Canadiens fire GM Pierre Gauthier after dismal season
Less than three weeks ago Pierre Gauthier stood poolside at a luxurious Florida resort, exuding confidence he would remain a member of the 30-member NHL general managers club.
“We’re moving forward,” said Gauthier with a broad smile.
Well, it turns out his confidence was misplaced.
With just days remaining in what has been a disastrous season for the legendary Montreal Canadiens, Gauthier was dismissed today, a move that will spark immediate speculation that former Montreal goaltending superstar Patrick Roy will soon become the new kingpin of the Habs hockey operation.
The club has only said the search for Gauthier's successor has begun. His dismissal suggests head coach Randy Cunneyworth is unlikely to survive beyond the conclusion of this last place season.
The man Gauthier replaced as GM, Bob Gainey, is also likely to become part of the rumour mill in coming days, although his return seems unlikely. Moreover, Gainey has been Gauthier's closest advisor this season. The day Gauthier expressed confidence in his future in Florida, he was off to visit Gainey at his nearby home.
The colossal errors committed by the Montreal front office this season, notably the firing of Jacques Martin and the hiring of the non-French speaking Cunneyworth as head coach combined with the team's dismal win-loss record to seal Gauthier's fate. He was permitted to make the big deal that sent Mike Cammalleri to Calgary, but ownership apparently wants to get a new management group in as soon as possible. In June, the Habs will have their highest entry draft position in decades.
Roy has been linked to the Habs for months as a possible coach or GM. He has also been linked to a possible new Quebec City franchise.