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2021-22 State of the Habs


H_T_L
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2 hours ago, H_T_L said:

I'm almost at the point now that i wouldn't go to a game if they gave me the tickets, accommodations and travel costs to the game. This is not enjoyable entertainment in my books. I barely got through a period of this garbage last night.

i have not watched a full game yet this year.  Usually i cant even get through a period.   Even during the lean Jan Bulis/Richard Zednik first line years I could not say that. 

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6 hours ago, claremont said:

He may have some operating losses but the capital value of the franchise is still increasing based on potential so the operating ticket/fan loss is small potatoes, and he's still getting TV Media Revenue.  He's not losing money on the $1.34B franchise value and it's buying power - Videotron, Bell, Rogers, would gladly pay that for the media content. 

A similar comparison - take a parking lot in prime condo development in any big city core. Operating the parking lot of tickets less staff to collect the tickets, asphalt repairs and property taxes and one would say you're likely not making much operating profit, however the price of the franchise land continues to go up in value - why close the parking lot and just sit on it for awhile while the sale price just goes up

Because it's not one or the other: you can make cash flow plus have the asset appreciate. If this theory was right, no one could rent a house or apartment because all owners would just leave it empty.

The poor product and general apathy of the fan-base is going to hurt Molson in the pocket-book, even if only in relative terms (basically you have an income producing asset not producing the income its supposed to).

It's very hard to see how Bergevin beyond this year (at least as GM, I could see him "promoted" upstairs): like how could you extend him now given this mess he's assembled? The question is really timing, you can't have him run the trade deadline, can you?

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6 minutes ago, Graeme-1 said:

Because it's not one or the other: you can make cash flow plus have the asset appreciate. If this theory was right, no one could rent a house or apartment because all owners would just leave it empty.

The poor product and general apathy of the fan-base is going to hurt Molson in the pocket-book, even if only in relative terms (basically you have an income producing asset not producing the income its supposed to).

It's very hard to see how Bergevin beyond this year (at least as GM, I could see him "promoted" upstairs): like how could you extend him now given this mess he's assembled? The question is really timing, you can't have him run the trade deadline, can you?

see for me its not a question of who is GM. If MB trade Chiarot and sells sells sells then I'm happy. I want to see signs that we will do a rebuild and that to some degree I think comes from Molson himself

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7 hours ago, habsisme said:

yeah but all one has to do is watch the game and see all the empty seats. I'm a half-season ticket holder. The games that I sell, I'm selling at below the price of the ticket. They are not selling out anymore. I don't see how they can grow or generate more revenue. I don't think it will go that far but they are at the point where they may need to consider lowering the ticket price. Trust me Molson is worried more than any of us, the problem is he might be so worried that he fears what may happen if there is a complete rebuild

Fans will accept a rebuilding team (for some period of time, you do need to exit the rebuild at some point): the team's expected to lose, but you tune in to see the young future-stars, see some underdog wins, hopefully see the team play spoiler. And if the young kids make some mistakes, who cares, it's a rebuilding season.

It's the team that's trying to win now that looks like a rebuilding team that is utterly demoralizing: every game feels like a disappointment, young players get benched for mistakes, older players are frustrating spending the twilight of their career losing, fans are constantly worried the GM is going to make short-sighted trades and avoid the necessary long-term trades, and the cap-situation is going to be a mess for years to come.

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Just now, Graeme-1 said:

Fans will accept a rebuilding team (for some period of time, you do need to exit the rebuild at some point): the team's expected to lose, but you tune in to see the young future-stars, see some underdog wins, hopefully see the team play spoiler. And if the young kids make some mistakes, who cares, it's a rebuilding season.

It's the team that's trying to win now that looks like a rebuilding team that is utterly demoralizing: every game feels like a disappointment, young players get benched for mistakes, older players are frustrating spending the twilight of their career losing, fans are constantly worried the GM is going to make short-sighted trades and avoid the necessary long-term trades, and the cap-situation is going to be a mess for years to come.

yes I agree I just hope Molson sees it that way too

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Just now, habsisme said:

see for me its not a question of who is GM. If MB trade Chiarot and sells sells sells then I'm happy. I want to see signs that we will do a rebuild and that to some degree I think comes from Molson himself

I actually just posted something similar after you posted this: fans will accept a rebuild. 

However, asking fans to accept putting the rebuild in the hands of someone who has been GM for 10 years, caused the current mess, and failed to accomplish a lot is a tough ask. I think you need to go with someone new.

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The other thing, as I've said before, is that a "rebuild" doesn't have to be a long arduous process in today's NHL. Why? A few reasons:

 

1. The speed of the game. The game is so fast now. Players are so big and fit. And as such, it is much harder for 30+ year-olds to keep up. You can't be an unfit 35 year-old who smokes and drinks between games. The guys who are able to stay in the game at 35+ are the ones who are physically and medically fit enough to compete with 20 year-olds in their athletic prime. Right now, players are hitting their prime at age 22, 23, 24. So you can draft and trade for prospects and have those guys become high-impact players very very quickly.

2. The salary cap. At the other end, the cap prevents teams from being powerhouses for too long. Look at Chicago, having to trade away the likes of Byfuglien and Shaw and Ladd and so on. Look at Tampa having to shed players recently. You can't keep everyone. So it allows lower-ranked teams to catch up faster than they normally would if there were no cap, both by top teams having to shed talent and by bottom-feeders being able to grab some of that freed-up talent too.

3. You only need a couple of top-tier pieces to be competitive. Pittsburgh built around Crosvy, Malkin, and Letang. Chicago built around Toews and Kane and Keith. Tampa around Point, Kucherov, and Hedman (and they probably didn't even need Stamkos). You can get 1-2 high draft choices and make one good trade or signing and be relevant again. But as I've said, you've got to be strong at drafting when you get the chance and you need to have that chance to get top 5 picks. If you're always drafting at 23 or 27 overall, you need to get lucky to some degree.

