Jeff and Elliotte discuss the changes in Montreal, the struggling Flyers, Ottawa placing Matt Murray on waivers, Evander Kane finds new representation as he is put on waivers by the Sharks, concerns over the All-Star Game, and Brendan Lemieux biting Brady Tkachuk.
Major shake-up in Montreal! Jeff and Elliotte discuss how everything unravelled this weekend in Montreal (2:30), when Jeff Gorton entered the picture, what’s next for the Canadiens hockey operation department, and possible locations for Marc Bergevin as well as Scott Mellanby as they exit the organization after almost a decade.
They also touch on the struggling Flyers (21:30), wonder if this is the week Vancouver make a move (24:00), Ottawa placing Matt Murray on waivers and what this says about the Senators (30:00), greater concerns over the All-Star Game and how it could impact the Olympics (35:00), Evander Kane finds new representation as he is put on waivers by the Sharks (39:00) and they wrap up the podcast talking about the bite heard round the hockey world, Brendan Lemieux biting Brady Tkachuk (39:45).
Full transcript of this episode can be found here by Medha Monjaury
This podcast is produced and mixed by Amil Delic, and hosted by Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman.
Audio Credits: John Cougar Colleencamp (@BillTouspille on Twitter)
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts and guests and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rogers Sports & Media or any affiliates.
OPEN ///// Jeff Marek [00:00:02] This is so hilarious! [laughing]
Jeff Marek [00:00:07] Welcome once again to 32 Thoughts: The Podcast starring Jeff Marek, presented as always by the all-new GMC AT4 Lineup. Sorry, the radio show has gone right to my head, Elliotte.
Elliotte Friedman [00:00:17] I know! I was listening to that, and I wasn't even bothered by it. Starring Jeff Marek. Okay!
Jeff Marek [00:00:23] I didn't think you'd let that one fly by, but you just—you just looked at that one to take a strike. To be—I'm a little disappointed that you didn't cut me off there.
Elliotte Friedman [00:00:30] It's one of those things when maybe someone says something to you and you're kind of a second behind because you're thinking to yourself, did I hear what I just heard? I wanna make sure that I heard what I just heard. And then the other thing is, I know people out there think I have an enormous ego, and in some cases, I do. But I really don't have a big ego that I would worry about that. If he wants to say the podcast stars Jeff Marek.
Jeff Marek [00:00:53] You know what?
Elliotte Friedman [00:00:54] Yeah, I got to tell you that's not something I'm going to pick a fight over.
Jeff Marek [00:00:56] To be—you know why I said that Elliotte?
Elliotte Friedman [00:00:58] What?
Jeff Marek [00:00:58] And we'll get on with Montreal here. I just wanted to see if you were paying attention or if you were like sorting out your sock drawer or counting loose change.
Elliotte Friedman [00:01:05] You know it's funny, I was actually gonna lead with—I got a call from Amil on Friday night, demanding—he didn't even ask—he demanded I paid more attention during the podcast, and he said that the reason he was so upset was, when we taped on Thursday and I was watching the U.S. Thanksgiving football game and Dallas and Raiders were playing at the same time, so I had Greg Zuerlein, the Dallas kicker, and Derek Carr, the Vegas quarterback on my fantasy football team, and I was reacting to everything they were doing, and he said it took him longer to edit the podcast—
Jeff Marek [00:01:40] Hmm.
Elliotte Friedman [00:01:40] —Because of all the reacting I was doing. So, to me, that's legitimate. Like if he's saying that my lack of an attention span, my catlike attention span is making it harder to edit the podcast. I have to listen to this.
Jeff Marek [00:01:53] So I asked Amil about your focus, specifically when I speak here on the podcast.
Elliotte Friedman [00:01:57] Yeah.
Jeff Marek [00:01:57] And he said that if you're going to be expected to pay attention while I speak, you're going to need more money. Is that true?
Elliotte Friedman [00:02:05] Oh, well, I would leave that kind of negotiation off-camera or off-mic.
Jeff Marek [00:02:10] Right, okay
Elliotte Friedman [00:02:10] But the answer is yes.
Jeff Marek [00:02:12] Okay, very good.
Elliotte Friedman [00:02:13] I'll tell you this, I have no problem with you saying this podcast stars you. But that will cost them money also.
Jeff Marek [00:02:19] Oh good lord. Plus the money off the tree in the backyard, everybody. Welcome to 32 Thoughts the Podcast. We'll lead with a big story, and that is Montreal.
Elliotte Friedman [00:02:26] Yeah.
Jeff Marek [00:02:26] We talked about it Saturday night and it segue ways into Sunday and we'll see what the week brings now. Jeff Gorton, new executive VP of Hockey Operations with Montreal Canadiens. Marc Bergevin, Trevor Timmins, Paul Wilson all dismissed from the Habs organization. The search on for a General Manager who can communicate both in French and in English as well. Before we get to the future, let's go to the past. How did this all come together Elliotte?
Elliotte Friedman [00:02:52] First of all, I think the most amazing thing about it, Jeff, is that it happened almost without being detected.
Jeff Marek [00:02:59] Hmm.
