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Montreal Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey calls Tampa Bay Lightning 'disgraceful' over Vinny Lecavalier trade talks

Canadiens coach and general manager Bob Gainey on Thursday called the Lightning "disgraceful."

Tampa Bay general manager Brian Lawton said the accusation is "preposterous."

Gainey, speaking to reporters in Montreal the day after his team was swept by the Bruins in the first round of the playoffs, said the Lightning leaked to other teams the names of Canadiens players being discussed in a possible trade for Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier.

Gainey said the distraction was a factor in his team's second-half collapse.

"We had discussions with Tampa Bay. We had an agreement with them (to keep the names private)," he said.

"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, who has never acknowledged that trade talks for Lecavalier have even taken place, said Gainey's assertion was "absolutely false."

"The NHL is a very tight community," Lawton said. "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."

TOCCHET SIGNING: It appears Rick Tocchet, elevated to coach in November after Barry Melrose was fired, could have the interim tag taken off his title by the end of next week.

Lawton said he will meet with Tocchet early next week but offered no other specifics.

"My fault," Lawton said of the protracted process. "You can blame it on me. … (Tocchet) did a great job, but it wasn't the season we wanted, so you do your due diligence."

Coaches entering new contracts generally get three-year deals.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at cristodero@sptimes.com.

Montreal Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey calls Tampa Bay Lightning 'disgraceful' over Vinny Lecavalier trade talks 04/23/09 [Last modified: Thursday, April 23, 2009 10:32pm]

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