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"Habs are actively looking to change the core of their team"

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Old
02-16-2007, 01:03 PM
  #76
coolguy21415
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One of our most marketable players right now is Bonk and/or Johnson. I wouldn't be against trading Bonk, and then trying to retain Johnson for another couple seasons.

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02-16-2007, 01:05 PM
  #77
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Originally Posted by RedScull View Post
One of our most marketable players right now is Bonk and/or Johnson. I wouldn't be against trading Bonk, and then trying to retain Johnson for another couple seasons.
Who do you think would be a buyer for Bonk?

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02-16-2007, 01:06 PM
  #78
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Originally Posted by RedScull View Post
One of our most marketable players right now is Bonk and/or Johnson. I wouldn't be against trading Bonk, and then trying to retain Johnson for another couple seasons.
If we move Bonk and he doesnt return he needs to be replaced by someone outside of the organization hes a huge part of our checking line and one of the only forwards who has lived up to his part of the bargan this season.

We might aswell trade everything if we are going to go that route.

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02-16-2007, 01:09 PM
  #79
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Originally Posted by MontrealHabs View Post
Guys, if we don't move Koivu off this team, we won't fix anything. He didn't do anything to save the three last coaches, which are now winning regularly with their respective teams. We always say our team lacks discipline, but what about the one who's supposed to show the example ? Koivu always lacked discipline, always took stupid and dump penalties at key times. He didn't started to do so this season. Where is the captain right now ? Where is the captain when we need him the most ? Did he say anything ? Did he do something on the ice ? We always blame Kovalev ( as matter of fact, he deserves it), but what about Koivu ? He's like theodore two years ago, he's a taboo. No journalists, no experts, no one is blaming him, which is sad because he's one of the reasons why the habs are always in that position if not the biggest reason. I am not saying that Koivu is a bad player, he's fast, has some skills, but he ain't suited for Captaincy. That is a fact, and the ones who aren't capable of admitting it are blinds... or maybe they don't want to touch the CH's taboo.

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02-16-2007, 01:11 PM
  #80
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Realistically we need another goaltender to back up Price in Hamilton next season. Danis, unless he becomes the backup next season (and thus we stick Halak back in Hamilton?), will be gone via UFA. Consensus seems to indicate that Halak is a better goaltender, and would probably be better suited to being the backup because a) he's younger, and b) he'll be cheaper.

I have a vague recollection of Plante from EHM, but I don't know anything about him, either.

edit: Tyler Plante was the next goalie off the board following Price (2nd round), and is currently projected to be a career backup. He wouldn't be a terrible goaltender to pair with Price.

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02-16-2007, 01:13 PM
  #81
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Originally Posted by RedScull View Post
Realistically we need another goaltender to back up Price in Hamilton next season. Danis, unless he becomes the backup next season (and thus we stick Halak back in Hamilton?), will be gone via UFA. Consensus seems to indicate that Halak is a better goaltender, and would probably be better suited to being the backup because a) he's younger, and b) he'll be cheaper.

I have a vague recollection of Plante from EHM, but I don't know anything about him, either.
Well Desjardins might be the one depending of his progession. Danis might be re-signed and might stay anyway. Who knows what's in store for Heino-Lindberg. As far as Lacasse is concerned, good luck to him in the ECHL.....

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02-16-2007, 01:16 PM
  #82
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Originally Posted by Evil Ted View Post
If we move Bonk and he doesnt return he needs to be replaced by someone outside of the organization hes a huge part of our checking line and one of the only forwards who has lived up to his part of the bargan this season.

We might aswell trade everything if we are going to go that route.
See I would propose replacing Bonk with Plekanec, and keeping Johnson. What makes you think that Bonk will re-sign this offseason, anyway? Someone else will be willing to offer him far more than he's actually worth.

