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2020-21 State Of The Habs


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16 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

But here's the thing: I have zero confidence in this organization to give us proper personnel deployment when healthy. If I thought that they were only using Staal and Merrill because they had no options, I'd have a bit of faith. But MB and his coaches have shown us time and again that the like the Merrill's of this league more than the Kulak's. They like the Murray's and Bouillon's more than the Beaulieu's and Pateryn's. They like the King's and Ott's more than the Galchenyuk's and Andrighetto's. They like Danault more than Suzuki and Kotkaniemi. So I have absolutely no confidence that they recognize skill and the role it plays in success. We're still treading along in the Bergevin era of grit, hating to lose, and being North American as being virtues. They constantly use immeasurable things to justify their decisions and then get upset if someone challenges them.

So if we're healthy come playoffs, this is what I personally think they should be doing:

 

Caufield-Suzuki-Anderson

Drouin-Kotkaniemi-Toffoli

Tatar-Danault-Gallagher

Lehkonen-Evans-Armia

 

Edmundson-Petry

Kulak-Weber

Romanov-Chiarot

 

But instead, I can almost guarantee we're going to see most of these decisions:

- Perry in the line-up (which I can maybe live with if we're playing a team that gets penalized a lot, but I think the Leafs are one of the least penalized teams in the league, so the role of our PP may not be that important).

- Staal in the line-up over Evans

- Byron in the line-up

- Staal getting PP time

- Kotkaniemi playing the 3rd or 4th C position or playing on the wing and getting less ice time than Danault and close to what Staal gets in addition to less offensive wingers than Danault

- Caufield potentially sat completely or if he's in, playing getting marginal minutes outside of PP time

- Weber pushed back onto the first pairing as soon as he's back

-Chiarot paired with Weber

- Romanov or Kulak sat in favor of Merrill

- Rolling with Price no matter whether he's playing well or poorly or until it's too late in the series (like throwing Allen in when already down in a series 3-0 or 3-1).

 

I challenge anyone here to tell me what's not a realistic possibility here. These are all things that have been done already this year more or less. And so while I blame Bergevin in large part for the mess the team is in, how do you not also have no faith in Ducharme for his personnel choices? They've been awful and antiquated and cost us games. Meanwhile, the "hapless" Sens are a team coming on strong in the 2nd half of the season. I said it at the start of the year that they wouldn't make the playoffs but that they'd be better than anyone predicted they'd be and that within a couple of years, their team would be better than the Habs as long as Melnyk didn't start another firesale. Those guys have much less to work with but they're playing their youngsters with nothing to lose and they're seeing those guys have success. Imagine where the Habs would be if they had given more playing time to Suzuki, JK, Evans, Caufield, Poehling, Brook, Fleury, etc. and stopped pretending that Staal and Merrill are NHLers and stopped pretending that some vets have more value than they do.

 

 

Bang on the money in both what we should do ant what we likely will do.  I think the only hope is that DD realizes its his butt on the line if we dont win & he actually does what he thinks is right.  Although that is assuming that right now he's making decisions to appease MB or something, its quite possible he already thinks he's icing his best lineup (when healthy).

The one change I would make though is that regardless of who is healthy, id be playing Perry in our 12 forward group.  He brings clutch scoring we have not seen in many years and I think there's a place for him (although im not sure who i sit). I think its moot because i highly doubt everyone is back for the post season despite the coach's optimism. Byron probably, Gallagher maybe... but Danault? If its a concussion there's no way of knowing.  Drouin? If he's dealing with personal issues then nobody knows when that will be right again.  

Honestly though,i think we have 2 main player/personnel issues:   1) Defensemen usage 2) centre usage.    We have such a solid group of wingers, that im not particularly worried who plays where. But our centre depth should absolutely be  Suzuki - Kotkaniemi - Danault - Evans - Staal.   suzuk-jk-Danault should be playing the bulk of the game.

