QUEBEC -- The Quebec Nordiques fired Martin Madden as general manager and named his predecessor Maurice Filion as interim GM, the team announced Friday.
Nordiques co-owner Marcel Aubut made the announcement, saying he notified Madden Thursday morning. Quebec stands last in the NHL with nine victories and 24 points. The Nordiques are 28 points behind fourth-place Hartford in the Adams Division.
'I came to a conclusion after much reflexion that the Quebec Nordiques needed new leadership in the reconstruction of the team,' Aubut said. 'It was after this hard decision that I asked our vice-president of hockey operations, Maurice Filion, to come back as general manager on an interim basis.'
Aubut hired Madden to replace Filion as general manager before the 1988-89 season. The Nordiques tied the New York Islanders last season for a league-low 61 points. They are 9-36-6 this season.
'Our main goal for the rest of the season is to finish the year with respect,' Aubut said. 'We need to improve this team for this year as well as next year.'
Filion said the Nordiques need to regain some pride the rest of this season.
'I want to build e team which is proud to wear the Nordiques sweater,' he said. 'We have to have the desire to win and give our fans a show every night. 'We have hockey players here who are capable of playing 60 minutes of hockey every game, but it will take team work and everyone will have to work hard until the end of the season if we want to get respect around the league.'
Aubut admitted he made a mistake two years ago by limiting his search for a general manager to French-speaking candidates.
'I felt that being in a city which is 95 per cent French-speaking we had to have a francophone as general manager,' he said. 'However, this time around I will not make such a mistake; if a Japanese is the right man for the job, he will be hired.'
Madden's contract with Quebec runs through the end of the 1990-91 season. Scotty Bowman, Filion and Nordiques Coach Michel Bergeron have already been mentioned as possible replacements, although Filion said he is unsure if he will apply for the permanent job.
'I want to finish the season and then take it from there,' he said.
Aubut gave a vote of confidence to Bergeron, who returned to Quebec this season after two years as coach of the New York Rangers. Bergeron coached the Nordiques from 1980 through 1987, leading them into the playoffs every season and twice taking them to the conference finals.
'Michel is a good coach, he has proved himself here before and also with the New York Rangers the last two years,' Aubut said. 'Maurice Filion is now in charge of relations with Bergeron and I believe that Maurice will get the team spirit back into the team.
'The atmosphere is good in the team, but there is a lot of tension within the coaching staff and the players. It will be his duty to release that tension.'
Aubut said rebuilding the club would take time and could only be done through the draft.