Last summer, it took Bob Gainey the price of a lunch and a walk in the park to convince Alex Kovalev that his destiny was still attached to the Canadiens. Must have been some lunch, must have been some park.
Gainey is well known for being a poised man. You add the tone of the voice, the sight and we have a great mind which can convince a dog that it can fly!
In Kovalev's eyes, Montreal went from the hell where the devil is made of the fans and the media, to the best hockey town in the world.
The new finally broke. Gainey had a two hours meeting/discussion/debate (it can be any of those, or the three of them) with no one else than Mats Sundin, in Toronto. Surprise!
The rumour already spread on TSN and RDS approaching the week end, but even from TSN, a rumour remains a rumour, then untrue. No offense.
Plus, I was wondering what in the world was Bob Gainey going to do there. I thought I had the feeling the Habs were over the case. It is like the playoffs, it ain't over 'till it's over.
"I told him, if you feel like retiring, then retire now. But if you are not sure, come back playing and the emotions will come along" declared Gainey. With all due respect, wrong.
Montreal is a hockey-mad city. It can be the best, it can be the worst. You can parade, or you can be booed, in your own arena, by those same people who wear your name on their back.
Again, just give a look at Kovalev's two recent seasons.
So if you miss your shot, you better be ready to pay the price. Then, make sure you want to play Hockey. Then, make sure you want to play Hockey, IN Montreal.
J.P. Barry, now among the most popular agents of all time, said that Bob Gainey explained to Sundin how the joining of the two parties would make a great deal for both ends. "Mats is currently thinking since he met Gainey. He knows he will have to give a response soon, but hasn't decided yet."
That is no big scoop, Mr Barry. The Canadiens had even more hold on him with the exclusive negotiations in July. Let's just call it evolution.
Among other arguments, the GM apparently added that the clock is ticking for the Canadiens and that there are other businesses waiting for him.
For the little story, Gainey was in Newfoundland when he told the story to a group of fans who were there to ask him autographs and pictures! "You are the first to know", he reportedly said to the hockey fans. Lucky guys.
When a fan finally asked the tricky question, regarding whether or not Sundin accepted the Canadiens offer, Gainey had this legendary smile that tells you not to bother search deeper. He managed to answer "he didn't say no". BUT HE DID NOT SAY YES, for God's sake.
As predicted, around Montreal, it is all about that. Worse, some so called sports journalists figured out that it will be either retirement or Montreal. Please, give me a break.
Nobody talks anymore about the Junior League of Quebec and their fighting policy. Especially that in Montreal, a few days ago, a brawl erupted after two seconds of play. I guess the players gave their own answers: we-don't-care!
One last thing, the Globe and Mail reports moves from Tampa Bay.
Notes from aside:
Tom Brady: well, at least Cassel had enough playing time last season. What am I saying?
Aaron Rodgers: first test, PASS.
Federer: no comment. Just no comment. Just great.
Kimi: WHAT IN THE WORLD?