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Montreal Canadiens general manager and coach Bob Gainey (Ryan Remiorz/CP File Photo)
Montreal Canadiens general manager and coach Bob Gainey (Ryan Remiorz/CP File Photo)

Habs' rumours du jour Add to ...

T'was ever thus; in the absence of facts, rumours have taken over in Hab-land.

Among the juiciest: Alexei Kovalev has been offered a $6-to-7 million (U.S.) one-year deal and the captaincy, reports a Russian website, current captain Saku Koivu has been told he won't be offered a contract, reports another (never mind that yet another rumour has him turning down a proposed deal) and the passel of impending free agents from Mike Komisarek to Alex Tanguay are fretting over the radio silence from the seventh floor of the Bell Centre.

So here are a few things we know to be true.

Sources report that Habs GM Bob Gainey has had meetings with at least one potential ownership group - he is believed to have talked to all the parties kicking tires on the team - as the process to consider bids for the team grinds slowly forward.

And despite equivocations from the current ownership, Gainey believes the sale is on.

"It's my understanding there will be a new owner," he told La Presse in a wide-ranging interview where he referred to current majority owner George Gillett in the past tense.

Despite the considerable state of flux in the Montreal Canadiens front office, it's more or less business as usual these days for Gainey.

Though he acknowledged to La Presse that he could well find himself out of a job following an eventual ownership change, Gainey is in Toronto running the rule over potential draft picks at this week's scouting combine.

Work has also started on identifying free agents - the rumour mill suggests the Habs may be in for the Sedin twins - and candidates for the vacant head coaching job.

And no, former Canadiens great Patrick Roy, who turned down an opportunity presented by the Colorado Avalanche this week, does not figure on the list, at least not according to our spies. Nor do former Avalanche head men Bob Hartley and Marc Crawford, who have both signaled their interest.

Gainey also consummated a pair of minor deals in the last 10 days, signing highly-touted draft pick P.K. Subban to a three-year, entry level contract, and inking a free agent deal with 23-year-old centre Mikael Johansson, who played last year for Farjestads BK of the Swedish Elite League.

Kovalev's agent has said publicly that his client has had no contact with the Habs and doesn't expect to until he returns from a sojourn in Russia next week.

Koivu's agent tells the Globe there's nothing new to report, not that he expects the speculation to die down.

"I don't really have anything to say, which I guess is only going to feed the rumours," Don Baizley said in an interview.

Komisarek's and Tanguay's representatives likewise report there are no new developments, neither seem overly fretful.

Said another agent who is expecting a contract offer from the Habs for one of his clients: "it's not unusual, Bob likes to keep a low profile, it's not really his style to talk until he has something to say. There's still lots of time for them to get everything done before July 1."

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