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2021-22 State of the Habs


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2 minutes ago, Regis22 said:

Remember Houle,  Tremblay, Shutt , Cournoyer were brought in as GM, coach and assistant coaches because they all knew what it took to win the Stanley Cup  ...lol 

I don't remember Shutt or Cournoyer. Maybe because the other 2 fools left a lasting impression?

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1 hour ago, maas_art said:

I liked gainey too. i think he was playing the long game which is tricky for a GM because he clearly didnt get the time to see it come to fruition (I know he resigned but i think it was a "quit or you're fired" scenario). The team MB inherited was mostly Gainey/Gauthier and i think we're worse off today then we were then. 

I assume you mean gomez for mcdonaugh etc.   It wasnt a great trade but it was a shift in culture and signified the first real break from the spinning we had done for the previous decade or so.   GMs gotta be ok with taking risks - that was really one of MB's biggest downfalls. 

At least with this "bad" trade Gainey followed it up with good moves like adding Gionta, Cammaleri etc.  He transformed the team in one season & we were finally on the right track.  MB would make a good trade but then do nothing to follow it up.  I'll take the GM with the big plan over the guy who is scared to screw up so all he does is tinker.

 

Yeah im not sure what that was all about but Houle was the GM responsible for the Roy Fiasco - and, imho the worse move: Turgeon for spare parts - as well as Recchi for Zubrus, Linden for a 1st, Bure for spare parts - and some terrible drafting like Higgins, Chouinard, Hossa with high picks. 

Gainey, while not perfect, looks like Sam Pollock compared with Houle and even MB 

Higgins was not that bad we had Ryder there too when he first started out. I think they were part of the horrible development our team had at that time. Gainey was not bad and neither was Gauthier but they did nothing to improve the team from a drafting and development standpoint or at least nothing that stuck!

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1 hour ago, maas_art said:

I liked gainey too. i think he was playing the long game which is tricky for a GM because he clearly didnt get the time to see it come to fruition (I know he resigned but i think it was a "quit or you're fired" scenario). The team MB inherited was mostly Gainey/Gauthier and i think we're worse off today then we were then. 

I assume you mean gomez for mcdonaugh etc.   It wasnt a great trade but it was a shift in culture and signified the first real break from the spinning we had done for the previous decade or so.   GMs gotta be ok with taking risks - that was really one of MB's biggest downfalls. 

At least with this "bad" trade Gainey followed it up with good moves like adding Gionta, Cammaleri etc.  He transformed the team in one season & we were finally on the right track.  MB would make a good trade but then do nothing to follow it up.  I'll take the GM with the big plan over the guy who is scared to screw up so all he does is tinker.

 

Yeah im not sure what that was all about but Houle was the GM responsible for the Roy Fiasco - and, imho the worse move: Turgeon for spare parts - as well as Recchi for Zubrus, Linden for a 1st, Bure for spare parts - and some terrible drafting like Higgins, Chouinard, Hossa with high picks. 

Gainey, while not perfect, looks like Sam Pollock compared with Houle and even MB 

I liked Gainey, second best GM we've had since 93 (I think MB was our best). But that Gomez trade was just sbaolutely ridiculous. We were doing them a favor taking on that contract and we gave a bunch, including McDonagh for the right to do it. 

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21 minutes ago, electron58 said:

I don't remember Shutt or Cournoyer. Maybe because the other 2 fools left a lasting impression?

From 1993 to 1997, he worked on the Canadiens coaching staff as an assistant coach to Mario Tremblay.

https://www.habseyesontheprize.com/history/2020/9/7/21376245/the-story-of-canadiens-assistant-coaches-part-v-laperrieres-impressive-run-comes-to-end-habs-legend

 

The 1995-96 season was tumultuous. Four games into the season Demers, Thiffault, and General Manager Serge Savard were re-assigned or fired in a massive, poorly-timed, hockey operations reboot. Team President Ronald Corey relied on the past to guide the present team towards future success. Réjean Houle was named the new General Manager, Mario Tremblay the new head coach, and Canadiens’ legend Yvan Cournoyer the new assistant coach. None of them had any previous experience in their roles.

Although Tremblay retained Shutt and Laperrière on his bench, Cournoyer struggled to develop a rapport with the players, and they often spoke negatively about him to the media. So bad was the situation around Cournoyer, that he began doing scouting trips over coaching less than a year into his nomination.

