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Not Bad, Not Good, My Thoughts On The Season So Far..

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11-02-2003, 07:55 AM
  #1
Nielson81
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Not Bad, Not Good, My Thoughts On The Season So Far..

Hey Guys,

Just thought I would post my thoughts on what is going on so far this season on the Habs.

First off I must say I don't mind Claude Julien as a coach but one thing that is really getting on my nerves is Jason Ward constantly on the 4th line.

Unfortunetly for Jason he broke his ankle last night but if were still available I think it's about time you give him some offensive linemmates...if we have any lol.

Jason Ward led Hamilton in scoring last year, was MVP of the AHL yet for some reason he is stuck on the Habs 4th line. He obviously didn't win the MVP award playing on the 4th or 3rd line in Hamilton. When this kid returns he has to be on the top 2 lines, preferably with Koivu and Bulis, man I would love that line.

Now onto Koivu, all I can say it that this team really really needs to have him back in the lineup.

One question I put out to all of you guys, what is up with the Habs it seems we either win the real close games. Three shutouts for Theo so far is a big time plus, but when we lose it's been by 3 or 4 goals on multiple occasions, how does this change??

Stephane Quintal, as much as I like him for his strength on the blueline should never ever ever ever play the puck in his own zone.

Mike RIbiero has proven that he is not a number 1 center in the NHL. He may be a good number 2 center on a team that has some size down the middle but with the Habs I am a little unsure. He does have a killer set of hands though, something that no one can take away from him.

Richard Zednik needs to start scoring, sure he looks great flying down the right side and cutting in behind the net. He needs to realize that he's not gonna score from the behind the goal, cut down the right side and then through the puck to the crease or cut hard to the goal with it.

I like Hossa so far, he seems to be working a little harder lately and learning to use his size to his advantage.

Ron Hainsey has played well and deserves to be in the lineup but I would really like to see Komisarek up to the big team some how, not to sure who he would replace.

And lastly, I would give Balej a couple of games up on the top 2 lines as soon as Audette get's injured which he probably will. I would prefer traded but injured would do just fine.

And I don't think we will see our first trade until at least December.

Here are my lines when everyone is back from injury and Audette is gone!! I don't care where just leave please.

Bulis - Koivu - Ward
Hossa - Ribiero - Zednik
Kilger - Perrault - Ryder
Begin/Sundstrom - Juneau - Dackell

Spares insert Langdon when needed.

What do you guys think.
Unbiased Canadian

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11-02-2003, 08:04 AM
  #2
KnuklZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unbiased Canadian
snip snip...
Good post!

I like your lineup for one reason...it doesnt contain Audette!

On the other hand I would love to see Ward replace Hossa on the Ribeiro line as he brings more grit than Hossa would and that is one thing that the Ribeiro line lacks. Then I would stick Koivu with Hossa and Ryder sothat Koivu can play with 2 players that can go into the boards and with Ryder you have someone that can shoot the puck. As much as I like Bulis he is most "effective" on the Juneau line as he hasn't scored yet even with all those breakaways. This would give the following lines:

Hossa Koivu Ryder
Ward Ribeiro Zednik
Bulis Juneau Dackell
Begin Kilger Langdon

As you can see Perrault has also been removed as he is useless if not used on the top 2 lines.

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11-02-2003, 08:07 AM
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KnuklZ
Hossa Koivu Ryder
Ward Ribeiro Zednik
Bulis Juneau Dackell
Begin Kilger Langdon

As you can see Perrault has also been removed as he is useless if not used on the top 2 lines.
Exactly the line-up I wanted to post :p

 
Old
11-02-2003, 08:16 AM
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unbiased Canadian
One question I put out to all of you guys, what is up with the Habs it seems we either win the real close games. Three shutouts for Theo so far is a big time plus, but when we lose it's been by 3 or 4 goals on multiple occasions, how does this change??
I'll probably get slack for this, but I think that Theo has some responsability in the scores... When he's really on top of his game, then all is well and the habs are great. But when he looks weak (like he did in NY: sooo many juicy rebounds), then the team just doesn't seem to try as hard. I saw the same thing last season: the team would practically give up after 1 or 2 goals against... Maybe I'm completely wrong on this, but I do think a lot of it rides on Theo.

As for your lineup, I think Zednik needs to play with Koivu, not Ribeiro... He's just not the same player without Koivu.