On defense Petry should be on the top pair. Weber should be on the 2nd. Kulak should be one of their partners.  Id love Romanov to play higher up but im not sure he's ready.  Your pairs make the most sense although Petry-Kulak is likely our best option for a pair, i think you need to break them up.
 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, maas_art said:

Bang on the money in both what we should do ant what we likely will do.  I think the only hope is that DD realizes its his butt on the line if we dont win & he actually does what he thinks is right.  Although that is assuming that right now he's making decisions to appease MB or something, its quite possible he already thinks he's icing his best lineup (when healthy).

The one change I would make though is that regardless of who is healthy, id be playing Perry in our 12 forward group.  He brings clutch scoring we have not seen in many years and I think there's a place for him (although im not sure who i sit). I think its moot because i highly doubt everyone is back for the post season.  

Report from DD this morning is he fully expects all his playerwill be healthy to start the post season. But Gally, Price, Danault and Weber won't play in the regular season.

 

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Bergevin has delivered on the promise he made to make the playoffs with Geoff Molson. He has one more year remaining on his contract - Is this achievement enough to give him a 1 year extension? 

I vote no - don't do it Geoff - let's see the results of the playoff round and the early part of next season

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Just now, claremont said:

Bergevin has delivered on the promise he made to make the playoffs with Geoff Molson. He has one more year remaining on his contract - Is this achievement enough to give him a 1 year extension? 

I vote no - don't do it Geoff - let's see the results of the playoff round and the early part of next season

I certainly would hope any move with MB is made after the playoffs. Molson can't be that stupid.

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Wouldn't it be funny if we were to win our last game Wed. and the Nucks beat the Jets tonight and tomorrow to set up a deciding game vs the Leafs as to who the Leafs face in the playoffs? Do the Leafs really want us? Do the Jets really want the Oilers?

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In the playoffs......meh a lot of key guys banged up but there is still issues that have lingered for far too long with this team. for sure if we get Gally and Price back we are better Webber will help too to a lesser extent but we are also missing Drouin and probably Dano but we still have that glaring hole at LHD it has been years! something is going to have to give.

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6 minutes ago, H_T_L said:

Wouldn't it be funny if we were to win our last game Wed. and the Nucks beat the Jets tonight and tomorrow to set up a deciding game vs the Leafs as to who the Leafs face in the playoffs? Do the Leafs really want us? Do the Jets really want the Oilers?

That would be a great dilemma - the Jets are really floundering as of late. 

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7 minutes ago, ramcharger440 said:

In the playoffs......meh a lot of key guys banged up but there is still issues that have lingered for far too long with this team. for sure if we get Gally and Price back we are better Webber will help too to a lesser extent but we are also missing Drouin and probably Dano but we still have that glaring hole at LHD it has been years! something is going to have to give.

It sure has - thankfully only Chiarot for one more year unless MB is smart and unloads him in a trade. Thankfully we have some auditioning prospects in Norlinder, Guhle, Struble and Harris where we should be deep there in years to come. This has been a punishing schedule for the Habs - I don't think any team has played more games than us in the April 1 to May 12th period, so this team needs some major recovery time.

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12 hours ago, ramcharger440 said:

In the playoffs......meh a lot of key guys banged up but there is still issues that have lingered for far too long with this team. for sure if we get Gally and Price back we are better Webber will help too to a lesser extent but we are also missing Drouin and probably Dano but we still have that glaring hole at LHD it has been years! something is going to have to give.

I would argue that if Weber comes back & plays like he did last year in the bubble he'd be the single most important add.   Of course if he comes back & plays like he has this regular season then he'll most likely be a net negative not a positive addition... 

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35 minutes ago, booboo_mtl said:

I've never been less excited for the playoffs as I am this season. I'd love nothing more than to beat the leafs but I just don't see it even coming close to possible.

I feel the same. Losing to the leafs in the playoffs just feels unacceptable to me and its going to take a miracle for that not to happen

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1 hour ago, habsisme said:

I feel the same. Losing to the leafs in the playoffs just feels unacceptable to me and its going to take a miracle for that not to happen

When we've had a full line up all the games have been close. I see no reason why we can't beat the leafs. 

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9 minutes ago, CaptWelly said:

When we've had a full line up all the games have been close. I see no reason why we can't beat the leafs. 

same here heck we even beat them a couple of games ago with a ton of injuries. they can score but they have a soft D and the goalies are beatable. our issue is can we get our D playing well and have most of our team back. I think it will be closer than we think, don't forget the Leafs like to choke in the playoffs.

