Apologies up front. The squishy memory bank/pun-generator between my ears thought I was referencing this guy with the mashup’s headline when I’m actually, apparently, referencing this guy. Whatever. It works too well to change it.
Wednesday saw Marc Bergevin hired as the Montreal Canadiens’ new General Manager, cementing a significant piece of the new front office that will be tasked with fixing that nightmare organization. Further changes are likely imminent, with Bergevin’s first major personnel decision having already happened in the reassignment of Randy Cunnyworth to the role of an assistant coach. One has to think a new, hypothetical head coach would presumably want to select his own hypothetical staff: Might Cunnyworth’s reassignment may one of gratitude for the now-former interim coach, a reward for steadfastly accepting a post which carried far more public scorn in its short term than was probably necessary?
Toronto fans, though, should be more concerned with Bergevin’s focus on the higher floors of his new front office – if he’s truly hoping to add the Maple Leafs‘ current fifth string GM Director of Player Personnel and former Thrashers’ GM, Rick Dudley. (Links after the jump).
That rumour, of course, originated Wednesday from the Holy Grail of reliable Twitter rumourers:
Leafs haven’t been asked by Habs to speak to Rick Dudley. But, expect Dudley and Marty Lapointe to be among Bergevin’s early hires.
â€” Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) May 2, 2012
Hmm. That’s a weird tone for a tweet. Dregs is sort of admitting there’s been no due process, and no request for any on the Habs’ part yet – but speaks as if it’s basically a done deal. If so – damnit, in my opinion.
This is exactly the kind of situation Brian Burke was referring to when he said…ah, screw it, I’m not looking it up suggested the league should look into mandatory compensation for teams when a member of their front office defects to another organization.
I just joked about him being our fifth-string GM – and that may very well be true – but that does not mean Rick Dudley’s an easily expendable asset. He’s nothing if not a strength to any organization, and it would be unfortunate if he were to depart Toronto less than a year into his tenure.
Burke called him a “premier talent evaluator” last June. You’d like to believe every GM is skilled that way, but Dudley’s reputation for identifying player potential and negotiating that precarious balance known as “team chemistry” is particularly reassuring. If only because pro scouting and player evaluation seem to remain, even after all this turnover, one major area in which the Leafs’ management desperately needs all the help it can get.
From Dudley last June: â€œWhatever Brian (Burke) and David (Nonis) ask me to do. Iâ€™ve got one advantage over a lot of people. Iâ€™ve been around so long, Iâ€™ve done everything, so whatever they ask Iâ€™ll do.â€ The sort of enthusiasm and versatility Dudley brings to the role make it obvious why he was recruited, but Burke’s problem in retaining him this summer may lie in what the Leafs can offer Dudley in return.
Dudley’s been an NHL GM, and his decision to join or not join the Habs may lie in his aspirations of returning to that role as quickly (or in as ideal a situation) as possible. Taking a job under Bergevin doesn’t offer him a direct route, but Dreger implies a higher lieutenancy may be on the table than Dudley will find anytime soon in Toronto with Nonis, Poulin, and Loiselle all in that mix.
Does he jump the Leafs’ ship for a hated arch-rival who’s arguably in much deeper disarray organizationally? Or does he stay with Toronto due to the Leafs’ contingent of young players and assuredly bright future that Dudley himself has proclaimed will certainly happen? And is it just me, or could that deep, badass, yet calculated radio interview voice actually make a wolverine purr? WE CAN’T LET THAT GO!
If Dreger’s to be believed (SPOILER: he is), this is in Rick’s hands. Let’s hope he chooses Toronto.
Enjoy your Thursday morning links!
- A fairly thorough writeup on the Bergevin hiring can be found – SURPRISE! – on the Montreal Canadiens website. You’ll feel dirty for a minute if you click, but that’s fine. We won’t tell. Just pretend you’re logging on to troll the message boards re: Scott Gomez.
- At the Globe, Mirtle familiarizes some of us with Marc Bergevin’s history as a person and a player, which is a good read with a bad result, because I’m a fan of people with a sense of humour, and the Habs’ new GM apparently has a killer one.
- The world has now witnessed Mike Brown with no facial hair. And in my opinion, seeing Mike Brown with no (or ungrown) facial hair is like seeing a fine wine when it’s still just some old vineyard worker stomping barefoot on a pile of grapes.
- The nominees were revealed Wednesday for the NHL’s Ted Lindsay award, which was formerly known as the Lester B. Pearson award, which is an award for the NHL’s most outstanding player as awarded by members of the NHLPA awardy award award. This year it’s between Stamkos, Malkin, and Lundqvist…[long,Â unsurprised silence]…
- Barry Trotz sat Alex Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn for Game 3 of the Nashville/Phoenix series Wednesday night, and the National Post does a pretty thorough job of telling us why. I’m not going to suggest that kind of crap doesn’t happen constantly in the NHL, but as a non-millionaire who would given anything to play that game professionally, I’m kind of glad to see the proverbial book being thrown at someone for it.
- Paulina Gretzky continues to post racy photos of herself on any social media within arm’s reach, supporting psychologists’ longheld belief that the vaguely-defined concept of “daddy issues” may, in fact, include “he’s the best [censored] hockey player, ever.” [NOTE: A suspiciously high number of mainstream media outlets continue to feverishly follow this story. Which, at its core, is basically just smut - so we'll just...uh...randomly use this one for the link.]