Martin Leclerc, in Wednesday's Journal de Montreal, says that the press gallery was one crowded broom closet for the Flames game two nights ago. No less than 14 teams were represented by scouts for the game, which Leclerc notes, coincided with the return of Sergei Kostitsyn to the lineup.
Leclerc does not point out that it was also one of Jaroslav Halak's rare starts. I think there is nothing to the coinicdental return of Sergei, but me thinks that because Halak gets a second start in goal tonight against Tampa speaks that he might be being dangled as well. I'm sure the Journal will be doing another head count for this one.
Scouts from teams getting the bird's eye view consisted of representatives from the Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota Wild, Ottawa Senators, Phoenix Coyotes, Detroit Red Wings, Nashville Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Penguins, St Louis Blues, Florida Panthers, Tornot Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals and Vancouver Canucks.
Perhaps the large number of scouts attests to the idea that Gainey is up to clearing cap room with Mats Sundin in mind, or maybe it is just a result of Matt D'Agostini making another player expendable. Time may or may not tell, and the injuries suffered in Tuesday game by Chris Higgins and Mathieu Dandenault may have caused a change of course.
The Journal noted a strong Florida presence, which included GM Jacques Martin and two of his birdogs. Could it be that Martin and Gainey are discussing Jay Bowmeester? A deal between these two, especially if it retruns a package to Florida, would make great sense for both clubs. Martin must surely have enjoyed the change of weather!
Rumours will evidentally swirl from this. It is simply too much smoke for there to not be a fire inside the mounting number of scouts at each game. It has been noted of late, that there are usually three to five team spies nightly at the Bell, up from the normal one or two.
The number, and variety of different teams represented makes it quite a guessing game. The speculation could run absolutely rampant. Several of these teams are not in need of goaltending help, and a pair - Columbus, Toronto and Washington at present - seem to hold few cards for the Canadiens.
The Maple Leafs did have a pre - season interest in Robert Lang, who before he scored twice and added an assist, might have been the most logical piece moved to make space for Sundin. Guillaume Latendresse's former center in junior, Derek Brassard, plays for the Blue jackets.
Truly, a list of potential deals could lead opinions all over the place. For certain, something more than a few Molson's are brewing at the Bell!