Canadiens owner Molson 'not afraid' of rebuild after front office shakeup

Canadiens owner Geoff Molson explains how his role will not change after hiring of Jeff Gorton as VP of hockey operations, says his job is to remain positive, supportive and make tough decisions, but is excited for this franchise's fresh start.

Often, change can have cascading effects, with one decision rippling out and inciting others. The Montreal Canadiens may find themselves in the midst of this dynamic.

After making a series of bold moves aimed at reshaping its front office on Sunday, firing general manager Marc Bergevin as well as assistant general manager Trevor Timmins and senior vice president of affairs and communications, Paul Wilson, more changes are bound to be headed for Montreal.

Among the more immediate ones will be the selection of a new general manager. But, when that person is in place, the direction of the team which appeared in the Stanley Cup Final last season may change, too -- including the possibility of a rebuild.

"I’m not afraid of that word," Geoff Molson, the team's owner, said Monday when discussing the team's on-ice future. "I think our fans wouldn't be afraid of that word either."

Molson said he'll be supportive of the new leadership's decisions "if it's the right thing for the Montreal Canadiens to be a great team in the long-term."

The Canadiens, without captain Shea Weber and star goalie Carey Price, are 6-15-2 this season after making their fabled run last season.

Molson did not commit to a timeline for when a new GM would be found to oversee the club's on-ice future, though he did say the sooner the search concluded, the better, while emphasizing the need to find a candidate who could speak french.

Away from the ice, Molson noted that one area of change the Canadiens would pursuing is the building of a medical team dedicated to mental health of players. Several Canadiens, including Price and forward Jonathan Drouin have been candid about their experiences with adverse mental health challenges over the past year.

One area of the Canadiens that doesn't appear to be changing yet, though, is behind the bench. Molson emphasized that Jeff Gorton, the team's new vice president of hockey operations, and whoever assumes responsibilities as general manager will be tasked with making coaching decisions.

"As far as I'm concerned, [Dominique Ducharme is] the coach and he's staying there," Molson said.

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