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.
The fall of the Montreal Canadiens this season was both startling and disappointing for fans in Quebec. One thing they won’t like hearing is that some saw it coming. What they’ll like even less is the person who saw disaster on the horizon the clearest was none other than former Hab Benoit Pouliot.
Pouliot tells D.J. Bean of WEEI’s Big Bad Blog that he knew the Canadiens’ fall from grace was coming because he saw what a mess it was first hand.
“For a guy that’s been there two years, I had seen it coming,” Pouliot said. “I think some of the other guys there would say the same thing. Just the way everything unfolded, and the way things were not only around the city but the team and everything, it was tough. It wasn’t good. Now they’re cleaning up, which is good for them. Honestly, they needed to, and we’ll see what they do.”
Nothing like kicking an ex-team when they’re down, eh?
The Habs dumped Perry Pearn, Jacques Martin, and now GM Pierre Gauthier all in the span of a season and it was Martin who coached Pouliot in Montreal. Martin is the same guy who said he lost faith in Pouliot thus leading to him finding his way out of town and on rival Boston’s roster.
Pouliot dumping on Montreal like this after they dumped out on him, perhaps legitimately so, makes for sweet revenge for the Bruins forward. Of course, Pouliot has to tread lightly as he’s had his ups and downs in Boston this year and I don’t know that many people will hammer Claude Julien for it. Leaving bridges not burned down might be in Pouliot’s best interest.
It’s no surprise that the Canadiens fired GM Pierre Gauthier. He made a number of controversial decisions and the end result was simply not satisfying. When you look at the Montreal Canadiens right now, you see a team that’s grossly overpaying several players and in the Eastern Conference basement. The next general manager will have a very difficult job because the 2012-13 squad already has over $44 million in cap space tied to 13 players and that’s not including Carey Price or PK Subban, who will both be restricted free agents this summer.
Still, as former Canadiens coach Jacques Martin recently pointed out, this team isn’t exactly devoid of talent. There’s a good young core of players that includes Subban, Price, and David Desharnais. They also have a couple of forwards whose roles could increase in the coming years, including Louis Leblanc and Lars Eller. Throw in a healthy Andrei Markov and, according to Martin, this franchise might be better off than you think.
“The team has to add pieces,” Martin said. “But the key elements are in place.”
It might be more complicated than simply adding pieces, given how bad their cap situation is. Still, it is true that the foundation for a competitive team is already there.
Martin, by the way, is interested in returning to the Canadiens as their general manager. However, it seems unlikely that Martin will go from being fired as the head coach to being selected as the same organization’s general manager in less than a year.