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02-16-2007, 01:19 PM
  #83
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Originally Posted by Mike8 View Post
Who do you think would be a buyer for Bonk?
Well I would have said Nashville before they picked up Forsberg. Anaheim's a possibility, though I'm not sure whether he'd fit into their scheme well. Just about every team in the NW could use some depth at centre, except possibly Calgary. That's just looking at the West. Toronto could use him for sure. Atlanta, the Rangers.. There are a lot of teams who could use Bonk as a #2/3 centre and stick him on the PK.
If I were Montreal, I'd be looking to deal him to a 4-9th ranked team in either conference, and ask for a 2nd pick (and if they have to return a warm body, so be it).
Obviously Bonk isn't a marquis rental, but he's a solid depth player and can spearhead any team's PK. He's one of those players that a middle-tier playoff team would rent, because they don't want to give up the assets required to get a big name. It all depends on how this team is looking to move into the future.

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02-16-2007, 01:22 PM
  #84
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Originally Posted by NORiculous View Post
How is Lapierre staying as a sure thing?
I agree with the others but I have no idea what Bob will do with Koivu.
Because he is cheap

I can't believe how much money is spent on role players...
that's our problem, we start to like players like Bonk and Johnson because
they do well at what we ask themn to do, so we even feel like we have to resign them...

But Lapierre costs nothing... the fourth line should be filled with league's minimum since it's useless. The third line should not be filled with some ancient scorers (a la Bonk/Juneau/Sundstrom/Johnson) 'cause they still get their fair part of money...

Money should be spent on 30+ minutes defensemen + top first line + goaltender...

If there is still cap space, you can spend it on methadone...

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02-16-2007, 01:26 PM
  #85
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Team990 this morning.

Actively looking vs actually doing something are way different things. If we somehow miraculously win the next three games, we will be back to square 1 and somehow under the impression that the team is back.

I will be furious if that happens.
Yup preety much exactly what i hope doesn't happen as well just squeaking into the playoffs yet again.. Ive asked this question before and am yet to get an awnser when the last time a 7 or 8 th seed has won the cup? I'm guessing in the modern era it's probably zero.. Perennially finishes 7 -11th year after year really gets you no where really just spinning the tires whithout actually moving.

7th 8th seeds don't win cups cause the have to play playoff hockey
just to squeeze in perhaps this is a reason why they never win in the end. Or perhaps its cause 7 8th seeds are lacking overall depth, never getting to draft top end talent. The top 10 picks are usually alot safer then anything outside the top 10.

I mean if we did happen to have a Patrick Roy, Marty bordeur, or roberto Luongo in goal I'd say lets just get in the playoffs and we'll see what happenes. Sorry folks we don't have any off these guys, nor do i think we are at all. the only thing the playoff would do for montreal is give some of our young guys more playoff exp.. ad of course help the oraganizations bottom line financialy which shouldn't be a concern anyhow. since we sell out almost every game regardless of the kind of team on the ice.

I see another 4 years of 7-11th place if we stand pat or add a highpriced vet to the lineup. clearly its a sellers market and it's the pefect time to do this.

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02-16-2007, 01:30 PM
  #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MontrealHabs View Post
Guys, if we don't move Koivu off this team, we won't fix anything. He didn't do anything to save the three last coaches, which are now winning regularly with their respective teams. We always say our team lacks discipline, but what about the one who's supposed to show the example ? Koivu always lacked discipline, always took stupid and dump penalties at key times. He didn't started to do so this season. Where is the captain right now ? Where is the captain when we need him the most ? Did he say anything ? Did he do something on the ice ? We always blame Kovalev ( as matter of fact, he deserves it), but what about Koivu ? He's like theodore two years ago, he's a taboo. No journalists, no experts, no one is blaming him, which is sad because he's one of the reasons why the habs are always in that position if not the biggest reason. I am not saying that Koivu is a bad player, he's fast, has some skills, but he ain't suited for Captaincy. That is a fact, and the ones who aren't capable of admitting it are blinds... or maybe they don't want to touch the CH's taboo.
or it could mean that you have your own opinion and we have ours...

