It’s time to take out the broom Mr. Molson

Posted: December 20, 2011 in Uncategorized
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So just how did Habs management muck it up so badly? They couldn’t have messed things up more royally. It’s so bad right now that, insanely enough, you know everything would be a lot better if Jacques ‘Mr. Personality’ Martin was still behind the bench doing his best Marcel Marceau imitation.

It’s now clear that Canadiens president Geoff Molson and general manager Pierre ‘Major Major’ Gauthier had absolutely no idea that hiring a unilingual anglophone coach would ignite such a firestorm of protest. Molson wants to go down in history as the guy who re-launched the glory days of the Habs after 20 years of mediocrity. Right now it’s looking more like he might be credited for doing something even more unlikely – re-launching the Parti Québécois, who looked dead-in-the-water until they received the early Christmas present that is Randy Cunneyworth.

The Canadiens are in this mess for one reason and one reason only – because Ghost Gauthier is running the show. It was clear to most of us by the time the Habs blew that Boston series last spring that Martin was not the man for the job and if you knew that, then you start grooming a potential successor who can do the parlez-vous thing. Instead Gauthier focused on signing a high-priced Russian defenceman to a pricey three-year deal even though any guy on the street-corner – and any insurance company – could’ve told you there’s no upside in signing a long-term contract with Andrei Markov when there’s a good chance he’ll never play like he did before his two knee injuries. If he ever plays again.

Martin did indeed have to go and he should’ve gone this summer. But the real problem is Mr. Gauthier. And Mr. Gainey. Their regime has been a bust and it’s time to start with a clean slate. What kind of organization basically gives their boss, Bob ‘What About Bob’ Gainey, a pink slip and then lets him keep coming into the office? (And if you think Gainey retired rather than was shown the door, think back to what a train-wreck the Habs were when he suddenly stepped down.)

Did Gainey pull the trigger on the Martin firing and Cunneyworth hiring? Who knows? Because Gained isn’t accountable to anyone. That’s a ridiculous situation for a company, the Montreal Canadiens, that just might be the most important corporate citizen in Quebec. There’s a powerful Minister Without Portfolio in there who can do whatever he wants and doesn’t have to answer any tough questions. Not that Gauthier does much question answering either. He’s rarely in front of the microphones and apparently folks in the Habs organization stay well clear of him in the Bell Centre knowing his antipathy to human contact.

This is the company Molson inherited. He didn’t create the dysfunctional family but he’s gotta deal with it – and quick. I’m growing a little sick-and-tired of the holier-than-thou whining about the Canadiens’ duty to Quebec society. I almost reached for the barf bag when I heard xenophobic radio host Benoit Dutrizac and PQ honcho Pauline Marois quite literally cackling about the juicy gift they’d just been given by Geoff Molson. I almost felt like defending Cunneyworth. Almost.

Molson and Gauthier have made a huge mistake giving this sort of ammunition to the nationalists. So what’s the solution? Surprisingly simple really. But it’ll take major cojones to pull it off. Fire Gauthier now. Tell Mr. Gainey it’s been a slice but it’s time for him to find a new office to hang out in. Molson has to take-over as GM and find a coach who can at the very least give a sound-byte in the language of Marois. Better to take the heat now.

That would be the heroic things to do. The alternative? The darkest days for the Habs in some 50 years. The choice is yours Mr. Molson.

Check out Shawn Appel, Andie Bennett, and me debating these very points on the Wednesday Daybreak podcast:

  1. Beautifully said. Well done.

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