you that language should not trump quality when making trades and hires, I do understand that representation matters and it can’t be ignored for a team in Quebec. It just can’t be the guiding principle that rules the team.

Pete

Agreed on the Drouin trade and ownerships influence. (Ownership also gave in to PK’s ridiculous salary request.)

If you manage long enough, you’ll have your bad moves and your steals. Berge had way more good than bad, by ANY objective measure.

He also didn’t manage in his last year to save his skin, like so many will do. He managed for the long term even though he knew his gig would likely be done. He left the team in good shape, made some important draft picks, and gave us a cup run to cheer for during COVID.

It’s important to be objective and measured. This isn’t necessarily a skill possessed by most MTL media, but on balance Berge left the Habs much better than he found them, and kicked off a great looking rebuild that I’m excited about in the hands of Gorton & Hughes.

Tyrone

😁👍

Curtis Ault

I still believe the extra year Danault received from LA was the difference in that negotiation. I would like to know the full story. 5 x 5 from Montreal is my guess as to the offer, maybe 5.5 x 5 at best.
A mistake to lose Danault at the time, probably not in the long run though.

Tyrone

My guess is the opportunity to live in anonymity in a warm climate vs being under intense scrutiny from fans/media was the dealbreaker. The guy has money, weather and a life outside the rink. That wasn’t going to happen in Montreal.

Pete

I tend to agree with most of what you said, except the Markov stuff. Markov couldn’t play anymore, for the Habs, or in the KHL. Despite that, he WAS offered a contract, but wanted more. When a negotiation succeeds or fails it’s the result of both parties, period.

Captain Kirk

I do t know what happened with the Markov contract but even if they couldn’t reach a contract, they could have just signed him for a ceremonial 8 games to retire as a Hab. That’s on MB. That’s NOT the Montreal way to treat their veterans.

Captain Kirk

I totally agree but unfortunately, there’s a group that believes the coach needs to be fluent en francais. Younger fans may not know but Al MacNeil coached the Habs to a Cup and was promptly sacked because he didn’t speak French. I do believe Hughes is GM because he’s bilingual but Gorton isn’t so Hughes covers for him. St. Louis is coach now and language isn’t a concern but eventually, we’ll have to cross that bridge again.