ESPN (Lebrun Blog): Speaks for Itself
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03-20-2009, 07:36 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Originally Posted by
First off, its in the past 27 games. 40 games is an exageration, trying to make the sample bigger than it is so this argument will have a bigger impact. The fact is, at the 44 game mark, the Habs were 27-11-6, had lost only 1 game out of 4 in regulation, and were riding a 11-2-1 sequence. What's the bigger marker, the biggest sample? 44 games or 27 games? And like I said, we don't even need Lebrun's blog to "speak for itself" as the majority are unanimously aware of that fact. That the Habs have been sucking it up for the past 27 games.
I'd argue that the signs of the teams problems were apparent before the losses started to mount. I don't watch all of the games, but i get in just about every other. In november and december, if my memory is intact, there were quite a few games we won in which we were outplayed in, sometimes badly... while all teams get away with that, it did indicate to me that perhaps our record was "flattering"... saw some of the same last season, and our 7 game tilt with the bruins and 2nd round exit somewhat makes the case that we weren't quite as good as our 1st place finish indicated. (of course, even great teams sometimes get knocked out of the playoffs early, but they generally don't find themselves fighting for their playoffs lives a year later with and "upgraded" roster
You see, that's exactly the simplistic logic I've been talking about. This is an easy exit you're trying to use. Now I'm gonna ask you, what's the biggest sample? The Habs going 74-36-16 in the span of 126 games or the Habs going 9-15-3 in their last 27 games? One sample is almost 5 times bigger than the other. Yet you wanna balance them out as equal in your simplistic equation of high + low = reality. Yet the high sample is 5 times bigger than the low sample. Even if you would include the season before last year, it would still be a failed conclusion, as that team had more rookies, less talent and a rookie coach, and had battled through a team killing epidemic in Januray. Still before that happened, the Habs had the 4th best record in the league with that rookie coaching.
you really do like to throw around the not-so-subtle insults very quickly... I'm sorry if my "simplistic logic" bothers you so much, but I'd say go talk to knowledgeable fans from other teams about their perception of the habs over the past three seasons. I base my opinion of the team on results (including weighing more on the playoffs, since that is what it's all about), but also on how it's playing. Last season, as much as I enjoyed being swept up in the success of our win/loss record, the way we played, even in locking up 1st place, didn't sit particularly well with me. The playoffs, and the situation this season, unfortunately reaffirms that for me.
also, it's amusing to me that you like to make your points by adding emphasis on certain details (defending the results of two seasons ago by virtue of the rookie coach/players and the "team killing epidemic", yet fail to include a similar emphasis on the almost freakish injury free season we had last year which played a HUGE role in allowing us to take off in the 2nd half, while other teams struggled with the usual injuries/roster flux that teams regularly deal with... convenient i'd say
Well, that's a difference in attitude. You concentrate on the negative only, and by this, I mean that I've concluded this because you base yourself on a sample of 27 games, making as big as a sample of 126 games.
like to focus in on one point and beat it to death eh? If my opinion of the team is "negative", so be it. I love the habs, I want them to be the best run franchise in professional sports. It's incredibly tough, but some teams in capped leagues, find a way to be competitive year in year out. There is somewhat of a formula to it, imo, and to date Gainey hasn't quite managed to get it down. Some things he's done have been great, others (revolving door behind the bench, miserable UFA signing, losing assets without adequately replacing the roles they played) have been downright terrible... and thus we find ourselves once again fighting for a playoff spot instead of fine tuning our game for a long playoff run. I'm a fan, not a cheerleader.
Well, actually, that's a fact of professional sports. I've mentioned this before. To create consistency, you have to build momentum, to build momentum, you have to create confidence. That's what my comment you quoted refered to ambiguously. A new coach will help that a lot. A new system will help that a lot. Again, you are exagerating, trying to make something bigger than it is. A revolving door is a pretty big exageration, as Gainey only hired ONE coach in his 5 years tenure. Who has he hired other than Carbo???? You can't actually call it a revolving door when he only hired one up to date. Julien wasn't HIS man. He tried to put one in who he thought would be good. Comrared to LouLam in his start in Jersey, Gainey's revolving door is chump change compared to LouLam...
He didn't hire Julien, but he also didn't replace him right away. He was responsible for the team from the second he took over. Look at how quickly Savard got the boot once Bowman took over the Hawks. He hesitated, "gave him a chance" that really wasn't much of a chance, hired his buddy, called him his best move and then fired him two months later, while the team was finally starting to pick up "momentum". It may not be a "revolving door", but it certainly lacks consistency. IMO, You build franchise confidence by creating a clear identity for a team. We were apparently supposed to be a fast skating offensive minded team, but then he goes and signs guys like smolinsky, lang, laraque, while not re-signing a guy like streit...(no need to debate the signings for the umpteenth time, just trying to point out that there's some inconsistency here as well) Watching the team play, several years into Gainey's tenure, can you tell me what the identity of the team is RIGHT NOW? I don't see it.
