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Everything posted by BigTed3

  1. Nikita Kucherov reportedly out with a serious injury again and may require surgery with a long-term recuperation period. Sound oddly familiar? Guessing the injury is real, of course, but will the recovery be realistic or will Tampa miraculously have their players back right at the start of the playoffs yet again?
  2. With Hoffman expecting to play tomorrow, we're making some progress with the lines today. At practice, the Habs had Tofofli-Suzuki-Caufield Drouin-Dvorak-Anderson Hoffman-Brooks-Gallagher Lehkonen-Perreault-Armia Romanov-Petry Chiarot-Savard Kulak-Niku The good: - Hoffman back in gives us another much-needed weapon. - Glad they didn't touch the Dvorak line just to try to get another line going - Interesting to see Brooks at 3C, which is something I had suggested, albeit unclear if he will stay there or if he's only there because Evans took a therapy day. Would like to see Brooks stay between Hoffman and Gallagher and then Evans (who has played reasonably well so far this season) centering Lehkonen (whom he has chemistry with) and Armia. - Paquette out of the top 12 - Niku also back. The bad: - Perreault still in (for now). Hopefully Evans takes his spot. - Chiarot still partnered with Savard, perhaps the most egregious choice in the line-up and one that remains a constant despite other changes. Why not Kulak-Savard as 2nd pair and Chiarot-Niku as 3rd?
  3. The Habs will still go out and win games this year. They're not as bad as their results thus far, and there is hope that they'll improve as some injured players come back. What concerns me is this: the first three games have shown/proven what is wrong with the team. It's showing how poorly the defence was built and how easy they are to take advantage of. It's showing how dependent the Habs were on Price last playoffs to make the run they did. And it's showing that no one in the organization has any semblance of recognizing the problems with personnel utilization, especially on D. It also shows that despite some roster changes, the strategy and lack of preparation for the PP hasn't been altered a bit. So those are all giant red flags. What I've been looking for is to see whether the Habs are a better team than I thought they would be going in and whether they looked like they could re-produce what they did last playoffs. Keep in mind that this was a bad regular season team that barely snuck into the playoffs and a team that came one goal away from being eliminated in Game 5 of the first round. It was my view going into this season that this was a team most likely to finish around 18th to 20th overall and that the expected range for their finish would be 25th to 14th. They shouldn't be bad enough to finish as low as the Sabres, Red Wings, Sharks, etc. but I also don't see them competing with the Lightning, Bruins, Canes, etc. either. The Metro division is going to be deep this year and any of the Isles, Pens, Caps, Flyers, Rangers, and Canes are capable of finishing in the top 3 in that division. The Devils have made adds that could allow them to surprise too. So I think it's going to take a strong season to pass at least one of Tor, Bos, TB, and Fla and if we do that, we'd also have to stay ahead of a few teams in the Metro too. Maybe it takes 97-99 points to make the playoffs this year. So it's hard to know how we'll go about doing that if we come out of the first month in a huge point deficit.
  4. - PP still hasn't scored - PK has been bad too - Discipline has been weak to start the season - Defence is a tirefire, with only one top 3 D man and a pairing of two slow guys without puck skill - 1st line playing poorly - 4th line looks completely inadequate - 3rd line playing okay but has no finish - Back-up goalie isn't an NHLer Anything I miss?
  5. Well he was a better fit than Toffoli was the first two games. Suzuki and Caufield have looked awful no matter who's been next to them. I have confidence they'll get it together, but it's clear they need help. I don't think you can break up the Dvorak line given it's your one line playing well, but then you also can't move Caufield away from Suzuki because who else are you going to play him with? Evans? Paquette? The one thing I'd like to see them do is move Caufield to the left side, where he's been more dangerous.
