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2016-17 State of the Habs


BigTed3
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On ‎12‎/‎22‎/‎2016 at 3:56 PM, BigTed3 said:

Pacioretty did an interview with ESPN where he stated that things were going well and that he doesn't blame fans for certain perceptions but that they don't know what happens behind closed doors. He added that the Habs don't share much with the public and stated that to him, the opinions of his play that count are those of his coach, GM, and teammates. He also stated that his injury didn't play a big role and that he simply felt he should take on more of a defensive role with Galchenyuk and Radulov doing the heavy lifting on offence.

I don't know if this closed door business was an allusion to Subban or not, which is odd if it is, because Pacman has also stated publicly that he and Subban got along great and were friends and that he was never a distraction. So which is it? Was Subban traded because there are things we don't know about that justify it or did he get along fine with his teammates (as many of them have stated to the media)? It's one thing to say we keep things private, but we're obviously being kept away from the truth on something to do with the Habs room. Of note, the players and Therrien always told us there was great chemistry in the room until we started losing, even with Subban here. And even after that, Therrien kept reiterating how his players stuck together and played hard. Interviews like the Pacioretty one just make it all the more confusing and less transparent, to say there are things fans don't know about but then also say at the same time that there's nothing going on...

I personally only real care about what happens on the ice and the games themselves. Even with show's like 24 or shows leading up to open ice games ect. we really don't know what happens in the locker room. I really don't think the team or players have any real obligation to the fans to let us know either. The only obligation they really have is the product they put on the ice. We all love the game and want our team to win bottom line. What we all have to remember is that Hockey is also a major business. We are the consumers and hope the product is good. Apple doesn't let us know all the new ideas they are working on. They always hope we buy the product when released. I believe the "reality" TV world we now live in with twitter and everything has gotten to much. I think it sometimes makes a difference to some player where they actually choose to play because of media and scrutiny. There are some whom embrace it also which is fine. For those who would rather just play and never do an interview star or not I have no problem with and I don't think the team is under any obligation to tell the fans about all their business and what happens behind closed doors. Most people won't accept what they have to say anyway and from players or team there is usually never the full story.

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I am on record as not being particularly impressed by the Weber narrative, or nebulous claims about the value of "leadership". However, I'm starting to wonder if there isn't actually something of a "leadership" effect from Weber, namely on Alexei Emelin. He no longer has to be "the physical defenceman", because Weber's on the roster. He still lays some great hits, but just look at how he's doing with 5-on5 scoring chances. He's a legitimate defensive force now, and we're better for it.

 

4 hours ago, CaptWelly said:

Even with show's like 24 or shows leading up to open ice games ect. we really don't know what happens in the locker room. I really don't think the team or players have any real obligation to the fans to let us know either. The only obligation they really have is the product they put on the ice...

I believe the "reality" TV world we now live in with twitter and everything has gotten to much.

I think you're 100% right here. This stuff is not news, or even unbiased documentaries. It exists to serve an entirely different purpose. All of these productions are entertainment, produced to advertise the team and inflating (or creating) personalities to increase fan engagement. And that's fine, of course, but it's true: these guys really do not owe us anything. They don't owe us a particular persona, in particular. It's just my opinion that we fans would benefit from viewing this kind of thing with a bit of scrutiny. Of course let's love our team and be fans of our favourite players, but uncritical viewing of the 24CH/WInter Classic shows seems unwise.

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6 hours ago, habs_93 said:

I am on record as not being particularly impressed by the Weber narrative, or nebulous claims about the value of "leadership". However, I'm starting to wonder if there isn't actually something of a "leadership" effect from Weber, namely on Alexei Emelin. He no longer has to be "the physical defenceman", because Weber's on the roster. He still lays some great hits, but just look at how he's doing with 5-on5 scoring chances. He's a legitimate defensive force now, and we're better for it.

I agree. I think Weber has helped in a number of ways, but that being said, Emelin has spent much of the past few years playing with inferior players. He and Markov were awful together, with Emelin forced to play the off-side, yet Therrien kept going back to that combination. In the past 4 seasons, they have a 46.5% Corsi at 5v5 together. Apart, both players are much better, largely because they've been buoyed by better teammates. With Gonchar, he was 46.9%. With Gilbert 47.6%, Tinordi 44.4%. Mike Weaver and he sat at 40.5%. With Murray and with Gorges, 40% in both situations and with Bouillon, an incredibly low 37%. The bottom line is that Emelin has mostly been used as a bottom-pairing D man, outside of being paired with Markov on the wrong side, and he's had bad partners who have performed badly with him.

Contrast that to when Emelin has actually gotten to play with a good partner. With Subban, 49.4%. With Petry, he's finally over 50% at 50.5%. With Weber, 52.4%. The numbers are much better when he's been paired with quality partners. Weber has certainly done more for him than any other player he's played with but I think in general, we're using a low standard of comparison here because Emelin has been teamed with so many low-quality D men on the 3rd pairing. He's not able to carry them but he's done very well at being the supporting-role D man with a quality guy next to him.

