About last night …

Cammalleri
Is there any point talking about the game?
Nah.
As is often the case, your Montreal Canadiens played well against Boston.
And as has been the case too often this season, they lost.

The Canadiens are in 12th place in the Eastern Conference.

They are seven points out of a playoff spot, with Ottawa and the Rangers coming to the Bell Centre for a rare weekend back-to-back.

And even before the puck drops, some fans will be disappointed by the Saturday game … because they were so looking forward to booing Mike Cammalleri.

Maybe next season, when the Calgary Flames visit Montreal.

So what do we make of this trade that seems to have been concluded between the second and third periods of the loss in Boston?

Pierre Gauthier says it makes the Canadiens better. The general manager emphatically stated he is not throwing in the towel on this miserable season.

Well, what would Gauthier say, eh?

If the GM were to be candid, he might announce: “This is the first step toward abandoning the strategy Bob Gainey had when he blew up the team two summers ago.”

In acquiring René Bourque, who is listed at 6’2″ and 213 lbs., Gauthier said he has added necessary size in a league where the majority of goals are scored in the dirty areas. There is no doubt that Bourque gives more net presence than they ever saw with Cammalleri.

Fine. It’s a big lugs’ league where most scores are off rebounds and second chances because goaltenders stop everything they can see.

So why wasn’t this evident to Gainey when he assembled his Lilliputian track team, trading for Scott Gomez and signing Cammalleri and Gionta to rich long-term contracts?

Gauthier alluded to the lack of size among younger players who have joined the club over the last couple years. He mentioned Mr. Diaz, Mr. Desharnais and Mr. Weber.

So what was Bob thinking? Did he believe that the rule changes would open up the NHL to speedy smurfs like Cammalleri?

True, defencemen can’t get away with all the clutching, grabbing and hooking that characterized the bad old days. But it’s still a contact sport.

A hint that the organization was harbouring second thoughts came at the 2010 draft, when the Canadiens traded up to select Jarred Tinordi.

The rich contract for Erik Cole – and he’s earned every penny – was another signal that Gainey’s successor realized he needed a power forward.

Will the Canadiens be a better team with René Bourque?

We’ll start to find out on Sunday, when the Rangers visit. Bourque can’t play against the Senators because he’ll be serving the last of a five-game suspension for an elbow on Nicklas Backstrom:

It’s Bourque’s second suspension within a few weeks, after he got two games for a hit from behind on former Chicago teammate Brent Seabrook:

HNIC’s Kelly Hrudey is not a big Bourque fan:

Bourque’s talent is not in dispute. His desire may be another story.

What it boils down to is the Canadiens trading a player they no longer wanted for a member of the Flames who had worn out his welcome.

Gauthier saves about $3 million in cap space. And although none of the players is likely to say so on the record, I don’t think we’ll see many heartbroken Canadiens at practice Friday morning.

Cammalleri came to Montreal with the rep of being a selfish player. This character flaw is not unique among goal-scorers, but it wears a bit thin when the sniper is firing blanks.

Cammalleri had nine goals this season, one on the power-play. All his PP ice time was spent at the distant perimeter; and even when he was getting good looks, as he did against St. Louis Tuesday night, Cammalleri wasn’t cashing.

He wasn’t happy. And Cammalleri being Cammalleri – a glib motormouth whose ease in dealing with the media did not necessarily endear him to more cautious and reticent teammates – he voiced his frustrations in that amazingly self-serving Wednesday conversation with Arpon Basu and François Gagnon.

Perhaps Cammalleri knew, at that point, that his ticket out of town was punched. Gauthier said he’d been trying to trade him for a month.

Will the Canadiens miss Cammalleri’s flair for playoff heroics?

They might … if they make the playoffs.

Each loss, however, makes postseason play less of a likelihood.

But in the long-term, losing Cammalleri may represent addition by subtraction. The Canadiens may get some good, physical hockey out of René Bourque – who, BTW, is an Alberta Métis who doesn’t speak a word of French. And a second-round draft choice in 2013 could pay dividends.

The deal does not, however, make the team bigger at centre. And it doesn’t help a D corps that includes Tomas Kaberle, Chris Campoli and Hal Gill.

Cammalleri played some good hockey for the Canadiens, notably during their miraculous run to the Eastern Conference final, when he scored 13 goals in 19 games.

He’s a bright, cultured guy (you can’t hate a Van Morrison fan) who was always cooperative with the press. And Cammalleri is a new father and a homeowner, which makes the move out west disruptive.

There was a theory being bandied about in the summer of 2009 to the effect that Gainey targeted Cammalleri as his prize UFA acquisition. But Cammalleri wouldn’t come to Montreal to be centred by Saku Koivu.

So the Canadiens traded for Scott Gomez.

And the rest is history.

I suspect we have not seen the last major trade.

