Before I tell you about the story of the day, which made me wonder about the limits of what an NHL team can impose on its club team, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at the Canadiens’ past.
This story takes place during the 2006-2007 season in Hamilton. At the time, the Bulldogs were the Canadiens’ training club. The team performed quite well, with a record of just under .600, and was poised to make the post-season playoffs. Their roster includes skaters such as Corey Locke, Mikhail Grabovski, Andrei Kostitsyn, Kyle Chipchura and Maxim Lapierre.
In goal, it’s a ménage à deux with Yann Danis as first violin and Jaroslav Halak as second. In 44 games, Danis scored 23 wins, and his numbers were decent, but nothing more. Halak ended up stealing his job quietly and quickly, with a .932 save percentage and a 2.00 goals-against average. His 16 wins in 28 games gave him a chance to become the man Don Lever, the team’s head coach at the time, could trust.
Could Brian Lewis, the team president at the time, have decided not to give in to Gainey’s request?
In an alternate universe, perhaps, and in this one, chances are the story would have been completely different… not unlike that of the Carolina Hurricanes and Chicago Wolves!
Team GM Wendell Young revealed on the Inside AHL Hockey podcast what led to the end of the association between the two teams over the summer, and it’s truly surreal.
Carolina threatened to fire then-head coach Ryan Warsofsky DURING 2022 Calder Cup Finals if he continued playing Alex Lyon over Pyotr Kochetkov@InsideAHLHockey
EXCLUSIVE with @Chicago_Wolves GM Wendell Young sheds light on what happened behind the scenes https://t.co/B2OsMiVt7q
– Tony Androckitis* (@TonyAndrock) August 26, 2023
He reveals that during the 2022 playoffs, Hurricanes management would have made a request similar to Bob Gainey’s, namely to sack the team’s successful number-one goaltender and replace him with prospect Pyotr Kochetkov. Trusted goaltender Alex Lyon ultimately led his team to Calder Cup glory, as Young refused to bow to threats from his pro club to fire head coach Ryan Warsofsky if he didn’t comply.
During the summer, Warsofsky decided to leave for an assistant-coaching position with the San Jose Sharks, and a year later, in the summer of 2023, ties between the two organizations were severed. Here’s the proof!
It seems that in the final season, 2022-2023, all of a sudden player development was no longer a priority for the Hurricanes and they now wanted to see the Wolves win at all costs. In other words, Carolina did a 180° turn in the summer of 2022.
And that’s never good for the players, since they only get the crumbs left over. Teams will always favour their own players over those of their big-league rivals.
– Along the same lines, should the Rocket win or develop this season? [The Hockey News]
– It was a mere formality, now it’s a done deal.
– CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) August 30, 2023
– Patrice Bergeron believes the Bruins are in good hands leadership-wise despite his retirement.
– Boston.com Bruins News (@BDCBruins) August 30, 2023
– Is redemption really possible for Alex Galchenyuk in Russia? The man himself believes so.
Good little interview with new SKA player Alex Galchenyuk
From his agency via MatchTV: https://t.co/Iqiq6nicT9
– Field hockey News Hub (@HockeyNewsHub) August 28, 2023