Montreal Canadiens: A Business Assessment and Irresponsible Journalism

Rocket All HabsCorrespondent IMarch 24, 2009

MONTREAL - SEPTEMBER 15:  George Gillette of the Montreal Canadiens poses for a portrait on September 15, 2003 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  (Photo by: Getty Images)

You may have noticed that no articles have appeared on All Habs regarding the potential "sale" of the Montreal Canadiens. This is not an omission. It is a choice.

Underlying all the rumors and speculation, there is a legitimate sports business story.

Canadiens team president Pierre Boivin, in a statement, said, "The Gillett family has retained the services of financial advisers to assess various strategic alternatives to optimize the value of its corporate assets. In Canada, the family has retained the services of BMO Capital Markets and the process is underway."

So what does that mean? In short, a smart businessman has hired experts to conduct an business evaluation of the entertainment division of his company during a recession. I would be more worried about Mr. Gillete as an owner if he wasn't undertaking this assessment.

BMO will provide Gillette with a report that could include dozens of different options that could vary by the asset. In the their typical sensational manner, La Presse has irresponsibly chosen to focus on only one of the options: the sale of the Montreal Canadiens.

La Presse ran with this angle as if it was an eventuality—even to the point of speculating on possible buyers. It is unfortunate that players and coaches were forced to respond to questions about these rumours.

We observed the La Presse coverage regarding the arrest of Pasquale Magnolia and the subsequent commentary on RDS and other media sources.

We were told that multiple players would be charged and that "the scandal would rock the foundations of the franchise." As we now know, it was much ado about nothing. As far as I know the players named and the franchise have not received an apology.

For his part, Pierre Boivin has done a poor job communicating this message. Perhaps it's no surprise as Boivin has recently caused confusion and dismay with his bizarre statements concerning the hiring of the next head coach of the Canadiens.

For all the people who contacted me about the impending sale of the Canadiens, I understand your concern. I can assure you that this is not something we need worry about at this time. At the worst, this may be a topic for another day well in the future. It is certainly possible that nothing will happen at all.

For now, it is time to focus on the last ten games of the season and to support the team as it makes its run towards the playoffs.

As coach Bob Gainey said, "I've heard vague rumours about what's happening. I didn't hear that the hockey team was being sold. Have you? We have hockey games to play and it's about the competition."

posted by Rocket