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09-24-2003, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by strummerman
Is Claude Julien the problem? Frankly this team has not played up to par since Julien joined. When a team does not look excited it is time to worry.
This is becoming reminiscent of 99% of the board blaming Therrien for the team's problems. Everyone was convinced it was Therrien.

Guess what? It wasn't. When are people going to learn that the coach isn't always to blame?

Take a look at the players. That little Yannic Perreault that many of you claim is a legit second line center... yes, that same player that put up statistics that may lead one to believe he is in fact a good producer. He is not a system player. (By system player, I mean one who is able to play within a system; capable of competing in all aspects of the game that is expected of one's position.)

See that fellow named Donald Audette? He too puts up impressive numbers. He is not a system player either.

Dackell and Juneau are two other players that receive a lot of praise. They were a solid duo two years ago, but both were a step (or three in Juneau's case) behind last season. They were not good system players and were subpar defensively last season.

Brisebois, Czerkawski, Petrov, Ribeiro, Kilger were not system players last season either.

See a pattern? That is 9 players that were subpar in terms of building a system last season. That's a significant chunk of the lineup there. What kind of system can you play when that significant amount of players don't have the capabilities to fulfill the task you are asking of them?

Now, Julien was hired past the mid point of last season. You say they didn't perform well under him, hmm? He did not implement his system as it was drastically different from Therrien's (and because the players had proven to be incapable of playing one system, so why throw another at them mid season?).

There are very few players that make a system work. Let's call them the 'system-makers'. The quantity and quality of 'system-makers' will often predicate how well a team gels and whether they overachieve or underachieve. In short, they make a system work based on strong intangibles and attention to detail.

Based on the play I saw last season, the only 'system makers' I saw were Sundstrom, Bulis, and Koivu. These are leaders on the ice that pay attention to detail first and foremost. They're coachable and stick to the system and the task at hand before doing any individual plays. Now if we take a look at a lineup like Ottawa's or NJ's, we see 90% of the team are system players. We see a significant amount (roughly 8-10) that are system makers, and it rubs off on the rest.

There are too many mercenaries in Montreal, and not enough players that are versatile enough to play a strong system. This is why the team has underachieved last season, and why it will likely underachieve again this season.

But all is not lost! Higgins, Hossa, Komisarek, Ryder, Ward, Eneqvist, Lapierre, and a few others that the Habs have drafted are system players first and foremost. They may not all make the team, but the emphasis placed on versatility, hockey sense, and work ethic at the draft the past couple of years is beginning to shine through. These players are trickling into the lineup and hopefully this team will turn into one that will overachieve with its strong system, versatility, and collective work ethic.

Mike8 is offline