Goodbye: GM Gauthier gone, who should replace him

It came to as an absolute shock to no one that Montreal Canadiens general manager was fired today.

Arnold C photo, via Wikimedia Commons

Should Scotty Bowman come back to Montreal to be the new general manager? I say yes.

While Gauthier did make a couple of good moves (signing Erik Cole, the Hal Gill trade), he made way more mistakes than any GM should be. I’m not going to get into them all here, because I already wrote about them weeks ago.

So now the focus shifts onto who the next general manager is. There’s a lot of speculation out there, ranging from the inexperienced like Pierre McGuire and Julien Brisebois to the even more inexperienced like Patrick Roy.

Of those three, I like Pierre McGuire. But I think the Habs need to get an NHL-experienced general manager (as well as an NHL-experienced coach).

The way I see it, there’s a few criteria the new GM needs: experience, respect, bilingual, ability to recognize great young players, willing to make big moves, etc.

So looking at that, if I were in charge of the Montreal Canadiens, there’s only one name I would go after.

Scotty Bowman.

How cool would that be? First off, it’d be the ultimate comeback, something that you normally only see in a WWE storyline. For those who don’t know, Bowman left the Habs back in 1979 when he was passed over for the general manager’s job. It would be nice to see him come back for another shot at glory with Les Glorieux.

He’s got the experience. He was the general manager of the Buffalo Sabres in the early 1980s. And I also believe he was general manager of the Detroit Red Wings for a period, but I’m not 100% sure on that. He’s currently the Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations with the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s won a total of 12 Stanley Cups.

He’s definitely got the respect. There’s probably not a more respected person in the NHL.

I’m not sure if he’s bilingual, but he was born and raised in Quebec, not to mention the eight seasons he coached the Habs, so I’m guessing he is.

He’s been in the NHL in some capacity since the 1960s. You don’t last that long without knowing how to recognize a good prospect or two.

As for big deals, when he was GM of the Sabres, he broke up one of the best lines in hockey, by dealing Rene Robert to Colorado, and Danny Gare to Detroit. He also dealt Rick Martin to Los Angeles for a first round pick that turned out to be Tom Barrasso.

Would Bowman want to come back to Montreal? I don’t know. I just think that the Habs ownership should do everything they can to get him. If anyone could lead the Habs back to the promise land of a Stanley Cup, it’s Scotty Bowman.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Goodbye: GM Gauthier gone, who should replace him

  1. gillis

    You’re right, he was the co-GM for the Wings in the 90’s with Ken Holland. He was even GM of the Blues for a couple of years in the late 60’s before heading over to the Habs

  2. Luc

    Scotty Bowman would never take the job.

    I’m going to rip your article apart a bit here Tom, because you’ve done no research into this.

    Scotty’s french is more than passable, French is probably his mother tongue.

    Scotty has GM experience, successful GM experience.

    He was offered the job of CEO in Toronto and they gave it to Richard Peddie before he had a chance to call back and say yes.

    Scotty is now retired. He’s going to turn 80 in a couple months. He doesn’t look it, but hes 80.

    He is a consultant with Chicago. He told several organizations he would work for them if he could have a job that allowed him not to work full time. The reason he picked Chicago is because his son is GM of the team.

    He would never go back and work for the Habs. That bridge was burned
    solid in the way they treated him.

    • Thanks Luc. I wasn’t sure about his French. I did say I guessed he was bilingual (not passable), but I never heard him speak French, so I don’t know for sure. I didn’t want to state it as a fact unless I knew for sure.

      I knew he was GM of Buffalo, and made a lot of smart deals. But all I could find from his time in Detroit was as a coach. Again, I didn’t want to state it for sure unless I knew, so I just used the Buffalo example.

      I knew about the Leafs thing. I just never wrote about it because he didn’t get the gig. But he was in talks with Peddie for a senior’s advisor job, not for the job that Peddie has (http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/story/2008/01/13/leafs-bowman.html).

      I was also aware of his age. He told the CBC in that article above (although it is four years old), that he is still working 24/7.

      “I think they might have been concerned about how much time I was going to be able to spend [on the job],” Bowman said. “But I speak with [Red Wings coach] Mike Babcock daily and [GM] Ken Holland. Even though I’m not behind the bench, I’m 24/7 and I really enjoy it.”

      I realize it’s a long shot for him to GM the Habs, but that doesn’t mean I can’t dream. And it also doesn’t excuse the fact that he would be perfect for the job. He’s got the criteria. It’s just a matter of whether he would want to.

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