Welcome back to the Monday edition of Links, New, and Notes. It’s been a busy few days in the hockey world, so let’s get right to it:
- As you are all likely aware, the Ottawa Senators put Matt Murray on waivers on Saturday. On Sunday, Murray cleared waivers and has seemingly reported to Belleville where he will join the AHL squad. The plan, as it stands, is to have Murray start games in the hope of regaining his form and confidence. DJ Smith clearly believed he wasn’t able to provide the goaltending that the team needed, so Murray will likely have to string together a series of strong performance before he’s recalled. I wouldn’t expect this to be a short stay.
- Something that’s been notably absent throughout the Murray ordeal is any communication from the management group. Normally when a change of this magnitude goes down, you’d expect to see the GM (or maybe the Senior VP of Player Development) get in front of the media and talk things through. Instead, it’s been up to Smith alone to handle the pressing questions. Ian Mendes digs into that dynamic in this piece over at the Athletic.
- Ottawa’s not the only Canadian NHL franchises going through turbulent times: on the weekend it was reported that the Habs had initiated a search to replace lame duck GM Marc Bergevin. On Saturday night, Scott Mellanby abruptly resigned and it was later revealed that he had been informed he would not be Bergevin’s successor. On Sunday, Marc Bergevin, AGM Trevor Timmins, and EVP of communications Paul Wilson were all relieved of their duties. Today, Jeff Gorton was announced as the President of Hockey Operations — which you’ll note is different from the GM title that Bergevin held. This also allows Montreal to continue, on a technicality, to maintain their own rule of having the GM be bilingual. Follow all of that?
- Over at ESPN, Greg Wyshynski has a rundown of who might qualify as a candidate for said bilingual GM job opening.
- Speaking of Canadian teams going through turmoil, you could say things have gotten more than a bit choppy in Vancouver. Head Coach Travis Green and GM Jim Benning appear to be on the way out but the ownership group seem incapable of delivering the coup de grace. Not great, Bob!
- In other franchise-altering news, the sales of the Pittsburgh Penguins to Fenway Sports Group was finalized today. Mario Lemieux will retain an ownership stake. Who knows, maybe a franchise sale could set a benchmark for a certain owner of a certain small market team who might want to cash out while he’s still ahead? Hmmm?
- Noted loser Brendan Lemieux will have an in-person hearing to determine his discipline for biting Brady Tkachuk on Saturday.
- In New York, the reeling Isles had two of their games postponed on Saturday in order to give the team a chance to get a handle on its COVID outbreak.