Friday, March 30, 2012

Montreal Meltdown complete, as Habs hang out the "Aide Demandee" sign...

With news that Pierre Gauthier has been removed from his duties with Les Canadiens, we started humming a few tunes in our head yesterday, reaching back into the musical archives of Bonnie Tyler we were, with her hopeful musical offering of Holding Out for a Hero...

To recap the pertinent points for the fans of Les Habitants...

And I dream of what I need.
I need a hero. I'm holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night.
He's gotta be strong, And he's gotta be fast

And he's gotta be fresh from the fight.
I need a hero. I'm holding out for a hero 'til the morning light.
He's gotta be sure, And it's gotta be soon

And he's gotta be larger than life!
Larger than life.

Indeed, that does seem to fit the bill, the Habs finishing off a most horrid season, one which saw a team that almost knocked off the eventual Stanley Cup champions last year, finding that the only race they're in this one is the chase for the first round pick in the upcoming NHL draft.

As the NHL season winds down and with it the plans of fans from Gatineau to Sept Iles and all points in between, the Habs are heading into their rebuilding years.  Sweeping the old guard out of the executive offices on Thursday morning, Geoff Molson bade farewell to Mr. Gauthier and in almost an aside to Bob Gainey, who it seems will no longer be providing guidance to the ownership group.

A not unexpected development, though as more than a few observers pointed out on twitter on Thursday, an event that like a previous management firing of earlier this year, surely could have waited until between periods one and two of Friday night's hockey game.

Regardless of the timing however, the Pierre Gauthier era is now one for the history books, no doubt destined for its own subsection in the lengthy journals that is the history of Les Canadiens.

To help turn around the beleaguered  franchise and entering from stage right,  one Serge Savard, legendary Hab and now tasked to assist Mr. Molson in the search for the new General Manager, looking for as they say the best man for the job.

Which perhaps is a bit of a public relations bromide in this case, for one imagines that if the right man for the job doesn't have a functional use of French, then his placement on the depth chart may drop significantly.

Montreal, as it always has been, is one of those NHL franchises where pressure is magnified tenfold, a ready to pounce media tracks every move, every word and what isn't fact, sometimes is made up juste pour rire.

And with one of the most knowledgeable and passionate of fan bases of any professional sport,  even a minor league roster move becomes the thing of a great opera.

In Montreal, unlike many other an NHL franchise, there are no mulligans, mistakes are magnified, debated and revenge exacted should things not work out, comparisons to the past are the yardstick of measurement in Montreal.

To that atmosphere, Messrs. Savard and Molson begin their quest.

Running the Montreal Canadiens may as the Habs ownership group suggest be of a higher calling, steward to a franchise of historical importance that at this moment doesn't at all resemble the teams that Mr. Molson so gallantly salutes.

The rewards of course will be heady (not to mention we imagine the paycheque for such an undertaking), bringing the Canadiens past respectability and back into championship form will make the architect an icon in Quebec.

Failure of course will render his name to the back pages of the historical tomes of Les Canadiens, not without a bit of tar and feathering along the way.

Good luck on the head hunting, the non's, may outnumber the oui's, by a rather hefty margin.

In the end, if Montreal fans don't like the musical stylings of Ms. Tyler, there's always the post apocalyptic interpretations of Tina Turner, which considering the way this season played out, may find some cache along the boulevards.

Montreal Gazette-- Gauthier is out. How about Serge Savard
Montreal Gazette-- Montreal Canadiens fire GM Pierre Gauthier; Bob Gainey exits as adviser
Montreal Gazette-- Montreal Canadiens settling for less, Serge Savard says
Montreal Gazette-- Gauthier latest victim of Montreal Canadiens' malaise
Montreal Gazette-- Montreal Canadiens' Molson casts net to win back fans
Montreal Gazette-- Gauthier's firing caps a season to forget
National Post-- Canadiens begin search for next general manager
National Post-- New Canadiens GM will need to win over fans
National Post-- Canadiens having tough time living up to the past
National Post-- Canadiens ready for fresh start after Pierre Gauthier firing
Globe and Mail-- Don't expect magical turnaround in Montreal
Globe and Mail-- Canadiens fire Gauthier, begin search for new GM
Globe and Mail-- Answering Montreal's prayers: St. Patrick ascends to the Habs
Toronto Star-- Montreal Canadiens' glory days are gone, likely for good
Toronto Star-- Montreal Canadiens fire GM Pierre Gauthier after dismal season
Toronto Sun-- Habs fire Gauthier, Gainey
Toronto Sun-- Roy, McGuire among leading candidates for Habs

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