I'm starting to wonder if Bob Gainey thinks so, because from the looks of it he may in fact believe that they are an effective motivational tool.
Gainey's had several opportunities over the past week to flat-out deny the rumours of a potential deal to land Vincent Lecavalier from the Tampa Bay Lightning, yet chose not to do so. Considering how Gainey jumped at his first chance to put out the fire created by the Marian Gobrik trade talks early in the season, his non-denial speaks volumes.
Bolts GM Brian Lawton attempted to douse the flames by claiming, again, that he is not "shopping" Lecavalier, which only means he's not actively calling other teams about his star player. Lawton also mentioned he won't be trading Lecavalier "anytime soon," which couldn't really be more vague because soon could mean in the next few days, or even the next few hours.
The longer this thing drags out - and it appears that it will right up until the March 4 trade deadline - the more names are going to surface as potential trade chips. First it was Christopher Higgins, Tomas Plekanec and Josh Gorges, and now The Score is apparently reporting that the Lightning have asked for Andrei Markov to be included in a package for Lecavalier. I wouldn't be surprised if, in the coming weeks, reports citing the names of Andrei Kostitsyn, Carey Price, and Mike Komisarek emerge as well.
Of course, if indeed the Lightning are asking for Markov, it would be a starting point for something that makes some semblance of sense for Lawton. But if Markov's inclusion is a deal-breaker, then obviously the deal needs to be broken because he's simply too valuable to the Canadiens, probably more so than Lecavalier would be.
Just the fact he's being discussed may not only prove to be distracting to Markov, but also to all the players his departure would affect. Komisarek, Roman Hamrlik, Gorges, anyone who plays on the power play, they would all see their roles change greatly if Markov were to leave town.
Gainey said on Monday, in explaining why he doesn't comment on trade rumours, that by not addressing them he is shielding his players, that they won't hear about them if he doesn't talk about them. Which, of course, is ludicrous. Gainey told The Gazette's Dave Stubbs in a story published today that he had to sit down with a player that was the subject of trade talk this season to reassure him, a player we can only assume is Higgins since he's a part of every rumoured trade Gainey is involved in.
If Gainey really wanted to shield his players from this kind of constant speculation over the next six weeks or so, he should either just come out and say he's not discussing a trade with the Lightning or, if he is, lay down a final offer and get this over with. Then at least his players would have some peace of mind, at least until the Jay Bouwmeester rumours start flying.