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The Importance of Making The Playoffs

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Old
02-09-2007, 11:49 AM
  #26
THEREW
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THIS IS AN AWESOME THREAD...YOU GUYS ARE ALL GOOD ANALYSTS !!!

And I'll add this : As Much as I would want a Superstar to come in Montreal (wich i guess every fan would be happy for) I still think that we have to find a way to get our best players happy so they can play their best hockey.

Hockey is still about fun..wether you play in a professional level or not. They all need to play with confidence. And they all need to play with someone who can be a complement to the skills that they have (wether it is to make a pass to a guy that can score...or wait for a guy to create space and then drive the net)

And I'm pretty sure gainey knows that better then I do. So I'll trust his judgement.

And I also think that Bob Gainey is Thinking about the team way before the fact that people might be unhappy about his work and getting fired.

I Trust every player on the team to play at their best before the end of the season...i just can't do otherwise...

I HAVE FAITH !

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02-09-2007, 11:50 AM
  #27
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Interesting thread. The biggest problem I see is that to acquire anyone of enough significance to actually lift the team out of it's funk would require significant cap space that we don't have even with Samsonov in the AHL, and I don't think any team is interested in taking on Kovalev, Niinima or Rivet's salary.

The fine tuning that comes with a gelinas or lapointe could very well help if only to shake things up and provide even more room for experimentation with line combinations, but I don't see them carrying us far.

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02-09-2007, 12:11 PM
  #28
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Playoffs? Are You Kidding Me? Playoffs?

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02-09-2007, 12:12 PM
  #29
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This is a very nice thread by the way. Some well thought out posts.

I was against getting a guy like Lapointe because I don't believe we are lacking in wingers.
We already don't have any room for Kostitsyn (who I believe is ready) and Samsonov.

I do understand the reasoning behind that now, although I still think they could work something out with our current players.

The problem with getting a guy like Lapointe is, who goes? I don't think we need him on our bottom pairings since they are pretty well set with the return of Begin. So who do we take off the top two pairings? Lats? Ryder (Have we given up on him?)?
What about Sammy? Where do we play him?

I don't know. I agree that it is very important that we make the playoffs, but I don't want to be jeopardizing our future for a band-aid solution.

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02-09-2007, 12:16 PM
  #30
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Although I think some have identified what is one of the Habs biggest problems (grit), I would argue that any solution must simultaneously seek to address our even strength goal scoring deficit. Lapointe has only scored more than 20 goals once in his career, which on our team, makes him uninteresting to me unless as a 3rd line complement. Given Lapointe’s salary and that we agree that the major problem is on the top 2 lines, I just don’t think spending another $2.5M on the third would be an intelligent decision. I would instead try to save our gunpowder for a real gritty goal scorer.

I would also diverge slightly from Bob McKenzie’s assessment of the deadline Habs. Yes, we may be on the lookout for a solid defenseman and a bonified 2nd line centre but IMO we have an equally urgent need to address our softness and the inability of our top 4 wingers to produce even strength goals. Therefore, IMO, while we certainly wouldn’t pass up a centre like Jarett Stoll, right now the second line centre “issue” is not more or less important than acquiring a physical, goal-scoring winger a la Erik Cole (who I am using for a player-type reference…I know he isn’t on the market).

I also disagree with Mckenzie’s prediction that Bob Gainey will not sell the elements of our farm team because we are in a quasi-rebuilding stage. Our farm is overrated because it is overflowing with (a) players who have a max potential of 3rd-4th line and (b) soft, one-dimensional talent which we already have in abundance. If trading one of the current softies like Ryder or Samsonov proves to be too problematic, I don’t think Gainey will hesitate to throw in any of the redundant players in the farm system if it can help provide us with a player we need.

At this point I really don’t care how much we have to pay or trade to get the right player. Pay $6M or trade Ryder, Aebischer, Kostsitsyn, Halak…all at once if you have to. Get the right player and all of these guys will be forgotten by the time the playoffs roll around.

I agree we need sandpaper but Lapointe would not be my choice.

.

