Habs' Gainey calls Lightning "disgraceful"
Canadiens coach and GM Bob Gainey on Thursday called the Lightning "disgraceful" for, he said, leaking to other teams the names of Montreal players being discussed in a possible trade for Tampa Bay captain Vinny Lecavalier.
Gainey said the distraction contributed to his team's collapse in the second half of the season. Lightning GM Brian Lawton said the accusation was "preposterous." In fact, Lawton never has even acknowledged trade talks for Lecavalier ever have taken place.
Gainey, speaking in Montreal at his year-end meeting with reporters after his team was swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Bruins, said, "We had discussions with Tampa Bay. We had an agreement with them (to keep the names private). I got a call in January from them with a list of names that they wanted to talk about, and those players ended up in public because they used those names to take them to other teams to see if they could create a different trade for Vinny Lecavalier. I think it was disgraceful that Josh Gorges, Tomas Plekanec and Christopher Higgins had to read that stuff."
Lawton, traveling in Minnesota, said Gainey's assertion is "absolutely false. The NHL is a very tight community. There's only 28 other GMs, and I can assure you there's not one who will confirm it because it has never happened. It's preposterous and simply not true."
My two cents: Whether this is true or not, for Gainey to imply the distraction contributed to the team's collpase the second half of the season seems like a reach. NHL players are big boys. They understand anyone can be traded at any time, and it is difficult to believe such elite players could have their games thrown off to that extent.