When Bob Gainey suddenly resigned as general manager of the Canadiens on February 8th and turned things over to his assistant Pierre Gauthier he promised that he would remain with the club as a consultant. More often than not, “consultant” is just another word for nothing left to do. The presence of one, if there is a presence at all, is usually barely tolerated and any advice is mostly ignored.
Not in Gainey’s case. When it comes to Gainey, loyalties run deep; from Gauthier, who was hired by him after he left Anaheim; Jacques Martin who was hired by him to coach the team; and the team, top to bottom, which was constructed by him. The only move made by the team since the resignation was the acquisition of Domenic Moore from Florida for a second round draft pick and that, since it came three days after the Gainey resignation, also had Gainey’s fingerprints all over it.
Martin picked today to mention what Gainey still means to the club. In his daily meeting with reporters.
”I remember Ken Hitchcock telling me how much of a factor he (Gainey) was when (Dallas) won the Cup (in 1999). That’s why Bob’s been around the team since the start of the playoffs. He has a different outlook on the game and brings different ideas.”
Michael Cammalleri, one of Gainey’s prize off season signings, echoed Martin’s thoughts in an interview with Bill Beacon of Canadian Press.
”I don’t know what his exact title is now, but he’s adding so much because you can have candid conversations with him. There’s a certain protocol you follow with a general manager because he’s still making certain decisions and you can’t have as candid a conversation as you’d like. Now him being around and being able on a daily basis to add specific insight on how we can play is pretty cool.”
Eleven of the eighteen skaters that Jacques Martin put on the ice Tuesday night against the Flyers were not with the Canadiens in last year’s playoffs. Four of them, Gomez, Gionta, Gill and Moen, own Stanley Cup rings. On the current playoff roster Gomez, Pyatt, Moore and Pouliot were acquired in trades. Spacek, Gill and Mara were free agent signings on defence. Up front Cammalleri, Gionta, Bergeron and Moen also came out of free agency. And from this year’s Hamilton Bulldogs have come the veteran Darche plus Subban and Maxwell.
The kindest of Gainey’s critics called the ripping apart of last year’s team “bold”. Mostly they all laughed and shook their collective heads. Twenty six of those critics are now playing golf and contemplating just what Bob Gainey has wrought in Montreal.