With the exception of Carey Price, I don’t think there are any untouchables on the Canadiens’ roster.

I wouldn’t be astonished were the team to trade Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Kostitsyn – even P.K. Subban, another player who is not universally adored by his teammates.

The addition of René Bourque doesn’t turn this team into a Cup contender.

There’s still work to be done – by Gauthier or his successor.

•  •  •

It worked with Erik Cole.

The Canadiens acquired a player who had kiled them when he was with Carolina. And Cole has been excellent this season.

When the Canadiens visited Calgary on Oct. 13, René Bourque scored twice and had three hits in the Flames’ 4-1 win.

•  •  •

Not with a bang but a whimper:

In his final game as a Canadien, Mike Cammalleri played 9:02 and had a clean stat line: No shots, no goals, no hits.

In 196 regular-season and playoff games in blue-blanc-rouge, he scored 70 goals and added 78 assists.

•  •  •

TSN’s pundits think Calgary got the better of the deal

•  •  •

Hey, Patrick Holland, the throw-in junior, is plus-23 in the WHL.

And in acquiring the rights to karri Ramo, does Calgary foresee dealing Kipper of they conduct a fire sale?

233 Comments

  1. LA Loyalist says:

    Have any of you guys ever heard this theory? (quoted from above):

    “There was a theory being bandied about in the summer of 2009 to the effect that Gainey targeted Cammalleri as his prize UFA acquisition. But Cammalleri wouldn’t come to Montreal to be centred by Saku Koivu.

    So the Canadiens traded for Scott Gomez.”

    My only comment is that somewhere Teemu Selanne is laughing at what a fool Cammi was.

  2. Cammy’s best shift of the night in Boston:
    http://wp.me/p1UX3s-yH

  3. HankHardball says:

    Lost in the drama of the Cammalleri saga is the fact the lowly Habs played a pretty good game last night. Against what everybody believes is la creme de la creme of the NHL.

    You know you’re snakebit when even the boards are playing against you.

  4. davecessna says:

    lmfao Cammalleri picks #93. Coincidence?

    Epic, epic, last f-you to the Montreal Canadiens. Nobody other than Darche will ever want to play here again.

  5. 123456 says:

    I’m not assuming there will not be any more moves but let’s just say things stay as they are the rest of this season.

    Habs saved $3M in salary that falls to the bottom line. Not sure about the rest of you but if I owned a team I would want profit in a year like this year. Trading Cammy does nothing to hurt the Habs chance at a cup in the next 2 season – so I’d take the money!!

  6. Habstar says:

    I’m so relieved that Cammy is traded. This is the start of a clean up and I’m glad to we gat a grittier player in Rene Bourque. Now let’s ship out Gomy and A.K who is only playing better as of late for a new contract. He won’t fool me! Hope we can bring in Derrick Brassard. As for P.K Subban does he have a mouth or what? Hope he grows up quickly. PG in my opinion is a great GM and suitable for the habs needs. I hate it when people speculate too much that one GM said that he was interested in Cammy if he had only known. That’s BS in my book because if you are interested in a player you have a telephone that you can pick up and call. I for one was certain that Cammy would soon be traded so how is it that this GM had no clue. Anyhow a new era has just begun and I see many bright spots with this organization except that we couldn’t support and keep Cunnyworth because of stupid politics which has stained this organization for the past 2 decades at least.

  7. RetroMikey says:

    There will be more trades as I’ve said all along.
    Tank I say! Tank!
    It will be 3 seasons or so before we get back to playoff contenders at the very least.

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  8. boonie says:

    Just wondering what the French media reaction would have been to firing Gauthier instead of Martin. Leave the bilingual coach in place and start the rebuild with an architect instead of a classless, incommunicative loser.

  9. Ali says:

    that “theory” Boone has put forward re: Koivu and Cammalleri not wanting to be centered by him is a non-starter, they traded for Gomez before they were allowed to talk to UFA’s. Unless Boone is hinting they tampered with Cammalleri.

  10. Captain aHab says:

    Now, here’s what I DON’T want to see:

    1) Habs using the cap space to bring a toxic contract. Use it to re-sign key players.

    2) Habs continuing to draft or trade for drama queens. Bring in team players who’ll fight for their mates and for the crest on their jerseys.

  11. boonie says:

    According to bob mckenzie, ” there are a number of NHL GMs who had no idea Montreal was prepared to trade Cammalleri” and yet, “it’s a deal that has been in the works since early December.”

    not exactly the best way to maximize trade value and remarkably consistent with comments after Gauthier dealt Halak.ju

    • Captain aHab says:

      Maybe a lot of these GMs were in the Eastern conference.

      • boonie says:

        We’re not competing with cup contenders in the east this year. No point in arbitrarily limiting trade value.

