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It's a good thing to finish strongly...

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Old
03-15-2012, 11:35 AM
  #1
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It's a good thing to finish strongly...

While I was excited for a top 5 pick as much as anyone, I've come to the conclusion that it's actually a good thing we're playing well to end the year. While the season until recently was a disaster, the team appears to have rediscovered it's Mojo, and all that appeared lost going forward, doesn't actually seem that far away...


THE PRICE IS RIGHT
Price brokeout last season, and while we were all excited for him, there was a question in the back of our minds if he could do it again. Despite the teams struggles through the 1st three quarters of the season, Price has remained excellent throughout and has shown himself to be an All-Star goalie for the foreseeable future. I think we all are more confident that he can be "that guy" now that he has done it in back to back years in the NHL.

A TRIO OF CENTERS
They may not be the biggest trio of centers, but in DD, Pleks, and Eller we have ourselves a very good set of centers, all under 30. All three guys are two way guys, guys who can produce as well as be responsible defensively, and I for one wouldn't be shocked if we could count on them to produce at 70-60-50 points per season respectively for the next few years. Considering their defensive acumen, that's damn good production.

PACIORETTY
I think it's fair to say that Max has shown he's a young, big, top line forward that can score in bunches. Heading into the year most of us didn't know exactly what to expect, if he'd be a difference maker at all, but I think the results speak for themselves, and I don't think anyone could have expected more. He looks like a 30/30 guy going forward, with the upside for more.

SUBBAN SHAKES THE SLUMP
Halfway through the season, Subban was struggling significantly. He was sophomore slumping, and his upside suddenly came into question. He's since put it back together and I think it's reasonable to believe that he will come out and have a monstrous 2012-2013. Him becoming a two way star who can throw highlight checks and get under the skin of opponents is not too far off.

MARKOV BACK
He certainly took his time, but now with Markov back and getting comfortable it seems like everything is coming together. The PP, the overall mojo of the team, he was signed to be an elite player for us, and him finishing strongly certainly bodes well for next year.

EMELIN
While he's clearly suffering a little bit from exhaustion, the Habs have found themselves a young defensive and physically imposing studn who can also move the puck. Emelin reminds of Volchenkov of the Sens, with a bit more offensive upside, and he looks like a big part of the blueline going forward.

VETERAN LEADERSHIP
Before Moen got hurt, he Gorges, and Cole emerged as true veteran leaders of this team. All three deserve A's on their sweater, and Gorges might end up with the "C" before too long.

TEAM SIZE/TOUGHNESS
With Emelin, the infusion of size into the lineup, along with the Brad Staubitz pickup and Ryan Whites return, the Habs are suddenly a pretty tough team as opposed to the softest group in the league. It seems as though there's been a significant culture change over the last calender year. I think it's pretty fair to say this long standing issue has been addressed.

THE KIDS ON THEIR WAY
The habs don't have a great group of prospects, but they do have a great group arriving in Hamilton next season. Tinordi, Beaulieu, Ellis, Kristo, Gallagher, Bournival, Holland, etc, there is serious influx of talent inching towards the show especially along the blue line. As the Habs aim to bounce back next year, the reinforcements are in place to step in for the injuries that are bound to happen.


All in all, it's been too little too late for this season, but when looking at the organizational big picture, and all the question marks heading into the year, pretty much EVERY SINGLE ONE looks better and a surer bet going into next year that it did into this. The Habs are back folks, it's just going to be next year we reep the rewards...

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03-15-2012, 11:37 AM
  #2
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It's good to finish on a positive note, sends a good message for next season. I'd just want the teams that are ahead of us to stop losing so damn much.

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03-15-2012, 11:43 AM
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I don't wanna be a party pooper but teams like Toronto last year or the Islanders 2 years ago had sick year endings even if they were out of the playoffs with records like 15 wins in 20 games. They did not necessarily came back strong the following year. That said, I'm happy to see the Markov comeback and the team doing better. I hope they'll build on that to have a stronger season injures free ''knock on wood'' next year.

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03-15-2012, 11:43 AM
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Em Ancien
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Taking a short period of time where some teams have games that are significantly more emotionally and physically draining than ours, and where our game is an afterthought for the opponents, and thinking there's something to build on simply doesn't work. How many teams do that every year, start running the tables when they no longer have anything to win, yet still end up at the exact same spot the following season (out of the playoffs)?

I've paraphrased this before, but some ex-player once was asked the question if it's important to end the season strong, and he said it was irrelevant because there's too much time after the season to actually build momentum, every season is its own.