Elliotte Friedman [00:02:59] For example, if it hadn't got a note on Saturday, it might not have been announced until Monday morning, and I don't know if anyone would have figured it out. You know, basically, Geoff Molson got within 48 hours of an announcement even closer than that I think, before it was kind of detected that something was—was going on. So here's what I think kinda happened. There had been a lot of rumours last year before the playoffs that Marc Bergevin's future in Montreal was in doubt. And it wasn't necessarily the Canadiens making a choice. It was Marc Bergevin saying after a decade in Montreal, he'd finally burned out. You know, he'd had enough, it was time, the stress and the intensity of the shadow, he was on fumes in Montreal. Plus, like I think like a lot of people the last two years, the era of COVID? It's basically taken a lot of your stresses and made them worse. And so last year before the playoffs, Jeff, we reported that the Canadiens were in a conversation with Bergevin about his future heading into the last year of his contract. And I believe that Geoff Molson had an extension on the table for Bergevin, but I don't think Bergevin had decided to take it. I think he was thinking, it was just time. And they go on their run. They make the final. And Chris Drury gets hired in New York. And Chris Drury, from what we understand, he's getting paid somewhere around four and a half million a year. And Marc Bergevin hears this, and the offer from the Canadiens is nowhere close to that, and he says, look, I think I should be closer to that and the Canadiens aren't in that ballpark, and plus, as I said, Bergevin is tired. He's exhausted from his decade in Montreal, and he's thinking, it's time for me. If—I really believe that if he wasn't going to be paid closer to what, the four, four and a half number, he was ready to go.
Jeff Marek [00:05:15] Mhm.
Elliotte Friedman [00:05:16] Now I also think Molson was upset by Bergevin's post-Stanley Cup press conference last year. Like this, to me, is one of the real parts of this story, and I know I'm—I'm going off on tangents and I'm sorry, I'm trying to keep it straight. The thing about this that's most interesting to me is, for a long time, Bergevin and Molson were simpatico. Molson really believed in Bergevin, Bergevin had the owner's backing, and there were times the fans were like, this can't continue with Bergevin, and Molson always stuck with him. He gave him an extension early and he refused to fire him. He said, no, I believe in Marc Bergevin's vision. And if you go back to Bergevin's presser after the Stanley Cup final, he's noncommittal about staying after this season, except in the right circumstances. And I just think Molson didn't like that. And I think their relationship started to deteriorate. And I think this year a training camp, everybody knew it was gonna be the last year. So we know that we're in the last year and this is gonna be it. Now amongst the staff, there were a lot of staff who were in the last year of their deals too. And one of them was Scott Mellanby, the assistant GM. Now Scott Mellanby has been Bergevin's right-hand man for a long time. And Bergevin really trusts him and Mellanby's interviewed for a couple of situations but I think Mellanby's always hoped that he was going to be a GM in this league, and he might still be a GM in this league, and there was a chance that it was going to be in Montreal after years of that. And I think Bergevin recommended him to Molson. I think he said this should be my successor. And I do believe that there were conversations and negotiations between Mellanby and Molson about the job --
Jeff Marek [00:07:19] Negotiations for the position?
Elliotte Friedman [00:07:21] It was either going to be the executive job that Gorton eventually got or the GM job.
Jeff Marek [00:07:25] Wow.
Elliotte Friedman [00:07:26] Like, there were reports today that Mellanby was told he was promised that he'd be the next GM of the Canadiens, and ownership changed its mind. I don't know if I would go that far, I don't know if he was promised anything
Jeff Marek [00:07:42] Mhm.
Elliotte Friedman [00:07:42] But I do know that they had definitely talked about him. Both of those roles. He'd met face to face with ownership about those roles. I believe there were contract negotiations about those roles. The only reason I don't want to say the term "promised," was because I think sometimes, you know, people always warn me, nothing is done until it's done. And it wasn't done. But at the very least, they'd gone the long road down a negotiation in the process. And Mellanby had reason to believe he was in their plans. That was definitely true. And, it's one of two things happened. Number one, like if you look at it, once they made Gorton, the Executive Vice President, they made it very clear, as you said, Jeff, that whoever the general manager was gonna be—was gonna be someone who can speak in French and English.
Jeff Marek [00:08:36] Mhm.
Elliotte Friedman [00:08:36] So Gorton and Mellanby together became impossible. The second possibility is that Molson just looked at the way this year was going and said, I don't want anyone tied to it. That this is so bad that we're breaking fresh.
Jeff Marek [00:08:52] Hmm.
Jeff Marek [00:08:52] So I think it's gotta be one of those two things. And basically, Jeff, that changed in the last couple of weeks. From what I understand it went from Mellanby being involved in the conversations to Mellanby kind of being in the dark. And then on Friday, I believe they informed him that they were going in another direction and he was out. And, you know, after the report came out that they were talking to Gorton, Mellanby resigned on Saturday night. Now. Then we come to the other part of this story. I am told that when we reported Gorton on Saturday night, Bergevin had no idea that was happening. That he was completely blindsided by it.
Jeff Marek [00:09:41] Wait a minute. So this is during Hockey Central, 6:30 Eastern Saturday night. At that point, Marc Bergevin did not know.
Elliotte Friedman [00:09:48] I was told that when the tweet went out reporting that they were talking to Gorton for a role that was not the GM role and we'll see, Bergevin had no idea. From what I heard on Saturday night as members of the Canadiens organization started to find out about it, they were caught completely by shock. Molson and whoever knew in addition to him, they kept it quiet from a lot of people until yesterday afternoon. And then obviously it got reported and it got around and Mellanby's resignation got in the public and we started to hear about it. Like, they claim they were totally blindsided. So it's a tough thing in particular for Bergevin because he's got COVID, right?
Jeff Marek [00:10:32] Yeah.
