The Scene: Brian Lawton's office on a balmy December afternoon
Phone rings shrilly, interrupting Lawton's in-office putting practice
Lawton:(impatiently) Yeah? Lawton here.
Bob Gainey: Hello, Brian, it's Bob. Am I interrupting anything?
Lawton: Ah, no, no. This is a surprise, Bob. After last year's misunderstanding...
Gainey: Never mind all that. Listen, I've got a deal for you. You need to unload Lecavalier's contract, right? Well, I'm shopping. Our lineup could use a big, skilled, French centre. What's his asking price?
Lawton: Wow, Bob. You're asking me to trade our franchise guy, just after we signed him to a lifetime deal? That's a tall order.
Gainey: Give me a break, Lawton. You were ready to dump him last year. Now you have to worry about how you're going to sign Stamkos and Hedman long-term. What's Lecavalier's price?
Lawton: (sighs) Okay. Listen. If he goes, we're going to need a centre to replace him. And I have to make this look good to the fans, so I'll need a hot prospect, a couple high picks and a roster guy.
Gainey: I'll send you Gomez...
Lawton: No way! If I take that contract AND dump Vinnie, I'll be skewered. Give me Plekanec. I'll want a guy who works with him too. Kostitsyn, I think. Two firsts and Subban. There you go. That's what it'll cost.
Gainey: So, Plekanec, Kostitsyn, Subban and a couple of firsts for Lecavalier?
Lawton: Yeah. I know it's steep, but...
Gainey:(hastily) No, no! I'm faxing the papers over now. Let's get this done by Christmas. The fans will be so excited!
Lawton: Well Bob, in good conscience...and because you'll find out anyway...I have to tell you Vinnie's got some health issues. And his numbers are...well, his numbers could help you teach kids how to subtract.
Gainey: I don't care, Brian. I need that guy. He's gonna save our team.
The scene: Stan Bowman's office. Phone rings. Bowman is busy getting sized for a Cup ring, just in case. Machine kicks in.
Gainey: Hello, Stan? Stan? Are you there? Pick up, Stan. Oh, okay. You're probably at the jeweller's again. Listen, it's Bob Gainey. I know you're hurting with the cap situation right now, and our group could really use a guy like Sharpe. I'm ready to offer you Sergei Kostitsyn and Jaroslav Halak for him. I'll throw in a second too, if that's what it takes. Call me. Oh, and if you can't part with Sharpe, we'll take Seabrook instead. Say hi to your dad for me.
The Scene: Randy Sexton's office. Sexton reaches around hot ice girl on the desk and answers phone on the first ring.
Sexton: Hello, Sexton here. (panting)
Gainey: Randy, hi. It's Bob Gainey. Have I caught you in the middle of something?
Sexton: Middle of...oh, ah, no, no, not at all. (giggles nervously)
Gainey: Um, okay. Look, I heard Horton's available. I'm prepared to offer you guys Matt D'Agostini, Josh Gorges and a second for him.
Sexton: You're kidding right? Horton might not be putting up the hottest numbers ever, but he's a first-rounder. A budding power forward. Kid averages twenty-seven goals a season and he's only 24. I'm looking for a replacement centre with size, a good prospect and a first for him. If you're willing to part with Plekanec, Subban and a first, we can continue this conversation.
Gainey: Yeah, well...that's not possible. What's wrong with D'Agostini? He's got some size and really good wheels. He's a sniper too. He just needs an opportunity to play top-six minutes to really come into his own. And you won't find a steadier D than Gorges. He's not the biggest guy, but he's smart.
Sexton: Well, Bob, ah...honestly, if they're so great, why are you moving them?
Gainey: What are you trying to say, Randy? The fans told me these guys are worth Horton. Are you saying our fans don't have a clue? That they have a better chance of piloting the space shuttle than they do of making an intelligent NHL trade? I'm offended, I have to say. This conversation is over.
Sexton: Wait, Bob! Don't go away mad. You...
Gainey: Talk to the hand, Randy. Talk to the hand. My other line's ringing. Maybe it's Burkie. Now, there's a guy who knows the value of good young players. (hangs up)
Back in Gainey's office:
A knock on the door
Gainey: Who is it?
Pierre Boivin: It's me, PB.
Gainey: Oh, come on in, P.
Boivin walks slowly to a chair
Gainey: Gee, you don't look so good, Pierre. Anything the matter?
Boivin: There's no easy way to say this, Bob, so I'll just come out with it. Bob, the fans are letting you go. They say your drafting isn't up to par, you let Kovalev walk despite their petition to keep him, they hate the Gomez trade and they're still mad about Ribeiro. They also think you spend half your time asleep and the other half getting abused by Glen Sather. I'm so sorry, Bob.
Silence descends. After a few minutes:
Boivin: Bob, say something, please.
Gainey: So, who's taking my place?
Boivin: The fans have requested Pierre McGuire. I'm sorry.
Gainey:(breaking into hysterical laughter) Pierre...ha ha ha...McGuire?? Ha, ha, ha! You're kidding, right? I can't wait to see what happens when he falls out of love with his players. Thanks, Pierre. I can smile again. Now, I'll just get my stuff...