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State Of The Habs 2018-19


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I think we might be putting the cart in front of the horse here.  We're five games into the season, and yes, we're winning against some lauded contenders but does no one remember the Leaf teams that had terrific Octobers and into Novembers and than the wheels falling off?  We're the same kind of team.  The Penguins and the Kings of the league will find another gear, the early season rust will come off.  We're in tight games now with little mistakes costing us while we're edging out wins with sixty minute efforts.  What happens when the skilled teams start making chances?  When effort isn't enough?  When the little team that could....simply can't?

Weber sure looked good in his first couple of games with us.  Paul Byron, bless his little engine, is nothing but heart and soul.  Heart and soul that's never put up the kind of points we traded away.  If we're going anywhere it'll be like years past; Price dragging this team kicking and screaming right across the finish line.  The future looks bright, but that's still tomorrow's tomorrow at this point.

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1 hour ago, jeff33 said:

Its kind of funny.....no way MB knew domi was going to be a good centre. it makes the trade look completely different but he totally just rolled the dice again and lucked out this time.

Even better is that he made the patchy trade because IMO vegas was the only team who was this late into the bungling willing to give up a top prospect. tatar was probably a contingency thing on THEIR part. Now look at this guy,leading the team in scoring. MB sort of bungled his way into really improving the fwd group.

Speaking of Tartarsauce, I want to point out that he is everything I hated about our departed captain. The guy just does everything, dekes guys, stretch passes , interceptions, picks pockets, gets in front of the net, gets in the corners.  man that trade wasnt fair for them  even 1 for 1 IMO.  He's changed the whole dynamic of the team. kind of a radulov lite.  wish we had a better C for him to play with , but at least theres options in the pipeline.

The one other big difference for this year is Reilly, who I guess I have to credit MB for because he went out and got this guy kind of randomly. Hes our best dman, its crazy. what a goal last night.  

As long as we continue to sit the plugs and play a skill game Im happy to follow along with these guys. I just dont want to see plekanec slowly climbing the lineup, or alzner benn and schlemko all playing at the same time at any point.  otherwise go habs. 

Re: Domi  - i think its sort of tough to say.  Domi did play about 20+ games at centre last year & its possible our pro scouts watched him & felt he was a centre.  He also played centre in junior so maybe Timmins (who said he had him ranked higher than he actually went in his draft year) felt he was a true centre.  Either way though, yes, it was a dice roll - just maybe not as risky as it seems if you felt he was 100% winger.

And yes, cant agree more about Tatar.  The guy is a beast.  Its what i remember him as on Datsyuk & then Zetterbergs' wing. I never saw him play in Vegas so I just assumed he fell off a cliff when they were scratching him.  I think he's playing with a huge chip on his shoulder & would not be surprised at all to see him have a career year.

I do wonder if at some point we'll see JK and Danault switch though -  Tatar-JK- Gallagher could be very interesting if the kid sticks around and continues to improve. 

31 minutes ago, Litany said:

I think we might be putting the cart in front of the horse here.  We're five games into the season, and yes, we're winning against some lauded contenders but does no one remember the Leaf teams that had terrific Octobers and into Novembers and than the wheels falling off?  We're the same kind of team.  The Penguins and the Kings of the league will find another gear, the early season rust will come off.  We're in tight games now with little mistakes costing us while we're edging out wins with sixty minute efforts.  What happens when the skilled teams start making chances?  When effort isn't enough?  When the little team that could....simply can't?

Weber sure looked good in his first couple of games with us.  Paul Byron, bless his little engine, is nothing but heart and soul.  Heart and soul that's never put up the kind of points we traded away.  If we're going anywhere it'll be like years past; Price dragging this team kicking and screaming right across the finish line.  The future looks bright, but that's still tomorrow's tomorrow at this point.

For sure, six games is a very small sample size but we've seen a few key things that give hope:

1 ) We're playing a totally different system - one that works with todays NHL and this particular roster

2 ) We have a meritocracy system. It doesnt matter if you're the highest paid defensman, you will sit if you're not one of the 6 best. Even coach-favourites like Plekanec are getting scaled-back icetime in favour of better young players. 