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02-16-2007, 01:30 PM
  #87
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Originally Posted by Reuben View Post
Yup preety much exactly what i hope doesn't happen as well just squeaking into the playoffs yet again.. Ive asked this question before and am yet to get an awnser when the last time a 7 or 8 th seed has won the cup? I'm guessing in the modern era it's probably zero.. Perennially finishes 7 -11th year after year really gets you no where really just spinning the tires whithout actually moving.

7th 8th seeds don't win cups cause the have to play playoff hockey
just to squeeze in perhaps this is a reason why they never win in the end. Or perhaps its cause 7 8th seeds are lacking overall depth, never getting to draft top end talent. The top 10 picks are usually alot safer then anything outside the top 10.

I mean if we did happen to have a Patrick Roy, Marty bordeur, or roberto Luongo in goal I'd say lets just get in the playoffs and we'll see what happenes. Sorry folks we don't have any off these guys, nor do i think we are at all. the only thing the playoff would do for montreal is give some of our young guys more playoff exp.. ad of course help the oraganizations bottom line financialy which shouldn't be a concern anyhow. since we sell out almost every game regardless of the kind of team on the ice.

I see another 4 years of 7-11th place if we stand pat or add a highpriced vet to the lineup. clearly its a sellers market and it's the pefect time to do this.
Last season was the first time any 8th seed had even made it to the Finals. No 7th or 8th seeds have ever won the Cup, no.

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02-16-2007, 01:33 PM
  #88
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The team's salary structure, as outlined by AymanD recently, is out of whack. There's no justifiable reason to be paying third-liners like Bonk and Johnson as much as they're making, nor paying depth defense (especially Niinimaa, who's acquisition and subsequently keeping him for the duration of the season was completely mind-boggling).
Really? I think this year's salary structure may look out of whack... but what do they do about next year's?

Bonk was envisioned as more of a second-liner, but that didn't pan out. Johnson is very useful -- maybe not 2 million useful, but he can be a borderline 2nd-liner. Niniimaa was a warm body Gainey acquired to fill a hole, with a vague chance of regaining is form... and also because of this next point: all these guys are UFA next year.

That will free up space to try again in the pursuit of quality free agents.

I also happen to think Montreal's D corps is not *nearly* as bad as people make it out to be at the moment, but maybe I'm just weird. Dandy and Bouillon are 5th and 6th on the depth chart, but they're better than most 5-6 defensemen. Montreal's defense-by-commitee approach makes spending more on these position more justifiable.

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subsequently keeping him for the duration of the season was completely mind-boggling).
There's no point in sending him on waivers and putting him in the farm until such time as his cap space is needed. If you're a hockey team with millions to spare, that is. 1

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Montreal could/should have pursued a higher-end talent to be the core
A bit of context. Montreal tried to land Elias, Shanahan, and possibly Arnott. They *have* pursued a higher-end talent, it simply did not work out.

They ended up with Samsonov, a good signing if he'd been able to keep his "20 goals easy" form. He was at the time arguably the best offensive forward still available. At 3.5 million he was seen as a supporting cast member, not so much a core player.

I don't think Gainey expected to be a contender this year. Competitive, yeah, but otherwise he's putting his pieces for longer-term. That 21-9 start skewed perceptions, I think.

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02-16-2007, 01:33 PM
  #89
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or it could mean that you have your own opinion and we have ours...
Yah, you have the right to you have your own opinion, but please give me some facts that support your point of view.

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02-16-2007, 01:33 PM
  #90
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There is no player in the league that is going to expect more money than Koivu just because "he's a bigger star." Koivu is one of the most respected players in the league.

There is alot of dead weight on this team that makes way too much money before looking at Koivu. Why the **** is Boullion still on this team making close to 2 mil? I would rather play Aebischer on defence. Boullion is ****ing terrible, causes more turnovers and 2-1 breaks than anyone I've ever seen in my life! Cote is cheaper and probably twice as effective.
Look at my post history on Bouillon, i've never advocated having him as a member of this team, even less resigning him in this past off season when we had the chance to go in another direction AND with his wonky knee. He made out like a bandit on that deal. Bouillon was fine when we were struggling to ice a competitive NHL team every night, but now? especially with Streit & Coté...made no sense then, makes even less sense now...

