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2012-13 State Of The Habs


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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

Impressive first posting. Are you just warming up? :)B)

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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.

Thank you, to start. :)

And yes, I certainly agree that we're one of those teams that can perform as well as many other good teams- but we certainly wouldn't hold up as well as those same teams with a few injury bugs. This is mainly as I feel while we are 'deep' in some ways now with serviceable hole-fillers, the players that they'd be filling in for (Subban/Pleks/Patches, for example) are very different players than what they would be replaced with in terms of play style (aside from skill.) So whilst Moen can fill Patches spot, for example- he completely changes the basis of that line and how they have to play to succeed. Our main problem of late, in my opinion is a sense of direction and stability- and if a line has to completely change its play style at the loss of player A for player B- the above is hard to come by.

CHC

Impressive first posting. Are you just warming up? :)B)

Warming up? My fingers are veritably burning. ;)

CHC

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That said, Bouillon might not be the top 4 D we were looking for but he makes our D a lot tougher. He plays bigger than his size, and he was really good when I saw him with Nashville last season.

Very solid.

Not tall, but he's thick with a low centre of gravity.

Wouldn't have been my first choice, but does give us depth if and when we have injuries.

Not sure where that leaves Kabs who doesn't play physically and his offense has gone down in recent years. As a 2nd unit on the PP, there may be a spot for him.

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We still have a hole in our top 6, but we're slowly improving.

If Armstrong stays healthy, with the addition of Prust, we'll be a tough team to play against. We're still lacking in our top 6 though.

I'm not worried about our top-6.

Pacioretty-Desharnais-Cole

???-Plekanec-Gionta

The coach has so many options for the hole:

1) Put Galchenyuk on the easy minutes Desharnais line, and bump the defensively responsible Cole down to the Plekanec line.

2) Put Bourque on the easy minutes Desharnais line, and bump the defensively responsible Cole down to the Plekanec line.

3) Put Gomez as a winger on the Plekanec line. It will reunited Gomez and Gionta. It adds a defensively responsible player to a shutdown line. It adds a playmaker to a line that has a shooter (Gionta) and a guy who can both score and pass (Plekanec). It means that when Plekanec is kicked out of the faceoff box another guy with 50% faceoff percentage can take over, allowing Plekanec to be more aggressive in the box. Lastly, it means that Gomez' stats will be padded, and thus we will be able to trade him at the deadline.

4) Put Eller as a winger. Convert him to winger as an experiment to see if that might work long-term. It should certainly be tried as we need to know what our options are moving forward, since Galchenyuk will be a top-6 center.

I think Gomez is the best option.

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Desharnais's line doesn't get 'easy' minutes. They get lots of offensive minutes but there's a ton of pressure to produce accordingly. Assuming he makes the team and isn't sent back to junior, Galchenyuk should be easing into the NHL game on the third line IMO.

Fine, what about the other three options?

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I'm not worried about our top-6.

Pacioretty-Desharnais-Cole

???-Plekanec-Gionta

The coach has so many options for the hole:

1) Put Galchenyuk on the easy minutes Desharnais line, and bump the defensively responsible Cole down to the Plekanec line.

2) Put Bourque on the easy minutes Desharnais line, and bump the defensively responsible Cole down to the Plekanec line.

3) Put Gomez as a winger on the Plekanec line. It will reunited Gomez and Gionta. It adds a defensively responsible player to a shutdown line. It adds a playmaker to a line that has a shooter (Gionta) and a guy who can both score and pass (Plekanec). It means that when Plekanec is kicked out of the faceoff box another guy with 50% faceoff percentage can take over, allowing Plekanec to be more aggressive in the box. Lastly, it means that Gomez' stats will be padded, and thus we will be able to trade him at the deadline.

4) Put Eller as a winger. Convert him to winger as an experiment to see if that might work long-term. It should certainly be tried as we need to know what our options are moving forward, since Galchenyuk will be a top-6 center.

I think Gomez is the best option.

Gomez? I thought Ryan and Doan were are best options...

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To address a couple of points:

- manatee... fully agreed that the most likely scenario is seeing us finish in the 10th-12th range. All I'm saying is that I see the range of potentially-feasible finishes being more 5th-15th than 10th-15th, as others have suggested. In other words, a "feasible best-case scenario" being 5th in the East...

- CHC, excellent 1st post, as others have noted to you. I agree with your assessment of the kaberle situation. As I've said multiple times on this forum, I don't see the trade that brought him here as being a mistake at the time it was made. And I've gone into a lot of his advanced stats in the past that demonstrate that he was actually quite effective offensively during his time here as well. His defensive play was disappointing, but I'd be willing to see how he does without all the organization-hopping and changes of defensive partners, systems, and coaches. To me, the major issue now is not how well he'll do, as I still believe he can be an effective PP point-man and can still hit 40-50 points if given PP time and more than 15-17 minutes of ice per game. But the problem is that he now sits behind markov on the depth chart and so is unlikely to see 1st unit PP time going forward. He's also on a team which has an excess of offensively-minded, defensively-weak D men AND a plethora of left-handed D men who make less money. So while I do see value in what kaberle can do, I have issues now seeing how he fits into the group of D men we have assembled. That, however, is an issue we should pin on management and not the player himself. If markov wasn't here (and at the time he was acquired, this wasn't a given he would ever return), then I'd be fine retaining kabs... but again, we really do need to figure out how all the pieces fit together and it's a bit of a problem spending over 4m on a 3rd pairing PP specialist, if that's how things pan out.

