Jump to content
The Official Site of the Montréal Canadiens
Canadiens de Montreal

2016-17 State of the Habs


BigTed3
 Share

Recommended Posts

So the Habs use the excuse that last season was a write-off because we didn't have the best goalie in the World, and you just can't win without an All-World goalie. It makes it even harder to buy that garbage though when you look at the teams who had success in this year's playoffs:

- SJ is riding Martin Jones, a 26-year old playing as a starter for the first time in his career. Prior to this season, he had only 34 games of NHL experience.

- Pit lost its starter and went with two rookies, first Jeff Zatkoff and then more significantly Matt Murray. Matt Murray had never played an NHL game before this year, got into only 13 regular season games (where he went 9-2), and has now rocked 11 wins in the playoffs.

- Tampa lost Ben Bishop and despite having a goalie with only 16 games of NHL experience prior to this season, they fared reasonably well without him. Vasilevskiy put up very good numbers and kept his team afloat.

- And the Blues went with a combination of Jake Allen and Brian Elliot, neither of whom I would consider to be a solid #1 option. They have two good goalie, but no one who is going to steal you wins and be season-altering.

All that to say that these are 4 perfect examples of teams that have done well without star goalies and who have dealt with injuries and overcome them. It really makes the Habs' excuses look even weaker to see this happening.

THIS...Do we still have a post of the day section, because this belongs in it. MTL makes the excuse (even though their motto is: "No Excuses"): "We couldn't get it done because we didn't have Carey Price all season."

And yet the very thing that impeded us from getting into the playoffs (lacking our all world goalie), is the very thing the final 4 of this years' playoffs managed to do (Go far in the playoffs WITHOUT an all world goalie). People have cringed at the thought of us trading Carey Price, but it has never seemed like that big of an issue to me...Especially when the final year of his contract coincides with a potential expansion draft (2017-2018).

However, the deeper issue than Price is what to do with our current state of the Habs. We still lack a GM who can pull the trigger on a deal that can help us and a coach who can properly utilize the skilled assets we do currently have. We need some more creative hockey minds in the front office as Bergevin and Terrien just leave us with more questions than they do answers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So the Habs use the excuse that last season was a write-off because we didn't have the best goalie in the World, and you just can't win without an All-World goalie. It makes it even harder to buy that garbage though when you look at the teams who had success in this year's playoffs:

Maybe because the Habs' recent Cup wins were backstopped by elite goalies? So despite how the game has changed after 20+ years, coaching mentality is still stuck in a bygone era? If it ain't broke, don't fix it? That was how they won the Cups, that is how they believe it's still the way to go <_< .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe because the Habs' recent Cup wins were backstopped by elite goalies? So despite how the game has changed after 20+ years, coaching mentality is still stuck in a bygone era? If it ain't broke, don't fix it? That was how they won the Cups, that is how they believe it's still the way to go <_< .

But most Habs Cup teams also had hall-of-fame forwards and defencemen too. Plante, Dryden, and Roy still needed the Doug Harveys, Maurice Richards, Guy Lafleurs, Larry Robinsons, Bob Gaineys, and so on to do their jobs well. Even in '93, we had scorers like Damphousse and Bellows and Leclair and Lebeau that we aren't finding now. It's just narrow-minded to believe goaltending can cover up all your mistakes, you still have to be good elsewhere and you have to have a decent coach to not block your talent from playing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe because the Habs' recent Cup wins were backstopped by elite goalies? So despite how the game has changed after 20+ years, coaching mentality is still stuck in a bygone era? If it ain't broke, don't fix it? That was how they won the Cups, that is how they believe it's still the way to go <_< .

You might be on to something there, though. I mean you can look at any successful Canadiens team going back... well, ever, and we've always had an All-Star goalie.

As Ted pointed out, historically we had lots of talent in front of our goalies as well and that's why those teams were dominant. But looking at the last twenty years, every successful run that we've made has been primarily goalie-driven. Both of the last two goalies to win the Hart, Price and Theodore, pretty much single-handedly carried their teams. We just keep getting lucky enough to find these saviour goalies one after the other (you could throw Halak in there for a while too). It's become the modern identity of this team in a lot of ways to build from the net out, and it makes sense to me that management might be stuck in that mindset.