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03-15-2012, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Em Ancien View Post
Taking a short period of time where some teams have games that are significantly more emotionally and physically draining than ours, and where our game is an afterthought for the opponents, and thinking there's something to build on simply doesn't work. How many teams do that every year, start running the tables when they no longer have anything to win, yet still end up at the exact same spot the following season (out of the playoffs)?

I've paraphrased this before, but some ex-player once was asked the question if it's important to end the season strong, and he said it was irrelevant because there's too much time after the season to actually build momentum, every season is its own.
For me it's so much the team Ws and Ls at this point, but rather that guys like Subban, Markov, and company are looking to finish the year strong. It bodes well for their play next year if they do.

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03-15-2012, 11:46 AM
  #6
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If the team wins they win. If they lose they lose. People need to stop obsessing about this tank thing. Outside of benching the best players, there is little you can do to tank without making it obvious and that's a big no-no in this league.

Sure you could play Campoli 30 minutes and Subban 15, but try justifying that to your players game in and game out. I'm pretty sure RC is looking to get another coaching job, so why will he make himself look bad?(though he's doing a pretty good job at that anyway) Same for players without a contract next year and are playing for one, they want to play and want to play well. Why the hell would Markov agree not to play for the sake of finishing last? He hasn't played in 2 years and any athlete, professional or not, would love to get back at the game as fast as they could.

We have no control, so stop whining. Watch the games and what happens happens. Jeeze.

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03-15-2012, 11:48 AM
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Leaf fans say this every year. They always (except this year) finish strong after they're out of the playoffs and then talk about how they finished on a hot streak...

I'm sorry to break it to you but a top pick is far better than finishing strong. There's no way around it. A top pick has the potential to be a star player for you for over a decade... there's no comparison as to what would be better for us.

There's nothing we can do about it though. The club is going to play hard to win. It is what it is and that's how it should be. And hey, it's nice to actually watch us win some games so we might as well just sit back and enjoy it as best we can.

Sure would be nice to see the Isles and Leafs win a game for once though...

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03-15-2012, 11:50 AM
  #8
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Originally Posted by hogtownhabsfan View Post
All in all, it's been too little too late for this season, but when looking at the organizational big picture, and all the question marks heading into the year, pretty much EVERY SINGLE ONE looks better and a surer bet going into next year that it did into this. The Habs are back folks, it's just going to be next year we reep the rewards...
I don't know if I agree. Things were looking pretty good going into the season. Unfortunately almost everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong, starting with Markov not being healthy.

Going into this season, I fully expected to make the playoffs. Going into next year, I'm not too hopeful. Granted, there is still the offseason to make changes, but we have some pretty serious issues that need sorting out. Not to mention some bad contracts that will limit our flexibility. It could be another year of mediocrity before we can get out of these bad contracts and before the new Hamilton wave is ready to step in.

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03-15-2012, 11:56 AM
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This thread sounds suspiciously like the "Miss Congeniality" consolation prize. Well, we didn't make the playoffs, then we didn't get that amazing draft pick, but... well... we finished strong.

Look, there's nothing wrong with enjoying each game as an individual drama, and I admit it was fun watching us win the shootout. But our season is done in four weeks, no matter what we do, and the only thing we have to look forward to is next season (okay, okay, also friends and family). And I'd much rather enter next season with a top-3 pick than without one. So while my glands are enjoying each win, my brain is hoping for a loss.

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03-15-2012, 12:02 PM
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I love Habs to death, but I seriously hope that Habs finish last. Not just for the draft, but this poor performance will trigger an alarm to the organization so they could do something in the summer to improve the team.

If Habs finish strong, then Gauthier may think that the team will do better next year, so he's not urged to make change.

It's a similar feeling that I have when I want the change of coach.

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Old
03-15-2012, 12:02 PM
  #11
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Originally Posted by Lshap View Post
This thread sounds suspiciously like the "Miss Congeniality" consolation prize. Well, we didn't make the playoffs, then we didn't get that amazing draft pick, but... well... we finished strong.

Look, there's nothing wrong with enjoying each game as an individual drama, and I admit it was fun watching us win the shootout. But our season is done in four weeks, no matter what we do, and the only thing we have to look forward to is next season (okay, okay, also friends and family). And I'd much rather enter next season with a top-3 pick than without one. So while my glands are enjoying each win, my brain is hoping for a loss.
I think you are missing the point. I'm not saying the WINS are a good thing, but rather that since the team is playing much better, it bodes well for next year. Alot of the questions are answered, and I fully expect the habs to be as good as they have been in recent memory as soon as next season.

