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What Are The Major Contributors To The Habs' Success?



84 members have voted

  1. 1. What in your opinion are the most important factors in the teams' current success?

    • Mark Streit's performance
    • Our goaltending
    • The signing of Roman Hamrlik
    • Guy Carbonneau's improvements
    • The power-play
    • Alex Kovalev
    • Tomas Plekanec
    • The young guns
    • The team chemistry
    • Relatively injury free season
    • Other (please specify)

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Cool thread! I voted for seven things:

Mark Streit's performance: I truly think he is the unsung hero of the team this season. While his physical play is sometimes suspect when he plays defense full-time, the leadership he brings (I'm sure it's no fluke he's captain of the Swiss national team) and the offensive prowess he provides have really helped this team. He's strong positionally when it comes to defending, and has great vision of the ice.

Guy Carbonneau's improvements: He has certainly learned from his mistakes in various areas -- personnel management, line-shuffling, etc. He's clearly formed more of a bond with the players on the ice, he isn't afraid to take risks or allow players to do so (this is a very big one in my books -- we no longer look like we're NJ Devils imitators when we score first), and he's more lenient of players making mistakes (another big one; we wouldn't be in the position we are without the flare and dazzle provided by some of our young guns). I find his improvements remarkable in scope and size, and hats off to him for them.

The power-play: I don't think it's possible for anyone to discredit the power-play as a key player in the team's overall success. 77 goals -- more than a third of the team's total output -- come from the powerplay. It's a truly remarkable stat, but one thing that the strong powerplay leads to is teams being more wary when they play us; you don't see teams taking liberties on our players NEARLY as much as you would with some other teams, because they know they'll suffer the consequences if they do.

Alex Kovalev: I think I prefer to call this the "re-emergence of Alex Kovalev". This guy had the worst season of his career last year, without consistent linemates, and even being demoted to third- and fourth-line assignments. He made the mistake of saying the wrong things a few times, a mistake that is amplified even more being in Montreal. So many fans were ready to chase him out of town, pitchforks in hand, claiming he was washed-up and useless. But, he came back with a good attitude, he resolved his issues with coaching and management, he's worked as hard or harder than almost any player on this team, and has truly taken on a leadership role -- serving up a nice crow dinner for those that wanted him burned at the stake. Certainly, Carbonneau and Gainey deserve some credit in his turnaround as well, but Alex Kovalev did what few can do in this league; swallow their pride, and regain themselves when they're at the brink of career-collapse. And, while Saku Koivu is (rightfully) the captain of the team, the role of Kovalev couldn't be any closer to that of a captain without slapping a "C" on his chest.

Tomas Plekanec: The emergence of Tomas Plekanec as an apt scoring center is another big key. Without Plekanec, Koivu is the only centerman capable of a full-season as a 1-2 centerman. Plekanec has become so good that his performance merits him the title of our first center. A truly great surprise, and one that I know some members had been predicting since he joined the team a few years ago. I certainly did not think he would progress this far, so kudos to Tomas for proving me wrong.

The young guns: Some much can be said about the youth on this team. I'll try and keep it short though. The young guns on this team have taken any opportunity they've been presented with all season and made the most out of it. Even those in smaller roles -- Chipchura, Lapierre, etc -- have proven their worth and importance at times. One of the biggest and most important achievements of our youth is stepping up when our resident scoring leader (Michael Ryder) could not put the puck in a soccer net; of course, Ryder seems to have found his groove again, but the absence of a 30-goal scorer for half a season is often traumatizing for a team -- not so in our case, with the way the Kostitsyns and Latendresse have stepped up and filled in.

The team chemistry: Just watching the faith that the team has in one another, and the way that so many of them know where everyone else is on the ice just shows how this team oozes of chemistry. Heck, I was one of the ones predicting we'd be in a dogfight to even make 8th place -- considering how little the overall team changed, it was not an absurd prediction. The power of 21 guys working together everynight on the ice is so powerful.

Phew. That's it.

