Wednesday, May 20, 2009
McGuire interested in Wild GM job
Pierre McGuire has become a prominent voice in hockey through years of blunt analysis from the broadcast booth.
Now he's interested in running a team himself. The Minnesota Wild are evaluating their general manager opening, and McGuire is one of the finalists.
Pierre McGuire has been a broadcaster for both TSN and the Canadiens.
He has played professionally in Europe, coached at the college level and served in the NHL as a scout, assistant coach, assistant general manager and head coach.
But McGuire's candidacy essentially comes from the nontraditional category. He hasn't been part of a team for 12 years, instead breaking down the game for Canada sports network TSN and more recently for U.S. viewers on NBC.
That independent perspective, however, is the essence of his aspiration.
"When you've done media as long as I have, you have a chance to be exposed to a lot of different markets and ideologies as far as how to build a program," McGuire said Wednesday in a phone interview with The Associated Press. "You've also seen the failures and what's gone wrong. It's a chance to evaluate with an unbiased eye what the positives and what the detriments are to building a team. That's what lured me."
Wild owner Craig Leipold fired his president and general manager Doug Risebrough last month. Other names circulating around the league as possibilities for the job are Pittsburgh Penguins assistant general manager Chuck Fletcher and Anaheim Ducks assistant general manager David McNab. Acting general manager Tom Lynn, who was Risebrough's top assistant, is also in the mix.
Bill Robertson, the Wild's vice president of communications and broadcasting, said the team won't comment on the search or speak specifically about any candidates.
McGuire couldn't directly address the process, either.
While driving to Pittsburgh in advance of Thursday's Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals, though, he was clearly excited about the chance to return to the front office.
"I've had other opportunities to go back ... and this is really the first time that I've seen something that has piqued my interest," he said.
The 47-year-old McGuire, who got his start in broadcasting on the radio for the Montreal Canadiens, has examples to follow in John Davidson and Dale Tallon.
Davidson, the former St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers goalie who became a high-profile and well-regarded television analyst, was hired by the Blues to be team president in 2006. Tallon, Chicago's general manager, called games on television and radio between stints in the Blackhawks' front office.
Barry Melrose's failure in Tampa Bay last fall is still fresh, however. Melrose was out of coaching for 13 years at ESPN before being lured back to the bench. He was fired by the Lightning 16 games into the season.
The biggest risk for Leipold is that it's been so long since McGuire was paid to manage -- as opposed to offering insight and opinions without a particular team's success or failure on the line.
But McGuire pointed to his experience working with Scotty Bowman and Bob Johnson with Pittsburgh in the early 1990s, when he scouted opponents and spent time on the bench as an assistant while the Penguins won a pair of Stanley Cups.
"Even if you're half-awake, you're going to learn something, and if you're really awake you're going to learn a lot," he said, promising that he was "really awake" during those times.