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2012-13 State Of The Habs


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I disagree completely.

There's a huge difference between us and the playoffs last year. We're just not on the same level as Washington and Philadelphia. Even if we were, the point is not to lose in the second round, the point is to compete for the championship.

Also, we had "a bit of luck". It's not as though this was a team where everything went wrong. We had:

- A career season from Erik Cole.

- Desharnais exceeding all expectations.

- Progression from Alexei Emelin and Max Pacioretty above median expectations.

- Health and consistency from Carey Price, PK Subban, and Tomas Plekanec, our three most important players.

- The second best penalty kill in the 30-team NHL.

The 2011-2012 Canadiens are not a team that finished last because everything went wrong. That is revisionist history. The 2011-2012 Canadiens are a team that finished last in spite of several things going really well, because overall they were a genuinely weak team.

Sure, we had some things go right, but we also had:

- a terrible PP... one that started to get better after we added kabs and markov and saw Subban make big strides. That bodes well for next year.

- a lot of injuries. Not just a subjective loss of players but an objective loss of man-games, many to key guys

- notable issues in the room, be it the rumors of communication problems with the coach or the distraction of Cammalleri

- progression for some of our young guys, yes, but in the context of those guys having to play key roles. Subban was asked to improve by trial by fire because we lost markov and didn't replace him. Pacman continued what he had done the year before and he did what he did because he was given the opportunity to play. Ditto Desharnais. It's not like we had abnormally good years from guys we didn't expect it from, this was progression that we can continue to expect improvement on next year.

I'm not saying I think we'll compete for a Cup, just that I believe our ceiling (i.e. if everything goes right) is a mid-level playoff team, not a 10th place one. If everything goes wrong, we could also be a 15th-place team again, but I think there are definitely factors last year that point to significant room for improvement and reason to believe some of it could be better. We still have not addressed our two greatest needs: a 2nd line LW and a top 4 shutdown D man. Without those two steps, we won't go far. But it doesn't mean we can't find a way to be competitive.

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Badly, IMO. I'm not sure if Emelin is prepared to log the type of minutes that P.K. logs. It could be a disaster to have them together if Alexei is not ready for that role.

I agree with you, I don't think you can put Emelin higher than the second pairing (and I love the guy).

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It's not about whether he has a few good years left. I'm fairly sure he does. It's that he isn't the player he was pre-injury. His decision-making was subpar frequently last season, he had no speed, he couldn't pivot effectively, and he was extremely shy about engaging in any sort of battle along the boards. There was no sign that he could be anything other than a second-pairing d-man who sees big minutes on the power play. Laying back because we're gambling on him being better is really ill-advised IMO. If I'm right, we wasted yet another year on a d-man who isn't the player he once was. If I'm wrong, what is wrong with strengthening our blue line further? It's not like we're this teflon group on D and we can afford to see if Markov can regain his old form. We are paper-thin as it is, pretty weak TBH, and even if Markov returns to being a top-two d-man, we STILL need quality help on the backend.

His play has been in steady decline since 2005-06. I'd say Toronto fleeced Boston on that trade, in hindsight. Players don't usually rebound from this sort of decline, particularly d-men.

Again, why does this preclude us signing a top-four d-man? It might actually be harder to assess his potential if we rush him into a role he can't handle just because we're starved for top-four options.

I think you're a bit too quick to judge Markov, but anyways time will tell if you're right or not. The thing is, there is always risk in signing a player to a big deal, you don't know how it will hurt you down the line. Sometimes you need to take that risk, but I can kind of understand wanting to wait a little to get a clearer picture of where we are (a lot went wrong last year and it's tough to say exactly how good/bad our current squad is because of that). Just to be clear I would have had no problem with signing Carle or even someone better than Bouillion, but at the same time I think next offseason is probably a better time to start committing ourselves to long term contracts if we need to. It is also probably about the worst possible time to attract players to Montreal right now, and the CBA adds another element of uncertainty.

I see next year as more of a toss-up than outright development year, but in either case I wasn't particularly worried about what we did on the UFA market this summer. Whatever happens next year, happens. If we can make the playoffs, great. If not, at least we'll know last year wasn't just a fluke and start the house-cleaning.

Demote Gomez to the minors, buy out Kaberle, don't sign Bouillon or Prust, and I'm pretty sure we have the cap for Carle and Subban.

My point was that we don't know that sending Gomez to the minors is even going to be an option, so by making that part of our plans we'd be taking a risk that we'd need to do a trade come training camp we'd rather not make. If we could go back in time, doing everything else you suggested likely would have left us enough cap room (doing some quick calculations, if we signed Carle for 6.5 million - extra for Quebec taxes, etc. - we'd have about 6.5 million left to sign Subban and for injury callups during the year - which is a little closer to the cap than I'd like but doable as long as Subban comes in at 5 million or less). However, it would give us Carle for 5 years (could be good or bad), leave Kaberle counting against our cap for the next 4 years, and a little less deep up front.

