Dustin Tokarski

Dustin Tokarski

If you’re wondering why the Canadiens have to ask waivers if they want to send goaltender Dustin Tokarski to the minors despite only 15 NHL appearances, it’s all there in section 13.4 of the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Under the agreement the clock starts to tick immediately a player’s entry level contract kicks in, which in Tokarski’s case was the 2009-2010 season when he was 20 years old.  Under the CBA,. as a 20-year=old he was from waivers for 4 years or 80 NHL appearances including playoffs.  His time was up at the end of last season.  It is now a major issue for the Canadiens at this training camp.  Since he is unlikely to get past the waiver process the fact that the first year of his two year Canadiens contract is two/way means very little.  Seems a trade of some sort is inevitable.

Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin did us all a favour at the Canadiens golf tournament by shooting down that rumour that the team might be interested in signing goaltender Martin Brodeur.  The fact that the rumour had any legs at all tells us all we need to know about little thought and common sense goes into these things.   I have no idea whether it was Brodeur or his agent who started the talk but someone was actively lobbying to take Peter Budaj’s job and that has an unsavory feel to it.

The New Jersey Devils have washed their hands completely of Brodeur but they have become a repository for former Canadiens trying desperately to save their careers.  Scott Gomez, Tomas Kaberle and Mike Komisarek are all going to be in their training camp under tryout contracts.

Among the UFA’s who played for the Canadiens at one time or the other last season, Francis Bouillon will be in Canadiens camp on a tryout basis.  Raphael Diaz will be trying out in Calgary.   Still no offers for Douglas Murray and George Parros.  Only Brian Gionta (Buffalo), Thomas Vanek (Minnesota) and Mike Weaver (Canadiens) have secured contracts for the coming season.

Francis Bouillon

Francis Bouillon

That Francis Bouillon training camp invitation has to be viewed as consideration for his years as a good Canadiens soldier. Considering the depth of defense talent waiting in the wings, only a disastrous string of injuries would allow him to make the team. Bouillon overcame his 5’8” size to play over 700 dependable games in the NHL.  I have always found that players who have had to overcome issues beyond their athleticism to succeed in sports generally make excellent coaches.  Bouillon’s depth of experience could be valuable in a player-coach role in Hamilton this season.

Where are the Beliveaus, Richards, Cournoyer’s and Savards.  The Canadiens named four ‘alternate captains’ this week to replace departed captain Brian Gionta.  Not one of them capable of carrying on a conversation in French.  The last French Canadian captain of the Habs was Vincent Damphousse in 1999.  There hasn’t even been a bilingual permanent “alternate” in the 25 years since Damphousse left the team.  The problem of  course, is availability.  There have always been French Canadians on the team, but none in a prominent enough role to command the dressing room.  The closest among the present crop is David Desharnais and his name was barely mentioned in all of the discussion the last three months.  Claude Giroux of the Flyers uis the only one French Canadian captain in the entire league at the present time and he is Franco-Ontarian.  The only Quebec listed as an alternate is Patrice Bergeron of the Bruins.

When the Toronto Maple Leafs fired assistant general manager Claude Loiselle it was assumed that he would be returning to the NHL front office as head of the league’s department of player safety but that job was filled by former Canadien Stephane Quintal.  Loiselle was considered part of the short list of candidates for the vacant Canadiens GM position eventually assumed by Marc Bergevin.  After his NHL career, Loiselle graduated from McGill University with a law degree.  Would the Canadiens be interested in interviewing him again?  There are two theories:  1. You can never have too much input in hockey intelligence, especially in a hockey world that is becoming more and more complicated.  2. With four highly qualified administrators in Rick Dudley, Scott Mellanby, Larry Carriere and Trevor Timmins already in place, the danger of “too many cooks” enters the picture.