MONTREAL — The Montreal Canadiens hired player agent Kent Hughes as their general manager Tuesday, hoping he can turn around a team with the worst record in the NHL.

The 51-year-old Montreal native replaces Marc Bergevin, who was fired Nov. 28 following the Canadiens’ poor start.

Hughes has been an agent and partner of Quebec-based firm Quartexx Management since 2016.

Before joining the Canadiens as their 18th GM, Hughes represented more than 20 players under NHL contracts. His past clients included Patrice Bergeron, Kristopher Letang, Anthony Beauvillier and Darnell Nurse.

Hughes was previously affiliated with MFive Sports, which merged with Quartexx in 2016.

“We are very excited to add Kent Hughes to our organization. Kent is highly respected in the hockey world, having built an excellent reputation as an NHL player agent for over 25 years now,” Canadiens owner Geoff Molson said in a statement.


Hughes joins executive vice president of hockey operations Jeff Gorton, who was hired shortly after Bergevin’s dismissal, in Montreal’s front office.

Molson previously said he envisions Gorton and Montreal’s new GM running hockey operations in complementary roles.

The Canadiens entered their game Tuesday night at Dallas in last place in the NHL overall standings with a 7-25-5 record.

• Montreal forwards Cole Caufield and Joel Armia have been placed in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. The Canadiens have been beset by the virus this season, including an outbreak that forced 24 players and two assistant coaches into isolation at its height. Caufield, 21, who won the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in U.S. college hockey before joining Montreal ahead of its improbable run to the Stanley Cup final last spring, has just one goal and seven assists in a season that’s included a demotion to the minors. Armia also was placed in COVID-19 protocol back in June, which forced him to miss Game 1 of the title series against Tampa Bay. The 28-year-old has one goal and four assists in 32 games this season.

COVID-19: The NHL will stop testing asymptomatic players, coaches and staff who are fully vaccinated following the All-Star break in early February, saying coronavirus cases continue to decline across the league.

The league and Players’ Association announced the protocol changes Tuesday. The current policy will remain in place until the All-Star break begins Feb. 3.


Carolina Hurricanes Coach Rod Brind’Amour, who is expected to be behind the bench for the Metropolitan Division at All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas, called the change “common sense.”

“The players have done all they can, done all their vaccinations – all that stuff that they can do,” Brind’Amour said. “I don’t know why they would be testing them, to be honest with you, if they’re asymptomatic, so I agree with this decision. I think it’s a good one.”

There will still be testing of asymptomatic individuals when it is needed for crossing the U.S.-Canada border. Testing will not be required at All-Star Weekend, with one negative result needed to return to team facilities after the break.

The 90-day testing “holiday” for players, coaches and staff who recover from COVID-19 will remain in place.

ALL-STAR GAME: Centers Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Nazem Kadri of the Colorado Avalanche and Mika Zibanejad of the New York Rangers, and Anaheim winger Troy Terry won the final roster spots for All-Star Weekend as a result of fan voting, the NHL announced.

The league said Zibanejad cannot attend the Feb. 4-5 event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for personal reasons. He will be replaced by Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Jake Guentzel, who finished second in the Metropolitan Division voting. Stamkos will join the Atlantic Division team, Kadri goes to the Central Division squad, and Terry to the Pacific.


The event features a three-game tournament played in a three-on-three format, with 11-man teams from each of the league’s four divisions.


CAPITALS 4, JETS 3: Alex Ovechkin scored his league-leading 27th goal of the season, Tom Wilson scored in overtime and Washington beat visiting Winnipeg.

Wilson’s goal 26 seconds into OT gave the Capitals their first victory in that situation this season. They lost their previous seven games decided after regulation but before a shootout.

Washington needed overtime after Pierre-Luc Dubois tied it with 1:05 left. Vitek Vanecek stopped 30 of the 33 shots, rebounding from allowing two goals in the opening minutes.

Ovechkin sparked the comeback after being visibly angry when the Capitals fell behind 2-0 less than three minutes in. He was livid after no penalty was called on Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey for hooking him and yelled at the officials from the bench after watching a replay.


Washington’s longtime captain scored on his next shift, firing a perfect shot past 2020 Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Connor Hellebuyck on a two-on-one rush. With the goal, Ovechkin broke a tie atop the NHL with Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl.

Ovechkin’s 757th goal was also his 1,375th point, putting him ahead of Mike Modano for 24th on the career scoring list.

ISLANDERS 4, FLYERS 3: Oliver Wahlstrom scored in the ninth round of a shootout as visiting New York sent Philadelphia to its ninth straight loss.

Just like the Flyers’ losing streak, the shootout went on and on until Wahlstrom finally got one past Carter Hart to help the Islanders beat the Flyers for the second straight night. New York was playing its first road game since Dec. 14 after topping Philadelphia 4-1 at home Monday.

Casey Cizikas hadn’t scored a goal since Nov. 4 until he got one against the Flyers on Monday, and then he tied this one with 4:28 left in regulation.

The Islanders improved to 1-3 in shootouts.


SABRES 3, SENATORS 1: Michael Houser made 43 saves in his season debut and Buffalo beat host Ottawa.

Houser became the sixth goalie to start a game for Buffalo this season. Mark Jankowski, Dylan Cozens and Alex Tuch scored for the Sabres.

Drake Batherson score for Ottawa, and Anton Forsberg stopped 30 shots.

Ottawa’s first home game since Dec. 11 was played without fans because of COVID-19 regulations.

Comments are not available on this story.