And I don't know about leaving Ryder with Perreault: Ryder would do really well if he had a playmaker to give him some good passes. That's why I think he should replace Zed on Rib's line.

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11-02-2003, 08:57 AM
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unbiased Canadian
...

One question I put out to all of you guys, what is up with the Habs it seems we either win the real close games. Three shutouts for Theo so far is a big time plus, but when we lose it's been by 3 or 4 goals on multiple occasions, how does this change??
I think the reason for this is that as soon as the Habs get down by a goal their defensive system completely breaks down. The forwards get caught deep in the offensive zone and cannot get back in time to backcheck. The defensemen start running around everywhere and not suprisingly the score gets out of hand very quickly.

Also as soon as they get down by more than one goal a lot of players either quit trying ( Audette, Perrault ) or start to try and do everything themselves ( Ryder, Ribiero, Zednik ).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Unbiased Canadian
...

Mike RIbiero has proven that he is not a number 1 center in the NHL. He may be a good number 2 center on a team that has some size down the middle but with the Habs I am a little unsure. He does have a killer set of hands though, something that no one can take away from him.
The problem with Mike Ribiero and this team is that he and Perrault both disappear when the games get physical and tight-checking (Actually that can pretty much be said for the whole team). It is impossible to expect to generate any offence when your #1 and #2 centers disappear in close tight-checking games. This is a huge problem considering that games like that increase in frequency as the season wears on.

Bottom-line either Perrault or Ribiero need to be gone and I don't really care which one. Although Perrault makes more sense since he is a UFA at the end of the season.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unbiased Canadian
...

I like Hossa so far, he seems to be working a little harder lately and learning to use his size to his advantage.

Ron Hainsey has played well and deserves to be in the lineup but I would really like to see Komisarek up to the big team some how, not to sure who he would replace.
Hossa has impressed me much more this year than he did last year. He seems to be playing with more intensity although there is still room for improvement. One complaint I have about his game is that he doesn't want the puck. He rarely carries the puck and although he will fight for it along the boards. When he does get it he will try to make a low percentage pass that often misses its intended recipient.

Hainsey has been inconsistent this season. He looks really good sometimes and other times he is constantly out of position in his own end. However I think that the team is doing a tremendous disservice to their lame powerplay by leaving him on the bench instead of having him play the point on the second unit. Offensive play is one of his strengths and he should be put in a position where he can use it successfully.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unbiased Canadian
...

And lastly, I would give Balej a couple of games up on the top 2 lines as soon as Audette get's injured which he probably will. I would prefer traded but injured would do just fine.
I would love to see a few of the young guys called up ( Plekanec, Komisarek ) and maybe one of the older guys sent down ( Audette, he's finished as an effective NHLer and has been for a while ). Then it would be nice if a few of the vets ( Perrault, Rivet ) got to watch a game from the press box while the young guys took their place. This would not be a permanent solution ( except for Audette ) but hopefully would show the vets that if your play and intensity are not where they should be then your position on the team is not guaranteed.

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11-02-2003, 09:32 AM
  #6
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One thing I would like to add to the debate. I'm just going to assume (like a good, positive and loyal fan ) that Audette and the likes are given chances by management to redeem themselves. If they start to sink the ship, they'll be ejected. I cannot beleive Gainey would just sit there while our vets bring down that team crashing in flames while the yougnsters like Higgs, Komi and Pleks are all sitting waiting anxiously to be called.

I refuse myself to hit the panic button. However, if the vets are allowed more than 20 games of doing nothing and floating around like some did for a good deal of that young season, there's something seriously flawed with the concept of "youth movement" in management's mind. The kids can do without the added presure of course, but how can a rookie be successful when he feels he doesn't have his coach's or GM's confidence to play in the critical situations? How can a kid like Plekanec or Higgins look up on that pathetic bunch of inconsistent softies and not say why is Audette getting all this ice time, not scoring and worst, being regularly responsible for goals against, while I'm working my butt off, and yet get sent down to the minors?

Again, the vets should get appropriate time to prove themselves, but the clock is ticking. If we've fallen way bellow the .500 mark after 20 games, guys like Rivet, Zednik, Perreault, Quintal, Audette, Juneau, Dackell, Sundstrom, etc. will have to be demoted (for some) or kicked where it hurts (for others), otherwise, I'll consider following waterpolo this year insteed of that miserable group of individualists.

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11-02-2003, 10:51 AM
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The worst part of the whole Audette fiasco, is that, if you watch him for five or six shifts, you can see that he is working and looking to score.

