So, were many of you feeling like I was at approximately 3PM at the trade deadline? (a little disheartened and disenchanted) that ...yet again...the Canadiens were unable (or unwilling) to pull the trigger on a blockbuster deal that would bring a proven all-star (or as Bob Gainey put it : an Impact Player) to Montreal? As they say, "Time heals all wounds" and it didn't take long for me to realize that maybe we are better off in the long run...
Ok, so we traded our unofficial number one goalie Cristobal Huet for a bag of pucks (2nd round draft pick in 2009). At the time of the announcement, I was surprised, yet optimistic that this was step 1 of 2,potentially leading to an announcement that the Canadiens have made the deal of the century by acquiring a superstar (speculation was that it was Marian Hossa). I mean, even TSN analysts were saying all along that Montreal was on the verge of making some big noises on the trade front that day !
So, what happened?
Even the hockey pundits were as surprised as anyone else when it was finally announced that Hossa would be going to Pittsburgh and not Montreal, meaning all the Habs had to show for their efforts was a new lack of depth at the goaltending position.
Gainey, facing the media at 5:45 PM tried to make it as painless as possible in trying to explain the situation. As far as Cristobal was concerned, he was obviously not their man going forward and they thought it best to trade the 33 year old goaltender (who would become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this year) before we potentially lost him for nothing. And folks, don't kid yourselves when you think that we could have gotten way more than a second round pick for him... Give Gainey a bit more credit than that..
Now, as far as the Hossa situation goes, I, like perhaps alot of you, felt betrayed at first, that Gainey couldn't close the deal on this trade as it was quite evident that the Habs were driving the bus on this trip and were supposedly in complete control of the situation.
Let's look at what the Penguins gave up for Hossa : RW Colby Armstrong, C Erik Christensen, C Angelo Esposito and a first-round pick. How does that translate as to what the Habs would have had to part with ? According to Bob Gainey, it meant having to part with 3 players who were on the ice last night (pick any combination of Ryder,Higgins, Lapierre and Grabovski) as well as a first round pick.
Let's put this into perspective folks, all this for a rental player ! There was no permission given by Don Waddell to speak to Marian about a contrat extension, so there was no guarantee that he would be buying a house here... Did we really want to give up some core players and another 1st round pick for all this uncertainty? My heart says yes, but common sense says no and that's why Gainey is the GM and I'm not. He has made sure that we rebuilt this team from within our farm system and the chemistry right now is at an all time high full of young players that will be playing together, as a team, for years to come...If it aint broke, don't fix it...
On a separate note, when Mr Gainey was asked if he was aware if there were other teams involved all along re the Hossa situation, he quickly responded "That's a question you would have to ask Don Waddell" leading to speculation by some media insiders that perhaps, the Thrashers pulled a fast one on us... Hey, I'm just saying....
All I'm trying to get across is, give it a few years and we potentially have a few Marian Hossa's ready to emerge from the players that we chose not to give up for this trade..
In closing, I would like to say Thanks Cristobal for being there when Theodore and Aebisher couldn't. You are a good man and we wishe you the best of luck (against any team but the Habs).
Enter the Price era.