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02-16-2007, 01:43 PM
  #91
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Originally Posted by Mike8 View Post
I don't see how the core has failed. What's the core? Koivu, Markov, Kovalev? Anyone else?

Most would agree that Koivu and Markov are core-player worthy, and Kovalev a legitimately strong support-core player.

Kovalev and Koivu are each paid roughly market value. Markov's paid below market value.

So given the fact that Montreal has a small core as it is, and we could all agree that they are not spectacular relative to the other cores of the league (though still worthy of being part of the foundation of any franchise), why is it that such a small amount (roughly $10.5m) is being spent on the core?

Why is roughly $6.5m being spent on #5, #6, #8 defensemen? (Dandenault, Bouillon, Niinimaa respectively)

While we value what Johnson has provided, he's earning an awful lot for a mediocre offensive player who provides energy, but not much in the way of grit. Same goes for Bonk.

Samsonov was identified as a core player (according to his salary), but hasn't worked out for a variety of reasons, which means Montreal's added more support scoring when a core player was needed.


Look, my point is that Montreal's core is not bad, it's just small. Teams have two options:

1) Small, elite core, a la Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, et al.;

2) Larger core, filled with depth and talents that complement eachother, a la Nashville.


I don't believe Kariya or Sullivan are much ahead of Koivu, for example. Nor do I believe Timonen is much better than Markov. The difference is primarily that Nashville has a couple of more core players which allows a player like Hartnell and Radulov to thrive in a specific depth role, whereas Montreal relies on its Hartnell/Radulov equivalents (players like Plekanec, Higgins) to provide a bulk of the offense.

A primary difference is the blueline. Nashville's got a deep, puck-moving defense. Montreal's defense is a weakness in the puck moving department.

Take the example of Detroit: Zetterberg, Datsyuk are the only forwards that have exceptional talent in some way or another. Datsyuk is not an exceptional player on the whole ... he's streaky, soft, suspect defensively and suspect when the going gets rough. Zetterberg is phenomenal, in my view, and a legitimate star. But then Detroit has the likes of Samuelsson and Cleary playing on the second line there, so we can make a claim that Montreal's talent up front is greater than Detroit's.

So why is Detroit better than Montreal?

In part due to Zetterberg, as he's really that good and helps mold their team as a whole, but largely due to the defense. Lidstrom, Kronwall, Lebda, Chelios, D.Markov, Schneider. They can all skate. They can all move the puck. They're all solid, unspectacular defensively and they're efficient.

Montreal's only efficient defenseman is Markov and at times Dandenault. Komisarek's useful, but the rest are average at best in their own zone. Rivet, as much as I like him, is not a puck mover and not a sufficient threat in transition, which makes him an average defenseman. He's worthwhile due to his character, but when there are three defensemen (Komisarek, Rivet, Souray) who are not efficient and they're all offering the same characteristics (character, grit, physical presence), then there's a problem. (And yes, I realize Souray's got a cannon of a shot).


My point is that this core has not failed. Koivu, while he's struggled horribly of late, also played well above his head earlier in the year and played like one of the better Cs in the league for a stretch. He's balancing himself out right now. Kovalev's played below par for himself this year, but we can likely all agree that he's more of a support to a core player than a core player himself, ideally.

The overpayment of depth players, the lack of an additional core forward added into the mix, and the subpar puck movement on the blueline are true causes for this team's return to mediocrity, in my view.

I can't think of another team in the league that relies on 1.5 core forwards to lead a team to the playoffs. Especially if the blueline isn't exceptional.
Great post Mike8, and I do agree with you in part.