He always hustles his way towards the defenceman looking to break up the icing, and he's consistently planting himself in front.

Although, all of the aforementioned good work seems to die off after he misses three or six oppurtunities from in tight. If you saw the Ranger game, he was in tight on Dunham on a couple of occasions, only to put a weak shot on net (due to his injury) or two mess up royally.

I think Donald's confidence is easily affected on the ice. Add that to a diminishing shot and the aging a veteran goes through, and we have the most ineffective #82 in the league.

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11-02-2003, 11:08 AM
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Munchausen

The kids can do without the added presure of course, but how can a rookie be successful when he feels he doesn't have his coach's or GM's confidence to play in the critical situations? How can a kid like Plekanec or Higgins look up on that pathetic bunch of inconsistent softies and not say why is Audette getting all this ice time, not scoring and worst, being regularly responsible for goals against, while I'm working my butt off, and yet get sent down to the minors?
I often wonder about the exact same thing. It's good for a team to have a healthy competition between vets that are on the bubble when they can be moved. Kids feel like they have to work hard and be better than the vets on the team if they want to make it. But looking at this line up the only logic is $ !

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11-03-2003, 01:14 AM
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unbiased Canadian
First off I must say I don't mind Claude Julien as a coach but one thing that is really getting on my nerves is Jason Ward constantly on the 4th line.

Unfortunetly for Jason he broke his ankle last night but if were still available I think it's about time you give him some offensive linemmates...if we have any lol.

Jason Ward led Hamilton in scoring last year, was MVP of the AHL yet for some reason he is stuck on the Habs 4th line. He obviously didn't win the MVP award playing on the 4th or 3rd line in Hamilton. When this kid returns he has to be on the top 2 lines, preferably with Koivu and Bulis, man I would love that line.
Wards problem is there isnt room for more young wingers on the top lines. Ryder and to a lesser extent Hossa have more skill and have been outplaying him after Ward didnt have standout preseason. Also Habs need him more where he is - filling in for spot left vacant by Randy McKay. In this team there are very few forwards capable&willing to play hard nosed grinding game - Begin being the other. Without those two we wouldnt have real 4th line.

Being established player in AHL doesnt neccesarily mean anything. Craig Darby was leading the scoring the other year and where's he now? Also I would say Ryder had even better year there considering Ward was above him on the charts most of the time.

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11-03-2003, 03:15 AM
  #10
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My thoughts on the season so far are this:

The team is not consistent and that includes almost every player. I don't think it's all Jose's fault, they are all to blame. They can't score goals and it's really frustrating and Jose's problem is he either lets in 5 goals or gets a shutout, there's no in between!!! I hope this pattern changes soon cuz it's going to be a long season!

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11-03-2003, 05:14 AM
  #11
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Let's face it, without Koivu in the lineup this team is going to struggle to score any amount of goals (even with Koivu in the lineup they are going to struggle, albeit ot a lesser extent). I think CJ should be looking at all way to increase production that he can. The second this team falls behind in a game it seems its impossible for them to score. We may get some chances but we can't bury them and we end up giving up way too many chances in the defensive zone. I wish (and I'm sure the coaching staff and mangement do as well) there was an easy answer to this problem, but I really don't think there is.

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11-03-2003, 05:40 AM
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I agree with some of your points but disagree with a few.

-First, I don't think Ward has done anything to warrant top line icetime. Yes, he's a hard worker and yes he's a gritty "work the corners" type of guy but that doesn't mean you should stick him on the top line. I consider him more in his element (energy 3rd or 4th line player) where he is right now and don't see why we should change this.

To add to this, I don't honestly think being MVP or leading scorer of the AHL necessarily translates to top line in the NHL. As an example, here are some of the past MVP and Scoring leaders from the AHL:

MVP Award:
1989 Stephan Lebeau
1990 Paul Ysebaert
1991 Kevin Todd
1992 John Anderson
1993 Don Biggs
1994 Rich Chernomaz
1995 Steve Larouche
1996 Brad Smyth
1997 Jean-Francois Labbe (G)
1998 Steve Guolla
1999 Randy Robitaille

Leading scorer:
1989 Stephan Lebeau
1990 Paul Ysebaert
1991 Kevin Todd
1992 Shaun Van Allen
1993 Don Biggs
1994 Tim Taylor
1995 Peter White
1996 Brad Smyth
1997 Peter White
1998 Peter White
1999 Domenic Pittis
2000 Christian Matte
2001 Derek Armstrong
2002 Donald MacLean
2003 Steve Maltais

From taking a close look at this list, I don't see anyone who is a top 2 line candidate in the NHL.


