Tag: Jaroslav Spacek

Jaro Spacek

Spacek paints picture of dysfunctional Habs organization


In an article curiously titled “Jaroslav Spacek has fond memories of Montreal“, Dave Stubbs of The Gazette spoke with the former Canadiens defenseman about his two-plus seasons in Quebec.

In turn, Spacek spoke of an organization lacking leadership and communication.

“So much bad stuff,” Spacek said. “In my 20-year hockey career, I’d never seen anything like it. If you don’t like the way I play, kick me in the ass. But no one said anything. It was terrible.”

Spacek spoke with Stubbs off the record, but it’s not difficult to figure out who the key figures of dysfunction were.

The Czech rearguard was signed by then-Montreal GM Bob Gainey in 2009. Gainey’s assistant at the time was Pierre Gauthier — who would later ascend to Gainey’s position in 2010 — and Spacek’s head coach for the duration of his time in Montreal was Jacques Martin.

It was in Spacek’s final season when things really went haywire. First, assistant coach Perry Pearn was fired less than a month into the regular season. Then Spacek was dealt to Carolina, a move which caught him by surprise.

From The Gazette:

“I worked so hard last summer and arrived at camp in maybe the best shape I’ve been in,” Spacek said. “Then, when I was hurt right away (suffering separated ribs in the season’s second game), everything dropped off.”

His trade to Carolina gave surreal a whole new meaning, then-GM Pierre Gauthier telling him he’d been dealt but not telling him for a time where he was going.

The Spacek-for-Tomas Kaberle trade happened on Dec. 9. Eight days later, Gauthier would fire Martin and replace him with Randy Cunneyworth.

Sounds like a fun place to play, huh?

Speaking of fun places to play, Spacek thoroughly enjoyed his time in Carolina. Now 38 and an unrestricted free agent, he says he’d welcome welcome a return to the Hurricanes.

“To be honest, I’d like to go back to Carolina,” said Spacek. “I started some good stuff with the kids on that team. Even if I don’t play much, as a fifth, sixth or seventh defenceman, I’ve got a good relationship with them. They look up to me and I look up to them.

“They’ve made me a little younger.”

PHT Morning Skate: Where Dustin Penner’s turnaround is quite remarkable

Dustin Penner

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Did you think Dustin Penner would score the series-clinching overtime goal last night? With how he’s bounced back in the playoffs maybe you should have. (NHL.com)

Things were bad on the ice for the Coyotes but they were better for them off it as the City of Glendale approved a city budget that would help them fix their lease for Greg Jamison to buy the team. (The Hockey News)

Meanwhile, David Shoalts doesn’t see things being quite so rosy with the team and its possible deal. (The Globe And Mail)

Devils players were pretty happy with Peter DeBoer yelling at John Tortorella. Who doesn’t like seeing coach get fired up? (Fire & Ice)

Know who had the best view of the coaches going at it? Pierre McGuire and he shared what it was like. (New York Times)

Nathan Horton is showing progress with his concussion symptoms and that’s great news. (CSNNE.com)

Jaroslav Spacek has nothing but nice things to say about playing in Montreal. (Montreal Gazette)

Hurricanes goalie Michael Murphy is taking his game to Russia and the KHL. (News & Observer)

Scouts have their work cut out for them analyzing this year’s draft class thanks to injuries. (Flames)

The Norfolk Admirals (Lightning) swept the St. John’s IceCaps (Jets) to book their spot in the Calder Cup finals. (Sportsnet)

Meanwhile, the Flyers fired their AHL team’s head coach Joe Paterson. (CSNPhilly.com)

Inside College Hockey is already prepped for next season putting out their Top 10 list for 2013. (INCH)

Mike Cammalleri’s game-worn Habs jersey will run you $600…unless you’re Mike Cammalleri

Mike Cammalleri

From the “Maybe this is why he got fired” file, check out this anecdote from the Montreal Gazette’s Pat Hickey about Mike Cammalleri’s acrimonious departure from the Canadiens:

Let’s go back to the night on Jan. 12 when the Canadiens were playing the Boston Bruins. Between the second and third periods, general manager Pierre Gauthier told Michael Cammalleri to take off his uniform and return to the team hotel because he had been traded. Gauthier said he couldn’t tell Cammalleri where he was going because the trade – to Calgary for Rene Bourque – had yet to be completed.

A stunned Cammalleri asked if he could keep his game jersey as a souvenir of the good times in Montreal. No problem, said Gauthier, as long as he was willing to pay for it.

This week, the Calgary Herald’s Vicki Hall asked Cammalleri about this incident, with the veteran sniper neither confirming nor denying it. Hickey then went on to write that if Cammalleri had confirmed it, he would’ve revealed he was asked to pay $1,250 for the jersey — more than double the retail price of $600 (based on figures from the Canadiens boutique and online store.)

If Cammy really wants to remember his last season in Montreal but doesn’t want to shell out those kind of bucks, he could get a Jaroslav Spacek game-worn for the low, low price of $300. Just saying.

Timeline: Pierre Gauthier’s GM tenure in Montreal

Pierre Gauthier
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As reported earlier, the Montreal Canadiens have fired GM Pierre Gauthier.

The move makes Gauthier the shortest-tenured (2010-12) Habs general manager in 70 years — the last one with such a short shelf life was Jules Dugal, who moved up from the coaching ranks to manage the club for the 1939-40 season.

Gauthier took over Montreal’s GM gig from Bob Gainey on Feb. 8, 2010 and made a number of player and front-office decisions. Here’s a look at some of the more noteworthy ones.

Player transactions

June 17, 2010: Trades Jaroslav Halak to the St. Louis Blues for Lars Eller and Ian Schultz.