Elliotte Friedman [00:10:32] So, you know, it's not an easy thing, but. It was a big deal. I didn't realize when I first reported it how close we were to an actual announcement? But it's become clear to me that they were gonna announce it probably Monday morning. So it got within less than 48 hours Jeff of being announced to it finally got out. They did a—they did an unbelievable job of keeping it quiet. Now, you know, Bergevin, I think—I really thought his resignation letter or letter to the fans, I guess, was excellent. I think the other thing that, you know, I didn't mention in the whole spiel at the beginning as I kind of set the situation, is I wonder about the pick last year with Logan Mailloux. And how much... that played a factor in the deterioration of the relationship between GM and owner
Jeff Marek [00:11:28] Mhm.
Elliotte Friedman [00:11:28] And how much that changed things. Not only that they made the pick, but the reaction to the pick, how everything was handled, I can't help but wonder how much of a factor that was because again, to me the most fascinating thing about all of this was Bergevin and Molson were joined at the hip. They believed in each other, they supported each other. You know, right up until last year, end of last season, and only in the last few months does it really seem that their relationship deteriorated to the point that, you know, Bergevin felt he was totally blindsided by this.
Jeff Marek [00:12:06] There's a couple of questions here, too, specifically when you mentioned the Logan Mailloux pick and what that could have done to the relationship between Geoff Molson and Marc Bergmann. I wonder now with a new group coming in, and who knows, we'll wait to find out the answer, if they end up renouncing the pick. I don't know. I want to get to what's next for Marc Bergevin here in a second. But you know, the obvious question is who becomes then the next General Manager? Are they in a hurry to do this? You know, there's a lot of names obviously floating around that, you know, have experience who can communicate in both English and French as well as we record this podcast, the Montreal Canadiens have not reached out to Patrick Roy I just checked before the pod. There is no shortage of candidates that are out there, from Daniel Briere to Pat Brisson, I mean, there's a lot. Which direction do you think they go in here? Do you have a—do you have a feeling either way?
Elliotte Friedman [00:13:02] Like if you remember Jeff Gorton in New York, Jeff Gorton does not like a lot of attention. He's happy to quietly—
Jeff Marek [00:13:11] Oh he had the perfect guy with him in New York
Elliotte Friedman [00:13:12] John Davidson, right? He likes to put his head down and do the job, and John Davidson would talk, and he'd handle all—you know, obviously he'd talk when he had to, but he had Davidson to handle a lot of the media-heavy lifting if it was necessary. So I think that Jeff Gorton sees this as, he's gonna do the same thing. He's going to handle a lot of the decision-making process. But the new General Manager, whoever it is, is going to do a lot of the talking and be the face in both English and French.
Jeff Marek [00:13:46] Mhm
Elliotte Friedman [00:13:46] And Gorton's gonna sort of train them and handle the key part of the business. So I understand the way that the Canadiens are doing this here. I'll tell you this, I think Daniel Briere, who you mentioned, is an excellent name. I do think he's going to be one of the people who is considered. He's learned the business side in the ECHL. He's obviously—he's French. You know, he wants to be a GM in the NHL someday. Arizona interviewed him as part of their assistant GM search that went to John Ferguson. I could see Briere being, you know, one of the names that they talk about. I think some other names you're going to hear, I think Martin Madden from Anaheim. We don't know what's gonna happen in Anaheim, but I've had a lot of people suggest to me he'd be the kind of person, you know, Mathieu Darch, Tampa Bay. You know, someone suggests to me, and you would know this name better than I would in terms of the job he's done in the Quebec league, but I read a couple of people say, Jocelyn Thibault.
Jeff Marek [00:14:46] Yeah.
Elliotte Friedman [00:14:46] And Stephane Robidas. Thibault's been heavily involved in juniors. Robidas owns a team in juniors and worked briefly for the Maple Leafs. You know, a lot of people are talking Briere, Madden, and I think if they're interested, I think they will be factors.
Jeff Marek [00:15:02] Mhm.
Elliotte Friedman [00:15:02] But I heard some of those other names as well. I think there are another of—a number of young, French executives who are just working their way up the ladder. If the Canadiens want someone to learn in that scenario, there's gonna be the opportunity for some of them there.
Jeff Marek [00:15:20] Patrick Roy. That name has been out there going back to when we first started here that perhaps Bergevin may not go back.
Elliotte Friedman [00:15:25] Here's the thing about Roy is, would he want to be the number two to Gorton? Would Gorton want that
Jeff Marek [00:15:31] I don't know the answer to that.
Elliotte Friedman [00:15:32] Well, that's all I'm saying
Jeff Marek [00:15:34] I mean, Martin Madden's an interesting choice, specifically if this is going to be a—and listen, they're heading into a draft where, I mean, who knows how many first round draft picks by the time, here in the draft, the Montreal Canadiens are going to be able to accumulate. That might be a really interesting name if they're going to go the—the draft-develop route with the Montreal Canadiens.
Elliotte Friedman [00:15:54] It is an interesting one. I mean, the thing is, he's in Anaheim right now and we don't know what's going to happen there. You know, I've had people mention his name to me, I just don't know. Basically, it's two situations that he's in a situation where it's uncertain and he could be going to a situation where he probably would have more power, but still wouldn't be the number one guy. I mean, I just don't know how he'd feel about that
Jeff Marek [00:16:20] How does Dom Ducharme feel these days
Elliotte Friedman [00:16:22] I don't know. I mean—
Jeff Marek [00:16:24] He was Berg's guy
Elliotte Friedman [00:16:26] I don't know. Like the one thing is Gorton's gonna come in, they're gonna have half a season to figure this all out
Jeff Marek [00:16:31] Yeah
Elliotte Friedman [00:16:31] When you have a season like this, I can't imagine anyone feels incredibly comfortable and, when you take a look at how this weekend unfolded, you're not looking at it and you're—you're saying, okay, our General Manager is claiming he had—he was completely blindsided by this and had no idea it was coming. Would anybody feel settled at this point in time?