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I think Bouillon is a great fit with Kaberle. Solid stay-home defenseman.

Kaberle put up very decent offensive numbers in his first season with us, I wouldn't write him off yet. Especially since he's never been a physical defenseman, his strength has always been his positioning which I doubt will just disappear.

I thought he looked solid to begin with, but got a lot worse once RC implemented the 7D system.

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Fine, what about the other three options?

I wouldn't mind seeing Bourque with DD, but as I've stated, I'd prefer he replace Pacman... Cole is better on the right wing and moving him to a line of Cole-Pleks-Gio means playing one of the wingers on the wrong side. I also wouldn't say Cole is defensively-responsible. He's a vet and he means well, but his play in his own zone is pretty awful.

I would be fine with using Gomez or Eller on the wing in the top 6.

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Neither Cole or Pacioretty should have any defensive responsibilities whatsoever. Which is why I wouldn't pair any of them with Plekanec, unless Tomas got less defensive assignments and got to focus more on the offensive side.

I'm still a believer in taking the game to the other team instead of playing a reactive brand of hockey. Let's put our best players out there and give them ice time and make the other team have to match up. If the opponent plays their checking line against the Pleks-Pacman line then it should mean less defensive responsibility for Pacman. It also means the other team spends more time with their defensive forwards on the ice and let's also factor in that playing with Pleks instead of DD will in itself help Pacman play a better all-around game.

And if the other team lines up their top line against Pleks and Pacman, well then you just need to trust strength against strength. Let's say the Caps put Ovi-Backstrom out against that line. We'll still have Pleks, Gorges, and Subban out there to counter that and we'll be able to generate some attack of our own against guys who aren't considered to be a stellar defensive line themselves. Plus, the other team will still have to defend against Cole, Gio, DD, Eller, Gomez, Bourque, etc... I'd like to think that by balancing out our attack and splitting up our current DD line, that someone is going to have a favorable match-up. I'm not sure DD is a top line center, but give him Cole and Bourque against second-tier opponents and I think that's a mismatch in our favor.

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Fine, what about the other three options?

Cole is not defensively responsible. He's pretty indifferent to coverage in his own zone and has a tendency to turn the puck over at our blue line. I don't want him anywhere near the Plekanec line. Furthermore, why put Bourque, a player with less upside, on a scoring line? To me you either roll the dice with Bourque on the second line, or (as you suggested) you convert Gomez to second-line wing.

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Guest archey

you know what? it upsets me that no one has made it clear that they want to coach the other team and be the one who takes the chance of putting their players out against emelin and pk. i think that to be a key component. but..whatever.

(as of the last two pages of this thread that is)

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I'm still a believer in taking the game to the other team instead of playing a reactive brand of hockey. Let's put our best players out there and give them ice time and make the other team have to match up. If the opponent plays their checking line against the Pleks-Pacman line then it should mean less defensive responsibility for Pacman. It also means the other team spends more time with their defensive forwards on the ice and let's also factor in that playing with Pleks instead of DD will in itself help Pacman play a better all-around game.

And if the other team lines up their top line against Pleks and Pacman, well then you just need to trust strength against strength. Let's say the Caps put Ovi-Backstrom out against that line. We'll still have Pleks, Gorges, and Subban out there to counter that and we'll be able to generate some attack of our own against guys who aren't considered to be a stellar defensive line themselves. Plus, the other team will still have to defend against Cole, Gio, DD, Eller, Gomez, Bourque, etc... I'd like to think that by balancing out our attack and splitting up our current DD line, that someone is going to have a favorable match-up. I'm not sure DD is a top line center, but give him Cole and Bourque against second-tier opponents and I think that's a mismatch in our favor.

Big Ted: I love the idea, except for one thing. We just don't have enough good players to do this. It would be great to return to the "Firewagon Hockey" of the Maurice Richard era, but there are no Maurice Richards, Jean Beliveaus, Dickie Moores and "Boom-Boom" Geoffrions on our roster to make it work. Even the '70s Habs were not as wide-open as this, and they had Lafleur and Shutt. It takes strength from a very strong defense to do this, and right now, we are very woeful defensively. In the '50s you had Harvey, Johnson and some others who played excellent defense. In the '70s, you had Lapointe, Savard and Robinson. You see, being solid defensively and in goal (that's the only thing the current Habs have in common with the great teams of yesteyear) allows you to play more of an offensive game, knowing the defense and goal are so solid that they'll back you up.

