Habs GM Marc Bergevin 'relieved' from duties
Get the latest on this story here.
The Montreal Canadiens have fired general manager Marc Bergevin as the team finds itself mired in on-ice struggles mere months after advancing to the 2021 Stanley Cup final.
The Canadiens announced Bergevin's dismissal Sunday as part of a major housecleaning. Assistant GM Trevor Timmins and Paul Wilson, senior vice president of public affairs and communications, were also fired.
The Canadiens announced that former New York Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton will serve as executive vice president of hockey operations as the team searches for a new general manager.
"On behalf of myself and the organization, I wish to thank Marc Bergevin, Trevor Timmins, and Paul Wilson for their passion and engagement towards our club over the last years," Canadiens owner Geoff Molson said in a statement. "Their relentless work allowed our fans to experience many memorable moments, including last summer's playoff run that culminated with the Stanley Cup final.
"I think, however, that the time has come for a leadership change within our hockey operations department that will bring a new vision and should allow our fans and partners to continue cheering for a championship team."
Molson is scheduled to address the changes in a press conference Monday at 11 a.m. ET.
Bergevin was in his 10th season as the team's GM.
"Montreal is the city where I took my first skating strides and it's also the city where I learned to lead the NHL's winningest franchise," Bergevin said in a statement. "This city and this organization will always have a special place in my heart.
"That said, and despite the fact that this journey is coming to an end, I am proud of the legacy I'm leaving within the organization. The current team is much better than the results show, and I am convinced that my successors will be able to rise to the challenge."
Montreal has a woeful 6-15-2 record this season and is ahead of only the New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference standings.
Bergevin's long-term status with the team had been a question since he entered the season on an expiring contract.
Still, this wasn't the start to the season the Canadiens were expecting as the team went into the campaign fresh off an unexpected run to their first Cup final appearance since winning it all in 1993.
Backed by the stellar goaltending of Carey Price, the Canadiens came back from a 3-1 deficit to upset the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the playoffs. They followed with a sweep of Winnipeg in the North Division final and a win over Vegas in the conference final before losing to two-time Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay in the final.
Instead, the Canadiens had an off-season to forget and started the campaign without the talismanic Price and captain and defensive stalwart Shea Weber in the lineup.
Price voluntarily entered the joint NHL and NHL Players' Association's assistance program during training camp. Price's has since revealed he entered a residential treatment facility for substance use. Weber, meanwhile, is on the long-term injury reserve list with a foot/ankle injury and could be out for the entire season.
The challenges started even before that, with Bergevin losing two of his four centres in free agency.
In a surprising off-season development, Bergevin let restricted free agent Jesperi Kotkaniemi walk after declining to match the one-year US$6.1-million offer sheet the promising young forward signed with Carolina.
The six-foot-two, 201-pound Kotkaniemi, taken third overall by Montreal in the 2018 NHL draft, had five goals and 15 assists in 56 regular-season games last season. He added five goals and three assists in 19 playoff contests.
"The amount of money on a one-year deal for a player who should be making a lot less, it could affect our future," Bergevin said at the time. "We have a structure, our salary cap that we need to work with. And we have some young players coming through that we want to keep."
The Canadiens also lost Phillip Danault to the Los Angeles Kings in unrestricted free agency. In order to soften the blow, Bergevin acquired 25-year-old forward Christian Dvorak from Arizona in exchange for a conditional 2022 first-round pick and a 2024 second-round pick.
Montreal locked up at least one of their rising young stars, signing centre Nick Suzuki to an eight-year contract extension worth US$63 million. However, Suzuki has struggled to find the net this season and has just four goals in 28 games.
He is not the only young Canadien who seems to have taken a step back. Cole Caufield, so electric when he joined the Canadiens as a rookie late last season, has a goal and two assists in 15 games and just returned from a stint in the minors with the American Hockey League's Laval Rocket.
Meanwhile, the Habs have had to weather not only Price's absence, but injuries to top backup Jake Allen.
The Canadiens brought Montreal native Bergevin, 56, aboard in May 2012 to replace the fired Pierre Gauthier. The Canadiens were coming off a dismal 2011-12 season in which they finished last in the Eastern Conference and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
"We feel we have selected an individual with the potential to lead our organization in the future," Molson said at the time. "We were looking for a candidate with very strong leadership capability, great communication skills at all levels and someone with a clear determination and commitment to winning."
