“From galvanized to polarized in one short month.”
That’s how Dave Stubbs describes the mood regarding Marc Bergevin’s very young reign as the Montreal Canadiens’ GM after ushering in the second Michel Therrien era. Stubbs believes that making that controversial coaching hire has already ended the “honeymoon” era for Bergevin.
Compared to Pierre Gauthier, his sometimes lifelike predecessor, Bergevin has been a breath of communicative fresh air, keeping some cards tight to his vest yet willing to show others.
But in the dark of night Monday into Tuesday, Internet reports confirmed by team communiqué roughly nine hours later, Bergevin confounded many fans and infuriated plenty more with his hiring of Michel Therrien to a second tour of duty as Canadiens head coach.
All this iron-rich new blood in the front office, and then Bergevin gives the team what many critics are calling a stale infusion.
The “honeymoon” moniker might just be the important thing to remember, though.
Sure, Therrien’s hire is the first “major” move of the Bergevin era (apologies to Dudley), yet there are much bigger decisions ahead. Most obviously, Bergevin needs to lock up young cornerstones – and restricted free agents – Carey Price and P.K. Subban with reasonable new deals.
It’s a tough situation for a general manager considering the differing pressures of a crowd that wants wins right away and a role that often calls for patience, but ultimately, Bergevin needs to go with his gut.
Picking Therrien will test that intestinal fortitude, though.
Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?
While lineups are obviously subject to change, CSNPhilly.com notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.
Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.
That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench, and that’s only counting what the Flyers are paying Gagner.
“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”
The CSNPhilly.com quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.
Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.
It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.
One of the NHL’s most notorious hitters has been tagged by the league.
On Monday, the Department of Player Safety announced that San Jose forward Raffi Torres has been suspended 41 games — half of the regular season — for an illegal check to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.
The length of Torres’ suspension is a combination of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ history of delivering hits to the heads of opposing players, including Jordan Eberle, Jarret Stoll, Nate Prosser and Marian Hossa.
“Torres has repeatedly violated league playing rules,” the Department of Player Safety explained. “And has been sanctioned multiple times for similar infractions.”
The league also noted that Torres has been warned, fined, or suspended on nine occasions over the course of his career, “the majority of which have involved a hit to an opponent’s head.”
“Same player every year,” Ducks forward Ryan Kesler said following the hit on Silfverberg. “I played with the guy [in Vancouver]. He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”
As for what lies ahead, things could get interesting upon potential appeal:
Torres successfully appealed a suspension under the previous CBA, getting his punishment for the Hossa hit reduced from 25 to 21 games.
Under terms of the new CBA, Torres isn’t categorized as a repeat offender because his last suspension came in May of 2013 — more than two years ago.
Of course, part of the reason Torres hasn’t run afoul of the league in two years is because he’s barely played.
Knee injuries limited Torres to just 12 games in ’13-14, and he sat out last season entirely.