Well, the path to that is a long one. Just need to look at the teams who are there. The progression in the past five years is there. We went from a team that won 32 games avg per season and had 78 points avg per season in the five years before Gainey, to a team with a 43 wins avg per and 95 points avg per. The possibility of seeing the Habs jump from a 32 wins/78 points team to a perennial 50 wins/100 points team was pretty out of reach. The chances were very slim. That's why they wanted to build through the draft. People assuming that it would take 5 seasons to become one of the best teams in the league had delusions of grandeur. Those five years made the team competitive. The goal was reached, now comes the part where they have to keep staking the team up with young talent. Patience is a vertu in a cap world, and especially in Montreal where it is hard to get UFAs to come. The Habs will still be building in 5-10-15 years from now. It is a constant. And as long as they will put effort into development, the fruits will pay off eventually.
How long or short that path is depends a lot on how effective the man in charge is. He inherited a team that had struggled for a while, but that, under Savard, had started to turn the corner from a prospect/talent depth perspective. Higgins, Komisarek, Plekanec, Perezhogin, Ribeiro, Hainsey, Beauchemin, Markov, Ryder... that's a pretty solid base of young talent to inherit, even if the talented veteran presence at the time was clearly weak (Koivu, Rivet, Theodore, Souray).
Also, under Julien, the habs won 41 games in Gainey's first season, with a roster that he didn't really tweak that much from the year before -minus Kovalev's minimal contribution over the last 12 games of the season. So making the 5 year previous/5 year since comparison is misleading and ignores the building up of the roster that had begun before he arrived. Think about it, for the current roster, the bulk of the contributions come from guys that were in place before Gainey arrived, and if anything, looking at the fact that almost all of them are unsigned for next season, he's at risk of losing some of those assets. Patience is needed, for sure, but with the base we had prior to Gainey, it's hard to look at the current roster and make a strong case that he has actually improved things... if anything, the group of players he inherited have improved, and the team has succeeded despite his UFA signing mistakes and lost waiver assets. Those are two areas (free agent signings and asset management) that great franchises generally do very well with. The habs haven't been awful in this department, but they also haven't been very effective.
Really? Then I wonder why they drafted Latendresse, Lapierre and especially Pacioretty. Now do you see what I was saying before? The Habs couldn't address this with UFA signings, but only temporarily (as seen with the attempt to get Sundin, and then the trade to get Lang). So while they have to develop the young gritty core of players, they had to stock it up with temporary solutions. One could say they could've made a better job of it, but I beg to differ as the situation in Montreal is very particular. Stuck between keeping the youth and developing them, meaning we can't trade them away for risky players, and then having to fill the holes with UFAs who just don't wanna come here.
not sure i get your point... i simply stated that our perennial lack of gritty forwards is one of the serious issues I see on our current team. Lapierre gives reason for optimism, lats less so, and I drool over the thought of what Max Pac might become in 3-4 years time... but for right now, it's still a serious issue
Again, they tried to address this, you can't say the opposite. It's a matter of time before they get one. Also, this type of talent sometimes comes from unexpected players. Who knows how Maxwell will turn out? Who knows who the next drafted player will turn out if we pick a centerman in this unique draft in 2009?
trying is fantastic... in house league. The people involved are paid to achieve results. I don't even know why this turned into a Gainey thing... fact is that this franchise has been lacking a presence down the middle for decades. Every GM who has been involved with the team since the days of Bobby Smith shares a degree of responsibility. That 2003 draft is a killer. I didn't and still don't question the drafting of Kost, even if hindsight proves otherwise... that being said, considering how long the club had been lacking an elite centre, and looking at the guys available later in that round, it's probably a fair criticism to say that, from a franchise need pov, the team missed the boat by not drafting (or better yet, trading down and drafting as the Patriots would have done
a richards/getzlaf/carter/parise/kesler/bergeron... ahh hindsight..
