Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Let the Price rumour mill begin

The NHL Conference finals are only one game in, and already the rumours of Carey Price being shipped out of Montreal are starting to swirl in ridiculous proportions.

First, the mere suggestion the Canucks might trade Roberto Luongo rather than lose him to free agency a year from now led people to the natural assumption that a double homecoming would be in order, with Price headed back to his birthplace in exchange for the St-Leonard native.

That was just a little bit silly, but not completely outside the realm of possibility.

But now, we're getting into some real science fiction with Philadelphia's Camden Courrier-Post "reporting" Friday that the Flyers will pitch a far-fetched offer for Price and the negotiating rights to Mike Komisarek that would include Daniel Brière or Joffrey Lupul plus one of James Van Riemsdyk, Luca Sbisa or a 2009 first round draft pick (Philly drafts 21st overall).

First and foremost, as long as Bob Gainey is GM of the Habs I don't think he'll be trading away his "thoroughbred" goalie of the future, not after essentially tanking the season in order to get him some more experience, and not after telling that lovely story of how Darryl Sydor was booed out of L.A. and the Dallas Stars were the beneficiaries of it.

Second of all, even if Gainey were to consider dumping Price at the ripe age of 21, would this be a deal he would be even remotely interested in? One with an underachieving centre that counts $6.5 million on the cap for another six seasons, a contract Brière accepted instead of one offered by Gainey himself? One without a No. 1 goalie coming in return? One involving an Eastern Conference rival that the Habs risk facing in the playoffs? One that doesn't address the Canadiens need for a big top-line centre?

It's beyond ridiculous, and I think it's only the start of what should be a steady stream of equally ridiculous Habs rumours between now and the draft. So consider this a Public Service Announcement: Nothing, absolutely nothing, will happen with this team until the ownership issue is settled, because that will determine what happens to Gainey, which in turn will determine who will be hired as head coach.

Until the first of those dominoes falls, any rumour you hear or read is complete fiction.

What isn't complete fiction, however, is Hall of Fame journalist Bertrand Raymond's column over at RueFrontenac.com the other day where he debunks the notion that Alex Tanguay would not play for Bob Hartley as coach.

When Tanguay's agent Bob Sauvé came out and said his client wants to see who will be the coach before deciding if he will re-sign with the Habs - just days after the client himself said he'd welcome a call from Gainey any time - speculation began that Tanguay would not want to be re-united with his former Avalanche coach Hartley.

Hartley told Raymond that he and Tanguay recently had lunch together and that they are on fine terms, but it should be noted that Tanguay had the best year of his career in terms of points per game the year after Hartley was fired as Avs coach.

Meanwhile, Sports Junior magazine is reporting that Drummondville Voltigeurs head coach Guy Boucher will officially be named the new coach of the Hamilton Bulldogs at the conclusion of the Memorial Cup, which is great news for Habs fans because it will bring a talented, young, homegrown coach into the system. Boucher can spend three or four years being groomed in Hamilton for the head job in Montreal, or he could fall flat on his face and be fired within a year.

Either way, at least the Canadiens won't lose him to another team because that was a distinct possibility with the job he did not only with the Voltigeurs, but also with Team Canada at the world juniors. For those who forgot, Boucher received pretty widespread praise for crafting the lethal Canadian power play, particularly the innovative use of P.K. Subban in the high slot that created major headaches for Canadian opponents. As coach of the Bulldogs, Boucher would once again have Subban as a weapon, unless of course the Subbanator can bully his way on to the Canadiens next season.


jkr said...

The ownership issue could drag on for weeks. Are you saying that absolutly nothing will happen, personnel wise, until that's settled? If that's the case then this team is in trouble. Sitting still now is the worst thing they can do.

Arpon Basu said...

I find it hard to believe the team will do nothing either. But one thing that definitely needs to happen is to hire a coach as soon as the playoffs are done, if not sooner. Problem is, if Gainey's not sure he'll be back as GM, how can he hire a coach? Or maybe he decides to stick around as coach next year? Either way, I have a suspicion that if Serge Savard buys the team, he may let Gainey go. So it all hinges on the ownership issue.

Anonymous said...

god help us if savard buys the team.

i thought gillett only wanted to liquidate a minority share? didn't he say as much? what happened?

at the very least get emelin over here. there's no reason to wait on that one.