So, Darren Dreger said on TSN last night that the Canadiens were one of the teams making a serious offer for Ilya Kovalchuk as bidding came down to the wire. Gainey was right in there with Uncle Lou in New Jersey, he reported. Dreger has a lot of sources around the league, and he's not generally a rumour monger for the sake of creating rumours. So I'll go with the theory that he knows what he's talking about and Gainey was actually close to acquring Kovy II. Does this scare the crap out of anyone else, or is it just me?
Honestly, what does Bob Gainey see on the ice that we don't? It's obviously something better than most of us perceive, because if one out of ten Habs fans think this team should be deadline buyers this year, I'd be amazed. The idea of a team that barely dragged itself into eighth last year, and will be lucky to do it again this year, is looking to buy an expensive rental is absolutely unfathomable.
I can't imagine who Gainey would have been able to trade for Kovalchuk, considering the Habs' cap restraints and general shortage of valuable players with whom they can afford to part. Unless he was close to dumping the Gomez contract in Atlanta, it doesn't even make sense. The Habs should be either standing pat right now, or trading for picks and prospects because the team, as it exists at the moment, is not a contender. It's not even close to being a contender, and adding an expensive rental like Kovalchuk would not miraculously heal the multitude of ills keeping the Canadiens from consistency. Kovalchuk might help with even-strength scoring, but he wouldn't improve the often-porous defence or make the support players be tougher to play against. Those are the simple fixes Gainey must consider right now. Buying another big name for big money is something teams do when they're pretty sure they can win the Cup and are willing to trade the future for victory right now.
The Habs are not that team. Admitting that, after so many years of frustration, is difficult enough. If Bob Gainey can't see that, and thinks going all-in is a good idea, I really fear for the future as well.