Gorges stunned by Habs’ desire to trade him, now waiting for next move

screen-capture

Josh Gorges believes he’s played his last game for the Canadiens.
Grant Halverson, Getty Images

DAVE STUBBS
The Gazette

The bomb rocked Josh Gorges on Saturday, his agent calling with a request the veteran defenceman thought he’d never hear:

Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin needed Gorges’s permission to trade him, ostensibly to shave salary off the team’s cap.

Now, it seems that Gorges, the player many thought was the Habs’ captain-in-waiting, has played his last game in Montreal, his future NHL home far from decided as of Monday afternoon.

As Gorges was considering his world having been turned upside down, the Canadiens traded Daniel Brière to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for fellow forward Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau and a 2015 fifth-round draft choice.

This all a day before the free-agency window opens, with Bergevin looking to improve his team that came within two wins of advancing to this spring’s Stanley Cup final.

“You’re never ready for it,” Gorges said Monday of the Saturday call from his agent, Kevin Epp. “You’re never expecting it so yeah, you’re a little bit blown away.

“You try to figure out why it’s happening and what the reasons are. But ultimately, I guess it’s not necessarily for me to know. It’s not my job to know, so I sit and I wait. And I hope that things fall into place.”

Gorges has four seasons remaining on his six-year, $23.4-million contract. The 29-year-old native of Kelowna, B.C., has a modified no-trade clause which listed 15 teams – all in the U.S. – to which he would agree to be dealt.

Gorges said Monday that the list has grown by “a couple” of teams in Canada, clubs he would not specify.

One of them is not Toronto, which is where the story takes its sharpest turn.

TSN hockey analyst Bob McKenzie reported Monday that the Canadiens had a deal in place with the Maple Leafs that would see a roster player from Toronto come to Montreal in exchange for Gorges.

But Gorges reportedly refused to waive his no-trade clause to include the Maple Leafs, leaving him, for now, in a state of suspended animation.

The defenceman would neither confirm nor deny the Toronto angle of the story, but clearly were the Leafs one of his “couple” of Canadian cities he had added to his list, he’d be on his way.

Gorges was at home Saturday with his wife, Maggie, their first child due within a week, when he took agent Epp’s call.

“I found out about this like everyone else did,” he said.

Would it be safe to say he’s in a state of shock? I asked him.

“Yes.”

“I leave the business side of things to my agent, to talk to the team and figure all that stuff out,” he said. “I was sitting at home and got the call that they needed my permission to move me.

“These are tough details for me to go into. I don’t want anyone looking bad, but to my understanding it’s a business decision that had to be made in order to free up some cap space.”

A huge portion of that cap space, without question, is to accommodate the monster contract that is coming to defenceman P.K. Subban.

Gorges’s cap hit is $3.9 million for each season of the four remaining on the contract.

He said he had no hint that a trade might be coming when he sat with Bergevin at season’s end, players normally meeting the GM for a debriefing before they break for summer.

“My meetings went, I feel, as well as they possibly could have gone,” Gorges said. “At the end of the season, the way it finished (with a six-game Eastern Conference loss to the New York Rangers), obviously there’s disappointment in not following through in what we set out to do.

“But besides that, there definitely was no indication on my part that I would no longer be here.”

Should the Canadiens not find a place to deal Gorges, they have the option of putting him on waivers. At that point, he could be claimed by any of the NHL’s 29 clubs, albeit without compensation paid to the Habs.

So Gorges knows it’s a calculated risk on his part not to accept a trade, even if it means waiving his no-trade to facilitate a deal to a team that’s not on his preferred list.

“It’s something that you definitely have to sit and discuss,” he said. “I have to discuss it with my wife – do we take that chance and roll the dice and then let the chips fall where they may and go wherever we end up?

“Or do we decide that (a trade destination) is a good fit for us and we can do well there? I have to make those decisions when they approach me.”