  6. Yeah, we got worse, although some of that will be fixed with time as we get some injured players back and some of the new guys gel. As we've discussed before, Paquette, Perreault, Savard, and Montembeault all appear to be reaches based on language rather than skill. Savard and Chiarot was easily our worst pairing tonight, predictably, and they were schooled in possession. The 4th line was also horrid again, and that line needs to be broken up. Perreault shouldn't be in the line-up at this point and neither should Paquette (although neither should Belzile, who is the next guy likely to draw in despite having a bad training camp too). Wideman wasn't as bad as Savard and Chiarot, but he hasn't looked very dependable through 3 games. As for Dvorak, I think he'll be fine. He's a better offensive player than Danault and that will come. The issue I have with Dvorak is that he's already in his mid-20s and he's never been more than a 2nd-tier center. I think he's got a good floor and will likely score 20 goals for us, but his ceiling isn't all that high and I highly doubt he'll be a regular 30-goal scorer or 65-70-point producer. People can say what they want about Kotkaniemi, and he doesn't have the same experience as Dvorak, but the ceiling there was higher.
  7. They played reasonably well tonight but there are obvious flaws with this roster.
  8. I'll repeat myself on what I've said about the Drouin trade: I've said that in isolation it was defensible and that it wasn't an unfair trade to make for Bergevin. He got a young player with top-end potential who was better-established than the other high-end potential player he gave up. There was no way of knowing at the time which player would go on to have a bigger impact for the team they joined, and it was realistic to see Drouin as a potential 1C for the Habs, even if that didn't pan out. The Habs gave up a good player and got a good player in return. What I didn't like about the trade was that we had a glaring hole at LHD that had been created in that off-season, with players like Markov, Emelin, and Bealieu also on their way out. So when you put the trade in that context, it was not a good move to give up the one guy you had who could have helped the top end of the left side without having another deal/plan in place to fill that hole. As for the others, I maintain that it doesn't make any sense to draft/trade for a guy to be a top 6 player and then deal him because you call him a flop before ever giving him a real chance to fill that role. That goes for Galchenyuk, Hudon, Eller, Kotkaniemi, etc. It would be like going to a steak restaurant, ordering fish, and then saying the restaurant's steak sucks because you didn't enjoy their fish. The team obviously drafted Kotkaniemi to be a potential top 6 center, you don't choose him 3rd overall to be a bottom-line player. The guy wasn't Crosby out of the gate, but he showed progression over time, he was great in the post-season, and in limited stints where he got real offensive wingers, he played well. He remained behind Danault and Suzuki on the depth chart though, with Danault getting Gallagher and Tatar as wingers while JK largely got wingers like Byron, Armia, and Lehkonen. I'm just not sure what the team thought they would get playing him in that role that they would call him a flop by age 21. Conversely look at Max Pacioretty. When he came up as a 20 year-old, they asked him to play on a 3rd/4th checking line and he didn't produce. He had 11 points in 34 games and then 14 points in 52 games the next year, with only 6 goals over that time. And then he went back to the AHL, and he publicly complained about how he was being asked to play a role that didn't fit him. He spent some time in the AHL, and the next year, he got a call-up, but this time, he was placed in the top 6 next to Gomez and Gionta. And would you believe it, the guy scored 14 goals and 24 points in 37 games then went on to follow it up with 30+ goals in most of his seasons with the Habs. So should the Habs have given up on him after he couldn't score as a 3rd line player? Should they have recalled him again and stuck him on the 4th line and told him he would never get a promotion unless he scored 20+ goals in that role first? It's just dumb asset management. You draft a point-producing offensive player, play him in that role.
