Thread: On the Radio: Bob Gainey now with the team
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12-26-2011, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Munchausen View Post
This reflection comes from an interesting discussion I had with a family member over some artery narrowing deliciousness during the holidays and so I thought about trying to extend it over here.

When I say I miss Gainey's presence, I mean his leadership, the quite confidence combined with his glorious past that calmed the drama queens for a few years and allowed him to do his job. When he came out against the boobirds that had made it a national sport to torment Patrice Brisebois and make sure he'd get extra nervous every time it was his turn to touch the puck, you know what I told myself? This guy has some humongous balls. Say what you want, right or wrong, that was a ballsy move, a move I could never see Pierre Gauthier or most of the general population for that matter making. That guy, who I did not really see play much, since I got into hockey around the last time the Habs won a cup, had just earned my respect. That guy was Honest Abe, a very rare personality trait if I can unfortunately say so. I trusted that man. I trusted his character, his integrity. The rest of the crowd, they were already won over, the day he lifted that shiny trophy above his head, the day he lead his team with the same quite leadership, to the biggest achievement possible.

He took some dreadful decisions towards the end of his regime, but I liked the steps he took in the early parts. After it all came to a weird ending, I decided to cut a guy who just lost his daughter some slack. I think people often overlook with some perplexing insensibility what a tragedy like this can do to a manís focus on the job, I dare you to tell me you wouldnít react the same way. At that point, we saw and felt a clear cut difference from a guy who just didnít have much interest left for his pro life, and Iím appalled by the ones who have or would criticize him for that.

Then comes a guy in Pierre Gauthier who, even if I consider myself a guy who isnít too judgmental in everyday life, I have very little confidence in to right the ship ATM. This isnít about competence; I think Gauthier has a true passion and relative talent for identifying skills and potential. But heís also a guy who in his interactions with the media projects arrogance and a complex of superiority which is quite disproportionate to his resume IMO.

You felt, with Bob Gainey, that you were dealing with the only guy left on earth to still honor and cherish all the old knight code of conduct, a guy who would fall on a sword for his peers or the organization he helped make so prestigious. Anybody get that feeling from Pierre Gauthier? Yeah exactly.

Iíve lived in Montreal long enough through both the French and English worlds, which to this day are unfortunately still very different, to know that in this city, in this bipolar, hysteric and often menstruated city, you need to command respect if you want to be able to do your job managing the most storied franchise ever. That nostalgic illusion which will never be brought back to life again, by any living man, because context was completely different at the time, has handicapped this city and its team for so many years.

Montreal got a favorable treatment until the 60s by having first claim on Quebecers, which was fantastic, because it did so much for the culture, by giving heroes to a generation of Quebecers who had very few to look up to. This part I got from talking the subject over with older guys. I havenít lived it myself of course, but when you go back in History, it feels as though the Canadiens had a say alongside notable political figures in invigorating provincial pride and identity. The CH tattooed heroes were the little guys, your neighbor, who worked at the factory side by side with your uncle Joe in between games. They were a symbol and I get it, with all the obvious and necessary admiration it requires.

Problem is, there is none of that left, itís gone forever. I really regret not living that historical moment, which was for so many Quebecers much more than just winning a game. They were winning their pride back and I get where the old timers in the media are coming from, even if their rhetoric, to a younger crowd like the one Iím still in, sounds like senility based whining. But they got marked by that History like none of us will have the privilege to be. And the pressure these guys put on the organization, when you take a step back to ponder, is absolutely insane. I live in a somewhat stressful professional environment myself but I donít think I could make it past a month with the amount of pressure these guys have to endure daily.

And yet, when I look at Pierre Gauthier, right or wrong, I envision a guy who will stab a colleague in the back rather than fall on the sword like the old knight would for him, like the old knight in fact did for him IMO, by taking all of the responsibility and therefore the whole blame in case of failure for the major team makeover, one which might very well have been orchestrated by the guy now in place, because they both knew about to upcoming switch. Bob Gainey is not the kind of man to create a mess and bail out. Heís the man who stood strong through adversity all his life. What he did, to me, is fall on the sword.

You might disagree with me and thatís fine, but I like to think that if I, who I repeat is not at all judgmental in day to day life towards others, feel like there are some serious character flaws that transpire through Gauthierís press interactions, I assume many others feel this way. This was exacerbated by the reputation that preceded him and the PR nightmare that just ended. Those old timers, the ones longing for the lost purity of what that sport once was, they remembered, they got poked and the bear woke up. Gauthier didnít see it coming, he didnít because heís much more of an outside businessman type than the passionate ambassador others before him were. Judging from his latest blunder, it seems he knows as much about the reality of this city and this province as I do Quantum mechanics.

A guy like that canít manage a team like this, a team, a fanbase, with so much backstory. He has no authority, and thatís why the hounds were unleashed in record time when he tripped over himself the last few weeks. He got lambasted. Of course, eventually, they all lose immunity, like Gainey did with the usual whiners and the odd heartbroken diva, like F. Gagnon, who started to hold a grudge against the evil monster who tore to pieces his good friend Claude Julien, and whoís also repeating the same over-emotional routine with PG now that his buddy JM was shown the same door (whatís with this guy and his love for coaches anyway).

This has no longer to do with competence Iím afraid, this job is as much if not more about appearances these days, and it will be like so until the old timers get out of the car and hand over the steering-wheel to the next generation. Pierre Gauthier cannot at the current time be given maneuvering room to build through trial and error, he doesnít have credibility, his personality is a bit repulsive Iím sorry (and a little ashamed) to say, and so I feel the next heir apparent to the throne, who shall be found fast since the king is dying, will need to bring back IMO what Gainey brought, the kind of respect a man like Gainey commanded by all your typical whiners, the ones who want it all and want it now, or the ones who are too blinded by their nostalgia to bother stepping away from the tree blocking their vue from the rest of the forest behind it, a forest made out of a completely new competitive landscape and therefore entirely new and greater challenges.

The GM of the Montreal Canadiens needs to command enough respect, to keep himself away at a safe biting distance and for long enough, from the dogs who think this franchiseís greatness will be magically restored once more Quebecers play for it, ignoring the fact most of them have also become simple businessmen in their approach to their career, same as the rest of ďthemĒ, and would therefore probably bring very little of that once magical passion and sacrifice, just like Ribeiro, Theodore, Tanguay and many more have indeed not brought in the past, just like Briere has decided to steer clear of this jungle.

If youíve read up to this point, I think I can safely say youíre a more patient man than I am, so Iíll stop it here. Agree? Disagree? Why? What are the implications and whatís to come?

I read your post and it was very in depth. And it brought up some very good points. In a nutshell and much shorter......

Gainey leadership skills -- Excellent.

Gainey executive/GM skills -- Poor.

Gauthier leadership skills -- Poor.

Gauthier executive/GM skills -- Poor.

And as a result, the Habs are in the predicament that they are in now.

The Canadiens need a respected leader (does not have to a former Hab) who is also a very wise executive when dealing with personnel matters. That is the task facing Molson now.

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