Tuesday, January 3, 2012
McGuire the wrong man for the job
It wasn't enough for Pierre Gauthier to throw Randy Cunneyworth under the bus the first time. The Canadiens general manager was compelled to back the Greyhound over his interim coach once more for good measure yesterday, when Gauthier publicly apologized - ostensibly to Canadiens fans - for hiring a unilingual anglophone coach.
So, Gauthier's not sorry that he signed a chronically injured defenceman who has yet to play a game since getting a 17-plus million dollar contract last summer, or that he wasted a year and countless millions before re-signing Josh Gorges to a long-term deal, or that he exacerbated the Canadiens salary cap crisis by trading for Tomas Kaberle, but he feels shame that he offended a handful of insufferable zealots whose agenda has nothing to do with hockey and everything to do with politics.
Those misguided priorities should be all the proof anyone needs that Gauthier is not the right architect for year 10 of the Canadiens 5 year rebuilding plan, but anyone who's part of the groundswell of support for Pierre McGuire as Gauthier's successor should be careful what they wish for.
McGuire is bilingual and has an encyclopedic knowledge of hockey, but there's a lot more that goes into being a GM than speaking two languages and being Rain Man with names and numbers. There's a reason McGuire's career as a hockey executive has been stalled since 1996. He's an unpredictable and extremely polarizing personality. You either love him or hate him, and he either loves you or hates you. Someone who's difficult to deal with by nature isn't the best person to be negotiating contracts with player agents or trades with other general managers.
In the 15 years since he last worked for an NHL team, Pierre McGuire has forged a highly successful broadcasting career, and everyone's interests - his own included - would be best served if he remained in the media, where an unpredictable and polarizing personality is an asset rather than a liability.