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When did it start to go downhill?

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Old
02-12-2007, 12:58 AM
  #26
Slick Nick
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The whole slump doesn't start on dec 23rd, but on jan the 4th. When Guy got absolutlty outcoached by Glen Hanlon and we lost 5-1 to the Caps because Carbo never got to use Perezhogin-Bonk-Johnson against Ovechkin.... these guys finished -2 ( while Saku's line was -8). Hanlon took advantage of it and both Semin and Zubrus scored twice againts the Koivu line.

Carbo went nuts... dismenteled his checking line to give more icetime to Gui-Unit, which resulted in a huge slump. The game after Grabo was called up, the team was gastric, Grabo was the best player of the team but got sent back down only to be replaced by Lapierre (the hard worker) in the middle of Kovy and Samy... Perezhogin was put asaide.. Next step, the game in Detroit, lost.. Carbo goes crazy and shows how much he loves himslef declaring "he and Kirk" can't jump on the ice for those lazy arse players, and publically blames his goalies. Next step, he goes nuts and tries to play Streit and Johnson on top lines and scratches good players for Murray and Downey...

Strange stat: Since Carbo decided to fock up his lines... Bring Lats up from fourth to second, which broke the 3rd ( Jan 4th)... the Habs are 6 - 12.


Last edited by Slick Nick: 02-12-2007 at 01:40 AM.
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Old
02-12-2007, 01:16 AM
  #27
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Originally Posted by davedave View Post
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.
Sure it makes sense, DUDE.

The decision to invoke business reasons to break up a winning formula was the START of the downhill slide, which is the title of this thread.

I don't dispute many of the things you mention that happened AFTERWARD. Panic and confusion over how to re-form good lines, defeatism, finger-pointing and so forth all came AFTER the decision to demote the sparkplug of that moment.

As for saving cap space for a big rental, if this was the objective then obviously the biggest effect would have come from WAIVING and then DEMOTING Samsonov, who was NOT critical to the chemistry of the team.

As I said, we had three and one third lines going, with Plekanec a promising young gun as well, doing fine on the PK and in his own zone, though his scoring only kicked in later. Samsonov was expendable from a cap point of view.

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02-12-2007, 01:46 AM
  #28
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Originally Posted by BaseballCoach View Post
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.
Sorry I said something so irrelevant to the topic of the thread that you had to try to steer me back to what you want to talk about but now having accepted that there is no end to threads in which fans wish to announce their ignorant opinions the likes of the Habs struggles having to do with an AHLer being sent to the AHL as if they were one of the ten commandments I've given up on reasoning with them and decided to ignore them so I can instead devote my time to giving insight on something I think is worth talking about.

But since you weren't as rude as me I will say this; Sam Pollock was one of the biggest snakes of all time having traded washed up Hab legends for high draft picks. I don't think many Hab fans would disagree with his decision to toss away old friends like garbage the way he did, however, seeing as how he won over 10 Stanley Cups as Montreal's GM. They might be a little disgusted with him though, I'll give you that.

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02-12-2007, 01:47 AM
  #29
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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!
the 5-1 loss against the caps was the day that the downhill journey started.

And I think its no coincidence that the PK has gone from 1st in the league, to 10th in the league since then. Although, the PK against ottawa last night was superb IMO. Perhaps, thats a sign.

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02-12-2007, 01:54 AM
  #30
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Originally Posted by Hackett View Post
the 5-1 loss against the caps was the day that the downhill journey started.

And I think its no coincidence that the PK has gone from 1st in the league, to 10th in the league since then. Although, the PK against ottawa last night was superb IMO. Perhaps, thats a sign.
yes.

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02-12-2007, 02:41 AM
  #31
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Originally Posted by davedave View Post
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.

Yep, that's true, to save cap space and all... but try seeing it from the players side. they were winning, the kid was doing great at that time and was really helping the team (4 goals in 4 games)... then they see Lapierre being sent down gor $$ reasons, while there's both Downey and Murray healthy scratches for most of the games...

it might not be THE reason, but it definitely sends the wrong message...

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Old
02-12-2007, 07:58 AM
  #32
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Originally Posted by HexCopterKey View Post
Sam Pollock was one of the biggest snakes of all time having traded washed up Hab legends for high draft picks. I don't think many Hab fans would disagree with his decision to toss away old friends like garbage the way he did, however, seeing as how he won over 10 Stanley Cups as Montreal's GM. They might be a little disgusted with him though, I'll give you that.
Agreed that Pollock was a genius. However, I would not say that he tossed away LEGENDS. The type of player he traded for draft picks did not extend to the legends. Beliveau, Richard, Cournoyer, heck not one of the guys whose numbers are in the rafters of the Bell Centre was sent away for a draft pick.