3) We lack game-breaking talent but we are super deep on 2nd-3rd line players. Is this ideal? no -but imagine you're the opposition: which line do you put your checker on against?  Tatar/Gallagher?  Domi/Drouin? Kotkaneimi/Byron ?  Even our 4th line of Hudon/Pec is better than most team's   This team is going to win by causing mismatches lower down the lineup. 

4) The defense is 100x better than last year. This is the only thing im slightly concerned about though: Is Reilly that good? What about Juulsen?  Can they sustain this until Weber gets back?

5) Carey Price looks better and better.

 

I think this team is for real & like i said before the season started (and people questioned my sanity) I think we may well be a wild-card team. 

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2 hours ago, jeff33 said:

Speaking of Tartarsauce, I want to point out that he is everything I hated about our departed captain. The guy just does everything, dekes guys, stretch passes , interceptions, picks pockets, gets in front of the net, gets in the corners.  man that trade wasnt fair for them  even 1 for 1 IMO.  He's changed the whole dynamic of the team. kind of a radulov lite.  wish we had a better C for him to play with , but at least theres options in the pipeline.

 

:5187:

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1 hour ago, maas_art said:

Re: Domi  - i think its sort of tough to say.  Domi did play about 20+ games at centre last year & its possible our pro scouts watched him & felt he was a centre.  He also played centre in junior so maybe Timmins (who said he had him ranked higher than he actually went in his draft year) felt he was a true centre.  Either way though, yes, it was a dice roll - just maybe not as risky as it seems if you felt he was 100% winger.

And yes, cant agree more about Tatar.  The guy is a beast.  Its what i remember him as on Datsyuk & then Zetterbergs' wing. I never saw him play in Vegas so I just assumed he fell off a cliff when they were scratching him.  I think he's playing with a huge chip on his shoulder & would not be surprised at all to see him have a career year.

I do wonder if at some point we'll see JK and Danault switch though -  Tatar-JK- Gallagher could be very interesting if the kid sticks around and continues to improve. 

For sure, six games is a very small sample size but we've seen a few key things that give hope:

1 ) We're playing a totally different system - one that works with todays NHL and this particular roster

2 ) We have a meritocracy system. It doesnt matter if you're the highest paid defensman, you will sit if you're not one of the 6 best. Even coach-favourites like Plekanec are getting scaled-back icetime in favour of better young players. 

3) We lack game-breaking talent but we are super deep on 2nd-3rd line players. Is this ideal? no -but imagine you're the opposition: which line do you put your checker on against?  Tatar/Gallagher?  Domi/Drouin? Kotkaneimi/Byron ?  Even our 4th line of Hudon/Pec is better than most team's   This team is going to win by causing mismatches lower down the lineup. 

4) The defense is 100x better than last year. This is the only thing im slightly concerned about though: Is Reilly that good? What about Juulsen?  Can they sustain this until Weber gets back?

5) Carey Price looks better and better.

 

I think this team is for real & like i said before the season started (and people questioned my sanity) I think we may well be a wild-card team. 

I see no reason why this team can't contend for a wildcard spot at least, when Webber gets back i think it will have a pretty big effect on our D as we now have several options to play with him that can really skate which will just help our depth.once everyone slots back into the next slot down our D will look pretty good not amazing but better than it has been for a while due to our speed and new system. as for our forwards we are quite deep no real game breakers but with our depth we are still pretty hard to defend against as we are generally quicker and more balanced than we have been in years and although Patches and Chucky could pull the trigger they were way too streaky to know what we really had. and lastly we have two veteran goalies who are playing quite well, in all it makes for a good combo that is hard to defend against.

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Friday's Practice Lines perJohn Lu

Forwards 

Tatar - Danault - Gallagher
Drouin - Domi - Lehkonen
Byron - Kotkaniemi - Armia
Deslauriers - Peca - Shaw

Defence

Hudon - Scherbak
Alzner - Petry
Reilly - Juulsen
Ouellet - Benn

Mete - Practicing but still nursing a hand injury.

Goalies

Price
Niemi  

 

This is straight from John Lu - apparently Hudon & Scherbak are defensemen now :P 

So DeLo looks like he might be ready/close?, Pleks is injured (back) and Schlemko & Weber are still out obviously.  

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Lol Deslauriers in and Hudon out. Ca sent la coupe!