Also you mention this, but without realizing that some teams have high end talent (a lot of them were drafted high, which is something we weren't able to do) in the middle, yet are going nowhere. Some teams have had high talent up the middle for years, yet have continually searched for someone to be solid between the pipes without ever addressing this problem (Philly, Ottawa). Some teams even let them go (Tampa with Bullin). Our team is being built from down and up. And most who are level headed knew that the true dominant Habs won't be here for another 2-3 seasons, or maybe even more if we are unlucky, as we have a boatload of Dmen coming up and Halak and Price are very young.
again, I am hoping for/waiting for the habs to become an elite franchise... a "generational" one if you will. The kind of team that is competitive for a decade at a time. There will be ups and downs, but a overall a team that is consistently in the debate as the best team in the league for years at a time. It takes time to build this, for sure, but it's not by comparing to other marginal or flash-in-the-pan teams that we'll set the right king of measuring stick. Detroit, NJ, those are the two NHl examples... New england, Pittsburg, and if it weren't for Jerry Jones maybe the cowboys (incidentally, I loathe all three of those teams)... Lakers, Spurs, sort of the pistons... the cream of the crop. We do look to have a boat load of talent on the back end, but the thing that great franchises do is they maximize their assets/talent, and they create an atmosphere that encourages young players to strive for or expect excellence. It's hard to do that without having some adequate veteran leadership/talent. Without that you run the serious risk of watching a lot of your young players waste their talent... the rumors swirling around this year, hopefully untrue, and more specifically the way the team (vets and youth alike) compete on a night to night basis, do not reflect a franchise with a clear identity/goal/drive
But once the economic problems will kick in, in 2010-2011, you'll be praising Gainey for that, because we will have the necessary space for that, we will have latitude, while still building towards the goal they wanted for the future. Not to build a team that could win for 2-3 seasons, but a team that would be solid over a decade and more. We are still in the early stages of this. It is a question of perspective, as I want the Habs to be contenders, but not for a short period of time, but for a lengthy one, but I also realize the path that has to be taken to do so. You do realize that it took Detroit almost 9 years to win a cup between when they started to rebuild (1987) and when they won the cup? And at that time, they didn't need to deal with the cap, they didn't need to deal with the problems Montreal has to attract UFAs. It took New Jersey 8 years and 6 coachs between when LouLam took over and when they won their first cup. Also, who says Tanguay won't be back? Kovalev? Lang? Koivu? Its easy to be pessimistic when using the negative aspect of the UFAs, yet the picture is not so bleak when you actually see all that is related to that. Especially considering that the Habs never had trouble keeping the UFAs they did wanted to keep. Those that left weren't a priority in that time and situation. Souray, they wanted someone else, unless Souray signed for what they offered, Streit, the Habs wanted to keep the money to make a big shot at getting Sundin (and also getting Tanguay). The rest, the ones who were a priority, were always signed before July 1st. It will be the same this year. Those who are a priority are gonna be signed before July 1st.
If the habs are so good at re-signing the "ones they want to keep", why is it so hard for them to attract other UFA's as you mentioned above? If players who play here want to stay, wouldn't you think that it would entice other players to consider playing here as well?
the $$ thing is exaggerated imo. Good GM's find ways to make it work, even when it appears that they are screwed. I don't know how Lou did it, but he kept NJ in the game despite looking like the team destined to be screwed by the cap... on the other side of the coin, the Av's imploded since the Cap came into play... Holland has Detroit running rough shot over the league since the cap came into play, and it looks like his team will take a big blow this offseason, but if history repeats itself, Detroit will somehow still be in the thick of things the next few years. Besides, what good is cap flexibility if, as you said, UFA's just don't want to come here? If you are constantly overpaying guys like Laraque, Dandy, Bouillion, Brisebois, while not locking in your own talented guys at reasonable amounts (streit), then having cap space is almost a curse
Teams have won the cup without high end talent for forwards. Defense first.
Here we do agree... sort of. It's not always noticed, but some of the best forwards in the game, poitnt wise, are also the best all around forwards in the league. Guys like Iginla, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Parise, Crosby, Malkin, Hossa... are all known for their ppg, but they are also amazing at shutting down other teams forwards when asked to do so. Teams will use other role players to do that job in the regular season, but come playoff time, these guys play 25+ minutes/game not just to score goals...
Most young players are. I have a feeling this will change with Lever behind the bench (as I'M almost sure this is what'S gonna happen), as he knows which buttons to push to make them work and be consistent. I can show an lenghty list of high talent players who were highly inconsistent in the 5 years they came into the league. But right, this should be a concern, as the Habs are the only team who can't have young inconsistent players.
your right, many, if not most young players struggle with consistency. It's a much bigger problem for us since our veteran talented players (aside from Markov) are even MORE inconsistent. But doesn't it scare you even a little that Pleks-Komi-Higgins-Kost ALL have pretty big consistency issues. I'd argue that by 24-26 years old, it's not a stretch to expect a little more consistency than we've seen from this group of players
He's 21.... Rare are 21 years old goalies who are consistent. And lifestyle issues... Those are all things that can be fixed. You do realize that Price is one of the rare goalies who got his 40th win at his 66th start as goalie in regular season play? You won't find many 21 years old who were able to do that. Also, you have a misconception of what they want to build. They want to build a team around defense, and Price is PART of that, not the sole contributor, and like I've said before, it will take several years before we see the true results of this.
you are absolutely right. but watching him squirm and literally cry his way out of the situation he's in, don't you worry even a tad that he's being pushed too far too soon? The kid has franchise player written all over him, but even better talents than him have crashed and burned when not managed properly. wether it be a veteran presence to "teach him the ropes", or a room in gainey's guest house, or a freaking babysitter, the franchise should be doing something to make sure this valuable asset doesn't learn the hard way how much it takes to live up to your potential
Like I said before. LouLam had 6 coachs in 8 years in Jersey before they won the cup.... It's matter of finding the right coach. And I'm pretty sure they are propping up Lever to be the man. He was suggested by Bowman himself.. so I don't think that will be a bad choice.
