It’s interesting to speculate whether former general manager Marc Bergevin had a master plan to handle the looming capitalization crisis for the team he left behind.

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When the legendary comedian Stan Laurel found himself in a difficult situation, his partner Oliver Hardy would say, “This is a big mess you’ve gotten us into.”

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Jeff Gorton, the Canadiens’ newly hired executive vice president of hockey operations, knows that sentiment because he inherited a big mess from Marc Bergevin.

Gorton first met with the media on Friday, and while he said he’s still catching up on how best to turn the Canadiens around, there are signs the team is heading for a major rebuild. That will involve bringing in new talent through draft and development, and cleaning up dead wood.

The Canadiens haven’t done a stellar job in developing their young talent. Some of the problems stem from a tendency to lead players slowly, although it could be argued that the problems start with the draft. Many of the team’s first-round failures over the past decade haven’t fared much better in other organizations.

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The way things are going this season, the Canadiens will likely have a top-10 pick for the fourth time in the past decade, but to be successful they have to get the right player and stick with him.

The Canadiens seemed to have the right player in Alex Galchenyuk, but lifestyle issues got in the way and he’s now a minimum-wage depth player for the Arizona Coyotes, the second-worst team in the NHL.

Mikhail Sergachev was the right player, but he didn’t get a chance before being traded to Tampa Bay for Jonathan Drouin.

And you could argue that Brady Tkachuk would have been a better pick when the Canadiens opted for Jesperi Kotkaniemi, but the Carolina Hurricanes saw value in the Finn and lured him in with a $ 6.1 million offer sheet. The Canadiens received a first-round pick from Carolina as compensation, but traded it for Christian Dvorak, who was given one of those contracts that Gorton will likely try to get rid of.

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Gorton admitted that the salary cap is an impediment to rebuilding. The Canadiens have 14 players with contracts that span at least three seasons and some of them fall into the category of bad contracts, deals that are unlikely to attract attention on the open market.

The situation becomes even more complicated next season, when Nick Suzuki begins to earn $ 7.875 million. According to Cap Friendly, the Canadiens have committed more than $ 84 million, or $ 3 million over the cap, to 13 players and that means Gorton and the general manager to be named will have to ditch some contracts.

It is interesting to speculate whether Bergevin had a master plan to handle the compounding crisis. Or maybe he knew he wasn’t going to be around and the good mess he left behind is Bergy’s revenge.

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A modest proposal for diversity: When Canadiens owner / president Geoff Molson revealed his plans for a “fresh start,” he mentioned the importance of diversity. While Molson had trouble articulating what that meant, it has been speculated that the team would add a woman to its hockey operations. The Toronto Maple Leafs have an advantage over the Canadiens with Dr. Hayley Wickenheiser in charge of the team’s development program and Hockey Hall of Famer Danielle Goyette as their right-hand man.

Caroline Ouellette and Danièle Sauvageau have made significant contributions to Canada’s success in women’s hockey and would be good additions to the Canadiens organization, but I know both would insist on playing meaningful roles and not be used as showcases. Sauvageau has offered his expertise to Canadians in the past, but Bergevin dismissed it as incompetent.

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If the Canadiens really want to promote diversity, they might consider taking the lead in promoting a true professional women’s league similar to the NBA’s role in the WNBA. The world’s best female hockey players have been orphaned since the collapse of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and it’s time to give them a showcase that allows them to earn a living while pursuing their dreams.

The best part of hockey: That’s what promoters are saying about a new hockey league that will feature an expanded form of the 3v3 overtime format. 3ICE is the brainchild of EJ Johnston, his father is former NHL goalkeeper Eddie Johnston, and he will its debut next summer after plans for the inaugural season last summer were scrapped due to pandemic concerns.

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It is not known where the players will come from, but the fledgling league has attracted big-name coaches, including former Canadiens Guy Carbonneau and John LeClair, and there will be television coverage on TSN, RDS and CBS Sports Channel.

The league will be made up of six teams and will play six games a night with three preliminaries, two semi-finals and one final. The games will feature two eight-minute run time periods.

3ICE will debut in Las Vegas on June 18 and will make a stop at the Vidéotron Center in Quebec City on July 30. The playoffs and the final will return to Las Vegas on August 20.

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Reference-montrealgazette.com

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