  9. The one guy on your list who really had success after he left was Eller. He's been a key cog for the Caps for the past few years and was one of their best and most important players in the Cup run in 2018. His production has actually gone up in the past couple of seasons, and he's really not getting paid big money. He still had two years left at 3.5M when we traded him, and he re-signed for exactly the same AAV. He's essentially getting paid the same thing as Armia, Byron, Chiarot, Savard, or Edmundson, and I'd take Eller over any of those players to be honest. If you're looking at cap hit, for example, you could have Eller and Romanov or Chiarot and Paquette for the same total price, and I think the former duo provides us with more bang for our buck. Let's also keep in mind that the Habs dealt Eller for a couple of picks and then used similar picks to acquire Shaw, although we got picks in a worse draft class and Timmins had said he would have used the two picks lost for Shaw on Sam Girard and Alex Debrincat (and he said that before either guy was a stud). As for the others, agreed that none of the ones you listed has come back to bite us yet, but also hard to know if we just really screwed up their development. For example, if Hudon had been given a shot in the top 6 instead of sporadic chances on the 4th line, maybe he develops more experience and maybe success breeds more confidence and better results. Hudon was our best player in the AHL for several years but never got a real chance here. So maybe he never amounts to anything anywhere, but if any one of us had a job where we did it well and never got promoted and were passed over for others and had our names run through the mud by our bosses, it's hard to imagine us having success either. I find it odd that people overlook this and just assume that a guy who was trodden on for 5-6 years here can just go elsewhere and act like they're a clean slate without any baggage or lost time. I could equally list a bunch of players who were never given much chance as a Hab and went on to have success elsewhere: Grabovski, Hainsey, Beauchemin, McDonagh, Robidas, Tucker, Sergachev, etc. It's not universal that every player we've dumped has sucked in other pastures.
  10. I said that when the contract was signed. It's certainly more than he's worth this year and more than you would want to pay. But if he was really penciled in to be your 2C and you actually gave him that chance to play with Drouin and Anderson the way Dvorak has, then there's a reasonable likelihood he puts up 50 points. If JK shows progression and proves he can play as a a 2C, you're probably looking to give him a long-term deal at 6M+ per season and all you've done is spent a bit more a year early. And if he flops, then you overpaid by 3-3.5M for one single season and you know that. There was no long-term commitment to paying him that money and you'd have had the option to sign him back for much less or trade him and recoup some value.
  11. Far from the point. I'm saying I find it disappointing that the team continually trades players with high-end potential before they know if that potential can be realized. They drafted Galchenyuk as a potential top-line center. In limited time in that role, he played well. And yet in a season where they were eliminated from contention early, they refused to play him as a top 6 center. Why not see if he can fill the role? Even if you don't like the guy off the ice and you wanted to trade him, why not try to bolster his value rather than letting him languish as a bottom 6 winger? Then they rinsed and repeated with Kotkaniemi. The guy was one of the stronger players for us in the playoffs two years in a row and couldn't stick in the line-up while Eric Staal did and while Danault got top-line wingers. The team here played him with Lehkonen, Byron, Armia, and so on and decided he didn't have what it took to be a top 6 center before he turned 21. Now look at how they handled Suzuki. They gave him a legit shot to be the 1C with a prolonged look in that role. They gave him wingers that can score. And they didn't bench him every time he screwed up or had a bad game, and they don't focus on the fact that he's the worst faceoff guy on the team. But somehow Kotkaniemi batting 49% at faceoffs is an issue while Suzuki at 44% isn't. The Finnish media claimed the Habs have an anti-Euro bias and hold European players to a higher standard than North American players, and it's easy to believe why they said that. Gomez, Desharnais, Danault... all guys who were given prolonged time as the team's 1C despite under-performing for long stretches. Eller, Galchenyuk, Kotkaniemi... all high 1st round picks with huge potential who were never given a real look in the top 6. Romanov and Norlinder criticized for needing to work on their games, with Romanov benched most of the playoffs last year. Yet Guhle praised for being mature, with much less of a story around the pre-season games where he made mistakes. Tatar mysteriously pushed aside despite being one of our best players the past few years. But welcome Mike Hoffman and his goal-scoring despite the fact he isn't a very committed defensive player and has had his share of off-ice controversy. Welcome Jonathan Drouin despite the fact he had a reputation of not being a team player and holding out on Tampa. Corey Perry and Eric Staal have no problem staying in the line-up but Lehkonen has to fight for his spot... Not to say this is universal, but I'd argue that Marc Bergevin (as many other hockey execs do) views North American players as guys who "play the right way" whereas it's harder for Europeans to project that image. Many are seen as being skilled but not tough enough or as taking nights off or so on. Not sure if that has something to do with it, but I do feel like it's a factor, and whether it's the only thing or not, I simply feel like they pulled the plug on AG and JK before giving them a chance to realize the potential they were drafted for.
