The Montreal Canadiens have parted ways with General Manager Pierre Gauthier today in a move that many expected.
With ten days left in the regular season, the Canadiens have just 72 points, worst in the Eastern Conference and tied for third worst in the NHL with the Minnesota Wild.
Gauthier only took over the reins in Montreal in February of 2010 when Bob Gainey retired and saw that team make an unlikely run to the conference finals.
The Canadiens went to the playoffs the following year, but were knocked out in the first round by their most hated rival, the Boston Bruins.
This season, the wheels came off leading to Gauthier's dismissal.
The biggest move of his tenure was shipping Jaroslav Halak to St. Louis for a pair of prospects, Lars Eller and Ian Schultz. The move looks like a failure for the Canadiens at this point as Halak has been a force for the Blues with 13 shutouts over two seasons, while Eller has been underwhelming in the NHL. Schultz hasn't even made the show and has been less than impressive in the AHL.
Gauthier will also be remembered as the man who hired current head coach Randy Cunneyworth. His hiring caused a firestorm of controversy when it was discovered that he did not speak French, a cardinal sin in the Francophone enclave of Quebec.
Now the self-proclaimed center of the hockey world will look for someone to take over and right the ship quickly so as to avoid a prolonged losing stretch like has befallen Canada's other storied franchise the Toronto Maple Leafs.
This will certainly reignite rumors of Patrick Roy taking over as General Manager. Shawn Simpson a former scout with Toronto and the former director of hockey operations for the Washington Capitals tweeted that Roy to the Habs was imminent.
Getting from good sources. Patrick Roy will be the next GM of the Montreal Canadiens and close friend Bob Hartley will be coach!!, tweeted Simpson.
Now, whenever someone tweets something they are getting from good sources, it pays to be skeptical. But in this case, it makes some sense. Hartley was Roy coach in Colorado when the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in 2001.
Hartley and Roy both speak French as their first language, which would quell some of the unrest that hiring Cunneyworth caused.
On the other hand, Cunneyworth is still the coach of the Canadiens, and it is a bit premature to start speculating on his replacement. However the new general manager will undoubtedly want to bring in his own coach.
Roy's resume is also a little thin to be taking on a position of such magnitude. He is undoubtedly one of the best, if not the best goaltender to ever play the game. He is the only man to ever win three Conn Smythe trophies, and he has his jersey retired by two NHL franchises.
But his coaching and managing experience is limited to the seven years he has spent as the GM, owner and coach of the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL. While the QMJHL is one of the best junior leagues in the world, it is quite a step down in talent, exposure and attention from the NHL.
Also, as Wayne Gretzky found out, success as a player does not guarantee success as an executive or coach.
But the rumors will persist. Bringing Roy in would certainly allow the Canadiens to win the press conference, but there is no guarantee that it will help them add to their 23 Stanley Cups.
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