As for Koivu, I agree, we are a better team with him. He creates scoring chances (as does Ribeiro) but we need finishers which we are still lacking. I also agree that Ribeiro is not a top line centre. He does, however, fill in a good 2nd line position to provide us with 2 creative centres. Obviously, it would be nice to have some size up the middle on one of the top 2 lines but I don't think it's crucial as long as we have size on the wings or on the 3rd & 4th lines. I'm hoping Kilger will finally find his role as the 4th line centre and with any luck, Hossa will put his skills to use on the wing or possibly even get tried at his natural centre position if Ribeiro gets traded.

As for Zednik, I disagree. He doesn't need to start scoring, he needs to start passing. I only say this because he has become too predictable (then again, I think he always has been). Whenever he has the puck, the opposition barely have to worry about anything but him because he thinks he can carry the puck in and shoot every single time. Goalies can cheat a little because they don't feel that they have to worry so much about him passing it off. If he realizes this and starts looking for an open man, he will prevent this lockdown from occurring on him and it will give him more room to manoeuver as well as give him more room to score since goalies and defencemen won't be able to lock down on him so much. This will increase both his total points as well as his goals (who'd have thought that passing would increase your goals?).

I'm still hoping that Audette pulls out of his slump but I give him until end of November to do so. If he doesn't start scoring, buy him out, trade him, whatever. No point in wasting a top line position with a small forward who is a liability in his own end and can't provide what his asset is (scoring).

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11-03-2003, 06:08 AM
  #13
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So far the team is a .500 team... not so bad when you look at the big picture. Not enough to make the playoffs but not so bad, it can either get better or worse

BUT! that team is so inconsistant it's really pathetic... one great game with exemplary work ethic, defensive coverage, great goaltending, low shots against and some opportunistic goals.. then the next game it's 2002-2003 all over again, high shot against, no defense, anemic scoring, so-so goaltending, half-hearted efforts..

So which team is the real Montreal Canadiens? I really don't know and I'm not holding my breath waiting to find out. But with the offense we have (Offense? where?) we really need Koivu to come back.. which is kind of sad when you think of it, to have a team so desesperate for scoring when your best player is out

So, right now the Canadiens haven't convinced me they can make the playoffs... again...

Let's go BG, get us rid of the deadwood that's still in this team, so we can see some players that really want to play!

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11-03-2003, 06:57 AM
  #14
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It's the Tale of Two Teams this season again. Unfortunately, those two teams both have the same lineup. I don't mind the occassional bad game after a string of well played games, but I can't stand this flip flop where the uncertainty of which team will show up is game to game. What kind of mental toughness do these guys possess?

The lack of consistent offence really worries me. We play a really solid game against Boston, outchancing and outshooting them by a huge margin, but we can't seem to put the game away due to some solid goaltending. The question is, why are we not burying our chances better?

We play a very strong first period against NYR, outshooting them 13-4, yet their hot goalie keeps them in the game. Why are we not burying those chances? I flipped the channel at the intermission and there is Philly outshooting Toronto by about the same margin, but the big diff is that the score was 3-0 there already and I am sure not even the most optimistic fan in the ACC had any doubt as to how the game was going to end up.

The Habs have also shown a real inability to come from behind this season (no improvement on this from last season). Many talk about our lack of size up front, but I really don't think our forwards make it that difficult to defend against. There seems to be a real lack of desire to crash the net, fight hard in the corners (Hossa and Ryder have been the best so far this season), and generally "take one for the team". Too many softies that disappear against the bigger teams (like Audette, Perreault, Ribeiro), and too many predictable players (like Zed and his "one" move). I don't care if you are not the biggest player out there, but at least play big. Look at Steve Begin, not huge by any means, but others could take a cue from his style of play and work ethic.

As for the young players, I think they are still better off getting lots of ice time in Hamilton, than sitting in the press box in Montreal. I am patient enough to wait this out for the season. Still too many bodies with the big club, and those bodies are not exactly so well sought after that Bob could trade them away anytime soon. That means this will be a season of much the same old, same old. The only unknown is what impact having two guys like Koivu and Kilger have in regenerating some offence and some more energy respectively, which will be the keys to keeping their record at or above 500 for the rest of the season.

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