Friday, 13 January 2012

Geoff Molson: First An Owner Then A Fan

It is every sports fan dream to be a player, coach or a general manager for their favourite professional sports team. If you are fortunate enough, the ultimate scenario is to be the owner of the team. A perfect example is Mark Cuban, owner of the defending NBA champions, Dallas Mavericks. The sheer joy that he had this past June made up for the years of anguish and thousands of dollars in fines due to his strong attachment to the team as a fan.

Fast-forward to the present and the situation that Geoff Molson finds himself in and the key decisions he has to make in the next few weeks and months to come. (First, as an owner and then a fan).

Do you give up on the 2011-12 season?

As an owner - Of course not. As long as the team is mathematically in contention for the playoffs, you support your organization until it is impossible. Why? Possible playoff revenue thanks to a minimum two home playoffs dates plus the cash from all the Habs gear that usually flies off the shelves in April.

As a fan - For the good of the team going forward, you fold up the tent and try to position the team for a decent draft pick and shed some contracts at the trade deadline. Yes, you want to hold out hope and believe the team is still in the hunt but it will take an implosion of 2 to 3 teams for the Habs to make the playoffs.

What do you do with general manager, Pierre Gauthier?

As an owner - Gauthier's management of the team is poor at best. His role in the signing of Scott Gomez has fans pissed off not to mention his panic prompted trade for Tomas Kaberle to make up for Andrei Markov. The recent Cammalleri - Bourque trade has indicated that there is still trust in Gauthier's abilities to improve the 12th-placed team (as of January 14th, 2011). With this in mind, you have to keep Gauthier in place until: a) you have THE person to take over as general manager that will revamp the entire organization or b) Gauthier's contract expires. Do you want to pay for two GMs at the same time? You are already paying for two head coaches in Cunneyworth and Martin. Yes, you are cash rich; however, when does the necessary expenditures stop? Fellow owner, Eugene Melnyk gave the GM of the Ottawa Senators, Bryan Murray a second chance to rebuild and look at where the team is in standing to date.

As a fan - Gauthier's track record does not bode well for the future of the club. Even with Cammalleri's contract off the books, there is still Gomez to dump, possibly dealing P.K. Subban (if he is a distraction in the dressing room) and signing the franchise, Carey Price. Do you let the GM clean up the mess or wish for someone else to rebuild the team? Pierre McGuire?

Blog posts, tweets and phone calls are demanding for Geoff Molson to act now to change the fortunes of the club. Although he maybe the ultimate fan that bleeds bleu, blanc et rouge, he is an owner first and will make the right business decision that will impact the bottom line.

Final Taughts
  • Jacques Martin as a scout? If you were not a big fan of Martin as coach of the Canadiens then you might not be too pleased at the thought of him as a scout. If Martin is not able to change his mindset of how hockey should be played in the "New NHL", he will probably be evaluating young talent based on how the players could fit into his "system" and not the future identity of the hockey club. Moving Martin from head coach to scout is like firing cook of a greasy spoon diner. Although you want to change the diner's menu, you still have the same cook doing the shopping for the ingredients with the same menu in mind.
  • The Blue Jays were here? Really, who cares? Speaking as jaded Expos fan, I wasn't thrilled at the news that Jays were in town to win the hearts of remaining baseball fans. Well, I guess it was a question of time before the geniuses in the Jays marketing department pounced at the opportunity. They could offer me season tickets and a jet to travel back and forth, I will NEVER be a Jays fan. After the organization voted to contract the Expos, I could not support the team in any fashion. When (and not if) the Jays has a pre-season series versus the Red Sox, I will hoping that nobody shows up to the game even if Denis Boucher comes back and starts on the mount.

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