Jeff Marek [00:16:53] No. So what's next then for Marc Bergevin do you think
Elliotte Friedman [00:16:57] I think that's a great question. People have connected him to L.A
Jeff Marek [00:17:01] Yeah.
Elliotte Friedman [00:17:01] You know, maybe he's gonna want to do the same thing Gorton just did, go into the big executive position of somebody else, do a lot of the day to day work, I don't know. Like I said, he was done in Montreal. It was time for him. He just had enough. You know, I've had people say to me that they think the Canucks would have interest in him. If you want a calmer situation than Montreal, well, I think anything is a calmer situation than Montreal, but not by much!
Jeff Marek [00:17:29] The other end of the country Elliotte.
Elliotte Friedman [00:17:32] Not by much. You know, Mellanby used to work in Vancouver, right
Jeff Marek [00:17:37] Yeah!
Elliotte Friedman [00:17:37] He worked for Mike Gillis there. So I'm actually curious to see if he ends up on Vancouver's radar because they know him a little bit. But I think Bergevin's gonna be a GM again. I think he's gonna want something a little quieter than Montreal and maybe Vancouver.
Jeff Marek [00:17:53] Before we wrap up with Montreal. Your thoughts on Marc Bergevin? I mean, he—he took the job in 2012 and had it up until today!
Elliotte Friedman [00:18:02] Yeah.
Jeff Marek [00:18:02] As we record this podcast at 8:34 Eastern on Sunday evening. How do you look at his time as General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens.
Elliotte Friedman [00:18:12] I mean, what a wild ride.
Jeff Marek [00:18:13] Yes.
Elliotte Friedman [00:18:15] What a wild ride he had. In that lockout year he had more success than a lot of people were expecting I think. And then, you know, the challenges, the moves he made, P.K. Subban. That probably goes down as the biggest one and the one that angered the fan base the most. Swung for the fences on the Pacioretty deal, a stunning Stanley Cup run kind of out of nowhere. You know, the thing that I think that he did best and I think this is no small thing in Montreal, is that he had the courage of his convictions. That he said, if I decide that this is what I'm going to do, I'm going to do it. And I don't care what anyone else thinks. And I think that stressed him out and burned him out at the end because I think there's always a lot of opposition to things you do? But, that, to me, was the best thing about Bergevin was that, he said, if I believe in something, I'm going to do it, and I will deal with the noise. And I thought that was his best skill. I think every GM, his resume is incomplete, till two to three years after they're gone. But the development of players like Suzuki, Romanoff—
Jeff Marek [00:19:32] Cole Caufield.
Elliotte Friedman [00:19:33] Cole Caufield, that is going to be critical to ultimately how Bergevin is remembered.
Jeff Marek [00:19:42] The one thing that I wonder about, and there's no answer unless he wants to tell us the answer. If Montreal didn't go on the run that they did last year, and if all of this came crashing down around Bergevin last year, is Philip Danault still a Hab? I don't know the answer to that, only Philip Danault knows, but that's one of the questions that I have about Bergevin and the Montreal Canadiens.
Elliotte Friedman [00:20:09] So one of the other things here, Jeff, that is really interesting to me is that, I think in Chicago, in Anaheim, and whatever jobs also come open, Jeff Gorton was going to be a very high candidate. He was gonna be in a good opportunity to get one of these jobs. And Montreal, which is probably the place we would have least picked him to go, steps up and gets him now. That's a fascinating part of the story for me
Jeff Marek [00:20:34] Yeah, so much for his career as an analyst on NHL Network, I suppose.
Elliotte Friedman [00:20:39] I'm sure he's really crushed about it. Wait a sec, sorry, sorry. I've got to turn down the Montreal Canadiens.
Jeff Marek [00:20:45] Yeah.
Elliotte Friedman [00:20:45] Because I'm too good at television.
Jeff Marek [00:20:48] I'm sure that if you're the NHL Network, you know going in that you have Jeff Gorton, but you may not have him for the whole season like, I'm with you like, it's a surprise, he could have had a lot of these jobs and more jobs that come available. See if Geoff Molson addresses that at his presser Monday at 11:00 Eastern.
Jeff Marek [00:21:21] And Elliotte, sticking with the positive stories, let's talk about the Philadelphia Flyers. Sunday, Andreas Johnsson sticks it to them, two goals, two assists, the New Jersey Devils beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5 to 2 in a... I don't know. How would you describe the game that we just saw?
Elliotte Friedman [00:21:38] It's tough for Philly. You can feel it mounting. I think Fletcher's looked around at some things, but he's really tight on the cap he's gotta go dollar in dollar out basically right?
Jeff Marek [00:21:49] Mhm.
Elliotte Friedman [00:21:49] I have wondered if you look at a former Flyer like Rick Tocchet, Vigneault still has term on his deal, I don't know, but you just get the sense the pressure on there has gotta be to do something right. This is a big year for that team, they went out, you know, they made some changes, Atkinson, Ristolainen, Ryan Ellis who's been hurt and can't get healthy. That's a team and an organization that they're very proactive, right? I just think the pressure's on.
Jeff Marek [00:22:20] The weird thing for me in all of this, normally when we see Philadelphia go through something like this, we point to the goaltending and say, well, the goaltending is sinking them. They're getting good goaltending from Martin Jones and Carter Hart, like, they're getting really good goaltending from these two.
Elliotte Friedman [00:22:34] To me right now, depending on Price, hard starting Game One for the Canadian Olympic team.
