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Haven't done this in a while, but here's a new series of 5 burning questions to answer and discuss:

1. Will the Habs finish in the top 3 of the North division?

2. Will the Habs have a centerman who hits 15 goals this year?

3. Will Cole Caufield play in the NHL this season?

4. Will Danault and Tatar be re-signed before season's end, traded by the deadline, or head into the summer as free agents?

5. Who will be Shea Weber's defence partner on April 1st?

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1. Yes, we're breaking out of the slump and will finish 2nd behind the Laffs.

2. Yes, seeing as Toffoli is listed as a center on nhl.com we've already hit that milestone :P Otherwise, no.

Toffoli.thumb.jpg.c44870926585a542bf2b1dbce51dde67.jpg

3. Yes, I think he'll see some action.

4. Tatar will be re-signed earlier, Danault hits free agency (and ultimately realizes that he's not getting what he's looking for on the open market and still re-signs).

5. Brett Kulak

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1. Yes. Because I really want them to. 

2. No.                                                    3. Yes. Anxiously awaiting.              4. Head into the summer as FA's.    5. Romanov.  unless they flip BC.

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2 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

Haven't done this in a while, but here's a new series of 5 burning questions to answer and discuss:

1. Will the Habs finish in the top 3 of the North division?

2. Will the Habs have a centerman who hits 15 goals this year?

3. Will Cole Caufield play in the NHL this season?

4. Will Danault and Tatar be re-signed before season's end, traded by the deadline, or head into the summer as free agents?

5. Who will be Shea Weber's defence partner on April 1st?

1. Yes (2nd)

2. Yes (Slick Nick)

3. Yes (Will start 4th line but will be top 9 by the time the playoffs are done)

4. They'll both be with the club. One will have a contract, one will not. 

5. Kulak or Romanov or a newly traded for player. 

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1. Will the Habs finish in the top 3 of the North division?
No. I think we'll finish 4th. Probably by the skin of our teeth.

2. Will the Habs have a centerman who hits 15 goals this year?
No. Suzuki might have the best chance, but... he seems cold right now and we've already played 23 games.

3. Will Cole Caufield play in the NHL this season?
No. He might join the club, but I'm doubtful if he sees any game action.

4. Will Danault and Tatar be re-signed before season's end, traded by the deadline, or head into the summer as free agents?
I think Tatar will be allowed to test free agency. Danault I am not sure about... I feel like he'll test free agency as well. He's not playing his way to a better offer from Habs management, and I don't think he'll accept anything less, even though his play has been mediocre.

5. Who will be Shea Weber's defence partner on April 1st?
BEN CHIAROT! Unfortunately. :lol:

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1. Will the Habs finish in the top 3 of the North division? No , 4 th , maybe 

2. Will the Habs have a centerman who hits 15 goals this year? : No

3. Will Cole Caufield play in the NHL this season? = No, maybe Laval

4. Will Danault and Tatar be re-signed before season's end, traded by the deadline, or head into the summer as free agents? Free Agents

5. Who will be Shea Weber's defence partner on April 1st? Ben C

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1. Yes. I think the Habs are a better team than Edmonton and Winnipeg. Those teams lack defencemen even though their forwards are better than ours. In a shorter season, anything can happen, but I think we'll stay ahead of at least one. And I don't think catching Toronto is out of the question.

2. Yes. I don't think JK or Danault will get there, but Suzuki has shown he can put up points in bunches. He's struggling now but I don't expect that to last. If JK's line stays hot, they'll draw harder match-ups and Suzuki should benefit. Will also help that the PP is in better hands than Muller's.

3. Yes. It'll be close, but Caufield's season with Wisconsin should end around early-mid April if they make the Frozen Four, and following two weeks of quarantine, he'd be ready to join by late April. I think the Habs will be looking for scoring. Maybe he's just a PP specialist this year, but I think he'll get a shot, even if it's just for the playoffs.

4. I don't see Tatar getting re-signed this season. The Habs have Caufield and Ylonen coming at wing and they will be much cheaper options. Being tight against the cap, they'll need to cut somewhere and Tatar is an easy guy to remove. I don't think making trades is going to be easy this season, and I think MB thinks this team can still make a run in the playoffs, so I think he'll stay here and he'll leave as a UFA or his rights will be traded after the season. With Danault, the issue remains that the Habs have no one to replace him. If they let him walk or trade him, it would require a center coming back or else we're lining up Suzuki-JK-Evans-Poehling. There's risk with that, and none of the young guys has been great at face-offs so far. I'm not saying it's the right decision, but I don't see MB letting Danault leave. I think if anything Danault's slump might help the player see his value isn't as high as he thinks. I think he'll be re-signed either in-season or before the ED and I think it'll be something in the range of 6 years, 5.5M AAV.