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02-09-2007, 12:26 PM
  #31
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Originally Posted by Catch-22 View Post
Although I think some have identified what is one of the Habs biggest problems (grit), I would argue that any solution must simultaneously seek to address our even strength goal scoring deficit. Lapointe has only scored more than 20 goals once in his career, which on our team, makes him uninteresting to me unless as a 3rd line complement. Given Lapointe’s salary and that we agree that the major problem is on the top 2 lines, I just don’t think spending another $2.5M on the third would be an intelligent decision. I would instead try to save our gunpowder for a real gritty goal scorer.
I would also diverge slightly from Bob McKenzie’s assessment of the deadline
Habs. Yes, we may be on the lookout for a solid defenseman and a bonified 2nd line centre but IMO we have an equally urgent need to address our softness and the inability of our top 4 wingers to produce even strength goals. Therefore, IMO, while we certainly wouldn’t pass up a centre like Jarett Stoll, right now the second line centre “issue” is not more or less important than acquiring a physical, goal-scoring winger a la Erik Cole (who I am using for a player-type reference…I know he isn’t on the market).

I also disagree with Mckenzie’s prediction that Bob Gainey will not sell the elements of our farm team because we are in a quasi-rebuilding stage. Our farm is overrated because it is overflowing with (a) players who have a max potential of 3rd-4th line and (b) soft, one-dimensional talent which we already have in abundance. If trading one of the current softies like Ryder or Samsonov proves to be too problematic, I don’t think Gainey will hesitate to throw in any of the redundant players in the farm system if it can help provide us with a player we need.

At this point I really don’t care how much we have to pay or trade to get the right player. Pay $6M or trade Ryder, Aebischer, Kostsitsyn, Halak…all at once if you have to. Get the right player and all of these guys will be forgotten by the time the playoffs roll around.

I agree we need sandpaper but Lapointe would not be my choice.

.
Good point...the truth is, even when the Habs best players are playing their best, they're still just 'good' not great.

Eventually, the Habs are going to have to make a move to get a marquee player, if they can't develop or draft one from within the system. With a bunch of 'good' players, all you can be is just that...'good'.

We could make a move to get a guy like Lapointe which 'could' help, but how much better can we really become? I'm not interested in just watching a 'good' team anymore

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02-09-2007, 12:30 PM
  #32
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Personnaly, Ive been thinking we need a star quality player for the last 7 years, yet every year we are in the same situation and we never become strategic sellers. We dont trade some assets to get some better/more usefull assets much, we trade only to get rid of players not performing. We rarely make a big trade to get in the top 5 of the draft etc. In this cap world league, we will never fix that problem unless the habs management acts with a little more courage in terms of making big, team changing moves.

1) Saku Koivu needs to be replaced as the first line center.(Ive been saying this for years, hes an elite 2nd line center) He will bring you 60-70 pts per season, might get you 40 pts in 30 games and after slump. Its been 2 years in a row. If we are to make the playoff hes the player that needs to wake up. He will likely never reach the 90-100pts player potential that we need on the first line to win any hardware. I think hes a good leader, just not a consistent first line center.

2) Ryder is not a first liner, give him to bonk and johnson as the shooter for the 3rd line. Play Kost on the first line, it might reinvigorate Saku who never played with Kost. Kost is also top 5 +/- in the AHL, this line needs that. The habs organization never did anything with Kost to give him any kind of confidence at the highest level, Carbo even went of his way to make very harsh comments to journalists because of 1 bad game by kost, while lats bad games have been numerous and much much worse. Carbo will get the Julien treatment soon at this rate.*(Is Saku playing against the coaches year after year?)

3) A decision needs to be taken with Perezhogin, either you give him a real try and put him in the situations you saw him excel in as a prospect or you trade him. A bigger debate is how the habs use their assets in terms of icetime and giving opportunies, but I wont get into that.

4) Lats is the exception that confirms the rule? If the habs wants to win, lats should be sent to the AHL when the CHL season ends to bring up grabo or kost. He made some progress, but I dont see him as an improvement over the 2 russians who have a lot more skating. And skating=offense.