Gorges said it’s likely he’s played his last game for the Canadiens, the team that acquired him on Feb. 25, 2007 from the San Jose Sharks along with a 2007 first-round draft pick – that would be Max Pacioretty – for veteran defenceman Craig Rivet and a 2008 pick.

It’s almost impossible to imagine that Gorges would be back in Montreal given the hard, sour-taste business of the past couple of days. But if that somehow did come to pass, Gorges says he’d bring the same work ethic that has been a hallmark of his 560 regular-season NHL games, 464 of them played for the Canadiens.

That work ethic, his body-sacrificing, shot-blocking game and his accountability after a win or loss has been beyond reproach, as have his leadership skills that have been an important quality in the dressing room.

“From my understanding, it’s not very likely (I play again with the Canadiens),” he said. “But if that’s the case, no matter what jersey you put on, you put it on with pride. You go out there and do your job because that’s what you’re supposed to do.

“No matter what happens, I’m fortunate enough to be in the NHL. So wherever I end up, and if it is back in Montreal, you go out there and do what you’re supposed to do because that’s your job. Until that gets decided, and now we sit and wait, wherever I end up, you go and put everything you have into that team, just like you would have before.”

Gorges has no idea about the next move in this chess game, or when it will be made. Presumably, it won’t drag on if Subban’s contract hinges at least in part on Gorges’s status.

“I wish I had an idea,” he said. “To be honest, for me, it now becomes almost like a waiting game. I have almost no power in this. I sit and I wait and I try to not think about it as much as I possibly can.

“When things like this happen, it’s not in my control. I’ve never asked for this. I never asked to leave the team, I’ve never even thought about that before.

“So you do your best to go about your everyday life and focus on family as much as possible, especially right now. When you hear news, you react to it then. There’s not much more that I can do right now that will change anything.”

He’s not certain whether he’ll hear directly from Bergevin, coach Michel Therrien or anyone else in the team’s management.

“I think most of this is going to go through Kevin (agent Epp), but who knows?” Gorges said. “If they want to try to contact me, they’re more than welcome to.

“To be honest, I’m not sure. I’ve been traded once. I was young, it happened in a day so I don’t know what ‘normal’ is in this situation.”

Gorges said he’s spoken with a number of teammates about the situation, including Brendan Gallagher, who since he arrived with the Canadiens in 2012-13 has lived with Gorges and Maggie in their South Shore home.

“I guess it’s shocking to everybody. You never expect to hear that news,” Gorges said of teammates’ reaction, adding that he didn’t want to mention anyone by name. “You know this is possible every single day but you never expect to hear it.

“It was shocking to hear it but again, nobody is ever safe.”

For now, Gorges sits stunned at home, learning first-hand the cruelty of the business of hockey. For now, he says, he’ll focus on the child that he and Maggie will soon welcome.

And then the family will consider their next home, roots they’d planted in Montreal not nearly as deep as they believed they were.

dstubbs@montrealgazette.com

Twitter: Dave_Stubbs

 

1,363 Comments

  1. tab says:

    Will buffalo send one of those draft picks back to habs for gorges

  2. punkster says:

    Gilbert!

    Release the Subbang!!!

  3. Adidess says:

    How delightful that Gorges is happy about going to Buffalo but felt insulted being traded to Toronto!

  4. habstrinifan says:

    Statsny 4yr at 7mill. Still think P.K is ‘greedy’ for over wanting more than 6?

    “Protest Rogers blackout of Habs game…sign at:

    https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/no-habs-blackout-rds.

  5. habstrinifan says:

    So folks Pouliot gets 5yrs 20 mill. Ian and others still think P.K should settle for no more than 5 to 6 mill.

    “Protest Rogers blackout of Habs game…sign at:

    https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/no-habs-blackout-rds.

  6. chrskwn says:

    DAMN i gotta feel for gorges .. i mean seriously, buffalo?!?

  7. habstrinifan says:

    I thought I heard Gorges trade done!!!

    “Protest Rogers blackout of Habs game…sign at:

    https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/no-habs-blackout-rds.

  8. Chris says:

    Good moves by Edmonton. Fayne will stabilize their defence, Pouliot gives them some forward depth.

