It would appear that the fortunes of your Montreal Canadiens over the next decade rest in the hands of what has to be the most dysfunctional management team the league has seen in years.
And in the NHL, that's saying a lot.
Tampa Bay Lightning co-owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie met with commissioner Gary Bettman earlier today in New York to settle their differences on how the team is run. It would appear Koules wants to stop the financial bleeding and cap the team's payroll at about $40 million, while Barrie wants to spend closer to the cap in the hopes of building a contender around Vincent Lecavalier.
Bettman seemingly did nothing to resolve the dispute, depending on whose sources you believe. St. Pete Times beat writer Damian Cristodero reports that maintaining the status quo means that both Koules and Barrie will have to approve any player moves, which greatly reduces the chances of Lecavalier being shipped out.
However, Tampa Tribune beat guy Eric Erlendsson says that the status quo means Koules gets the final say on hockey decisions.
Then there's Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com, who reports that his sources are telling him it is GM Brian Lawton who will be in charge of hockey matters. He also suggests that Lawton is kind of in the Koules camp when it comes to the general conflict with Barrie, but Lawton has repeatedly said he will not trade Lecavalier, which puts him in Barrie's camp on that issue.
Waiting patiently on the sidelines, meanwhile, for this ridiculous situation to play out is Bob Gainey, and one has to wonder when his patience will expire. Clearly, Gainey would be interested in acquiring Lecavalier, for the simple reason he's already admitted that not only was he interested back in December, he even reached the point where specific players were being discussed.
That kind of interest doesn't just go away.
But Gainey also made it clear that dealing with Lawton is not exactly his cup of tea, and with Lawton either working on his own or getting his direction from Tweedledum and Tweedledee, that working relationship isn't likely to improve anytime soon.
The only conceivable reason I can see for Gainey being this patient with this situation is that he must believe there's a robbery to be had here, especially if that now mythic offer of Christopher Higgins, Tomas Plekanec, Josh Gorges and P.K. Subban was anywhere close to being enough to grab Lecavalier.
If Gainey didn't think he could pull off a Joe Thorntonesque heist here, does anyone think he would have the patience to wait on these fools to get their own house in order? The question now is whether or not that patience will last to July 1.
In my eyes, if this deal is not done by Friday night, it's not going to get done.