Montreal returned to the playoffs in Bergevin's first season at the helm before losing in the first round to Ottawa. They made a big step forward in 2013-14, advancing to the Eastern Conference final before losing in six games to the Rangers.
In Bergevin's nine-plus years at the helm, Montreal made the post-season six times and won seven series, including a 3-1 victory over Pittsburgh during the playoff qualification round of the pandemic-interrupted 2019-20 season.
He wasn't afraid to make a splash during his time in the Habs' front office. His 2016 trade of popular defenceman P.K. Subban to Nashville in exchange for Weber stunned Montreal's fan base and was harshly criticized by the Canadiens' faithful.
Weber's fine performance as team leader and defensive anchor in the years following the swap went some ways to vindicate Bergevin for making the controversial move.
In the 2018 off-season Bergevin traded top forward Max Pacioretty to Vegas, netting Tomas Tatar, Suzuki, and a 2019 second-round selection in return.
Bergevin entered the front office following a long playing career when he was named a scout with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2008.
He was the director of pro personnel with the Blackhawks in 2010, when former player Kyle Beach alleged he was sexually assaulted by assistant coach Brad Aldrich.
Bergevin was not named in a scathing report released last month following an independent investigation commissioned by the Blackhawks in response to lawsuits by Beach and a former high school student whom Aldrich was convicted of assaulting in Michigan.
The report found senior leaders of the Blackhawks met to discuss Beach's allegation during the team's run to the 2010 Cup title, then failed to act.
Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman and top executive Al MacIsaac and Florida coach Joel Quenneville, who coached the Blackhawks at the time, all resigned in the wake of the investigation.
Bergevin said during the Stanley Cup final media day that he was "not aware" of the sexual assault allegations.
"It came out recently. There was a meeting that I've heard was done in Chicago. I was not part of any meeting and I was not part of any decision based on that. I was not aware of what was going on at the time. You can go on the record with that," Bergevin said at the time. He has not commented on the scandal since.
-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2021.
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Rescue workers and civilians passed chunks of concrete and household goods across mountains of rubble Monday, moving tons of wreckage by hand in a desperate search for survivors trapped by a devastating earthquake.
A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked wide swaths of Turkiye and neighbouring Syria on Monday, killing more than 2,600 people and injuring thousands more as it toppled thousands of buildings and trapped residents under mounds of rubble.
As preparations are underway for the anticipated health-care 'working meeting' between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada's premiers on Tuesday, new details are emerging about how the much-anticipated federal-provincial gathering will unfold.
A magnitude 7.8 earthquake shook Turkiye and Syria on Monday, killing thousands of people. Here is a list of some of the world's deadliest earthquakes since 2000.
Quebec's immigration minister says she was 'surprised' to learn the City of New York is helping to provide free bus tickets to migrants heading north to claim asylum in Canada.
opinion | Don Martin: Alarms going off over health-care privatization? Such an out-of-touch waste of hot political air
The chances Trudeau's health-care summit with the premiers will end with the blueprint to realistic long-term improvements are only marginally better than believing China’s balloon was simply collecting atmospheric temperatures, Don Martin writes in an exclusive column for CTVNews.ca, 'But it’s clearly time the 50-year-old dream of medicare as a Canadian birthright stopped being such a nightmare for so many patients.'
Calgarians at home and abroad are reeling in the wake of a massive earthquake that struck a war-torn region near the border of Turkiye and Syria.
A 6-year-old Virginia boy who shot and wounded his first-grade teacher constantly cursed at staff and teachers, chased students around and tried to whip them with his belt and once choked another teacher 'until she couldn't breathe,' according to a legal notice filed by an attorney for the wounded teacher.
A 3.8-magnitude earthquake that struck near Buffalo, N.Y. Monday morning was felt in southern Ontario, officials say.
European family moves to Toronto in long-term Airbnb. A 'loophole' got them an eviction notice midway
For a Switzerland professor contracted to work in Ontario for a year, Airbnb looked like the right option for a family of five.
A man killed in a weekend hit-and-run in Toronto was a child actor who starred in a movie shown at the Toronto International Film Festival more than a decade ago.
Netflix users who have been sharing their passwords with friends and family members who live hundreds – or even thousands – of kilometres away won’t be able to do so for much longer, as the streaming service now wants password sharing to end.