    Malhotra will win faceoffs regardless of the side, so I guess that eliminates the eternal need for a right-handed centre. Good price, good size, good defensive play.

  9. habs-fan-84 says:

    Wasn’t a fan of losing White, but if Malhotra is our 4th line C I can live with it.

  10. JUST ME says:

    Benoit Pouliot 5 years $20 millions with the Oilers…This is a mad start …

  11. monmick says:

    Manny Malholtra speaks French; for those who didn’t know. I guess that is important. Both parents studied at Laval; mom is French-Canadian…

    ~~~> Mathematically eliminated…

  12. Hobie says:

    Not a bad signing! Good centerman for the 4th line.

  13. BJ says:

    Ehrhoff to the Pens

  14. Rad says:

    Malhotra is a great face-off guy. Plus, he’s married to Steve Nash’s sister, that’s got to count for something right?

  15. NightRyder says:

    Manny Malhotra is our new fourth-line centre. Defensive-zone faceoffs are no longer Plekanec’s problem. Manny couldn’t score if his other eye depended on it, but he will help defensively.
    AND, guess what? He’s great in the room! At $880K.
    Sorry, Josh-lovers.

  16. stephen says:

    Hmm, Habs sign Malhotra to one year, as per TSN’s Bobbo.

  17. scuba says:

    Malholtra to replace White I guess.

  18. on2ndthought says:

    Manny?
    “a cannonading drive”

  19. slapshot777 says:

    Manny Maholtra for 1 yr ?

    To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high.

  20. Timo says:

    New thread.

  21. JohnInTruro says:

    Manny Mo, I like it!

  22. Timo says:

    So what is Stastny’s asking price? Roughly.

  23. Thomas Le Fan says:

    As for Dominion Day, I use the old term because I’m a happy dinosaur and have always had a very slight speech impediment apparently. I really struggle with the new name. C eh A eh N eh D eh. D eh A eh Y … eh? I’m not sure why anyone thought it was necessary to change it, in the first place. The flag sure but the name of the holiday? As far as I can tell, no other country has a similar sounding national day. No America Day or France Day or Britain Day to be seen. Bureaucrats!
    But it’s a Doo Dah Day here and I’m going to Celebrate! Happy whatever you want to call it. Cheers!

    Hockey isn’t everything … it’s the only thing … except for beer and guitars!

  24. NightRyder says:

    Ray Ferraro: “Nobody spent more money in the playoff than Thomas Vanek.”

  25. Timo says:

    Renaud Lavoie “Brian Gionta will have to make a decision. 4 teams are ready to take him.”

    Please do so!

  26. Hobie says:

    This guy has been the number one (reasonably priced) forward on my list:

    Retweeted by Mitch Melnick
    David Pagnotta ‏@TheFourthPeriod 4m

    Habs seem to be pursuing Radim Vrbata quite heavily… Doesn’t sound like Brian Gionta will be back, as he test the waters.

  27. NightRyder says:

    Shout out to Dave Stubbs, who’s hurtin’ today…

  28. habstrinifan says:

    This guy on TSN690 saying Argentina is the most complete team in World Cup and also have USA favourites over Germany.

    This guy is Doug Henneker(?). He says Messi has been the best player in the World Cup.

    Wrong! James from Columbia for one has been better and France has played better than Argentina.

    Edit: Look for lots of ‘diving’ in game between Argentina and Switzerland… by both teams.
    “Protest Rogers blackout of Habs game…sign at:

    https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/no-habs-blackout-rds.

    • jols says:

      USA is playing Belgium, however they would not be favorites over either Germany or Belgium…

      • Chris says:

        I have the US beating Belgium today, especially if Kompany can’t play due to his groin injury. The US have impressed me in this World Cup, and I say that very grudgingly.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      I think there are 5-6 teams with almost equal shot at winning it all, I think Brazil remain the favourite due to home field and depth of talent compared to Argentina.