All that to say, the Habs could very easily be competitive within two years. Look at how quickly the Rangers have grown a strong line-up, for example. They got Lafreniere and Kakko. They signed Panarin. They acquired Fox. And now they're a pretty decent team after being bigtime sellers at the trade deadline just a few years ago. They did it right. They got a few first-rounders in trades, they added prime talent when they had a shot to do it.

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13 minutes ago, BigTed3 said:

The other thing, as I've said before, is that a "rebuild" doesn't have to be a long arduous process in today's NHL. Why? A few reasons:

 

1. The speed of the game. The game is so fast now. Players are so big and fit. And as such, it is much harder for 30+ year-olds to keep up. You can't be an unfit 35 year-old who smokes and drinks between games. The guys who are able to stay in the game at 35+ are the ones who are physically and medically fit enough to compete with 20 year-olds in their athletic prime. Right now, players are hitting their prime at age 22, 23, 24. So you can draft and trade for prospects and have those guys become high-impact players very very quickly.

2. The salary cap. At the other end, the cap prevents teams from being powerhouses for too long. Look at Chicago, having to trade away the likes of Byfuglien and Shaw and Ladd and so on. Look at Tampa having to shed players recently. You can't keep everyone. So it allows lower-ranked teams to catch up faster than they normally would if there were no cap, both by top teams having to shed talent and by bottom-feeders being able to grab some of that freed-up talent too.

3. You only need a couple of top-tier pieces to be competitive. Pittsburgh built around Crosvy, Malkin, and Letang. Chicago built around Toews and Kane and Keith. Tampa around Point, Kucherov, and Hedman (and they probably didn't even need Stamkos). You can get 1-2 high draft choices and make one good trade or signing and be relevant again. But as I've said, you've got to be strong at drafting when you get the chance and you need to have that chance to get top 5 picks. If you're always drafting at 23 or 27 overall, you need to get lucky to some degree.

All that to say, the Habs could very easily be competitive within two years. Look at how quickly the Rangers have grown a strong line-up, for example. They got Lafreniere and Kakko. They signed Panarin. They acquired Fox. And now they're a pretty decent team after being bigtime sellers at the trade deadline just a few years ago. They did it right. They got a few first-rounders in trades, they added prime talent when they had a shot to do it.

I see it the same way too. If done right this can be a 2 year thing before we start competing for playoff spots again

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18 hours ago, Manatee-X said:

I really like the analogy, but the question isn't whether or not he sells the parking lot, it's whether or not he spends a relatively small amount of money to repair the obvious potholes at the entrance.  If you're going to keep the lot in operation, you might as well make it at least tolerable to the people who use it.

I don't think anything really changes from a team valuation point of view if Bergevin gets fired, does it?

The franchise values goes up if Bergevin gets fired - the asset is better with a stronger mgmt. team IMO. 

 

18 hours ago, habsisme said:

tAnd I'm not even sure bell or roger could own another team (they already own the Leafs). Videotron would be the obvious buyer but if they happen not to be interested, he may not get as high as he should have. 

The idea the even if Molson just cared about money (which I don't think he does), he wouldn't care about the success of the team. A successful team bring in money. One of the very reasons we've never rebuilt is not the naive "they don't care about winning" its the "This city won't support a losing product, win now at all costs" 

Bell owns 25% of the habs already - I could very well see them take a majority position to protect their investment and Quebec Market share from the emerging Quebecor / Videotron. 

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11 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

The other thing, as I've said before, is that a "rebuild" doesn't have to be a long arduous process in today's NHL. Why? A few reasons:

1. The speed of the game. The game is so fast now. Players are so big and fit. And as such, it is much harder for 30+ year-olds to keep up. You can't be an unfit 35 year-old who smokes and drinks between games. The guys who are able to stay in the game at 35+ are the ones who are physically and medically fit enough to compete with 20 year-olds in their athletic prime. Right now, players are hitting their prime at age 22, 23, 24. So you can draft and trade for prospects and have those guys become high-impact players very very quickly.

2. The salary cap. At the other end, the cap prevents teams from being powerhouses for too long. Look at Chicago, having to trade away the likes of Byfuglien and Shaw and Ladd and so on. Look at Tampa having to shed players recently. You can't keep everyone. So it allows lower-ranked teams to catch up faster than they normally would if there were no cap, both by top teams having to shed talent and by bottom-feeders being able to grab some of that freed-up talent too.

3. You only need a couple of top-tier pieces to be competitive. Pittsburgh built around Crosvy, Malkin, and Letang. Chicago built around Toews and Kane and Keith. Tampa around Point, Kucherov, and Hedman (and they probably didn't even need Stamkos). You can get 1-2 high draft choices and make one good trade or signing and be relevant again. But as I've said, you've got to be strong at drafting when you get the chance and you need to have that chance to get top 5 picks. If you're always drafting at 23 or 27 overall, you need to get lucky to some degree.

All that to say, the Habs could very easily be competitive within two years. Look at how quickly the Rangers have grown a strong line-up, for example. They got Lafreniere and Kakko. They signed Panarin. They acquired Fox. And now they're a pretty decent team after being bigtime sellers at the trade deadline just a few years ago. They did it right. They got a few first-rounders in trades, they added prime talent when they had a shot to do it.

