Written by Habsterix, AllHabs.net

Life has a way to throw back in your face the decisions that you’ve made. More often than not, it’s the bad ones that hit you the hardest. Bob Gainey took the easy way out, leaving his position as General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens. By doing so, he has left his biggest headache, Scott Gomez, onto his replacement Pierre Gauthier.

PENTICTON, BC. — This past summer, Gauthier had some fairly major decisions to make. Before my affiliation with All Habs, I had shared a two-part look at the work ahead for the Habs’ GM. In part one, we dressed a picture of what was already in place, including the signings of Rafael Diaz and Alexei Emelin, and touched on the dilemmas with the Markov situation. Part two focussed on the actual contracts situation and we looked at the needs of the team, as well as some potential solutions that Gauthier might want to explore.

While Gomez was partly Gainey’s doing, Pierre Gauthier took a huge gamble on re-signing Andrei Markov to a three-year contract at almost $6 million per season, after his star defenseman missed most of the last two seasons due to three major legs injuries, including two surgeries to repair the same knee. We all know the outcome, as Gomez was having yet another miserable season until his mysterious injury, and Markov has spent more time travelling to Florida than he did on the ice.

Out came the news that Gauthier signed defenseman Josh Gorges to a six year contract, with a cap hit said to be of $3.9M per season. Kevin Epp, Gorges agent, was quoted saying: “Habs would not have had to pay that much if something had been done in the summer”. Which goes hand in hand with what Gorges was telling me on July 7th when denying the rumours that he was asking close to $4M per season. When Gauthier signed him to a one year contract, it raised some serious questions about the risk taken by Habs’ management at the time.

Now what is Gauthier to do? Is he the one still making the decisions or is Bob Gainey back in the décor? Perhaps Geoff Molson is taking a more hands-on approach as he does have 600 million reasons to do so, seeing how bad his team is doing?

Unless there is some sort of clause in Markov’s contract allowing them to void it due to his health status, the Canadiens are stuck with it and that, no matter at what level Markov plays when he comes back, if he comes back at all.

As for Gomez, his actual salary is $7.5M this season, but going down to $5.5M next season and $4.5M in the final year of his contract. Buying him out at the end of the season would mean taking a hit on the cap of $3.5M in 2012-13, $4.5M in 2013-14, and $1.7M for 2014-15 and 2015-16. That is huge in a cap world. Trade? Who in their right mind would take a chance on him, even teams needing to reach the floor would have better and more productive options. Sending him to the AHL? While it’s a possibility, it’s a lot of money for Mr. Molson to pay for a guy in the minors.

My guess is that he’s likely hoping that the new CBA brings a clause for a one-time waver of a contract, making that player a UFA. Otherwise, I certainly wouldn’t want to be in the shoes of the decision makers, whether it’s Gauthier, a new GM or Mr. Molson himself!

En français: Maux de tête: Gomez et Markov

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J.D. is a Senior writer for All Habs as well as Associate-Editor for the French version Le Magazine All Habs, while one of three Administrators of the fan forum Les Fantômes du Forum. He has created the handle Habsterix as a fictional character for the sole purpose of the internet. It is based on the cartoon Asterix of Gaule and his magic potion is his passion for the Montreal Canadiens. How old is he? His close friends will tell you that he’s so old, his back goes out more than he does! He was born when Béliveau lifted the Cup and remembers the days when seeing the Habs winning was not a wish, it was an expectation. For him, writing is a hobby, not a profession. Having moved to beautiful British Columbia in 1992 from his home town of Sherbrooke, Quebec, he started writing mostly in French to keep up his grammar, until non-bilingual BC friends pushed him into starting his own English Blog. His wife will say that he can be stubborn, but she will be the first to recognise that he has great sense of humour. He is always happy to share with you readers his point of views on different topics, and while it is expected that people won’t always agree, respect of opinions and of others is his mission statement. || J.D. est Rédacteur-Adjoint sur Le Magazine All Habs et il est un Rédacteur Principal sur le site anglophone All Habs, tout en étant un des trois Administrateurs du forum de discussion Les Fantômes du Forum. Il a créé le pseudonyme Habstérix comme caractère fictif pour l’internet. Celui-ci est basé sur Astérix de Gaule et sa potion magique est sa passion pour les Canadiens de Montréal. Lorsqu’il est né, Jean Béliveau soulevait la Coupe Stanley et il se rappelle des jours où gagner n’était pas un espoir, mais une attente. Pour lui, écrire est un passe-temps, pas une profession. Ayant déménagé dans la superbe Colombie-Britannique en 1992 en provenance de sa ville natale de Sherbrooke, Québec, il a commencé à écrire en français pour garder sa grammaire, jusqu’à ce que ses amis anglophones ne réussissent à le convaincre d’avoir son blog en anglais. Son épouse vous dira qu’il est têtu, mais elle sera la première à reconnaître son grand sens de l’humour. Il est toujours fier de partager avec vous, lecteurs et lectrices, ses points de vue sur différents sujets, et quoi que les gens ne s’entendent pas toujours sur ceux-ci, le respect des opinions et des autres est son énoncé de mission.


  1. […] ALL HABS: The current contracts of Scott Gomez and Andrei Markov present a potential salary cap headache for Canadiens management next season. I’m guessing Gomez gets bought out if there’s a one-time-only, penalty-free buyout period in the next CBA, or demoted to the minors to clear his cap hit, provided that’s still allowed in the next CBA. […]

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