 

Agree with @Litany too. Things look alright because they're playing well out of the gate but it's not hard to imagine a team led by Tatar and Gallagher might run cold for stretches during the season. I'm happy to see they're giving guys like Peca and Kotkaniemi a shot and that Alzner is only playing due to injury, but this team has precisely zero star players and I think Weber's return at age 33 after consecutive foot/knee surgeries and missing a calendar year is going to be a lot rockier than expected. 

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21 hours ago, jeff33 said:

Its kind of funny.....no way MB knew domi was going to be a good centre. it makes the trade look completely different but he totally just rolled the dice again and lucked out this time.

Even better is that he made the patchy trade because IMO vegas was the only team who was this late into the bungling willing to give up a top prospect. tatar was probably a contingency thing on THEIR part. Now look at this guy,leading the team in scoring. MB sort of bungled his way into really improving the fwd group.

Speaking of Tartarsauce, I want to point out that he is everything I hated about our departed captain. The guy just does everything, dekes guys, stretch passes , interceptions, picks pockets, gets in front of the net, gets in the corners.  man that trade wasnt fair for them  even 1 for 1 IMO.  He's changed the whole dynamic of the team. kind of a radulov lite.  wish we had a better C for him to play with , but at least theres options in the pipeline.

The one other big difference for this year is Reilly, who I guess I have to credit MB for because he went out and got this guy kind of randomly. Hes our best dman, its crazy. what a goal last night.  

As long as we continue to sit the plugs and play a skill game Im happy to follow along with these guys. I just dont want to see plekanec slowly climbing the lineup, or alzner benn and schlemko all playing at the same time at any point.  otherwise go habs. 

I echo your statement word for word.

I'm cautiously pleased by the outcome so far. However it's making MB look like a genius. ;)

Anyway in retrospect getting rid of both Paccioretty and Galchenyuk seems to be working out just fine.

As you know I was never a big fan of either.

There seems to be a positive dynamic with this team that didn't exist before.

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4 hours ago, Noob616 said:

Lol Deslauriers in and Hudon out. Ca sent la coupe!

 

Agree with @Litany too. Things look alright because they're playing well out of the gate but it's not hard to imagine a team led by Tatar and Gallagher might run cold for stretches during the season. I'm happy to see they're giving guys like Peca and Kotkaniemi a shot and that Alzner is only playing due to injury, but this team has precisely zero star players and I think Weber's return at age 33 after consecutive foot/knee surgeries and missing a calendar year is going to be a lot rockier than expected. 

With respect to Weber, I think it all depends on what the rest of the D looks like at that point and what we ask him to do. If you ask him to play 22-25 minutes a night, it's going to be tough. But if you look at the right side of the D, Weber-Petry-Juulsen gives you three guys you can throw out who can be hopefully pretty consistent and versatile in how you use them. And if they're partnered with the likes of Mete and Reilly and I guess Ouellet, and you're not asking them to carry dead weight, then you'd think the odds of success would have to be better than last year. I personally don't know that Weber is a true #1 D man anymore. I view him as being somewhere in the range of top 20-40 D men in the league but he's good enough to be effective, to be a huge boon to the PP, and to work as part of a let's-get-this-done-by-committee approach on D the way the forwards have been used.

Up front, really disappointed to see Deslauriers inserted over Hudon and even Scherbak. I do wonder if Plekanec's "injury" solidifies JK staying at least past game 9 and then maybe being re-assessed closer to game 39 or the World Juniors. But for me, Hudon has done a really good job with the opportunities he's been given over the past couple of years, yet he can't seem to find the buy-in from his coaches. Deslauriers on the other hand played well last year but was largely overrated by coaches and the fanbase based on a higher-than-average shooting percentage and strong effort. Admittedly, I've said the same thing about Byron and he's proven me wrong, but Deslauriers doesn't even have the skillset that Byron has and I'm hard-pressed to believe he's a better choice then Hudon. Further to that, I still think the team lacks a sniper on the PP, which is where inserting Scherbak could help, and I still think the team needs to find out what Scherbak can do in order to make a decision on him, so I see more value for those two reasons in inserting Scherbak in before Deslauriers.

