Since Serge Savard has been out of the NHL inside loop for almost twenty years, one can imagine he has little personal knowledge of the obvious candidates for the vacant Canadiens GM position.
Savard at least has a nodding acquaintance with Blair Mackasey through their mutual connections with the old Junior Canadiens. But, Savard asked the Minnesota Wild for permission to talk to him because of his background in scouting and player development.
Mackasey is currently the Wild’s director of player personnel.
He was originally hired by Doug Risebrough six years ago as the Wild’s director of pro scouting after a stint with Hockey Canada and the Phoenix Coyotes. He also coached in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
As well as playing pro hockey Mackasey was a teammate of Gary Carter and Ellis Valentine for two seasons with Expos farm teams in Jamestown New York and Cocoa Beach Florida. (Truth be told – he was a terrible hitter)
Mackasey is a regular in the Canadiens press box, so his knowledge of the politics of the Canadiens both on and off the ice is extensive. He was raised in Verdun and still makes his home in Beaconsfield.
Mackasey joins current assistant GM’s Julien Brisebois of Tampa Bay, Claude Loiselle of the Leafs. the Hawks Marc Bergevin and Los Angeles President of Business Operations Luc Robitaille among those rumoured to have been approached. Patrick Roy’s name keeps cropping up as well, although, with his team still in the QMJHL playoffs, there’s no indication that he’s been approached. At least not yet.
Jim Nill of Detroit and the Kings Ron Hextall are also mentioned but they’re unilingual. So is Doug Risebrough. Vincent Damphousse and agent Pat Brisson have withdrawn from the running.