The Out of Town Thread part XLVI All talk from around the league here
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01-12-2013, 12:43 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Originally Posted by
of the "stacked" team you speak of from 2008-09, in just 3 seasons, the bolded players became:
Gomez, Bournival, 2nd round pick 2013, 5th round pick 2013.
Think about that for a second...
19 of 22 players on a "stacked" team (your words, not mine) translate into 1 nhl player (who happens to have one of the worst contracts in the league... an offensive player who went a calendar year without a goal), 1 bottom-6 NHL prospect (likely a solid one, but still), and 2 draft picks.
19 assets, turning into 4, in 3 years. Even with retirements and inevitable expiring contracts replaced with other players, how that can be viewed as anything but absolutely abysmal management is beyond me.
Considering that from the get-go it was clear that management's goal was to make the playoffs, regardless of whether it is 1st or 8th, those 19 assets get reduced to a much smaller number rather quickly considering that the majority of those were UFAs. I have yet to see a team in a playoff spot come, deadline time, unload all their pending UFAs for futures even though they know their chances at a cup are slim. It just doesn't happen. HF would definitely love for this to happen, but it doesn't. That's why teams like NJ lose guys like Parise, Rafalski, Gionta, Gomez, Niedermayer (actually now that I think of it, that is quite the list) or Buffalo with players Campbell, Briere, Drury, Lydman, Tallinder etc etc and get absolutely nothing in return. It's the nature of having a particular goal, i.e, make the playoffs and hope for the best. So those 19 assets get reduced to about 6 or 7 assets of which as you pointed out, we got little in return.
The getting nothing in return for UFAs doesn't bother me as much, like I said, I don't expect teams in a playoff of spot to unload no matter how small the chance at a cup is as we don't see this happen often, if it all. Though trades like Sergei, Lapierre, McDonagh, Higgins were bad. Latendresse, well no one benefited from that trade in the end, neither player plays with that team anymore and neither got an asset beyond what they acquired in the trade. Andrei, well we still don't know. Nashville did exactly what we don't like, giving up a 2nd for 20 games of a player who no longer plays for their team or even in the nhl for that matter. We'll see how that trade plays out.
Sure you could say that the whole "wanting to make the playoffs" is just Gainey's love of mediocrity etc etc, but unfortunately that was his game plan. It might not be appealing to hardcore fans to just want to make the playoffs, but it is what it is. It's happened and done with.
many around here, myself included, felt that the 07 team (which overachieved thanks largely to a miraculously injury free season), suffered from a serious lack of team toughness and gritty play/personalities.
Some have used superficial stats from the flyers series to argue that we "outhit then therefore toughness was not the problem", but anyone who watched that series game-for-game could see the physical & leadership elements that the flyers had over our roster.
I watched this series this past summer on the nhl network. Toughness didn't have anything to with the outcome. Biron players great (with the help of his goal posts) while Price played like crap. The Habs were the better team in that series, Price couldn't keep the habs in the game if his life depended on it.
As for toughness being the real need of the team, when your powerplay stops working, toughness won't make up the goals. It was a need, but ES scoring was desperately required after how much the team scored on the PP that year. Not surprisingly, Lang and Tanguay were good ES players that were brought in.
Gainey addresses this by picking up two players known for being soft-ish, at times critisized by previous coaches for lack of commitment and not known for being vocal leaders... and a pure goon who had worn out previous welcomes for his outsized ego and desire to be taken for more than what he was.
Laraque was crap. Lang and Tanguay played great while they were here and filled their role quite well. If I recall correctly, Tanguay was the team's leading scorer until he got hurt. Moreover, they were never brought in to carry the team anyway. Tanguay came in to fill a 2nd line winger spot next to Koivu and Lang came in to play the 3rd line centreman role. Both were seen as upgrades to Ryder and Smolinski respectively. The moves made sense.
he other issue was that our 07 upstart team did so in no small part to the large roles/contributions many young forwards had (A & S.kost, lats, higgins, lapierre), by adding 2 top-9 fwds, he was basically telling those players that their success wasn't to be relied on... don't get me wrong, you improve your team when you can and competition is part of the deal, but at the same time bringing in less than elite, or even top-line, players to take minutes away from up-and-coming players who just stepped up big time to help the team to it's best finish in years... and doing so with guys who aren't known for their work ethic/leadership... that's a pretty good recipe for brewing tension & surprise surprise, all 5 of those young guys turned into "attitude" problems before they left town.
This explanation would actual make sense if the players would have actually lost their ice-time. But the roles of Andrei, Higgins, Plekanec and Sergei didn't change much with the acquisition of Lang and Tanguay, neither did their ice time. They all began the year in the same roles they played the season prior. Tanguay took Ryder's ice-time and Lang replaced Smolinski's ice time. Andrei began the year in the same spot as the year before, so did Higgins, Plekanec and Tanguay.
Kostopoulos explained that the problems in the locker room was clique based. He said the Quebecers stayed with each other and the Euros stayed with each other and no one spoke much beyond their groups.
I also don't recall saying attitude issues were a problem. Off-ice issues were, both off-ice issues doesn't necessarily entail attitude issues. There were no stories that season of anyone mouthing off the coach etc etc. The only ever player described as having an attitude problem was Sergei and this characterization of him was made by the media in the subsequent season.
from a team building/needs filling point of view, it was apparent to some during that summer that we had not addressed the right needs, and that our big summer moves were in fact counter-productive.
This is excellent to say in hindsight, but this was not the discourse of both fans, media and hockey experts when both players were acquired unfortunately. The team played okay actually until the injuries began though, which started around the all-star break: losing Komisarek, Lang and Latendresse in a single game. Tanguay was injured for a good stretch during the season as well. Price getting injured and struggling to get back to form. Eventually losing Markov, Boullion, Schneider, Tanguay as well. Hard to pinpoint the lack of success of that year on those particular moves when so much was going on.
In fact, the team was 27-11-6 as of January 17th and on pace to have an 112 pts season (8 pts better than 07-08). So it's hard to say that the moves were counter-productive when the team was doing okay. I say okay because they weren't really dominating games.
They also had scored 141 goals and were on pace for 263 goals (same pace as 07-08)
07-08 had very few injured, 08-09 had more than what I would consider average.
from my pov, Lang actually outdid my expectations, and played like a guy wanting to make sure he got another contract... which was great.
And I was optimistic that Laraque would give us the kind of precense that S.Thorton is for the bruins... what a disaster he turned into.
Tanguay? he delivered pretty much as expected, and then we didn't even bother to offer him a contract when 1/2 of what we paid him would have easily kept him in town.
If I recall didn't Tanguay say he wouldn't sign here after the team asked him to play injured in the playoffs? Also, we have no idea if 1/2 of what we did pay him would have kept him in town. This is great to say in hindsight, but Tanguay wasn't signed until late in FA period, August 30th to be exact.
Last edited by Andy: 01-12-2013 at
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