Okay the trade itself might turn out to be a good one for the Habs. On paper, Rene Bourque for Michael Cammalleri looks more or less equal, if you’re just looking at the stats. Bourque got 27 goals in each of his past two seasons with the Calgary Flames whereas Cammalleri had 19 goals last season and 26 goals the year before.
This year has been a hellish season for Cammy. He has only nine goals and has looked like a shadow of his former self on the ice. Bourque has 13 goals thus far. And Bourque brings size to a team sadly lack in that department – he’s six-foot-two and 205 pounds versus five-foot-nine and 190 pounds for Cammy after a big spaghetti dinner. But just remember there’s always what I like to call the Habs discount – if you score 27 goals for the Flames, you’ll probably score 19 or 20 for us.
So Bourque’s size is a plus. The big minus for the Habs is that Cammy was a playoff monster – remember that magical 2010 run. Yes Jaro Halak was the hero between the pipes but Cammalleri scored 13 goals and won the goal-scoring race for the playoffs even though the Canadiens didn’t make the finals and were shut out in three of five games against the Flyers in the conference final. He also had 10 points in the seven-game series against the Bruins in last year’s playoffs.
So it might be an equal trade. We’ll see. Jury’s out on that. At first I thought it was a great trade – but that was when I was under the mistaken impression that the Habs had received Calgary transplant Terry DiMonte in return for Cammy. But it turned out that the CHOM morning-man came home via a completely different transaction!
Jury however is very much in on how Pierre ‘Major Major’ Gauthier handled the trade – that was just so classless. To fire Cammalleri between the second and third periods of a game is simply unacceptable. It’s like firing a radio morning-man right in the middle of his show.
The message was clear. Gauthier was telling Cammy – and all the other players – if you open your mouth and criticize the organization, I’ll crush you like a bug! The trade comes just hours after La Presse published an explosive piece by Francois Gagnon in which Cammalleri blasts the team for having a culture of “losers”. His comments were an open attack on Gauthier and the entire coaching staff.
Why did he have to send Cammy home mid-way through the game? Why couldn’t it wait til 10 p.m.? It was all about humiliating Cammalleri. Nice. And Montreal might well have lost the game to Boston ’cause of the timing of Gauthier’s move – can you imagine how the players felt on the bench in the third period?
And why did Ghost Gauthier have to rush the deal? If you’ve decided you’re going to deal the winger, why not try to create a bidding war? Here is a guy who – even if he’s struggling this season – has proven to be a money player when it counts, in the playoffs. You’re telling me there aren’t some teams who’re potential Cup contenders who wouldn’t pay quite the price to nab this guy closer to the trade deadline? Many in the media are already reporting that other NHL GMs are calling them to say that they had no idea Cammalleri was on the market and that they would’ve been interested in making an offer to the Canadiens. So why wouldn’t Burlington, Vermont’s greatest hockey mind let everyone know a star forward was on the trading block? Only the vegan insiders know for sure.
But no! Gauthier is all about the panic-button moves. He fires assistant coach Perry ‘What Did I Do Wrong?’ Pearn just minutes before a game to give head coach Jacques ‘Mr. Personality’ Martin a jolt. Then he throws Marcel Marceau Martin out the window just as hastily and brings in his man, Randy ‘Parley Vous’ Cunneyworth, without even pausing to think – ‘Oh yeah, we live in Quebec, maybe we should tell Randy to mumble a couple of phrases in the language of Lafleur’.
The press is all over the team for its cruddy power-play so Major Major rushed to pick-up Tomas ‘Soft As Cadbury’ Kaberle to quarterback the PP. Haven’t heard much about Kab lately eh? He brings a rich three-year contract that the Habs have to pay for and has proved to be just about as soft and heart-less as most of his team-mates here.
Gauthier will do anything, absolutely anything, to save his job, and that’s a scary thought. Just imagine the damage he can inflict on the team between now and the end of the season. The joke here is that he’s gonna lose his job one way or the other. It’s just a question of when it happens.
There are going to be some huge decisions to make as a playoff berth slowly but surely fades from sight and I can’t think of anyone less equipped to deal with this crisis.