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To me, the biggest problems the Habs had were a lack of good defenders, inability to score (need scorers) and last year's management and coaching.

Everything that could go wrong for these guys did last season. We just don't have enough depth in our organization to make up for the loss of key players should they get hurt. And I don't think you'll ever see Markov be what he was due to the knee injuries. I don't see the Habs being a playoff team this year the way they are currently constituted. I'm not being negative here, but being objective. There are just too many good teams in the Eastern Conference they would have to jump over just to get in. They will be better, but not that much better. They are a couple of good drafts and free agent markets away from being a contender again.

And they have to clean house of the likes of Gomez and Kaberle. Those two deals hurt them more than anything else.

I would rather see them not overspend and rebuild the team from within - assuming they can get good draft picks in the next two years. I actually applaud them for not overspending on a couple of big-name free agents, like Minnesota did. That's going to come back and haunt them for some time.

To me, the biggest problems the Habs had were a lack of good defenders, inability to score (need scorers) and last year's management and coaching.

Everything that could go wrong for these guys did last season. We just don't have enough depth in our organization to make up for the loss of key players should they get hurt. And I don't think you'll ever see Markov be what he was due to the knee injuries. I don't see the Habs being a playoff team this year the way they are currently constituted. I'm not being negative here, but being objective. There are just too many good teams in the Eastern Conference they would have to jump over just to get in. They will be better, but not that much better. They are a couple of good drafts and free agent markets away from being a contender again.

And they have to clean house of the likes of Gomez and Kaberle. Those two deals hurt them more than anything else.

I would rather see them not overspend and rebuild the team from within - assuming they can get good draft picks in the next two years. I actually applaud them for not overspending on a couple of big-name free agents, like Minnesota did. That's going to come back and haunt them for some time.

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Excellent Summary of the current state:

It's a pretty good article, although I feel like he's giving Bergevin too much credit for doing nothing. I think it's kind of like weep said a couple days ago: patience itself isn't a virtue.

I've tried to avoid criticizing Bergevin at this point because it's not clear to me what direction we should really be taking this season and being too proactive could come back to bite us (eg. buying out players with multiple years left on their contracts would hurt us for the next 4+ seasons). However, at the same time I think it's premature to give him credit for basically doing nothing, which is what that article seems to do. In hindsight it may turn out sitting on his hands was the right decision, but I want to avoid another Gainey, where we basically gave him credit year after year for being patient because he was supposedly building towards something that never materialized.

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Sure, we had some things go right, but we also had:

- a terrible PP... one that started to get better after we added kabs and markov and saw Subban make big strides. That bodes well for next year.

- a lot of injuries. Not just a subjective loss of players but an objective loss of man-games, many to key guys

- notable issues in the room, be it the rumors of communication problems with the coach or the distraction of Cammalleri

- progression for some of our young guys, yes, but in the context of those guys having to play key roles. Subban was asked to improve by trial by fire because we lost markov and didn't replace him. Pacman continued what he had done the year before and he did what he did because he was given the opportunity to play. Ditto Desharnais. It's not like we had abnormally good years from guys we didn't expect it from, this was progression that we can continue to expect improvement on next year.

I'm not saying I think we'll compete for a Cup, just that I believe our ceiling (i.e. if everything goes right) is a mid-level playoff team, not a 10th place one. If everything goes wrong, we could also be a 15th-place team again, but I think there are definitely factors last year that point to significant room for improvement and reason to believe some of it could be better. We still have not addressed our two greatest needs: a 2nd line LW and a top 4 shutdown D man. Without those two steps, we won't go far. But it doesn't mean we can't find a way to be competitive.

I've got to lean towards DA_Champion on this one, I think (or probably somewhere in the middle). I absolutely agree with you that we had a lot of bad luck last year and that our team deserved to finish much higher than it did. With that said, however, this year's team is not last year's team.

When I look at our line-up right now I see what I'd say is a more promising defensive group than we had at the beginning of last year, but not by much. We dropped Gill and Spacek and picked up Kaberle and Boullion, which essentially is a bit of a wash, but more importantly Markov, Emelin and Diaz are each less of a question mark than they were last summer. There are still questions about how good each will be, sure, but at least we're more certain now of the fact that Markov will actually play and that Emelin is indeed qualified to be in the NHL. This is better than what we had at the start of the last season... but having said that, we really had a terrible group going into last season so a a small upgrade is still nothing to write home about.