  12. I'm not so concerned about Suzuki and Caufield, I think they're talented enough that they'll snap out of it. I'm not concerned about Petry, he'll easily be our best D man over the course of the season. I'm concerned about the D because the D is playing poorly for exactly the reasons most of us thought they would. Most of the Habs media has been scratching their heads and wondering why Chiarot and Savard are playing together and why MB didn't go after a top 4 puck-moving D man. These questions were being asked well before the season started and in truth, they've been asked about the construction of the D since Bergevin took over the team. Go back to Murray and Bouillon, Alzner and Schlemko, Drewiske and Benn, and now Chiarot, Edmundson, and Savard. Go back to moving up in the draft to pick Tinordi but passing on Sam Girard. This isn't a criticism of two games, it's a criticism of a philosophy over nearly a decade, and the two games are merely supporting that this is a problem. Don't get me wrong, I fully expect the Habs to have bad stretches and great stretches during the season. There are ups and downs every year, we're just usually a team that starts strong and fades, so it's a red flag that we're starting so poorly. But when I look at this roster construction, I don't think the likelihood of sustained success is very high with the D corps we have and with the lack of center depth we have. To address your other points, I was disappointed with AG and JK because the Habs never fully gave them a chance to realize their potential. I feel like they left something on the table not knowing how these players could have performed as a top 6 center. And as for the French-Quebecers, I'm all for finding homegrown talent, but as with hiring coaches, I don't want it forced upon us just to say we have French players and satisfy political pundits. Bergevin took a lot of heat for it last year and the team clearly made a concerted effort to reach on French players this year to try to assuage their critics. If Dougie Hamilton's last name was Houde and he spoke French, do you not believe MB would have made a bigger pitch for him? I'm not here to trash French players, I would love nothing better than to see them do well. I was a supporter of the Drouin trade in some ways and I think he's been one of our best players. I loved Desharnais when he first came up. I loved Mathieu Darche working his way onto the roster. Loved Vinnie Damphousse and Patrick Roy and Stephane Richer when they were here because those guys carried their weight. But there's a difference between choosing players because they're good and having them be French as a bonus and choosing players who aren't as good as others largely because you don't want to be caught out without French players. So again, it's a problem with the philosophy more than anything.
  13. I do. Not sure what that has to do with this, but I'm perfectly bilingual and proud to be able to speak both French and English.
  14. Likewise, up front, we substituted out Tatar, Danault, Kotkaniemi, and Perry and replaced them with Hoffman, Dvorak, and Paquette, and Perreault. The only upgrade there that I see is Dvorak in for Danault, and to make that happen, we gave up a 1st and a 2nd rounder. And while we're getting Caufield in for a full year, we've lost Weber and we've spotted Montembeault in for Price for a chunk of the year at least. Not seeing huge upgrades at any particular spot in the line-up.
  15. There was very little available on the UFA market, but there were certainly options that MB could have looked to have traded for. Several of the guys I would have targeted were actually dealt or were available in the expansion draft: - Jake Bean (for a 2nd rounder) - Conor Timmins (along with picks, for Darcy Kuemper) - Haydn Fleury (left exposed and claimed in ED) - Vince Dunn (left exposed and claimed in ED) Then you also had guys like Seth Jones, Adam Boqvist, Rasmus Ristolainen, Ryan Ellis, Nick Leddy, and Ethan Bear dealt. So there were names out there, and while I wouldn't necessarily have wanted all of these guys specifically, they definitely fit the hole in the Habs' lineup better than Savard. We could have also traded for or re-claimed Juulsen or Fleury and I think either might have been more interesting on the 3rd pairing than Wideman. Matt Dumba was another guy reportedly available over the past couple of years, and the Wild had been interested in both Domi and Poehling at times, according to rumors. I really like what Josh Anderson brings to the table, but if we had flipped Domi for Dumba, would we be better off now? I think so. We also still have a plethora of wingers while having poor depth at center and at D, so why continue to stack wingers on top of each other when you're not addressing real needs? Personally, I'd have been okay not having Anderson if it mean being able to ice a D corps like Bean-Petry Romanov-Dumba Edmundson-Timmins Kulak Not seeing a need for Savard, not seeing a need for Chiarot. Okay with keeping one of that pack but I'd opt for Edmundson over the other two right now and keep him on the 3rd pairing. I think we could have traded Chiarot for a 2nd or 3rd in the off-season after his playoff performance boosted his value and I think it would have cost the same to acquire Timmins, so let's say that offsets. If you told me I could swap out Chiarot, Anderson, and a 2nd to plug in Bean, Timmins, and Dumba instead, I'd have made those swaps in a heartbeat (not to mention we'd have saved money).