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18 hours ago, ramcharger440 said:

same here heck we even beat them a couple of games ago with a ton of injuries. they can score but they have a soft D and the goalies are beatable. our issue is can we get our D playing well and have most of our team back. I think it will be closer than we think, don't forget the Leafs like to choke in the playoffs.

There's no question that this team can beat Toronto. The variables are going to be health, deployment and headspace.  

By the sounds of things, health should be better. We'll have guys back but im not sure if they will be 100%.  Headspace its a tough one because obviously this team has struggled with confidence but hopefully all the experience on our roster will help balance out the overthinking & second guessing so many of these guys seem to be doing.

Deployment is really going to be the big question imho.  All year long we've watched them play Weber-Chiarot as our top pair when they are often outmatched and too slow.  The coaches arent blind. They see this . My only explanation is that they feel like in the playoffs these guys will be more effective because they can be more physical (without getting penalized).  I hope they are right because its a big concern. Its the one thing we can actively do something about but i dont think we will.  We will live and die with a Chiarot-Weber first pairing and a guy like Kulak as the #6-7 dman.   

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1 hour ago, maas_art said:

There's no question that this team can beat Toronto. The variables are going to be health, deployment and headspace.  

By the sounds of things, health should be better. We'll have guys back but im not sure if they will be 100%.  Headspace its a tough one because obviously this team has struggled with confidence but hopefully all the experience on our roster will help balance out the overthinking & second guessing so many of these guys seem to be doing.

Deployment is really going to be the big question imho.  All year long we've watched them play Weber-Chiarot as our top pair when they are often outmatched and too slow.  The coaches arent blind. They see this . My only explanation is that they feel like in the playoffs these guys will be more effective because they can be more physical (without getting penalized).  I hope they are right because its a big concern. Its the one thing we can actively do something about but i dont think we will.  We will live and die with a Chiarot-Weber first pairing and a guy like Kulak as the #6-7 dman.   

The Laffs top line needs to be stopped and hit consistently - That may mean putting Petry with Kulak as top pair to face them, because quite honestly I don't see any d pairing of ours that could keep up with that line on the cycles, stops and starts and open man/lane passing. Edmundson, Weber and Chiarot can hit them on the first wave entry but then they are lost. I might add Romanov up there but that is asking an awful lot of a rookie, and last few games Alex has not looked good. 

The second key is to stay out of the penalty box - their power play if it gets going can be unstoppable. Can we get Claude Provost back to shadow Captain Underpants a la Bobby Hull? 

If we can do that, then the team has a chance, but I suspect this series will be over in 5 games or 6 with 4 of the games being easy Laff wins. 

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1 hour ago, maas_art said:

There's no question that this team can beat Toronto. The variables are going to be health, deployment and headspace.  

By the sounds of things, health should be better. We'll have guys back but im not sure if they will be 100%.  Headspace its a tough one because obviously this team has struggled with confidence but hopefully all the experience on our roster will help balance out the overthinking & second guessing so many of these guys seem to be doing.

Deployment is really going to be the big question imho.  All year long we've watched them play Weber-Chiarot as our top pair when they are often outmatched and too slow.  The coaches arent blind. They see this . My only explanation is that they feel like in the playoffs these guys will be more effective because they can be more physical (without getting penalized).  I hope they are right because its a big concern. Its the one thing we can actively do something about but i dont think we will.  We will live and die with a Chiarot-Weber first pairing and a guy like Kulak as the #6-7 dman.   

MA Godin of The Athletic hinted today that Ducharme has already been doing interviews talking about the importance of leaning on vets like Weber, Staal, Perry, etc in the playoffs. He publicly stated that he sees combinations of players up front as being useful and that the team wants to go back to what is familiar and what brought them success. He's identified Tatar-Danault-Gallagher as a line he wants to reunite to start the post-season and said that Lehkonen-Evans-Byron would be another, so barring injuries, it sounds like he will keep those lines together. He also said he likes Toffoli with Suzuki and will aim to keep those two together as well. So it sounds very very much like in his head this is the framework for his forward line-up in Game 1:

 

Tatar-Danault-Gallagher

Toffoli-Suzuki-???

