Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre “The Ghost” Gauthier is taking an international media beating after trading Mike Cammalleri to the Flames.
Sure, Cammalleri is having a bad year. Yes, his massive contract is a bit of a burden. No, he shouldn’t have called his team a bunch of losers during an interview with the aggressive Montreal murder.
Yes, Rene Bourque is a useful forward with a more cap-friendly contract.
But how does this deal make the struggling Canadiens better? It doesn’t, really, so the reporters teed off on him:
Nicholas J. Cotsonika, Yahoo! Sports: “The question isn’t just why the Montreal Canadiens traded Michael Cammalleri. It’s why general manager Pierre Gauthier was the one to trade him. How does this fit into the plan for the future? What is the plan? The Canadiens have an identity crisis, and it goes beyond whether the coach speaks French to the fans. Who are the Habs? Though they can never compete with their glorious past – an impossible task in today’s 30-team, salary-capped, multicultural, modern NHL – that doesn’t mean they can’t reflect it. That doesn’t mean they can’t stand for excellence and class. Right now they stand for neither, sitting 12th in the Eastern Conference and on the moral low ground. Before they can decide who should play and coach for them, owner Geoff Molson must decide who should run this storied franchise and, most importantly, how he should run it – from the style of play to the style of business.”
Chris Stevenson, Ottawa Sun: “A ‘gong show,’ is what one Montreal Canadien called the situation around his team these days. It's pretty much a foregone conclusion here -- or at least wishful thinking on the part of some -- that Canadiens general manager Pierre (The Ghost) Gauthier will be gonged at the end of the season. The way things are going, given the timing of events in Habsland, it would be appropriate if it was, say, between rounds two and three of the draft in Pittsburgh.”
David Shoalts, Globe and Mail: “Cammalleri, 29, was once a 39-goal scorer for the Flames and played a key role in the Canadiens’ run to the Eastern Conference final in 2010. Since the other key figure in the trade, Bourque, does not have easily comparable statistics and comes with his own reputation as an under-achiever, it is clear Gauthier was an especially motivated seller. His own job is hanging in the balance. The only thing that will save him from the series of mistakes he’s committed in the nearly two years since that appearance in the Eastern final is a good long playoff run. At this point, that is a long, long way away.”
Gare Joyce, Rogers Sportsnet: “Even if Cammalleri doesn't improve on his ordinary play so far this season, even if he doesn't make his way back to the 39-goal form of his contract year in his first turn in Calgary, the Flames come away with the best player (by far) in the trade. This is to say that the Canadiens are losers again. In a delicious irony, the winner to emerge from the latest tempest in Montreal's gawd-awful season is Cammalleri, the one who waxed about losing.”
Pierre LeBrun, ESPN.com: “Flames GM Jay Feaster said this deal was in the works for a long time, but I spoke with a Western Conference GM last night who insisted that few people around the league knew Cammalleri was truly available. An Eastern Conference GM seconded that notion this morning, saying in his opinion Gauthier did not make too bad a deal with Calgary but felt the Habs GM should have shopped Cammalleri around the league more. I have no issue with trading Cammalleri, but did Gauthier get the best possible deal for him? Yes, Cammalleri has a limited no-trade clause, but, in my opinion, that shouldn't stop a GM from calling around and seeing what is the best deal, even if he has to get approval from the player.”