My issue is that with a guy like Koivu, being paid like a core player almost making 5mil/yr, can't really be a guy who strong for a portion of a season and weak the other portion, and in between for the other portion (breaking the season down into thrids for example) if Koivu makes almost 5mil/yr, the expectation IMO, or at least what management is telling me as a fan, is that Koivu is at least a PPG player. Can you honest live with the fact that Koivu makes 5mil/yr and won't even crack 65ptd this year? I know I have alot of trouble swallowing that. Doesn't make sense on any level. If Koivu is going to give you the production of a # 2 center, then he should be paid like one, not more because he's the captain and represents more to the Habs than anyother city, it almost looks like were paying a tax on Koivu's salary cause he's the captain and has been through so much during his career.

And if Kovalev is more of a support player to a core player, why is he being paid like a core player? All this doesn't matter now, but it puts into focus what the problem is with the Habs.

1. An underachieving/overpaid core
2. Overpaid depth players - Bouillon, Bonk, Johnson for example
3. subpar puck movement from the defense.

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02-16-2007, 01:52 PM
  #92
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Really? I think this year's salary structure may look out of whack... but what do they do about next year's?

Bonk was envisioned as more of a second-liner, but that didn't pan out. Johnson is very useful -- maybe not 2 million useful, but he can be a borderline 2nd-liner. Niniimaa was a warm body Gainey acquired to fill a hole, with a vague chance of regaining is form... and also because of this next point: all these guys are UFA next year.

That will free up space to try again in the pursuit of quality free agents.
Meanwhile Samsonov, Dandenault, Bouillon are still under (large) contract, and Higgins, Plekanec, Komisarek (cap-friendly players) are all deserving raises.


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I also happen to think Montreal's D corps is not *nearly* as bad as people make it out to be at the moment, but maybe I'm just weird. Dandy and Bouillon are 5th and 6th on the depth chart, but they're better than most 5-6 defensemen. Montreal's defense-by-commitee approach makes spending more on these position more justifiable.
On an individual basis, the D is pretty good. And definitely underrated around here. But consider the fact that the only good puck-moving defenseman on the team is Markov. Then consider the fact that when forechecked, the majority of the defense crumbles under pressure.

Having one of Souray, Komisarek, and Rivet makes sense. But having all three of them means the D has a few glaring weaknesses (struggles when forechecked by speedy forwards, and in transition).

While I like Bouillon, on a day-to-day basis he brings little more than an Oduya in NJ, or Lebda in Detroit, and a guy like Preissing in OTT is better than him while making a fraction of his salary.

While the defense may be by committee, Bouillon is still a #5 defenseman at best in the league. I like what he brings, but there are a lot of players out there that bring what he does at a fraction of the cost. There's no justifiable reason to pay him that much.


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There's no point in sending him on waivers and putting him in the farm until such time as his cap space is needed. If you're a hockey team with millions to spare, that is. 1
Except for the fact that the cap space is calculated on a day by day basis, which means Niinimaa's already taken up a substantial portion of the cap to warm the bench. Doesn't make sense on any level, in my opinion, and more or less wastes the fact that Streit's as versatile as he is.

If Streit's able to play D or forward, and he's playing forward well, why keep a 7th D on the team? Especially since when a D does get injured, Streit just converts to defense since he's better than Niinimaa. It doesn't make sense on any level...


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Originally Posted by MathMan View Post
A bit of context. Montreal tried to land Elias, Shanahan, and possibly Arnott. They *have* pursued a higher-end talent, it simply did not work out.

They ended up with Samsonov, a good signing if he'd been able to keep his "20 goals easy" form. He was at the time arguably the best offensive forward still available. At 3.5 million he was seen as a supporting cast member, not so much a core player.