At forward, I actually see us as having downgraded pretty substantially. We lost Cammelleri and Kostitsyn and replaced them with.... who exactly? IMO we're really short on high-end offence. Looking at our line-up right now we've got a pretty steep downgrade in talent after Patches. Cole could play well again, sure, but we're still missing that dangerous guy who the opposition is always on the lookout for. Basically, unless we get another second line winger a la Semin, we're a one line team. Pleks and Gionta have potential to do well offensively but they really need some help.

When comparing our team to last year's it's also very easy to look at something like the return of Gionta from injury and to say that we've essentially upgraded as a result. The thing is, though, every year it seems like we have terrible luck on the injury front and we always say 'next year will be better!' but it never is. Hockey players tend to get injured, and while we might have Gionta back it's very likely that he or someone else will miss time this year. What do we do when Cole gets hurt? Or Subban? Or Price?

Which brings us to the main problem I have with our line-up - we're living on the absolute razor's edge when it comes to depth. We've got lots of bottom six guys, sure, but there's no depth at all when it comes to talent. If you remove any one of Patches/Cole/Gionta our top six goes from "not-great-but-not-the-worst-in-the-league" to "oh-God-close-your-eyes-how-can-Moen-miss-so-many-nets-in-one-game". An injury to any of them for even a few weeks has the potential to essentially end our season. Ditto Subban and Price - there's nobody even close to being able to fill their respective roles, even on a part-time basis, and even if we can get someone like Markov to play well in the #1 spot the waves it would send through the rest of the defence pairings would be devestating.

We could get into the playoffs if things go well, no doubt about it, but I think we'd have to have a pretty phenominal amount of puck luck to be competing for home ice by the end of the season.

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When I look at our line-up right now I see what I'd say is a more promising defensive group than we had at the beginning of last year, but not by much. We dropped Gill and Spacek and picked up Kaberle and Boullion, which essentially is a bit of a wash, but more importantly Markov, Emelin and Diaz are each less of a question mark than they were last summer. There are still questions about how good each will be, sure, but at least we're more certain now of the fact that Markov will actually play and that Emelin is indeed qualified to be in the NHL. This is better than what we had at the start of the last season... but having said that, we really had a terrible group going into last season so a a small upgrade is still nothing to write home about.

I'm not convinced our defense has improved at all, to be honest. Markov could easily end up injured again, and Emelin or Diaz or both could regress and look terrible on the ice most nights. Second year players sometimes seem to have more difficulty than they did in their rookie campaigns. I really wanted us to magically acquire a top-four (our top-two) defender this off-season, but there was really nothing to be done it seems.

At forward, I actually see us as having downgraded pretty substantially. We lost Cammelleri and Kostitsyn and replaced them with.... who exactly? IMO we're really short on high-end offence. Looking at our line-up right now we've got a pretty steep downgrade in talent after Patches. Cole could play well again, sure, but we're still missing that dangerous guy who the opposition is always on the lookout for. Basically, unless we get another second line winger a la Semin, we're a one line team. Pleks and Gionta have potential to do well offensively but they really need some help.

When comparing our team to last year's it's also very easy to look at something like the return of Gionta from injury and to say that we've essentially upgraded as a result. The thing is, though, every year it seems like we have terrible luck on the injury front and we always say 'next year will be better!' but it never is. Hockey players tend to get injured, and while we might have Gionta back it's very likely that he or someone else will miss time this year. What do we do when Cole gets hurt? Or Subban? Or Price?

You're right here. Unless one of the rookie forwards surprises us, we've lost goal scoring at the forward position it seems. Perhaps not too much, but enough that it will probably hurt us. And I really don't see Leblanc, Gallagher or anyone else in the system who can fix this.

Which brings us to the main problem I have with our line-up - we're living on the absolute razor's edge when it comes to depth. We've got lots of bottom six guys, sure, but there's no depth at all when it comes to talent. If you remove any one of Patches/Cole/Gionta our top six goes from "not-great-but-not-the-worst-in-the-league" to "oh-God-close-your-eyes-how-can-Moen-miss-so-many-nets-in-one-game". An injury to any of them for even a few weeks has the potential to essentially end our season. Ditto Subban and Price - there's nobody even close to being able to fill their respective roles, even on a part-time basis, and even if we can get someone like Markov to play well in the #1 spot the waves it would send through the rest of the defence pairings would be devestating.

:lol::lol: It'll be pretty embarrassing for us if, say... Cole gets injured (or Gionta again) or Subban misses a substantial amount of time for some reason. We have no one who can fill in for one of our major players, you are right.

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If the Toronto Maple Leafs trade for Luongo there will be an increased probability of the Habs drafting top-5 again.

In summary:

Minnesota picked up Parise and Suter.

Edmonton picked up Yakupov.

