Friday, 2 October 2015

Marc Bergevin readies for his fourth season as GM of the Canadiens, interviewed by Ron Fournier.

Ron Fournier of 98.5 Sports interviewed Marc Bergevin after the Canadiens 5-2 preseason loss to the Senators.  There's a writeup and an audio link in the article, but here's my translation of the interview, which was conducted in French.

-He’s starting the season with an objective of 100 pts, which he says will guarantee a post-season berth.

-He’d never seen Noah Juulsen play before he was drafted, so he was happy to see him last night, liked the mobility and the competitiveness. He thinks the kid has two more junior seasons in front of him.

-Agreed with Ron Fournier that the Galchenyuk line looked good but may be a “little too fancy”. Marc wants them to still play responsible hockey. He makes the distinction between being responsible and being defensive. (Shades of that press conference when he took exception to the ‘defensive style’ line of questioning.)

-About Tinordi-Barberio, “I know where I’m headed with this.” Ron Fournier insists that Mark Barberio should be retained, that you keep the best player, never mind the first rounder status of Jarred, etc. Marc says we’ll know what the decision is on Tuesday when rosters have to be handed in.

-He’d taken a close look at Thomas Fleischman at the trade deadline, but Dale Tallon didn’t want to help another Eastern team and sent him out West. So far he’s happy with his performance.

-Mike Condon has been having a good camp, they’ve seen him play well in practice, but he points out that he can be sent to the AHL without waivers.

-Ron Fournier brings up the liberties taken by Chris Neil during the game, asks him about that, his comfort level with his current team. Marc believes in ‘team toughness’. Ron interjects that in the Carbo years they also believed in team toughness, and got pushed around something fierce. Marc says he’s comfortable with his team. If it comes to it, Marc says that Zack Kassian is a big kid, that Detroit for 25 years never had an enforcer, that Toronto’s Reign of Terror has ended, that Chicago doesn’t have an enforcer, …

Ron insists that it appears other teams may delight in picking on us, maybe more than on Detroit or others.

-Ron lists four teams as elite teams, NY Rangers, Tampa, Anaheim, Chicago. Asks if we’re missing something to reach that level. Marc says that it’s really tight, brings up Pittsburgh, Washington. Ron asks what’s missing from our team to reach the elite level. Marc continues that we were two points away from being the regular season champs.

-Ron says that the Canadiens may be very good defensively, but are lacking something on offence, Marc returns to being responsible, and not trying to be too fancy, expose yourself with turnovers.

-Alex Semin is a calculated risk, can make a big difference, with his talent, “it won’t take him five chances to score to score.”

-Ron asks about Tomas Plekanec, about his putative trade value, his playoff showings. Marc says that playing 20 minutes against Getzlaf, Giroux, Crosby, that’s not easy. If you don’t pay attention you miss the little things that he does. He’s not a perfect player, but a darn good one.

-On Devo, Marc wants more from him. “We talk to him regularly, on things we want him to improve, but he brings something to the team. He brings speed, when he’s in good shape, he’s got a good shot. He’s an intelligent player, he makes plays, a big guy who’ll go to the net.”

-Sven Andrighetto is getting closer, but the step between the AHL and NHL is a big one.

-Charles Hudon played better tonight, was more responsible. Offensively he makes good plays with the puck. He got caught on one goal, maybe the second, but it’s normal for a young player, Michel and the other coaches are working with him to improve his game.

-Ron asks whether he relies on the trade deadline to improve his team if it’s headed the right way in the spring. Marc says no, flatly, that you can’t, too many factors like which players will be available and your salary situation to control. It’s getting rarer that a GM can pull a rabbit out of the hat at the deadline.

-Marc says the other 29 GM’s would say right now they have at least one problem on their team they need to work on. About “doing something” on waivers, he cautions that if you take a player, you have to give up a player usually. Younger teams can have more leeway to manoeuvre.

-Asked about whether there were surprises at camp, he mentions Mike Condon, Zack Kassian and his skating. Good hands, able to make plays, it’s something “we all knew”, not really a surprise. Still very early in the season.

-Asked about what’s going on in Boston, he says he’s got one team to run, he’s not going to start running others.

-In his closing, Ron says the team keeps improving since Marc has been the GM. Marc says that there’s been stability in the organization, and that this is very important.

Generally, a very good job by Ron Fournier, who often gets on my nerves, but in this case asked the same questions a fan would, directly. Too often Marc Bergevin’s appearances on L’Antichambre or other shows turn into a love-in, and he’s asked about the day-to-day, and not the deeper roster questions that we bat around here every day.

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