The latest has the Ottawa Senators and the Canadiens negotiating a deal that would bring right winger Alexei Kovalev back to Montreal.
It started out as a throwaway line in an Ottawa odds and ends newspaper column and has exploded into full bloom in cyberspace’s length and breadth.
On Sunday, buried at the bottom of one of those odds-and-ends columns, the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun tossed out this item:
“The Montreal Canadiens would like to get bigger up front, and move Scott Gomez but his $7.34 cap hit makes it almost impossible (I still can’t believe Glen Sather was able to move him). Could the Habs be interested in Alex Kovalev?”
Now that seems pretty inocuous. Just a kind of gossip item. You know, “Just asking.” Then what started out as a question becomes a rumour, and in turn becomes an impending trade. Like it or not, It’s the way of the internet and it’s blogosphere.
So what would make Garrioch write something like that? One source might have been Senators GM Bryan Murray, who could have thrown this out in a conversation with Garrioch as a sort of trial balloon with the hopes that Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier might pick up on it. Murray has stated that he’s in the mood to make deals. His team can’t score goals and Kovalev, with only seven of his own is part of the problem. The Senators can’t make a meaningful trade until they clear salary cap room and Kovalev is still owed about four million on the last year of his two year contract.
The Canadiens, meanwhile, have over four million available because of the cap relief they’ll get because of the Markov injury. The Canadiens need a top six forward. Add in the memory of the 2007-08 season when the Plekanec/Kovalev/Kositsyn line was the Canadiens’ best. Kovalev had 35 goals and 84 points that year.
You can see why, unlike much of the dreck that is thrown out by rumour mills like Ekland, this one has some logic. But Kovalev then, and Kovalev now are two very different animals. Our latest mamories of him don’t surface as fondly.
So, a logical deal? Maybe. Do-able. Probably not. Still, like all of this stuff, it makes great water cooler talk anyway.