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47 minutes ago, BigTed3 said:

With respect to Weber, I think it all depends on what the rest of the D looks like at that point and what we ask him to do. If you ask him to play 22-25 minutes a night, it's going to be tough. But if you look at the right side of the D, Weber-Petry-Juulsen gives you three guys you can throw out who can be hopefully pretty consistent and versatile in how you use them. And if they're partnered with the likes of Mete and Reilly and I guess Ouellet, and you're not asking them to carry dead weight, then you'd think the odds of success would have to be better than last year. I personally don't know that Weber is a true #1 D man anymore. I view him as being somewhere in the range of top 20-40 D men in the league but he's good enough to be effective, to be a huge boon to the PP, and to work as part of a let's-get-this-done-by-committee approach on D the way the forwards have been used.

Up front, really disappointed to see Deslauriers inserted over Hudon and even Scherbak. I do wonder if Plekanec's "injury" solidifies JK staying at least past game 9 and then maybe being re-assessed closer to game 39 or the World Juniors. But for me, Hudon has done a really good job with the opportunities he's been given over the past couple of years, yet he can't seem to find the buy-in from his coaches. Deslauriers on the other hand played well last year but was largely overrated by coaches and the fanbase based on a higher-than-average shooting percentage and strong effort. Admittedly, I've said the same thing about Byron and he's proven me wrong, but Deslauriers doesn't even have the skillset that Byron has and I'm hard-pressed to believe he's a better choice then Hudon. Further to that, I still think the team lacks a sniper on the PP, which is where inserting Scherbak could help, and I still think the team needs to find out what Scherbak can do in order to make a decision on him, so I see more value for those two reasons in inserting Scherbak in before Deslauriers.

I agree with most of this, i like Deslauriers but no way should he take a spot from Hudon i see Hudon as a good player that is still improving and has a bunch more upside. as for Sherbak something is up there, he has all the skills but when he does play he has a habit of taking the night off once in a while he has to shake that or he will not make the NHL anywhere, i hope we don't give up on him and he can get sorted soon.

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22 hours ago, ramcharger440 said:

I see no reason why this team can't contend for a wildcard spot at least,

Contending for a wildcard spot just indicates we're a mediocre team with no upside for the future. I think I'd rather see us falter for the year and get into a prime draft slot next summer. 

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1 hour ago, ramcharger440 said:

I agree with most of this, i like Deslauriers but no way should he take a spot from Hudon i see Hudon as a good player that is still improving and has a bunch more upside. as for Sherbak something is up there, he has all the skills but when he does play he has a habit of taking the night off once in a while he has to shake that or he will not make the NHL anywhere, i hope we don't give up on him and he can get sorted soon.

Sherbak risks himself to be heading into the same path as DLR IMO. If he doesn't turn it on BIG time this year it's over.

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2 hours ago, ramcharger440 said:

I agree with most of this, i like Deslauriers but no way should he take a spot from Hudon i see Hudon as a good player that is still improving and has a bunch more upside. as for Sherbak something is up there, he has all the skills but when he does play he has a habit of taking the night off once in a while he has to shake that or he will not make the NHL anywhere, i hope we don't give up on him and he can get sorted soon.

 

8 minutes ago, Habs=stanleycup said:

Sherbak risks himself to be heading into the same path as DLR IMO. If he doesn't turn it on BIG time this year it's over.

 

I think there's a misconception that offensive players like Scherbak take nights off more commonly because they don't play the same style of game as say a Danault or a Deslauriers or a Shaw. Those plumber type players are charged with lesser tasks. If they "try hard" and "don't make any major mistakes" they're seen as having had good games. Man, that Philip Danault really skated hard on that back check. Wow, Andrew Shaw took that bodycheck to make the clearing play. Deslauriers put his body on the line to block that shot for the team. You remember those standout plays and you associate them with effort or grit and you attribute a positive spin on them. Conversely, you look at scorers like Pacioretty or Briere or Galchenyuk or Kovalev or Scherbak now. All of those players have been labeled lazy or streaky or inconsistent by fans and media, but are they? No, maybe they don't look like they're running all over the ice, but frequently, these guys only need a couple of great moments a game to make an impact.