Not that I'm saying that this is a good thing, mind you - we haven't won anything over those twenty years. Our problem is that we've used our build-from-the-net-out philosophy but we've forgotten about the 'build' part.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You might be on to something there, though. I mean you can look at any successful Canadiens team going back... well, ever, and we've always had an All-Star goalie.

As Ted pointed out, historically we had lots of talent in front of our goalies as well and that's why those teams were dominant. But looking at the last twenty years, every successful run that we've made has been primarily goalie-driven. Both of the last two goalies to win the Hart, Price and Theodore, pretty much single-handedly carried their teams. We just keep getting lucky enough to find these saviour goalies one after the other (you could throw Halak in there for a while too). It's become the modern identity of this team in a lot of ways to build from the net out, and it makes sense to me that management might be stuck in that mindset.

Not that I'm saying that this is a good thing, mind you - we haven't won anything over those twenty years. Our problem is that we've used our build-from-the-net-out philosophy but we've forgotten about the 'build' part.

But we've also had the years of David Aebischer and Jocelyn Thibeault and so on... and frankly we weren't very good at all in those years. Goaltending has been a crutch when it's worked, but it's not like management was able to succeed very well when we didn't have goalies to lean on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In addition to Philippe Danault, the Habs have given qualifying offer to Daniel Carr, Sven Andrighetto, and Mark Barberio. Those are three players who stepped up their games and deserve a shot at next year's squad. No offer for Bournival yet.

And in KHL news, Shipachev apparently still under contract for one more year and rumored not to be eligible for transfer to the NHL unless someone pays for him to do so.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But we've also had the years of David Aebischer and Jocelyn Thibeault and so on... and frankly we weren't very good at all in those years. Goaltending has been a crutch when it's worked, but it's not like management was able to succeed very well when we didn't have goalies to lean on.

That still speaks to what I'm saying, though. In the years where we didn't have top-notch goaltending we completely failed as a team, which works into the mindset that the Canadiens seem to have that goaltending is the be-all end-all. I mean based on their end-of-year presser, doesn't it seem like they're basically looking at all-start goaltending as being necessary to have success?

Again, I'm not at all saying that they're right (and a good GM... really any GM... should be able to tell that, no, relying on only a goalie isn't a good idea). I'm just saying that this is a mindset that has been built up around this organization for years, and our past results do kind of support it (even if it's wrong :P)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's a lot wrong with the Canadiens these days. So much so that it's all but impossible to pretend there's not deep, systemic dysfunction; indeed, it seems the only intellectually honest controversy is deciding where to start. At the core of it, however, I see this:

I'm just saying that this is a mindset that has been built up around this organization for years

Bergevin and Therrien aren't the disease, they're symptoms of this uniquely Montreal melange which the organization has apparently conditioned itself to follow: disastrous cargo cult thinking paired with paralyzing terror of the French media. The Montreal Canadiens must have elite goaltending to compete, therefor if the Montreal Canadiens don't have elite goaltending you can't expect them to compete, and whatever happens is just the result of bad luck that can't be blamed on anyone. Because something worked once, we've got to devote all energy into doing the same things over and over again. This is something I'll generously call a line of thought, but there's absolutely no logic in it. I'll add that it wouldn't be any better if our particular cargo cult was something else, like that which other teams have. Look at Boston and Philly with "team toughness". You also don't restrict your candidate pool to a particular province because winning is your priority. You do it because you've perceived that your core customers will believe whatever RDS and Journal de Montréal say, so keeping them happy is important. There's simply no way to spin that as being a legitimate hockey concern. It's cowardice, and rather odious at that.

I could spend a few thousand words supporting this assertion, but I think it unnecessary—by any objective assessment, this regime is a failure. Nothing is gained by a detailed examination of what was individually done wrong by the GM or coach, because the obvious goal should be to never hire anyone who thinks like them ever again. These kind of abjectly anachronistic people aren't hired by successful organizations for a reason. All that remains is a postmortem of the process that put them in the position to squander the potential of a promising group of players with their backward, knee-jerk methodology, and to continue it unabated even after it was demonstrated to be asinine. If that's not done properly (and quickly), it really doesn't matter how "serious" Molson is about fixing things, whenever he gets it. We'll still be making the same mistakes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, I'm really puzzled about the "power" of the French media :rolleyes: . Their bark is louder than their bite. Paper tigers, basically.

