Marc Bergevin1

When Canadiens president Geoff Molson hired Marc Bergevin in May, 2012, there was near-euphoria in the air in Montreal. The tragi-comic Gainey-Gauthier era was finally over and it looked liked the Habs had picked a winner in Bergevin, who was said to be a key cog in the powerful machine behind the triumphant Chicago Blackhawks. Better yet, Bergevin was a likeable local boy who’d worked his way up from the tough streets St. Henri to the swanky executives suites of the National Hockey League – and he looked great! In short, what could go wrong?

Well a lot, it turns out. Here we are a year-and-a-half later and Bergevin’s Canadiens are looking…well…decidedly middling. They are in 7th place in the East, and, though it’s true they’re only six points behind first-place Tampa Bay, I think everyone except the most naive fan would have to agree that on most nights they don’t look like a particularly inspiring team.

The kids – Brendan Gallagher, Alex Galchenyuk and Lars Eller – are indeed alright, Subban is a superstar (eds. note: Can someone tell Michel Therrien that?) and Carey Price looks better than he ever has (Jaro who?). But that’s the rub – Price is playing amazing but they’re still losing games when he’s performing miracles between the pipes. As my pal Tony Russo tweeted during Saturday night’s sleepy 1-zip loss to the Rangers, you have to score to win.

Which has me wondering about a number of Bergevin’s questionable moves. One of the first was to sign Travis Moen to a four-year $7.4 million deal in June, 2012. Has anyone seen Moen lately? ‘Nuff said. Bergevin’s best move, in my humble opinion, was snaring Brandon Prust and signing him up for four years. No argument on that one.

The four-year $14 million David Desharnais deal, on the other hand, is pretty well universally seen as a mistake. Yes the small skilled centre may break out of his lengthy slump – one assist in 19 games this season – but Bergevin over-payed here and made Desharnais virtually untradeable.

On to this summer. Montreal ended last season in crushingly horrific fashion, going into freefall for the last ten games of the regular season and then letting itself be humiliated by a not-great Ottawa Senators squad (and in one short week re-opening the whole is-Therrien-really-an-improved-coach debate). So the time was right to bring in some re-inforcements for the Habs right?

Bergevin reached out for George Parros and Daniel Briere. Now I love Parros’s Asterix-like ‘stash as much as the next Movember participant but he’s quite simply a liability on the ice. Briere? I was against this one from day one and I’m sorry to say that my pessimism was well-founded. Oh yeah and he’s also being absurdly over-paid.

Look i’m not in a full panic. I’m not on the window-ledge. But if this team doesn’t make the playoffs – which is a very real possibility – do you think either the fans or the big bosses on Mahogany Row at the Bell Centre are going to be satisfied with this state of affairs?

Exactly. So better to start worrying about this stuff now.


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