5) With Pleckanec finally coming back to his pre-knee injury level of last year, I can see a Grabo-Pleckanec-Kovalev line working wonders. My first line would be Higgins-Koivu-Kost. Send samsonov as far away from the team as possible. My third line would be Johnson-Bonk-Ryder(and powerplay). Begin-Laps-Perez(4th) Want offense? Speed up the team! Use streit at D, get rid of the extra soft Samso and of the slowest forward, Lats(for now, power skating this summer for Guillaume...). Im afraid it wont happen, but that would be what the sabres management would do. Speed > Everything else.

6) The only reason Huet and the D is slumping at the moment, is the forwards, they are playing atrocious hockey and slow hockey.

7) Carbo needs to present a new plan and stick to it.

Do we need to make the playoffs? I dont really care, I want a stanley winning team, not a middle range team, I would accept to become a seller with a lot of ease with our current prospect pool. I don't think theres any player but Joe Sakic that I would rent. But hes not available so, I don't think its wise to trade our depth for players that might not even play(Forsberg) or player that wont make a big impact. We have a good young team, what we need is the "star" in that prospect pool to complete the puzzle.(They will daft at least 2 more D's in the first 3 rounds.)

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02-09-2007, 12:31 PM
  #33
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Interesting thread. The biggest problem I see is that to acquire anyone of enough significance to actually lift the team out of it's funk would require significant cap space that we don't have even with Samsonov in the AHL, and I don't think any team is interested in taking on Kovalev, Niinima or Rivet's salary.

The fine tuning that comes with a gelinas or lapointe could very well help if only to shake things up and provide even more room for experimentation with line combinations, but I don't see them carrying us far.
Forget about cap consideration for a moment. I have to dispute the notion that any move has to be a significant move.

Over the past few games, we've seen guys like Streit and Plekanec step it up and have an impact. What that demonstrates is that tier 2/3 players can make a difference, if over that same period of time our key guys were also clicking the need for the big change/big splash is non-existant.

IMO adding a player who compliments our skilled guys, even if it's as trivial as someone who provides them with more space and time can influence the teams fortunes.

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02-09-2007, 12:38 PM
  #34
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Good point...the truth is, even when the Habs best players are playing their best, they're still just 'good' not great.

Eventually, the Habs are going to have to make a move to get a marquee player, if they can't develop or draft one from within the system. With a bunch of 'good' players, all you can be is just that...'good'.

We could make a move to get a guy like Lapointe which 'could' help, but how much better can we really become? I'm not interested in just watching a 'good' team anymore
The evolution from good to great takes time. Ask Leaf fans how wildly grapsing for the brass ring can stall or even cause a teams' fortunes to regress.

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02-09-2007, 12:52 PM
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Forget about cap consideration for a moment. I have to dispute the notion that any move has to be a significant move.

Over the past few games, we've seen guys like Streit and Plekanec step it up and have an impact. What that demonstrates is that tier 2/3 players can make a difference, if over that same period of time our key guys were also clicking the need for the big change/big splash is non-existant.

IMO adding a player who compliments our skilled guys, even if it's as trivial as someone who provides them with more space and time can influence the teams fortunes.
Problem is our skilled players just aren't skilled enough. Adding size and grit to the top six would generate more room and opportunities no doubt but the last couple of years have proven they just don't have the offensive punch needed and I don't see it in Hamilton. Piddling around with mediocre acquisitons gets you a mediocre team.
Pay the price.

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02-09-2007, 12:53 PM
  #36
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I vehemently object to all line combinations which more than 1 of the following players:

Ryder
Samsonov
Kovalev
Kostsitsyn
Grabovsky


soft soft soft soft soft...

I also object to any roster suggestions containing 3 or more of those players.

2 soft players per line = soft line.
3 soft players per roster = soft roster

I know it's difficult but it goes to show you the lack of flexibility that comes with having all these soft players.

.


Last edited by Catch-22: 02-09-2007 at 01:00 PM.
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02-09-2007, 01:02 PM
  #37
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Problem is our skilled players just aren't skilled enough. Adding size and grit to the top six would generate more room and opportunities no doubt but the last couple of years have proven they just don't have the offensive punch needed and I don't see it in Hamilton. Piddling around with mediocre acquisitons gets you a mediocre team.
Pay the price.
You cannot raise the teams skill level by inserting a single big fish into the line up, especially if you have to strip away the developing young players (who are currently playing a supporting role) to do it.