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Guest Innis_Mor
My problem? I don't have a problem. People that usually start statements with "What's your problem?" are the ones with the problem. To reply to your statement, even though you were rude, our powerplay this year is by no means the same as last year. Last year's powerplay was one dimensional and only featured a shot from the point. We finished first with 22.8%. However, 3 teams scored more goals than us on the pp, albeit it on more chances. This year, our powerplay is at 25.3% thus far and we lead all teams with goals scored with 78. Next closest is Philly with 22.8% and 71 goals and after that it's Pittsburgh with 21.4% and 65 goals. Last year we had a total of 86 goals scored on 378 tries and this year we have 78 goals already on only 308 tries. Difference, last year we depended on one guy to score from the point, this year, anyone can score because of superior puck movement. Therefore, I'll disagree with you that our powerplay is that the same place as last year.
GHC, I agree with your contentions that the magnitude of the PP success is severely underestimated. While it is a separate argument as to the impact that it has had on Montreal's overall success this year, the numbers clearly highlight the tremendous magnitude of the PP's success this season:
  • 11% better than the next best PP in the league (Philly's 22.8%: 25.3% divided by 22.8% minus 1 = 11% better, by order of magnitude)
  • To give some comparative relevance to this, all teams but one, are within 11% of Detroit's lead-leading success rate for PK this season (this also speaks to the fact that it is a relatively easier endeavor to develop a strong PK, than it is a PP -- it's all in the fact that PP/PK ratio is generally 80%/20%)
  • Habs' current PP efficiency rate is a good deal ahead of the next best PP efficiency rate this century (Detroit 23.8% for '02-03, and the only other season I can find a huge lead on the #2). I don't know what the all-time season efficiency records are for PP. Anyone know?
The power-play: .... you don't see teams taking liberties on our players NEARLY as much as you would with some other teams, because they know they'll suffer the consequences if they do.
Right on! Especially, after the Habs score two PP goals in the 1st period (as they are wont to do!). A super way to start the game. The other team lays off you some the whole rest of the game then; no borderline hookings, etc. Opens up abilities for the Habs.
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This is so tough, because it really has been a combination of things. If I had to rank them I'd say:

1.) Carbo's improvements - coaching can make or break a team, and while some will disagree, I truly felt that with better coaching last season we would have landed in 6th-8th at least. This season, he's done a complete 180 in my mind and has handled just about everything better. He's icing a defensively responsible team, letting guys play how they play best, not punishing for one mistake, and overall it's amazing how far he's come in a year.

2.) Kovalev improving - Along with Carbo, I need to give him credit for having a great season and getting along with the coach. Both of them really seemed to mature and get a good relationship going this season. He's also really earned the A on his sweater this season as a leader, and has been a huge threat every game, should be a PPG player, could possibly score 40 goals even.

3.) Kostitsyn brothers - these two have given so much more depth and skill to the team. They are getting points, constantly a threat, but also playing a surprisingly physical, gritty game and not backing down from any challenges. These 2 are amazing players and without them this team wouldn't be where it is

4.) Hamrlik replacing Souray - Our 5 on 5 has improved tremendously. Hamrlik is a rock and brings a lot of size and stability to the back end. Our defense is clearly much better with him in it

5.) Plekanek, Komisarek and Markov continue to improve - All were looking great last season, but have continued to improve this season - Plekanek to nearly a PPG player and 30 goal scorer, Komisarek to one of the top phyiscal and defensive defensmen in the league, and Markov took the step from good defenseman to top defenseman (still not quite elite)

6.) Streit's season - part of the reason there was no sting from Souray leaving is Streit has been great on our PP. Overall, and impressive season from him.

7. Gorges and Bouillion step it up - We actually have a pretty good third pairing for the last part of the season due to these two players really stepping it up and improving greatly on last season.

8. Other contributions from young players: Lapierre, Higgins, Latendresse, Chipchura, Grabvoski, etc. have all contributed on some level, although none have improved from last season a whole lot. They give us good depth, but I wouldn't say they are the reason over the reasons I listed above

And of course, worth mentioning (although I won't rank) is the team as a whole - tha atmosphere, leadership (credit to Koivu here), coaching, maturity, and everything seems a big step above last season

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Guest shamrun

seeing that they were all check boxes i voted on everything. I think it shows that the success of the habs this season can not be pin pointed. Its kind of like a synergy. Kovalev decides to give an effort in all aspects of the game. That creates a line that can score 5 on 5. There are a few examples. The great wall of china was built by a few small bricks. I think its a good metaphore for the habs success

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  • 3 weeks later...

