Gainey’s silence spoke volumes: Friedman

Excerpted from Elliotte Friedman’s blog at CBC Sports:

Without making a single move on Trade Deadline Wednesday, Bob Gainey proved why he is the right man to run the Montreal Canadiens.

The best coaches, the best general managers, the best players – they simply don’t bow to the pressures of their fans. They appreciate the support and are thankful for the passion. But as Bob Knight once said, "If you start listening to the fans, pretty soon you’ll end up sitting next to them."

In Quebec, they were howling for Olli Jokinen. They were screaming for Jay Bouwmeester. But neither player made sense for the Canadiens and Gainey knew it. He knows the truth. His team is not good enough to win.

If we’ve learned anything about Olli Jokinen, it’s that teams cannot expect him to elevate them as their featured, front-line forward. In Calgary, surrounded by Jarome Iginla, Daymond Langkow and a blistering Mike Cammalleri, Jokinen has better chance for success. Such support doesn’t exist in Montreal.

Same goes for Bouwmeester. After the deadline, Washington GM George McPhee told reporters that the Panthers wanted Karl Alzner, Simeon Varlamov and current London Knight John Carlson, a first-round pick in 2008.

You can imagine what Jacques Martin wanted from Vancouver and Philadelphia, the two finalists. That’s outright thievery for a free-agent-to-be. I totally understand why McPhee, or anyone else, would run away from this deal.

For Gainey, either move would have been irresponsible. The honest truth is that with either Jokinen or Bouwmeester, the Canadiens wouldn’t be good enough to win. Heck, I’d argue that adding both of them still isn’t enough.

Only a bad GM would panic and waste precious young players/draft picks in such a deal – and Bob Gainey isn’t a bad GM.

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