Let's be honest, acquiring the kind of player who could potentially make a difference (save for a rental, which I have conflicting opinions on, but that's another story) is going to cost Gainey dearly. Think along the line of Higgins, Latendresse, Price, Komisarek and/or Chipchura etc.. moving those players would decimate the teams depth and it's future.

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02-09-2007, 01:20 PM
  #38
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You cannot raise the teams skill level by inserting a single big fish into the line up, especially if you have to strip away the developing young players (who are currently playing a supporting role) to do it.

Let's be honest, acquiring the kind of player who could potentially make a difference (save for a rental, which I have conflicting opinions on, but that's another story) is going to cost Gainey dearly. Think along the line of Higgins, Latendresse, Price, Komisarek and/or Chipchura etc.. moving those players would decimate the teams depth and it's future.
I acknowledge the price will be high however if high skill-level isn't added the future will look exactly like the present, IMO.

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02-09-2007, 01:26 PM
  #39
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BG... The heart of your question (if I've read it correctly) is which concept/priority wins out. Does the desire to make the playoffs override managements’ paradigm for building the team.
Precisely. (As you further elucidated in the rest of your post too). Of course, it's an answer that sits somewhere on a spectrum... I think we've now re-established a certain amount of almost-enviable prospect depth, so even if you stacked a few key futures elements together into a deal with the goal of improving our chances in the playoff races, it's not like the overall building approach is completely derailed. And if you sit back and do nothing, our team that was on a 105-pt pace through the first half of the season could always straighten itself out entirely on its own. The cap offers a built-in limit that stops us from even seeing the extreme ends of the spectrum, of course. We're not going to be sellers, and no matter how you juggle the numbers, we can probably only wedge a couple more players under the cap.

The general conclusion I'm settling into is that I *still* would rather not see the team make a concerted push to make the playoffs using rental acquisitions, at the expense of key futures elements. Yet it's complicated by not really knowing how the market is going to play out. Depending on the price, if you told me we could get a really good player by giving up somebody like Perezhogin - a guy who has already had a bit of a chance to show what he might do, and still leaves us wanting at times, and whose redundancy might be mounting - and/or nameless, faceless draft choices in a relatively weak draft year... it does all come back to the price, of course. So Gainey certainly has to be pursuing all the options and working the phones just as if it was his intention to load up to the max. The ultimate decision on pulling the triggers is going to have to be a bugger to make this year, though, if a playoff spot might be (rightly or wrongly) felt to be potentially at stake.

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02-09-2007, 01:44 PM
  #40
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I agree with Lapointe. I guess what I wonder is how he's playing right now ? Same with Gary Roberts, are we talking about what a guy still has or what we remember ? I like Lapointe, and I think he's got value in terms of grit and leadership. Like you say, it's not about him scoring as much as creating situations where others will score. Lapointe understands the pain in the butt game too. He knows when to yap, when to flop, when to fight. I prefer that to a heavyweight.
That gets to the crux of what I was going to reply to Mike8's excellent post too. I always list Lapointe amongst the guys I'd target. However, I confess to not being really aware of how he's playing at the moment. (I'm also not sure how relevant that is in all instances, because a player struggling in one place could of course always flourish elsewhere, maybe as Conroy will teach us.)

We need a role model. Basically for our young forwards, there isn't the same concentration on D. I like Koivu's leadership. I don't know how much support he gets from the other veterans up front, however. There are A LOT of young kids. Kovalev is basically from another planet. Bonk seems to be pretty laid-back. Johnson strikes me as a good joker and loose guy, you need those. I don't know who kicks butts, though. Maybe Lapointe could.

Lapointe would also go to the net. I could almost say I don't care how old or slow he is now. He'll step on the goalie's toes, just like Fisher and Neil and those guys do to us. We were winning with our PP earlier in the season, and we HAVE to get people going to the net again. At the very least, I think we could trust Lapointe to do that, along with his leadership presence, and together those are enough to make him interest me, even if his skill level has pretty much fallen off the map. (And no matter how far the skills have fallen, they're still going to be better than Murray or Downey's.)