Meanwhile, Shutt struggled to pull the team’s power play out of the basement.

At the conclusion of the 1996-97 season, Tremblay resigned as head coach, leaving the fate of his assistants in the hands of newcomer head coach Alain Vigneault.

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10 minutes ago, Regis22 said:

From 1993 to 1997, he worked on the Canadiens coaching staff as an assistant coach to Mario Tremblay.

https://www.habseyesontheprize.com/history/2020/9/7/21376245/the-story-of-canadiens-assistant-coaches-part-v-laperrieres-impressive-run-comes-to-end-habs-legend

 

The 1995-96 season was tumultuous. Four games into the season Demers, Thiffault, and General Manager Serge Savard were re-assigned or fired in a massive, poorly-timed, hockey operations reboot. Team President Ronald Corey relied on the past to guide the present team towards future success. Réjean Houle was named the new General Manager, Mario Tremblay the new head coach, and Canadiens’ legend Yvan Cournoyer the new assistant coach. None of them had any previous experience in their roles.

Although Tremblay retained Shutt and Laperrière on his bench, Cournoyer struggled to develop a rapport with the players, and they often spoke negatively about him to the media. So bad was the situation around Cournoyer, that he began doing scouting trips over coaching less than a year into his nomination.

Meanwhile, Shutt struggled to pull the team’s power play out of the basement.

At the conclusion of the 1996-97 season, Tremblay resigned as head coach, leaving the fate of his assistants in the hands of newcomer head coach Alain Vigneault.

Interesting.   Dark days indeed.

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14 minutes ago, Regis22 said:

I remember Corey saying how many Stanley Cups each player won ; and how they all know what it takes to win because of the amount of Cups they had between them -  lol - but they couldnt coach at all 

Yes - many times the best coaches are not the best players. Gretzky and Orr could not coach I believe because their talent came with natural ability and they couldn’t understand or communicate to players who didn’t possess some of their natural talents 

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1 hour ago, ramcharger440 said:

Higgins was not that bad we had Ryder there too when he first started out. I think they were part of the horrible development our team had at that time. Gainey was not bad and neither was Gauthier but they did nothing to improve the team from a drafting and development standpoint or at least nothing that stuck!

I think you're thinking of Chris Higgins?  (Who was drafted during the Andre Savard days I believe).  Im talking about Matt Higgins (drafted in the top 20 by Houle). And that year there were a few prominent Quebec born talent that we passed on (making it worse) like Briere ;) 

 

1 hour ago, habsisme said:

I liked Gainey, second best GM we've had since 93 (I think MB was our best). But that Gomez trade was just sbaolutely ridiculous. We were doing them a favor taking on that contract and we gave a bunch, including McDonagh for the right to do it. 

I know what you're saying and Im not saying it was a good trade but I think it was a complete shift in thinking about the roster.  Again, big picture, and i think if Gainey had stuck around we would have continued to improve the whole roster but we'll never know. 

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7 minutes ago, maas_art said:

I think you're thinking of Chris Higgins?  (Who was drafted during the Andre Savard days I believe).  Im talking about Matt Higgins (drafted in the top 20 by Houle). And that year there were a few prominent Quebec born talent that we passed on (making it worse) like Briere ;) 

 

I know what you're saying and Im not saying it was a good trade but I think it was a complete shift in thinking about the roster.  Again, big picture, and i think if Gainey had stuck around we would have continued to improve the whole roster but we'll never know. 

Yes Chris Higgins! I forgot about Matt Higgins completely.

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I thought Gainey did a reasonable job as GM. Why?

- he inherited a bad team and made it better

- we had several strong drafts under Gainey. Some first round hits like Price, Pacioretty, and McDonagh, but also later round gems like Subban, Kostitsyn, Grabovksi, Streit, and Halak.

- We can fault him all we want for trading McDonagh for Gomez (and I usually hate trading blue chip prospects for older players) but the counter-point is that bringing in Gomez also likely helped us land Gionta and Cammalleri. If we hadn't have traded for Gomez, I doubt Gionta comes here. And without Gionta and Gomez, unclear if Cammalleri comes here. So it could be argued that he flipped McDonagh but used that to acquire his whole first line.

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1 minute ago, BigTed3 said:

I thought Gainey did a reasonable job as GM. Why?

