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Deep Blue Sea: Bergevin joins Kings front office

Canadiens news dominates today’s news cycle, along with Kane updates and coach tantrums.

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Assistant general manager Trevor Timmins and general manager Marc Bergevin of the Montreal Canadiens attend rounds 2-7 of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft at Bell Center on July 24, 2021 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Marc Bergevin, the former general manager of the Montreal Canadiens, who was ousted from his position with the organization earlier this season on Nov. 28, has been hired by the Los Angeles Kings organization as a senior advisor.

Here’s what Kings GM Rob Blake (rumored to be signing a multi-year extension) had to say regarding bringing Bergevin on, in a statement: “Marc brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our hockey operations staff and will be a valuable addition to our group … We look forward to his contributions.”

If you needed a reality check that the NHL’s “coaches circle” exists, well, this is it. New NHL hires tend to be an uninspired revolving door of the same five older white men we’ve seen before and rarely is there an injection of new blood into the mix. It’s a byproduct of hockey’s worst/best trait; the insular community. Sure, there’s loyalty in shared experiences — and being ‘in hockey’ is a very particular experience few people experience, especially at this level — but while a close-knit sense of belonging and community is wonderful at times, it can also be toxic.

Not that Marc Bergevin is bringing toxicity to the Kings, but I have questions on what kind of situations he’ll be advising on, considering that just this year, he drafted Logan Mailloux in the first round. The hockey world also learned the extent of Bergevi’s significant role in the Chicago Blackhawks organization during the 2010 sexual assault of two players. And I’m not quick to forget the Canadiens’ response to Alex Galchenyuk’s girlfriend being arrested by Montreal police on domestic violence charges following an incident in their home in 2016 during Bergevin’s tenure. Needless to say, there are some concerns on what kind of culture Bergevin will bring with him.

As the general manager of the Canadiens for nine years, Bergevin has weathered his share of storms, many of which were of his own making, and his movements as a GM have been under question. Did he effectively build a core of young players with which he could build an on-ice identity around? Could he have better utilized unrestricted free agency to bolster his top lines? Trades and signings are always going to be contentious for fans, but even I’ll admit that the Karl Alzner deal was an oversight.

And of course, there have been questions on how the Canadiens (read: Bergevin) have valued their players. P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov and Jesperi Kotkaniemi have all gotten the short end of the stick when it came to negotiations with the team, and their place on it.

All in all, had Marc Bergevin successfully capitalized upon the Canadiens’ Stanley Cup Finals appearance to kickstart a 2021-22 season that wasn’t one point from the bottom of the league, and didn’t have the character and culture concerns he has, then the Kings bringing him in would be a different story.

But cards falling as they are, I’m not sure the Kings made the right move, and the PR hit they take from it alone is indicative of not being able to read the room.

News & Notes

  • Sharks’ Evander Kane clears unconditional waivers; NHLPA intends to file grievance [The Athletic]
  • Evander Kane contract termination gives Sharks financial boost [The Hockey Writers]
  • Legal look: Can the San Jose Sharks get out of paying Evander Kane millions of dollars? [Forbes]

Blood in the Water

  • Former Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin joins Kings as senior advisor [CBC Sports]
  • Canadiens reportedly interview Patrick Roy for vacant GM job [Yahoo Sports]
  • LaFontaine, Division I goalie of the year signs contract with Hurricanes [NHL]
  • Furious Rick Bowness lashes out after St. Louis Blues ‘got lucky’ in dramatic 2-1 win over Dallas Stars [ESPN]
  • Canadiens goalies: Price inching closer, Allen calling it as he sees it [Sportsnet]
  • NHL and more pay tribute to Connecticut teen Teddy Balkind, who died after being injured in high school hockey game [CBS New York]

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