If this were an American city, where hockey is below the sports pecking order vs football, baseball or basketball, I can understand the need to court the media to generate publicity, interest and support.

But this is Canada!!! The media needs hockey to fill their columns. If I were the owner/GM, I would do what's best to generate performance and ignore the language politics. I'll hire the best coach and field the best players. If the media becomes nasty or write bad things, I'll boycott them. No more press invites, no more news nuggets, no more sound bites. Let's do the stand-off and see which side yields first ;) . With no access to the organization, what is the media going to report on? Impact? Expos? :lol: And if we win the Stanley Cup, they'll not allowed to join the street parade.

When they finally decide to play nice, I'll open the gates to them again. I challenge the media to get their readers to boycott all games. merchandise and Molson beer ^_^ . The owner/management needs to put the media firmly in their place and assert the real power dynamics in the relationship.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really don't get this thing with the media. I lived in Montreal for 35 years saw cups and lean times too. the media wanted RC. gone because he could not win. sure there was a big attack on him because he was anglo but if was winning consistently it would have been a non issue. the team is in Quebec so there will always be an issue with language it just is that way there no way that ever changes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really don't get this thing with the media. I lived in Montreal for 35 years saw cups and lean times too. the media wanted RC. gone because he could not win. sure there was a big attack on him because he was anglo but if was winning consistently it would have been a non issue. the team is in Quebec so there will always be an issue with language it just is that way there no way that ever changes.

But there should be a way that changes. Do you hear about teams in California or Miami requiring their coach to be bilingual English-Spanish because they have a significant Spanish-speaking population there? Vancouver has a significant Asian population. Does the Canucks coach need to speak Chinese? Over half the population of Atlanta is black. Did the Thrashers require a black head coach in order to be able to "connect to the fanbase"? If that sounds ridiculous, it's because it is.

In Cunneyworth's case, the backlash from the French media was actually immediate upon his hiring, not after his failure as a coach. Within 48 hours of Cunneyworth taking over, you had comments from Philippe Cantin of La Presse saying "the club had failed in its responsibility to protect the French language." Rejean Tremblay called it "a slap in the face and an affront to a person's right to like their own hockey team." Serge Savard said "the team belongs to the fans and hiring an Anglophone is unacceptable." Future PQ leader Mario Beaulieu stated "the move was unacceptable and the team is indifferent to the views of its fans." He also called for a boycott of Canadiens products until a French coach was hired. The culture minister at the time, Christine St-Pierre, called the move "unfortunate" and said she hoped it was only temporary. PQ member Yves Blanchet said he would stop buying Molson beer.

That's just the tip of the iceberg... you had people like Bertrand Raymond and Benoit Brunet and so on who were very outspoken against Cunneyworth as well. And so what happened? Within days, the Habs were in full damage control, with Pierre Gauthier apologizing for his move and Geoff Molson saying that speaking French would be a very important factor in who the Canadiens hired as a permanent coach. Those statements essentially threw Cunneyworth under the bus, and after that, he was a lame duck coach whose players had little reason to play hard for him. It's revisionist history to believe the negative reactions came only after the Habs poor performance that year. The backlash came from the French media and it came from politicians (mainly sovereignists) and it came right away. The charge was extremely politically-motivated and it had nothing to do with the on-ice product or the actual job RC did.