I remember a couple of games last year and in pre-season this year where Scherbak created something out of nothing and got a great scoring chance but didn't score. Sometimes he did it a few times in a game. But his "success" also depends on a defender or a goalie making a mistake, in a game where 90-93% of shots are stopped. If a guy like Scherbak or Pacioretty goes 5 games without scoring a goal, he's labeled as slumping. On the other hand, a guy like Danault or Shaw or Deslauriers can backcheck hard and if he happens to catch the guy and turn the puck over, you recall that as a success. You don't think as much about the next 5 times where he fails to get the puck. Your recall is that the player made a great play to save a scoring chance and your recall on Scherbak is that he didn't score the goal. But the opportunity for Danault to make that play happens much more frequently and the impediment from the other team to stop him from skating hard is less than the impediment to Scherbak scoring. It doesn't mean Scherbak isn't doing his job well or putting in any less effort to succeed, it just means that the scorer's job is harder. That's why there are not a lot of 30-goal scorers in the league and why there are a ton of guys that you can pick up as free agents or on waivers who can come in and do the job of a bottom 6 player. Byron was a waiver wire pick-up. Deslauriers was acquired for peanuts. We got Mitchell and Flynn and Prust and so on before them without giving up anything of note, and in 2-3 years, we'll probably have moved on from Deslauriers and found another cheaper, younger option to do his job, the same way we moved on from hardworking but less talented players like Mathieu Darche and Mathie Dandenault and Jeff Halpern and Ryan White and Glen Metropolit.

My point is that if you measure a sniper's success by how many goals they score and a plumber's success by how hard they try and how many bodychecks they throw or how many times they clear the puck from the zone, you're going to recall a lot more "successful occurrences" for the plumber. The denominators in those situations are not the same and the skillset needed to accomplish those goals are not comparable. When it comes to scorers, you simply have to live with the fact that it's a harder job to score and it's not going to happen every night or even every second game. I want to see guys contributing to the PP. I want to see guys creating scoring chances and putting pucks on net. I want to know that we're establishing puck possession in the O zone. I want to know what percentage of breakouts we turn into offensive shots and scoring chances. Those are going to be much more comparable measures of how a player like Scherbak is doing relative to those 4th liners. And given that Scherbak is no longer waiver-eligible, now is really the time to know what he can do. You can't stick him in the pressbox and say he's not performing. You can't put him on the 4th line and claim he doesn't create anything. He needs to be in the top 9 and preferably the top 6 and you need to give him 15-20 games to properly evaluate him. Given the Plekanec injury and the fact Deslauriers doesn't bring a wide skillset and the fact Armia has really struggled IMO, there's an opening in the line-up and specifically an opening on the RW position in the top 9 if you ask me. I'd love to know what Scherbak can do next to Drouin and one of Domi or Kotkaniemi.

 

 

 

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32 minutes ago, habs1952 said:

Contending for a wildcard spot just indicates we're a mediocre team with no upside for the future. I think I'd rather see us falter for the year and get into a prime draft slot next summer. 

I definitely don't agree with "no upside for the future". I believe with a young team if you're making strides forward it's much better than struggling and building a losing culture. Edmonton had years of #1 and other top picks , but they had a losing culture there which I believe has actually slowed their rise. We already have more centers with promise in the pipeline and youth that are gaining great experience. There is no guarantee that we'd get the top pick any way. Our young defense is going to get great experience this year also. Letting the youth play is great but if all you do is lose that is a hard thing to shake. That is why a lot of teams will keep youth in lower leagues to gain experience and to get used to dominating and winning. To much losing can be hard on young players also. At some point you have to make strides forward and it usually doesn't go from bottom , bottom, bottom bang TOP. If that was the case Edmonton Phoenix Buffalo would be Cup contenders.

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On 10/18/2018 at 5:32 PM, jeff33 said:

Its kind of funny.....no way MB knew domi was going to be a good centre. it makes the trade look completely different but he totally just rolled the dice again and lucked out this time.

 

Domi was playing center down the stretch for Arizona and looking quite good in that role .. so while it was a gamble, I think it was calculated one ... MB at least had something to look at to see if Domi was capable at C.

Tatar however I think he just lucked out on.

