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When did it start to go downhill?

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Old
02-11-2007, 06:08 PM
  #1
BaseballCoach
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When did it start to go downhill?

The Habs were on a roll, four wins in a row. The energizer bunny was one Maxime Lapierre, Mark Streit was just starting to emerge, and the team was a four-line rolling buzzsaw, winning almost every third period.

We had heart, we had soul, we had talent, we had grit, we had a hot goalie, and we had great special teams.

We were challenging Buffalo, beating Atlanta and giving all teams a REALLY tough time.

People were talking about a deep run into the playoffs.

Then.....the Habs made the decision to return Lapierre to Hamilton. They publicly stated that their reasons had to do with money, the cap, business, blah-blah-blah.

Suddenly, the magic was gone.

Not because Lapierre is the team leader. Not because he is super talented. In fact, he's not a natural scorer - he may have just been in the right place at the right time for some of his goals. But whatever the reason, he brought us hustle and enthusiasm.

We had the momentum and the confidence and then came THE DECISION. The magic was gone because we all suddenly realized that MANAGEMENT'S TOP GOAL WAS NOT MAXIMIZING OUR RESULTS. We got plausible rationalizations, and even I finally gave in and bought them. But that was our mistake, no question about it. We consciously, knowingly, calculatingly.....threw away a winning formula.

Nothing's been right since.

Right now, especially with Begin coming back, I would try bringing in or bringing up another hustler with balls and try to re-spark the team.

GO HABS GO!

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02-11-2007, 06:13 PM
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korky00
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The habs started to go downhill on Dec.23rd....again

and I don't think that the fact Lapierre was sent down really had that much of an impact

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02-11-2007, 06:13 PM
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If you think the slump is the result of that decision, then I've got to tell you that you're wrong.

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02-11-2007, 06:14 PM
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Coincidence!

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Old
02-11-2007, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seb_Rafter View Post
If you think the slump is the result of that decision, then I've got to tell you that you're wrong.
Maybe, I'm not infallible.

But the way I see it, no one complained about our work ethic then. No one said players didn't care. No one said the coach was panicking.

MANAGEMENT knowingly broke up a winning combination for non-hockey reasons.

I still maintain that was a major mistake to commit, absolutely the WRONG signal to send.

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02-11-2007, 06:24 PM
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Time for the Rally Monkey at the Bell Centre...

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Old
02-11-2007, 06:33 PM
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http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t...lump+right+now

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Old
02-11-2007, 06:42 PM
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I think it all went downhill when Gainey, because of personal tragedy, stepped away from the team. There were bad decisions, of which benching Rivet was a major one, and then more benchings, controversy and so on.

I believe that Gainey was in fact controlling the team from behind the scenes. when it was all left up to Carbo, he made rookie mistakes that affected chemistry and cohesiveness.

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02-11-2007, 06:45 PM
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaseballCoach View Post
Maybe, I'm not infallible.

But the way I see it, no one complained about our work ethic then. No one said players didn't care. No one said the coach was panicking.

MANAGEMENT knowingly broke up a winning combination for non-hockey reasons.

I still maintain that was a major mistake to commit, absolutely the WRONG signal to send.
If it were true, then this team is very fragile, and hence not very good to begin with.

In actuality, the team has been in trouble all year. The poor 5 on 5 was gonna catch up. A team living on special teams is a team waiting to die an early death.

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02-11-2007, 07:06 PM
  #10
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And what was the reason last year? and the year before? Stop trying to give excuses for this team, it's like that every year.

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Old
02-11-2007, 07:22 PM
  #11
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Originally Posted by eliash View Post
And what was the reason last year? and the year before? Stop trying to give excuses for this team, it's like that every year.
It is not like this every year. The team came out to a roaring start, lines were clicking, the chemistry was better than it had been in many, many years (according to all reports, Koivu, Rivet etc). Granted, there were issues, but the team really was one or two players away from Stanley Cup champs, in my view. Laps being sent down was not the issue - those types of decisions are made all the time in relation to players who are almost, but not quite, ready for the NHL, and given that it has likely happened to most people on the team, I cannot imagine any of them gave it a second thought.

