Mathieu Dandenault feels he’s in a state of  limbo.

Alex Kovalev isn’t losing any sleep over it.

Josh Gorges, in the meantime, knows what it’s like to be moved at the trade deadline.  He was was obtained by the Habs, almost two years ago to the day, in the deal that sent Craig Rivet to the San Jose Sharks.

With the NHL trade deadline just hours away, 3 p.m. Eastern, many members of the Canadiens appear to be just a little itchy as the countdown continues.  Like his former team mate Steve Begin, Dandenault just wants a regular shift.  Like his former team mate Steve Begin, Dandenault hasn’t been getting one lately.  And like his former team mate Steve Begin, who went to Dallas, Dandenault could find himself in a new N.H.L. city when the sun rises Thursday morning.

There are plenty of rumours floating around, which is to be expected.  However, nothing will match the intensity and excitement that was generated one year ago when the Habs made a serious pitch for Marian Hossa, then with the Atlanta Thrashers.  Lots of Habs fans were praying that Bob Gainey would get the deal done on February 26th, a night when the Thrashers were at the Bell Centre.  That way Hossa could simply walk the 100 yards from the visitors dressing room to the Habs’ dressing, suit up for his new team, and take to the ice as a member of the “Bleu, Blanc, Rouge”, with the fans roaring their approval. 

Never happened, of course.

The Pittsburgh Penguins spoiled the party by outbidding the Canadiens, leaving Habs fans, and GM Bob Gainey, disappointed.

There is no similar drama playing itself out in Montreal, this time around.  Certainly, nothing as tangible as the very real interest the Canadiens had in Hossa. Names?  Sure, I’ve got names for you.  Bill Guerin is still twisting in the wind as a member of the New York Islanders, even though he hasn’t suited up for them in recent games.  Olli Jokinen’s name always seems to be out there, this time of year.  And it’s out there again.  

Are the Habs interested?  Only Bob Gainey knows the answer to that question.  

Ryan Smyth?  Sure, might as well add his name to the mix, since the Canadiens were reported to be interested in him when his free-agent services became available two years ago.  (Smyth should have stayed in Edmonton.  He OWNED that town.)

Vinny Lecavalier?  FUGHETIBOUTIT.

Expect the rumour mill to churn, big time, overnight, heading into the morning hours.  And expect the trade dominoes to fall as we approach 3 p.m. Eastern.  There are still suggestions that Bob Gainey would like a serious upgrade up front (Glen Metropolit would have to be considered a semi-serious upgrade) and more strength along the blue line (despite the recent acquisition of Mathieu Schneider).  

My gut still tells me that when the Canadiens take to the ice in Buffalo tomorrow night, you will see the same Montreal Canadiens team that took to the ice at practice this morning at Suburban Brossard; a team that didn’t include Jaroslav Halak, who is still out with the flu (leaving Carey Price with the starting assignment in Buffalo) and Kyle Chipchura, who has been sent down to Hamilton.  Again.

But what does my gut know?

What I CAN tell you, with certainty, is that while the Habs are on the ice at the HSBC Arena tomorrow for their morning pre-game skate, Bob Gainey will be back here in Montreal, working the phones.  

While Habs fans wait.

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