General manager Marc Bergevin cited his players’ poor attitude for the Montreal Canadiens’ struggles last season, but one team legend and former Habs GM thinks it might be bigger than that when it comes to how the front office is dealing with captain Max Pacioretty.
"Max Pacioretty is a fine gentleman – he’s a great human being with a nice family," Serge Savard told TSN Radio 690 on Tuesday. When you have problems, it's like a family – you have three or four kids – you have a problem, you solve the problem. It's not only the players’ attitude, it’s the management’s attitude and you’re responsible to solve those problems."
Pacioretty has been the subject of trade speculation since early last season and his agent Allan Walsh denied a report last week that the Canadiens captain requested a trade out of Montreal.
“I would tell you this and I’m going to say it directly and I hope everybody hears me and understands this,” Walsh told TSN Radio 690. “Max Pacioretty has never, never ever requested a trade out of Montreal, period.”
Walsh added that two long-standing and reputable journalists in Quebec told him that the team was shopping a story that Pacioretty asked to be dealt.
“I don't know where that news comes from,” Savard told TSN Radio 690. “It's sad if it came from the organization and when you're up to leaking news like that instead of trying to solve your problem with your player and having one of the top scorers in the league on your team.
“It's not a healthy situation - you're fighting with your captain and you're starting training camp next week. You're talking about attitude. How can you have a good attitude on your team? It's sad.”
Pacioretty held his charity golf tournament near Montreal last week with Bergevin and team owner Geoff Molson in attendance. Pacioretty confirmed that there have been no talks with the team on a new contract, while Bergevin told reporters he was not going to comment on the team's relationship with its captain and the expectation was that he would be at training camp.
That prompted more media speculation about Pacioretty’s status with the Canadiens as players report next week, something Savard could relate to from his front office days.
“I'm sure [Marc] Bergevin and Geoff Molson doesn't like that situation that they're in," Savard told TSN Radio 690. "I was put into a situation like that once – the year we had the training camp in Moscow  and Claude Lemieux decided to sit out.
“We were leaving for Moscow and we were under a lot of pressure to trade him and I made one of the worst trades of my life. I had to rush and trade, but this is a completely different situation. You have to make a trade and the player has to agree to a contract before you make the trade.”