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03-10-2013, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by DAChampion View Post
Yeah, so I was really wrong.


Habs are 8-3-2 at home and 8-2-2 on the road (same record), a legitimate top-4 team in the conference, given that we play in the best division it's probably a toss-up between Montreal and Boston for the best team in the conference. We're currently ranked number 1.

Habs are a legitimate Stanley Cup contender this year. I'd guess it's the Habs, the Bruins, the Penguins, the Blackhawks, the Kings, as the five teams with the best odds.

Further, the team is doing well in spite of a lot of things I said would happen actually happening:
1) There have been new injuries to replace the old ones. We were missing Subban for the first five games (equivalent to an injury), Pacioretty missed 5 games with appendix problems, Rene Bourque has missed 8 games, Gallagher has missed 5, Diaz has missed 6, and Nokelainen has missed the whole thing. It's actually almost as bad as last year (54 man-games lost after 25 games), so we are **not** getting a first place result by virtue of a no-injury miracle season.
2) Cole has regressed. I didn't think Erik Cole would repeat his 35 goal pace, and he was not going to do so. That is some significant lost offense.
3) Andrei Markov is not as good as the Andrei Markov of old.
4) The penalty kill has regressed. It's 82.1% for 14th in the league, compared to 88.6% for 2nd in the league last year.
5) Galchenyuk will be a difference maker one day, but not yet. He has 13 points in 24 games playing mostly easy minutes, which means whatever other players was on the ice with those minutes would have gotten many of those points. It helps the team but doesn't explain everything.
6) Price is very similar to last year. His SV% is .912, down from .916, but the difference is probably not statistically significant.

All in all, several of the factors I laid down for thinking the Habs wouldn't improve have come to pass, I also failed to predict (item #7) is that we are actually in a strong division: the rest of the division is +22 in goal differential. If the facts laid out thus far had been stated from a crystal ball before game 1, nearly everyone would have anticipated Elias Lindholm in a Habs jersey. My arguments for a Habs bad season were sound, they were however a very incomplete picture. That the Habs have not just stayed level, but improved from the 12th-15th bracket to the 1st-4th bracket in spite of items #1-7, shows how spectacular the improvements in other facets have been.

I'll take an educated guess as to what these improvements are:

1) No Gomez. Last year Gomez played 38 games. His minutes were even easier than Desharnais' and Leblanc's: 64% offensive zone starts, and a Corsi Rel QoC of -0.129. These are really easy minutes, and for having these easy minutes he produced 1.11 points/60 on ES, less than Plekanec, Desharnais, Leblanc, Eller. Basically these were prime minutes, the type of minutes where you need to score, and he scored at an inferior pace to all of our centers playing harder minutes. This year, Galchenyuk is largely getting these easy minutes, and they are not being wasted. That might be the difference between 15th and 10th right there. I think this is the largest single factor.
2) Cole's regression is more than fully compensated by Bourque's un-regression and the Ryder trade. I had misinterpreted Bourque's performance last year as due to a Gomez-like decline in player performance. I was not correct, we now know he had a rib injury.
3) Markov is not as good as 2008 Markov, but he's better than 2012 Campoli/Weber.
4) Our penalty kill has declined, but our 14.3% power play has improved to 19.8%. The sum of our PP and PK is 101.9% this year, compared to 102.9% last year, it looks like a decline. This year we have 111 power plays and 95 penalty kills, last year we had 301 PPs and 315 PKs... so our special teams are actually improved once you account for the discipline ratio.
I hereby define the special-team competency index (STCI) as:
(PP % + PK%)*(# of power plays/# of penalty kills)
This year our STCI is 119.06, compared to 98.33 last year. Note that the STCI is almost exactly 100 averaged out across the league.
[[ I'm joking, I'm sure such a simple statistics is already defined by somebody else ]].
5) I was right that Galchenyuk wouldn't dominate, but I had no idea about Gallagher. We do have a rookie difference maker and his name is Brendan Gallagher. He has 13 points in 20 games, and his points are highly productive points, he goes to the net which creates space for his wingers. These are not points that any other player could easily produce given the same opportunities.
6) The Brandon Prust signing is really good, but it might be undermined by Moen's decline. Eller has improved, but I think most of us saw this coming.
7) Therrien is an amazing coach thus far and greatly surpassing my expectations.
8) Though we will have a harder time winning in our division, given that it's stronger, we can at the same time beat up the rest of the conference, which is conversely weaker. For example, we are at 8-0-0 against the southeast apparently.

There are benefits even in the long-term, leaving aside this year's championship contention, that other posters like Miller Time, Carey Price, Sorinth, and Southern Hab and others brought up that I rejected at the time, but that will be true. Our prospects such as Tinordi, Beaulieu, Galchenyuk, Ellis, Pateryn, Holland, Kristo, Collberg can now be brought along more slowly, in a winning culture, which is in contrast to the Edmonton model. Further, we're in a better position to improve via trades. We're winning because our players are doing well, which means many of them have a higher trade value. Acquiring an impact forward is as such, not a ludicrous proposition.
I am not surprised by this post. At all.

DA never stated that he was correct. He stated that given the circumstances last year. and previous years, rebulidng was valid for one more year.

I agreed then, and I agree now.

I also now state that given the improvements we now see in the team, that trading one, and one only, second or third pick for a good rental, with potential to re sign, is now valid. I would not have said this 3 months ago. No way.

What a lot of guys have to realize here is that guys like me, and DA, are not dogmatic. We argue a position based on the best evidence at the time, and evidence from the past. If the evidence changes, we will admit the same.

Well done DA. No surprise to me.

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