Lou's mad house is a little crazy, for sure, but even with the coaching carousel they have, it's clear to the players and to everyone watching that it is Lou's team, and that it is going to play "his" way. That stability makes up for the behind the bench moves, since everyone knows what the bottom line expectations are.
Huh? Hamrlik when in shape, is a physical presence, unless you haven't been watching games in the last two seasons. OB? Another young Dman that has to be developed. And if you think Komi is going anywhere....
you didn't finish your sentence. I hope Komi is going nowhere. But let's face it, in pro sports two things matter, Success and $$. Forget NYI, if NJ comes calling on Mike in the offseason, offers him close or more than we are for a chance to play for a proven winner, right next door to home, you don't think he'll think long and hard about it? wouldn't you? Hamrlik can be physical, but that's certainly not the key to his game. You mentioned defense winning championships, I agree, but I tend to see it as the "hard-nosed" defense that is the most effective (unless your name is niklas or scott niedemayer). After Komi, no one on our team brings the kind of presence that we'll make an opposing forward think twice about buzzing around the net... no, I don't think people get worried about Hamrlik taking them out if they leave their heads down or jab at price.
The points you raise about the Habs, I could raise as many for about every team except for San Jose. It's a natural process, not one for those with insecurities towards their teams, not for those who do not have the patience necessary to see the results in due time, still it is a natural process, one that every team has to deal with.
What are we watching evolution at work? Is mother nature secretly behind the world of pro sports? Sorry dude, not buying it. There is no "natural process" to running an elite franchise. there are a few properties that most long-term successful franchises share, across sports, but in the end luck and timing also play a big role (if drew bledsoe doesn't get hurt, do we ever hear of tom brady? if the flames don't trade up to get trevor kidd, does NJ ever win a cup?).
That's you. I'm still waiting patiently, knowing that as the years go by, this team will look better and better, its just a matter of time. But for sure, if you see the sky falling at every step of the way and lose focus as to the real goals, and totally forget about the many positive aspects, well, yeah, the outlook is bleak.
Sky falling? what? It's a hockey team... I'm a sports fan... the habs will win or lose and my life will go on more or less unfazed. I'll be critical of the things I don't like, and praise the things I do. Best of all, no matter what my opinion of what they do, if things work out I will enjoy every second of it. Right now, just like in march of 1993, the outlook for this season is bleak. I'm still hoping for a cup run this year, no matter how unrealistic it may seem to me. And look at it this way, in July '93, cup parade still vivid in our minds, it was easy to be optimistic about where the team was heading...
So who knows, maybe as bad as things look, imo, right now, the team is on the verge of putting together one of it's best decades of all time (ok, that may be impossible since our franchise has had two of the best decades of any sports team anywhere, but still...). but do me a favour and try to accept that you're opinion, no matter how "logical" you convince yourself it is, and no matter how much Rhonda Byrne has convinced you of the power of your positive thoughts, it is still just an opinion... not some natural truth were fortunate to have you share with us
The fruit of his labor is not even close to have fully matured. Why do you think he let a big door open for next summer with all the UFAs? The same as he's always done. Heap out the garbage, cut from under and rely on the team's young players to progress. That's how you build from the draft. That's how the Habs managed to go from a 32 wins/78 points team to a 43 wins/95 points team. And that's how the Habs will go from a 43 wins/95 points team to a contender.
Again, the players who have most contributed to the habs improving their win totals year in year out were for the most part in the franchise when gainey took over. I should re-phrase my comment by saying that the adjustment to the roster Gainey inherited have not been very effective... but I do want to point out that, as much as it may not seem so, I'm not so much concerned with Gainey's success/failure as I am with the overall stumblings of the franchise as a whole for the past 10-12 years... Gainey, by being patient with the some of the guys he took over (too bad about beauchemin/hainsey/ribeiro/souray), and overseeing a very good scouting department, has helped the team to slightly improve it's overall record/standings...
not quite as familiar with how to quote separate parts of the post, so I just put my remarks in bold... (and deleted the "off topic" stuff cuz i don't particularly care to go back and forth on the non-hockey stuff.
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