He'll either be cheap or unavailable, however... if he's not contributing enough for the Hawks' tastes, his contract doesn't look so hot, with another year still to come at $2.4M. That makes him cheaper to acquire. But of course with the built-in drawback about his ability to contribute here too. On the other hand, the Hawks don't seem to be too stuck for payroll room. If he's doing all the things there that we want him to do for us, then I don't suppose they have a lot of incentive to trade him at all. They're going to have a young team needing some veteran leadership for the next little while too.

Roberts... much the same could be said, except he seems to have more health risks, plus for whatever reason, I'm getting the vibe that he's more likely to inspire bidding wars. And he holds an NTC apparently, and probably wants to go to a real contender, not just one of the teams howling in the pack.

Gelinas... I like his hustle on the ice, and I can say I've seen him more than Lapointe this year, so I'm confident the hustle is still there. His contract situation is tons better too. I'm not sure that he brings the same ability to really kick butts or take on a vocal leadership role that Lapointe might, but still, we need examples on the ice too.

Getting a healthy Begin back is of course going to help too. Back injuries, especially when the linger on and on like his seems to have, offer up the worry that he might not be back for all that long, however. Or that he'll have to tone down his game somewhat in order to survive. Thus I don't feel satisfied that the return of Begin is sufficient for us in this area.

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02-09-2007, 01:58 PM
  #41
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The problem with getting a guy like Lapointe is, who goes? I don't think we need him on our bottom pairings since they are pretty well set with the return of Begin. So who do we take off the top two pairings? Lats? Ryder (Have we given up on him?)?
What about Sammy? Where do we play him?

I don't know. I agree that it is very important that we make the playoffs, but I don't want to be jeopardizing our future for a band-aid solution.
I don't see Samsonov as part of the solution. Best case, he comes in and scores at a better pace, but he's still going to be a "soft" player. If Chicago is interested in taking him back for Lapointe's contract, I'm certainly going to offer him as part of it.

Ryder and Higgins are good players. They aren't "soft" or "gritty", really, but they can score. I think the good thing about a player like Lapointe - if he still has any of his skill left - is that he could play on pretty much any line. That has always been his attraction. If he's too slow to keep up on regular shifts, he can be used 4th line + powerplays. If not, he can try to make room for any of our other players on higher lines. I was just glancing over his stats. Looks like he's taking some draws (54% on 113 faceoffs). Looks like he played more PP time earlier in the season (leads the team in PP goals) although from recent boxscores I had thought his icetime lately had been diminished in that respect. Still among the leaders in hits for the Hawks. I don't know, I don't see any real statistical red flags that argue against his ability to help us.

One forward has to go away already when Begin comes back. I'm not really worried, however... between Samsonov, Murray, and Lapierre, we have a couple of already-waived guys, and one waiver-exempt one. There's certainly room. The price and the non-statistical level of play are the bigger questions for me.

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02-09-2007, 02:42 PM
  #42
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I don't disagree that we could use a more straight forward banging kind of winger to compliment the setup men. However, I think that need is felt more acutely because everyone appears content to play on the outside, lately no one on the team seems willing to pay the price to take the puck to the net.
Very true. Whether that's a tactical decision, or players simply refusing to do the dirty work is up for debate, but regardless I think there is definitely something missing. As I said before, if it is a tactical decision, that's easy to rectify. But looking at our roster, I get the feeling that we just don't have the guys to crash the net and muck it up down low.

As a sidenote, this thread is turning out great. A lot of really insightful posts.


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We have players who are capable of simplfiying their games by taking the puck to the net, they just aren't doing it.
I don't know if I necessarily agree with this. On our top 6 (Koivu, Kovalev, Ryder, Higgins, Samsonov, Plekanec) is there really anyone who can play that role? Kovalev has the strength for it, but at this point in his career I highly doubt he'll suddenly become a crash and banger. He's very strong on the puck, no doubt about that, but he's not a guy who's going to crash the crease. Koivu has the heart of a lion, and he'll go in the corners, but he doesn't have the size or the strength be a factor in front of the net. Which is a shame because often times throughout his career he's been the only Hab willing to go to the front of the net. Watching him over the years I've noticed that the majority of his goals come from very close range, either from rebounds, cross crease passes etc...basically from working close to the net.

