Taking stock of the Canadiens, Wild and Avalanche situations
News, opinion and gossip, all in 45-second shifts . . .
For the first time in our faulty memory, a GM has blamed his team's problems, at least in part, on the GM of another organization.
In addition to second-half injuries, Montreal's
Gainey apparently will remain as GM, saying at a break-up news conference after his team's four-game capitulation to Boston that he still has work to do. With 10 unrestricted free agents -- including captain
Now, Crawford is not quite bilingual. (At least, most French people don't think so.) But he is close enough. He does speak hockey French. (Caught him on a Radio-Canada interview about Canucks winger
And Crawford, who is married to a franco-Ontarian, will outwork anyone to improve. When he coached the Quebec Nordiques 15 years ago, On the Fly found Mr. Berlitz in his office working with a French tutor at 8 a.m, which is not all that remarkable except that he hadn't arrived home until 2:30 that morning from a game in Chicago.
A relatively new owner,
One name that keeps circulating is
McGuire might be a reach, but Leipold will be wise to look beyond the Wild organization for the next GM. As principled and solid a hockey man as Risebrough is, a certain stasis had gripped the organization in recent years under the only GM in the franchise's history. Minnesota, with a loyal and patient fan base, needs to be reenergized or the Xcel Energy Center will stop being an automatic sellout.
Risebrough used to say that one of the worst things that ever happened to the Wild was their out-of-left-field run to the Western Conference Final in 2003 because it unfairly raised expectations. In fact, for a long time, fans accepted middle-of-the-pack status for a franchise that didn't break through the first playoff round again. But the cavalry isn't coming to the Twin Cities. The Wild cupboard is bare in the minors and junior hockey, at least compared to an organization like St. Louis.
The Wild needs to get active in the free-agent market as a stopgap until it can rebuild infrastructure, which should be marginally easier since
Another name to ponder is
Two men who should be GMs, one now and one a little later:
A little lower on the food chain is