Montreal Back In Hockey Mode
|Scott Gomez has been told he's no longer in the Canadiens plans|
To be honest, Habs' fans shouldn't even be too happy about ol'Burkie being given the boot. Burke failed to make the Leafs a playoff team throughout his tenure and made a number of questionable moves. Signing Komisarek for four years at $4.5 million didn't pan out so well. Jeff Finger was signed to four years as well for $3.5 million with only 94 NHL games under his belt. Signing Mikhail Grabovski for $27.5 million over the course of five years seems a little excessive, and of course there's the infamous Kessel deal.
So in hindsight, the Leafs can really only improve with Burke no longer at the helm, so that bit of news can be put in the negative column, along with Erik Cole's current fit over the new CBA.
I won't spend too much time on the Cole topic, but I will quickly touch on it. The Habs can't afford to lose Cole to retirement just yet, but, at the same time, they could do without his current behaviour. Sure, you may not get the full amount you signed for, but you still get millions. NHL fans around the league had to miss out on half of a season because of a monetary dispute between billionares and millionires. Now that it's been settled, nobody has any patience to hear any more whining.
Now onto Gomez.
During his time in Montreal, I haven't been as hard on him as the majority of fans have been. Why not? It's simple. Nobody would turn down the money he's been earning. If you yourself would say no to that contract, then you can complain all you want, but you wouldn't, so don't kid yourself.
His contract has handcuffed Canadiens' management over the years, and that's a fact. His play last season left much to be desired. For those two reasons alone, the Habs will be better off without him. He will be paid this season and count against the cap, but let's be honest, this season hardly even counts.
Gomez has been a class act during his three seasons with Montreal. Although he has bundles of cash to keep him company at home, I can't help but feel a little bad for the guy. It's never good for anyone's self esteem to be told that you're not in your team's plans anymore. A tough blow to one's pride for sure.
One thing's for sure, Bergevin is just a P.K. Subban signing away from being the most loved man in Montreal.
Could Gomez's absence be a sign that there's a spot for Galchenyuk on the roster?
With David Desharnais, Tomas Plekanec and Lars Eller down the middle it's hard to imagine Galchenyuk playing center. No point in bringing him up for fourth line minutes, but it wouldn't hurt to put him on a wing alongside Plekanec and....
(Bear with me here for a moment. This next bit is strictly meant for conversational purposes. I am not starting a rumor I am just throwing out a "What if?" type of scenario)
Ever since leaving Montreal, Kovalev has made it clear that he regrets leaving and would love to return. I haven't been much of a fan of the concept of his possible return either.
There is no doubt that Kovy was the most exciting player to don the CH since Guy Lafleur. The problem with AK27 was his presence, or lack thereof. Kovalev showed up for half a season.
Half a season, eh? Seeing as we find ourselves with only half a season to play would it be so bad to have Kovalev back?
The obvious upside would be having him play with Andrei Markov on the team's top power play unit, but that's not what got me to start thinking about this whole idea. Can you imagine having Plekanec play in between Kovalev and Galchenyuk?
Kovalev and Pleky have played together before and enjoyed great success. Kovy finished the season with 82 points and Plekanec finished with 69 points, his second higest point total in his career. The other member of that line was Andrei Kostitsyn, who finished with 26 goals and 27 assists for 53 points. He has yet to top any of those stats.
I'm not saying Galchenyuk would get Kostistyn type totals, however it would be at least interesting to see him play top line minutes with two linemates with as much talent as Plekanec and Kovalev. And to be fair, isn't it about time Plekanec is given some support?
Again let me reiterate that this is strictly hypothetical. Kovalev has been invited to the Florida Panthers' camp for a tryout and Rene Bourque will be given a fair chance to prove his worth. Besides those points, Kovalev doesn't strike me as the type of player that Bergevin is after.
So while it isn't exactly a possibility I still think it would make for an exciting combination on the ice for the Habs.
Sean is a freelance writer currently contributing to <a href="http://www.HabsAddict.com" target="_blank">HabsAddict.com</a>. He is also a regular blogger and frequent panelist on the Habs post game show at <a href="http://www.MontrealHockeyTalk.com" target="_blank">MontrealHockeyTalk.com</a>
You can follow Sean on <a href="http://twitter.com/SeanLloyd93" target="_blank">Twitter</a>.