A couple of add-ins and a counterpoint

  1. Add-in - You may have said this before but good mgmt really needs to think long and hard about those 30+ year olds and who you want to keep. Some of it is motivational loyalty rewards that send messages to players on continuation. Should the Habs have signed Gallagher to longer term - probably yes for his leadership heart, gas in the tank and the message it sends to the younger core. If you have a revolving door of moving too many people out, you're promoting a develop to a point and then leave for free agency. Others may say it promotes healthy competition but an organization loses it's player identity. Should the habs have extended Petry - probably yes. And if you don't extend some of your players then you're in a continuum of bidding for some other free agent cast offs unless your draft can continue to replace (and that puts a lot of pressure on your draft). The decision to sign Savard for 4 years was stupid political posturing given you have Guhle, Romanov. Kulak who can all play right side to supplement Petry, and despite Brooks injury he was dismissed from the opportunity. A trade for a RHD with lower term would have been the better interim choice. Price's contract was simply too long.
  2. Counterpoint - Agree on dynasties likely being extremely hard to maintain. However, which lower ranked teams have become competitive thru the salary cap as a major impetus? Are you suggesting that a lower ranked team can spend thru free agency and catch-up? The only one that I know that may have done this is Las Vegas who started with a clean slate and is the anomaly. Dallas Stars splashed on Pavelski and Radulov - never caught up.  Flyers - JVR, Kevin Hayes, and previous to that Voracek so while a healthy cap is a nice to have, I'm not certain it pushes lower ranked teams into the competitive realm
  3. Add-in- You are correct on development of core top-tier pieces, however they don't always need to come from  1-2 high draft choices. Look at Edmonton and their failure with all their #1 history and it's only now that they are top level. Winnipeg has had picks within the top 10 for years, and has never been competitive. You need wisdom and some fortunate development of your mid-level or mid-late round picks to be successful. Boston has outperformed many teams for many years - The highest level draft pick on their roster excluding the free agent Taylor Hall was drafted at #14. Islanders have been competitive for last several years and they don't have a top 10 pick in their lineup. Ditto St. Louis Blues. Carolina has one top 5 pick in their lineup. I am reinforcing your point on luck at 23-27 but the supplement is you need fortune surprises in rounds 2, 3 to compliment and build that nucleus. 
  4. Youthful Cast-offs -  I haven't done in-depth analysis on this but the good teams seem to pick up some high level draft picks via trade, that never made it in one organization, and turn them around. 

I'll echo a previous statement that our last 3 years of drafts (2019 - Caufield, Struble, Norlinder) 2020 - Guhle and last year's draft (Mailloux, Kidney and the steal Joshua Roy), plus dark horses Harris, Mysak, Farrell, Tuch, give me some small hope that we can add to a core of Suzuki, Romanov, Anderson, Toffoli, and the declining but here Gallagher, Petry, Edmundson, Price, and rebound

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5 hours ago, claremont said:

A couple of add-ins and a counterpoint

  1. Add-in - You may have said this before but good mgmt really needs to think long and hard about those 30+ year olds and who you want to keep. Some of it is motivational loyalty rewards that send messages to players on continuation. Should the Habs have signed Gallagher to longer term - probably yes for his leadership heart, gas in the tank and the message it sends to the younger core. If you have a revolving door of moving too many people out, you're promoting a develop to a point and then leave for free agency. Others may say it promotes healthy competition but an organization loses it's player identity. Should the habs have extended Petry - probably yes. And if you don't extend some of your players then you're in a continuum of bidding for some other free agent cast offs unless your draft can continue to replace (and that puts a lot of pressure on your draft). The decision to sign Savard for 4 years was stupid political posturing given you have Guhle, Romanov. Kulak who can all play right side to supplement Petry, and despite Brooks injury he was dismissed from the opportunity. A trade for a RHD with lower term would have been the better interim choice. Price's contract was simply too long.
  2. Counterpoint - Agree on dynasties likely being extremely hard to maintain. However, which lower ranked teams have become competitive thru the salary cap as a major impetus? Are you suggesting that a lower ranked team can spend thru free agency and catch-up? The only one that I know that may have done this is Las Vegas who started with a clean slate and is the anomaly. Dallas Stars splashed on Pavelski and Radulov - never caught up.  Flyers - JVR, Kevin Hayes, and previous to that Voracek so while a healthy cap is a nice to have, I'm not certain it pushes lower ranked teams into the competitive realm
  3. Add-in- You are correct on development of core top-tier pieces, however they don't always need to come from  1-2 high draft choices. Look at Edmonton and their failure with all their #1 history and it's only now that they are top level. Winnipeg has had picks within the top 10 for years, and has never been competitive. You need wisdom and some fortunate development of your mid-level or mid-late round picks to be successful. Boston has outperformed many teams for many years - The highest level draft pick on their roster excluding the free agent Taylor Hall was drafted at #14. Islanders have been competitive for last several years and they don't have a top 10 pick in their lineup. Ditto St. Louis Blues. Carolina has one top 5 pick in their lineup. I am reinforcing your point on luck at 23-27 but the supplement is you need fortune surprises in rounds 2, 3 to compliment and build that nucleus. 
  4. Youthful Cast-offs -  I haven't done in-depth analysis on this but the good teams seem to pick up some high level draft picks via trade, that never made it in one organization, and turn them around. 

I'll echo a previous statement that our last 3 years of drafts (2019 - Caufield, Struble, Norlinder) 2020 - Guhle and last year's draft (Mailloux, Kidney and the steal Joshua Roy), plus dark horses Harris, Mysak, Farrell, Tuch, give me some small hope that we can add to a core of Suzuki, Romanov, Anderson, Toffoli, and the declining but here Gallagher, Petry, Edmundson, Price, and rebound

- As far as veterans go, I'd have traded Gallagher before signing that deal? We got him at a bargain for years and he plays hard, so I think there was some guilt there that led to his being overpaid this time around, but he's a winger (a position of lesser value) and he's been hurt a lot, playing a style of game that doesn't lend itself to continued success in one's later years. Hard to do emotionally, but I'd have swapped him out while we had the chance to get 2-3 good blue chip assets.