Columbus picked up Murray, and improved when they traded for Jack Johnson.

Carolina picked up Jordan Staal.

Meanwhile, Toronto, NYI, and Anaheim have not improved.

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Just to be clear, I'll repeat the point I was trying to make: I believe we are definitely in a situation where we could finish 15th in the East again. I agree completely that we lack depth in the top 6, although I would hope that if someone like Gionta or Cole went down, we would give a shot to a guy like Palushaj, Leblanc, or Gallagher rather than promoting moen or Prust into that role. That was one of the big failures of both martin and Cunneyworth, who both insisted on having the moen's, Darche's, and Blunden's of the team step into those roles when they're not suited for them.

On the flip side, I also believe that if everything goes right we can finish as high as 5th in the East and battle back the way Ottawa did this past season. When I look at the Sens line-up from last year, I don't see a team that made marked improvements. Like us, they have about 3-4 top forwards and then some drop-off. Like us, they counted on a young D man maturing into a star and having a once-star veteran D man return to form because they couldn't deal him away. And without a doubt, our goaltending is a lot better than Ottawa's. Again, this is not saying we are likely to jump up the standings, only that we did have a lot go wrong last season and that it is feasible to believe we could make the playoffs. I'm only pointing out that the ceiling for this team is, in my opinion, higher than the 10th place finish some have given them.

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Just to be clear, I'll repeat the point I was trying to make: I believe we are definitely in a situation where we could finish 15th in the East again. I agree completely that we lack depth in the top 6, although I would hope that if someone like Gionta or Cole went down, we would give a shot to a guy like Palushaj, Leblanc, or Gallagher rather than promoting moen or Prust into that role. That was one of the big failures of both martin and Cunneyworth, who both insisted on having the moen's, Darche's, and Blunden's of the team step into those roles when they're not suited for them.

On the flip side, I also believe that if everything goes right we can finish as high as 5th in the East and battle back the way Ottawa did this past season. When I look at the Sens line-up from last year, I don't see a team that made marked improvements. Like us, they have about 3-4 top forwards and then some drop-off. Like us, they counted on a young D man maturing into a star and having a once-star veteran D man return to form because they couldn't deal him away. And without a doubt, our goaltending is a lot better than Ottawa's. Again, this is not saying we are likely to jump up the standings, only that we did have a lot go wrong last season and that it is feasible to believe we could make the playoffs. I'm only pointing out that the ceiling for this team is, in my opinion, higher than the 10th place finish some have given them.

I'll agree with you here, Ted, all I'm saying is that there are a whole lot of 'if's. My bet is that we end up somewhere in the 8-13 range. It's possible that we could have a whole lot of good things happen (like in Ottawa) and it's also possible that we could end up in last after a whole lot of bad things happen (like us last year). Neither one of those scenarios is very likely, to my mind, but if I had to choose I'd say we've got a better chance of seeing 15th than 5th.

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I'd like to weigh in on this discussion with a few notes:

To start- yes, that Left Wing is a big hole. I know Bergevin comes from an organization where cap creativity was common, but at the same time I'm not sure if he's willing to make the 'big move' to fill that hole (Lets be honest, the big 'Star' Left Winger which would made an immediate impact isn't coming from this FA-Crop, barring some amazing convincing by Bergevin on bringing down Semin's price and term- and to be honest, I wouldn't MIND taking a look at Semin, despite having had such a good view of his faltering in the 7 games we played against him not too long ago post season.) I'm not sure what we would have to give up to get that big LW, as I'm not sure of how talented and confident Bergevin is. In a city like Montreal where the slightest INKLING of a player who appears to have been a bad deal (See: Cole in first 20 games of last season), it'd take some real cahoonas for him to make a big splash in the trade market with out prospects.

That said, I'd be impressed if he did, as I like to see my team win. Assessment year or not, '15-'20 Dynasty or not- this franchise isn't Toronto, they won't put up with mediocre for long. Not only that, but the players aren't going to stand for a half-arsed season either. This is a proud franchise, which was missing a hell of a lot of stability and pride last year, and if Bergevin makes a big move which he feels helps restore the pride to some degree this year then I'm fine with him trying, and I'm not going to throw him under the bus 30 games in if it hasn't panned out- so long as it's done before training camp so the guys can get to work immediately on a feeling of stability and cohesiveness.