From memory, the roster guys who fetched picks were only:
Ralph Backstrom
Claude Larose
. and they only fetched mid-round picks.

Pollock was a MASTER, though, of sending off prospects he didn't think would click with the club, but were still young and had some potential, for HIGH draft picks.

The club had a constant supply of young energetic talent coming in, which is kind of what I think we need to continue to nurture now.

Guys born 1980 or later:

Komisarek

Plekanec
Lapierre
Higgins
Ryder
Latendresse
Perezhogin
Murray

Halak
Price

O'Byrne

Kostitsyn
Grabovsky
D'Agostini
Chipchura

So, the trick is to figure out which of these parts is expendable, ENCOURAGE the better ones to keep improving, KEEP a couple of core veterans even if their skills start to erode, as long as they are good leaders, and make room for more kids by letting expendable vets go.

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Old
02-12-2007, 11:45 AM
  #33
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It all went downhill the day my fiancee died of a rare heart ailment.

She went in the hospital on December 20th, died on December 26th.

Since then I can only remember our Habs only winning a couple of times.

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02-12-2007, 11:54 AM
  #34
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Originally Posted by ohiohabsfan View Post
It all went downhill the day my fiancee died of a rare heart ailment.

She went in the hospital on December 20th, died on December 26th.

Since then I can only remember our Habs only winning a couple of times.
Sorry to hear of your recent loss

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Old
02-12-2007, 11:57 AM
  #35
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IMO when the Gastro hit the club.Seniding Grabovski down was a mistake at that time.I would have given him a few more games he was our best player that weekend

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02-12-2007, 12:09 PM
  #36
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I just read on the Gazettes Habs Inside/Out page that the Habs top 4 scorers are at a total -57 in the +/- rankings, the worst in the league.
The slump started around the 3rd week of December, and the above stat shows why it continues. Ryder alone stands at -21, Koivu at -16, Souray at -13, and Kovalev at -7.


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02-12-2007, 12:38 PM
  #37
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as of now I officialy name the chrismast slumps : The Santa Clauz Curse !!!

sniff... why santa, whyyyyy??? I forgive you if you give me the gift in summer tough.

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02-12-2007, 01:09 PM
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaseballCoach View Post
Sure it makes sense, DUDE.

The decision to invoke business reasons to break up a winning formula was the START of the downhill slide, which is the title of this thread.

I don't dispute many of the things you mention that happened AFTERWARD. Panic and confusion over how to re-form good lines, defeatism, finger-pointing and so forth all came AFTER the decision to demote the sparkplug of that moment.

As for saving cap space for a big rental, if this was the objective then obviously the biggest effect would have come from WAIVING and then DEMOTING Samsonov, who was NOT critical to the chemistry of the team.

As I said, we had three and one third lines going, with Plekanec a promising young gun as well, doing fine on the PK and in his own zone, though his scoring only kicked in later. Samsonov was expendable from a cap point of view.
So now management didn't run the team enough as a business by not waiving and demoting Samsonov? I'm not even sure I know what you mean by business decisions as opposed to winning decisions. They have to go together, as the salary cap NHL unavoidably involves business in hockey decisions.

Maybe the same cap savings could've been achieved by dumping Murray or Downey. But was it the wrong message to demote Lapierre while those slugs Murray and Downey stayed with the team? I already know what most fans here will say, but we don't know that it wasn't construed exactly the opposite by the players. Maybe the message of loyalty was the right message to send. Had the team started losing with Lapierre while Murray was in the AHL, would we now be saying that management started to lose the team because they sent the wrong message? Probably, I think.

This fixation on the Lapierre incident just strikes me as an attempt to rationalize this current slide. It's not provable one way or the other, and I don't think the hypothesis makes much sense anyway. Why is the Lapierre incident so important that other hockey decisions don't count for as much, like the decision to get an expensive veteran 7th D rather than rely on AHLers, or the decision to sign an expensive UFA rather than shrug and hope that an inexpensive rookie would produce, or the decision to not trade Souray or Aebischer, etc? These are all decisions, for better or worse, based on the goal of icing a winning team, when "business" considerations dictated otherwise.

If the Lapierre demotion was somehow so significant in the eyes and minds of the players, such a powerful business-first message at the expense of winning, then this team is totally gutless and unprofessional. It seems more likely to me that Lapierre's demotion is just a fan symbol, an event marker of when the team started to lose it -- but not a cause or a reason.

