Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
A few suggested that Habs heavyweight Georges Laraque should be instructed - ordered, even - to pummel Komisarek, that despicable traitor, during the new Leaf’s first shift against his old team.
A few deleted comments indelicately questioned the marital status of Komisarek’s parents upon his birth, or suggested that he engage in an activity that is anatomically impossible.
Loyalty to a hockey club is a nearly extinct species in this world of free-agency, with players often short- or medium-term mercenaries who lace up for the team writing the biggest cheque.
Many Montreal fans seem to believe it’s almost acceptable - almost - to leave the Canadiens and sign with most any other team when their status gives them occasion to freely test the market. Just don’t make that new team Toronto or, perhaps, Boston.
from Ryan Dixon of The Hockey News,
You could make a convincing – though not overwhelming – argument that Montreal upgraded its top-six forward supply by replacing Saku Koivu, Alex Kovalev and Alex Tanguay with Scott Gomez, Mike Cammalleri and Brian Gionta.
What can’t be argued is that the Habs chewed threw the one valuable resource they possessed – cap space – and failed to land the franchise-defining player they’ve lacked for years.
By the time they take care of their RFAs, the Canadiens will be pushing up against the cap, yet still without a big No. 1 center or stud defenseman in their midst.
The unknown element in all of this is what Gainey’s options were.
from Manny Almela of MontrealCanadiens.com,
“Gomez needs to play with shooters and that’s where Cammalleri comes in. I think he’s a better fit that way than a player like Alex Tanguay would have been,” explained Gainey. “We told Mike that we had a good place for him and he’s a 27-year-old that is looking for a challenge.”
“Spacek is a top four defenseman who can help us in a number of areas, including the power play. He’s another player that several teams were looking at,” offered Gainey. “A veteran like Hal Gill brings us that physical presence and toughness we lost in Mike Komisarek.”
The busiest team in the NHL on the biggest shopping day of the year, the Canadiens made a serious statement. Gainey pulled no punches about the message that was sent.
“All of these players were being looked at by other teams, but we beat them to the punch,” said Gainey. “The important thing is, they chose Montreal.”
RDS (French) is reporting that the Montreal Canadiens have signed Brian Gionta. From Google translator:
Less than 24 hours after the acquisition of Scott Gomez, Bob Gainey has added to its talented group of attackers through agreements of five years with Mike Cammalleri and Brian Gionta.
Update 8:39pm ET: From TSN—
After playing his entire seven year career in New Jersey, Brian Gionta is on the move having signed a five-year, $25 million deal with the Montreal Canadiens.
According to Sportsnet’s trade tracker, Mike Cammalleri has been signed by the Montreal Canadiens for 5 years, $6 million per year.
Update 8:07 pm ET: From the Canadiens—
The Habs weren’t the only NHL team trying to woo the shifty winger, who is coming off a career year with the Flames that saw him notch a career-high 39 goals and 82 points this past season.
“There were about four or five teams interested, but Bob Gainey showed interest right away,” admitted Cammalleri. “I’ve got a ton of respect for Bob Gainey and Jacques Martin. The Canadiens wanted me and showed me the commitment I was looking for.”
per Sportsnet Tracker Hall Gill has signed with the Canadiens. No terms yet.
added 4:47pm, TSN reporting 2yr, $4.5M.
From the Boston Globe’s, Bruins Blog:
Veteran blueliner Jaroslav Spacek, among the names the Bruins considered plucking out of today’s free-agent feeding frenzy, agreed to a three-year deal with the Canadiens this aftrernoon that will bring him a total $11.5 million.
Even though he is 35 years old, Spacek’s deal exceeds the three-year $10 million pact he just concluded with Buffalo, where he led the Sabres last season in average time on ice.
Sources in Buffalo and Montreal confirmed the deal.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
His game was gone, his smile was gone, and he was going. The Rangers had been dangling Gomez for months. They needed to clear cap space. They needed to move forward without Gomez.
“If you perform up to expectations, play hard every day, game in and game out and be productive, there’s a chance you’ll never be traded,” Sather said yesterday afternoon after announcing that Gomez had been traded.
Gomez’ heart was in the right place two summers ago. But his eyes exceeded his commitment. New York was too big for him.
from Dave Stubbs of Habs Inside/Out,
Christopher Higgins’s mother, Sue, is thrilled beyond words on Long Island, her son soon to be playing much nearer home. His father, Bobby, is another matter. A Canadiens fan “for 50 years,” Higgins says, Bobby Higgins is burying his son’s Canadiens paraphernalia. Or at least putting it behind closed doors in the basement for now….
I reached Higgins at his summer home on Long Island, where the day’s trade to the New York Rangers was still sinking in. He spoke glowingly of his time in Montreal and of the fans in this city, no matter their voice on any particular night.
New York is a dream come true. But leaving Montreal doesn’t happen without many memories being stirred.
from the Montreal Gazette,
“I learned about the possibility of a trade when I was playing softball with some friends last night and then I got a call from Mr. Sather,” Gomez said from his native Alaska, where he was on a fishing trip.
Gomez said he had a limited no-trade clause. “I had a list of teams where I didn’t want to go, but obviouslty Montreal wasn’t on that list.”
“I’m happy to be going to the Mecca of hockey,” he added. “I know there’ll be some pressure, but that’s what it’s all about. I got some taste of the Montreal tradition playing for Larry Robinson.”
more on the Canadiens…
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