If no LW is brought in who has legitimate talent and desire to be a piece of our top six, then I'm not sure what I want to see on line two- if Bourque can come back to form he's fine there for a season, allowing Eller to develop on #3 C, if not, I'm not AGAINST Eller centering L2 if Pleks is willing to take a wing, but I'd want some sort of commitment from the coaching staff on giving him a proper chance to hold it (I.E. not throwing him onto line four every game he makes a mistake- mistakes are how you learn, and you need to be given the chance to make them to become a better hockey player, instead of being tossed down to the checking line where your offense can't develop (See: The ridiculous treatment of Stamkos a few years back, or from a defense point of view Subban, who makes mistakes every night and shines through better later.) Hell, if Toronto had left Kadri up and let him make some mistakes he may very well be a shining top 6 himself by now.

As for the defense, I'm not entirely sure why everyone is QUITE as negative as they are. Here's my summary of how I think it looks:

Subban: As I said earlier, makes mistakes, but is getting better and better. With a year under his belt of being the real and only 'go to guy,' playing in every role in his position, this guy is a huge piece of our puzzle going forward, and a true top 2 defense man.

Gorges: Top tier shut-down defense man- +14 on a 15th place team, and leading shot blocker with 50 more than the next closest- say what you want about the amount of shots heading towards the goalie that he had to block helping him get that high, when it's 125% the next closest in the category, you're the best at it, period. One of the top 4 guys you need to be successful.

Markov: Really think people need to give him a break. Wasn't his normal self after a couple seasons off coming into a roster of players closing out the end of a horrible season, and it's surprising his points per game weren't up to snub? If he's even 1/2 the player he was before hand then he's a solid top four who can also help IMMENSELY in developing our younger defense men. If he's 3/4 what he was before he's a top four who can log the minutes of time where the north south forwards who played best for us last year (Cole/Patches) get the great first pass they need to break out. Markov's talent has never been 'super-in shape young defense', it's been 'amazing hockey sense and a fantastic distribution pass on the pp, as well as the knowledge of when to pinch in or rush the net on the pp for the extra body.' Last I checked hockey sense didn't dissappear over time for smart defense men, and quarterbacking a powerplay involves a need to have been playing/practicing with that powerplay for a good amount of time to get into a rhythm of knowing your forwards and where they'll be. Give him a training camp and regular play with the PP again and I don't think the Markov you'll see will be dramatically different from the one you used to see. Feel free to disagree though.

Emelin: Not top 4 ready yet, but the way he makes you think before you go free willing into our zone makes him a good guy to have in the lineup, and a player who with improvement is a good fit on any team.

Kaberle: I'm not a fan of the trade either, but I'll be honest, I'm not as disgusted and negative as some. I'm really not sure what stats some people have been looking at, but let me throw a few facts at you. Since arriving in Montreal, Kaberle put up 22pts (3G/19A) in 43GP- that equates too a 42pts (6G/36A) Season over 82 games- that's only a couple pts back from the most reason good seasons he had in Toronto when he was considered a high quality defense- and did that point/per/game average whilst being given about 6-7min less ice time per game than he got a few seasons ago. Oh and by the way, thats more pt/per/game average than Matt Carle- and while Carle is 'better' than Kaberle defensively, he's also now making a couple million more than Kaberle, and isn't exactly a huge hitter/shot blocker/defense smart super star either. I'm NOT saying Kaberle is amazing- but I'm not sure what NHL a potential 42pt defense man is a terrible player in.

The rest of the D-core is young talent (Other than our extra man Boullion, who by the way is a fine 5-6th defenseman statistically in the NHL, and is as mean and hard to play against as any 6'3'' 220lber, in case everyone has forgotten.

Disagree/counter argue or not, I really don't see our defense core- which by the way has a plethora of young talent only a year or two away from NHL readiness which will need room to grow into- as as troublesome as some think.

I've a lot more to say, but I think I owe you all a dinner for that long of a read anyway- so I'll wait!

CHC

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I believe that last year was an aberration, too many front line players lost major amounts of games due to injury. Markov-over 60 games, White-60 games, Gionta-50 games, even Gomez-over 40 games, Moen-over 30 games. That, plus the off-ice problems, including the trades made by PG, the Cammy trade :blink: , the Cunneyworth affair, the firing of Perry Pearn.

IMO, all of these instances contributed to the downhill spiral of the Habs last season. I doubt that the same will happen again this year.

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Guest archey

The loss of Gionta was tougher than many seem to acknowledge. He has led the team in scoring in all of his seasons here, and with him gone we lost all hope of secondary scoring since Bourque was in a long slump.

gionta wasn't dong so great either truth be told.

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I believe that last year was an aberration, too many front line players lost major amounts of games due to injury. Markov-over 60 games, White-60 games, Gionta-50 games, even Gomez-over 40 games, Moen-over 30 games. That, plus the off-ice problems, including the trades made by PG, the Cammy trade :blink: , the Cunneyworth affair, the firing of Perry Pearn.

IMO, all of these instances contributed to the downhill spiral of the Habs last season. I doubt that the same will happen again this year.