      James has probably been the best player in the whole world cup, but to me Messi is still the best player in the world.

      Not sure how he can U.S. favoured over Germany, but perhaps he isn’t aware they already played. Can’t wait for todays 4pm game. I just get to flip my flag sideways!

      • Chris says:

        Agreed. Brazil is still alive, and they have played pretty poorly. If they can wake up for 2-3 games, they have the most talent to pull it off. Argentina has also been sleepwalking thus far.

        With teams like Colombia, Chile and the US, they are firing on all cylinders. What you see is probably their peak. They absolutely can win it if the more powerful sides (Germany, Brazil, Argentina) pull their heads out of their rear ends.

    • Chris says:

      France and Argentina both had cream-puff groups…neither would be my pick for the top team in the tournament. And Colombia’s group was a joke as well. Japan were dismal, Ivory Coast were old and suffering from injuries, and Greece can’t score.

      Thus far, I would probably go with the Dutch, who were not impressive in their first knockout match, but who have played the hardest teams: Spain, Australia (easy one), Chile and now Mexico. That is a pretty tough run, and they are 4-0 with the most goals in the tournament.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        What was so creampuff about Nigeria and Bosnia? That Bosnia team was essentially a Yugoslavian team who have a rich history of good football.

        I have seen a few posts from you where you have been highly dismissive of some of the teams and the pods. I don’t know, the minute a team underestimates a lower seed, bad things happen.

        I think the beauty of this World Cup is that there is almost parity in the whole tournament. It has seemed like almost every game either team could win. Only a few blowouts.

        France regardless of whom they have played, have played very impressive. Greece never score much, yet managed to win a Euro like that, not necessarily bad soccer when you can win a Euro and advance to the top 16 in a World Cup. Maybe my standards are too low.

        • Chris says:

          Nigeria is a mess…this is not the usual Nigerian team that we are all used to. I’ve been a big Nigeria fan since the days of Jay Jay Okocha, so I always pull for them once Canada and Denmark go down. But this was not their year.

          I play soccer with a lot of African grad students. They were all down on Nigeria’s chances this year because their federation was a mess, their coaching was a mess, and their players were not of the same calibre as previous years. Then their players sat out the the 2nd last training session before the knockout game against France in yet another money dispute. Complete mess. (For the record, the African guys’ only hope for an African team was Ghana…the rest all had fatal flaws in their opinion. Take it for what it’s worth.)

          I understand that a lower-seeded team can pull off a miracle. Denmark, the team I cheered for, pulled a rabbit out of the hat in the 1992 Euros. As a fan of Germany, I’m sure you remember that one with some disdain.

          But I’ve also played enough soccer in my life to know that, for the most part, the better teams do in fact win. Maybe this will be one of those exceptional years, because so many teams are either too old or too young, and a lot of Cinderella teams snuck into the tournament this year. But Germany, Brazil, and Argentina are the teams to beat until somebody beats them. They have the depth, the talent, and the tactics that are missing from so many of the other countries.

    • Walmyr says:

      This Cup is the craziest ever. But I still think one of Germany and Brazil will won the cup.

      Cheers!!!

  29. HabFab says:

    So the madness is about to commence. I’m not expecting much with the little $ MB has to work with, but should be fun anyway…. enjoy! I have to miss most of it.

  30. Hobie says:

    Scanning through the list of guys Habs could sign for around $1,000,000 to backup the like of Prust and Weise against the leagues’ heavyweights…not too many names there.

    Looks like the two above mentioned names plus maybe Tinordi might be handling the likes of Lucic, Orr, Neil and many others.

    • adamkennelly says:

      Matt Kassian? Paul Bissonette? not really anything good out there. Weise can’t fight – Prust should not fight all that frequently and we lost a couple of players in Murray and Frankie who could handle things when needed…me thinks MB will do something – prolly by way of trade.

  31. 123456 says:

    HBD my neighbor to the north.
    HBD to BriPro.
    Big hockey day.
    Big soccer day (USA).

    May my lunch hour be filled with good eats and great Habs news.

