In today’s NHL rumors rundown, Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson spoke with the media about the changes made to the management of the team. Meanwhile, the majority stake of the Pittsburgh Penguins has been officially sold to Fenway Sports. Jonathan Quick makes an odd comment while trying to defend Brendan Lemieux and the Ottawa Senators have four legitimate buy-out candidates. Finally, are the Carolina Hurricanes interested in trading for a pending UFA defenseman?
Geoff Molson Meets with Media
Owner and President of the Montreal Canadiens, Geoff Molson met with the media on Monday and said, “I strongly believe that this organization needs a fresh start.” He noted that it wouldn’t be so much at the player level because the team is better than their record indicates but in the management of this team where things have not gone as expected.
Molson confirmed the hiring of Jeff Gorton and said he is signed to a long-term deal. Saying that he appreciates the work Marc Bergevin did, he called the job too big for one person. He noted, “It’s a lot for one person. If I could go back a couple of years, and know what I know today, I would have complimented [Bergevin] with another person.”
While he believes the team is stronger than it has shown this season, Molson also confirmed that Gorton and the new GM will decide if a rebuild of the roster is necessary. He’ll be supportive of it if it made sense for the betterment of Montreal. Chris Johnston names Mathieu Darche as a candidate to replace Marc Bergevin as GM of the team. Darche is currently Director of Hockey Ops for the Lightning. Other names in the mix are Daniel Briere, Martin Madden Jr., Martin Brodeur, and Roberto Luongo.
Bergevin released a statement about his release and gave thanks to everyone that offered him an opportunity to run the Canadiens. He noted, “Even if I always said that the goal was to make the playoffs and that everything was possible once there, the real objective was always to bring the Cup to Montreal.”
Quick Slams Brady Tkachuk
Jonathan Quick has come to the defense of Brendan Lemieux who has an in-person hearing with the NHL DoPS on Tuesday for biting Brady Tkachuk of the Ottawa Senators. Quick said:
“I have my own opinion of what happened or did not happen last night, and what I can tell you is that any comments that were made about Pep were garbage. He’s a valuable player who sticks up for his teammates. We all support him and I’d rather have him on my team than that kid any day of the week.”
It feels odd to add that he’d not want a player like Brady Tkachuk on his team but the sense is he was trying to prove a point here in that Tkachuk has a reputation as well.
Senators Buy Out Candidates
According to Shawn Simpson of TSN, the Senators have four players who are legit buyout candidates after the season — Matt Murray, Colin White, Nikita Zaitsev, and Michael Del Zotto. They have a combined $18 million cap hit. Simpson notes that during a rebuild, you can’t have that much bad money on the books.
Matt Murray did clear waivers and we’ll see if the Senators look to trade the goaltender and retain part of his salary in the process.
Hurricanes Interested in John Klingberg
According to Jeff Marek, the Carolina Hurricanes are one of the teams interested in pending UFA defenseman John Klingberg. He notes:
“It’s a team that’s always looking for superstar players. This team was in the Jack Eichel sweepstakes when he was available from the Buffalo Sabres. The owner likes stars, the hockey operations department likes good players.”
This does not mean that Klingberg is going to be traded as the Dallas Stars have not ruled themselves out of playoff contention just yet.
Brad Marchand to Have Hearing with NHL DoPS
Boston’s Brad Marchand will have a hearing today for slew-footing Vancouver’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson. This is now the second incident in a matter of days Marchand has been involved in. First, he was accused of making inappropriate remarks to Artemi Panarin about Russia, now this.
The incident is getting a lot of attention because Marchand wasn’t penalized for the incident, and Ekman-Larsson stayed in the game, but the Bruins’ forward is getting a hearing. Meanwhile, P.K. Subban has repeatedly slew-footed opponents and only received fines. Marchand was fined $10,000 for slew-footing defenseman Niklas Kronwall in 2017.
Penguins Purchased by Fenway Sports
It was made official on Monday, Fenway Sports Group (FSG), a global sports, marketing, media, entertainment, and real estate company, has entered into an agreement to acquire controlling interest in the Pittsburgh Penguins. It is believed the price tag on the Penguins’ sale to Fenway Sports Group is around $900 million.
Fenway Sports Group, principally owned by John Henry, also owns portions of the Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing NASCAR team and they purchased the Boston Red Sox in 2001 and have owned Liverpool since 2010. In March, Fenway Sports Group confirmed an investment by RedBird Capital Partners that valued FSG at $7.35 billion.
Mario Lemieux will keep his ownership stake in the team and said, “This is an exciting day for the future of our franchise… This is a new beginning, not the end of an era.” Ron Burkle will also maintain his ownership stake. Fenway Sports Group also says it will keep the current senior management team in place, which means there won’t be major changes in terms of the way the team is run and the personnel behind key decisions.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”