The Montreal Canadiens fired GM Pierre Gauthier today, and late today it was confirmed that Bob Gainey’s involvement with the team was also at an end. Gainey is an interesting fellow, someone Edmonton might want to add to the group “thinktank” that makes up the decisioning process for the club.
- By 1996 I’d been with the Stars about five years and I’d been coaching for most of that time and it was evident we didn’t have enough good players to compete against the stronger teams. We had some good young players like Derian Hatcher, Mike Modano and Richard Matvichuk but we didn’t have enough, we had too many holes. Particularly it was easy to pinpoint we didn’t have an adequate second center to play against Colorado for instance, with Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic. I thought we made a nice goaltending improvement and gave ourselves credibility in the community when we moved from Jon Casey to Andy Moog, but from Andy Moog to Eddie Belfour was again another change of calibre that had a real impact on the peformance of the team. So we added players in each position that were elite players–along with a top flight coach in Ken Hitchcock–which allowed us to draw a few other players. Once it starts to form, then it’s easier for a player who’s looking for a place to play to see how he’ll fit in.
There’s some real nice thinking there, Gainey gave a nice thumbnail of the thinking that went into building a winner. The foundation of winning in Dallas still runs on even if they perhaps don’t deserve it based on talent, and I think sometimes teams like NJ or Dallas can overcome obstacles because the mindset is to win and tweak until there’s an answer. Development is important, but performance is king.
The Oilers could use that sort of thinking.
The second item also comes from the book Behind the Moves and speaks to his being open to new ideas.
- I don’t think hockey is unique and unable to absorb good ideas from other places. I’ve heard different coaches talk about rugby as a sport where they attack teams and they do similar things to what we were doing in hockey but maybe somewhat different. They have perhaps more absolute possession of the ball when they’ve got it in their arms and it’s not as easy to do that in hockey. There’s always a place to pick something up and implement it.”
Nothing major, but I think it speaks to the wisdom of looking around and being available to innovations elsewhere that could be applied at home. Anyway, I’ve always been a fan of how he conducts business. Seems like a rational sort, not quick to overreact and not overly emotional. I like that kind of approach, measured and reasonable.