Gainey is gone

Pierre Gau­thier tak­ing over

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE -

Bob Gainey re­signs as gen­eral man­ager of Montreal Cana­di­ens af­ter tu­mul­tuous era at helm of hockey’s most sto­ried fran­chise.

MONTREAL (CP) — Bob Gainey has re­signed as gen­eral man­ager of the Montreal Cana­di­ens af­ter a tu­mul­tuous era at the helm of hockey’s most sto­ried fran­chise, be­com­ing the lat­est in a string of Habs GMs to leave without a cham­pi­onship.

Gainey be­comes the third straight Habs gen­eral man­ager to leave the job without de­liv­er­ing a Stan­ley Cup — a once-un­think­able statis­tic for a team that was dom­i­nant for decades.

Gainey will re­main em­ployed with the Habs as a con­sul­tant to new GM and ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent Pierre Gau­thier, and he told a news con­fer­ence Mon­day that he re­mains de­voted the team.

He presided over an era where the Cana­di­ens were com­pe­tent dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son, poor in the play­offs, and flooded by fans’ nos­tal­gic adu­la­tion as they cel­e­brated their 100th birth­day.

“I’ve done my best and it’s time for me to pass the torch. I’m leav­ing the team that I love in good hands,” Gainey told re­porters.

“ The job of gen­eral man­ager re­quired a vi­sion and a long-term com­mit­ment and I didn’t want to com­mit my­self now for four, five or six more years.

“If I had to choose be­tween leav­ing a lit­tle ear­lier, or a lit­tle later, I’d pre­fer (to go) ear­lier.”

The Gainey era ends with a record of 241-176-46-7 dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son, 11-22 in the post­sea­son, and zero ap­pear­ances be­yond the sec­ond round of the Stan­ley Cup play­offs.

The team is cur­rently in sixth place in the East, with a record of 28-26-6 de­spite a crip­pling se­ries of in­juries to key play­ers like An­drei Markov, Mike Cam­mal­leri and An­drei Kos­tit­syn.

His suc­ces­sor, Gau­thier, was gen­eral man­ager of the Ottawa Se­na­tors from 1995 to 1998 and of the Ana­heim Ducks from 1998 to 2002, and has served the Cana­di­ens in a va­ri­ety of roles since 2006.

If Gau­thier is pre­par­ing to make any dras­tic changes, he cer­tainly wasn’t show­ing his cards Mon­day.

“It’s a great hon­our to be­come gen­eral man­ager of the Montreal Cana­di­ens,” Gau­thier said. “I like our team. I like the or­ga­ni­za­tion. I’m very comfortable with Jac­ques Martin and our team of coaches.”

Habs pres­i­dent Pierre Boivin an­nounced the moves Mon­day. Af­ter de­liv­er­ing his state­ment, Boivin turned to face his de­part­ing GM and said: “I’m sure you would have pre­ferred bet­ter re­sults — but you can be proud of the or­ga­ni­za­tion and team you put in place.”

Gainey, a Hall of Fame winger who was team cap­tain from 1981 to 1989, is con­sid­ered among the best de­fen­sive for­wards in the his­tory of the game who had even the Sovi­ets mar­vel­ling over his com­bi­na­tion of grace and power on skates.

As a hockey ex­ec­u­tive, he re­ceived an out­pour­ing of sym­pa­thy af­ter los­ing his wife to can­cer and then his daugh­ter in a boat­ing ac­ci­dent.

He was given a pro­longed, emo­tional ova­tion on the night two sea­sons ago that his No. 23 jer­sey was re­tired.

But the team has never ad­vanced be­yond the sec­ond round of the play­offs un­der his watch.

Gainey said af­ter last sea­son’s four-game play­off sweep at the hands of the Bos­ton Bru­ins that his job would be on the line if the team did not show im­prove­ments this year.

The Cana­dian Press

Bob Gainey speaks at a news con­fer­ence in Montreal, Mon­day, where he an­nounced his res­ig­na­tion as GM of the Montreal Cana­di­ens.

Pierre Gau­thier

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