5. Kulak. It should be Romanov, and Kulak should be put back with Petry, but I don't think they'll split up Edmundson-Petry and I think they want to shelter Romanov.

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1. Yes

2. Yes. Suzuki

3. Don't think so. No. He should spend some time in Laval.

4. I think they will both be signed and possibly traded in the off season

5. Hopefully someone not in a Habs jersey. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Do over. Pretty much the same.

1. Will the Habs finish in the top 3 of the North division?   NO.

2. Will the Habs have a centerman who hits 15 goals this year?  NO

3. Will Cole Caufield play in the NHL this season?  YES. easier to fit in under the cap.

4. Will Danault and Tatar be re-signed before season's end, traded by the deadline, or head into the summer as free agents?  NO

5. Who will be Shea Weber's defence partner on April 1st?  Romanov

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1 hour ago, electron58 said:

Do over. Pretty much the same.

1. Will the Habs finish in the top 3 of the North division?   NO.

2. Will the Habs have a centerman who hits 15 goals this year?  NO

3. Will Cole Caufield play in the NHL this season?  YES. easier to fit in under the cap.

4. Will Danault and Tatar be re-signed before season's end, traded by the deadline, or head into the summer as free agents?  NO

5. Who will be Shea Weber's defence partner on April 1st?  Romanov

If we're doing do-overs, I think the last question has become even harder to predict given Chiarot's injury. Clearly, he won't be Weber's partner April 1st, but at the same time, the Habs moved on very very quickly from using Romanov or Mete in that role. At present, I have utterly no idea where the carousel is going to stop because thus far, it's become clear that no matter who plays with Weber, the duo hasn't played well. If they're waiting for someone to excel there, it likely won't happen. I agree with you Romanov is the best fit on paper. I thought it would be Kulak because I didn't think they'd break up Edmundson-Petry, but that's been shot down too. I'm glad Kulak is back with Petry, but at the same time, finding Weber a partner has been horrid, and it may well be that they're now looking outside the organization.

For question 1, sportsclub stats is giving us a 71% chance of finishing top 3 in our division, although they've set up the playoff format all wrong, so not sure how accurate this is.

For question 2, Suzuki is at 5 goals, JK at 4. So they would need 10 and 11 respectively to get there. Seems hard to get 10-11 goals in 18 games, but also keep in mind that after tonight, our next 11 games are against Vancouver, Edmonton, and Ottawa, and those teams are not very good defensively. So there will be opportunity there. Kotkaniemi in particular has seen his ice time and production go up a bit since Ducharme took over, and he has better linemates and more confidence now. So always possible we'll see improvement in output. Likewise, Suzuki had 3 goals and 11 points in his first 10 games of the season, so not inconceivable he could score at that clip or better again.

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17 minutes ago, BigTed3 said:

If we're doing do-overs, I think the last question has become even harder to predict given Chiarot's injury. Clearly, he won't be Weber's partner April 1st, but at the same time, the Habs moved on very very quickly from using Romanov or Mete in that role. At present, I have utterly no idea where the carousel is going to stop because thus far, it's become clear that no matter who plays with Weber, the duo hasn't played well. If they're waiting for someone to excel there, it likely won't happen. I agree with you Romanov is the best fit on paper. I thought it would be Kulak because I didn't think they'd break up Edmundson-Petry, but that's been shot down too. I'm glad Kulak is back with Petry, but at the same time, finding Weber a partner has been horrid, and it may well be that they're now looking outside the organization.

For question 1, sportsclub stats is giving us a 71% chance of finishing top 3 in our division, although they've set up the playoff format all wrong, so not sure how accurate this is.

For question 2, Suzuki is at 5 goals, JK at 4. So they would need 10 and 11 respectively to get there. Seems hard to get 10-11 goals in 18 games, but also keep in mind that after tonight, our next 11 games are against Vancouver, Edmonton, and Ottawa, and those teams are not very good defensively. So there will be opportunity there. Kotkaniemi in particular has seen his ice time and production go up a bit since Ducharme took over, and he has better linemates and more confidence now. So always possible we'll see improvement in output. Likewise, Suzuki had 3 goals and 11 points in his first 10 games of the season, so not inconceivable he could score at that clip or better again.

IMHO the only way the Weber duo - regardless of who plays there - is effective is if Shea gets back to playing good hockey.  Sure, if you had an elite LHD it might work, but we dont so the only hope we have is a relatively 'good' LHD who doesnt need "help" from Weber (that rules out Chairot and probably Edmundson) but it still requires Weber to play better hockey.

