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Sports Hickey on hockey: Cleaning up Canadiens mess a tall task for Gorton

04:25  04 december  2021
04:25  04 december  2021 Source:   montrealgazette.com

Art critic Dave Hickey, known for book 'Air Guitar', dies

  Art critic Dave Hickey, known for book 'Air Guitar', dies Dave Hickey, a prominent American art critic whose essays covered topics ranging from Siegfried & Roy to Norman Rockwell, has died. His books, including “The Invisible Dragon: Essays on Beauty” (1993) and “Air Guitar: Essays on Art & Democracy” (1997), won him legions of fans beyond the art world cognoscenti. His stylish prose, brash criticism of taste-making institutions like museums and universities and equal embrace of works considered both high- and low-brow left a lasting influence on a generation of artists and critics. “There is no one like him.

A Montreal Canadiens fan expresses his opinion of former Canadien Jesperi Kotkaniemi during warmup with his Carolina Hurricanes in Montreal on Oct. 21, 2021. © Provided by The Gazette A Montreal Canadiens fan expresses his opinion of former Canadien Jesperi Kotkaniemi during warmup with his Carolina Hurricanes in Montreal on Oct. 21, 2021.

When legendary comedian Stan Laurel would become embroiled in a sticky situation, his partner Oliver Hardy would say: “This is a fine mess you’ve gotten us into.”

Jeff Gorton, the Canadiens’ newly hired executive vice-president of hockey operations, knows that feeling because he has inherited a fine mess from Marc Bergevin.

Gorton met the media for the first time on Friday and, while he said he’s still getting up to speed on how best to turn around the Canadiens, there are signs that the team is heading for a major rebuild. That will involve bringing in fresh talent through the draft and development, and clearing out the dead wood.

Jack Todd: Firings mark the end of a tumultuous 2021 for the Canadiens

  Jack Todd: Firings mark the end of a tumultuous 2021 for the Canadiens Marc Bergevin, the lively prankster who enlivened the culture of the Canadiens from the day he was hired in 2012, entered with a bang but left with a whimper, a long-haired, weary individual whose sense of humour appeared to depart long before he did. Less than five months after his team was defeated by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final, Bergevin (who had been fighting COVID-19) is out of a job. Bergevin’s firing was announced Sunday afternoon, less than 24 hours after the resignation of his assistant GM, Scott Mellanby, who quit after being informed that he would not be hired as either GM or director of hockey operations despite “extensive talks” with owner and

The Canadiens haven’t done a stellar job of developing their young talent. Some of the problems stem from a tendency to bring players along slowly, although it could be argued that the problems start with the draft. Many of the team’s first-round flops during the past decade haven’t fared much better in other organizations.

The way things are going this season, the Canadiens will probably have a top-10 pick for the fourth time in the past decade, but for it be successful they have to get the right player and hold on to him.

The Canadiens appeared to have the right player in Alex Galchenyuk, but lifestyle issues got in the way and he’s now a minimum-wage depth player for the Arizona Coyotes, the second-worst team in the NHL.

Mikhail Sergachev was the right player, but he didn’t get a chance before he was traded to Tampa Bay for Jonathan Drouin.

Where do the Montreal Canadiens Go From Here?

  Where do the Montreal Canadiens Go From Here? The Habs made big changes on Sunday, signaling the start of a new era for the storied franchise. This organization desperately needs all-encompassing change, and that is now Jeff Gorton’s task. © Provided by Hockey News on Sports Illustrated Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports It was long coming, the end of the Marc Bergevin Era with the Montreal Canadiens. The axe dropped on Bergevin, as well as assistant GM Trevor Timmins and public relations head honcho Paul Wilson, on Sunday afternoon.

And you could argue that Brady Tkachuk would have been a better pick when the Canadiens opted for Jesperi Kotkaniemi, but the Carolina Hurricanes saw value in the Finn and lured him away with a US$6.1-million offer sheet. The Canadiens received a first-round draft pick from Carolina as compensation, but they traded that away for Christian Dvorak, who has one of those contracts Gorton will probably try to unload.

Gorton conceded that the salary cap is one impediment to a rebuild. The Canadiens have 14 players with contracts that extend for at least three seasons and some of those fall into the bad contract category, deals that are unlikely to attract attention on the open market.

