Ronald Corey, the Canadiens’ president since 1982, announced that he would be stepping down from his current post, effective July 31st. Corey sited his family and his health as the two main reasons for tabling his resignation. He has been struggling with bouts of asthma, at times waking up in the middle of the night gasping for air. Doctors believe job stress to be the likely reason for his health problems.
Corey also mentioned his frustration with the economic challenges now faced by Canadian and small market clubs in today’s NHL. As well as the Habs $9 million municipal-tax burden being paid on the Molson Center. A tax bill larger than the NHL’s 21 U.S-based teams combined.
Molson plans to hire an executive-recruitment firm to help find Corey’s replacement. The brewery will also look at the feasibility of splitting up Corey’s former responsibilities into two jobs. Hiring one person to be president of the hockey club and another to run the Molson Center.
Serge Savard has been mentioned as the early favourite to replace Corey as president of the hockey club. Other candidates rumoured include; Bob Gainey, Glen Sather, Pierre Lacroix and Ken Dryden.
Rejean Houle was visibly surprised by the news. When asked about his job security following Corey’s announcement, Houle simply said that he had a mandate to complete and will continue his job of trying to build a competitive team for the upcoming season.
Prior to the completion of the recent trade for Trevor Linden, the Canadiens agreed in principle with the former Islander on a 4-year, $15 Million dollar contract that will pay Linden $3 million this season and $3.5 million, $4 million and $4.5 million the following seasons.
Rejean Houle announced recently that the Canadiens will have a salary budget of $30-$31 million this coming season. The loss of Mark Recchi and Vincent Damphousse has freed up enough money for the Habs to be reasonably active on the free-agent market during the off-season.
Habs’ defenseman Stephane Quintal has decided become a free-agent July 1st, before deciding on whether or not to re-sign with the Canadiens. It still remains quite likely that Quintal will remain with the Habs. His decision to wait until after July 1st is seen by many Habs’ insiders as a way of appeasing the NHLPA, who have pressured Quintal to test the free-agent waters.
Saku Koivu’s injury to his wrist during the World Championships has been deemed only a slight break by European doctors. The Habs though, want Koivu to return to Montreal in order to have the wrist examined by team doctors.