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NHLPA might take issue with Montreal’s decision to send Gomez home

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The Montreal Canadiens have made it clear that they intend to use an amnesty buyout on Scott Gomez’s contract this summer. Until then, they won’t let him play.

The reason for that is simple: If Gomez sustains an injury that lasts through the summer, then he can’t be bought out. The Canadiens are already pushing against the cap and with it set to go down to $64.3 million in 2013-14, shedding Gomez’s $7,357,143 hit seems like their best option.

It might not be that simple though as the NHLPA is reviewing the situation, according to RDS’ Renaud Lavoie.

Why? Sports lawyer Eric Macramalla recently explained what might happen in an article for CBS Sports:

It would not be unreasonable for the NHLPA to grieve the expulsion of Gomez. Contract law obligations flow both ways. Part of that includes providing Gomez the reasonable opportunity to discharge the services he has been contracted to provide. In part, the NHLPA could argue sending home a perfectly healthy player with no off-ice issues simply with a view to preserving an amnesty buyout is not in keeping with the spirit of the contract. The NHLPA could say Gomez is being banished not because he failed to discharge his contractual obligations, but simply because of newly implemented system issues.

The union might also argue that forcing Gomez to miss the entire season will hurt his market value. The 33-year-old forward is coming off a horrendous season and the Canadiens’ decision will make it impossible for him to earn some sort of redemption before he enters the free agent market.

Gomez had two goals and 11 points in 38 games in 2011-12. He got some playing time with the ECHL Alaska Aces during the lockout and recorded six goals and 13 points in 11 contests.

Canadiens send Scott Gomez home for the season, buyout coming this summer

Scott Gomez
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Scott Gomez’s time as a Montreal Canadiens forward is over.

GM Marc Bergevin addressed media this morning to say The Habs were sending Gomez home for the season, for the express purpose of buying him out this summer.

This is the safest route for teams to take with players they’re looking to use one of their compliance buyouts on, as injured players aren’t allowed to be bought out.

The downside for Montreal is Gomez’s $7.357 million cap hit — it sits on the books no matter what this season.

If this all sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same strategy the New York Rangers will likely use on defenseman Wade Redden.

Gomez’s tenure in Montreal was an ugly one that saw him score just 21 goals in three seasons with the Habs.

His season last year was interrupted by injury and saw him play just 38 games. He has one more year left on his contract after this one with a cap hit of $7.357 million. His buyout this summer will cost the Habs $4.5 million.

Montreal’s Price faces Twitter criticism over hunting pics

Carey Price Hunt
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Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price has come under fire after tweeting a graphic hunting picture.

On Wednesday, Price posted an image of himself, a fellow hunter and a recently deceased coyote with the caption “bad dog”:

source:

(That’s Price on the left, in white, flashing the peace sign.)

After several Twitter users fired back with criticisms, Price issued the following explanations:

This isn’t the first instance of an NHLer coming under fire for hunting.

Canucks forward David Booth posted pics of bear, elk and mountain goat hunts to his account, drawing criticism from the Vancouver Humane Society for a controversial bear baiting incident in May.

“We find that kind of hunting appalling — he’s a well-know hockey player who’s a role model for many, particularly young people,” society spokesman Peter Fricker said.

“He’s setting a very bad example, and I’m not surprised he’s getting such a negative reaction.”

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Montreal’s tip to Galchenyuk paying off big

Alex Galchenyuk

When Alex Galchenyuk’s season started with the Sarnia Sting, he didn’t exactly get off to the kind of start befitting the third overall pick in the 2012 draft. The Montreal Canadiens had a tip for him to help get him going though. The team’s director of player development, Martin Lapointe, told him to shoot more.

Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette found out hears from Galchenyuk about how that advice has paid off.

“I know I have a pretty good shot and I know sometimes I can a shoot a bit more,” Galchenyuk said. “I also know I can make a pretty good play. I have good vision and I can make plays, but (Lapointe) said I should shoot more, so I listened and I’ve started scoring. The last 10 games I’m more of a shooter. I think I’m more dangerous when I have the puck and I see that opening.”

Those last few games have been huge as we shared with you last week. In his last 17 games with Sarnia, he has 19 goals and 40 points. While the Habs won’t pull him from the World Junior Championships if the lockout is settled before the end of the tournament, he’s ready to go if/when they come calling.

Montreal won’t pull Galchenyuk from World Juniors if lockout ends

Galchenyuk Habs
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One of Team USA’s best forwards will be at the 2013 World Junior tournament for the long haul.

That’s the word out of Montreal on Thursday — La Presse reports Habs GM Marc Bergevin told USA Hockey’s Jim Johansson he wouldn’t pull Alex Galchenyuk off the American team should the NHL lockout end.

The World Junior tournament runs through Jan. 5.

Galchenyuk, 18, was taken third overall by Montreal at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and has been on a tear for OHL Sarnia this season, ranking second in the league in points (61) and tied for first in goals (27).

He’s pegged to be a major offensive star at the upcoming tourney in Ufa, Russia — that said, he’s also been pegged as a candidate to make Montreal’s opening-day roster.

(Should there be an opening day, of course.)

In August, Bergevin said it would be “difficult” for Galchenyuk to make the NHL this year — largely because he missed almost all of last season with a torn ACL — but the prized rookie would be given an invite to training camp.

Of course, Bergevin said this prior to Galchenyuk tearing apart the Ontario League.

In his last game with Sarnia prior to joining the American team, “Gally” scored five points (including a hat trick) in a win over Kingston, leading some to speculate that — if the NHL resumes action soon — Galchenyuk might have played his final game at the junior level.

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