The situation gets even tighter next season, when Nick Suzuki starts earning US$7.875 million. According to Cap Friendly, the Canadiens have committed more than US$84 million — that’s $3 million over the cap — to 13 players and that means Gorton and the general manager to be named will have to shed some contracts.

Bettman played role in Habs hiring of Gorton to run hockey operations

  Bettman played role in Habs hiring of Gorton to run hockey operations One of the people who recommended Geoff Molson hire Jeff Gorton was none other than NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. “Gary and I have a great relationship and we talk about these things all the time,” Molson said Monday when asked if he had spoken with Bettman before hiring Gorton as the Canadiens’ new executive vice-president of hockey operations. “And when I have a situation that I’m trying to figure out, he’s one of those people that I trust and I rely on for his opinion. So when the name Jeff Gorton surfaced, for sure (he spoke to Bettman). Because he knows him, he works at the NHL — or he worked at the NHL as of yesterday — and so they got to know each other.

It’s interesting to speculate whether Bergevin had a master plan to handle the cap crisis. Or maybe he knew he wasn’t going to be around and the fine mess he left behind is Bergy’s Revenge.

A modest proposal for diversity: When Canadiens owner/president Geoff Molson unveiled his plans for a “fresh start” he mentioned the importance of diversity. While Molson had trouble articulating what that meant, there has been speculation that the team would add a woman to its hockey operations. The Toronto Maple Leafs have a leg up on the Canadiens with Dr. Hayley Wickenheiser running the team’s development program and Hockey Hall of Famer Danielle Goyette as her right-hand woman.

Caroline Ouellette and Danièle Sauvageau have made significant contributions to Canada’s success in women’s hockey and would be good additions to the Canadiens organization, but I know that both would insist on playing meaningful roles and not be used as window-dressing. Sauvageau offered her expertise to the Canadiens in the past, but Bergevin dismissed her as incompetent.

Stu Cowan: Canadiens won't budge from having a bilingual GM

  Stu Cowan: Canadiens won't budge from having a bilingual GM If Jeff Gorton spoke French, he’d be the new general manager of the Canadiens. The 53-year-old Massachusetts native doesn’t, so for team president/owner Geoff Molson, Gorton is a better fit as the new executive vice-president of hockey operations. That was my take-away from Molson’s hour-long news conference Monday in Brossard. While people in Quebec — English and French — should understand why Molson wants a bilingual GM and head coach (even if some fans don’t agree with him) it’s probably harder to comprehend outside La Belle Province. So I asked Molson to explain why his GM must be bilingual.

If the Canadiens really want to promote diversity, they might consider taking the lead in the promotion of a true professional women’s league similar to the NBA’s role in the WNBA. The best women’s hockey players in the world have been orphans since the collapse of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and it’s time to give them a showcase that allows them to make a living while pursuing their dreams.

The best part of hockey: That’s what the promoters say about a new hockey league that will feature an expanded form of the 3-on-3 overtime format. 3ICE is the brainchild of E.J. Johnston — his father is former NHL goalie Eddie Johnston — and will make its debut next summer after plans for the inaugural season this past summer were scrapped because of pandemic concerns.

There’s no word on where the players will come from, but the fledgling league has attracted big-name coaches, including former Canadiens Guy Carbonneau and John LeClair, and there will be TV coverage on TSN, RDS and CBS Sports Channel.

The league will consist of six teams and they will play six games a night with three preliminary games, two semifinals and a final. Games will feature two eight-minute, running-time periods.

3ICE will debut in Las Vegas on June 18 and will make a stop at the Vidéotron Centre in Quebec City on July 30. The playoffs and final will be back in Las Vegas on Aug. 20.

phickey@postmedia.com

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Jack Todd: Now is not the time to bring Roy back into Canadiens' fold .
When Jeff Gorton took the podium Friday for his first session with Montreal’s voracious media, it was 26 years and a day after one of the pivotal events in the grand and glorious history of the CH: The day Patrick Roy walked away from the Canadiens. You know the story. How Roy, facing the Detroit Red Wings at the Forum, gave up five goals on 17 shots in the first period. How petulant head coach Mario Tremblay (looking to humiliate his superstar in the latest chapter of their personal feud) left Roy in until he had given up nine goals before replacing him with Pat Jablonski.

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