NEW YORK (AP) The Montreal Canadiens have rewarded general manager and executive vice president Marc Bergevin for turning around the team and leading it to the playoffs the past three seasons.
Bergevin, who had a year left on his contract, signed a multiyear extension through the end of the 2021-22 season, the team announced Wednesday before facing the Rangers in New York.
The Canadiens have made the playoffs in three straight seasons under Bergevin's watch, including an appearance in the Eastern Conference final in 2013-14.
''I wanted a team that was consistent every night, a team that had a chance to win,'' said Bergevin, adding contract talks have been on-going. ''I know we've all been asked is this team ready to win a Stanley Cup.''
Bergevin refused to say how close the Canadiens are to another title, saying the goal is to be one of the 16 teams in the playoffs.
''As long as you get in you have a chance, so our goal is to get in every year and make damage once you're there,'' he said. ''But it's really hard to get in. You know how the parity around the league is today. On any given night if you're not ready you might not win. Lower teams in the standings can beat a first place team any time if you're not ready. It's fun for our fans, but it's demanding for the players.''
Bergevin took over Montreal's vacant general manager position on May 2, 2012, and quickly turned a franchise that finished with just 78 points in 2011-12 under Pierre Gauthier, who was fired near the end of that season.
The Canadiens have posted a 141-68-25 record under Bergevin, ranking third in the NHL in wins over that span.
''I am very pleased to announce that Marc accepted a multiyear contract extension and that he will remain our general manager until the end of the 2021-22 season,'' team owner and president Geoff Molson said in a statement.
''This new agreement brings added stability for our organization and particularly for our hockey operations. It enables us to continue our efforts in giving our fans a winning team.''
Bergevin, a 50-year-old Montreal native, has managed to get several of the Canadiens' core players under long-term contracts. He signed superstar goaltender Carey Price to a six-year, $39 million deal shortly after taking over the club in 2012, and agreed to an eight-year, $72-million deal with defenseman P.K Subban before the 2014-15 season.
Forward Brendan Gallagher is in the first year of a six-year, $22.5 million contract, and defenseman Jeff Petry was lured back to Montreal with a six-year, $33 million deal after Bergevin acquired him from Edmonton at last season's trade deadline.
''We have a core group that we have to build around, and after that you have to find pieces that fit in,'' Bergevin said. ''There is only so much money that we could spend, and as a former player, guys want to get paid and sometimes you have to make hard decisions. Sometimes they're decisions that are not popular, but at the end of the day you have to do what is best for the organization. That's a tough part of the job.''
The Canadiens have won more Stanley Cups than any other NHL franchise (24). However, they have not hoisted the Cup since 1992-93.
Bergevin said the only pressure he feels is the pressure he puts on himself.
''Pressure, listen, we all want to win,'' he said. ''I could tell you about the 29 other general managers in the League, they all want to win. It's a tough league and we all feel the pressure. I don't feel more than (Rangers GM) Jeff (Gorton) here or Ray Shero in Jersey. It's a tough job and we have to win.''