Yesterday the Montreal Gazette published a story by Jack Todd with bombshell of a story in it, but you wouldn't guess it from the title; A tale of three owners in Montreal. According to Todd, a high placed source has confirmed to him that his theory that Geoff Molson forced the P.K. Subban contract was correct.
There has been a lot of speculation over this being a possibility after Subban and Canadiens management went to arbitration with both sides looking angered after the meeting, but there has been no hint of confirmation until now. If true, this is possibly the biggest Canadiens story of the summer. An owner overruled his general manager to sign the face of the franchise long term instead of risking a one year deal that could irreparably harm the team's relationship with Subban. That's huge!
Is Bergevin upset with being overruled? Is his job in jeopardy? Is Molson a tampering owner that we should be worried about? Does he not trust his management team? There are so many questions that need to be asked an answered, but wait why on earth is this huge story sandwiched between two other stories?
Why didn't a story that big get its own article in the dog days of August? Why is it in the middle of two stories about teams that, on a relative scale, nobody cares about? This is extremely odd to my eye, it goes against everything your instincts tell you about writing. If you have that kind of a story, it should be front and center, the title should draw the eye, and it should be a big story.
Yet here we are a day later, almost no one is talking about it (probably because people skip articles about the Impact and Alouettes), and we're left to wonder what's going on?
Here are Eyes on the Prize, we've been harder on Marc Bergevin than every other media outlet. We ripped his work in the summer of 2013 (rightly) while others were defending it, we criticized the overspending on fourth line grinders like Brandon Prust and Travis Moen, and expressed distaste with the handling of Subban's contract negotiations. Yet here's the thing; this story makes no sense.
The Canadiens, according to many trusted sources like Chris Johnston, offered Subban an eight year deal before the arbitration hearing. The money involved in that deal was rumoured to be around $7M per season, although that's simply a rumour. Would the owner of the Canadiens really need to step in and overrule Marc Bergevin for $2M per season when the other option is a one year deal that likely would have destroyed any chance of a future for Subban in the Canadiens organization? Was Bergevin really that hardened by arbitration that he wasn't amenable to a long term deal anymore, yet Subban was?
We've been hard on Bergevin in the past because we expect excellence, but to believe this scenario you'd have to think that Bergevin takes everything far too personally, and was acting in an unprofessional manner, even though Todd is careful to say that Bergevin was "doing his job" and shouldn't be faulted.
So is Todd making it all up? That's a pretty heavy accusation. I don't think he fabricated a source, but going to print with just one source, even if it's highly placed, is usually frowned upon. That Todd hid this story in the middle of an article about two unrelated teams leads me to believe that he isn't 100% confident in this source either. Most likely, it's someone in the Canadiens organization giving their opinion of what they think happened, not what they know happened.
What a weird story.