Jeff Marek [00:22:40] I believe so, but whenever I say that people in St. Louis send me angry DMs about Jordan Binnington.
Elliotte Friedman [00:22:46] Well, that's because you hate the Blues and everything they stand for. So that's why people are saying that to you. Well look, like I understand Binnington for sure, because Doug Armstrong was loyal to him and he started off great this year, but to me, on merit
Jeff Marek [00:23:01] No, I'm with you. Carter Hart has been fantastic.
Elliotte Friedman [00:23:03] He's getting Game One.
Jeff Marek [00:23:04] Yeah.
Elliotte Friedman [00:23:04] And even Jones has been really improved from what we've seen him the past couple of years
Jeff Marek [00:23:10] Yeah.
Elliotte Friedman [00:23:10] But right now, like that is just a team. You're looking at them and it screams, something is coming.
Jeff Marek [00:23:16] Let me ask you something. Is not though the mitigating factor here, and you already winked at it, Ryan Ellis injury. Add also Kevin Hayes in there as well.
Elliotte Friedman [00:23:24] Yes, Hayes is a big loss.
Jeff Marek [00:23:26] Those are two big injuries. Those are two big losses for them to start the season like I know this has been disappointing right now, and I know that there are people asking a lot of questions and demanding change but, do you not get a little bit more rope when you say, look
Elliotte Friedman [00:23:41] I don't think so.
Jeff Marek [00:23:42] Kevin Hayes is out, Ryan Ellis is out
Elliotte Friedman [00:23:45] I don't think so. I don't sense it. Philly, not known for its patience, organizational or city-wise. Chuck Fletcher's a very patient guy. I think he always tries to be, but I think the desperation there is really starting to grow.
Jeff Marek [00:24:02] Right now, anyone in Vancouver, specifically Canucks fans, are saying to themselves, when are they going to start talking about the Canucks? We're used to everybody talking about the Canucks. What is the latest with the Canucks, Elliotte?
Elliotte Friedman [00:24:15] Well, as we record this, I'm not watching the game because Amil told me to pay attention. But as I quickly look at the app, I see they're up 2-1 over Boston late in the second period.
Jeff Marek [00:24:26] Jake DeBrusk is a healthy in this one.
Elliotte Friedman [00:24:29] Yeah... You know, they've kind of been lost in everything, but I think pretty soon we're gonna be talking about Boston.
Jeff Marek [00:24:34] I think so, too.
Elliotte Friedman [00:24:35] If this doesn't get better. But Vancouver, you know, the best thing that someone told me right now is that it feels like every game that Vancouver plays is a referendum on their franchise, and that is a really brutal space to be in. And I know that there are Canucks fans who do not like that changes haven't been made, and on some level, I'm surprised that interim changes haven't been made. But I do think that saying, hold on, we're not doing anything permanent until we're absolutely sure we have the right people, I think that's the right thing to do here. You know, you could make interim changes, no question about that, but the playoffs, they're gone this year. It's not happening. And I just think that that's the way they've decided to do it.
Jeff Marek [00:25:32] Mhm.
Elliotte Friedman [00:25:32] Why do anything until we know exactly what we want to do? And I think that's really tough on Travis Green. I think it's really tough on some of their players. I think it's really tough on the organization. Because, I'll give you a perfect example. So on Saturday night, we mentioned that they considered Scott Walker for their head coaching job, and I think they also considered Claude Julien.
Jeff Marek [00:25:58] Mhm
Elliotte Friedman [00:25:58] And they decided, you know, that they weren't gonna do Claude Julien. And they also looked at Scott Walker, but they decided they weren't going to do that. And Scott Walker, former NHLer, had a really good career, involved with the Wildstorm, he worked in player development for the Canucks for four years, and he worked for Arizona after he worked for Vancouver. Well, I had someone call me on Sunday and say, there's no way your Scott Walker report is accurate. There's no way they approached him about coaching the team. And I said, I'm telling you, it's accurate. And he said, how do you know? And I said, you're never gonna know that, and I gave them my standard answer that you have to know if you tell me things in confidence, I won't tell people that you told me that. And he says, well, I don't believe you. I don't think that report is accurate. And I said, that's fine, you can choose to believe me or not, but I'm telling you they talk to him. And a couple of hours later, they called me back and they're like, I think you're right. And we kinda had a good laugh about it. You know, like, he was like apologizing to me. Like, you don't have to apologize to me. Like, it's really—it's really not necessary. We all hear conflicting information in this business, and sometimes we hear the same story from two different angles that give you two different perspectives. So I was good with it. But what it said to me is that, you know, inside that organization, the Canucks right now, not everybody has the same information. We talked a week ago about, you know, factions and things like that.
Jeff Marek [00:27:32] Mhm.
Elliotte Friedman [00:27:32] I kind of think that's what goes on. I think there's some people that know this and there's some people that know that, and there's some people that know this other thing and, it gives you an idea of what life is like there right now? And I think that's a very hard way to go. But I think what ownership has decided is, if we're gonna do this, we're gonna do this right. And the thing that's part of that is what we have talked about, is that anytime you're hiring someone, even if it's someone you think you know, you have to be careful about it because you have to make sure. And I think all of these are factors.
Jeff Marek [00:28:08] Mhm.
Elliotte Friedman [00:28:08] I think the other thing too is, now Bergevin's available. Now Mellanby's available. And I'm not saying that those guys are going to get the job, but now all of a sudden, you're sitting here and saying, wait a second, who else is going to become available?
Jeff Marek [00:28:20] Yeah.