- In Petry's case, also an aging player, the major difference being that he plays a far more vital position and we were/are extremely thin at RHD. I think there's more of a case there for having re-signed him, although MB absolutely should have sniffed around to see what the market was for him. Petry's had such a substantial drop-off in play this year that you have to wonder if he's hurt or bothered by something, but despite this, he's #2 on the team among regular defencemen in terms of possession stats this year behind only Wideman. And this despite having worse D partners and playing 24 minutes a night, the highest average of his career. So I think he likely rebounds at some point, especially if Edmundson comes back, but I also think you need better depth on the right side so that you're not playing Petry 24 minutes a night. He's good enough to be a #1 D man in terms of level of play, but I don't think he can play at that level for 23-24 minutes a night. If you give him Edmundson or maybe even Norlinder as a partner and you give him 21 minutes a night instead, I think you'll see a step up in play. But frankly, the guy is slumping and still outclassing the likes of Savard, Kulak, Romanov, etc. in advanced metrics. The numbers suggest we'll see better things here from him as the season goes on.

- As for other teams, Dallas went to the Cup finals two years ago, so I feel like they're doing okay. My point was not that every team will be good, just that the salary cap allows teams to poach better teams' talents more easily. I doubt Atlanta/Winnipeg ever gets Byfgulien if Chicago isn't tight against the cap, and Winnipeg was able to be a strong team with Byfuglien for several years and then developed a major hole on D without him. That one player being available changed a lot for them. Arizona recently has been able to poach draft picks from other teams by taking on cap. Carolina grabbed a 1st rounder from Toronto to take Marleau, also on account of the cap. That pick became Seth Jarvis, who was one of my favorite players in the draft and a guy I had been hoping the Habs would have a shot at. Carolina also used trades to grab Niederreiter and Teravainen and Trocheck when other teams were casting them off. Conversely, look at Tampa being a recent Cup winner and having to dump the likes of Coleman, Goodrow, Johnson, and Gourde. No stars, but good supporting cast players that other teams swooped in to get. All I'm saying is that you can use cap space as an asset to catch up to better teams, who have to spend more money to try and keep their rosters together. If you can draft well and find two elite centers and a stud D man, then you can supplement that with good supporting-cast players via trade or free agency.

- As to your point about drafting, agreed that you need to get lucky down the draft every so often, but I still believe having top-5 picks is the easiest, fastest way to being a contender. TB may have nailed it on Kucherov and Point, but they wouldn't have won a Cup without Hedman (and Stamkos to a lesser degree). Chicago wouldn't have won without Toews and Kane, Pittsburgh without Crosby, Malkin, and MAF, Washington without Ovi. There are different ways to a Cup, but having a core built around verifiable elite players found at the top of the draft is the most common. It doesn't mean all top draft picks lead a team to glory and it doesn't mean you can't find other ways to get a stud nucleus, but it's much harder and much more rare to build a great team through late draft choices/free agency instead of high picks.

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https://montrealgazette.com/sports/hockey/nhl/hockey-inside-out/jack-todd-habs-need-to-make-some-moves-during-olympic-break-if-not-before

ack Todd: Habs need to make some moves during Olympic break, if not before

If there’s anyone left at the Bell Centre capable of making decisions, there are some calls that need to be made.

It says a lot about your hockey team when it can manage to turn a 5-0 laugher into a nail-biter in the span of a single period.

It tells you something when your GM is sick with COVID , yet he’s taking the time to do telephone interviews with handpicked journalists to give his view of things.

 

It tells you something when you have a young talent who may be the puck-moving defenceman your team so desperately needs and he’s playing very well in a brief call-up but is still benched for a minor mistake, jeopardizing his long-term development for the coach’s short-term security.

It tells you something when your owner is off chasing butterflies in Costa Rica or visiting an ashram in the Punjab or whatever he’s doing that has kept him out of sight for weeks during a snowballing catastrophe.

Above all, it tells you something when your hockey team is 5-15 after 20 games, on pace for a sub-50-point season and a lottery pick barely more than four months after playing for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

If there’s anyone left at the Bell Centre capable of making decisions, there are some calls that need to be made:

With the focus shifting to the long-term development of young players, is it useful to have Dominique Ducharme benching Mattias Norlinder when he isn’t in synch with Ducharme’s spectacularly unsuccessful system?

Given the Logan Mailloux debacle and the questionable drafts of both Alex Galchenyuk and Jesperi Kotkaniemi with number-three picks, are Trevor Timmins and Marc Bergevin the people you want in charge next time around?

Given that this is a team that can come unglued with a 5-0 lead, is it conceivable that having an actual captain on the ice might help?

And is it possible to work a trade to swap Geoff Molson for George Gillett Jr., who was both more fun and, well, better at the job?

 don’t pretend to have all the answers. I do know that the NHL has a very long Olympic break coming between Feb. 1 and Feb. 26 and if I were the man in charge, that’s when I would make some moves — if not before.

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29 minutes ago, Regis22 said:

https://montrealgazette.com/sports/hockey/nhl/hockey-inside-out/jack-todd-habs-need-to-make-some-moves-during-olympic-break-if-not-before

ack Todd: Habs need to make some moves during Olympic break, if not before

If there’s anyone left at the Bell Centre capable of making decisions, there are some calls that need to be made.

It says a lot about your hockey team when it can manage to turn a 5-0 laugher into a nail-biter in the span of a single period.

It tells you something when your GM is sick with COVID , yet he’s taking the time to do telephone interviews with handpicked journalists to give his view of things.

 

It tells you something when you have a young talent who may be the puck-moving defenceman your team so desperately needs and he’s playing very well in a brief call-up but is still benched for a minor mistake, jeopardizing his long-term development for the coach’s short-term security.

It tells you something when your owner is off chasing butterflies in Costa Rica or visiting an ashram in the Punjab or whatever he’s doing that has kept him out of sight for weeks during a snowballing catastrophe.

Above all, it tells you something when your hockey team is 5-15 after 20 games, on pace for a sub-50-point season and a lottery pick barely more than four months after playing for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

If there’s anyone left at the Bell Centre capable of making decisions, there are some calls that need to be made:

With the focus shifting to the long-term development of young players, is it useful to have Dominique Ducharme benching Mattias Norlinder when he isn’t in synch with Ducharme’s spectacularly unsuccessful system?