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Just an FYI, 

Best breakaway goalie voting (61 total votes)

Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens, 16; Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators, 9; Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings, 6; Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers, 6; Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights, 5; Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets, 5; Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins, 3; Frederik Andersen, Toronto Maple Leafs, 3; Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning, 2; Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks, 1; Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals, 1; Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche, 1; No answer given, 3

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7 hours ago, kinot-2 said:

Just an FYI, 

Best breakaway goalie voting (61 total votes)

Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens, 16; Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators, 9; Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings, 6; Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers, 6; Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights, 5; Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets, 5; Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins, 3; Frederik Andersen, Toronto Maple Leafs, 3; Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning, 2; Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks, 1; Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals, 1; Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche, 1; No answer given, 3

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Who came up with this list and who were the ones voting? Also what was the criteria used? I ask because shoot outs can't be used in consideration of break a ways. A break away someone is chasing you and done at full speed. That is why I've always hated the shoot out , it's a gimmick that really doesn't resemble any actual hockey play other than the rare penalty shot.

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17 minutes ago, CaptWelly said:

Who came up with this list and who were the ones voting? Also what was the criteria used? I ask because shoot outs can't be used in consideration of break a ways. A break away someone is chasing you and done at full speed. That is why I've always hated the shoot out , it's a gimmick that really doesn't resemble any actual hockey play other than the rare penalty shot.

61 players were asked who they don't want to be in the net, who they feared the most. Full story is on NHL.com

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47 minutes ago, campabee82 said:

61 players were asked who they don't want to be in the net, who they feared the most. Full story is on NHL.com

Thanks, I really should have sourced the article. :)

 

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So here is an interesting little stat my calls only; so take it with a grain of salt. If we can continue playing the way we have so far by my calcs at the end of the year we will be 2 points back of the leafs. See calcs below.

Habs 

Record 4-1-1

Win percentage 4÷6=67%

OT loss percentage 1÷6=14%

82 game forecast record is then

Wins 82×67%=55 wins

OT loss 82×14%=12 

That means we will have earned 110 points from wins and 12 points for OT loss for a total of 122 points.

Toronto predictions so far work out to 

Wins percentage 6÷8=75%

They have no OT losses 

So 82 game win forecast is 82×75%=62 wins

62×2=124

Please understand that this is a small sample size and the Leafs have played 2 more games so it's hard to fairly compare the records but this team has the potential for surprising everyone. Also to be noted I do not think the habs can play all year the way they have but am cautiously optimistic about their chances.

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So pleased with the great start, not sure they can keep it up, but at least I will get to enjoy some games this season.

The biggest difference this year is most definitely the defense. They are actually playing defense and not worrying about any thing but getting the puck out as quickly as possible. 

Luke Richardson has to be the reason for this. Noah Juulsen and Mike Reilly look so much better then last year. Both have said that Luke has had a positive influence on how they play.

 

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I wonder if the habs decision to sit Scherbak so long is based on the idea that Armia is a more experienced player and speaks the same language as Kotkaniemi making him a better fit to learn from than Scherbak. However if they make the decision to keep Kotkaniemi past game 9 I wonder if we will see Scherbak on his wing and Armia and Deslauriers split time on the 4th line. As Scherbak is definitely the better player to match with Kotkaniemi than Armia.

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14 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

 

 

I think there's a misconception that offensive players like Scherbak take nights off more commonly because they don't play the same style of game as say a Danault or a Deslauriers or a Shaw. Those plumber type players are charged with lesser tasks. If they "try hard" and "don't make any major mistakes" they're seen as having had good games. Man, that Philip Danault really skated hard on that back check. Wow, Andrew Shaw took that bodycheck to make the clearing play. Deslauriers put his body on the line to block that shot for the team. You remember those standout plays and you associate them with effort or grit and you attribute a positive spin on them. Conversely, you look at scorers like Pacioretty or Briere or Galchenyuk or Kovalev or Scherbak now. All of those players have been labeled lazy or streaky or inconsistent by fans and media, but are they? No, maybe they don't look like they're running all over the ice, but frequently, these guys only need a couple of great moments a game to make an impact.

