Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Marc Bergevin Autographed Card

I'd like to acknowledge Montréal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin's 50th birthday today by featuring him... wearing a Tampa Bay Lightning uniform. Which is weird, considering they're the ones who eliminated the Habs this last postseason, but still, Bergevin played for eight NHL teams and his hometown Canadiens weren't one of them, so I do what I can:
It's card #363 of Pinnacle Brands' 1993-94 Score (Canadian Version) set, which he signed in blue sharpie. It depicts him wearing Tampa's inaugural black uniforms, attempting a slap shot from the point, possibly during a pre-game warmup.

All told, Bergevin played in 1191 regular-season games (with 36 goals, 145 assists, 181 points and 1090 penalty minutes to show for it, and 80 more playoff games (3 goals, 6 assists, 9 points and 52 PIMs). He finished in the minuses in both.

He was a fringe player.

Upon retiring, he became part of the Chicago Blackhawks' management team, first spending three seasons as a pro scout, then one as an assistant coach, then two seasons as the Director of Player Personnel (winning the Stanley Cup in 2010 in the process), before being named assistant general manager, a position he held for 11 months until he signed on with the Habs. When filling out his staff with the Canadiens, he picked former Hawks staff members Rick Dudley (assistant GM) and Martin Lapointe (Director of Player Development) to help get his vision across.

Bergevin's put his stamp on the team, although the three main core pieces (Carey Price in nets, P.K. Subban on defense and Max Pacioretty up front) as well as the veteran leadership group (Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Markov) were inherited from previous regimes.

This summer alone, he signed Mark MacMillan, Noah Juulsen and Daniel Audette to entry-level deals, RFAs Alex Galchenyuk, Jarred Tinordi, Nathan Beaulieu, Michaël Bournival, Christian Thomas, Greg Pateryn, Brian Flynn, Morgan Ellis and Gabriel Dumont, his own free agents Jeff Petry and Torrey Mitchell, as well as unrestricted free agents Alexander Semin, local kid Mark Barberio, Joel Hanley, George Holloway, and Ryan Johnston to contracts. He also traded fan favourite Brandon Prust for Zack Kassian. That's what I call keeping busy!

The NHL's getting tighter each year, with many teams from the bottom improving and few teams actually regressing, save for your Toronto Maple Leafs and Arizona Coyotes, which means the Habs will once again challenge for the top seed in the Atlantic Division, all the while fighting off some good teams who will fall just short; I envision six teams seriously vying for the four available playoff spots: the Habs, the Bolts, the Detroit Red Wings (another former team of Bergevin's), the Boston Bruins, the Ottawa Senators and the Florida Panthers in a tight race. My heart's with Montréal, Ottawa, Florida and the Wings, but Tampa Bay will boot one of them out for sure, possibly the Sens.

It's a tough league, but the Canadiens are set with their management team, which clearly ranks among the best in the business. And Marc Bervein's smack-dab in the middle of it, dancing the night away.

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