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Third loss in a row and the schedule isn't getting any easier. Injuries are really starting to show, there's simply not enough offensive skill on the roster to compensate. We need Plekanec and Gallagher to produce, otherwise we'll be going nowhere IMO.

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6 hours ago, ChiLla said:

Third loss in a row and the schedule isn't getting any easier. Injuries are really starting to show, there's simply not enough offensive skill on the roster to compensate. We need Plekanec and Gallagher to produce, otherwise we'll be going nowhere IMO.

I'm comfortable with the D even without Markov. And Shaw had played well before his injury, but he's a guy you should be able to compensate for losing. I think the team is better off without Desharnais, to be frank. The only key offensive player we're really missing is Galchenyuk. This team still has Pacman, Gallagher, Plekanec, Radulov, Lehkonen, Weber, Beaulieu, and Petry to help produce, and Byron is on track for a 20+ goal season. There's still the potential for goal-scoring there. Like you said, this is more about players slumping and subpar production than anything else. Yes, we need Galchencyuk back to drive the offence and yes, MB needs to make a move for another top 6 player, but there's enough here within that the team should be able to stay afloat.

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1 hour ago, PuckPundit said:

Game strategy seems to be maintaining 0.500 hockey until Galchenyuk returns.  Play to earn at least the loser point to get to OT.  At worst, it results in a 0.500 points situation over a series of games.  

And as elaborated on before, 0.500 is not "0.500" anymore. League average point percentage since the 2005-06 lockout is around 0.560. So, playing 0.500 hockey means playing losing hockey.

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On 1/5/2017 at 6:01 AM, habs_93 said:

And as elaborated on before, 0.500 is not "0.500" anymore. League average point percentage since the 2005-06 lockout is around 0.560. So, playing 0.500 hockey means playing losing hockey.

Yes but given how bad our injury situation is and the fact that we have a little lead, playing slightly losing hockey for a short while at this point would probably feel like hanging in there, more than anything. 

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2 hours ago, roy_133 said:

Yes but given how bad our injury situation is and the fact that we have a little lead, playing slightly losing hockey for a short while at this point would probably feel like hanging in there, more than anything. 

Which is why, when a team starts the season on a losing note, only a fool would use the excuse "it's early".

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In the midst of the toughest part of the schedule this year, Habs have lost to SJ, Min, Clb, TB, Pit but won against Was, Ana, Fla, Nas, Dal, and now Tor. With two loser points to add to that total, we've managed to stay afloat just a touch above .500. Not great, but enough to not suffer an epic December/January epic collapse and certainly impressive given the way we have played, dominating possession in most games despite our injuries. I'll definitely take the performances we've had from this team of late.

Coming up, we have Was at home, Wpg on the road, Minny on the road, Rangers at home, Wings on road, and Pens at home. That fills out the tough part of the sched. After that, we draw NJ, Buf, Cal, NYI, Buf again, Phi, Was, Edm, Col, and Ari. That's a much easier stretch (doesn't mean we'll do well, but that's what it is). Would like to see the team bank 7-8 of the next 12 points, after which we should be getting guys like Galchenyuk, Markov, and hopefully Shaw back in the line-up.

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Time for the halfway grades:

Goalies:

- Price: A... great, but there's still a little room for improvement

- Montoya: B-... pretty decent overall, but a little shakier of late

Defence:

- Petry: A+... outstanding first half, easily our best defenceman

- Emelin: A-... has surpassed all expectations

- Weber: B+... solid play for most of the year, great on the PP, but some bad giveaways on soft plays and had a long production drought

- Markov: B+... resurgence playing next to Petry

- Beaulieu: C+... rough start but has come on of late.

- Pateryn: C+... solid but unremarkable.

- Barberio: C... fantastic when initially called up but has been weighed down by the likes of Hanley and Johnston.

- Redmond: C-... the best of the choices for 3rd pairing D right now.

- Johnston: D-... pretty brutal.

- Hanley: F... even worse.

Forwards:

- Galchenyuk: A+... was brilliant when healthy, a top 10 forward in the league.

- Radulov: A... we knew he had skill but his effort level and enthusiasm have been off the charts.

- Pacioretty: A... after a difficult start, he's been on fire of late.

- Danault: A-... probably the guy who's made the biggest strides from last year.

- Byron: B+... pleasant surprise sustained.

- Lehkonen: B... has scored at a good clip for a rookie.

- Mitchell: B-... good in his role.

- McCarron: B-... deserves to be in the NHL.

- Gallagher: C... working hard but the results have fallen short.

- Shaw: C-... up and down season.