It's funny, because Rejean Tremblay argued that his 88 year-old father (a lifelong Habs fan) wouldn't be able to understand the coach. Yet he made no mention of the fact that his 88 year-old father would have thus gone through the eras of Toe Blake and Dick Irvin and Bob Berry and Scotty Bowman, all anglophones and a group that brought a lot of success to the club. He made no mention of the fact that the Habs were founded by an English-speaking Irishman and that they are currently owned and paid for by Anglophones. He made no mention of the fact that there are Habs fans across North America and across the world who are Anglophone, and that those numbers probably outweigh the local Francophone fanbase. Instead, somehow, there is a default sentiment among the Francophone media and political circles that this is a team that is owned in spirit by the Francophone people of Quebec and no one else. But why is the unilingual Francophone fan in Baie-Comeau any more entitled than the unilingual Anglophone fan in St. John's Newfoundland or Kingston Ontario or heck, Montreal Quebec? Why, if this is the Montreal Canadiens and not the Province of Quebec Canadiens, does the team have to cater to fans outside of Montreal within Quebec but not fans outside of Montreal in other parts of Canada or the world? The entitlement comes from the "we are real Quebecers and you are not" sentiment, and that comes from a purely political viewpoint.

I'm going to reiterate what I've said before, which is that this politically-motivated drive is not universal. In fact, I believe there was a poll of Francophone Habs fans where two thirds of them said they didn't care who the coach was or what language he spoke as long as he could win. So clearly, the outspoken members of the French media do not speak for everyone and do not represent the majority. And there are good hockey people in the French media who have tried to argue that hockey ability should be the most important thing (which it should be). But let's not for a second pretend that the xenophobes who came out against Cunneyworth did so because of his record as a coach, they did so because of language and language alone, and Molson caved in to them the second they did it. That in itself was the moment Molson turned from his initial viewpoint when he took over the club (when he actually stated that "as important as language was, this team isn't in politics, it's in the business of trying to win hockey games") to the viewpoint we have now of pansying to the French media for fears of them trashing his club's reputation and boycotting the team and his brewery. I have no respect for the bullying that went on to put us in this position and no respect for the Habs not standing up to that bullying publicly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really don't get this thing with the media. I lived in Montreal for 35 years saw cups and lean times too. the media wanted RC. gone because he could not win. sure there was a big attack on him because he was anglo but if was winning consistently it would have been a non issue. the team is in Quebec so there will always be an issue with language it just is that way there no way that ever changes.

I agree with you here. I don't think that the media itself actually has much to do with the problem, but rather they're just the most visible symptom. Sure there would be negative stories if we hired an anglo coach, but there were negative stories about PK and there were negative stories about trading Halak/keeping Price and there are negative stories about Therrien and none of that has really done anything to sway management over the years. Like you said, ramcharger, if that coach/player starts winning then the negative stories tend to go away. That didn't happen with Cunneyworth, so the people whining about him not speaking French were able to be heard loud and clear. I think that if we ever got someone like Babcock or Quenneville then the positive articles would drown out the negative ones pretty quickly. Sure there'd still be people who complain, but I don't think that they would be taken very seriously.

With all that said, the bias towards francophones is absolutely a reality for the Canadiens organization. They've outright stated as much. As for why, my guess is that they're seeing themselves as safeguarding the culture of the Canadiens. But what they're forgetting is that a big part of that culture involved winning. Even in their cultural heyday the Habs weren't revered because they were francophones, they were revered because they empowered francophones by competing and winning against major anglophone cities. Hiring a coach who can't win just because he's francophone does nothing to further this legacy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, I'm really puzzled about the "power" of the French media :rolleyes: . Their bark is louder than their bite. Paper tigers, basically.

I'm fully in agreement. Nobody outside the Quebec hockey sphere takes a single thing they say or do seriously, and not many inside do, either. Yet the organization continues to pretend they're anything but a parade of clowns. Why?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest habs1952

But there should be a way that changes. Do you hear about teams in California or Miami requiring their coach to be bilingual English-Spanish because they have a significant Spanish-speaking population there? Vancouver has a significant Asian population. Does the Canucks coach need to speak Chinese? Over half the population of Atlanta is black. Did the Thrashers require a black head coach in order to be able to "connect to the fanbase"? If that sounds ridiculous, it's because it is.

The Americans don't even demand their coaches speak American.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not surprised that a legend like Lafleur (all-time Habs points scorer) is given the cold shoulder by the organization. It is very selective about which alumni to honour and welcome with open arms.