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03-15-2012, 12:08 PM
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Carolina was in the same position as us 2 years ago. They were a lottery team but played well in the last few weeks and ended picking 7th instead of 3th or 4th.

Well that pick ended up being Jeff Skinner who leads all players drafted in 2010 in pts.

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03-15-2012, 12:25 PM
  #13
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We have 5 second round picks the next 2 years, if Timmins is really high on a player we can always try moving up a couple picks in the draft.

We all want as high of a pick as possible but its nice to see guys who will be big parts of our future like Price, Subban, Pacioretty etc playing well right now.

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03-15-2012, 12:31 PM
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Lafleurs Guy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lshap View Post
This thread sounds suspiciously like the "Miss Congeniality" consolation prize. Well, we didn't make the playoffs, then we didn't get that amazing draft pick, but... well... we finished strong.

Look, there's nothing wrong with enjoying each game as an individual drama, and I admit it was fun watching us win the shootout. But our season is done in four weeks, no matter what we do, and the only thing we have to look forward to is next season (okay, okay, also friends and family). And I'd much rather enter next season with a top-3 pick than without one. So while my glands are enjoying each win, my brain is hoping for a loss.
This.
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Originally Posted by zzoo View Post
I love Habs to death, but I seriously hope that Habs finish last. Not just for the draft, but this poor performance will trigger an alarm to the organization so they could do something in the summer to improve the team.

If Habs finish strong, then Gauthier may think that the team will do better next year, so he's not urged to make change.

It's a similar feeling that I have when I want the change of coach.
If the Habs finish strong there's also a better chance that PG returns as GM so it's a double loss.

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03-15-2012, 12:39 PM
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This.

If the Habs finish strong there's also a better chance that PG returns as GM so it's a double loss.
oups... that would be terrible.

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03-15-2012, 12:47 PM
  #16
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Originally Posted by hogtownhabsfan View Post
I think you are missing the point. I'm not saying the WINS are a good thing, but rather that since the team is playing much better, it bodes well for next year. Alot of the questions are answered, and I fully expect the habs to be as good as they have been in recent memory as soon as next season.
Four good games isn't much of a sample size to claim we're playing better. But even if we are, why muster all our forces now, when it takes us further away from an important draft pick? I'd much rather be playing Budaj and playing the young guys than playing better. Playing better means winning more, and winning more doesn't help us.

That doesn't mean you play to lose. It means you let Leblanc, Markov, Weber, St-Denis, Geoffrion, even Staubitz, work out the kinks and develop some chemistry for next year. Let them make all the mistakes now, when it doesn't hurt us, and don't over-play the established players like Price, Cole, Desharnais, Subban, Gorges, etc.

That's what I call a win-win formula for losing.

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03-15-2012, 12:53 PM
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hogtownhabsfan View Post
While I was excited for a top 5 pick as much as anyone, I've come to the conclusion that it's actually a good thing we're playing well to end the year. While the season until recently was a disaster, the team appears to have rediscovered it's Mojo, and all that appeared lost going forward, doesn't actually seem that far away...


THE PRICE IS RIGHT
Price brokeout last season, and while we were all excited for him, there was a question in the back of our minds if he could do it again. Despite the teams struggles through the 1st three quarters of the season, Price has remained excellent throughout and has shown himself to be an All-Star goalie for the foreseeable future. I think we all are more confident that he can be "that guy" now that he has done it in back to back years in the NHL.

A TRIO OF CENTERS
They may not be the biggest trio of centers, but in DD, Pleks, and Eller we have ourselves a very good set of centers, all under 30. All three guys are two way guys, guys who can produce as well as be responsible defensively, and I for one wouldn't be shocked if we could count on them to produce at 70-60-50 points per season respectively for the next few years. Considering their defensive acumen, that's damn good production.

PACIORETTY
I think it's fair to say that Max has shown he's a young, big, top line forward that can score in bunches. Heading into the year most of us didn't know exactly what to expect, if he'd be a difference maker at all, but I think the results speak for themselves, and I don't think anyone could have expected more. He looks like a 30/30 guy going forward, with the upside for more.

SUBBAN SHAKES THE SLUMP
Halfway through the season, Subban was struggling significantly. He was sophomore slumping, and his upside suddenly came into question. He's since put it back together and I think it's reasonable to believe that he will come out and have a monstrous 2012-2013. Him becoming a two way star who can throw highlight checks and get under the skin of opponents is not too far off.