The lawyer representing a former medical student accused of murder says her client will testify that he shot another student in self-defence when a drug deal in Halifax turned violent.
While relatively short-lived, the blast of Arctic air in the Maritimes was enough to break some long-standing low temperature records for all three Maritime provinces for both Friday and Saturday.
A Cape Breton councillor feels with a 14 per cent increase now granted to Nova Scotia Power and millions of dollars in profits annually, residents shouldn't be paying out hundreds of dollars to operate a generator to keep the lights on.
Karen Cunningham, a 30-year-old woman initially reported as missing late last week, has been confirmed deceased according to police in Woodstock, Ont.
London police are requesting the public’s help in locating two suspects following a violent home invasion and robbery in which the victim was assaulted, tied up and held captive for several days, according to police.
A Toronto man is in custody after he allegedly broke into the airport in Kincardine, Ont. over the weekend and caused $100,000 in damages, according to police.
A 78-year-old woman from Sudbury, Ont., -- a Harry Styles superfan -- has become internet famous after announcing the 2023 Grammy Award for Album of the Year on Sunday night.
Two men in their 30s from Kapuskasing have been arrested and face several firearms-related charges after allegedly threatening a pedestrian Sunday evening, police say.
Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has cleared a Sudbury police officer who was accused of sexual assault during an October 2022 arrest.
A Lethbridge man convicted of sexually assaulting three women has been sentenced to 12 years behind bars.
Calgary police say another person has been arrested in connection to a deadly Christmas Day shooting in Forest Lawn.
A pedestrian has been rushed to hospital with what police say are serious injuries after a crash in Cambridge.
A 44-year-old Woolwich, Ont., man has been arrested for allegedly making death threats against a member of parliament.
Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in Wellington County are investigating a fatal two-vehicle collision in the Township of Wellington North.
A construction site in Langley became the scene of an emergency Monday morning when a concrete wall collapsed, sending two people to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Work is underway to try to save the Vancouver Folk Music Festival from permanent cancellation, according to the society's board.
British Columbia's New Democrat government says it plans to put this year's projected budget surplus of almost $6 billion to work as an economic slowdown looms.
Comedian chomps chili pepper at Edmonton public hearing while arguing climate change is 'not a huge issue'
A local comedian stirred up laughter, confusion and condemnation Monday morning when he ate a spicy prop at a public hearing in Edmonton City Hall as he ranted about how climate change is "not the end of the world."
Alberta's premier was on a week-and-half-long holiday while the province erupted over reports that a member of her staff sent emails to Crown prosecutors in an attempt to interfere in COVID-19 blockade cases.
After using Alberta's education curriculum since the 1950s, the Northwest Territories has outlined the timeline it will use to pivot toward British Columbia's program of studies.
An Essex County dog trainer is teaming up with a Canadian veteran to try and connect other Canadian military veterans with qualified service dogs. They said service dogs can bring energy, life and joy back to those struggling with post traumatic stress disorder, but that the wait times to be paired with a proper dog are too long.
Chrystia Freeland is touring Reko Automation in Lakeshore, Ont on Monday.
Windsor police are asking for the public’s help to identify a suspect who fraudulently used a debit card.
Mark Docherty, the Sask. Party MLA for Regina-Coronation Park, has announced his resignation.
The trial of a man accused in the death of his three-month-old son is underway in Regina this week, more than five years since the infant died.
A geothermal power project in southeast Saskatchewan is set to begin construction in late 2023.
EXCLUSIVE | Homeowners left with unfinished projects after Ottawa construction company suddenly closes
Homeowners and employees have been left reeling after an Orléans construction company suddenly closed its doors, walking away from half-built houses and projects worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
An Ottawa restaurateur says he was shocked to find his restaurant broken into and even more surprised to discover a giant hole in the wall that led to the neighbouring jewellery store.
Library books from a small town in the Pontiac region of Quebec are about to be checked out for the last time and with no due date.
Saskatoon’s Emily Clark was one of five of the top women’s hockey players to take part in the NHL all-star game skills competition this past weekend in Florida.
Connor Bedard has been taking the hockey world by storm, selling out multiple games on the Regina Pats Alberta road trip, but has the Western Hockey League (WHL) reckoned with his impact?
A long-term care home worker in the Meadow Lake area defrauded 11 residents of $15,636, according reports from the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and the RCMP.