Gainey blasts Lawton

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

BROSSARD, Que. -- Montreal Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey ripped into Tampa Bay GM Brian Lawton yesterday, accusing him of breaking a pact the two men had in place during trade discussions involving Vincent Lecavalier three months ago.

Describing Lawton's actions as "disgraceful," Gainey slammed the Lightning organization for its lack of ethics in the entire affair.

"We had discussions with Tampa Bay," Gainey said during his state-of-the-union address at the team's practice facility on Montreal's south shore. "We had an agreement with them.

"I got a call in January from them with a list of names that they wanted to talk about and those players ended up in public because they used those names to take them to other teams to see if they could create a different trade for Vincent Lecavalier.

"I think it was disgraceful that Josh Gorges, Tomas Plekanec and Christopher Higgins had to read that stuff."

According to the agreement Gainey was referring to, those names were supposed to remain confidential. Obviously that is not the way things played out.

Informed of Gainey's accusations last night, Lawton called the allegations "preposterous."

"(It is) absolutely false," Lawton told the St. Petersburg Times. "The NHL is a very tight community. There are only 28 other GMs and I can assure you there's not one who will confirm it because it has never happened. It's preposterous and it is simply not true."

Gainey's accusations came during the Habs post-mortem yesterday, less than 24 hours after his team had been embarrassingly eliminated in four consecutive games by the rival Boston Bruins. In the wake of that stinging result, many have been calling for Gainey's head on a platter.

While it appears most likely that Gainey will give up his coaching responsibilities, he didn't sound as if he's willing to step aside completely.

"I'm sitting here today with the idea that I have work to do," Gainey said.


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