- Flynn: C-... just okay.

- Carr: D+... regression post-injury.

- Plekanec: D... well below what we should expect from him.

- Terry: D... not worth a roster spot.

- Andrighetto: F... a shadow of what he's given us previously.

- Desharnais: F... this team is better off without him, as proven by our play without him the past two seasons.

Coaches:

- Therrien and his group get a B+ from me thus far. They've hit a lot of the right moves since the Desharnais and Galchenyuk injuries and prevented us from sinking.

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We have managed to not hit an extended losing streak, which is something I fully expected to happen even without the rash of injuries. The kool aid contingent is a little too excited about our position in the standings..............we have been playing .500 for a long time, nothing to be too excited about............but what it does say, is we have managed to not squander the hot streak we had to start the year, and if we keep it up we will be in the playoffs easily.

1. Radulov is a legit "A" player.  We have not had that since Kovalev, and it really makes a difference. Biggest difference from among the forward corp from last year.

2. Desharnais is out. I dont mean to be flip, I'm not trying to be a jerk. In all seriousness, this team is just so much better with him out.  He is not out there wasting 17 min a night, with quality players, PP time....we don't have to shelter whatever line he is on....When he is healthy, he should be healthy on waivers, or in St. Johns. Like I said at the beginning of the year. Imagine we did that and still had Eller to play with Shaw and Danault? Anyway, he should not be in this lineup again with anything even vaguely resembling a healthy roster

3. captain patchy has stepped up lately and scored some timely goals. I'm his biggest hater, and I stand by everything negative I've said about him, but he does have the ability to bury a puck when he gets an opening, and he has been doing it lately. even when healthy our forward group is pretty mediocre, and liable to lay an egg on any given night, so any success we are gonna have is gonna have to include this guy scoring consistently. 

4. Petry and Bealieu have really stepped up this year, which has been probably the biggest factor in keeping us from collapsing, since markov is on the shelf and weber has come back to reality.  

5. somehow, paul byron keeps scoring. this is not a long term solution, and will get us nowhere in the playoffs, but the guy deserves credit for keeping it up. 

There are still major problems with this team, and hitting a bad losing streak is still a very real possibility, but I think they deserve some credit for weathering these injuries and staying above water.

 

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According to Arpon Basu (stats from Corsica), Habs are 1st in the league in Corsi and scoring chance percentage for since Dec 5th, this despite Carey Price having the 29th best save percentage among starters over that time. Clearly, this team has actually been playing well and not simply relying on Price to bail them out. I've said what Jeff said above many times, but this is a better team without Desharnais weighing down the line-up, even with Galchenyuk out. We still need to add a top 6 winger and we could still use another defenceman, but we're very close to being a legit Cup contender.

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At this juncture, I still feel this is a bubble team with very shaky defence, with or without Price. Offence is erratic, depending on opponent. Sometimes they light it up, most times they can't finish. Inability to hold the lead continues to be a problem in most games. PK stinks and PP is anemic.

If the playoffs start today, I'd be surprised if they make it out of first round.

Hopefully this team can pick it up on the final stretch of the season, to generate momentum to carry over into the playoffs.

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24 minutes ago, PuckPundit said:

At this juncture, I still feel this is a bubble team with very shaky defence, with or without Price. Offence is erratic, depending on opponent. Sometimes they light it up, most times they can't finish. Inability to hold the lead continues to be a problem in most games. PK stinks and PP is anemic.

If the playoffs start today, I'd be surprised if they make it out of first round.

Hopefully this team can pick it up on the final stretch of the season, to generate momentum to carry over into the playoffs.

I agree with you other than that I feel our defence is the more solid part and our offence is the very shaky part, but tomato tomato, this is a mediocre team that started the season on fire and managed to not fall off a cliff and undo the head start. 

I actually thought we would do a lot worse, but the other thing I didnt really factor in was that there are a lot of teams in the east who are just as mediocre or worse....so as far as the playoffs go, I actually think we have a fair chance of winning a round or maybe even 2, depending on how things shake out. theres washington, the pens and the rangers, and other than those 3, the rest of the east is more or less the same. 

 

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32 minutes ago, jeff33 said:

I agree with you other than that I feel our defence is the more solid part and our offence is the very shaky part, but tomato tomato, this is a mediocre team that started the season on fire and managed to not fall off a cliff and undo the head start. 

I actually thought we would do a lot worse, but the other thing I didnt really factor in was that there are a lot of teams in the east who are just as mediocre or worse....so as far as the playoffs go, I actually think we have a fair chance of winning a round or maybe even 2, depending on how things shake out. theres washington, the pens and the rangers, and other than those 3, the rest of the east is more or less the same. 