I again state that I believe that the change occurred when Gainey stepped aside and Carbo was given greater responsibility than he was able to properly execute, given his inexperience. Players were pitted against each other, poor management decisions were made, the team lost respect for the coach and each other and BOOM, here we are.

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02-11-2007, 07:31 PM
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If i remember correctly we on had 2 working lines, the Koivu and BOnk ones.

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02-11-2007, 07:32 PM
  #13
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The team's play has been on a steady decline since late November when they lost to the Flyers.

Yes, they had a 5 game winning streak in December when Gainey's daughter died, but they were playing on a high to win for their GM.

Ever since that loss to the Flyers, this team has been progressively worse.

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Old
02-11-2007, 08:01 PM
  #14
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You people need to stop trying to finding ficticious excuses from nowhere and tell yourselves what everybody knows. The slump hasn't started because Lapierre was sent down nor because of the Laura Gainey tragedy and not because of whatever else.

The fact is we never had a team ready to fight for the first spots a whole a season. It was obvious that they wouldn't keep being the best special teams for 82 games and that Huet wouldn't offer .940 goaltending forever.

The PP and PK lowered back to normal, Huet stopped doing miracles (and I mean he would still shine if he actually had a talented team ahead of him) and our players of the awful squad kept being awful (Samsonov, Niinimaa, Ryder, Kovalev etc).

Really, it started to go downhill when the habs started to play the way people expected them to play at the beginning of the season.

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Old
02-11-2007, 08:32 PM
  #15
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Originally Posted by BaseballCoach View Post
The Habs were on a roll, four wins in a row. The energizer bunny was one Maxime Lapierre, Mark Streit was just starting to emerge, and the team was a four-line rolling buzzsaw, winning almost every third period.

We had heart, we had soul, we had talent, we had grit, we had a hot goalie, and we had great special teams.

We were challenging Buffalo, beating Atlanta and giving all teams a REALLY tough time.

People were talking about a deep run into the playoffs.

Then.....the Habs made the decision to return Lapierre to Hamilton. They publicly stated that their reasons had to do with money, the cap, business, blah-blah-blah.

Suddenly, the magic was gone.

Not because Lapierre is the team leader. Not because he is super talented. In fact, he's not a natural scorer - he may have just been in the right place at the right time for some of his goals. But whatever the reason, he brought us hustle and enthusiasm.

We had the momentum and the confidence and then came THE DECISION. The magic was gone because we all suddenly realized that MANAGEMENT'S TOP GOAL WAS NOT MAXIMIZING OUR RESULTS. We got plausible rationalizations, and even I finally gave in and bought them. But that was our mistake, no question about it. We consciously, knowingly, calculatingly.....threw away a winning formula.

Nothing's been right since.

Right now, especially with Begin coming back, I would try bringing in or bringing up another hustler with balls and try to re-spark the team.

GO HABS GO!
I agree with you that these players appear to be lacking intensity and commitment but I have to disagree on the reasons. This is a soft team.


Some comments:

1) The Habs were a mediocre, soft team before Dec. 23rd...their potential was at best as a 5th or 6th place team. They were winning games because of excellent goaltending and special teams play. We were playing over our heads and two significant things have happened since then: (a) Although nobody wants to say it, our goaltending has been VERY average since December 23rd. (b) Other teams have figured out that if they stay out of the box, we can't score. When they do get a penalty, they apply hard pressure with an emphasis on Souray and that's all they have to do to force us to play sloppy. Now that our special teams are failing, we don't have the luxury of a solid even strength line-up to fall back on. This was bound to happen at some point. I hope when all is said and done the degree is limited.

In sum, you are now observing why it is important NOT to be so reliant on special teams play. Other teams can easily target that element of the game.


2) Sorry, but Lapierre is no messiah. He is a marginal 4th liner and as much as I like his contribution so far and think he has a future with the team, the fate of 15+ veterans is not dictated by what happens to a call-up. In any case, those veterans were the same ones who won all those games when Maxime was still in Hamilton in October.


