Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Sylvain Lefebvre, Patrice Brisebois, Martin Lapointe are good hires for the Canadiens

The Canadiens are amassing a formidable brain trust and I couldn't be happier about that.  I'd posted last winter about how the Canadiens needed to have an effective organizational structure and a good succession plan.

For example: "As I've stated before, we now must also attend to the succession plan, and be ready when another team raids our front office for talent, or people decide to leave for whatever reasons.  We have to have personnel ready to assume higher positions in the organization when someone at the top moves on.  We have to have people in the front office learning the ropes and being groomed to succeed when an opportunity arises, either in Montréal or elsewhere.  It won't hurt us to have five or ten people who were groomed at the University of the New Forum working in other organizations.  They'll be good contacts to have, and a pool of candidates to draw from when we have openings as well."

These three new hires serve that purpose precisely.  They will have a useful role currently and in the short-term, but we can also think longer term and see them being promoted to posts with greater responsibility when necessary, as they demonstrate their competence.  They can also be hockey people who can be poached by other organizations who can then eventually be poached back.  There is nothing wrong with stocking the pond with quality homeboys.  As we can discern, the NHL is a bit of an old-boys network, and if guys like Patrice Brisebois or from the LHJMQ can't get their start here, where are they likely to get it, aside from maybe Tampa Bay?

Sylvain Lefebvre is an experienced player and coach in the NHL, taking on a new challenge as a head coach in the AHL for the Hamilton Bulldogs.  He was a hard worker who had some success personally as a player and won a Stanley Cup.  His boyish mien may have been replaced with a Dr. Evil countenance, a striking change which made me look twice, and a third time before I recognized him.  He seems very aware of what his career path is, what his strengths are as a coach, and what his role will be in the organization.  I have been advocating for Les Glorieux to draw on their history, and dip in the pool of former players who can be a link between the past and our future, and Sylvain Lefebvre fits that bill.  He can speak eloquently to our prospects about what a long successful career he had after slogging through a thorough AHL apprenticeship.

Patrice Brisebois is another former Hab and welcome addition to our management team.  He's obviously a thoughtful, dedicated guy who can keep tabs on our prospects and help keep them pointed in the right direction and provide any support they need.He'll work primarily with the defencemen, and may do the heavy lifting with Québec prospects, since he'll be based here as opposed to Martin Lapointe who will remain in Chicago.

Mr. Lapointe explained that his and Patrice's job will involve a lot of traveling, so he can work out of anywhere, and he didn't want to uproot his family.  Martin Lapointe is an intriguing choice in that he once spurned a comparable offer from the Canadiens to sign with the Boston Bruins as a free agent.  Such a history would nullify the possibility of a job within the Canadiens organization in this blogger's mind, but he brings a background as a winner and of strong leadership as a player.  He served on the Blackhawks' front office staff with Marc Bergevin, so there is a connection there.  When asked by reporters whether his friendship with Mr. Bergevin would preclude one from challenging the other, Mr. Lapointe was quite clear that their strong relationship would ensure that they can speak frankly with each other.  

This atmosphere of collaboration and collegiality will hopefully prevent situations like occurred in the Gomez trade, where Trevor Timmins advocated against including Ryan McDonagh in the deal, but who was overruled by Bob Gainey.  We can hope that these guys all work in the same mindset with the same team goals in mind, and that we won't make short-sighted decisions or let things slip through the cracks.  We have a big, varied brain trust, with homegrown talent and experience from various organizations.  Let's see it get to work on June 22 and July 1 and beyond.


  1. Dear Whistler fan,
    Greetings from Newfoundland. I've been enjoying your blog for a little while now. I didn't think there was another tortured soul/kindred spirit who loved both the Habs and the Chargers. Good to know you.
    Good post today-If we are to limit ourselves to Francophones only in selecting vital positions such as head coach and GM, we'd better have a few quality people ready to move up when the opportunity/need arises.
    All the best from the Rock
    Johnny C

  2. Hi Johnny C, thanks for the comments.

    Yeah, grew up watching the Canadiens as any good Québec boy should. The Chargers I fell in love as I discovered NFL football, which used to be broadcast on Radio-Canada. The early games tended to be Giants games, which I hated, but the Chargers games which came on later on in the afternoon were a wonder. All the happy people and beautiful women in the sunsplashed stands seemed a marvel in the dark dead of the Eastern Time Zone winter. Add in the Air Coryell offence, with Dan Fouts, Chuck Muncie, John 'JJ' Jefferson, Wes Chandler, Charlie Joiner and especially Kellen Winslow, and I was hooked. I spent some time in San Diego in 1990, bummed around in Pacific Beach, and attended a few games. Two seasons ago I had the chance to catch them again, when they played nearby against the Seahawks in Seattle, a game which they lost, due to Norv Turner's incompetence, but I still hope for better days.