Around the League: Montreal-Washington, Tampa, Lecavalier, and More...

Kamal PanesarCorrespondent IApril 14, 2010

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 27: Michael Cammalleri #13 of the Montreal Canadiens and Vincent Lecavalier #4 of the Tampa Bay Lightning chat at the St. Pete Times Forum on January 27, 2010 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

As we sit waiting for the playoffs to get going tonight, there are a couple of things going on in the league that bear discussing.


Montreal-Washington: The War of Words has Begun

Among a sea of predictions that generally point to the Washington Capitals wiping the floor with the Montreal Canadiens—starting tomorrow night in Washington—a few interesting sound bites have started to emerge.

Here's a link to the TSN article on the topic:

Or the RDS article on the topic:

In a nutshell, Plekanec was asked about the Caps goaltending and made some comment that they were not as good as the Canadiens' goaltenders. The problem is that his comments and the original question were translated from French to English to French again and something was lost in translation.

That being said, Caps goalie Jose Theodore took exception to Plekanec's remarks and made some comment about him being not being Jagr. I guess he was trying to say that he was no superstar either.

Caps coach Bruce Boudreau even got involved by backing up Theodore and announcing that he will be the starting goaltender of the series.

So, what does all of this mean?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

But, it does give us something to talk about.

My question now is whether Plekanec's comments will light a fire under Theodore or make him crumble under the pressure.

Generally speaking, you never want to give your opponent additional motivation to beat you, and usually a comment like Plekanec's would do exactly that. But with Theodore, I am not necessarily convinced that this will be the case.

Theo has not had a lot of success against the Habs since being traded out of town during the 2005-2006 season. In addition, the crowd in Montreal tends to help that negative momentum by serenading Theodore with their "Thay-oh, Thay-oh" chants.

So, suffice it to say that from where I'm sitting, it will be interesting to see:
1. If Theodore responds with superlative goaltending or falls apart under the pressure to prove that he is a good goaltender.
2. If Tomas Plekanec gets additional physical abuse from the Caps' players because of his comments.
3. If Plekanec can lift his game to another level and get a bunch of points against Theodore in their head-to-head matchup.

Tune in tomorrow night for a series that is sure to be entertaining if nothing else.


Brian Lawton and Rick Tocchet out in Tampa, is Vincent Lecavalier Next?

With new ownership taking over in Tampa Bay, you had to figure it was a matter of time before they cleaned house and got rid of their GM and Coach.

Well, two days ago, this thought became a reality as Lawton and Tocchet were fired.

Now that they are gone, I wonder how many milliseconds it will take before the Lecavalier to Montreal rumors start up again.

With ten more years left on his massive contract and an average cap hit of $7.727 million per season, you have to think that the new ownership will at a minimum take a look a the possibility of moving him.

That being said, there are very few teams in the league who can even afford Lecavalier under the cap, and Montreal is not one of them.

In addition, many GM's are wary of the knee injury that Lecavalier suffered last season and some are questioning whether he'll ever be an elite player again.

Finally, the fact that Lecavalier has a no-movement clause and can dictate if or where he is traded, is also a huge factor.

So, before all the speculation starts, leading up to draft day, before the dreamers start dreaming and before the lunatics start swinging from the chandeliers, let me just say that the only way Lecavalier is coming to Montreal is if Tampa takes Scott Gomez back as part of the trade.

And, looking at it objectively, why in the world would Tampa do that?

Yes, Gomez only has four more years left on his deal after this season versus ten more for Lecavalier, and he can be bought out much easier. But, as the GM of the Lightning, wouldn't you rather get a basket of picks and prospects back than another headache contract?

I know I would.

So please keep this in mind, Habs addicts, as the rumors are sure to start flying over the next 90 days.

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