Elliotte Friedman [00:28:22] There's a lot of stress around the league right now, Jeff. There really is. There's a lot of stress.
Jeff Marek [00:28:28] Nerves are close to the skin everywhere. You can sense it.
Jeff Marek [00:28:30] Yeah
Elliotte Friedman [00:28:30] And you know, I want to circle back to that point you made about how every game seems like it's a referendum when it comes to the Vancouver Canucks. We've seen this before with hockey teams, specifically Canadian hockey teams, they spiral. To your point, because the pressure in these markets is just immense, especially when you have a start like Vancouver does. I think we've talked about this before, sometimes it feels like you're not playing 82 games, but you're playing 82 one-game seasons. Every game feels like it's an entire season.
Elliotte Friedman [00:29:01] Yeah.
Jeff Marek [00:29:01] That has to be an incredibly difficult way to either coach, to play, to manage, all of that. I can only think about, and we talked last podcast about, you know, you wear it on your face, Travis Green is wearing this on his face, so coaches' faces during this can't lie. I just can't imagine the stress that everybody is going through here. I know fans are frustrated. Everybody's stressed. It's just like, if you said, point at the most unhealthy situation for everybody in the NHL, I'd point at Vancouver. And I'd say not a single person is enjoying this, not a single person doesn't feel some discomfort here at some level, some more so than others, but everybody's feeling it like at every single level. It's gotta be awful being there.
Elliotte Friedman [00:29:46] You can really sense it. And I think that's going to grow around the league, especially, you know, places that aren't doing really well. Another place I kind of see it going right now is Ottawa with the whole Matt Murray situation.
Jeff Marek [00:29:57] So let's get there. So Matt Murray waived, Matt Murray clears, Matt Murray sent to Belleville of the American Hockey League. What happened here?
Elliotte Friedman [00:30:08] So Jeff, I think this thing is—was very complicated, and I think there were very hurt feelings on both sides. I think the Senators, you know, they traded for him. They signed him to a big contract and they feel they simply haven't gotten the production. And to the Senators, that's the bottom line. Matt Murray, he feels there are extenuating circumstances, particularly this year. He was sick at the beginning of the year with flu-like symptoms. He was injured in the Kreider play, and then while the Senators had their COVID outbreak, I think he had a mix of positive and negative tests so I don't know what to say exactly, but he definitely was sick again and he had symptoms. And you know, his point was, I haven't really had a chance this year, and he apparently told them that, I think you're using me as a scapegoat, and he was very upset about it. So you've got one side saying, Murray, that I'm being treated unfairly and blamed for what's happening. And you've got another side, the Senators saying, you know, the bottom line is you simply haven't been good enough and we've gotta put goalies in there who are. Look, the stress is building, they're having a really hard year, they wanted to at least take a step forward this season, it's not happening right now, they feel in net there's better opportunities for them to win, and the bottom line is they're going to try to win some games. You know, the situation blew up, but you know, to me, that perfectly identifies the fact that what Ottawa expected and what's going on, it's not the same thing and the stresses are growing.
Jeff Marek [00:31:51] Hmm.
Elliotte Friedman [00:31:51] And I do think they wanted to send a jolt through their lineup. I do think they did that. They wanted to say, look, our players are going to be shocked by this, and it's a sign that, you know, we're gonna do something to change things up and nobody should feel solid if you're not performing. Were you surprised nobody claimed him because you were talking about it a bit?
Jeff Marek [00:32:14] No. There were two that I thought might for a couple of different reasons. So I thought that Buffalo might just because of the unknown factor around Craig Anderson right now. Craig Anderson is now listed week-to-week by the Buffalo Sabres. I don't think they want to continue much longer with Dallon Tokarski as their bearer. This is a year where a lot of young players are getting a lot of ice time and they want them to be in, you know, games that last three periods, not one. And they want them to, you know, have a season that doesn't end before Christmas, and doesn't matter in a lot of ways what you do like, you know, you look at Tage Thompson who's been a revelation at centre so far. You don't want, you know, good work by young players undone by questionable goaltending and—because all that Buffalo would probably—wants right now is just someone that's better than those two. I thought they might at least have a conversation about Matt Murray, and maybe they did, and I'm sure they did but of course, ultimately they didn't. The other team was Arizona, as Arizona is going to be unloading as many veteran pricey contracts as they can, Phil Kessel being Exhibit A. They still need to make the salary cap floor, and Matt Murray would go a ways to achieving that if they get rid of veteran players on big tickets and still need to make the floor. The problem with that for Arizona is, in the last two years of this deal, the money paid out is actually larger than the salary cap hit. So that's a no-fly for the Arizona Coyotes. Those are the two like, I gotta preface it with like, look, we all expected him to clear. But if there's a couple of teams that would have some motivation to at least pause and think about it, Buffalo and Arizona would probably be the two obvious ones. Are there any other ones for you that you could have seen taking—at least having a conversation about Matt Murray?
Elliotte Friedman [00:34:05] Well, the other thing too is, I don't get the sense that there's been a lot of trade talks with Murray prior to this. And now I wonder if there will be, because the better chance is that
Jeff Marek [00:34:17] Ottawa eats money?
Elliotte Friedman [00:34:17] Yeah. I mean, they wouldn't want to, or they—they have to attach a sweetener to get it to happen, right?
Jeff Marek [00:34:23] Mhm.
Elliotte Friedman [00:34:25] So I really wonder if that now becomes part of the question
Jeff Marek [00:34:29] We'll see.
Elliotte Friedman [00:34:30] Do we talk about a deal where money is retained or a sweetener is included? That's what I wondered.
