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New Canadiens GM Hughes charged with turning around struggling team

New Canadiens GM Kent Hughes will be charged with the "unenviable task of reversing the fortunes of a team" that is in the "most calamitous season in its long, storied history," according to Jack Todd of the MONTREAL GAZETTE. Hughes is a "solid hire" and in an era of "increasingly complex player contracts and massive salary-cap headaches, Hughes may be the right man for the job." There will be "muttering about the anglo tandem now running the Habs," with Hughes joining Exec VP/Hockey Operations Jeff Gorton. But Hughes is "bilingual" and, as an agent, had a client list "heavy on francophone players." Hughes' vast experience in the business side of the game, albeit from the other side of the desk, also is "precisely what the Canadiens need to regain their primacy in the NHL of the 21st century." Canadiens Owner, President & CEO Geoff Molson and his partners had to be "willing to dig deep for this one" because Hughes had a "lucrative business in Boston and it had to be a tough decision." The Canadiens are in "desperate need of Hughes and his business expertise," because former GM Marc Bergevin has "left behind an unholy mess on the business side, doling out contracts like they were party favours" (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 1/19).

UP TO THE TASK: THE HOCKEY NEWS' Ryan Kennedy writes the Canadiens GM role is one of the "most high-profile and high-pressure jobs in the sporting world," but Hughes "certainly has the traits to make it work." Hughes did an "excellent job of propelling forward" his former agency Quartexx Management, and that sort of leadership "will be key with the Canadiens." Coming in with a fresh perspective, Hughes should be "afforded some time to put his plan (and his people) into place," but he has "all the tools to do this job right" (SI.com, 1/18).

SBJ Spotlight: TikTok’s threat to traditional sports media

While tech companies are consumed with finding ways to compete with TikTok, almost no one in conventional media “spends any time talking about it,” said Recode senior correspondent Peter Kafka in an Spotlight interview with SBJ’s John Ourand. “To me, that’s just an obvious disconnect.” Kafka authored a recent column headlined, “It’s TikTok’s world. Can TV live in it?” He said the main response to TikTok’s growth from traditional media execs has been to “punt and hope it’s someone else’s problem a quarter from now or two years from now.” But Kafka said that ignores the trend of conventional broadcast audiences growing older while a billion younger consumers spend most of their media time watching short video after short video. “If you’re in the business of getting anyone under the age of 30 to look at what you’re putting on a screen, you have to think about the fact that you’re probably asking them to put down TikTok and watch your thing instead,” said Kafka. “That’s a very difficult ask. … [TikTok] is insanely addictive.”

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