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Habs owner: GM Bergevin ‘lives hockey, and our success starts with him’

Jun 7, 2013, 11:03 AM EDT

Marc Bergevin

According to Geoff Molson, there’s one person primarily responsible for Montreal’s turnaround season in 2013:

GM Marc Bergevin.

Bergevin, who was named one of the three finalists for the NHL’s general manager of the year award, was showered with praise as Molson addressed the media on Thursday.

“We had good coaching, but it all starts at the top and I’m not talking about me,” Molson told reporters, as per the Montreal Gazette. “I’m talking about (general manager Marc Bergevin).

“He lives hockey and our success starts with him.”

Hired last May, Bergevin completely overhauled Montreal’s front office and coaching staff (see here and here and here and here), culminating with the hire of head coach Michel Therrien.

In free agency, the rookie GM addressed the team’s lack of toughness by signing Brandon Prust and Colby Armstrong, then selected Alex Galchenyuk third overall at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

He also stood firm during the P.K. Subban negotiations, and was able to secure the Norris-nominated defenseman’s services for $2.88 million per season.

With those moves complete, Bergevin sat back and watched Montreal go from 15th in the Eastern Conference last year to Northeast Division champions this year — the club’s first divisional banner since 2008.

Pretty good first year on the job.

Overall, Molson was happy with just about everything this season save the finish, when injuries besieged the Habs and they were bounced in five games in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“We didn’t have any bad stretches until the end when we ran into injury problems,” Molson said. “But we went a long way toward building for the future.

“We’re headed in the right direction.”

  1. grilledjesus - Jun 7, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    The GM of a hockey team “lives hockey”. In other news the sky is blue.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Jun 7, 2013 at 12:47 PM

      Well, there was Scott Howson…

  2. pastabelly - Jun 7, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    With divisional reallignment, they are no lock to make the playoffs with Boston, Detroit, Ottawa, and Toronto all in the same division. The division is stacked.

  3. ribs108 - Jun 7, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    He definitely proved that he knows how to hire coaches, assistant coaches and scouting staff. The on-ice product? Not so much… He DID put Subban in his place by refusing to give him what he wanted – therefore hopefully ensuring that at UFA time Subban will ‘take his talents’ elsewhere. Oh, and their starting goaltender isn’t exactly loving life in that ‘hockey mecca’, where he can’t leave his house without getting accosted by the ‘most knowledgeable fan base in existence’. Executive of the Year for sure!

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 7, 2013 at 1:07 PM

      Wow! Tough crowd! The team (yes that includes the on-ice product) went from last to second overall and dare criticize. What do you gave to say about McPhee and Sather who’s been in their respective job for a few years more than Bergevin? And what does Bergevin have to do with how Price feels in Montreal?

      • ribs108 - Jun 7, 2013 at 2:46 PM

        I’m not comparing him to anyone – just saying that his team got a bunch of key players back from injury and they still got blown out in 3 of the 5 games vs Ottawa. They were clearly sinking as the season came to a close and the GM did nothing (or nothing major anyway) at the trade deadline (much like his predecesors). As to Mr Price, that merely shows that an unhappy star player may reflect poorly on other players thinking of playing in that town. Surely it’s one of a GMs jobs to attract talent and having talent already there that is publicly unhappy is sure to be noticed by other potential free agents and players.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 7, 2013 at 3:51 PM

        They probably would have finished lower if they would have played a full season, because they were tapering off towards the end. However, they are re-building, and frankly, I don’t believe Therrien is the long term solution. They needed a French speaking coach and he was the best available for the job at the time considering where the team was 12 months ago. What do the Canadians have to trade that would have made a difference as the season was winding down? There are player that have good market value, but they constitute the core of the team. Those years with Gainey and Gauthier set the organization back by a few years. It’s been known for a very long time that free agents don’t want to play in the most heavily taxed city on North America. Forget the lack of anonymity. English players are pretty much ignored by the French press, and not all French players enjoying the constant dealing with French press. No GM will change these 2 very important factors why many free agents, unless they are towards the end of their career, will want to play in Montreal. The Habs best option to build is primarily through home talent. They are going to have a solid d squad in a couple of years as the younger d men in the AHL and junior develop. The need (and I hate to say this) to draft the best French players playing in the QJMHL and develop those kids.

  4. jpelle82 - Jun 7, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    i hope he meant “our FUTURE success starts with him”. this past season wasnt that much of a success, losing to ottawa in such an embarassing fashion after gaining the 2 seed in a short season. lets revisit this 2-3 years from now, i have a feeling it will be more of the same unless he moves mountains

  5. kingcobraman - Jun 7, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    all so negative… give the guy some credit, he turned around the nose-diving habs and righted the ship… time of course will tell but at least ships not sinking anymore

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