Seems no matter where Vincent Lecavalier goes, he can’t escape the rumours and reports that link him to the Montreal Canadiens.
And it’s clear the Montreal-area native is growing tired of it all.
Lecavalier was in Montreal today for a fund raising initiative at a local car dealership, where he expressed his frustration of not knowing where he will end up next season.
“The worst part of it, is being really uncertain about your future, I guess,” said Lecavalier. “Just from reading the papers, and hearing all the reports. It’s not the best situation you want to be in, but I guess that’s part of the game.”
Lecavalier has been twisting in the wind since before the 2009 All-Star game, when reports surfaced that Bolts GM Brian Lawton was prepared to deal his superstar, with the Canadiens being the likely destination. As it turned out, the All-Star game was played in Montreal. And as an Eastern Conference All-Star, Lecavalier was on hand for the proceedings. And when he arrived in town for All-Star weekend, he was bombarded with questions about the trade rumours linking his name to the Canadiens. To his credit, Lecavalier answered every question, but could shed little light on the rumours. In reality, he was nothing more than a victim of these rumours.
As for Lawton, he vigorously denied the reports, and, sure enough, when the March trade deadline came and went, Lecavalier remained, and still remains, in Tampa.
Then, at the conclusion of the season, in Bob Gainey’s state-of-the-union address, the Canadiens’ GM dropped a bombshell. He admitted to having conversations with Lawton three months earlier about a deal that would have brought Lecavalier to Montreal for Chris Higgins, Tomas Plekanec and Josh Gorges. Gainey said Lawton ended up going public with the three players names in an effort to leverage the situation with other teams. At the time, Gainey said it was “disgraceful” that Gorges, Plekanec and Higgins “had to read that stuff.”
Lecavalier was none too pleased to see his name come out in public that way, either.
“Maybe there were talks. I don’t know how far they went with them. Obviously it’s disappointing to hear that. I’m sure all the names of the other players … they were disappointed, too. But what can you do?”
If you’re Vincent Lecavalier, not much. Just sit, and wait. However, the situation is not totally out of his control. Lecavalier said if the Lightning do approach him with a trade, he will provide them with a list of teams that he would consider going to. And the Canadiens would be on that list.
“Of course. There is no way I could ignore them,” admitted Lecavalier. “Myself being from here, family and friends, it would be pretty hard not to put them on the list. But we’re not that far yet. They haven’t called me to do that, so we’ll see, I guess.”
By publicly calling out Brian Lawton, the feeling is that Bob Gainey and his counterpart from Tampa Bay will now never be able to sit down at the table and work out a deal for Lecavalier, if there’s a deal to be had. But don’t be too sure about that. I don’t believe for a moment that egos would get in the way of a trade involving the Habs and the Bolts for Lecavalier, if both GMs felt the deal was the right one for both organizations.
Let’s assume the two GM’s do come together on a trade. The intense scrutiny that Lecavalier would be under in Montreal would be suffocating; the pressure, enormous. Canadiens’ fans have been salivating over the prospect of Lecavalier coming to Montreal for years. The expectation that he, alone, could somehow lead this club to the promised land would be completely unrealistic. But that’s never stopped Habs’ fans.
“When you look at Montreal, it’s pretty special. The history of the team, and the people going crazy for the sport. It would be a challenge, but something that every player has to go through when they come here. If other people can do it, why not?
Sounds good. On paper, at least. Now all Lawton and Gainey have to do is make it happen.