  16. Pretty obvious the lines as is are not working. I'd go to Caufield-Suzuki-Armia Drouin-Dvorak-Anderson Toffoli-Brooks-Gallagher Lehkonen-Evans-Paquette Chiarot-Petry Kulak-Savard Romanov-Wideman
  17. First time since 2000-01 that the Habs have started 0-2 apparently.
  18. Going into the off-season the Habs literally had Petry and nothing else on the right side. Down the left, they had Edmundson, Chiarot, Kulak, and Romanov. I don't know how you look at what's on the left and think the best complement for that group would be Savard. I also don't know how you look at that group and see any top 3 D men other than Petry. And so seeing that, it seems obvious to me that there was a need for two top 3 D men and a need for D men who can be strong possession players and move the puck well. On top of that, you've had a brutal PP for years, so it would have been nice to find someone who can help there too. Savard addresses none of those things, but he was given a 4 year-deal to match the contracts given to Edmundson and Chiarot, two guys who already fill the same role essentially. It's very clear that Savard can't be paired with Chiarot and can't be paired with Edmundson. So when you sign him and keep those other two, you've essentially painted yourself into the corner whereby you have 3 shifts of D men and each one features one of these slower poor puck movers. I just don't think this D corps was very well thought-out. MB just loves D men who play the game that way and adds them on top of each other over and over. He hasn't learned anything in that regard in almost a decade of being our GM. This is why he should have been more willing to overpay Dougie Hamilton or should have gone after Matt Dumba or Zach Werenski when he had the chance.
  19. It's only 4 periods into the season, but when you look at the roster MB has built, other than the worrisomely slow D corps, the other thing that stands out is how poorly the French-Quebecer additions have played. Last year, we had Drouin and we had Danault, and both those guys clearly belonged here and were key members of the team. But after that one game where we had no French players and Bergevin got raked by the Francophone media, he clearly went out of his way to add French players this year. Thus far, Paquette looks invisible, Perreault looks like he doesn't belong in the NHL any longer, Savard looks slow and overrated, and Montembeault looks like an AHL player. Would three of these players be on another roster in the league and would Savard be worth this same contract elsewhere? It really looks like MB forced these moves for political reasons rather than as hockey decisions, just as he has with his coaching choices in the past. And here we're seeing the effect of trying to pansy to language critics ahead of the on-ice product.
  20. Buffalo with no Eichel after getting Toronto with no Matthews. Playing other teams without their best centers is how we had playoff success last year... it's our MO! Let's make it work.
  21. He wasn't an asset, but he also wasn't as bad as I've seen him play in the past. I thought Savard was actually worse. But frankly, the only D pairing that worked was Kulak-Petry. What are the options? Splitting up Chiarot and Savard to start. Do you leave Wideman in or do you hope Niku or Norlinder are ready soon and give them a shot?
  22. Well not a very impressive start to the year, but the problems we saw (bad discipline, poor puck movement from the bottom 4 defencemen, a useless 4th line, an ineffective PP) were all things we've seen before and/or predictable. Guys I thought played well: Anderson, Petry, Kulak, Allen, Armia, Drouin Guys who were bad: Wideman, Romanov, Savard, Perreault, Paquette, Suzuki, Caufield, Toffoli
  23. We should go charge Tavares and get a PP from it.
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