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Canadiens interested in Kings’ Robitaille, Hextall for GM job

VANCOUVER, Canada -- An off-ice note before we get to the on-ice festivities leading up to the Kings’ playoff opener against Vancouver on Wednesday night at Rogers Arena.

The Montreal Canadiens are interested in talking to Luc Robitaille, the Kings’ president of business operations, and Ron Hextall, the Kings’ assistant general manager, about the vacant general manager’s job in Montreal. However, nothing is expected to proceed until the Kings’ season is over. The Kings would have to give permission for Montreal to interview them.

Robitaille is a Montreal native and his first language is French, one of Canada’s two official languages. The ability to speak French and English is considered a huge asset in Montreal given its large French-speaking population and the team’s heritage as the Flying Frenchmen. Players and coaches who did not speak fluent French — such as interim coach Randy Cunneyworth and former captain Saku Koivu — were often criticized for not becoming immersed in the language.

Robitaille oversees the Kings’ business operations and is not involved in personnel decisions. He has a close relationship with Tim Leiweke, the Kings’ governor and chief executive officer of AEG, the club’s parent company.

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Hextall, in addition to his duties as assistant to General Manager Dean Lombardi, serves as general manager of the Kings’ farm team in Manchester, N.H. His name has come up several times in recent seasons in connection with other general manager jobs.

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