NHL Rumors: Canadiens, Kings, Senators, Flames, Canucks

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Montreal Canadiens will be making some organizational changes after learning that Scott Mellanby has resigned from his position as Assistant GM. Meanwhile, there’s a potentially serious situation coming out of the Ottawa Senators versus Los Angeles Kings game where Brady Tkachuk is claiming Brendan Lemieux bit him during a scrum. Is Matthew Tkachuk ready to commit long-term to the Calgary Flames? Finally, are the Vancouver Canucks finally ready to pull the trigger on a change and is it the head coach that goes first?

Mellanby Resigns, Gorton In Running For Canadiens Job

There are big changes coming to the Canadiens management team as the organization announced that Scott Mellanby resigned from his role as assistant general manager Saturday. Pierre LeBrun reports:

“Mellanby had extensive talks with Habs owner Geoff Molson at first about becoming GM, then that changed to perhaps becoming president of hockey operations. But he was told yesterday he was out of the running. So he resigned today.”

Elliotte Friedman adds, hearing Montreal has permission to talk to former New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton. Friedman doesn’t believe this is for the GM position, but another role. Darren Dreger reports Geoff Molson is running point on this and it’s believed, Gorton is targeted for a very substantial hockey operations position.

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Louis Jean of TVA Sports notes, “Sources say Marc Bergevin was hurt by the news/rumours on Gorton & Mellanby. He had previously recommended Mellanby to replace him but was kept in the dark on any ongoing talks/négociations.” Jean adds, “Bergevin was made aware of the rumours through the media. He remains the GM as we speak.” Don’t expect Bergevin to remain the general manager for long, however.

Friedman added:

It’s widely believed Bergevin, the Montreal native who’s in his 10th year as Canadiens GM, will be replaced by someone who can speak French. Our sources have indicated that’s a prerequisite Molson set before hiring Bergevin and one he doesn’t wish to move away from.

Jeff Marek adds that no one from the Canadiens have called Patrick Roy or his camp.

Tkachuk Claims Lemieux Bit Him

Senators captain Brady Tkachuk claimed that he was bitten, not once, but twice by Brendan Lemieux during Saturday’s contest against the Los Angeles Kings. During his postgame media avail, Tkachuk said, among other things, “The guy’s just a joke. He shouldn’t be in the league. This guy’s gutless.” He added, “I don’t even know what he was thinking, he’s just a complete brick head.”

Lemieux was given a 5-minute match penalty and ejected from the game. There’s talk the league will look at this and if it’s determined he did, in fact, bite Tkachuk, he could serve a lengthy suspension.

Related: Kings News & Rumors: Doughty’s Return, Athanasiou, & More

Matthew Tkachuk caught wind of his brother’s comments while he was being interviewed on After Hours following the Flames loss to the Winnipeg Jets and said they’ll be plenty of people around the NHL looking to get even with Lemieux after pulling a stunt like that.

Matthew Tkachuk’s Contract Talk in Calgary

Matthew Tkachuk also was asked about his contract situation with the Flames and if he was likely to sign a long-term extension. He said, “Well, I absolutely love it here. It’s been — it’s home for me, my second home since I’ve been, for the last, what, six, I don’t know, I don’t even know what year it is now, but I’ve been here forever and have basically grown up here.”

Matthew Tkachuk Calgary Flames
Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

As for whether or not he’s talked to the Flames about a new deal, he responded:

First, I haven’t been actually asked about that contract, we haven’t talked about it at all, I think my contract year a couple of seasons ago, we didn’t talk and decided not to talk until after the season because, to me, I just want to focus on the team and we’ve got something good going right now and I don’t want anything to get in the way of that. I just want to play and we can deal with that stuff at the end of the season.

No Timeline On Canucks Decison

Friedman reports there will be changes but there is no set timeline for the Canucks to make a decision on their head coach. Per his report, they considered Claude Julien as bench boss but decided against it. Friedman adds they also considered Scott Walker, but decided against that as well.

Travis Green Vancouver Canucks bench
Head coach Travis Green of the Vancouver Canucks celebrates his teams win on an OT goal by Christopher Tanev in the Western Conference Qualification Round, Aug. 07, 2020 (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

No long-term decision will be made until they have the right person but Thomas Drance of The Athletic writes, “It’s now an open secret that the Vancouver Canucks are in an active search for head coach Travis Green’s replacement.”

Drance adds:

There’s a view, one Benning himself holds, that the club needs to be woken up. Needs to get back to working hard, even though the club’s effort hasn’t seemed to be at issue most nights. Changing the general manager in-season doesn’t really impact the day-to-day lives of the players or the travelling party, the thinking goes. Changing the head coach, however, might. Fair enough.

source: ‘Drance: Canucks leadership vacuum isn’t patience or due diligence. It’s just unfair to fans and all involved’ – Thomas Drance – The Athletic –

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