Now, maybe he's done. Maybe he just cannot get his game back to a respectable level, in which case, we're not going to find a good partner for him. However, I just dont believe you lose positioning and hockey decision making overnight. These are 2 things that Weber has always had, at an elite level. This year they seem to be gone.  And without them, his skating is nowhere near good enough to make up.    Assuming this comes back & he can get bak to being in the right place and making the correct choices, then i think he's still a potential top 4 but he absolutely needs a LHD who can at least carry his own side of the ice.   Romanov is probably best suited but i think the team is not ready to put him so far up the lineup because they worry about this having a negative mental impact on his development.  

 

 

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38 minutes ago, BigTed3 said:

If we're doing do-overs, I think the last question has become even harder to predict given Chiarot's injury. Clearly, he won't be Weber's partner April 1st, but at the same time, the Habs moved on very very quickly from using Romanov or Mete in that role. At present, I have utterly no idea where the carousel is going to stop because thus far, it's become clear that no matter who plays with Weber, the duo hasn't played well. If they're waiting for someone to excel there, it likely won't happen. I agree with you Romanov is the best fit on paper. I thought it would be Kulak because I didn't think they'd break up Edmundson-Petry, but that's been shot down too. I'm glad Kulak is back with Petry, but at the same time, finding Weber a partner has been horrid, and it may well be that they're now looking outside the organization.

For question 1, sportsclub stats is giving us a 71% chance of finishing top 3 in our division, although they've set up the playoff format all wrong, so not sure how accurate this is.

For question 2, Suzuki is at 5 goals, JK at 4. So they would need 10 and 11 respectively to get there. Seems hard to get 10-11 goals in 18 games, but also keep in mind that after tonight, our next 11 games are against Vancouver, Edmonton, and Ottawa, and those teams are not very good defensively. So there will be opportunity there. Kotkaniemi in particular has seen his ice time and production go up a bit since Ducharme took over, and he has better linemates and more confidence now. So always possible we'll see improvement in output. Likewise, Suzuki had 3 goals and 11 points in his first 10 games of the season, so not inconceivable he could score at that clip or better again.

I hope your logic wins out. Be über great.

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1 hour ago, maas_art said:

IMHO the only way the Weber duo - regardless of who plays there - is effective is if Shea gets back to playing good hockey.  Sure, if you had an elite LHD it might work, but we dont so the only hope we have is a relatively 'good' LHD who doesnt need "help" from Weber (that rules out Chairot and probably Edmundson) but it still requires Weber to play better hockey.

Now, maybe he's done. Maybe he just cannot get his game back to a respectable level, in which case, we're not going to find a good partner for him. However, I just dont believe you lose positioning and hockey decision making overnight. These are 2 things that Weber has always had, at an elite level. This year they seem to be gone.  And without them, his skating is nowhere near good enough to make up.    Assuming this comes back & he can get bak to being in the right place and making the correct choices, then i think he's still a potential top 4 but he absolutely needs a LHD who can at least carry his own side of the ice.   Romanov is probably best suited but i think the team is not ready to put him so far up the lineup because they worry about this having a negative mental impact on his development.  

 

 

You may not lose hockey sense overnight, but how many times have we see guys' careers just fall off a cliff in their 30's. I can't over-emphasize enough how much speed is necessary to play in today's NHL. You can be a special teams guy without it, but playing 5v5 (or 4v4 and 3v3) requires you to be able to skate. Obviously, you need more than that, but if you can't keep up with the flow of the game, it becomes near impossible to make the rest work well. Weber wasn't a terrible skater, but he was pretty average to begin with, and now most of the time he looks like he's behind the play.

When I look back at how Weber played with Nashville, he was an aggressive player who was really great along the boards and in front of his own net. He won a lot of puck battles along the boards and he made simple plays up along the boards to allow his team to get out of the zone. Obviously, he had the cannon of a shot, but he was also able to do enough to get back on defence as needed. His passing has never been elite, and since he's gotten here at least, I'm not sold on saying his positioning has been great either. He's been pretty basic at skating back to his own crease area and Hockey-101-ing it: when the puck is in his corner, he goes there to go and check his opponent and push it out. When the puck is on his partner's side, he goes back to the front of the net and ventures out between the hash marks or behind the goal line.

