Greetings puck addicts!
I know posts from me has been few and far between for the last few months, and for that I apologize.
But considering what’s going on, or rather what isn’t going on with the NHL, what is there to really talk about?
As the NHL lockout enters Day 69, this U.S. Thanksgiving Thursday morning, it’s more of the same.
Few proposals, a sentiment of frustration from both sides, petulance, at least from Gary Bettman, and a feeling that maybe, just maybe, the players are starting to get a little desperate.
If the NHLPA constituents are not yet desperate, they are at a minimum starting to break ranks.
Just this morning there was a piece on Roman Hamrlik saying he is concerned with the amount of money the players are losing. Habs’ forward Erik Cole responded by saying he feels Hamrlik’s comments are selfish.
That may well be the case, but what is certain is that it is becoming increasingly difficult for the 700-plus members of the PA to stay in lock-step.
The Gomez Question
If you haven’t heard last week’s Montreal Hockey Talk lockout show, listen to it now!
We had a star-studded panel with TSN 690’s Ted Bird and Nick Murdocco, TSN 690’s legal insider, David Kellerman, and the inimitable Dave Stubbs, Habs beat writer for the Montreal Gazette.
Some excellent hockey talk in there, to be sure…
What’s interesting is that after the show we started talking about the logistics of starting things up again, if a new season was announced tomorrow. And that got me thinking about the Habs situation from last year, and some of their lingering problems, like what to do with Scott Gomez.
With the massive distraction that is the current NHL lockout, perhaps Habs GM Marc Bergevin has more options now than he did when he first became GM.
At that point, the hideous failures of the previous regime were fresh in everyone’s minds. Moreover, Albatross contracts to floundering players like Scott Gomez, were front and center in the fans’ minds.
But what about now?
Anyone who has read me in this space before knows that I feel the Habs cannot be taken seriously with Gomez on their opening day roster. But now, a few months into an ugly lockout that has fans as jaded and disinterested in the sport as they’ve ever been, perhaps the previous statement no longer holds true.
I mean ask yourself, as a Habs fan (if you are one), when the last time was that you thought about Gomez?
With the lockout at the forefront and actual on-ice product a distant memory, I don’t think anyone is thinking about how bad Gomez has been for Montreal. As such, perhaps Bergevin can start the season with Gomez on his roster, while having him on a very short leash.
And that’s exactly what will happen playing under Michel Therrien.
He’ll try out the roster he’s given on opening day but, unlike his predecessor, will not tolerate non-performance…especially not from a veteran.
Couple this with the PA’s latest proposal offering a provision to count AHL salaries against the cap, if they are $1 million or over, and the Habs might not have a choice but to start the year with Gomez.
And would that be such a bad thing right now?
Whenever hockey comes back it will be carte blanche for everyone. No one is really going to remember much of the previous season…at least not very vividly. Also, let’s face it, the Habs are not a contending team.
And given that Bergevin has bad contracts in Gomez and Tomas Kaberle to contend with, standing pat and taking his time to see if the new coach can pull a turn around—from where I’m sitting, he can’t—might just be the best approach.
Afterall, what’s the worst that can happen…Gomez’s value will go down?