Given the Logan Mailloux debacle and the questionable drafts of both Alex Galchenyuk and Jesperi Kotkaniemi with number-three picks, are Trevor Timmins and Marc Bergevin the people you want in charge next time around?

Given that this is a team that can come unglued with a 5-0 lead, is it conceivable that having an actual captain on the ice might help?

And is it possible to work a trade to swap Geoff Molson for George Gillett Jr., who was both more fun and, well, better at the job?

 don’t pretend to have all the answers. I do know that the NHL has a very long Olympic break coming between Feb. 1 and Feb. 26 and if I were the man in charge, that’s when I would make some moves — if not before.

Lol what moves? The only move really is stay the course, or speed up the process, replace MB and have the new guy start the sell off. I really don’t think there’s much hope for salvaging the season, or sense in trying. And aside from what I’ve stated above, what is molson supposed to do? He’s just the owner, he pays for stuff. People don’t own sports teams as a primary source of income/employment, it’s a hobby business. So unless he’s calling for him to replace MB, he’s barking up the wrong tree. I’ve always been a big MB supporter, but it looks like it’s time. Time to call in uncle Patty, let the era of greatness begin!

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We're at the quarter-point, so here are my first-term grades for the Habs and predictably, they aren't that fantastic:

Goalies:

- Allen: B-... he's been decent but by no means a game-stealer.

- Montembeault: D... had a great game this week, but prior to that, he's made too many mistakes and let in a bunch of bad goals.

Defence:

- Wideman: B... he's been the best D man in his role this season. He's #1 in possession metrics, and he's been our best PP quarterback too. He's been solid at moving the puck quickly and we're seeing the benefits of this style of defenceman in the current NHL. I wasn't sure he could be this good and I still doubt he could move into the top 4, but he's doing his job quite well right now.

- Chiarot: B-... he's still taking a number of boneheaded penalties, but to give him credit, he's pitched in offensively and his possession numbers have improved since getting to play with Petry.

- Petry: C... there's been a huge drop-off in his level of play compared to his past 5 years with us. That said, he's still putting up strong advanced metrics. The issues seem to be a lack of confidence skating the puck (or is it coaching telling him not to do this?) and a lack of finish in the offensive zone. But his transition game has still been better than most of his D teammates.

- Romanov: C-... some questionable play early in the year, although I feel like he's done better in recent weeks. A lot of his issues seem to be due to confusion about where he's supposed to be on the ice, which IMO comes down to bad coaching.

- Kulak: C-... he's been decent at times and is still one of our best-skating D men, but his play hasn't been as consistent as in past years.

- Niku: D... strong puck mover, bad defensively. Needs a lot more practice to become a regular at this point.

- Savard: F... has easily been the worst player on the team. Tons of mistakes, bottom of the pile in possession metrics. We're getting hammered whenever he's on the ice.

Forwards:

- Suzuki: A-... needs to work on consistency, but he's been our best forward and it's not really that close.

- Anderson: B... seems to be trying hard every night but his finishing has been unreliable for the number of chances he gets.

- Drouin: B-... one of our more creative players, again suffering from a lack of finish (or players around him who can finish)

- Toffoli: B-... quietly picking up points but not as much of a goal-scoring threat as he needs to be.

- Lehkonen: C+... one of our best players in terms of puck possession and driving play. He's an incredible forechecker. But he has just about zero sense around the net, which means most of the time, the rest is for naught.

- Gallagher: C.. looking better of late but a significant drop-off from what we're used to from Gally.

- Evans: C... has shown sparks of doing things, but he's being asked to do more than he's ready for.

- Hoffman: C-... yeah, he's been good on the PP. He's been equally awful at even strength. No defensive sense whatsoever. Definitely a drop-off in overall play compared to what we got from Tatar.

- Pezzetta: C-... good energy, not a ton of skill. He's not a guy you want to be relying on, but there's a spot for him as a rotational player on the 4th line.

- Armia: D... after his promising playoffs last year, he got a handsome contract and should be doing more than he is.

- Caufield: D... big-time struggles this year. Not scoring, not bringing a lot of other tangibles to the table if he's not scoring. Obviously capable but needs to turn it around soon.

- Dvorak: D... D for disappointment. Seems to play with zero intensity or emotion. Getting lots of chances to succeed and not making much of it. Definitely not worth the picks we traded for him.

- Perreault: D... one great game where he got the hattie. Otherwise, what has he really done for us?

- Belzile: D... not good enough to be top 9, not particularly skilled at any one thing to be a useful role player.

- Paquette: F... not sure he brings anything of value.

GM and Coach:

- Ducharme: F... look at the roster and the grades I just gave, and there are tons of guys under-performing. One or two might happen, but I don't think I've ever given out this many D's and F's. The coaching has been abysmal. There doesn't seem to be a system, there don't seem to be any adjustments, there's younger guys getting benched while the likes of Savard get their ice regardless of how they play, and the special teams have never been as horrid. I don't have any faith in Ducharme, he's probably the worst coach we've had in decades, worse than Cunneyworth and worse than Therrien.

- Bergevin: F... look at his list of additions this year and they're mostly all flops. Savard is hurting us, Paquette and Perreault have little to no value, Hoffman is a PP specialist who's being overpaid, Dvorak is a supporting player who was overrated by MB in the trade, Montembeault is barely an NHL player, Niku can barely crack the line-up. Wideman's the only signing who has actually proven to be worth his salary. Tack on that he drafted Mailloux to kick off this campaign, and it has been a poor off-season and season for Bergevin.

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https://www.habseyesontheprize.com/2021/11/22/22795015/habs-headlines-marc-bergevin-says-hell-always-do-whats-best-for-the-canadiens-primeau-olympics

Monday Habs Headlines: Marc Bergevin says he’ll always do what’s best for the Canadiens

In today’s links, Bergevin says he’ll do what’s best for his team and that tanking would be “insane”, can we thank Edmundson for Saturday’s victory, despite Covid concerns players still want to go participate in the Olympics, and more.

