When Serge Savard was brought in to help choose the new general manager of the Montreal Canadiens, Vincent Damphousse’s name was immediately bounced around by the Montreal media.
Savard and Damphousse have known one another for decades, won a Stanley Cup together in 1993 (Savard as the GM, Damphousse as a player) and are known to have a close relationship.
Despite his 17-year career in the NHL, which saw him eclipse the 1000 game and point marks, many fans and media have argued that Damphousse doesn’t have the experience necessary to even be considered as a possible replacement for Pierre Gauthier. Damphousse has never held a managerial position in the league and has spent the better part of the last few years as an analyst for RDS.
A day after being announced as an advisor to Canadiens owner Geoff Molson in the GM search, Savard joined Randy Tieman of TSN Radio 990 in Montreal. In the interview, Savard seemed to open the door for Damphousse to take over the GM job in the Canadiens organization.
When speaking of the necessary qualities that the new GM must have, Savard went out of his way to mention that experience was not necessary.
“I came as a manager without experience myself, [like] guys like Bobby Clarke and John Ferguson,” he said.
Not only did Savard not stress the importance of experience, he highlighted the importance of the new GM having the respect of his peers.
“You know I think if you have a person that knows the game very well, has good judgement and also has the respect of all his people and the players, this is very important,” he said.
During the latter part of his career, Damphousse served as Vice President of the NHLPA under Trevor Linden. Being voted to the executive committee of the players' association clearly shows that Damphousse is very well-connected among players and was very well respected during his playing years.
Of course, likely out of respect to the process, Savard did not mention Damphousse or any other possible candidates throughout the interview. Also, his downplaying of experience could point to a number of different candidates.
For instance, he could have been referring to Pierre McGuire, who only briefly held managerial positions in the early 1990s. He also could have been referring to Julien BriseBois, who if given the position, would be the youngest general manager in the league at 35 years old.
What Savard did do, however, was open the door for a man who no one seems to think should be given the opportunity to run this team.
For more on the Montreal sports scene, go to The Montreal Sports Report.