He joins the Larry Robinson club -_- .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

State of the Habs:

Sad State of Hockey Affairs.

While the Bettman Hockey League just keeps on rolling with predictable moves, the Canadiens just keep digging a deeper hole.

Imagine how happy Bettman was with no Canadian teams in the playoffs this season. Mission accomplished. Meanwhile, the league expands to.....Las Vegas?? Don't get me wrong, I'll enjoy some professional hockey here once in a while, especially when the Habs come to town (which probably won't be but once every four years or so). But there's a reason there's never been a successful pro franchise team here.

But back to Montreal.....it's my theory that the Canadiens would never have won a Stanley Cup while Bettman was commissioner anyway, but current management is only helping that tragic scenario with all of its misguided hirings and questionable decision making. We've got a stone-age coach who misuses just about every player on the roster, guarantees that the team will be less productive that it could be, even hates the most talented player on his team and shows it publicly, and never takes responsibility for the team's shortcomings or mind-boggling record-setting losing streaks. We've got a general manager who disregards anyone who doesn't speak French, and would rather hire people he played pee-wee hockey with than coaches who have won NHL championships. In fact, he won't even consider interviewing them, and from the sounds of it, doesn't even return their phone calls. Very professional.~ He keeps trying to find skill guys for a team that routinely destroys any chance for them to provide the skills they have while it attempts to turn them into grinders. And I'm sorry, but losing Carey Price is no excuse. We just watched an inexperienced rookie goaltender win the Stanley Cup.....again.

It's already demanding enough that high taxation makes it less desirable for players to come to Montreal. But combine this with the fact (not the theory, the fact) that the NHL referees clearly have the green light to disfavor Montreal, plus all of the incompetence of the current regime, and we can all say goodbye to any championship dreams in the next twenty years or more. Again, just the way Bettman wants it....and apparently, Molson, too.

Have fun, Kirk Muller, while it lasts, because it never does.

We all probably won't still be here long enough, but I'm willing to make a bet: I will bet that the Las Vegas NHL hockey team wins a Stanley Cup Championship before the Canadiens do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The difference between Murray and Condon is that Murray is the future number one in Pitt and has been projected to be a top goalie by their organization whereas Condon manged to beat out a below average backup. I think Murray was expected to do what he did and .....well if Condon could play like that our problems would have been minimized.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The difference between Murray and Condon is that Murray is the future number one in Pitt and has been projected to be a top goalie by their organization whereas Condon manged to beat out a below average backup. I think Murray was expected to do what he did and .....well if Condon could play like that our problems would have been minimized.

Great for Murray, but a lot of young goalies break into the league and struggle before they find their groove. Murray was a 3rd-round pick, he wasn't a shoo-in by any means, and he wasn't even the starter for Pittsburgh at the start of the playoffs (even with MAF out, Jeff Zatkoff was the guy who got the first shot).

The point of this is that Bergevin and Therrien made a big stink about Carey being out and how no team could win without Carey. They basically wrote off the season and patted themselves on the back for doing the best they could without an all-world goalie. The Murray-led Penguins and the Jones-led Sharks and the Bishop-less Lightning pretty much disproved the Habs excuse that you can't win without a thoroughbred all-star in net. And heck, if it was so easy to just toss a blue chip prospect in and win the Cup, then why would the Habs not have brought up Fucale (a high 2nd-round pick) to do what Murray did?

I'll agree with you that Murray seems to be a pretty decent goalie, but let's see if he's able to carry his success long-term. As it stands, the only thing I take from this is that good teams with good coaches are able to win even without their #1 and even without an experienced goalie. The Habs did not, despite a pretty good line-up (Pacman, Subban, Galchenyuk, Gallagher, Plekanec, Petry, Markov, etc.), so it tells me there are issues with the Habs coaching/system and problems with their sorry list of excuses.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bodog has released its odds for the 2016-17 Cup. The Pens are favored to repeat at 8-1 then the Hawks at 10-1. The Habs are tied for 14th/15th-best odds at 20-1. So clearly the oddsmakers think Carey's return will boost us out of the basement, but not enough to make us legitimate contenders unless further change is made as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • H_T_L locked this topic
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...