Sunday, 6 April 2014

Marc Bergevin interview on RDS' "L'Antichambre".

Montréal Canadiens General Manager Marc Bergevin appeared on RDS' "L'Antichambre" following his team's 5-3 win against the Red Wings.

Here is a loose transcript of what was discussed.

Host Yannick Bouchard starts off by asking if the results in the standings are above and beyond the expectations he had at the start of the season.
Our primary goal was to make the playoffs, that was the most important thing for us.  The points in the standings, we'll take them, we're trying to secure second or third in the division, home-ice advantage is the next goal for us.
Mario Tremblay asks if the arrival of Mike Weaver and Thomas Vanek allow him to be more calm when he watches games with his staff.
Never (everyone laughs).  You saw what happened tonight.
Benoit Brunet asks if he's satisfied with Jarred Tinordi's progress this season.
Yes.  I think defencemen take longer to learn their trade.  He spent almost two full seasons in Hamilton, but we can still see some little flaws in his game.  Eventually he needs to take the next step, but I think he's really close, he's getting there.
Gaston Therrien asks a meandering question, with a preamble that everything that Marc Bergevin has done so far has worked out, he offers Mike Weaver, Thomas Vanek and Stéphane Waite as examples, and states that it's 'mission accomplished' for the GM.  He then asks if we can say the same about the head coach, is Michel Therrien one of the best coaches in the NHL.
For me, I'll never be satisfied.  I'm here to continually improve the team.  The day you sit back and you're happy with what you've done, that you're satisfied, that's when you start going backwards.  My job never ends.
As far as Michel goes, I got here in May 2012, the job he's done, we're among the top ten teams in the NHL.  I'll give credit to the players first, always, you can have the best coach in the world, if you don't have players working hard you're going nowhere.  So the players get the most credit, and I think Michel and his assistants have done excellent work.
 Mario Tremblay comments that when the team is winning, the players get the kudos, but when it loses, the coach and GM get the blame, and everyone laughs.
It's okay, when I took this job, I knew I would be criticized, I have to expect it.  Sometimes you have to make decisions that aren't popular, but in the end you have a vision, and you have to do what's best for the team.
Yannick Bouchard says that in terms of improving the team, the latest move was obtaining Thomas Vanek.  What is the next step that will be taken to move the team forward again?
Right now the important thing is the playoffs, that's what we're focused on.  As far as my job specifically, it's the draft, I've always believed that, the draft is how you build a team long-term.  So the next stage for me will be the draft in June in Philadelphia.

Gaston Therrien asks if after two years, he thinks the team is a little further ahead than he thought it would be, specifically as it relates to the young players' progress on the team.
The young players, it's them who make the decision, it's not me.  Take Brendan Gallagher, after the lockout, his attitude, his behaviour on the ice ("He forced you to keep him", Gaston interjects)...  I'm not a genie, or a magician, it's the players...
Gaston persists in asking if they're where he thought they'd be, or further ahead.
It's certain that we've come a long way, but we still have lots and lots to do.
Mario hits on the young player theme, and asks about P.K., who won the Norris Trophy last season, but is having difficulties this season, and that it seems the coach wants to send him a message.  How does he see that from his GM position?
Since I've been in Montréal, P.K. has come a long way, last year with his Norris Trophy.  This year, he's had some difficult periods, but on the whole, I still see P.K. as a young defenceman, with lots of talent.  For sure he has things to improve on, but we spend a lot of time with him, the coaches, and the goal is to take him to the next level, to be a complete defenceman.  We're proud of P.K.  Like all the other players, we spend a lot of time, on video, with Galchenyuk, with Gallagher, with the youngsters who have so much to learn, they're like little sponges.
Benoit Brunet asks if he thought Max would be so dominant, then adds the awkward note that his contract is a bargain, which makes Marc Bergevin a little uncomfortable, I think.
Before I got here, I think he already had a season with over thirty goals.  What we want to see in a player is consistency, and right now, Max is showing that.  You can see, he likes to score goals, what you saw in Ottawa last night, the way he got off that shot, you can't stop that in whatever league you are.  He's a guy... he and David have a very special chemistry, and you add Thomas, that's a dangerous line.  But in the playoffs, it won't be the same kind of hockey.
Mario says that even though Thomas preferred to play left wing, they managed to convince him to try right wing.
The credit goes to the coaches.  And he was receptive to that.  Some players can be a little stubborn, they have their way, but he showed character in saying "I'll try it, we'll see how it goes." So far the results are there.  But you know as well as I do, the playoffs, that's another, higher level, it's a lot tighter.  
Yannick says that he'll have some big contracts to deal with this summer, and rattles off P.K., Markov, Gionta, Vanek.  He asks how difficult will it be to set priorities.
For now, the playoffs are what matters to me.  For sure, these are important files, I'm aware it's of interest to the fans, but I keep that confidential.  We'll take it one at a time, or even two at a time, I don't mind at all, but for now the main thing is the playoffs, going as far as possible.
Yannick Bouchard asks a confusing question, asking him to put himself in the shoes of a Habs fan, and to imagine what that fan would want the GM to do to improve the team.  Marc is stumped for a second.
Good question... (he laughs).  Look, I'm not a fan, my vision, the way I see things, like I always said, is to continue to have good drafts, to keep building the team going forward.  We have good young players who'll turn pro next season, without naming names, but that's how we're going to build.
You saw tonight, a team like Detroit, the best example, with Jurco, Tatar, good youngsters.  The results are there, Detroit is a very good hockey team.  We have to continue with the same idea. 

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