MARKOV BACK
He certainly took his time, but now with Markov back and getting comfortable it seems like everything is coming together. The PP, the overall mojo of the team, he was signed to be an elite player for us, and him finishing strongly certainly bodes well for next year.

EMELIN
While he's clearly suffering a little bit from exhaustion, the Habs have found themselves a young defensive and physically imposing studn who can also move the puck. Emelin reminds of Volchenkov of the Sens, with a bit more offensive upside, and he looks like a big part of the blueline going forward.

VETERAN LEADERSHIP
Before Moen got hurt, he Gorges, and Cole emerged as true veteran leaders of this team. All three deserve A's on their sweater, and Gorges might end up with the "C" before too long.

TEAM SIZE/TOUGHNESS
With Emelin, the infusion of size into the lineup, along with the Brad Staubitz pickup and Ryan Whites return, the Habs are suddenly a pretty tough team as opposed to the softest group in the league. It seems as though there's been a significant culture change over the last calender year. I think it's pretty fair to say this long standing issue has been addressed.

THE KIDS ON THEIR WAY
The habs don't have a great group of prospects, but they do have a great group arriving in Hamilton next season. Tinordi, Beaulieu, Ellis, Kristo, Gallagher, Bournival, Holland, etc, there is serious influx of talent inching towards the show especially along the blue line. As the Habs aim to bounce back next year, the reinforcements are in place to step in for the injuries that are bound to happen.


All in all, it's been too little too late for this season, but when looking at the organizational big picture, and all the question marks heading into the year, pretty much EVERY SINGLE ONE looks better and a surer bet going into next year that it did into this. The Habs are back folks, it's just going to be next year we reep the rewards...
Great post! I agree with most of it.

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Originally Posted by Lafleurs Guy View Post
This.

If the Habs finish strong there's also a better chance that PG returns as GM so it's a double loss.
Will never happen. The damage he did was too great. He's gone for certain in my opinion.

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Old
03-15-2012, 01:00 PM
  #18
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I don't know if I agree. Things were looking pretty good going into the season. Unfortunately almost everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong, starting with Markov not being healthy.

Going into this season, I fully expected to make the playoffs. Going into next year, I'm not too hopeful. Granted, there is still the offseason to make changes, but we have some pretty serious issues that need sorting out. Not to mention some bad contracts that will limit our flexibility. It could be another year of mediocrity before we can get out of these bad contracts and before the new Hamilton wave is ready to step in.
From where I was sitting, there were questions surrounding:
-Markov (injury)
-Price(consistency)
-Subban (inevitable sophomore dman slump)
-Cole (change of scenery)
-Pacioretty (injury)
-Emelin (new to NA)
-Gorges (injury)
-White (injury)

While it's taken 3/4s of the year, and started out horribly, every one of those questions have been answered (eventually) in a positive way, and don't look like question marks heading into next season...

Habs are bouncing back big time next year, mark my words!

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03-15-2012, 01:04 PM
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I don't wanna be a party pooper but teams like Toronto last year or the Islanders 2 years ago had sick year endings even if they were out of the playoffs with records like 15 wins in 20 games. They did not necessarily came back strong the following year. That said, I'm happy to see the Markov comeback and the team doing better. I hope they'll build on that to have a stronger season injures free ''knock on wood'' next year.
I was thinking about the Leafs when I read the thread title before seeing your post.. While it might be nice for some to see their team finish strong after there's no pressure to win games it doesn't necessarily mean it will carry over to the following season.

This as been a terrible year for the Habs and the silver lining was finally getting a top 3 pick which seems to be in jeopardy at this point. IMO winning games at this point is only adding to the frustration of this already disastrous season.. Just my 2 cents.

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03-15-2012, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Lafleurs Guy View Post
If the Habs finish strong there's also a better chance that PG returns as GM so it's a double loss.
That's my biggest fear as well. There was that press conference where PG basically downplayed the horrible season and said they just needed tweaks to be back in the playoff picture.

While I don't completely disagree with him that it wouldn't take much to turn things around, I don't think he's the right person to do it.

People have to realize that there are no "stacked" teams anymore. In the East, I consider that the Flyers and Pens are the only teams playing to their level of talent. Rangers have a record that exceeds their capabilities. Bruins are falling to a position closer to the quality of their roster. They have no superstar on offense, their defense is average and they won a cup with TT standing on his head.