  • Marc Bergevin discusses his contract, the disappointing start to the season, Dominique Ducharme, and how he’ll always do what’s best for the Canadiens. [TSN 690]
  • The GM says that players have pride and it would be “insane” for people to think they would purposely tank a season. [Sportsnet]
  • Can we thank Joel Edmundson for Saturday night's victory over Nashville since it was his suggestion to change the Canadiens intro song back to Fix You? [Montreal Gazette]
  • Cayden Primeau returned to the Laval Rocket on Sunday, suggesting that Jake Allen is ready to return. [EOTP]
  • Almost 10 years ago, Bergevin was a breath of fresh air after Pierre Gauthier’s stint as the Canadiens GM, but it may be time for a new breath of fresh air. [The Hockey Writers]
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https://thehockeywriters.com/canadiens-draft-struggles-trevor-timmins-replacements/

Canadiens Can Address Drafting Woes by Replacing Timmins

The Montreal Canadiens are off to the worst start in franchise history, having lost 13 of their first 17 games for the first time in their 112 seasons. With their general manager (GM) Marc Bergevin in his final year and possibly not returning, the Habs need to also look at other long-time employees who maybe have stayed a bit too long. Trevor Timmins has been with the Canadiens organization for 17 seasons and worked as a scout as well as assistant GM (AGM). He is directly involved in advising them who to draft, and his results have been average at best. Whether Bergevin walks or not, maybe it’s time the Canadiens had some new vision when it comes to drafting.

 

Canadiens’ Timmins Has More Misses Than Hits

Timmins did help draft some of the better players in the last decade for the Canadiens, but he also missed on quite a few drafts. It’s easy to look back at any year and say they should have drafted this guy or that one, but in Timmins’s defense, he didn’t reach too far to draft a player. The Canadiens also didn’t draft very high in those 17 years, with the average position being 19th with only three top-five picks. An argument could be made that the picks weren’t bad, but the development was, or the Canadiens were just unlucky. Development is a part of the issue, but so is luck for most of the Canadiens’ last 17 draft

From 2008 until 2015, a total of seven seasons, the Canadiens’ first-round picks barely amounted to anything. Alex Galcheynuk is the most successful first-rounder in the group with 335 points in 587 games, while three of the picks never played more than 50 games in the NHL — Louis Leblanc, Noah Juulsen, Nikita Scherbak. The last three picks are playing in the NHL but as bottom-line players: Michael McCarron – Nashville Predators, Jarred Tinordi – New York Rangers, and Nathan Beaulieu – Winnipeg Jets. These three have played 589 games and have amassed a total of 15 goals and 111 points — 91 of these points are from Beaulieu. When drafting first-rounders, you would expect more production than this. Timmins and company missed out on some excellent players during this time, like Chris Kreider, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Morgan Rielly, Shea Theodore, and Sebastian Aho, to name a few players drafted shortly after the Canadiens picked.

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As always BT, i love your grades. Agree with most. A few notes from moi: 

17 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

- Montembeault: D... had a great game this week, but prior to that, he's made too many mistakes and let in a bunch of bad goals.

Call me crazy (and I probably am) but for some reason i feel like this kid is going to break out very soon.  He has some incredible skills & size... i think that Burke and Raymond are banking on the idea that he's been mis-coached for a while & once they get a few minor things worked out, he will see a massive improvement.  I dont disagree with your assessment, he's been brutal for stretches but I dont think the last game was a fluke either. Ive seen some flashes of brilliance in all his games & he's getting better by the week.

 

17 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

- Petry: C... there's been a huge drop-off in his level of play compared to his past 5 years with us. That said, he's still putting up strong advanced metrics. The issues seem to be a lack of confidence skating the puck (or is it coaching telling him not to do this?) and a lack of finish in the offensive zone. But his transition game has still been better than most of his D teammates.

- Savard: F... has easily been the worst player on the team. Tons of mistakes, bottom of the pile in possession metrics. We're getting hammered whenever he's on the ice.

Agree with all of your assessments re: defensmen but ive been wondering for a bit how much the 'system' is hurting the players.  Its obvious that Savard isnt remotely close to a replacement for Weber. They are both big, strong and slowish but Weber was elite positionally (at least when he wasn playing hurt) and Savard's positioning is entirely based on... not moving much.   You can work with that, if you're a coach (a mixed zone coverage for example) but i dont see any evidence of them changing anything, despite the fact the defense has changed considerably.  I have to wonder, if Julien was here, if he would have tried something different by now.

17 hours ago, BigTed3 said:

- Dvorak: D... D for disappointment. Seems to play with zero intensity or emotion. Getting lots of chances to succeed and not making much of it. Definitely not worth the picks we traded for him.

All agree with pretty much all your forward assessments.   Guys like Toffoli, Anderson, Gallagher, are all a bit off their pace but coming around.  Dvorak has really been disappointing. I know it was unfair to think he'd have a huge breakout but I think a lot of us were hoping that new linemates + responsibility would translate into something special but he's looked... uninterested. Which is unfair because not every player plays like gallagher but he sure seems to lack engagement... 

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16 minutes ago, maas_art said:

As always BT, i love your grades. Agree with most. A few notes from moi: 

Call me crazy (and I probably am) but for some reason i feel like this kid is going to break out very soon.  He has some incredible skills & size... i think that Burke and Raymond are banking on the idea that he's been mis-coached for a while & once they get a few minor things worked out, he will see a massive improvement.  I dont disagree with your assessment, he's been brutal for stretches but I dont think the last game was a fluke either. Ive seen some flashes of brilliance in all his games & he's getting better by the week.

 

Agree with all of your assessments re: defensmen but ive been wondering for a bit how much the 'system' is hurting the players.  Its obvious that Savard isnt remotely close to a replacement for Weber. They are both big, strong and slowish but Weber was elite positionally (at least when he wasn playing hurt) and Savard's positioning is entirely based on... not moving much.   You can work with that, if you're a coach (a mixed zone coverage for example) but i dont see any evidence of them changing anything, despite the fact the defense has changed considerably.  I have to wonder, if Julien was here, if he would have tried something different by now.