June 23, 2010: Signs UFA Tomas Plekanec to a six-year, $30-million deal.

June 29, 2010: Trades Sergei Kostitsyn and future considerations to Nashville for Dan Ellis, Dustin Boyd and future considerations.

Sept. 2, 2010: Signs RFA Carey Price to a two-year, $5.5 million deal.

Dec. 28, 2010: Acquires James Wisniewski from the Islanders in exchange for 2011 second-round and 2012 fifth-round picks.

June 24, 2011: Signs Andrei Markov to a three-year, $17.25-million deal.

June 29, 2011: Trades Wisniewski’s rights to Columbus for a 2012 fifth-round pick.

July 1, 2011: Signs Erik Cole to a four-year, $18 million deal.

July 23, 2011: Signs Josh Gorges to a one-year, $2.5 million deal.

Dec. 9, 2011: Traded Jaroslav Spacek to Carolina for Tomas Kaberle.

Jan. 1, 2012: Signs Gorges to a six-year, $23.4 million deal.

Jan. 12, 2012: Traded Michael Cammalleri to Calgary for Rene Bourque.

Feb. 17, 2012: Traded Hal Gill to Nashville for Blake Geoffrion and a 2011 second-round pick.

Feb. 27, 2012: Traded Andrei Kostitsyn to Nashville for a 2013 second-round draft pick and a conditional 2013 fifth-round draft pick.

Coaching moves

July 21, 2010: Named Randy Cunneyworth coach of AHL Hamilton (replacing Guy Boucher.)

July 23, 2011: Named Cunneyworth assistant coach of the Canadiens (replacing Kirk Muller.)

Oct. 27, 2011: Fired assistant coach Perry Pearn (replaced by Randy Ladouceur.)

Dec. 17, 2011: Fired head coach Jacques Martin. Named Cunneyworth interim head coach.


The defining moments of Gauthier’s regime will be the Halak deal (which Habs fans hated), the Markov contract (Montreal’s second-highest paid skater has played 15 games in the last two years) and naming Cunneyworth the Canadiens’ first unilingual head coach since Bob Berry in 1984.

What might stand out the most, though, is that Gauthier inherited a team that went to the Eastern Conference finals in 2010. Today, they’re the Eastern Conference’s worst team.

PHT Related

Taxi! GM Pierre Gauthier out in Montreal

Who will be the next Habs GM? — Here are 10 candidates

Brian Lawton’s shrewd moves helped the Lightning, according to former Lightning GM Brian Lawton

Brian lawton Tampa

Former Tampa Bay Lightning GM and current Sportsnet analyst Brian Lawton wrote a lengthy, intriguing piece on what a general manager (and later, an analyst) goes through on trade deadline day.

The piece is almost 2,500 words long and has many exclamation marks, so I’ll excerpt the interesting bits.

In 2010, I was working for the Tampa Bay Lightning and had a chance to trade our first-round pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs [for Tomas Kaberle] along with, interestingly enough, Carter Ashton.

Lightning owner Jeffrey Vinik, who I was working for at the time, is a very bright, classy and caring person that has really done a lot for the franchise since he took over. But during his first deadline, he was still very new to the hockey business.

Vinik didn’t want me to do anything foolish but was interested in making a splash early on. I quickly pointed out where our team stood and that it didn’t really call for us absorbing a lot of risk at the expense of trading our future assets. The club had been down this path previously and the result was a 30th-place finish prior to me being hired.

Even though our team was right on the playoff bubble and desperately needed an offensive defenceman, I wasn’t prepared to bail on what we were building upon through the draft.

That year’s trade deadline was later than usual (due to Winter Olympic involvement) and at the time, Tampa was 11th in the East, two points back of the eighth-place New York Rangers. Toronto was dead last and looking to sell Kaberle, which they would (to Boston) a year later for an even bigger ransom — Joe Colborne, a 2011 first-round pick and a conditional second-round pick in 2012.

As the title of this post suggest, it’s fortunate Lawton didn’t pull the trigger because the deal would’ve ended up being Kaberle for Carter Ashton and Brett Connolly, Tampa’s first-round pick in 2010. Kaberle would later be dealt straight-up for Jaroslav Spacek which, given this context, is sad.

More Lawton:

Before I was let go, we were able to consummate what was termed as a smaller trade that I got lambasted for by the Tampa Bay media.

In the deal, we sent a very popular player in the locker room and a former client in Jeff Halpern, who was 33 at the time, to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a draft pick and a struggling offensive player named Teddy Purcell.

Purcell would go on to score 51 points the following season and is currently on pace for 65 more points this season.

Do I think we were lucky? Yeah sure, but isn’t everyone to some degree when you win in this business? But most importantly, I also knew we were prepared that day for success!

Purcell worked out well for the Lightning but, as the Tampa Tribune’s Erik Erlendsson points out, Lawton wasn’t killed for trading Halpern — he was killed for making a deal for the future while the Bolts were fighting for the playoffs. (As Lawton mentioned above, they were “on the bubble.”)

Finally, Lawton sheds light on Sportsnet’s rating system for potential trade deadline targets.

We placed a high value on players that have good hockey IQ and character above all else.

Of course, I take into account all of the tangible factors that you hear most people discuss like skating, puck handling and shooting but none are as heavily-weighted as hockey IQ and character for me.

Based on this formula, Lawton and the Sportsnet folk gave Buffalo’s Paul Gaustad a 5.7 rating (above-average third liner) and Columbus’ Samuel Pahlsson a 5.4 (below-average third liner).

But despite the players ranking closely to one another, it cost Nashville a first-round pick to acquire Gaustad while Pahlsson only cost Vancouver a pair of fourth-rounders.