Lehkonen-Evans-Byron

???-Staal-Perry

 

It's disastrous. We know Anderson won't sit if he's healthy, so I suspect he likely draws in next to Toffoli and Suzuki on right wing (unless they move Perry up there and play Anderson with Staal). That leaves one spot for Armia, Kotkaniemi, and Caufield, and I'm reasonably certain DD is currently leaning to sitting out JK and Caufield in Game 1 and seeing how his vets do.

On D, he's hinted that he'll go back to Chiarot-Weber (although Weber still wasn't able to grip his stick today) and retain Edmundson-Petry, which suggests to me he's going to go Kulak-Merrill on his bottom pairing to start.

And this is clearly how not to go about trying to beat the Leafs, by putting in your oldest, slowest players. I'm completely fine with keeping the Danault and Evans lines together. But to me, it's a non-starter to be benching JK and Caufield while keeping Staal in the line-up, and it's silly to put an injured Weber back in next to Chiarot when they haven't had success when they're healthy.

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5 minutes ago, BigTed3 said:

MA Godin of The Athletic hinted today that Ducharme has already been doing interviews talking about the importance of leaning on vets like Weber, Staal, Perry, etc in the playoffs. He publicly stated that he sees combinations of players up front as being useful and that the team wants to go back to what is familiar and what brought them success. He's identified Tatar-Danault-Gallagher as a line he wants to reunite to start the post-season and said that Lehkonen-Evans-Byron would be another, so barring injuries, it sounds like he will keep those lines together. He also said he likes Toffoli with Suzuki and will aim to keep those two together as well. So it sounds very very much like in his head this is the framework for his forward line-up in Game 1:

 

Tatar-Danault-Gallagher

Toffoli-Suzuki-???

Lehkonen-Evans-Byron

???-Staal-Perry

 

It's disastrous. We know Anderson won't sit if he's healthy, so I suspect he likely draws in next to Toffoli and Suzuki on right wing (unless they move Perry up there and play Anderson with Staal). That leaves one spot for Armia, Kotkaniemi, and Caufield, and I'm reasonably certain DD is currently leaning to sitting out JK and Caufield in Game 1 and seeing how his vets do.

On D, he's hinted that he'll go back to Chiarot-Weber (although Weber still wasn't able to grip his stick today) and retain Edmundson-Petry, which suggests to me he's going to go Kulak-Merrill on his bottom pairing to start.

And this is clearly how not to go about trying to beat the Leafs, by putting in your oldest, slowest players. I'm completely fine with keeping the Danault and Evans lines together. But to me, it's a non-starter to be benching JK and Caufield while keeping Staal in the line-up, and it's silly to put an injured Weber back in next to Chiarot when they haven't had success when they're healthy.

Maybe its a mind-game thing so Toronto will be unprepared & we'll jump out to an early series lead.  :ph34r:

 


Or not.


Oh man i hope Price is channeling his 2015 self. 

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7 minutes ago, BigTed3 said:

I'm reasonably certain DD is currently leaning to sitting out JK and Caufield in Game 1 and seeing how his vets do.

Remember when DD took over & he started giving JK more assignments, better line-mates and even 1st line centre duties?   What happened to that coach?  

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22 hours ago, booboo_mtl said:

I've never been less excited for the playoffs as I am this season. I'd love nothing more than to beat the leafs but I just don't see it even coming close to possible.

 

21 hours ago, habsisme said:

I feel the same. Losing to the leafs in the playoffs just feels unacceptable to me and its going to take a miracle for that not to happen

In 10 games this season we have lost 7 to the Leafs, I know that sounds bad but look at it this way. If you remove all of the EN goals from those 10 games, there have been 7 one goal games. Also 1 of the other 3 games was a 5-3 loss but Toronto was given 5 PP to our 2 in that game and they scored on 3 of them. I do think the Leafs will be given 5 PP in the playoffs or that the reffing would be so one sided. We even outshot the Leafs in that game 33-27 so we have no problem playing with them we just weren't getting the results we deserved.It may continue into the post season but the games are more likely to be closer than most people think.

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