Ryder has been throwing his weight around more this year, and maybe he could turn into a Glen Murray type who just goes hard to the net, but he seems more content to shoot from the slot, and indeed with his good release that may be a better position for him. Ditto Higgins, he's smaller, but combative, but he has a great release and excellent speed, so I don't know if him crashing the net and banging down low is really the best use of his talent. Samsonov and Plekanec, I just don't see them playing that kind of hockey. Although I admire Plekanec's work ethic, he's always working 100% every shift.

Looking at this I again have to agree with Mike8's assessement that the top 6 needs more grit. Whether or not Lapointe is the right fit is debatable, but I think it's more a personnel matter than a coaching decision, or the players not having the will to do it. There seem to be players available though. Gary Roberts' name has come up, there have been rumours of Bertuzzi etc...I think these are the types of players we could use on this team.

Looking at the bottom six (for the hell of it) I think there's a lack again of those types of guys. Perezhogin, Bonk and Johnson are effective at what they do, but none of them are the "hard ass" type players who are going to crash the net and make forecheck hard. But they can provide some offence and have been very effective defensively, so I find it kind a little harder to fault them.

I still think the four line is only one capable of having an impact with that style, if you put Latendresse, Lapierre, Bégin together. Then you've got Chipchura hopefully making an impact next year. I would argue we're a few key players away from having the right balance and that we really don't have that many players can just simply their game. Certainly on the top 6, there's not enough of those players imo, and the bottom six could be "tougher" but if the 3rd line we had from earlier in the season is as effective as it was, I think it's less of an issue.

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02-09-2007, 02:52 PM
  #43
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Imo. We dont need more grit.

We need more speed and more passion. (That may transfer into more grit from everyone even the softies.)

2 Elements that are severely lacking.

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02-09-2007, 03:16 PM
  #44
Quiet Robert
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Originally Posted by SOLR View Post
Imo. We dont need more grit.

We need more speed and more passion. (That may transfer into more grit from everyone even the softies.)

2 Elements that are severely lacking.
I don't think speed is a serious problem. I see Ryder and Latendresse as the only "slow" forwards. Saku and Kovalev like to "orchestrate" more these days, but they still have good speed. If we would stop those D to D passes and focus on quick breakouts, we could catch other teams napping. Likewise, if we were committed to a strong forcheck, I think we have the speed to go and get the puck. Whether or not we could crash and bang effectively is another story, but I don't see speed as a big problem with this team.

I think I did post last week that we are not as fast as the media like to portray us, and I still think that's true, but I don't think we're struggling to keep up with other teams.

As for passion, well gritty guys bring passion.

I don't think you can change a player's mental makeup. Passion isn't necessarily going to transfer into grit imo. I think some of these players could start playing with more passion, but I don't think that's going to transfer into a more gritter team. We would see the team work harder and win more 1 on 1 battles, but I don't think "grit" is going to come to this team without adding more players. I think getting a healthy Begin is really going to help this team though.

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02-09-2007, 03:37 PM
  #45
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Originally Posted by Blind Gardien View Post
With the conference looking like it's getting tighter than ever tonight... here's a topic for discussion:

We talk about the upcoming trade deadline and whether or not we might be buyers, and at what level. I think everybody recognizes we won't be sellers. But will we be looking to fine-tune, maybe add a centre for insurance or some gritty depth, or are we players for any of the biggest names?

Some people (myself included) often say that it wouldn't make sense to give up a large package of futures in order to land any of the biggest names out of the belief that we're not elite contenders yet, and hence we aren't in the best position to make the highest bids on the biggest names.

However... that theory is predicated on the belief that we *will* be in the playoffs.