I remember a couple of games last year and in pre-season this year where Scherbak created something out of nothing and got a great scoring chance but didn't score. Sometimes he did it a few times in a game. But his "success" also depends on a defender or a goalie making a mistake, in a game where 90-93% of shots are stopped. If a guy like Scherbak or Pacioretty goes 5 games without scoring a goal, he's labeled as slumping. On the other hand, a guy like Danault or Shaw or Deslauriers can backcheck hard and if he happens to catch the guy and turn the puck over, you recall that as a success. You don't think as much about the next 5 times where he fails to get the puck. Your recall is that the player made a great play to save a scoring chance and your recall on Scherbak is that he didn't score the goal. But the opportunity for Danault to make that play happens much more frequently and the impediment from the other team to stop him from skating hard is less than the impediment to Scherbak scoring. It doesn't mean Scherbak isn't doing his job well or putting in any less effort to succeed, it just means that the scorer's job is harder. That's why there are not a lot of 30-goal scorers in the league and why there are a ton of guys that you can pick up as free agents or on waivers who can come in and do the job of a bottom 6 player. Byron was a waiver wire pick-up. Deslauriers was acquired for peanuts. We got Mitchell and Flynn and Prust and so on before them without giving up anything of note, and in 2-3 years, we'll probably have moved on from Deslauriers and found another cheaper, younger option to do his job, the same way we moved on from hardworking but less talented players like Mathieu Darche and Mathie Dandenault and Jeff Halpern and Ryan White and Glen Metropolit.

My point is that if you measure a sniper's success by how many goals they score and a plumber's success by how hard they try and how many bodychecks they throw or how many times they clear the puck from the zone, you're going to recall a lot more "successful occurrences" for the plumber. The denominators in those situations are not the same and the skillset needed to accomplish those goals are not comparable. When it comes to scorers, you simply have to live with the fact that it's a harder job to score and it's not going to happen every night or even every second game. I want to see guys contributing to the PP. I want to see guys creating scoring chances and putting pucks on net. I want to know that we're establishing puck possession in the O zone. I want to know what percentage of breakouts we turn into offensive shots and scoring chances. Those are going to be much more comparable measures of how a player like Scherbak is doing relative to those 4th liners. And given that Scherbak is no longer waiver-eligible, now is really the time to know what he can do. You can't stick him in the pressbox and say he's not performing. You can't put him on the 4th line and claim he doesn't create anything. He needs to be in the top 9 and preferably the top 6 and you need to give him 15-20 games to properly evaluate him. Given the Plekanec injury and the fact Deslauriers doesn't bring a wide skillset and the fact Armia has really struggled IMO, there's an opening in the line-up and specifically an opening on the RW position in the top 9 if you ask me. I'd love to know what Scherbak can do next to Drouin and one of Domi or Kotkaniemi.

 

 

 

Has  Armia really struggled? i am all for giving Sherbek a real shot but at the end of the day i don't see him getting it done, i really want to see him get a solid look before we make a decision one way or the other though as you will never be sure unless we do.

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4 hours ago, campabee82 said:

I wonder if the habs decision to sit Scherbak so long is based on the idea that Armia is a more experienced player and speaks the same language as Kotkaniemi making him a better fit to learn from than Scherbak. However if they make the decision to keep Kotkaniemi past game 9 I wonder if we will see Scherbak on his wing and Armia and Deslauriers split time on the 4th line. As Scherbak is definitely the better player to match with Kotkaniemi than Armia.

I am not sure that scherbak is a better player for Kots right now. Armia may not be lighting it up. But he is a very responsible player in all three zones that is why this team has been succesful, players who are willing to work hard in all zones, watch the wingers support the breakout from the defensive zone. Sherbak may have more offensive upside but at the end of the day that would likely be a step backwards for this team. If you drop Lekonen back with Kots and Byron and try Sherback with some proven NHL players in Domi and Droiun I would be for that. I love what Kots has brought to this team  i still think he needs the insulation he has been getting, 30 or 40 games into the season things could be different. Even over the last couple of games, KOts looks like he trying to catch up to the speed of the game a bit. 

We seen that with Galchenyk, yes he has more offensive upside, but at what cost, consistently the worst plus/ minus player on the team. Yes he may score a highlight reel goal, but at the end of the night he is a minus 3, because he only understands one end of the rink. He was brutal in his own end, because he rarely understood where to play without the puck,  if your a consistent 35 or 40 goal scorer than you can bite the bullet a bit. 

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