Broken Record, Broken Needle: Marc Bergevin Missing The Point

The end of the season press conference has come and gone.  Marc Bergevin and Geoff Molson came to address the usual group of individuals from the media and while a fresh note or two was played at this proverbial concert, this presser has –in essence– only made things worse.


Marc and Geoff preach a new level of transparency as being a priority.  Good on them.  Positive notes from this more or less begin and end there, though.  The truth is that Geoff Molson did quite well in handling this one but he had to continuously step in when Bergevin found himself lost or giving vague responses.  Actions may speak louder than words but the words that Bergevin left listeners with were less than inspiring that he should be granted any kind of confidence in getting the job done.  While a quote-by-quote breakdown will largely be spared here, there is one worth noting.


“There are teams that make [the playoffs] every year for whatever reason… the Pittsburgh Penguins…”


His choice of words is telling of his lack of qualifications to do a general manager’s job properly, showcasing a complete lack of understanding of what it entails.  This communicates that he fails to understand how their success of back-to-back Stanley Cups has been obtained.  Marc Bergevin evidently fails to comprehend that such success is procured via the draft, targeting the most skilled player available along the way, being on the winning end of a meaningful/headline worthy trade as the Pittsburgh Penguins seem to be at least once a year and having defencemen that even if they could not do one single other thing well, they could at least move the puck.  Pittsburgh’s defensive unit doesn’t look like anything impressive on paper but they get the puck to the forwards so quickly that it’s almost as if their defencemen are a complete non-factor.


Need a reminder of the Phil Kessel trade? Of course because the media, so largely based out of Toronto, would never dare to speak of a trade in which the Leafs got proverbially pantsed in the schoolyard.  Pittsburgh needed a third line center in spite of having the Crosby-Malkin 1-2 punch.  They went and acquired Derick Brassard for pretty much a song.  In what world would Derick Brassard not be playing on the top line for this Canadiens team that was most recently iced? Alas, of course, “centers are not available” and that is why only every other team except for perhaps the New York Rangers seems to acquire them.


One could say that he simply chose his words badly and maybe he did.  However, he did just that: he chose them.  He also chose this crop of players.  Everything that Marc Bergevin has chosen speaks to his mindset and it is one that has inspired precisely zero more confidence that he is going to take any kind of productive action moving forwards.  The challenge in observation should be what one does not see on a successful team that they do see on their team.  The fact that Marc Bergevin, apparently, cannot see what is making teams like Pittsburgh successful that his team does not have is… one would have to say alarming but to call it that seems like a grotesque understatement.


The oft repeated word of the day (since apparently “character” has finally ran its course) was attitude as Bergevin blamed seemingly all of the team’s problems on their attitude.  The same guy that traded P.K. Subban to get rid of the team’s “attitude problem” seems to think that he is dealing with a room full of players that fit that bill.  By his logic, we can expect to prepare ourselves for 23 or more brand new names to be called out at next season’s home opener.


A change in attitude does not turn Phillip Danault into Evgeni Malkin.  A change in attitude does not turn Karl Alzner into Duncan Keith.  A change in attitude does not magically transform any one player into a player that simply possesses a different level of skill and a higher ceiling for potential than they do.  Hell, Karl Alzner seems like one of the nicest guys in the locker room or possibly the entire league and that probably indicates a positive attitude but where did that get him? Where did that get anyone? Where did this largely imaginary problem stem from other than just there: Marc Bergevin’s imagination?


The expectation should be that Marc Bergevin has at least equipped this team with those character players that he has almost solely fixated himself upon for the last six years.  A fundamental part of the foundation for a character player is having a good attitude.  The fact that this aspect of the team seems to be a failure, in even the eyes of the guy that places importance upon that above all else, should be telling of the fact that his immediate dismissal is long overdue and that Marc Bergevin himself should agree with that.  Geoff Molson has already implied that such will not be the case but it is without dispute that Marc Bergevin is at least a year beyond his “best before” date.  So too was Michel Therrien in 2016… before he was removed from the foxhole a year later.


An inability to understand the requirements of the job means an inability to do the job itself.


The timetable may just be set.  It may well be too late but it may be set nonetheless.

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