All agree with pretty much all your forward assessments.   Guys like Toffoli, Anderson, Gallagher, are all a bit off their pace but coming around.  Dvorak has really been disappointing. I know it was unfair to think he'd have a huge breakout but I think a lot of us were hoping that new linemates + responsibility would translate into something special but he's looked... uninterested. Which is unfair because not every player plays like gallagher but he sure seems to lack engagement... 

I don't disagree with any of your points. Montembeault did look strong last game and maybe he'll turn it around and build on that performance. That said, he's had more bad games than good ones and looked shaky on a lot of routine shots. Agreed with you that his grading could well be different at the halfway mark, but based on the composite of what I've seen, he's a D for me so far.

Re: coaching, I do think Julien would likely have a system in place that better-supported the D men in general. Better breakout system, better puck support, etc. In general Julien has always had strong possession teams. On the other hand, Julien clearly loved D men like Weber, Chiarot, etc. too, so I don't think he'd be downgrading Savard in the lineup either. I think Ducharme may be stifling creativity with the puck and not have much idea what he's doing in terms of adapting strategy, but Julien and he have had pretty similar (bad) ideas regarding personnel deployment. Personally, I'd love to see the team admit this is a transition/developmental year and just stick Norlinder with Petry. Petry was great with Edmundson, but his best performances actually came with Kulak with a partner, so I think he benefits from having a mobile partner who can play at his pace. Give Norlinder the mentor in Petry, give Petry the more skilled partner and let's see where that goes. Wideman has been strong statistically, so in the absence of a better solution, I'd pair him with Chiarot on the second pairing for now and see if he's capable of doing anything more. And Kulak-Romanov has worked well in the past and would be by third pairing for now. I don't see a need to try and bust Savard out of a slump because I don't see this as a slump, I just think he's not a strong NHL player at this point and I don't see trying to hide him in the line-up as being useful. It didn't help Alzner or Schlemko or Merrill either.

As for Dvorak, when he came here, there was a lot of chatter about how he was moving from a bad team to a better team and thus might see an uptick in his level of play. And while there was always that chance, I made the point that he was already getting a lot of ice time (including quality ice time on the PP and with decent wingers). I also pointed out that he had bad possession metrics his entire career and that not only were these bad absolute metrics (could be justifiably improved being on a better team), his relative metrics were poor too. He was a below-average possession player and below average for his bad team's roster to boot. So I was expecting Dvorak to be able to hold his own as a middle 6 center and perhaps benefit from the quality of middle 6 winger we have, but I didn't see his ceiling rising considerably. In general, Kotkaniemi (who had better possession metrics and who had room to grow in terms of being able to give him better-quality linemates and more ice time) had a higher ceiling and more potential to improve. So I saw this whole trade-off as a bad move, giving up the younger player with more growth potential and giving up more valuable draft picks in the process. To me, it was akin to holding a lottery scratch-card that you paid $1 to buy and which gave you a 1 in 3 chance of winning $3 or more and selling it to someone to get your $1 back. Yeah, you're sure to keep your dollar and not lose anything, but you're also just sitting on that $1 and giving up your chance of winning something more valuable. It's too safe a move to just hang onto that dollar, especially if your ultimate goal is to be able to be able to garner enough money to afford something more expensive. You have to take some risk to ever get there. Overall, I've been disappointed in Dvorak's intensity but also in his skill level. The times where he has been effective offensively, it's been more chip and bang style plays rather than skill plays that have gotten him there. I thought we'd see a better shot and sharper puck skill and we haven't until now. Hoping there's more there to give or we're going to look foolish with the return we let Arizona have.

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3 hours ago, Regis22 said:

https://thehockeywriters.com/canadiens-draft-struggles-trevor-timmins-replacements/

Canadiens Can Address Drafting Woes by Replacing Timmins

The Montreal Canadiens are off to the worst start in franchise history, having lost 13 of their first 17 games for the first time in their 112 seasons. With their general manager (GM) Marc Bergevin in his final year and possibly not returning, the Habs need to also look at other long-time employees who maybe have stayed a bit too long. Trevor Timmins has been with the Canadiens organization for 17 seasons and worked as a scout as well as assistant GM (AGM). He is directly involved in advising them who to draft, and his results have been average at best. Whether Bergevin walks or not, maybe it’s time the Canadiens had some new vision when it comes to drafting.

 

Canadiens’ Timmins Has More Misses Than Hits

Timmins did help draft some of the better players in the last decade for the Canadiens, but he also missed on quite a few drafts. It’s easy to look back at any year and say they should have drafted this guy or that one, but in Timmins’s defense, he didn’t reach too far to draft a player. The Canadiens also didn’t draft very high in those 17 years, with the average position being 19th with only three top-five picks. An argument could be made that the picks weren’t bad, but the development was, or the Canadiens were just unlucky. Development is a part of the issue, but so is luck for most of the Canadiens’ last 17 draft

From 2008 until 2015, a total of seven seasons, the Canadiens’ first-round picks barely amounted to anything. Alex Galcheynuk is the most successful first-rounder in the group with 335 points in 587 games, while three of the picks never played more than 50 games in the NHL — Louis Leblanc, Noah Juulsen, Nikita Scherbak. The last three picks are playing in the NHL but as bottom-line players: Michael McCarron – Nashville Predators, Jarred Tinordi – New York Rangers, and Nathan Beaulieu – Winnipeg Jets. These three have played 589 games and have amassed a total of 15 goals and 111 points — 91 of these points are from Beaulieu. When drafting first-rounders, you would expect more production than this. Timmins and company missed out on some excellent players during this time, like Chris Kreider, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Morgan Rielly, Shea Theodore, and Sebastian Aho, to name a few players drafted shortly after the Canadiens picked.

