As Canadiens Flounder On The Ice, Front Office Denies Reports Of Internal Unrest
The CBC's Elliotte Friedman last week said he noticed Geoff Molson "was no longer" Canadiens Chair, but is now team President. Friedman: "Apparently (the move) happened last June, but what people were saying was, even though that it happened last June there's a lot of infighting on the Montreal ownership group, the six or seven pieces that are there." However, Molson and Canadiens minority Owner Michael Andlauer told Friedman the reports of unrest were "total fabrication." Friedman: "The reason Geoff Molson was moved from Chairman of the Board is because he wanted to be President and you can't be both. They said, 'We are not fighting behind the scenes.'" The CBC's Mike Milbury: "Somebody should be fighting there because it's a mess. They've embarrassed themselves time and time again with this coaching thing and everything that's gone on there this year" ("HNIC," CBC, 1/14). In N.Y., Larry Brooks wrote under the header, "Canadiens A Mess In Any Language." Brooks: "At some point or another Canadiens general manger Pierre Gauthier is going to run out of scapegoats, and at some point or another ownership might cast a critical glance at the way this unusually unpopular individual within the industry is running the operation, but at the same time it hardly is accurate to cast [Flames LW] Mike Cammalleri as some sort of a victim as the organization devolves into rubble." The Canadiens traded Cammalleri mid-game Saturday after he reportedly gave a "statement that contained a variation of the word 'loser'" in reference to his former team (N.Y. POST, 1/15).
FALLEN ON HARD TIMES: In a special to the Montreal GAZETTE, Jack Todd writes, "Someone has to take a clear-eyed look at this team and develop a long-range plan based on the assets the Canadiens really have, not on an overly optimistic view of the talent here and in the system. Show me the long-term thinking that is going to put the once-mighty Canadiens back on a par with Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago, Vancouver and Boston as a consistent championship threat." The Canadiens are a team "desperately in need of a long-term overhaul, a clear vision of the future, even a willingness to bottom out now in order to come back stronger than ever." Todd writes, "Instead, we have a comedy act -- and a team president, Geoff Molson, who appears reluctant to do something about it. How the once-mighty Canadiens have fallen" (Montreal GAZETTE, 1/17).