On Tuesday afternoon, I sent an email and a text to the agent of Matt Duchene. His name is Pat Brisson, and he works out of Beverly Hills, Calif.
"If there is no trade of (Duchene) by the start of camp, is it his intention to report to camp on time?" was the question I asked for BSN Denver.
At 1:12 a.m., probably an hour after I'd gone to sleep, an email came back.
"I don't have much to say at this point," was Brisson's reply.
In the old days, when I was up three-quarters of the night and half out of my mind on a sleeping pill addiction, I'd have relayed this information sooner.
But here's what time it really is: It sure seems like there's a chance Matt Duchene might not report to Avalanche training camp on Sept. 14th, the deadline for veterans to do so.
Now, before this all goes thermonuclear, let's take a breath. We still haven't heard from Duchene yet. He, as Brisson told TSN's Frank Seravalli, is back home in Ontario still. Brisson, by the way, gave the same non-answer to Seravalli's specific question I posed to him (great hockey minds thinking alike and all).
I followed up Brisson's answer to me with another email, asking if he wanted to clarify what he told me, because obviously it could be interpreted different ways and, well, we want to get things right around here. No reply as of five hours since I sent it.
So, this is the situation: The Avs might well have an ugly holdout on their hands soon. I'm trying to think if any player in Avs history has ever withheld services while still having a contract, and I can't think of any. Make no mistake, if this happens, it's going to dominate every aspect of the Avs' world and much of the hockey world at large. It would be an unrelenting distraction until resolved. Players and coaches and management, especially management, can try and dance around the subject all they want - "We're just focused on who's in this room, that's it" - but it would be the 8000-pound white elephant in the room, at all times.
The Avs have no comment on any of this - yet.
Sure, there's a chance Duchene might come out and say, "Hey, of course I'm going to report. I'm under contract and that's that."
But Pat Brisson is no dummy. He's also the agent to players such as Sidney Crosby and John Tavares. He knows perfectly well what he put out there with his nonanswer to a very specific question. He represents Duchene, in all matters of business.
If Joe Sakic finds the right deal by the 14th, then this distraction all goes away.