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Big Ted: I love the idea, except for one thing. We just don't have enough good players to do this. It would be great to return to the "Firewagon Hockey" of the Maurice Richard era, but there are no Maurice Richards, Jean Beliveaus, Dickie Moores and "Boom-Boom" Geoffrions on our roster to make it work. Even the '70s Habs were not as wide-open as this, and they had Lafleur and Shutt. It takes strength from a very strong defense to do this, and right now, we are very woeful defensively. In the '50s you had Harvey, Johnson and some others who played excellent defense. In the '70s, you had Lapointe, Savard and Robinson. You see, being solid defensively and in goal (that's the only thing the current Habs have in common with the great teams of yesteyear) allows you to play more of an offensive game, knowing the defense and goal are so solid that they'll back you up.

I'd have to agree that it is the "D" for the most part that is woeful. The forward lines with appropriate blueliners to back them up could be relatively successful.

The "D" is the area I believe the Habs must try to change via trade.

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I'm still a believer in taking the game to the other team instead of playing a reactive brand of hockey. Let's put our best players out there and give them ice time and make the other team have to match up. If the opponent plays their checking line against the Pleks-Pacman line then it should mean less defensive responsibility for Pacman. It also means the other team spends more time with their defensive forwards on the ice and let's also factor in that playing with Pleks instead of DD will in itself help Pacman play a better all-around game.

And if the other team lines up their top line against Pleks and Pacman, well then you just need to trust strength against strength. Let's say the Caps put Ovi-Backstrom out against that line. We'll still have Pleks, Gorges, and Subban out there to counter that and we'll be able to generate some attack of our own against guys who aren't considered to be a stellar defensive line themselves. Plus, the other team will still have to defend against Cole, Gio, DD, Eller, Gomez, Bourque, etc... I'd like to think that by balancing out our attack and splitting up our current DD line, that someone is going to have a favorable match-up. I'm not sure DD is a top line center, but give him Cole and Bourque against second-tier opponents and I think that's a mismatch in our favor.

I am a fan of spreading our offensive weapons and build more than just one offensive line. If this means spreading the Max-DD-Cole line which had tremendous success last year, so be it. I wouldn't though seperate Pacioretty and Desharnais. They carry chemistry from the days in Hamilton and are very fond of each other (Pacioretty in an interview said that DD is one of the best centers in the league, and played a huge part in finding his game in Hamilton) To compliment this line i would put Bourque, (a forward with size like Cole), in order to find his game, and this would be my 2nd line. Plekanec and Cole at the 1st line are no brainer, and who plays with them depends of the future of Gomez. If Gomez leaves, Gionta fits in the 1st line LW, albeit a righty. If Gomez stays, Eller plays top line and Gomez with Gionta and Moen or Prust plays the 3rd line. Moen or Prust, White and Armstrong can be a very decent 4th line.

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I am a fan of spreading our offensive weapons and build more than just one offensive line. If this means spreading the Max-DD-Cole line which had tremendous success last year, so be it. I wouldn't though seperate Pacioretty and Desharnais. They carry chemistry from the days in Hamilton and are very fond of each other (Pacioretty in an interview said that DD is one of the best centers in the league, and played a huge part in finding his game in Hamilton) To compliment this line i would put Bourque, (a forward with size like Cole), in order to find his game, and this would be my 2nd line. Plekanec and Cole at the 1st line are no brainer, and who plays with them depends of the future of Gomez. If Gomez leaves, Gionta fits in the 1st line LW, albeit a righty. If Gomez stays, Eller plays top line and Gomez with Gionta and Moen or Prust plays the 3rd line. Moen or Prust, White and Armstrong can be a very decent 4th line.

Grecohab and all: I understand what you are saying about the need for more offense. I just don't believe there are enough offensive players in our lineup. However, if we were able to shore up our defense, which I think is the easiest route this team could take this season, our offense could play with a bit more confidence because our defense, which could and needs to be much better, would be backing them up. Too many other opponents have too easy a route to Carey Price, who has to often stand on his head to even keep the Habs in games. I say shore up the defense first with good defensemen and then a defensive-forward. You'd then have some building blocks on which to get more offense. It did not take a day for this organization to fall, and it won't take a day to rebuild it, either. This team is at least a couple of years (I know, sounds like a broken record) away from being a playoff threat again. We may not even get back in the playoffs again this season with the team the way it is currently constituted. Don't mean to be negative, but from what I'm seeing, trying to make an honest appraisal.

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Guest Regis2

3) Put Gomez as a winger on the Plekanec line. It will reunited Gomez and Gionta.

They've trried re uniting Gomez and Gionta for the last 3 years

It hasn'tr worked in the past and it probably won't work goign forward

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They've trried re uniting Gomez and Gionta for the last 3 years

It hasn'tr worked in the past and it probably won't work goign forward

In his first season with us he had 59 points playing beside Gionta and POULIOT. In his second one with Gionta and Pouliot/Moen/Darche/Pacioretty he had 38 points.

Imagine if he got Gionta and an actual decent winger for a full season, im sure hed be back at 59 points or somewhere around there. I don't see how he can just transform into a player who puts up no points over night.

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