Jeff Marek [00:34:37] And the thing too, sending him to AHL Belleville? I mean, what does that do for Mads Sogaard, Kevin Mandolese like, all of a sudden you've got that issue at the American League level as you're trying to develop younger players.
Jeff Marek [00:34:50] A couple of more things here Friedge. The New York Islanders and the postponed games. I don't think we're at the point where we say this means the Olympics are in jeopardy, but are we getting warmer here now Friedge?
Elliotte Friedman [00:35:15] You and I have been talking about this for a couple of weeks now. I don't think this jeopardises the Olympics, but I do think the worry's gone up. As we've talked about Jeff, the teams are starting to really have big issues about this, for the first time they're complaining. Emily Kaplan had a tweet on the weekend about players being really scared of what the quarantine would look like
Jeff Marek [00:35:36] If they test positive in Beijing.
Elliotte Friedman [00:35:37] If they test positive in Beijing. You know, I've also heard players say to me like, I don't care, I wanna play in the Olympics. One player told me that, I was like, are you serious? Like, do you understand what this could be because I want to play in the Olympics? But you know, that's your choice
Jeff Marek [00:35:52] Mhm.
Elliotte Friedman [00:35:52] I hear the protocols for Vegas. If this happens and they're at the All-Star Game, like there might not even be a media day I heard in Vegas now
Jeff Marek [00:36:02] Wow.
Elliotte Friedman [00:36:02] Because they just don't want anybody talking to the players who could be going anywhere.
Jeff Marek [00:36:07] And the event on the Strip
Elliotte Friedman [00:36:09] I don't know, that I haven't heard, but someone said to me, you think you're going to have Media Day in Vegas at the All-Star Game, you might not. So it's gonna be really something like we've said, we have about forty days until this has to be decided? I don't like where this is trending. I really don't. You know, the other thing too Jeff is, let's just say knock on wood, and hopefully it doesn't happen, you test positive in China, it's not like you can hop on a plane and go back to your NHL city
Jeff Marek [00:36:35] No, you stay
Elliotte Friedman [00:36:37] There aren't flights going in and out of there.
Jeff Marek [00:36:39] You stay in China. That's what's happening.
Elliotte Friedman [00:36:42] So in November, someone sent me this story from November 17th. A Polish luge athlete who was injured during the Winter Olympics training event near Beijing was flown out of China on a cargo plane this week—.
Jeff Marek [00:36:57] Whoa!
Elliotte Friedman [00:36:58] After coronavirus restrictions prevented him from taking a commercial flight, according to the head of Poland's Luge Association.
Jeff Marek [00:37:06] Wow!
Elliotte Friedman [00:37:08] When organizers tried to arrange, and the luger's name was Mateusz Sochowicz, to travel back to Poland on a commercial flight, they were told that COVID regulations prevented him from doing so for another two weeks, so he travelled on an Air China cargo plane from Beijing to Milan before taking another flight to Warsaw. The cargo plane's interior was just like that of a passenger jet, adding that Mr. Sochowicz had described his journey from Beijing as very comfortable. Oh, I should credit. This was in the. By Raymond Zhong of The New York Times.
Jeff Marek [00:37:48] Wow. You can fly in a cargo plane, you can fly—fly with livestock on the way back.
Elliotte Friedman [00:37:54] Like, I don't know! Like I said, like Emily's tweeted that she spoke to somebody who said that they thought that was really scary, and I have no doubt that a number of players—but I had a player tell me that were like, yeah, we still want to go. I was like, okay.
Jeff Marek [00:38:12] Neither of those things surprised me.
Elliotte Friedman [00:38:13] No, I know
Jeff Marek [00:38:15] Like I understand both completely.
Elliotte Friedman [00:38:18] As somebody who was a completely reckless 20-something and made ridiculous life choices, I could totally see someone saying, I still wanna go.
Jeff Marek [00:38:27] I get it.
Elliotte Friedman [00:38:28] Like at that point in my life, I made ridiculously stupid life choices. So I get it.
Jeff Marek [00:38:35] But if this was like up on top of your list of things to do in your life and it's your one chance to do it, you take more risks than just you and I would going like, hey, you want to go see the, you know, the Great Wall and maybe take a side trip to go see the Terracotta Warriors? Like, no, like, we're being frivolous. This is what they've worked for their entire lives.
Elliotte Friedman [00:38:54] We talked about this last week.
Jeff Marek [00:38:55] A couple more things here before we wrap up. Evander Kane waived by the San Jose Sharks as we also find out he has changed representation.
Elliotte Friedman [00:39:01] Yeah.
Jeff Marek [00:39:01] Now being represented by Dan Milstein.
Elliotte Friedman [00:39:05] Well, it should be mentioned that, you know, his previous agents were Newport, and they're mentioned in the lawsuit. They—they feel he owes them a commission.
Jeff Marek [00:39:13] Mhm.
Elliotte Friedman [00:39:13] So I don't think it's any surprise he's not still being represented by them. You know, Kane was put on waivers, as you mentioned, I would be surprised if he was claimed? I think he's gonna go to the American Hockey League, he's gonna to report, Milstein released in a statement, and then we'll see what happens. We had to do those annoying burning questions that Amber makes us do in these broadcasts
Jeff Marek [00:39:36] Mhm
Elliotte Friedman [00:39:36] And he asks, Stewie and I, do you think Kane plays again for San Jose, and Stewie said yes. And my answer was, what if someone says to San Jose, we're considering trading for Kane, but we want to see him in the NHL games first, then he's going to play.