- he inherited a bad team and made it better

- we had several strong drafts under Gainey. Some first round hits like Price, Pacioretty, and McDonagh, but also later round gems like Subban, Kostitsyn, Grabovksi, Streit, and Halak.

- We can fault him all we want for trading McDonagh for Gomez (and I usually hate trading blue chip prospects for older players) but the counter-point is that bringing in Gomez also likely helped us land Gionta and Cammalleri. If we hadn't have traded for Gomez, I doubt Gionta comes here. And without Gionta and Gomez, unclear if Cammalleri comes here. So it could be argued that he flipped McDonagh but used that to acquire his whole first line.

Yeah but it was a first line that shouldn't have been able to win anything. They made it to a conference final riding a hot Halak (and Cammaleri) but the move at that point was to retool and rebuild after the Saku era. Instead we got the smurf line

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1 hour ago, habsisme said:

Yeah but it was a first line that shouldn't have been able to win anything. They made it to a conference final riding a hot Halak (and Cammaleri) but the move at that point was to retool and rebuild after the Saku era. Instead we got the smurf line

Fine, and I still don't like the trade, but I'm just pointing out that if you think of his options as being

- Retain McDonagh and re-sign Koivu

- Trade McDonagh for Gomez and sign Cammalleri and Gionta

 

then it's not as clearcut of a loss.

It's the same thing with Bergevin signing Price to that massive contract. Easy to talk about how terrible a deal it was, but it wasn't a decision between signing Price to 10.5M or signing him to 5 years at 6M a year. It was likely a choice between the deal we signed and Price possibly leaving in free agency or forcing a trade. Again, not to say the extension was right or wrong, but it's not as bad when you don't compare it to an alternative that didn't exist.

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9 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

I thought Gainey did a reasonable job as GM. Why?

- he inherited a bad team and made it better

- we had several strong drafts under Gainey. Some first round hits like Price, Pacioretty, and McDonagh, but also later round gems like Subban, Kostitsyn, Grabovksi, Streit, and Halak.

- We can fault him all we want for trading McDonagh for Gomez (and I usually hate trading blue chip prospects for older players) but the counter-point is that bringing in Gomez also likely helped us land Gionta and Cammalleri. If we hadn't have traded for Gomez, I doubt Gionta comes here. And without Gionta and Gomez, unclear if Cammalleri comes here. So it could be argued that he flipped McDonagh but used that to acquire his whole first line.

I agree with the first 2 points and overall I thought Gainey was a good GM, at least pre-cap.

But that Gomez trade was awful IMO basically because it took place during the salary cap era. Did it help landing Gionta and Cammelleri? No idea, but even so, I don't think such a large over-payment can be justified. Prior to the cap, that trade would be defensible: trading one of your top prospects for a solid #1 center coming off a somewhat weak season isn't crazy. What made it a terrible trade to me is at the time Gomez was widely considered to have one of the worst contracts in the league especially after a weak season and NYR needed the cap space for Gaborik, who was considered elite. That's a situation where Montreal needs to be squeezing NYR, not the other way around, no way we should have sent a top prospect the other way. Sure, I can't guarantee Montreal ends up with Gomez if they negotiate harder, but that's a risk you have to take.  The Duncan Keith trade last summer struck me as very similar: it's fine to want the player, but in that situation where you're doing the other team a favor by taking them off their hands, you shouldn't be the one having to pay.

Gainey was a good GM, but to me that trade showed he wasn't ready for the cap.

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4 hours ago, Graeme-1 said:

I agree with the first 2 points and overall I thought Gainey was a good GM, at least pre-cap.

But that Gomez trade was awful IMO basically because it took place during the salary cap era. Did it help landing Gionta and Cammelleri? No idea, but even so, I don't think such a large over-payment can be justified. Prior to the cap, that trade would be defensible: trading one of your top prospects for a solid #1 center coming off a somewhat weak season isn't crazy. What made it a terrible trade to me is at the time Gomez was widely considered to have one of the worst contracts in the league especially after a weak season and NYR needed the cap space for Gaborik, who was considered elite. That's a situation where Montreal needs to be squeezing NYR, not the other way around, no way we should have sent a top prospect the other way. Sure, I can't guarantee Montreal ends up with Gomez if they negotiate harder, but that's a risk you have to take.  The Duncan Keith trade last summer struck me as very similar: it's fine to want the player, but in that situation where you're doing the other team a favor by taking them off their hands, you shouldn't be the one having to pay.