 

I don't think I agree with this, in my opinion there aren't many teams in the East that are flat-out better. You can certainly make an argument for the Penguins given their elite talent on offense, Washington is really balanced too but aside from that? I frankly don't think the Rangers are superior and while Columbus is red-hot this year, especially on the PP,  playoffs are different and they don't have much experience in that regard. Honestly, I'd feel comfortable facing any opponent in the post-season. I'm not saying we're the favorite to win the Cup but we're certainly one of the better teams in the league and having Galchenyuk, Gallagher and Markov back in the lineup will hopefully help too.

Also, if offense is our greatest weakness, I guess I don't really mind considering we're currently 4th in Goals For league-wide. What I actually don't like is the PK, there's plenty of room for improvement in that regard. But other than that, I think the boys have been doing quite well despite missing key players. They definitely exceeded my expectations and I also give credit to MT, the system has changed for whatever reason and IMO we've been playing the game the way it should be played. Additionally, not having DD in the lineup helps a ton.

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1 hour ago, ChiLla said:

I don't think I agree with this, in my opinion there aren't many teams in the East that are flat-out better. You can certainly make an argument for the Penguins given their elite talent on offense, Washington is really balanced too but aside from that? I frankly don't think the Rangers are superior and while Columbus is red-hot this year, especially on the PP,  playoffs are different and they don't have much experience in that regard. Honestly, I'd feel comfortable facing any opponent in the post-season. I'm not saying we're the favorite to win the Cup but we're certainly one of the better teams in the league and having Galchenyuk, Gallagher and Markov back in the lineup will hopefully help too.

Also, if offense is our greatest weakness, I guess I don't really mind considering we're currently 4th in Goals For league-wide. What I actually don't like is the PK, there's plenty of room for improvement in that regard. But other than that, I think the boys have been doing quite well despite missing key players. They definitely exceeded my expectations and I also give credit to MT, the system has changed for whatever reason and IMO we've been playing the game the way it should be played. Additionally, not having DD in the lineup helps a ton.

 

I actually think we mostly agree chilla. your first sentence is pretty much what I was getting at.....I dont love our roster but despite that, we match up pretty well with anyone in the east. 

you make a good point too, I think our forward group is nothing special and yet the fact is we are 4th, I wasnt aware of that but its undeniable we have done well for ourselves. again I think that has a lot to do with DD not screwing  up our deployment, and guys like danault....who i meant to mention in my original post....stepping up and playing very well. I love seeing big mac and scherbak in there doing well, ghetto played well tonight,  THIS is our ticket to success, and yes we have chucky coming back and gallgher eventually too (although i was already expressing concerns about his hands post the breakage and now again....oh boy)

in terms of MT...I have 2 obvious answers. 1. muller 2. no DD

our PK...we miss eller. what a bonehead move choosing DD over him. our PP is horrible too, and i think thats on MT as well, and special teams stinking in the playoffs is bad news, but I guess we will have to see. as long as we keep it up, we certainly will

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5 minutes ago, jeff33 said:

 

I actually think we mostly agree chilla. your first sentence is pretty much what I was getting at.....I dont love our roster but despite that, we match up pretty well with anyone in the east. 

you make a good point too, I think our forward group is nothing special and yet the fact is we are 4th, I wasnt aware of that but its undeniable we have done well for ourselves. again I think that has a lot to do with DD not screwing  up our deployment, and guys like danault....who i meant to mention in my original post....stepping up and playing very well. I love seeing big mac and scherbak in there doing well, ghetto played well tonight,  THIS is our ticket to success, and yes we have chucky coming back and gallgher eventually too (although i was already expressing concerns about his hands post the breakage and now again....oh boy)

in terms of MT...I have 2 obvious answers. 1. muller 2. no DD

our PK...we miss eller. what a bonehead move choosing DD over him. our PP is horrible too, and i think thats on MT as well, and special teams stinking in the playoffs is bad news, but I guess we will have to see. as long as we keep it up, we certainly will

Absolutely, on paper our forwards don't really compare well to teams like PIT or CHI as we don't have any guys I'd include in the elite category. However, Galchenyuk, Radulov, and Pacioretty are legit first-liners on pretty much any team in the league I think. Gallagher comes close too, even though he's had terrible puck luck this season.

Also agreed on Danault, he's been a revelation IMO and just so much more versatile than DD. He basically brings nothing to the table except vision and also is a complete non-factor once the playoffs start. Scherbak and McCarron are fun to watch, no doubt!

Yeah, Byron is a constant threat on the PK but I'd rather still rather have Eller around. I wouldn't say our PP is horrible, we're still somewhere around 10th place I believe, but yeah it's certainly not great. Still, there just aren't that many options when your 1st line center is out and we don't have the depth to compensate. It looks like we're often having trouble entering the zone and fail to develop sustained pressure, so setting up Weber's blast from the point is proving more and more difficult. Still though, I think once Galchenyuk is back we'll see some improvement in that regard.

 

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