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» 2013 » January

  • Waiting for PK, Habs make cuts.

    I think the only benefit to the short season we’re getting this year is the stripping down of training camp. Not from the player’s perspective of course, I’m sure there will be a bunch of little injuries that pop up in the next few days for guys who haven’t been at full game speed yet. But from a fan perspective, and even more so from a blogger’s perspective, this training camp has been almost devoid of the normal feel-good “best shape of my life” stories that we normally need to endure. We didn’t have to suffer through 10 exhibition games where every writer in Montreal psychoanalyzes each player after seeing them in 10 minutes of ice time in meaningless hockey. Camp sorta just happened this year. It was too quick to worry about. It was too quick to have to fill morning papers with meaningless quotes about how each player feels prepared, and ready to go. Bleh. Its all meaningless. But this year – with one single week to get ready, we didn’t have time for any of it. Frankly, I loved it.

    Sure, there has been lots of ink spilled on the status of first round selection Alex Galchenyuk. It turns out it looks as though he’ll get 48 games in the NHL rather than the anticipated 5. The Canadiens made roster cuts today sending most of the Hamilton Bulldogs back to the NHL keeping only Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher, and Mike Blunden. It is far too early to know how all of this will play out, and the option remains to send Galchenyuk back to Junior after his 5 game stint with Montreal, but from the sounds of things it seems as though at this point he has a job in the NHL. Although I do think taking it slow with Galchenyuk is the best course of action, the fan in me is definitely pleased.

    Still, none of this matters to the Canadiens as much as the contract that has yet to be signed by PK Subban. I wrote very early on in the summer that there was nothing to worry about, and that PK’s case was exactly similar to Drew Doughty’s and Carey Price’s. Now things get tense. I would say that Habs fans at this point are well within reason to worry about PK playing on Saturday night. I still think this will get done and that PK will be signed long-term, but for the first time since the end of last season, I am a little worry about how long its taken to bash out a deal. I understand that this negotiation is difficult because of the factors at play in determining PK’s value. You really can make a case for PK being worth anywhere between $3 and $6M per season – and that is why the hold-out continues.

  • NHL to allow buy-outs THIS season.

    Well here is an interesting development. According to many sources including TSN, the NHL seems to have back-peddled on the issue of buy-outs. Originally, teams were not to be able to buy out players until after this lock-out shortened season. IN the case of Scott Gomez, this led the Habs to send him back to Alaska – to miss a full season rather than risk getting hurt in game action which would render him ineligible for the buy out. Both Gomez and Wade Redden faced this situation – “victims” of their enormous salaries respectively.

    The NHL has decided to change course however. Rather than allow these players to be forced to sit out an entire season (no matter how short it is), they have allowed buy-outs in this situation for this season. Montreal will still be on the hook for his salary, but Gomez (and Redden) will be allowed to seek opportunities elsewhere. Really, this makes sense – and is ultimately an admission from the NHL that the idea of allowing the buy-outs, but not until next year created the problem in the first place.

    So now, NHL teams will be allowed 1 buy out this season, in which the player’s contract will come off of the books after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Nothing changes for teams like Montreal who were going to pay Gomez to stay home anyway. It does allow these players the opportunity to salvage their careers without having to sit out for critically long periods of time.It is unlikely that many other teams leverage this opportunity – as they will still need to carry the cap hit on the player for this season, but at the very least, players who find themselves in this tough position can try to build some value elsewhere.

    ~Mats