  32. JohnInTruro says:

    Engelland and McClement would be good for me. Lesser known guys with low salaries.

  33. HardHabits says:

    Thankfully HIO isn’t TSN. If it was the headline would be something like:

    “Josh gorges his pride as he looks deep into the gorge.”

  34. BriPro says:

    For anyone who’s interested, and especially to our NY neighbours who are not aware as to how hot it gets up here, my pool is at 82 deg.F.

    Jim, you might want to give Melissa a heads up.

    You all are welcome for a dip! Cheers!

  35. PLHab says:

    Happy Canada day from a Canadian in Europe!

    Anyone know where I can catch a live stream of TSN’s FAF?

    Thanks Guys

    …and maybe I’ll add my two cents on the whole Josh Gorges situation. The truth of the matter is, it’s not like he’ll be packing a uhaul and a crappy station wagon to move across North America. He’ll be wined&dined by whomever acquires him and treated like the rock star professional hockey player that he is. This is nothing more than an NHL team trying to trade a player from its roster to another team. It has every right to do so according to the CBA, tradition, league rules, etc. Why is this even an issue?

    Cheers

  36. habs-fan-84 says:

    Wow, you can’t even stream TSN Free Agency. They want you to provide you TV service provider. You can’t make this stuff up. Only in Canada.

  37. HabinBurlington says:

    Interesting bits about the top prospect Ottawa received for Spezza.

    http://www.mlive.com/sports/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2014/03/alex_guptills_michigan_hockey.html

  38. Rad says:

    Stubbs is still whining over Gorges. Here’s his latest tweet:

    Dave Stubbs ‏@Dave_Stubbs
    .@tgrunfeld Last on Gorges til story moves: He’ll be paid his contract no matter where he plays. He completely wanted to earn it w/ #Habs

    • HabinBurlington says:

      It does seem like Stubbs is going a bit overboard with the “protection” of Gorges. Not sure I quite get the tone or purpose of this. I get that Gorges was popular, particularly with the media. But this is a pro sport, its a business, things happen.

      Not sure who is having a harder time getting over the possibility of Gorges being traded, Stubbs or Gorges.

    • habs-fan-84 says:

      Not sure how that’s whining, but anyways.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        It may not be whining, but given the amount of things written by Stubbs, he certainly to me seems to be providing a slanted perspective on the scenario, such that it implies Gorges is being hard done by.

        There is nothing wrong with a GM who considers the opportunity to trade players if it improves the team in his view or judgement.

        Stubbs seems to be entrenching himself into a position where it is wrong, for the Habs to consider moving Gorges.

        I liked all the efforts Josh provided, I think he is an overachiever and a good player to have on your team. But our Defence is heading into a transition and players like PK, Markov, Emelin along with youngsters Beaulieu, Tinordi, Pateryn and others are the future.

        • JohnInTruro says:

          It’s Bergevin’s job.

        • habs-fan-84 says:

          From a hockey perspective I completely agree Burly. It’s the tone of some fans that I don’t like. If some are a fan of this move, then fine, that’s their prerogative (I have absolutely no problem with that). It’s the celebration (by some) of dumping a player like yesterdays garbage that rubs me the wrong way. A player that gave 100% every game.

          I guess I’m getting old.

          • HabinBurlington says:

            I don’t like that either, but it seems to be the same voices who enjoy simply crapping on Habs players.

    • JUST ME says:

      One should never mix business with sentiments. Stubbs is a friend of Gorges and should not comment further then the actual business facts.

    • DDO_Habs_Fan says:

      Not just Stubbs. I heard JF Chaumont (JdeM) on Marinaro’s show and he sounded upset too. Josh seems to be highly regarded in the media. Luckily the GM looks at things like 2 assists and 0+/- in 17 playoff games.

    • New says:

      When you work with folks a great deal you get vested in them, and Gorges was always good to talk with the media. Most NHL awards are media awards. Most columns are media columns. Without the media the NHL is nothing. Think cricket. Most fans see what the media shows, read what the media says, and believe what they are told. GM don’t have that luxury.

