Carey Price has been inconsistent so far in 2009-10. (Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)
Just more than a week after NHLPA-certified player agent Allan Walsh got his tweet off about Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price’s supposed win/loss record over his previous 42 NHL games, I am still searching for motive.
Even after Walsh ignited a firestorm among NHL media-types and quickly removed all evidence of his nonsensical tweet from his Twitter account, I am struggling to understand exactly what Walsh intended to accomplish with his missive.
Walsh is no small-time agent. In fact, he is quite the opposite. He is not a neophyte at the agent game nor is he an NHL rookie. He has more than a passing acquaintance with NHL coaches and GMs and until last weekend was as respected as any agent in the hockey business. All of which makes it extremely difficult for me to fathom his rationale for pulling such a stupid stunt.
Why post something on one of your social media outlets that has no chance whatsoever of advancing your client’s (Jaroslav Halak) cause? Why open up your client to derision and ridicule among fans and, possibly worse, among teammates and coaches in his own dressing room? Why subject your client to that kind of abuse unless you believed you were helping his situation?
Did Walsh think that by casting aspersions on Price he would somehow cause GM Bob Gainey and coach Jacques Martin to anoint his client as the go-to guy? Surely the answer must be “no!”
Walsh has been around too long and knows the mindsets of too many GMs and coaches to believe they could/would be swayed by the ruminations of fans on the Internet.
Yet, from a logical standpoint, what else could it be? Walsh had to believe by pointing out Price’s alleged record he would generate a goalie controversy with the voracious Montreal media and the Habs’ loyal fan base. Armed with Walsh’s information, and given that his own client has played well this season, both the English and French press would fan the flames of a goalie controversy.
Martin would be asked constantly whether a goalie controversy existed. Gainey would be questioned as to whether it was time to re-sign Halak long-term and trade Price, a la the jettisoning of Cristobal Huet in favor of Price in the spring of 2008. Moreover, Montreal fans would burn the talk-radio phone lines and singe the Internet blog commentary and chat rooms with pro-Halak and anti-Price rhetoric.
Trust me that no NHL GM or coach worth his paycheck makes decisions based on what the media and/or fans (or haters on talk radio and Internet chat rooms) think, write or say.
While that may sound cold and cruel, the fact is Bob Gainey and Jacques Martin could care less about Walsh’s statistics or the subsequent market-place turmoil he hoped to foment.
Martin will start the goalie he believes gives his team the best chance to win based on a host of factors and not simply stats over the past 42 regular season games. The same is true of Gainey. As a veteran player agent, Walsh had to know as much.
All of which brings us back to motive. Why did Walsh post his comment on Twitter, and if it was for the right reason, why did he rush so quickly to remove the comment once the tweet hit the fan? I imagine quite a few GMs were asking each other those very same questions in the hotel lounge last week in Toronto.
Once again, it is difficult to understand how Walsh’s tweet was anything other than a “half-(t)witted” idea.
Jay Feaster is a former GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning, where he took over in 2002 and helped build the team into a Stanley Cup champion in 2004. As he did last season, he will blog on THN.com throughout the 2009-10 campaign. Read his other entries HERE.
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