What if we're not? Well, heading into the season I was among what I think was a fairly sizeable portion of the population who figured the Habs would be battling to the bitter end to make the playoffs and perhaps it was hit or miss whether we'd ultimately squeeze in or not. From that perspective, a near miss would not have been the end of the world. Yet, given our blistering 1st half pace, I have to think that even for those of us with conservative pre-season expectations, a continuation of the current slide that culminates in missing the playoffs would be viewed as quite disastrous. I can't think it would be a pleasant summer in Habland if that happened.

Now, I have to imagine that Gainey et. co were fully expecting and intending to make the playoffs this year as well, and probably the organisation was less conservative in its pre-season expectations than I myself was.

So all that said... is it conceivable that a precarious playoff position rather than a push to be Cup contenders could serve as the incentive to be big bidders at the deadline? The argument that it doesn't make much sense to enter the bidding wars with the big contenders has always assumed that we don't have the same desperation that they might... we're a playoff team, but we're still perhaps too far off to be anything but cinderella-contenders, regardless of any single player we might add. So why sell the farm for that marginal increase in our odds? Yet... missing the playoffs will certainly create an immensely negative atmosphere in Montreal, particularly missing with a dramatic second half collapse, should things turn out that way. And that in turn might also be detrimental to any efforts we might make to re-sign some of our more precarious UFAs (Souray, Johnson, Bonk, say).

So in summary, could there be sufficient desperation just to *make* the playoffs, that we have to become big bidders for the biggest names on the deadline market? Does it suddenly become *more* likely that we stack up our picks and prospects to get the rental players, not in a push to contend for the Cup, but rather for a desperate push just to stay afloat in the playoff race? WDYT?

(Bearing in mind, I put this forward as a hypothetical situation, not really with any sense of panic... for myself, I'm still content to wait and see, and I'd lean towards no acts of future-threatening desperation, either to make the playoffs or to improve our chances of contention, regardless of how the team fares in the next two weeks. But I thought it was something worth thinking about all the same.)
Even if you were willing to part with futures ,how are you going to get a star player with only 1.088 million in cap space?

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02-09-2007, 03:48 PM
  #46
habfan4
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Very true. Whether that's a tactical decision, or players simply refusing to do the dirty work is up for debate, but regardless I think there is definitely something missing. As I said before, if it is a tactical decision, that's easy to rectify. But looking at our roster, I get the feeling that we just don't have the guys to crash the net and muck it up down low.

As a sidenote, this thread is turning out great. A lot of really insightful posts.

I don't know if I necessarily agree with this. On our top 6 (Koivu, Kovalev, Ryder, Higgins, Samsonov, Plekanec) is there really anyone who can play that role? Kovalev has the strength for it, but at this point in his career I highly doubt he'll suddenly become a crash and banger. He's very strong on the puck, no doubt about that, but he's not a guy who's going to crash the crease. Koivu has the heart of a lion, and he'll go in the corners, but he doesn't have the size or the strength be a factor in front of the net. Which is a shame because often times throughout his career he's been the only Hab willing to go to the front of the net. Watching him over the years I've noticed that the majority of his goals come from very close range, either from rebounds, cross crease passes etc...basically from working close to the net.

Ryder has been throwing his weight around more this year, and maybe he could turn into a Glen Murray type who just goes hard to the net, but he seems more content to shoot from the slot, and indeed with his good release that may be a better position for him. Ditto Higgins, he's smaller, but combative, but he has a great release and excellent speed, so I don't know if him crashing the net and banging down low is really the best use of his talent. Samsonov and Plekanec, I just don't see them playing that kind of hockey. Although I admire Plekanec's work ethic, he's always working 100% every shift.

Looking at this I again have to agree with Mike8's assessement that the top 6 needs more grit. Whether or not Lapointe is the right fit is debatable, but I think it's more a personnel matter than a coaching decision, or the players not having the will to do it. There seem to be players available though. Gary Roberts' name has come up, there have been rumours of Bertuzzi etc...I think these are the types of players we could use on this team.

Looking at the bottom six (for the hell of it) I think there's a lack again of those types of guys. Perezhogin, Bonk and Johnson are effective at what they do, but none of them are the "hard ass" type players who are going to crash the net and make forecheck hard. But they can provide some offence and have been very effective defensively, so I find it kind a little harder to fault them.