Right now, I'd have to say that it's the fact that Kovalev and Carbonneau found a way to bury the hatchet and work together. Kovalev is having his best season since 1992 when in Pittsburgh and Carbonneau should be front runner for the Jack Adams Trophy.

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Guest olddude
I happen to think that every point mentioned in the poll explains the success of the team, but there is one factor, one common denominator to just about each point that comes to mind... but first, my analysis. :)

The Flu and injuries are making a huge difference, no doubt.

Our PP was first overall last year with major production from Ryder and Souray. Souray is gone, Ryder isn't the shadow of his old self and yet, we're still first.

Streit is Streit and he was as versatile last year, although he has more points this season.

Komisarek and Markov are the same, our best defensemen and the addition of Hamrlik added some much needed experience at the blue line. Josh Gorges' development combined with a better season from Francis Bouillon, Ryan O'Byrne recent play and the addition of Patrice Brisebois (depth and experience) all contributed to making our defense much better.

Our young guns' development started last year when they took it upon themselves to bring the team back into the playoffs' race and the addition of Carey Price should also be noted as a positive, pushing Huet to perform and ultimately taking over the starter's role.

Carbonneau's system is the same, although he has gained experience and adapts better to games situations.

But the turning point is the discussion this summer between Carbonneau, Gainey and Kovalev. I don't know what was said but Alex Kovalev is not the same player. He plays within the system, he back checks in the defensive zone, he plays with nagging injuries, he has taken on the role of leader on the team and has taken the young players from the former USSR under his wing. A motivated Kovalev is directly related to the fact that:

  • our PP is going on all cylinders without the production of Souray and Ryder
  • Streit is having the season he's having, especially on the PP
  • young guys like Plekanec and the Kostitsyn brothers play good hockey and develop well
  • our 5 on 5 play (the dreaded +/-) is much improved over last season
  • and mostly, the team chemistry is excellent as he's not pouting. Quite the opposite, he's part of the solution instead of being part of the problem.
For that reason, I voted Kovalev, the goalies, Hammer, Carbo and injury free season, and had I had to vote for one only, Kovalev would have gotten my vote. So as you can all see, as critical as I was with Kovalev last year, it was directly and only related with what he did then, and I can certainly acknowledge when things are different.

I voted for all the points including "Other". I agree with all your points JL and after reading all the posts so far, I think they pretty much cover most of the reasons. I'm not taking anything away from the team or what they have accomplished this year, but by voting "Other" I was thinking that the inconsistant play of the other teams in the confrence has somewhat allowed us to be where we are. Example, if Ottawa had not gone on several losing streaks they would likely be way ahead of us, which would drop us back to fifth (I'd still be happy), Buffalo falling apart after the season they had last year, if they were the same team they would be higher in the standings, Philly and the Rangers really underachieving and so on. Little points that I think contributed in some way to our current position in the standings. But all that said, the Habs deserve everything they get, GO HABS GO.

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Guest ChitownHabby

While all the choices are valid and true I would like to narrow it down to 2 : Alex Kovalev and Roman Hamrlik.

Kovalev's value has been well documented and I truly hope THIS Alex Kovalev stays healthy and plays with the habs for another 3-4 seasons. Kovy is hart worthy in most years or at least a nominee but in this season Ovechkin clearly wins.

As for Hamrlik, he is my main focus because I think it is unbelievably rare that someone with as big of a contract as he signed this summer should be the Jacques Beauchamp winner. Markov and Komisarek get all the accolades, which are well-deserved, but without Roman Hamrlik this season the habs do not make the playoffs even with Alex Kovalev's brilliance.

