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12-31-2008, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by bwoar View Post
Well, I do agree that we don't yet have a team capable of making a deep playoff run. But not at all for the reasons you suggest. ("consistancy problems and leadership problems and we have overated some of young players")

Consistency problems are mental issues with the team that pretty much every team in the league has. I can only think of 3 teams this year that have been consistent, and Chicago is only now in that group. See below, young players = inconsistency.

Leaderhip problems -- well this may just be your Koivu problem showing through, I'm sorry dude but there aren't leadership problems on this team. I have no idea how you can deduce that from the team's play this year. Look at how they've responded with Kovalev wearing the C - no problem. Look at how they did without Komisarek in the lineup - no problem. Higgins, supposedly a leader (though not in my books) - no problem, the team still plays well. There's plenty of leadership on the team and it's working.

Overrating young players? No, we just have a lot of young players is all - they are what they are, developing, and so if the fans have overrated them, tough rocks, but I don't think the org. has them pegged any higher than they are. It's to be expected to have all these ups and downs with teams that are full of youth.

I think we should get used to that, too. The "youth movement" as we know it is likely to be rather permanent for a good deal of teams around the league, as a way of dealing with the salary cap.

When you talk about Gainey, there's a mix of good and bad in your conclusions, IMO.

I'm sure he competes quite hard for UFAs and A-list players. If the Penguins didn't show up and break the bank for Hossa last year at the deadline you wouldn't even think about this. You can't really effectively criticize the GM for not trying harder to make trades and signings -- it takes more than his own willingness to get something done, remember.

I think Tanguay for a draft pick absolutely counts as an aggressive move, for a proven performer. Characterizing him as a B-list player is silly; it's something that everyone does in Montreal once a top player comes here and isn't on pace for 95 points. But the guy can play, and BG traded a good asset to get him.

Remember the deal Briere almost signed? Now look back, would that really have been a good thing?

Picking up Lang, well, do I have to say it? Great job by BG.

There's essentially 3 dynamics left here:

1) not wanting to grossly overpay for an RFA or deadline player, which ultimately screws up a team and doesn't guarentee a Cup

2) rebuilding teams not wanting to give away top 5 draft picks (seriously, how many bottom teams are going to do that? And breaking up a team trying to contend in order to leand a top 5 pick is just plain dumb.)

3) a salary cap which makes every team a puzzle that only certain pieces can fit into. Even when teams would be willing to do a trade, say young assets for a star, both teams have to have the cap space open -- more than any other factor I think this is what prevents the kind of trade you're looking for.

If all that sounds like a Gainey apology, it is in way, but it's also the truth. Note that I don't buy into the entire "Montreal is an unpopular destination" BS.... it's a non-factor the vast majority of the time. To be honest, I think it's a way of ensuring only passionate, committed players play here. (That's why chicken-liver Briere balked, he got another big money offer at the last second and jumped.)

Thing is, your premise is off - we don't need that one giant influx of skill to make it deep this year. We've got a depth that can outscore most any team in the league. But when teams commit to engaging us physically, they can skate right over us, and the second we hit a team who does that, we're in trouble. If our PP doesn't light it up (see last year's playoffs), then they can take as many liberties as they want, because we don't make them pay.

The fact is I don't believe there is an answer to this outside the team. There is no solution that will fix this for us, realistically. It's encouraging to see #84 starting to pound people. We also get less mugging when BGL is in the lineup. But trying to go out and trade for guys who can dish out the same pounding won't do - we have who we have, and teams won't trade us their Lucic's and their Phaneuf's and what-have-you. They'd just as soon hang on to them!

The above is exactly why BG keeps trying for the skilled goalscoring forward. A) he's more likely to land one, and B) the team's identity is speed and scoring depth.

What I personally lean on for hope is this - the young guys we have are still improving. Each night anyone can score. Who would think A Kost scores 3 in a game and Lapierre does it the very next game? Then Latendresse and Lapierre combine to win the next game?? That's scoring depth. That's the kind of team that BG is building, and it only TAKES small moves to make that happen.

I also take comfort in having a goalie who looks like he's going to turn a corner any time now. Honestly, I get really frustrated watching Price. His vaunted "coolness" is at times just far, far too lackadaisical and it costs us goals. Then the team will tie the game and suddenly he becomes George "freakin' unreal" Hainsworth. When the soft goals dry up a bit more, we'll have a perennial All-Star goalie. Going into this year's playoffs I think he's gonna be that much better, he's a cat who raises his game when everything's on the line.

So while I'm not really confident in the team right now as far as the playoffs are concerned, I'm not too worried about landing an A-list guy, and don't really think that's gonna make a big difference if it costs us the depth we have. Getting another defenseman, an upgrade on Boullion or Brezzer - that's doable without losing a guy like Plekanec. And if him and the Kostitsyns can learn to play through the tighter checking and blind officiating in the PO's, we'll be a shocker, even to our own fans.
Excellent post.

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