The best thing about the Marc Bergevin end-of-year press conference was the fact it was Marc Bergevin talking and not either Bob Gainey or Pierre Gauthier. Yes the G&G era is over. Yes there is a God.
Now I really like Marc Bergevin – as does every self-respecting Habs fan – but let’s be honest here. The jury is out on this dashing man – where does he buy his pink ties? – who is one of three finalists for the General Manager of the Year award in the National Hockey League. (As Warren Zevon put it in a very different context – I believe he was talking about a werewolf – ‘I’d like to meet his tailor!’)
The journeyman player, who underlined that he was never a finalist for anything in the more than two decades he toiled in the League as a player, is up for that hardware because he took one of the worst teams from last season and brought them to the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference.
But the way the season ended tarnished that achievement. The last couple of weeks of the regular season was a disaster for the Habs and losing to the No. 7 seed in five games is pretty damn bad. Bergevin made some great moves, notably bringing in a solid management team, snaring the great Brandon Prust, bringing back the heroic Francis Bouillon, and sending Scott Gomez packing.
But he made some major mistakes too – most notably signing wee David Desharnais to a four-year $14 million contract in the middle of the season (effectively sending DD on summer vacation a couple of months early), signing the sleepy Travis Moen to a big deal, and reaching out to bring in the useless Colby Armstrong. All bad moves.
Still early to make the ruling on Bergy – but I’m betting he’ll do us all proud. What I liked the most Monday is he made it clear he was not satisfied with that quick first-round exit. There was none of the crap we had to put up with every season-end in the G&G era where the underachieving bosses would make every excuse to explain the team’s mediocrity.
Bergevin doesn’t just want to make the playoffs. He wants this team to go all the way. He talked about Brendan Gallagher’s character. But the boss is showing some character too and I like that.