Smoke On The Horizon?

Always an excuse to get a Cult reference out there.

You may have seen the percolations last night on Twitter, or maybe you saw CBC's Hotstove between periods of the Flyers-Devils game that started it all, or maybe you picked up on the slightly gathering steam this morning from some other national outlets. But the discord between the coaches and the front office that we've speculated about here is apparently very real. What the effects of it will be are another thing entirely.

For those who weren't clued in, apparently Joel Quenneville is a name that Marc Bergevin might, repeat: might, pursue to take the Montreal Canadiens coaching job. Also, and this is just speculation and rumor, if he asked for permission from the Hawks to speak to Q about it, they certainly aren't going to stand in the way.

Let's try and suss out what we know could be reality and what is still fantasy at this point. It is still very unlikely and a very long way off that Quenneville is packing up the bags and the "For Sale" sign is going up outside his house. There haven't really been any confirmed sources or reports or anything. It feels like a lot of people are just connecting some dots here, what with the well-known disagreements within the Hawks organization, Q's close relationship with Bergevin, Rick Dudley moving to Montreal, and the lack of supporters that are in the Hawks' front office. Do not get out your coaching list of candidates yet.

However, the fact that there are dots to be connected can't be ignored. According to Glen Healy on that Hotstove spot, the disconnect between Quenneville and Stan Bowman is well known throughout the hockey world. Because of that, people are making this leap.

Here's what I'm pretty sure of. Whatever the tussle between the two, rumors of strife and possible defection certainly do not fit into the McDonough Brand. For an organization that so desperately wants to be seen as the model franchise in the league, this kind of shit is not going to fly. I would expect, though we'll never hear about it, that McD is going to sort this out one way or another, and very soon. That could be sitting Q and Stan on the other side of his desk for a meeting with the principal and a strong talking-to. It could be that McD allows Q to go to Montreal, if indeed that ever comes up. Or it could be someone is straight-up fired. Something will go down, we may just never know what it is.

However, the scenario that does play out in my head is what if the Canadiens do wrap on the door? It feels like a similar situation to when the Hawks traded Brian Campbell. Even though he had a No Movement Clause, once you leak it out there that teams are asking for permission and he's the obstacle, it's pretty clear you're not wanted around any more. It become untenable. If the Hawks merely allow permission to Montreal, whether Q gets the job or not, it then becomes clear they're not completely sold on keeping him on as coach. How do you go back behind the bench when you've flirted with another team? Wouldn't the players and fans know you're not exactly 100% committed after you were making eyes at another?

Our feelings are pretty much scripture at this point to any regular reader. McClure and I would happily pack Q's bags for him and drive him to the airport. The past two years, while there have been some mistakes from Bowman (some with his financial hands tied, others just plain gaffes), the roster has been borderline criminally mismanaged. You know the laundry list by now, no need to go over it again. Furthermore, it would be a much more streamlined operation on West Madison if you have a GM who was hired by the owner who then hired his own coach. Nice stepladder there. The Hawks haven't had that in years.

It's becoming obvious that Stan Bowman would like to see that put in operation very much. Whether he gets to or not is another matter.

-While I'm here, I'd like to address a couple things from Al Cimiglia's article on Friday. Al always does fine work, and when he says these things might be going down, they probably are.

The first is that Dave Bolland might be available for others. While my first reaction was to rant and rave at one of my favorites being shipped out of town, and another jersey ruined, I came to the realization that Bolland isn't Keith, Seabrook, Toews, Kane, or even Sharp. Outside of those, no one should be untouchable.

However, trading Bolland to get you a #2 center is just shifting a hole from one area to another. Marcus Kruger does not have the size or snarl to be a full-time checking center, and he's even worse at faceoffs than Bolland. Secondly, it removes your most consistent playoff performer from the roster, and that's what he is. While everyone else has gone missing at some point the past two seasons, Bolland hasn't. And things in the playoffs are about depth, and Bolland gives you that.

That doesn't mean he can't be dealt. If you get a haul, of course you should listen. But doing it merely to fill one hole while providing another? That's running in place.

-Al wasn't the only one to hint that the Hawks may make a serious run at Ryan Suter. I'll admit to a wry smile at the thought that last summer, $7.1M was too much to pay for a second-pairing d-man, but this summer $7.5M or above won't be. Obviously, Suter is a superior player to Campbell. But it would be admitting a mistake from Bowman, something we haven't seen a lot of in these parts.

I hope it's true, I think, depending on the parameters of the new CBA and hoping the deal isn't crazy in length. But even if the Hawks make a run, they're not an automatic destination, and they probably won't have the cash some others will to throw around. We know Minnesota wants to bring him home, and will probably just put a blank contract in front of him. Detroit will be sniffing as well.

Won't July 1 be fun?