Jeff Marek [00:39:51] And finally, do you have a thought on Brendan Lemieux-Brady Tkachuk
Elliotte Friedman [00:39:58] You can't do it right, and for Tkachuk to say what he said? That's rare from an NHL player. And I think it's probably two things. I think it's—he's mad about being bitten because he thinks it's B.S. and it's also that he's mad about the losing right? I thought about that more as I was driving home last night. His explosion was about two things. He's furious at that, and he's mad about the way Ottawa's season's going and he takes it all out
Jeff Marek [00:40:27] Yeah
Elliotte Friedman [00:40:27] You know, what are you gonna do? Like in that situation who's gonna criticize Brady Tkachuk for saying what he said? Nobody.
Jeff Marek [00:40:33] Not at all.
Elliotte Friedman [00:40:34] And the fact he's been offered an in-person hearing?
Jeff Marek [00:40:37] Yeah.
Elliotte Friedman [00:40:37] One of the things that we're talking about now is hygiene, right?
Jeff Marek [00:40:41] Of course.
Elliotte Friedman [00:40:42] And someone said to me, do not underestimate the role that that plays in all of this.
Jeff Marek [00:40:47] Well, and that's interesting because previous, I mean, we haven't seen suspensions for biting
Elliotte Friedman [00:40:52] Two games
Jeff Marek [00:40:52] Two games here...
Elliotte Friedman [00:40:54] In 2009, Jarkko Ruutu. 2008 or 2009.
Jeff Marek [00:40:58] And that was on Andrew Peters
Elliotte Friedman [00:40:59] Yes
Jeff Marek [00:40:59] Yeah but it's like, one game for Marc Savard, two games for Jarkko Ruutu. And now all of a sudden, yeah, we're offering an in-person?
Elliotte Friedman [00:41:09] Yeah. Imagine right now if Marchand licked Callahan.
Jeff Marek [00:41:14] Can you imagine for one second, that would be the NHL first licking suspension
Elliotte Friedman [00:41:19] That would be a 10 million game suspension.
Jeff Marek [00:41:24] Do you know the Marty McSorley-Eric Lindros biting story?
Elliotte Friedman [00:41:27] What's that one?
Jeff Marek [00:41:28] So I confirmed this with—with Burkie because he would have been the sheriff at that point for the NHL. It was just a different time, Marty is a different person, but this is back when McSorley was playing with the San Jose Sharks and Eric Lindros is playing with the Philadelphia Flyers. So Marty tells me this story one day after we had worked together at Sportsnet, and we were talking about, you know, guys, I remember someone saying, so who's the one guy you always want to fight and just wouldn't fight you? And he said, Eric Lindros. And I said, Well, one time I got real close because I had always said I would always call Lindros, try and draw him in and trying to draw him in. And he would never do it, never do it. Except one time it might have been like after a goal or something Eric finally was frustrated and went for it, and we got real close and he bit me. And I went, what? And he goes, Yeah, and Eric bit me. And he said the next day... because the papers went nuts with it, right? Like Eric Lindros bites. Marty McSorley, we got to throw this guy out of the league. This has to be a 10 game suspension. The NHL can't stand for this. And Marty says he got a call the next day from Brian Burke. The man was, you know, essentially in the George Parros role now back then. And Burkie says, look like, we're real close to suspending Lindros, and it's gonna be a big one. I just need you to confirm to me because you can't really tell on the video, and you can go watch the video on YouTube, you can't really tell in the video whether he really bit you or not. And Marty says, ahhhh, geez, Burkie, I don't know, things happen in a fight, and Burkie's like, Marty, I can't do anything unless you tell me, like, did he bite you or not? Ahh geez, Burkie, you know, I can't really remember, I don't know, I'm not sure. And Brian says, I'm gonna ask you one more time, Marty, because I'm ready to throw the book at him, I just need you to tell me that he bit you. And Marty says, Brian, he didn't bite me. Now you go and tell Bobby Clark, he owes me one.
Elliotte Friedman [00:43:33] Wow, what a story
Jeff Marek [00:43:36] Just a different guy at different times.
Elliotte Friedman [00:43:39] It sounds like a Hey Burkie.
Jeff Marek [00:43:41] It would be a great Hey Burkie. Hey, Amil, let's get the Eric Lindros biting story on one of the Hey, Burkies next time we sit down to do an animation. It is one of my favourite stories and you can see Marty doing it, Brian, he didn't bite me, now go tell Bobby Clark he owes me one. It was a different time Friedge. It was a different time.
Elliotte Friedman [00:43:57] Well, that's the second-best biting story I heard this weekend, but a better one for Hey Burkie.
Jeff Marek [00:44:02] Oh yeah?
Elliotte Friedman [00:44:03] Because Bieksa mentioned that David Amber once bit his sister.
Jeff Marek [00:44:08] What?
Elliotte Friedman [00:44:08] Yeah. When they were kids, you mentioned it on the air. I don't think Amber was very happy, so it's a good thing we didn't mention it on this podcast.
Jeff Marek [00:44:15] OK, you know what? Let's end with—let's end with something light then Elliotte, coming on the heels of a Brendan Lemieux biting story here. Someone. A gentleman by the name of Bill [Toospile]. I hope I'm pronouncing your name right there. Bill, goes by the Twitter handle [johncougarcallingcamp] actually paid via Cameo Gilbert Gottfried to read the Brady Tkachuk postgame statement in only the way that Gilbert Gottfried can. Let's end the podcast.
Elliotte Friedman [00:44:48] This is awesome.
Jeff Marek [00:44:49] I never thought I would say this Elliotte and Amil. Let's end the podcast with Gilbert Gottfried.