Another player in Jeff Vinik's "world class organization" emerges today as the Tampa Bay Lighting announce Julien BriseBois as Assistant General Manager of the Lightning and General Manager of the Norfolk Admirals.
Functioning as direct report to Executive Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman, BriseBois will handle all aspects of contract negotiation and salary arbitration, in addition to his duties as with the Norfolk Admirals.
After spending nine years with the Montreal Canadiens, first as Director of Legal Affairs (2001), then Director of Hockey Operations (2003) and Vice President of Hockey Operations (2006), BriseBois increased responsibility as General Manager of the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs in 2007.
At the end of his contract last summer, BriseBois decided to look for new options, saying "It was a good time to start thinking about leaving the organization, and extending my network around the NHL." Though his contract had ended, the Canadiens gave him time to make the right decision, letting him maintain his responsibilities as long as he wanted, BriseBois said earlier this afternoon.
BriseBois said that his responsibilities will be "very similar role to the one I had here in Montreal." His multi-faceted legal experience will be an asset for the team as the team continues to manage salary caps and interpretation of the NHL's collective bargaining agreement.
Regarding his responsibilities with Norfolk, BriseBois said he has no immediate plans for the situation there, but noted "I know it's been a rough situation there and we want to turn the situation around." His priorities are to develop the prospects and create a winning and entertaining team. "We need to raise our game to meet theirs and be strong partners for them."
Likewise, BriseBois has no answers yet regarding whether or not Jim Johnson will retain his position as head coach, but added that the decision is a top priority on his and Yzerman's agenda. "I know there's a lot of work to be done there," BriseBois said. "I'm eager to get going but I haven't had a chance to dig into any of the decisions we're going to have to make in Norfolk."
Both Julien BriseBois and Lightning Head Coach Guy Boucher spent time with the Hamilton Bulldogs. Remarking on their almost parallel movement from the Bulldogs to the Lightning, BriseBois said, "It's a coincidence, but it's a really happy coincidence. I think really highly of Guy as head coach. I got a chance to see how good he is." As two people leaving the same environment and going into the same environment, BriseBois said, "We will have mutual support as we go through new experiences together."
"I think there's a number of reasons why it's exciting to be involved with the Tampa Bay Lightning," he said. "This is an organization that not too long ago was a Stanley Cup winning team. I'm excited to be involved in this juncture and look forward to helping in any way I can."