So where are the issues now? Well, one, Weber doesn't get on a lot of loose pucks first. He's mostly the guy who's going to try and stop the opponent from getting to the front of the net when they get the puck. With Chiarot or Edmundson, they're also not getting on loose pucks a heck of a lot either, so it means you're playing D a lot more. Second, Weber has been pretty bad at blocking the passing lane. That isn't just this year, I noticed a lot of that last year too. A lot of times the pass would be coming from behind the net or from an area between the goal line and the has marks out to the slot area. And I think that's something teams have picked up on. You don't just go and stand next to Weber right beside the goalie. When you go there, yeah, he moves you away. But what happens when you drop back 4-6 feet away from the net? Weber doesn't follow you out there. He stays put next to the goalie because he doesn't have the recovery speed and acceleration to get back to the lane to the net. So the offensive player ends up being 6 feet away from Weber and 8 feet away from our net and he gets a clean shot off. I don't know how many times I've seen that play where the puck comes from the perimeter through the box to a guy who's dropped back into the slot or high crease and gets a clean look. Sometimes they even use Weber or Chiarot as a screen, so then you have the goalie moving on a pass AND you have a one-timer from in close AND you have circulation in front. It's a killer for goalies to stop. Is this unique to Weber? No. But our more mobile D get out to the perimeter faster and don't allow as much time for plays like that to be set up. They're also a bit better at flexing between the front of the net and the slot area, so they can close on the shooter faster. I know Kulak gets a lot of flack, but this is one thing he's strong at defensively.

At the other end of the ice, Weber is starting to look like Markov in his late years here. Still a weapon, but when he pinches, he's not able to make up for it. If he gets caught up ice, he's caught and it leads to other teams hammering 2-on-1's the other way. When his partner pinches, he has to drop back a bit to be able to account for not having the footspeed to catch up to a quick counter-attack.

So how do you deal with all this? Well number one, it's imperative Weber has a partner with better speed and especially loose puck recovery. The fewer clean passes to the slot, the easier it's going to be to defend. The other guy also has to give the other team reason to think they can skate the puck out, otherwise it becomes much easier to block off the boards and have a guy jump the middle of the ice on a pass through the middle, as we saw happen to Weber the other day. It's why Romanov makes the most sense there of the guys we have. Second, the Habs' system has to account for Weber. It can't continue to turn a blind eye to his skating and defensive play in his own zone. It kills your counter-attack a bit, but your center has to be able to take away the slot. Often, the center is off in the corner or behind the net trying to help a D man regain the puck, but I honestly think we'd be better off if the center took away the slot and we sent the D men to the corners. If you need the center going down low too, then your winger on the weak side has to drop down to the slot. I'd much rather give up a clean look from the blue line rather than a point blank shot from the slot. In theory, you have one of the best goaltending duos in the league and they should be able to stop shots from 60+ feet out.

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8 hours ago, maas_art said:

IMHO the only way the Weber duo - regardless of who plays there - is effective is if Shea gets back to playing good hockey.  Sure, if you had an elite LHD it might work, but we dont so the only hope we have is a relatively 'good' LHD who doesnt need "help" from Weber (that rules out Chairot and probably Edmundson) but it still requires Weber to play better hockey.

Now, maybe he's done. Maybe he just cannot get his game back to a respectable level, in which case, we're not going to find a good partner for him. However, I just dont believe you lose positioning and hockey decision making overnight. These are 2 things that Weber has always had, at an elite level. This year they seem to be gone.  And without them, his skating is nowhere near good enough to make up.    Assuming this comes back & he can get bak to being in the right place and making the correct choices, then i think he's still a potential top 4 but he absolutely needs a LHD who can at least carry his own side of the ice.   Romanov is probably best suited but i think the team is not ready to put him so far up the lineup because they worry about this having a negative mental impact on his development.  

 

 

It's a game of skill and speed today. Weber just can't keep pace. 

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2 hours ago, habs1952 said:

It's a game of skill and speed today. Weber just can't keep pace. 

He has smarts, but his contract and age are millstones.

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On 3/8/2021 at 9:42 AM, BigTed3 said:

Haven't done this in a while, but here's a new series of 5 burning questions to answer and discuss:

1. Will the Habs finish in the top 3 of the North division?

2. Will the Habs have a centerman who hits 15 goals this year?

3. Will Cole Caufield play in the NHL this season?

4. Will Danault and Tatar be re-signed before season's end, traded by the deadline, or head into the summer as free agents?

5. Who will be Shea Weber's defence partner on April 1st?

1. No...they can't string together two wins.

2. No

3. Yes...Canadiens have a history of rushing young players and screwing up their development.

4. Tatar will be a free agent and Danault will probably sign close to what he wants.

5. Joel Edmundson.

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