The Montreal Canadiens have fired general manager Pierre Gauthier, who led the team right into the basement of the Eastern Conference just two seasons after advancing to the semifinals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Pierre Gauthier is no longer the general manager of the Montreal Canadiens. The organization announced Thursday morning that they have fired their embattled GM, and that a search for his replacement is now underway. They'll continue for the remainder of the 2011-12 season without a general manager.
There's no word on if Gauthier got word of his dismissal through an English or a French conversation.
The Canadiens, two seasons removed from a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals, have plummeted to the bottom of the Eastern Conference this season. Gauthier fired head coach Jacques Martin in mid-December after the team got off to a slow start, but under interim boss Randy Cunneyworth, the team could not return to form.
The decision to hire Cunneyworth, the former head coach of Montreal's AHL affiliate in Hamilton, sparked controversy across Quebec. Not only was the coaching change seen as a panic move, but installing a non-Francophone as the new head coach was taken as an affront by many fans. Now, Cunneyworth has outlasted Gauthier, although for how long remains to be seen.
Speculation will no doubt begin to mount regarding the future of the Canadiens now that Gauthier is gone. Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy, the current owner, general manager and head coach of the QMJHL's Quebec Remparts, could be seen as a front-runner for one or both jobs in Montreal.
For more on the firing of Pierre Gauthier, check in with Canadiens blog Habs Eyes On The Prize.