Teams like Habs and Sabres are under-performing for various reasons but it would only take a few key moves to turn things around. With a good GM in place, we could see this realistic scenario for next year:

1) get rid of bad contracts
2) draft a quality prospect and play him on a 3rd line with kids like Leblanc/Eller depending on position. keep expectations low and let them develop.
3) pull off another Cole-type UFA signing to fill the gap on the second line. right now, that line is just patchwork. DD-Pac-Cole is a legit 1st line no matter what the DD haters say. heck, does he have to hit 100 pts to get some respect? just need to have a solid 2nd line to spread the defensive coverage on the other team.
4) i have to disagree with most and say that the biggest hole is not offense but rather our atrocious D. the good news is that's where we have the most depth in the pipeline. short-term though, that hole could be plugged on the UFA market.

That's why the biggest threat of finishing the season strong is keeping PG, not the draft position. There is no Crosby in the draft this year so getting the 1st overall will only put tremendous pressure on that team to pick the right player. I'd rather be 5-7th and be "oh well, i guess we'll have to settle for that Forsberg guy" and he turns out to be a superstar while the Russians ahead of him bolt for the KHL. I'd settle for another MaxPac and that didn't require a top-5 pick.

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03-15-2012, 01:32 PM
  #21
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I don't believe it for a second. It's our chance to get a legit, dominant forward and we're blowing up the whole season of suckage for a "good finish".

Guess what, that's exactly the kind of mindset the Leafs fans have been living with the last 5 years. "We've had a strong 2nd half, this team is definitely a playoff quality roster!".

And you all know how it turned out.

However, if we do drop in the draft, like 5th or 6th overall, I hope we go for the BPA. Draft Dumba for all I care, you never have enough good defensemen. As long as we don't end up with marginal, middle 1st round players.

I still wish we manage to land Grigorenko.

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03-15-2012, 01:35 PM
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clearly the team is looking better since, AK and Gill are gone, Gomez plays less or not at all and Cammy also must be included in the mix.
Less mixing up of lines since everyone has seen just how good Patches Desharnais and Cole play together and they take the first shift on any PP. Markov has already made some HUGE outlet passes ( this ain't Gill)
The rest are just little things like the 3rd and 4th lines are playing more body then ever.

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03-15-2012, 01:50 PM
  #23
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I don't believe it for a second. It's our chance to get a legit, dominant forward and we're blowing up the whole season of suckage for a "good finish".

Guess what, that's exactly the kind of mindset the Leafs fans have been living with the last 5 years. "We've had a strong 2nd half, this team is definitely a playoff quality roster!".

And you all know how it turned out.

However, if we do drop in the draft, like 5th or 6th overall, I hope we go for the BPA. Draft Dumba for all I care, you never have enough good defensemen. As long as we don't end up with marginal, middle 1st round players.

I still wish we manage to land Grigorenko.
Well, we've shown zero ability to move up to high draft picks via trades but maybe if we get a new GM he can make a flip with the Oilers. This is a defense heavy draft and they need help there. It might actually make sense for them to deal with us if we're 5th or 6th. They could move down and still get the blueliner they're looking for. Other teams will want to do this as well but the Leafs are probably disqualified due to the animosity between Burke and that organization. Question is... even if Edmonton considers it, what do we have to give up to move to 2nd?

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03-15-2012, 01:58 PM
  #24
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Since a win is no longer important (in my mind), here are my wishes:
- Less ice time for: Cole, Plekanec, Gorges, Kaberle, Price
- More ice time for: Eller, Leblanc, Weber, Diaz, Emelin, Budaj
- Break the DD line

At this time of the year, a loss is definitely better than a win. It's not about losing mentality, it's about long-term view.

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03-15-2012, 02:01 PM
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zzoo View Post
Since a win is no longer important (in my mind), here are my wishes:
- Less ice time for: Cole, Plekanec, Gorges, Kaberle, Price
- More ice time for: Eller, Leblanc, Weber, Diaz, Emelin, Budaj
- Break the DD line

At this time of the year, a loss is definitely better than a win. It's not about losing mentality, it's about long-term view.
We should've been playing the kids for a long time now. Once you're out of the playoffs give your propsects a ton of ice time. That's not for 'tanking' purposes btw, it's for development. Makes no sense to keep on playing TK instead of younger blueliners who you're trying to develop for the future.

Then again it made no sense to trade for TK to begin with anyway so...

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