Let's hope you're right.

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all I'm saying is that there are a whole lot of 'if's

There are always a lot of ifs, every season, for every team. It's just that with the usual contenders, the "ifs" are not as close to the surface of the thinking process as they may be for us or the sens or other middle of the pack teams. Severe injury to key players, a goalie losing his touch for a stretch of games, personal conflicts between players and/or coaches, trade deadline gamble that doesn't pan out, etc no team is totally immune to those.

That's why the game is played on the ice for a grinding 82 times.

I've a lot more to say, but I think I owe you all a dinner for that long of a read anyway- so I'll wait!

CHC

Welcome to the forum and if you have a lot more to say, by all means dont hesitate to jump in, there are never enough well articulated opinions :)

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Guest habs1952

I believe that last year was an aberration, too many front line players lost major amounts of games due to injury. Markov-over 60 games, White-60 games, Gionta-50 games, even Gomez-over 40 games, Moen-over 30 games. That, plus the off-ice problems, including the trades made by PG, the Cammy trade :blink: , the Cunneyworth affair, the firing of Perry Pearn.

IMO, all of these instances contributed to the downhill spiral of the Habs last season. I doubt that the same will happen again this year.

I was just forgetting last season until you so kindly reminded me of what I was trying to forget. Now I have to start over. :angry::lol: :lol:

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Guest habs1952

I'd like to weigh in on this discussion with a few notes:

To start- yes, that Left Wing is a big hole. I know Bergevin comes from an organization where cap creativity was common, but at the same time I'm not sure if he's willing to make the 'big move' to fill that hole (Lets be honest, the big 'Star' Left Winger which would made an immediate impact isn't coming from this FA-Crop, barring some amazing convincing by Bergevin on bringing down Semin's price and term- and to be honest, I wouldn't MIND taking a look at Semin, despite having had such a good view of his faltering in the 7 games we played against him not too long ago post season.) I'm not sure what we would have to give up to get that big LW, as I'm not sure of how talented and confident Bergevin is. In a city like Montreal where the slightest INKLING of a player who appears to have been a bad deal (See: Cole in first 20 games of last season), it'd take some real cahoonas for him to make a big splash in the trade market with out prospects.

That said, I'd be impressed if he did, as I like to see my team win. Assessment year or not, '15-'20 Dynasty or not- this franchise isn't Toronto, they won't put up with mediocre for long. Not only that, but the players aren't going to stand for a half-arsed season either. This is a proud franchise, which was missing a hell of a lot of stability and pride last year, and if Bergevin makes a big move which he feels helps restore the pride to some degree this year then I'm fine with him trying, and I'm not going to throw him under the bus 30 games in if it hasn't panned out- so long as it's done before training camp so the guys can get to work immediately on a feeling of stability and cohesiveness.

If no LW is brought in who has legitimate talent and desire to be a piece of our top six, then I'm not sure what I want to see on line two- if Bourque can come back to form he's fine there for a season, allowing Eller to develop on #3 C, if not, I'm not AGAINST Eller centering L2 if Pleks is willing to take a wing, but I'd want some sort of commitment from the coaching staff on giving him a proper chance to hold it (I.E. not throwing him onto line four every game he makes a mistake- mistakes are how you learn, and you need to be given the chance to make them to become a better hockey player, instead of being tossed down to the checking line where your offense can't develop (See: The ridiculous treatment of Stamkos a few years back, or from a defense point of view Subban, who makes mistakes every night and shines through better later.) Hell, if Toronto had left Kadri up and let him make some mistakes he may very well be a shining top 6 himself by now.

As for the defense, I'm not entirely sure why everyone is QUITE as negative as they are. Here's my summary of how I think it looks:

Subban: As I said earlier, makes mistakes, but is getting better and better. With a year under his belt of being the real and only 'go to guy,' playing in every role in his position, this guy is a huge piece of our puzzle going forward, and a true top 2 defense man.

Gorges: Top tier shut-down defense man- +14 on a 15th place team, and leading shot blocker with 50 more than the next closest- say what you want about the amount of shots heading towards the goalie that he had to block helping him get that high, when it's 125% the next closest in the category, you're the best at it, period. One of the top 4 guys you need to be successful.

Markov: Really think people need to give him a break. Wasn't his normal self after a couple seasons off coming into a roster of players closing out the end of a horrible season, and it's surprising his points per game weren't up to snub? If he's even 1/2 the player he was before hand then he's a solid top four who can also help IMMENSELY in developing our younger defense men. If he's 3/4 what he was before he's a top four who can log the minutes of time where the north south forwards who played best for us last year (Cole/Patches) get the great first pass they need to break out. Markov's talent has never been 'super-in shape young defense', it's been 'amazing hockey sense and a fantastic distribution pass on the pp, as well as the knowledge of when to pinch in or rush the net on the pp for the extra body.' Last I checked hockey sense didn't dissappear over time for smart defense men, and quarterbacking a powerplay involves a need to have been playing/practicing with that powerplay for a good amount of time to get into a rhythm of knowing your forwards and where they'll be. Give him a training camp and regular play with the PP again and I don't think the Markov you'll see will be dramatically different from the one you used to see. Feel free to disagree though.

