On one side of the scale are all his memories of the Montreal Canadiens while growing up in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec. The history, the prestige, the legends. It's glory that's become former glory through years of disappointment and poor team building; but it's glory that he's supremely confident he could reach again.
On the other side of the scale … money. Heaping gobs of money. The pile the Joker burned in "The Dark Knight" times ten. The eyes straining to see the top of the stack. Dotting the monetary mountain: Free-agent contracts for Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jonathan Toews and others.
So which way does the scale tip?
One imagines this is what will determine if Pat Brisson will be the next general manager of the Montreal Canadiens … well, along with Geoff Molson and Serge Savard selecting the CAA agent as the man to rebuild the humbled Habs.
Pierre LeBrun reported that Brisson and Chicago Blackhawks assistant GM Marc Bergevin have been contacted about the GM vacancy; Francois Gagnon of La Presse added Tampa Bay Lightning assistant GM Julien BriseBois and Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GM Claude Loiselle to that mix.
Loiselle has paid his dues. Bergevin was director of player personnel in 2009 and then elevated to assistant GM of the Blackhawks when Kevin Cheveldayoff left for Winnipeg.
BriseBois and Brisson are infinitely more exciting choices.
In BriseBois's case, it's because of his youth (35, but he's got a ton of experience), his bio (he never played or coached pro hockey) and the fact that he's seen as smarty-pants numbers guy in an age when that's the most valuable trait for a hockey manager to possess. Mike Boone makes a convincing case for him here. The fact that his Norfolk Admirals are have won a North American record 23 straight games isn't too shabby either.
But let's face it: This is the Habs we're talking about. No other franchise in the NHL is as infatuated with symbolism as the Montreal Canadiens, who utilize nostalgia for profit better than anyone save for Vince McMahon.
BriseBois would be a symbol of rebirth: The young, innovative mind (and a former Montreal employee, naturally) that will revolutionize the stodgy franchise.
Brisson brings something different: Star power. Swagger. Gravitas. This is like Ari Gold taking over the Dodgers.
(And let's not forget the juxtaposition between the puffy, open-collared grump that's the face of the other Original Six Canadian market in comparison with Pat Brisson, Menswear Model.)
He also brings an eye for talent and a shark's appetite for negotiations; one imagines that he'd have more than a few options in assembling a front office brain trust, too.
That is, if he wants out of the agent game. Which will mean tipping the scale away from the bank he'll make on some very, very fat contracts coming up soon.
But boy, it'd be fun to see him take the gig. If only for the Matt Duchene offer sheet ...
- Montreal Canadiens