3) The Habs played well against Buffalo and Atlanta because these are the types of teams we can compete against. Buffalo is a quick, offensive team and while they are not as soft as us, they do not play a gritty style and that makes us more effective against them. They would still whip us in 4-5 games during a playoff series but we at least appear more competitive against them. Atlanta is virtually the same as the Habs; decent goaltending (when it's working), poor defense, and soft, talented forwards. The difference with them is that they have 2 superstars and we have none. New Jersey? Ottawa? Even Carolina and toronto? We cannot touch these teams. A first rount playoff matchup against anybody but NYR, Pittsburgh or Atlanta means a swift exit.

In conclusion, we never had heart and soul. We had a good PP, a good PK and great goaltending. Right now, we have none of these things and no real contingency in the form of physical, top-line players who can be effective at even strength.


One last word: Chris Higgins is a great player but he's being Mr. Nice Guy out there. Get mean, Chris!

.


Last edited by Catch-22: 02-11-2007 at 08:39 PM.
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Old
02-11-2007, 09:47 PM
  #16
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Originally Posted by Watzatheo View Post
If i remember correctly we on had 2 working lines, the Koivu and BOnk ones.
Correct.....UNTIL Lapierre came along and gave us potentially the best 4th line in the league teamed with Latendresse and Streit.

With three working lines plus the threat that Kovalev always represents, opponents were unable to shutdown our offence completely. We rolled four lines and by the third period, our opponents were unable to keep pace.

The enthusiasm was fantastic.

http://www.nhl.com/nhl/app?service=page&page=Video

Then go to the games of Dec 12, 14, 16 and 19

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Old
02-11-2007, 10:10 PM
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Old
02-11-2007, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Catch-22 View Post
I agree with you that these players appear to be lacking intensity and commitment but I have to disagree on the reasons. This is a soft team.
IMO, the supposed "softness" of Montreal is overstated, a bit of a carryover from previous years, but I don't really expect to be able to convince you of that.

Nevertheless, the fact is that early in the season Montreal defeated Calgary and Edmonton in two hard, gritty, and emotional games. Granted, Calgary and Edmonton are not what I'd call elite teams, but Calgary in particular seems to be considered a benchmark for grit and toughness, and the Habs hardly folded when pressed -- rather, I'd say they rose to the challenge.

I think the Calgary game really got them going for a while, though. I think they haven't had a watershed game like that one in a while; I thought beating Pittsburgh in those circumstances would do it, but it hasn't quite materialized.

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Old
02-11-2007, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Catch-22 View Post
Sorry, but Lapierre is no messiah. He is a marginal 4th liner and as much as I like his contribution so far and think he has a future with the team, the fate of 15+ veterans is not dictated by what happens to a call-up. In any case, those veterans were the same ones who won all those games when Maxime was still in Hamilton in October.
I agree that Lapierre is no messiah. But he is NOT a "marginal" fourth-liner. He is a GOOD fourth-liner. Even with the recent problems of the team, he is STILL a +4 for the season. The opponents don't score that much when he is on the ice, nor does he take many bad penalties.

But the strength of Lapierre per se was not my original point.

My original point is that the Habs Management put out a STRONG signal on Dec 20 that dollars and business and cap stuff and so forth was MORE IMPORTANT than on-ice wins, real-life chemistry and the thrills of victory. With the emergence of a really strong, energetic and combative fourth line, we were actually MINIMIZING the well-publicised weaker parts of our game, and CAPITALIZING on our youth and speed.

Breaking up the winning formula for business reasons was, I still maintain, a major mistake. Players are now being criticised for "not caring enough"!

Pot-kettle-black.

Let me show you how absurd the reasoning was. Would you agree that the fact that Chris Higgins is scoring less now is REDUCING the amount the Habs will probably have to pay him next year? Of course. So, should we be HAPPY that this will "help our cap situation"? Of course NOT! Do we thank Michael Ryder for struggling because we can "save money" on this impending RFA? NO!!

Well, if players doing things that "help the cap" while hurting the standings is bad, so is MANAGEMENT doing the same thing. There were other ways to manage the team payroll and assets in December that would not have touched our successful 1st, 3rd and 4th lines while maintaining the Kovalev offensive threat in the lineup.

The commitment to excel must come from everyone.

Mangement should now make a move, even a small one, to again bring some more energy in. Then, if we have success, ENCOURAGE IT!

GO HABS GO!


