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Montreal’s explanation for firing Perry Pearn is ‘outside the box’

Philadelphia Flyers v Montreal Canadiens

MONTREAL, CANADA - OCTOBER 26: Montreal Canadiens General Manager Pierre Gauthier addresses the media on the firing of Asstistant Coach Perry Pearn prior to the NHL game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Philadelphia Flyers at the Bell Centre on October 26, 2011 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Richard Wolowicz

Let’s face it, there are two ways to explain the Montreal Canadiens’ decision to fire assistant coach Perry Pearn.

1. The team wanted to appease their angry fans by parting ways with someone, even if that person’s name wasn’t “Gomez” or “Martin.”

2. GM Pierre Gauthier wasn’t happy with the power play, which was Pearn’s area of focus.

Naturally, that’s not how Gauthier & Co. explained things to the press, though. (At least not if you take the statement at face value.) Gauthier instead provided an answer that’s about as sensible as firing a staff member a few hours before game time.

“We’re going to function outside the box more than we have,” Gauthier said. “This is one move in that direction ... Any time you face new challenges you need to look in the mirror, starting with myself. We’re not looking to place blame on anyone. But to do my job as the leader of this team I need to help people function better.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this doesn’t seem like functioning “outside the box,” aside from the very unusual practice of canning a coach moments before a contest starts. It instead follows the time-honored tradition of firing someone merely to make a statement to the rest of your workers. Call it the managerial equivalent to “kicking the dog” transference.

Maybe there’s more to this situation than meets the eye, but it’s an awfully ugly move from the outside.

A lot of times hockey fans overreact to the latest story (see: struggling goalies), but most - if not all - of the snarky responses to this decision have been justified. Gauthier can use all the fancy marketing buzzwords he wants, but let’s hope that his future decisions fit into the “fair and professional” box.