Call of the Wilde: Deadline day
Marc Bergevin is seen in Brossard, Que., in this May 2, 2012 file photo. (Paul Chiasson / The Canadian Press)
Brian Wilde, CTV Montreal
Published Wednesday, March 5, 2014 10:57AM EST
So far, I'm trying to see a plan.
Marc Bergevin announces to start the 24CH season, around all his high profile guys at an off season meeting, "We have to get bigger. We need to be tougher to play against."
Love it. Let's go.
But so far all I can see is Bergevin must have thought he was the best player in the NHL because he seems dead set on just acquiring a bunch of guys like him.
Let's address the last year's work to see if we have a crystal ball into next year.
In comes George Parros for some protection. Okay, can't really play all that well but the little guys have been pushed around a lot.
In comes Doug Murray for some size. Okay, my mom skates like that but all right. Whatever. No damage done and it looks like a blueprint at least toward a goal - get bigger.
Hold it! Little Daniel Briere when Jaromir Jagr was begging to come here?
And now Mike Weaver? 35 years of age and 5 foot 9. That's not bigger. What happened to the big blueprint? The Habs have half of the players in this entire league 5 foot 10 inches or smaller, and this isn't 2005 when there were 16 power plays a game. This is the dead puck era when it looks like calf roping out there.
So what's the plan, fellahs?
Are you a buyer or a seller? Is this the year or is the year in the future? Because getting Weaver only pushes back the development of Beaulieu and Tinordi. You remember them. They're the guys who aren't short and small. They're the guys who look great but get sent back all the time to the development cesspool that is Hamilton. (The top scorer on the Bulldogs team won't have 20 goals at season's end. That's just sad.)
Remember what the Habs got for the then excellent assets of Souray, Koivu and Kovalev, who were kept for a playoff run that ended like a Doug Murray clear? Nothing. They got zero.
You can't do worse than zero. And here we are on the precipice of zero again for the GM who should be giving his best offer right now to Andrei Markov. If he doesn't give his best offer now then he rolls the dice in the summer and the dice could come up zero. Those are some bad dice, baby.
Brian Gionta is a useful player too. He would likely take a deal here in a heartbeat to stay. Again, July 1 is freedom day for Gionta. His eyes start to see dollar signs and not CHs. Hold on to him today without a contract and it could be a total loss on an asset.
You see, I don't understand for the life of me why GMs don't give ultimatums to UFAs. Here is my best offer. Take it or I have to trade you because you can go anywhere this summer. I can't risk losing you for nothing. Unless this is the year for a Cup. Is it? Are you deluded on the 7th floor?
The final player who seems to be on the block today is Rene Bourque. This was a guy who had a pretty good nose for the net once. Consecutive 27-goal seasons before coming here but weeks in dark rooms afraid of the light suffering head aches and vomiting due to concussions have taken this player's will to engage away. He is nothing now. He's in a tough spot. He can't turn away from that money. If he calls it a day, he gets nothing going forward. Suffering another concussion and being unable to play because of it is the only way he guarantees future earnings. Sad state of life, so he just goes from paycheque to paycheque which is exactly what most of us would do. There's no recovery coming in Bourque's game. I can't see how he loses the memory of what's next to his brain that he told me has been concussed into double digits.
Bourque has not told me, though he is playing cautiously, but watch -- the stick always leads instead of the shoulder. Watch the head on a swivel. Watch the way he protects himself. And again, no judgments from me. He's trying to make it through this. You turn down $300,000 every two weeks. If someone isn't paying attention perhaps they'll see Bourque as a guy who can recover. I don't see it happening.
So that's where the Habs stand. These are the toughest days for Bergevin. A good GM needs to have a crystal ball. Nothing tells me yet the Habs GM has a plan yet. Then again, you could have Mike Gillis as your GM. Bergevin at least hasn't made a debilitating blunder yet. That's not the highest of praise, but it's all I got in his second year after an excellent turn around in the first year.