Friday, January 16, 2009

Are rumours really a distraction?

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.


Sliver24 said...

Hey from Van City. It may rain a lot here but damn it, at least it wasn't -30 all week. I hope you guys enjoyed it! I'll be back Sunday evening, right when the sanity returns.

Speaking of sanity, or the lack of it in this case, this is trade nonsense is simply nuts. Why are we talking in January of a deal that might not get done until March 4th, if at all? Every year I am more convinced that the trade deadline needs to be moved up until the weekend before the all star break.

Don't get me wrong - I love trade deadline day. I even stoop to reading that moron Eklund's blog in the days leading up to it (usually all I get from him is a bunch of useless BS with the occasional announcement that "TSN is reporting that..." which I already know, jack ass). Sorry, got carried away there...

But like I was saying, moving trade deadline day up is a good idea. It may take some excitement out of the rumour madness that takes over fans and media in the days preceeding the deadline but it would result in a lot less panic.

Think of the increase in productivity the average Canadian worker would achieve! God knows my bandwidth usage, which is normally ridiculously high as a result of refreshing every known sports website every ten seconds, would plummet that week. At least we'd still have July 1st to hold on to.

If NHL GMs have proven anything over the last 25 years it's that they need to be protected from themselves. This would go a long way towards doing just that.

Right Mr. Shero?

Arpon Basu said...

I've always been in favour of moving the deadline up in the calendar simply because of all these rental deals that go on every year. But, having said that, the way the cap is set up right now moving the deadline up would result in even fewer trades because each team would have to absorb more of the player's salary they are acquiring. I personally feel the NHL needs to incorporate Brian Burke's idea of teams being allowed to absorb salary and cap space in a deal, and that might trigger the trade winds, hich leads to fan interest.