        Penner to the kings for a first and a prospect. Kaberle to the bruins for a first, second a prospect. When you’re moving assets you trade with the BEST trade partner, not the convenient one.

  12. boonie says:

    Boone,

    I recognize you’ve been pulling double duty with Hickey out and last night was longer than expected. But today’s ALN is a little off.

    How is this the “first step toward abandoning the strategy Bob Gainey had when he blew up the team two summers ago…”? We brought it an 30-year old underachiever with a contract that runs until 2015. You don’t typically accept at face value pabulum comments from the Goat with a thoughtful, snarky, funny addendum. This time, we accept that we need to get bigger, that Gainey is at fault. Gauthier has the GM title and needs to take responsibility for the composition of the team, two years after Gainey resigned. You and your other media brethren needs to hold Goat accountable for failing to recognize that Diaz, DD and Weber were underserved before they reached the NHL.

    And, finally, please no revisionist history. “Cammalleri came to Montreal with the rep of being a selfish player.” Amazing that this is the first time you bring this up. Not cool. You didn’t mention is for the majority of his tenure here. Now, he is attached the Gomez trade because, “Cammalleri wouldn’t come to Montreal to be centred by Saku Koivu. So the Canadiens traded for Scott Gomez.”

    You’re better than this. Don’t let this team, their classlessness and Gauthier politick bring you down to their level.

  13. Habsbill24 says:

    For those that say this was a good trade because of getting Cap space, well we didn’t even recover the cap space we sacrificed in getting the useless Kaberle. Plus we are stuck with Bourque for an eternity he of questionable work ethic. Does not sound good to me. Cammy for the 2nd straight up would have been better.

  14. Captain aHab says:

    The more I think of this trade the more I like it.

    People who hate it say that Calgary could flip Cammy to another team for more. I think PG could flip Bourque to another team for more too. 27 goal scorer signed for a very reasonable cap number? I’m sure nobody wants that.

    We won the trade of picks….easily. Habs might be able to combine that second rounder with theirs to move into the first round in 2013.

    We get a prospect who seems to be improving and who is currently above a point a game. I like how people bring up Locke to pooh pooh him like scoring in Juniors is a definite mark of a guy who will be a bust. Until the guy proves he can’t handle the AHL and the NHL, I’ll reserve judgement.

    And then Bourque, who is scoring at a better pace than Cammy this year for less money, while hitting and not being afraid to drop them..

    The only way the Flames win this trade is if Cammy vastly outplays Bourque or if they flip him for 2 first rounders after he gets going. And, as someone else said, we will then know for sure he wasn’t giving his all in Montreal.

    Look, I don’t like PG, but I like this trade, just like I liked the Cole signing. I also like the admission that Smurfs are not the way to build in today’s NHL.

    • smiler2729 says:

      Cammalleri wasn’t scoring because JM and RC’s system restricts it.

      Gionta wasn’t scoring, Plackanack isn’t scoring, Subban’s not scoring, nobody is scoring.

      It’s time to change this organizational philosophy, the team has been boring to watch for most of the last 15 years, they let prospects linger forever in the minors (Leblanc should be up NOW, hell, why not Kristo, Tinordi and Gallagher too)

      We, the fans, DESERVE BETTER!

      ___________________________________
      Jack Edwards sucks chowdah chunks

  15. Habsbill24 says:

    Only way future free agents come here is if the Goat and Randy are gone and we have a new GM and coach that can distance themselves from this mess. Amazing that 100 years of tradition and class can be destroyed so quickly.

  16. HankHardball says:

    The critics don’t live in the real world. They expect other teams to give us their superstars in exchange for our driftwood. It ain’t gonna happen.

    If you want the Habs to improve, then get behind ditching the hard cap. Otherwise we won’t be able to compete with cities where taxes are lower and players can golf year round.

    If the NHL switched to a soft cap and allowed money making teams to spend their money to improve themselves, then we could pick up 2 or 3 Erik Coles. That’s how baseball’s Yankees have maintained their status all these years. Under the NHL’s current hard cap, teams like Montreal, Toronto etc. are handicapped as far as the on ice product goes. But Bettman doesn’t care because our money is being used to keep the weak sisters afloat instead of moving them to other cities.

    Baseball’s luxury tax has turned out to the most financially profitable system for both players and owners. Despite the fact MLB has lost popularity to the NFL. And even the NFL has now switched to a soft cap. Current NHLPA head Donald Fehr was one of the original architect’s of baseball’s luxury tax. They should at least listen to what he has to say.

    • boonie says:

      Unlike the NFL, we don’t have revenue sharing. We can afford and do spend almost 50% more than poor teams. Molson owns the building and the team. This more than offsets higher taxes.

      Spending more doesn’t guarantee results (see buffalo, and for many years, the rangers), talented management wins.

      We don’t have talented management.