Emelin: Not top 4 ready yet, but the way he makes you think before you go free willing into our zone makes him a good guy to have in the lineup, and a player who with improvement is a good fit on any team.

Kaberle: I'm not a fan of the trade either, but I'll be honest, I'm not as disgusted and negative as some. I'm really not sure what stats some people have been looking at, but let me throw a few facts at you. Since arriving in Montreal, Kaberle put up 22pts (3G/19A) in 43GP- that equates too a 42pts (6G/36A) Season over 82 games- that's only a couple pts back from the most reason good seasons he had in Toronto when he was considered a high quality defense- and did that point/per/game average whilst being given about 6-7min less ice time per game than he got a few seasons ago. Oh and by the way, thats more pt/per/game average than Matt Carle- and while Carle is 'better' than Kaberle defensively, he's also now making a couple million more than Kaberle, and isn't exactly a huge hitter/shot blocker/defense smart super star either. I'm NOT saying Kaberle is amazing- but I'm not sure what NHL a potential 42pt defense man is a terrible player in.

The rest of the D-core is young talent (Other than our extra man Boullion, who by the way is a fine 5-6th defenseman statistically in the NHL, and is as mean and hard to play against as any 6'3'' 220lber, in case everyone has forgotten.

Disagree/counter argue or not, I really don't see our defense core- which by the way has a plethora of young talent only a year or two away from NHL readiness which will need room to grow into- as as troublesome as some think.

I've a lot more to say, but I think I owe you all a dinner for that long of a read anyway- so I'll wait!

CHC

Nice post CHC except when you mentioned Toronto. :lol: :lol: Oh, by the way, I'll have an extra large pizza with quadruple pepperoni. Thanks. :)

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There are always a lot of ifs, every season, for every team. It's just that with the usual contenders, the "ifs" are not as close to the surface of the thinking process as they may be for us or the sens or other middle of the pack teams. Severe injury to key players, a goalie losing his touch for a stretch of games, personal conflicts between players and/or coaches, trade deadline gamble that doesn't pan out, etc no team is totally immune to those.

That's why the game is played on the ice for a grinding 82 times.

Oh, no doubt, and I really hope that things do go well for us. I don't want to turn into a negative nelly here, and I'm not saying that we're doomed and that this season is a wash. I'll be watching, cheering and hoping along with the rest of you :). I just feel that I'm better off tempering my expectations a bit to avoid dissapointment since in my view we have five players (Patches, Cole, Gionta, Subban and Price) that we really can't survive without, even for a relatively short amount of time. I know those injuries are still 'if's, but I think it's more likely that we lose at least one of them at some point than it is that we don't. We're just really short on high-end depth.

But hey, like you said, they play the games for a reason. Here's hoping that they surprise me.

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I'd like to weigh in on this discussion with a few notes:

To start- yes, that Left Wing is a big hole. I know Bergevin comes from an organization where cap creativity was common, but at the same time I'm not sure if he's willing to make the 'big move' to fill that hole (Lets be honest, the big 'Star' Left Winger which would made an immediate impact isn't coming from this FA-Crop, barring some amazing convincing by Bergevin on bringing down Semin's price and term- and to be honest, I wouldn't MIND taking a look at Semin, despite having had such a good view of his faltering in the 7 games we played against him not too long ago post season.) I'm not sure what we would have to give up to get that big LW, as I'm not sure of how talented and confident Bergevin is. In a city like Montreal where the slightest INKLING of a player who appears to have been a bad deal (See: Cole in first 20 games of last season), it'd take some real cahoonas for him to make a big splash in the trade market with out prospects.

That said, I'd be impressed if he did, as I like to see my team win. Assessment year or not, '15-'20 Dynasty or not- this franchise isn't Toronto, they won't put up with mediocre for long. Not only that, but the players aren't going to stand for a half-arsed season either. This is a proud franchise, which was missing a hell of a lot of stability and pride last year, and if Bergevin makes a big move which he feels helps restore the pride to some degree this year then I'm fine with him trying, and I'm not going to throw him under the bus 30 games in if it hasn't panned out- so long as it's done before training camp so the guys can get to work immediately on a feeling of stability and cohesiveness.