      Gorges does not want to be the 7th D sitting in the stands or on the bench. He wants to play. Between the media, the team’s needs, and fans he has come to believe he is integral to the team. He is just one of the L shooting D-men on the team playing the wrong side. That is why he always looks to be facing the wrong way, tipping the puck into his net, losing coverage, and can’t get the puck out or keep it in while Subban can. The moment Markov re-signed was the moment Gorges became available.

      Media don’t care a hoot about that. They care about words, timelines, and quotes. They have their favorites but like a wise man once said: once you start believing your press clippings you’re toast.

  39. Habs4LifeInTO says:

    Brian Gionta’s agent says his client will hit the open market as of noon. As per John Lu

    24 cups and counting….

  40. BriPro says:

    HAPPY CANADA DAY!
    And in keeping with Matty’s style of shameless self-promotion, Happy Birthday to me too.

    What a day….UFA day, I got to sleep in, I’m being taken for lunch, then I think I’ll surf and sluff all day to see if our team has gotten bigger.

    Have a great day, everybody…. I know I will.

  41. HabinBurlington says:

    Raonic serving for the match.

    • Captain aHab says:

      He is but I’m not liking how he’s playing….he can’t just slice returns like that against tougher comp.

      —————-
      Prepare to be boarded!!

    • habsfan0 says:

      I thought Germany would wipe the field with Algeria yesterday.
      It didn’t quite turn out that way.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        You must not have watched much of Germany heading into the game, or not much of Algeria then. Germany are weak on the back end, particularly with Hummels not playing. A couple of top defenders and midfielders got hurt for Germany just prior to World Cup.

        Algeria are a strong team also. Was a good game to watch.

        Germany do better against more tactical teams. But I was still happy with the result.

        • DipsyDoodler says:

          If Neuer does his beckenbauer impersonation against the French or Dutch guaranteed someone dives over his leg and gets. Him carded.

          —–
          Moving. Forward.

          • HabinBurlington says:

            Neuer had no choice but to make those plays, risky, but required. I really am hopeful Hummels will be back for the France game, it is imperative. Boateng/Mertesecker need help, they just don’t have the agility required to patrol that back.

            Did like seeing Lahm put back to his natural right back position with Khedira coming into the midfield.

            I wonder if Low keeps Lahm back there, despite saying earlier repeatedly such a move would not occur.

      • dr. schmutzdeker says:

        Re Germany not holding a significant edge in play…The shots on goal stat would indicate udder wise.

  42. durocher says:

    Good for the Habs that we’re moving on from Gio. He will land nicely in Buffalo or another place that needs veteran leadership (DC?)

  43. jols says:

    Benn, Seguin, Speeza, Nichushkin (sp), that is 4 highly skilled players in their top 6. Dallas will be a fun team to watch.

  44. Hobie says:

    So with Gionta, Briere and Bouillon (most likely) on their way out, the Habs for the first time in many years have the acceptable amount of smaller players on their team.

    It will be nice not having to hear every announcer on TV say how small the Habs are and have posters argue about it 24/7.

  45. DDO_Habs_Fan says:

    If you had to pick ONE UFA that the Habs should pick up, who would it be?

    For me, Iginla.

  46. jols says:

    Sens planning on giving the Sabres a battle for McDavid?

  47. JUST ME says:

    Spezza was not worth more than this. Very talented overrated and overpaid player. Will always be within the best players of his team but unable or unwilling to be THE best.

  48. Arnou Ruelle says:

    I hate to repeat this question and its premature, but I’ll repeat it anyway:

    Do you want PK Subban to become the next Captain of the Montreal Canadiens for the 2014-2015 NHL Regular Season? Yes or No and why?

  49. Captain aHab says:

    Can you imagine now how much Statsny is going to get?

    —————-
    Prepare to be boarded!!

  50. HabFab says:

    Brian Bartlett –

    Brian Gionta will be hitting the open market at noon.


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