How many points do you think the habs have earned this season by holding the fort at even strength and waiting for the PP to destroy the opposition? As has been pointed out the PP was awesome last year and is awesome once again. The HUGE difference in the habs this season is that #44 is no longer a tough pylon with a huge slap shot but instead #44 is now a bonafide defenceman.

He blocks shots, PK, PP, makes smart decisions with the puck and crisp outlet passes, is a leader, loves playing in Montreal, and can match up against any forward in the NHL. Perhaps, the one skill Hamrlik possesses better than anyone on the roster is the effective bodycheck. Komi hits harder, Bouillon more frequently but neither of them seem to be able to seperate the man from the puck as well as Hamrlik does. On most teams he'd be on the top pairing. Come playoff time when Carbo has to shorten the bench in the last 10 minutes of the 3rd the importance of having a #3 defenceman with Roman Hamrlik's complete set of skills will truly be understood.

I think he should win the Jacques Beauchamp and is the biggest factor in the Habs now being competitive 5 on 5.

Next season he and O'Byrne will form a poor man's version of Markov-Komi and the Habs will feature a top 4 as good as any in the league except Anaheim. That is a huge change from last season.

Here's to Roman Hamrlik the 2007-2008 UNSUNG HERO!!!!

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Guest John/50yearfan

Without a doubt,, The return of Bob Gainey to the Montreal Family has made the biggest contribuation to the overall sucess of our storied team,, He was an unbelievible player,, and has the knowledge and love of the game that is needed to be be a great GM,, of course there are many other contibuting factors,, but I personally feel it all started with Mr Gainey returning,, :D

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Guest captainjack22

Gainey definatley, not giving up those players for hossa proves his loyalty to the team that he has built,

but outside of that our biggest contributors has been the goalies, the job huet did when he was here, price steppin up, and Halak comin through when he has had to, I mean when was the last time we out shot someone, I cant remember.

Go Habs Go

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Guest LarryRobinson
Without a doubt,, The return of Bob Gainey to the Montreal Family has made the biggest contribuation to the overall sucess of our storied team,, He was an unbelievible player,, and has the knowledge and love of the game that is needed to be be a great GM,, of course there are many other contibuting factors,, but I personally feel it all started with Mr Gainey returning,, :D

Well he put a plan in motion, and has not wavered from that plan. As a GM, that is not an easy thing to do. Youth like Pleks, Higgins, and Komi were still question marks only 2 years ago. Gainey either consciously or through his failures in the UFA market has stuck with the farm. Either way the backbone of this team has developed from within, and you have to give the GM the praise, because if our youth turned out to be dead weight, we'd be crucifying Gainey.

Short term, the relative health of the squad was key to the this team's success.

Individually, you have to look at Kovy as has singlehandedly created a scoring juggernaut with Pleks and A.Kosty, which also gets Koivu, Higgins and Co. away from the oppositions best checkers. On D, the value of Komi is unparalleled. We are still a small, shifty team. We are not bruisers and are not designed to be a bruising team. Komi keeps the opposition in check, and we will all notice his absence in the coming weeks.

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Guest hablover

I said the young guns....

just look, both kostitsyn's, latendrasse, grabovski, obyrne, and others here and there are all good reasons why we are doing so good.

I don't think we would even be close to where we are without them.

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Guest Innis_Mor

Five (5) of them: Habs' head athletic therapist Graham Rynbend, athletic therapist Nick Addey-Jibb, strength and conditioning co-ordinator Scott Livingston, osteopath consultant Dave Campbell and game-day physiotherapist Donald Balmforth.


Just an incredible job!! (and some luck; and maybe the youth of the players too!)

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Guest Cenner Hice

One reason for the success. Four letters, one word:


The contributors to this, however, are many. What they are exactly, who knows? The players are the best to ask and I'm sure some of them wouldn't be able to put their fingers on it.

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Guest Habs_Mania

it all starts from the practise and out. carbo is the kind of guy that you had better work hard for or else, and he expects no less from them in practise than at game time.

the young guys on this team all seem to have their egos in check and letting the vets (like kovi) teach them all the tricks in the book.

the above mentioned of course is not the only success factors but big puzzle peices.

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