Koules Getting Chilled & Murray Getting Billed?

It was a done deal.  In fact, it was done months ago.  That was what I said, and that is what is basically coming out.  Well, here’s the latest.  If Vinnie stays, Koules, and possibly (likely) Lawton go, with Barrie taking control if the club.

Gainey will try one more time to land Vinnie prior to his NMC kicking in tomorrow, but the word is TBL is a complete basket case at the moment, and he’d have an easier time convincing Murray to trade Heater for Koivu, then getting the TBL stooges together in a room.

While I was writing this blog, Gomez was traded to MTL, obviously Gainey had enough of the clown show, and made a move now.

The fact is, TBL cannot compete with VL signed to that contract, they simply do not have the money.

Koules will be bought out, Lawton will quit, and Barrie, within 3 yrs, will sell the team back to the NHL.  Apparently Bettman pushed hard for TBL to keep Vinnie, and well, he’ll get to put everyone else’s money where his mouth was soon enough.

Mark my words.

The scuttlebutt on Heater remains that several teams have been in some form of contact with Murray, and the club expects a last minute push prior to his advance of 4M coming due, but nobody seems prepared to raise expectations of a deal anytime soon.  However, I cannot emphasize enough how tight lipped this has become, from all sides, whatever that means.

I had previously indicated the advance was to be paid at midnight tonight, but according to the NHL, it is in fact due at 12:00 noon July 1st, the official beginning of the 2009/10 season.  This means any last minute deal must be into the NHL before that time in order for the Sens to dodge picking up 1/2 of Heatleys 2009/10 tab.

I honestly have no insight whatsoever as to the status of this situation apart from what I have just passed along.  To my way of thinking, it remains a situation whereby a team either assumes his contract for virtually no money back, just picks or prospects, or a team blinks at the last minute, figuring better to have a bird in the hand going into FA, then 2 (3?) in the bush.

If  I had to guess, I’d look to see one of EDM, NYR*, or LAK’s jump at the last minute…assuming Murray doesn’t cave in first which, according to recent “expectation” control statements coming from Sens management, might be the case.  But, I doubt it.  To me, he has enough time left to keep the bluff going, if that is what he’s doing, and really doesn’t have to give in until the start of the training camp.  He’d be better off seeing what comes of FA, and choosing his needs from there, than taking a bad deal now, or worse, taking back assets that prove to be less strategic in the light of any future FA acquisitions that may occur.  No doubt this goes a ways in explaining his cool approach vis a vis dealing with Comrie.  Why buy the cow, when you may soon get the milk for free, right?

*With Gomez  (7.357M/5yr) off the books, is NY setting up to make a move for Heater (7.5M/5yr.)…?  I haven’t heard anything yet, but the raw optics of it sure make it a major possibility.  Higgins (qualified RFA, arb. el.), a natural centreman who can also play the wing, might free up Callahan (RW, qualified RFA, arb el.) or Dubinsky (C, qualified RFA, non arb el.).  Even if this isn’t the case, no doubt it will put the fire under those teams kicking tires on Heater, who may think Slats is closing in on another move.  Higgins does not replace Gomez, and even with Gomez, NYR we’re in desperate need of offense.  Me thinks a shoe just dropped!

The wild card remains Big Mel.  If he has instructed Murray to avoid that bill, at all costs, something will happen, and make no mistake, this one is above Murray’s pay grade, this is a call for Big Mel to make.

Lastly, due to a client making a last minute demand, I was unable to attend todays DC.  If anyone out there did, please feel free to provide an update on what you saw, professional scouting reports not necessary.



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