I still think the four line is only one capable of having an impact with that style, if you put Latendresse, Lapierre, Bégin together. Then you've got Chipchura hopefully making an impact next year. I would argue we're a few key players away from having the right balance and that we really don't have that many players can just simply their game. Certainly on the top 6, there's not enough of those players imo, and the bottom six could be "tougher" but if the 3rd line we had from earlier in the season is as effective as it was, I think it's less of an issue.
I'll confine my comments to the first line as the 2nd line (with some exception) has been dysfunctional all year, the 3rd line has exceeded expectations (so I don't want them to change a thing), while the 4th (depending on it's composition) has at times looked both brilliant and atrocious.

Given that we have competitive guys who've paid the price in the past playing up front, IMO (and I'm frequently wrong ) it's mostly tactical. With the success of the point shot the forwards have really not been collapsing down as low as they have in the past. They still cycle the puck fairly well, but when they create a passing opportunity off the cycle they are throwing the puck into the high slot or to the point. When no passing opportunity exists, they tend to float up along the boards to just below the point. The result, now that everyone in the league is focused on taking away the Habs point shot has been a lot of turnovers and odd man rushes.

If you accept my assertion that it is a question of strategy and not personnel (well at least not entirely personnel) then I think we do have the players who can dumb it down and take the puck to the net. For the second half of last season, Chris Higgins was very effective in capitalizing on loose pucks (he was a beneficiary of Koivu breaking in on net). Higgins/Koivu don't provide the traditional big body presence (a la Andreychuk or Esposito) but they have good hands and active sticks which are almost as effective when the goaltender has to deal with traffic.

I like the idea of Gary Roberts on a number of levels, playoff experience, veteran leadership, he's still got decent hand and wheels and most of all he plays the bang and crash game to perfection.

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02-09-2007, 03:49 PM
  #47
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Originally Posted by e-e View Post
i think all we need is 2 mike fisher type of players and we could do some serious damage in playoff
You will not get that without giving something up my friend,Don';t you think every team is looking for that?

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Old
02-09-2007, 03:51 PM
  #48
THEREW
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Originally Posted by habfan4 View Post
I'll confine my comments to the first line as the 2nd line (with some exception) has been dysfunctional all year, the 3rd line has exceeded expectations (so I don't want them to change a thing), while the 4th (depending on it's composition) has at times looked both brilliant and atrocious.

Given that we have competitive guys who've paid the price in the past playing up front, IMO (and I'm frequently wrong ) it's mostly tactical. With the success of the point shot the forwards have really not been collapsing down as low as they have in the past. They still cycle the puck fairly well, but when they create a passing opportunity off the cycle they are throwing the puck into the high slot or to the point. When no passing opportunity exists, they tend to float up along the boards to just below the point. The result, now that everyone in the league is focused on taking away the Habs point shot has been a lot of turnovers and odd man rushes.
If you accept my assertion that it is a question of strategy and not personnel (well at least not entirely personnel) then I think we do have the players who can dumb it down and take the puck to the net. For the second half of last season, Chris Higgins was very effective in capitalizing on loose pucks (he was a beneficiary of Koivu breaking in on net). Higgins/Koivu don't provide the traditional big body presence (a la Andreychuk or Esposito) but they have good hands and active sticks which are almost as effective when the goaltender has to deal with traffic.

I like the idea of Gary Roberts on a number of levels, playoff experience, veteran leadership, he's still got decent hand and wheels and most of all he plays the bang and crash game to perfection.
Every one saw that...in every team...that can't still be our PP strategy anymore..or at least not MOST of the time like it is right now

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Old
02-09-2007, 04:25 PM
  #49
habfan4
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Every one saw that...in every team...that can't still be our PP strategy anymore..or at least not MOST of the time like it is right now
I wasn't referring to the PP (exclusively). Outside of scoring chances created on the rush, the forwards are playing far to high, they do not look to move the puck to the net from the corners, they are playing to setup a scoring chance from the point, they are also coasting out high on the boards, both tactics are resulting in turnovers. What was once the PP strategy (the point of attack from the point) seems to have become the de facto offensive strategy.

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