      • HankHardball says:

        The NHL does have revenue sharing. The league owns the Coyotes. That’s where the money comes from to pay the rent on the arena in Glendale. Part of what you spend on the Habs goes toward paying the Coyotes’ rent. And they have a better team than we do.

        Lower taxes encourages players to sign elsewhere. If players have to pay 10% higher taxes in MTL, then we have to pay them 10% more to play here. So in effect, our total salary cap is 10% lower than American cities.

  17. Sharks9 says:

    Bob McKenzie gives a great analysis of this trade.

    http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=384950

    25 before 14

    • Kooch7800 says:

      a much better analysis in this article than what he said on TV. On TV it was this is knee jerk and Montreal got the short end……I think the more people look at this it is a win-win for both and Montreal gets help in a big winger.

      I really like this trade

  18. RiverviewCanadien says:

    Still happy this morning after the trade.

  19. mb says:

    Apologies if it’s already been discussed, I just watched Bourque’s reaction after being traded.
    Of course he looked emotional, like any guy who has just been traded, but am I the only one who gets the sense that he doesn’t want to play here? Pure speculation, here, but he didn’t look quite happy to be heading to Montreal.

    If it’s the case, I can’t say I really blame here, though. He gets here in the middle of a horrible season, in the spotlight and he probably realizes that the fans have high hopes on him.

    I honestly hope that he feels welcome here and that the fans don’t get on his case early (or late, in fact).

  20. sholi2000.com
    January 10, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    I gots a feeling that Cammalleri will be traded very soon.

    I can’t believe what a huge failure he is this season. Sigh, oh well tis life I suppose. (end quote from Sholi2000.com)

    Habsolutely
    January 10, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    ya, but is it a feeling..? or is it wishful thinking..?
    I was thinking about this earlier, and I’ve always thought Cammy would be shopped to playoff bound teams at the trade deadline. But then I thought, “how many playoff bound teams are gonna have the capspace to add him for a playoff push..?”
    the more you get into it, the more problems you unearth. this team has been mismanaged.
    (end quote from Habsolutely)

    and then some idiot (not above) says we won’t get anything for him. Some people know hockey, and some people talk hockey. But hockey idiots can’t do either.

    Now we now what direction the Canadiens are going for the remainder of the season. I don’t like it, but it had to be done. Cammalleri dug his own demise. He really showed it th elast few days. When the going got tough, he stopped going.

    He was key in the Halakalot playoff run. People get down their knees for Jaroslav, but to me Cammalleri and Goomez (yes Scotty was a key PK killer, and for one season was the only player who could take the puck out of our own end) were the two most important elements in the playoffs. But this year, I have no idea what happened to Cammalleri. One thing is for certain about him. He becomes complacent fast. His track record shows the pattern. I don’t even think he knows it. Why would he build a house in Montreal?

    Now.

    I can’t remember the last time I new the Canadiens were out of the playoff race in January. It sucks for sure. But what’s worse is watching fans wishing a loss. I don’t like losers, and that’s what fans are who want a team to lose (insert almost every other team’s fans here over the years). That’s why I have no respect for other team’s fans. When the going got tough, they stopped showing and when the winning starts they show their colors again. True fans treat their team like a it’s their own and you don’t wish ill well on your own.

    I can’t imagine a fan call Bob Gainey an idiot, or trade this guy or that guy (trade Price, or PK Subban?).

    People if you want to talk hockey and be respected, think about what you’re about to type, and then ask yourself, would actually say this to face.

    You guy fools who call down Bob Gainey? Is that how you would treat him in person?

    Whoa where’s this going Shane?

    Hey Shane you’re typing out loud again.

    Well you tell him to stop.

    No you tell him.

    That’s it, back to Winnipeg.

    Me thinks I’ll come to Montreal for a March 1st and 3rd? Time for another mini Summit with my pals in Montreal.

    Ian, Punkster,. How’s March look to you? :)

    Shane Oliver
    http://www.Sholi2000.com Inc.
    Custom Sports Figures
    Brandon, MB,Canada
    R7B 2R7
    hockey@sholi2000.com
    Ph- 204 724 8418

    • boonie says:

      I wouldn’t call Bob Gainey an idiot to his face or in a post here. I have posted and WOULD tell him to his face, that he “wasted assets, like Koivu, that could have yielded something AND built a horrible team”.

      Any executive can accept his failures. Bob is a character guy and would probably admit it.

      In fact, Gauthier’s moves and this team’s record is the admission of his failure.

  21. smiler2729 says:

    The morning after…

    The trade still stinks. Rejean Milbury’s mishandling of everything Canadiens and Molson allowing it is mindboggling.

    It’s not so much THAT Cammy was traded, it was HOW and for WHOM.

    It’s bag over the head time in Pays Bleu Blanc Et Rouge

    ___________________________________
    Jack Edwards sucks chowdah chunks


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