Last edited by BaseballCoach: 02-11-2007 at 10:51 PM.
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Old
02-11-2007, 10:46 PM
  #20
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the team start losing because all the player were sick because of that gastrointestinal virus.

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Old
02-11-2007, 10:50 PM
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Lapierre is a marginal 4th liner. He's a one-dimensional average skater, average on defense, average size, average grit, etc. The only thing he's really any good at is mouthing off and taking sticks to the face.

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02-11-2007, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by HexCopterKey View Post
Lapierre is a marginal 4th liner. He's a one-dimensional average skater, average on defense, average size, average grit, etc. The only thing he's really any good at is mouthing off and taking sticks to the face.
No, Lapierre is a GOOD fourth liner. But see above for details on my point about what management did wrong. The short version is that management signalled that business was more important than results. The slump is good for business next year, in that the RFAs will sign for less than otherwise, but are you happy? I'm not. Even Gainey and Boivin are probably not. Therefore, the December 20 move was a mistake.

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02-11-2007, 11:06 PM
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good coaching got the team a lot of wins early in the season, but as they say, the league catches up with you.
This team should make a big jump next year, there were a few bad off-season decisions and some players potential was over-rated.
I expect gainey will get rid of some of those players in this off season and the habs should be a solid team next year.

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Old
02-11-2007, 11:25 PM
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good coaching got the team a lot of wins early in the season, but as they say, the league catches up with you.
This team should make a big jump next year, there were a few bad off-season decisions and some players potential was over-rated.
I expect gainey will get rid of some of those players in this off season and the habs should be a solid team next year.
I also think the trend is upward, but I am disappointed we did not continue with our December momentum.

And I blame management for that, just as I have complimented them for other moves.


Last edited by BaseballCoach: 02-11-2007 at 11:35 PM.
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Old
02-11-2007, 11:49 PM
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaseballCoach View Post
I agree that Lapierre is no messiah. But he is NOT a "marginal" fourth-liner. He is a GOOD fourth-liner. Even with the recent problems of the team, he is STILL a +4 for the season. The opponents don't score that much when he is on the ice, nor does he take many bad penalties.

But the strength of Lapierre per se was not my original point.

My original point is that the Habs Management put out a STRONG signal on Dec 20 that dollars and business and cap stuff and so forth was MORE IMPORTANT than on-ice wins, real-life chemistry and the thrills of victory. With the emergence of a really strong, energetic and combative fourth line, we were actually MINIMIZING the well-publicised weaker parts of our game, and CAPITALIZING on our youth and speed.

Breaking up the winning formula for business reasons was, I still maintain, a major mistake. Players are now being criticised for "not caring enough"!

Pot-kettle-black.

Let me show you how absurd the reasoning was. Would you agree that the fact that Chris Higgins is scoring less now is REDUCING the amount the Habs will probably have to pay him next year? Of course. So, should we be HAPPY that this will "help our cap situation"? Of course NOT! Do we thank Michael Ryder for struggling because we can "save money" on this impending RFA? NO!!

Well, if players doing things that "help the cap" while hurting the standings is bad, so is MANAGEMENT doing the same thing. There were other ways to manage the team payroll and assets in December that would not have touched our successful 1st, 3rd and 4th lines while maintaining the Kovalev offensive threat in the lineup.

The commitment to excel must come from everyone.

Mangement should now make a move, even a small one, to again bring some more energy in. Then, if we have success, ENCOURAGE IT!

GO HABS GO!
Dude, this makes no sense. If Lapierre was sent down to save Gillett a few extra bucks, then I'd totally agree with you. But Lapierre was sent down to maintain cap space for later on in the season so the team could add a big rental. If anything, that "think big" possibility of landing Forsberg sends a big picture winning message much stronger than keeping a 4th line rookie around.

It's just a number of things. The flu, which forced the team to face adversity for the first time this season. Higgins' maladjustment when he returned, which broke up what had developed into a pretty good line of Koivu, Ryder and Latendresse. Samsonov's perpetual struggles. Huet and Aebischer fighting for the back-up position. Players perhaps starting to become defeatists with regard to the officiating, looking at it as an excuse. The list goes on and on, but I just can't see how Lapierre's demotion broke this team's back.

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