Gainey was a good GM, but to me that trade showed he wasn't ready for the cap.

Oh, I fully agree that Gainey didn't manage the cap situation that well. But I think at the time, very few GMs had a good understanding of the cap and teams weren't willing to give up anything for cap space. So I don't think it was like NY was going to give us another prospect just because Gomez made a lot of money. I just don't think it was a negotiating point back in that timeframe.

As I said, I generally hate trading blue chip prospects for aging players. It's not the way I would build the team and especially in the cap era where you need homegrown cost-controlled players on your roster. That said, the team has also had success trading prospects for veterans. Gainey dealt Jozef Balej for Alex Kovalev and that worked out brilliantly. We also swapped Sebastian Collberg for Tomas Vanek, and that was a win too. If McDonagh hadn't panned out all that well (which wasn't a given at the time), then we likely write this trade under the table as a risky gamble but one that didn't cost us anything. Furthermore, with McDonagh being an American playing in US college, it also wasn't a given that he would ever have signed here (akin to what we went through with Poehling, Evans, Caufield, and now Harris - there's always a risk they just walk with no compensation). So it's possible Gainey didn't feel strongly that McDonagh would come to Montreal in the first place.

All that to say that I never would have made that trade either, but to play devil's advocate, not all trades for 30 year-olds end up badly and I simply wanted to point out that the in Gainey's head, it might have been more a thought of I can keep McDonagh and risk losing him for nothing or I can take a gamble on Gomez and add Gionta and Cammalleri if I do that. So my thought here is that there were probably more layers to Gainey's decision than just what went onto the paperwork for that one transaction. We can apply the same thing now - Harris seems to have all the tools to be a quality NHL D man, but if Gorton knows he won't sign here, trading him for an NHL player could be defensible. The Canes clearly lost trading Adam Fox to the Rangers, but there alternative was ending up with nothing.

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1 hour ago, BigTed3 said:

All that to say that I never would have made that trade either, but to play devil's advocate, not all trades for 30 year-olds end up badly and I simply wanted to point out that the in Gainey's head, it might have been more a thought of I can keep McDonagh and risk losing him for nothing or I can take a gamble on Gomez and add Gionta and Cammalleri if I do that. 

The other thing is that there was no indication Gomez was going to fall off a cliff.  He was coming off a 60 point in 70 game season (and he was close to that in our first season with him)... then he hit a rough patch & we bought him out but he wasnt a horrifically bad player or anything. He did good things on the ice and was very underrated defensively.   He got some of his mojo back in his stints with san jose and jersey too.  

The biggest problem was his contract & as we've mentioned, Cap was not something many (including Gainey) GMs were yet familiar or good with.

 

This whole discussion stems from whether Gainey should be an advisor on who our next GM should be and honestly, I see no harm in asking him (or anyone for that matter).  Im confident Gorton will make the right call and im glad he's doing his due diligence & reaching out for opinions.  

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Mattias Norlinder expresses his desire to return to Frölunda

Fredrik Janelid of Göteborgs Posten spoke with Mattias Norlinder yesterday after the Montreal Canadiens defenceman was sent to the Laval Rocket. The Swedish paper was released at 5am local time this morning and has stirred some heated arguments online.

The Swedish defender stated clearly in the article that he had wanted to go back to Frölunda and the for a while.

“In all honesty, I have been wanting go home for a while,” he said. Norlinder also explained that after he had recovered from the injury he suffered against Toronto Maple Leafs on September 27, the plans changed.

“After my injury I thought I was going home, that was the way it sounded. Instead I got sent down to get a few games. At the same time it has been special for Montreal as it hasn’t gone the way the club expected. Then, last week, I wanted to know the plan, but then they fired the GM and almost the whole staff.”

The club stated on Tuesday that they would listen to Norlinder’s opinion when deciding what to do with the rest of the season following three games in Laval. In the interview with Janelind, it is clear that Norlinder wants to go back.

Norlinder does express positive thoughts about the experience gained in the NHL, especially the debut in front of the Bell Centre crowd: “Incredible and special, even if we lost. Especially as we played at home in front of all the fans.”

Frölunda is currently at the top of the SHL, Norlinder would go into one of the top two pairings, and would probably get his role on the first power play unit back as Frölunda has rotated defenders on that position since Norlinder left. Frölunda won the first leg of the Champions Hockey League quarterfinal with 5-2, and is reigning champions of the tournament.

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