If no LW is brought in who has legitimate talent and desire to be a piece of our top six, then I'm not sure what I want to see on line two- if Bourque can come back to form he's fine there for a season, allowing Eller to develop on #3 C, if not, I'm not AGAINST Eller centering L2 if Pleks is willing to take a wing, but I'd want some sort of commitment from the coaching staff on giving him a proper chance to hold it (I.E. not throwing him onto line four every game he makes a mistake- mistakes are how you learn, and you need to be given the chance to make them to become a better hockey player, instead of being tossed down to the checking line where your offense can't develop (See: The ridiculous treatment of Stamkos a few years back, or from a defense point of view Subban, who makes mistakes every night and shines through better later.) Hell, if Toronto had left Kadri up and let him make some mistakes he may very well be a shining top 6 himself by now.

As for the defense, I'm not entirely sure why everyone is QUITE as negative as they are. Here's my summary of how I think it looks:

Subban: As I said earlier, makes mistakes, but is getting better and better. With a year under his belt of being the real and only 'go to guy,' playing in every role in his position, this guy is a huge piece of our puzzle going forward, and a true top 2 defense man.

Gorges: Top tier shut-down defense man- +14 on a 15th place team, and leading shot blocker with 50 more than the next closest- say what you want about the amount of shots heading towards the goalie that he had to block helping him get that high, when it's 125% the next closest in the category, you're the best at it, period. One of the top 4 guys you need to be successful.

Markov: Really think people need to give him a break. Wasn't his normal self after a couple seasons off coming into a roster of players closing out the end of a horrible season, and it's surprising his points per game weren't up to snub? If he's even 1/2 the player he was before hand then he's a solid top four who can also help IMMENSELY in developing our younger defense men. If he's 3/4 what he was before he's a top four who can log the minutes of time where the north south forwards who played best for us last year (Cole/Patches) get the great first pass they need to break out. Markov's talent has never been 'super-in shape young defense', it's been 'amazing hockey sense and a fantastic distribution pass on the pp, as well as the knowledge of when to pinch in or rush the net on the pp for the extra body.' Last I checked hockey sense didn't dissappear over time for smart defense men, and quarterbacking a powerplay involves a need to have been playing/practicing with that powerplay for a good amount of time to get into a rhythm of knowing your forwards and where they'll be. Give him a training camp and regular play with the PP again and I don't think the Markov you'll see will be dramatically different from the one you used to see. Feel free to disagree though.

Emelin: Not top 4 ready yet, but the way he makes you think before you go free willing into our zone makes him a good guy to have in the lineup, and a player who with improvement is a good fit on any team.

Kaberle: I'm not a fan of the trade either, but I'll be honest, I'm not as disgusted and negative as some. I'm really not sure what stats some people have been looking at, but let me throw a few facts at you. Since arriving in Montreal, Kaberle put up 22pts (3G/19A) in 43GP- that equates too a 42pts (6G/36A) Season over 82 games- that's only a couple pts back from the most reason good seasons he had in Toronto when he was considered a high quality defense- and did that point/per/game average whilst being given about 6-7min less ice time per game than he got a few seasons ago. Oh and by the way, thats more pt/per/game average than Matt Carle- and while Carle is 'better' than Kaberle defensively, he's also now making a couple million more than Kaberle, and isn't exactly a huge hitter/shot blocker/defense smart super star either. I'm NOT saying Kaberle is amazing- but I'm not sure what NHL a potential 42pt defense man is a terrible player in.

The rest of the D-core is young talent (Other than our extra man Boullion, who by the way is a fine 5-6th defenseman statistically in the NHL, and is as mean and hard to play against as any 6'3'' 220lber, in case everyone has forgotten.

Disagree/counter argue or not, I really don't see our defense core- which by the way has a plethora of young talent only a year or two away from NHL readiness which will need room to grow into- as as troublesome as some think.

I've a lot more to say, but I think I owe you all a dinner for that long of a read anyway- so I'll wait!

CHC

Great post! And to be honest, I can't find much to disagree with on a player-by-player basis. This is especially true regarding your Kaberle comments, since I think that for whatever reason he's been given the short end of the stick by the media (and by extension the fanbase) since the moment the Spacek trade was announced. One bad start to the season with Carolina (something that all the cup-winning Bruins were guilty of, incidentally) and suddenly he goes from the top of the free-agent list to a pariah.

I still say, though, that we're just one injury to Subban away from disaster. We've got a serviceable group when everyone's healthy but there's just not enough there to handle everyone being bumped up a notch on the depth chart. Now I know that you could say that about losing most teams' star defencemen, but it just seems that we're really in need of one more top-four guy in order to balance things out. Now maybe Emelin or Kaberle can be that guy but I think it's a bit scary to bet our season on it.

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