Well well well, as John Lennon put it so famously on one of the more primal punk tunes on his classic 1970 Plastic Ono Band album.
The Montreal Canadiens confirmed at 8:33 a.m. Wednesday morning that Marc Bergevin is the new general manager of the most storied franchise in professional hockey. So the guessing game is over. Fans of smart sports talk on the radio will be happy to learn that Pierre McGuire will remain a high-paid hockey analyst. Julien Brisebois was apparently flying out of Montreal today and will not be returning to his former employer.
So Bergevin is The Man. So is this good? Honestly, we don’t really know. We’ll see. As many have pointed out, he can’t be any worse than Pierre ‘Major Major’ Gauthier. That simply isn’t possible.
We do know that Bergevin, who played 20 rather unremarkable seasons in the NHL, is a merry prankster. So he’ll be the second straight funnyman running the Habs, following Pierre ‘Chuckles’ Gauthier. (Ummmm that would be a joke guys!)
The Globe and Mail details a few of his more famous pranks. Denis Savard tells of how Bergevin would fill people’s coat pockets with forks, knives and salt shakers while the guy was in the restaurant bathroom and when the guy returns to the table, Bergevin would tell the owner the guy was stealing stuff from the restaurant. Hilarious! There is also a pic of him dressed up as Julius Caesar. (Eds note: Hey who hasn’t done that in a hockey dressing room?)
That led Globe scribe Sean Gordon to lead off his piece with this brilliant line – ‘Shaving cream and whoopie cushion retailers across Quebec rejoice, the master prankster is taking over the Montreal Canadiens.’
Okay so clearly he’s not just a joke-meister – or at least we hope so. Then again, we Habs fans could use a little levity after the noir Shakespearean tragedy of this past season with the deeply-flawed former hero Bob ‘What About Bob’ Gainey and his enigmatic heir Ghost Gauthier. So maybe it is time for Adam Sandler to run the shop.
But Habs president Geoff Molson doesn’t strike me as jokester. So presumably Bergevin brings something else to the table. He doesn’t have a load of front-office experience. He spent this season as assistant GM with the Chicago Blackhawks, working under Stan Bowman. Bergevin has had a number of jobs with the Blackhawks including director of player personnel and he was also a scout for three years. He is said to be strong in the scouting department.
As a player, he got into no small number of on-ice scraps and accumulated 1,090 penalty minutes in 1,191 games. He seems to have played with almost every team in the league except the Habs, including Tampa Bay, Chicago, New York Islanders, Hartford, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Detroit and Vancouver. It was with the Canucks that he pulled a Ryan O’Byrne and scored on his own goal – by throwing the puck into the net!
So really, who knows. He was part of a very successful organization in Chicago but neither you nor I really know how big a role he played in that success. But the good news is there’s only one direction to go in following the Gauthier era. As Joe Strummer growled – ‘Elevator going up!’
Here’s the infamous own-squad goal.
And check out this interview on RDS.