The Montreal Canadiens continue to make headlines as the Marc Bergevin era has come to an end.
Montreal announced on Sunday the firings of Bergevin, the Executive Vice President and General Manager, along with Trevor Timmins, Assistant General Managers and Paul Wilson, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs and Communications.
“On behalf of myself and the organization, I wish to thank Marc Bergevin, Trevor Timmins, and Paul Wilson for their passion and engagement towards our Club over the last years,” said Owner and President Geoff Molson. “Their relentless work allowed our fans to experience many memorable moments, including last summer’s playoff run that culminated with the Stanley Cup Final. We wish them all the success they deserve in the pursuit of their careers. I think, however, that the time has come for a leadership change within our hockey operations department that will bring a new vision and should allow our fans and partners to continue cheering for a championship team.”
This move should not come as a surprise to anyone as the Canadiens are one of the worst teams in the league. Coming off an appearance in the Stanley Cup Final, where they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games, the Canadiens have fallen short of expectations this season. However, let’s be realistic the Canadiens are missing Carey Price and Shea Weber to key pieces to this lineup. And that has been a big blow to this hockey club.
In addition, the Canadiens are showing why they got lucky last year in terms of their run to the final. Montreal was not a playoff team these past two seasons and a lot of their weaknesses are coming to the forefront. Things have not gotten any better and changes have to happen.
What is interesting is that Bergevin entered this season in the final year of his contract. So it begs the question why let him make the moves this off-season? While there are reports, the two sides could not come to an agreement, that should have been the time to make the change. Not let him go in as a lame-duck general manager.
His job along with Dominique Ducharme’s was in question if the Canadiens lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Toronto Maple Leafs. But considering Bergevin gave the contracts to Josh Anderson, Tyler Toffoli, Nick Suzuki and others this team was not good enough to compete. He just could not find the replacement for Weber and Price. And that did him in.
Bergevin took over as the team’s general manager in the spring of 2012. He was there for almost 10 years. During Bergevin’s reign, the Canadiens made the playoffs six times and missed the playoffs three times. Could have been more if it was for the expanded playoff in 2020, and the Canadiens backing in 2021. The Canadiens went to a Stanley Cup Final and two semifinal appearances with Bergevin as general manager.
In addition, Bergevin hired two coaches, Claude Julien, who replaced Michel Therrien and Ducharme, who took over for Julien. There was not going to be a third coach hired under Bergevin.
Saying farewell to an organization like the Montreal Canadiens is not an easy thing to do. I want to leave the organization in the same way I came in: with a lot of pride,” Bergevin wrote in a statement released after he was fired. “If there is one word that comes to mind right now, it is “thanks.” “It is with my head high and with unforgettable memories that I am leaving my role as General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens. I wish this organization and my successor all the best for the future.”
All this comes a day after Assistant General Manager Scott Mellanby resigned on Saturday. It was reported that Marc Bergevin wanted Mellanby to be his replacement. However, the club informed Mellanby he was not in the running for the position which led him to leave the organization.
In addition, the Canadiens have retained the services of Jeff Gorton to be the Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations. Recall, Gorton was the general manager of the New York Rangers from 2015 to May of 2021 when he was fired.
The Canadiens will hold a press conference on Monday morning and will begin the search for a new general manager. A big criterion for the next general manager will be their ability to communicate with fans in both French and English besides having significant hockey expertise.
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