Such strange timing, even if one accepts Gainey's reasoning: a GM needs to be focused on the long term, and he doesn't see himself here for much longer. But if that's so, why not step down at the end of last season, when huge decisions had to be made about the future of the team?
To recap, half the team went UFA. He attempted to keep two: Kovalev and Komisarek. Both fortunately fled elsewhere for similar money, allowing Gainey to pick up better replacements: Gionta and Spacek. (Gainey seriously lucked out here). And then he let everyone else go, including replacing their long time captain with a similarly skilled centerman -- only to pay him twice as much. Or as Pierre LeBrun sums it up: "Mercy. The wrong center is making money in Montreal"
But Gainey now says he wants to let someone with a more long term commitment take over so that they can put their mark on the club? Sorry, bub, but you already did that -- and not very well either, given the Habs' tenuous hold on a playoff spot.
And that's actually worse than being a confirmed loser like the Leafs or Canes. At least they know they are sellers and have started rebuilding. The Habs have no idea what they will be before the March 3 trade deadline.
So now it will be Gauthier's problem to squeeze Tomas Plekanec under the cap. And so long as the Habs keep sniffing around a playoff spot, Gauthier will be forced to hold onto to Gomez, Gill, Halak and any other rumored departures. But he also can't sell off the future (including Price) for a short term rental, because even if they do get in, they're not going far.