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02-12-2007, 01:41 PM
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Djee#9 View Post
the team start losing because all the player were sick because of that gastrointestinal virus.
The flu and Higgins injury and then blammo

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02-12-2007, 01:42 PM
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohiohabsfan View Post
It all went downhill the day my fiancee died of a rare heart ailment.

She went in the hospital on December 20th, died on December 26th.

Since then I can only remember our Habs only winning a couple of times.
Thats awful. Sorry for your loss.

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02-12-2007, 01:51 PM
  #41
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Originally Posted by kyle747 View Post
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.
Sounds like last year, and the year before, and .....

So who are these over-rated players and how do you propose to get rid of them?
Last summer Gainey couldn't get the UFA(s) he wanted, either he wasn't prepared to outbid or they weren't interested in coming to Montreal. Why would this summer be any different? The free agent market can't be relied on to obtain top players when most teams are able to compete for them, trading may be the only way to obtain the right player even if it costs.

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02-12-2007, 04:57 PM
  #42
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Sorry to hear of your recent loss
Thanks, obviously it's not nearly the same watching without her, but I am a longtime fan.

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02-12-2007, 05:57 PM
  #43
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Sounds like last year, and the year before, and .....

So who are these over-rated players and how do you propose to get rid of them?
Last summer Gainey couldn't get the UFA(s) he wanted, either he wasn't prepared to outbid or they weren't interested in coming to Montreal. Why would this summer be any different? The free agent market can't be relied on to obtain top players when most teams are able to compete for them, trading may be the only way to obtain the right player even if it costs.
The days of free agents being able to pick and choose are over. There will be over 200 FA this off season, also I think Gainey learned a lesson this year that it is better to get a single high-end player for larger dollars vs. a number of mid-tier players for cheaper.
we'll see I guess, but I expect significant input from Carbo in order to mold the team 'he' wants.

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02-12-2007, 06:02 PM
  #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohiohabsfan View Post
It all went downhill the day my fiancee died of a rare heart ailment.

She went in the hospital on December 20th, died on December 26th.

Since then I can only remember our Habs only winning a couple of times.
Really sorry for your loss O.

May your fiancee RIP.

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02-12-2007, 08:42 PM
  #45
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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.


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!

.
Those are good reasons. We were having outstanding production from Huet, Souray, Koivu and our special teams, and the big reason why we are losing more now is because they have all slowed down. However, our team is better than what they are showing now, and you have to look to the coaching staff for the other part of the blame. A few decisions from Carbo made things worst.

- Started to play Streit on the first PP unit instead of Markov. Nothing against Streit, but with Markov, Souray, and Kovalev on at the same time, other teams had too many guys to cover. They knew that if they cheated to much on Souray, Markov was able to throw that cross-ice pass to a free Kovalev. If they cheated too much on Souray and Kovalev's side, they knew that Markov could come in for that outlet pass from Kovy or Koivu. Same with Ryder. Koivu scored a lot of goals because the Markov-Souray-Kovalev combo needed attention.

- Perez was benched and the third line, which had been one of our best since the beginning of the season, was dismantled and they have never been the same since.

- Bad asset management (sammy-Kovy duo), line-juggling (lines made no sense!). Negative atmosphere, bickering and complaining at the refs all the time, blaming the players in the media... all these contributed to our downfall.

- The defensive system: All year long, we've not been able to score 5-on-5, and when our special teams stopped working, we were dead in the water. You have all these skilled offensive players and you ask them to trap? Of course they'll look bad and after a while they lose confidence/interest/passion.

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02-12-2007, 10:32 PM
  #46
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Two critical events: the injury to Higgins and the intestinal virus that ravaged the team. For awhile the Higgins injury seemed to have a silver lining because it allowed Latendresse to play on the first line and get on the scoreboard. Now we see that the spurt was temporary and that Higgins is a pale shadow of what he was last season and early this season. This in turn badly affected Koivu and Ryder, judging from the lack of scoring and the alarming minuses all three linemates have accumulated. The Habs tailspin would have been even worse had it not been for Plekanec's play in January, Souray's PP scoring, and the emergence of Streit as a utility player.

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02-12-2007, 10:39 PM
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohiohabsfan View Post
It all went downhill the day my fiancee died of a rare heart ailment.

She went in the hospital on December 20th, died on December 26th.

Since then I can only remember our Habs only winning a couple of times.
Wow I have never read more of a downer post in my life.

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