I know you're only posting a link and I've posted several times about this topic in the past, but the story you're sharing is just lazy reporting, for several reasons:

1. Why limit the analysis to 2008-2015? That seems to be cherry-picking things. Timmins was responsible for the Habs draft from 2003 onwards, so to forget the years before and after the period looked at ignores the fact he also selected Carey Price, Max Pacioretty, Ryan McDonagh, Andrei Kostitsyn, Cole Caufield, Mikael Sergachev, Ryan Poehling, and Jesperi Kotkaniemi in the first round. Convenient for those writers to ignore. It also includes 2008 as a fringe year in this analysis of "first round picks' success" when the Habs didn't even have a 1st round pick in 2008. So it's a bit disingeuous to try and carve out that the analysis includes a year that wasn't even analyzable when they could have just as easily said 2009-15.

2. Easy in retrospect to say the Habs missed on players like Kuznetsov and Aho and Theodore. That's a handful of guys who turned out to be great players out of hundreds or thousands of players Timmins didn't draft. Once again, that's fairly revisionist history to say Timmins is bad at drafting because he didn't choose those guys. You know who else didn't choose Aho or Point or so on? Every other GM and scout in the league who let those players slide to the later rounds.

3. As I've said many times, it is a fallacy that 1st round picks are all hits. Star players usually get drafted in the top 5-10 spots each year. After that, it becomes more of a crapshoot the lower down the order you go. Lower first rounders only have about a 50% shot at becoming regular NHLers and few of them are elite players. If you want to judge Timmins on misses, you can't crap on him for selecting a Beaulieu or a Poehling near the end of the first round. Sometimes, that's the best player left to pick and frankly, many of Timmins' late firsts have still become NHLers. You want to see where he's missed completely, you have to look at how he's done when he got a top 10 pick, which is not very often. Show me the clear misses. Kostitsyn was a quality top 6 forward for years here. Price is elite. Galchenyuk, love him or hate him, was one of the best players to come out of that weak draft year. Sergachev is a top 3 D man who has been on a B2B Cup winner already. Kotkaniemi is still young but is not a bust by any means. Griping that we didn't find a first-line center with the 25th overall pick is a bit ridiculous.

4. Timmins has also hit more often than most of his compatriots with later-round picks and has often done this going against the grain. He was heavily criticized for Romanov, who has become a clear NHLer. Lehkonen, Gallagher, Lapierre, Halak, Streit, Grabovski, Emelin, Subban, Latendresse, Evans, Mete, Primeau, and so on. Again, the chances a 2nd or 3rd rounder becomes a regular NHLer is in the range of 15-20%. Chances for 4th round or beyond typically under 5-10%. The data shows that TT has found gems down the draft at a better-than-average rate.

I'll criticize the Habs organization for their fair share of mistakes. They've made some bad decisions with certain trades, they've made some poor choices with hiring coaches (both in terms of qualifications and in terms of language practice), they've developed poorly when going through their AHL system for years until Bouchard got there, but drafting has actually been a strong point in my view. I'd actually be in favor of looking at Timmins as a potential GM replacement for Bergevin, that's how good a job I think he's done. It's pretty easy to sit there and say great job drafting, Pittsburgh Penguins and Edmonton Oilers, and tap them on the back for choosing Crosby and Malkin and McDavid and Hall and Draisaitl. Those weren't hard choices to make. Every single team would have chosen Crosby or McDavid with the top pick. But it's just idiotic to say Timmins is a bad drafter because you cherry-pick draft years when we had mostly weak draft positions (and in one year no 1st) and say that only 4 of 7 becoming NHLers is your proof, when in fact that's pretty par for the course for the draft position we had. Not worth putting stock in lazy hockey reporting like that.

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Heard the local radio station talking about the Canucks situation , then the Habs.  It's quite possible the Habs are not changing the coach NOW because then they would be paying 3 coaches AND if MB isn't  returning  , the new GM would want to hire his own coach. So it would lead to a really messy coaching scenario in Montreal ---->  fire DD  then the guy that comes in would be a lame duck coach 

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2 minutes ago, Regis22 said:

Heard the local radio station talking about the Canucks situation , then the Habs.  It's quite possible the Habs are not changing the coach NOW because then they would be paying 3 coaches AND if MB isn't  returning  , the new GM would want to hire his own coach. So it would lead to a really messy coaching scenario in Montreal ---->  fire DD  then the guy that comes in would be a lame duck coach 

For sure.  As much as we may think DD is ill equipped to run the team, the axing has to start higher (GM) and that seems unlikely until the summer.  If you start with 5 wins in 20 games, and you still have your job, you're probably here for the long haul.

 

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Not sure if this is just a rumour or if it has legs. 

NHL Buzz: Allen could start next game for Canadiens coming off injury.

Montreal Canadiens

Jake Allen could start for the Canadiens when they begin a three-game road trip against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

The goalie practiced Monday but has not been cleared to play. He sustained a concussion in a collision with Detroit Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin on Nov. 13.

"We'll see how he feels after practice today and the rest of the day, and then we'll see tomorrow if he's cleared," Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme said. 

Allen is 4-8-1 with a 2.78 goals-against-average, .905 save percentage and two shutouts.

Goalie Carey Price is continuing his conditioning program, though he has not skated for a week.

"He keeps working on everything else, getting off-ice treatment and so on," Ducharme said.

Defenseman Joel Edmundson practiced but is not expected to return during the trip. He missed training camp and has yet to play because of an undisclosed injury and personal leave.

Among the injured forwards, Ducharme said Cedric Paquette (undisclosed) is the closest to returning. He hasn't played since Nov. 9.

"We'll find out if it will be Wednesday or during the trip," Ducharme said. "(Forward Mike) Hoffman (upper body), we're not expecting him this week, that's for sure. We'll have to see about next week. (Forward Mathieu) Perreault (eye) had his operation last week and his vision hasn't returned 100 percent yet." -- Sean Farrell

 

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