Canadiens general manager Pierre “The Ghost” Gauthier doesn’t mind spending big money on defensemen.
Improbably, lavished a three-year, $15.75-million deal on Andrei Markov during the offseason even though the talented puck rusher was recovering from major knee surgery. As it turned out, Markov didn’t make it back – instead undergoing another operation that will shelve him until at least February.
Then Gauthier moved defenseman Jaroslav Spacek and his expiring contract to Carolina for Tomas Kaberle, who is less than a half-season into his three-year deal paying $4.25 million per season.
These are the sorts of moves that get a NHL GM in hot water with owners. Earlier, Gauthier fired well-respect Habs assistant coach Perry Pearn.
That seemed like desperate move to folks outside the organization. If coaching was the problem, why not cashier head coach Jacques Martin?
Gauthier and Martin both appear to be on the spot. The Canadiens need to make a run.
Perhaps they started the process by earning a 2-1 victory at New Jersey Saturday to move into ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 31 points in 30 games.
Kaberle made himself right at home, assisting on both goals.
“I have to admit I was a little nervous at the start,” Kaberle told reporters. “I had a new team with new teammates. I hadn’t practiced in two days. I had a long travel day. We went over some things in the hotel before the game at breakfast, but I wasn’t sure of what to expect. I just had to jump in right away and be ready. I just had to try to keep it simple.”