I don't think Gainey expected to be a contender this year. Competitive, yeah, but otherwise he's putting his pieces for longer-term. That 21-9 start skewed perceptions, I think.
True enough, and my intention isn't to blame Gainey so much as to state that this team's core is not to blame. It's a handicapped core. To expect it to lead the team to a great year is wrong. Compare the Koivu, Markov, Kovalev core to any team in the playoffs right now and it doesn't match up. That's not a slight to these players, as they could be on any team's core group, but there needs to be another core player or two added into the mix in order for this to be a legitimate building foundation.

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02-16-2007, 01:55 PM
  #93
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His cap hit is not inhibiting anything. Look around the league and many teams have a 2nd line centre making that much. How many teams have a veteren 2nd line centre who happens to also be captain making less than 5 mil?

And then again with the captaincy argument, as if there are others players just begging for him to give it up so they can FINALLY open their mouthes! If Begin has something to say but he won't say it because he isn't captain, well he's not that good of a leader after all.
Souray?

Every year it's the same story. We start tanking and Koivu starts hiding, on and off the ice.

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02-16-2007, 01:56 PM
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Let get rid of Kovalev, Ryder, Rivet, Souray or Markov...we wanna keep one of them and possibly get rid of Koivu. In my eyes, those are all guys that should be stepping up and getting this team out of the slump they are in, but none of them are willing to do that so that means they don't care enough about the team. I'm getting sick of making the playoffs every year and then getting put out in the second round because Koivu didn't feel like playing or because he was hurt. We need to shake things up BIG TIME, so its time to start moving our highest paid players. They are getting paid the same as players who are scoring 80 points a season....but they are only putting up about 60....and at $4-5 million....that just doesn't cut it.

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02-16-2007, 01:56 PM
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Regardless of all this...I think we can all agree that when...

Koivu, Kovalev, Souray, Markov, Rivet, Huet

Play up to their capability (which they haven't been doing the last 2 months)

Then it brings up the play of ...

Higgins, Ryder, Plekanec, Samsonov, Perezhogin, Bonk, Johnson, Dandenault, Bouillon.

When the first group of players falters, and falters for a long stretch, than the second group of players are totally lost and lose any effectiveness.

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02-16-2007, 02:00 PM
  #96
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..1. Carbonneau, not calm and collected at all, he has made so many stupid decisions it's not even funny. JN on the fourth line is a joke, Obviously he is not motivating this team right now, nothing is going on, give him the axe, change it up a bit. The players need a wake up call and this might be it..
I agree with you 100% but Carbo learn from the best, Bob Gainey, and was groomed by him..... Where's Catch-22 to defend his boy!!!!!

But like you said, JN or Rivet or Dandy on the 4th is a farce. If Johnson is not there this weekend, the lineup will be worse than what we had during the Houle era.

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02-16-2007, 02:00 PM
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Because he is cheap

I can't believe how much money is spent on role players...
that's our problem, we start to like players like Bonk and Johnson because
they do well at what we ask themn to do, so we even feel like we have to resign them...

But Lapierre costs nothing... the fourth line should be filled with league's minimum since it's useless. The third line should not be filled with some ancient scorers (a la Bonk/Juneau/Sundstrom/Johnson) 'cause they still get their fair part of money...

Money should be spent on 30+ minutes defensemen + top first line + goaltender...

If there is still cap space, you can spend it on methadone...
I get your point but I don't get why Lapierre is a keeper for sure. If the "4th line should be filled with league's minimum since its useless" then Lapierre has no reason to be on a list of keepers since he has a useless role and we can find another useless player to fill in the holes if/when needed.

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02-16-2007, 02:01 PM
  #98
Stefan_Latulippe
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Originally Posted by AH View Post
Every year it's the same story. We start tanking and Koivu starts hiding, on and off the ice.
+1

Where's Saku? All we hear/read is from Souray. Where's the captain?

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02-16-2007, 02:04 PM
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I see alot of posts, certainly mine, look like their bashing Koivu...and I swear that's not my intention.

But the team was among the best in the East the first 40 games, while I didn't expect them to keep that up, I also didn't expect them to completely drop out of the playoff picture and be fighting with a team with an even more bleak future in the Leafs.

Someone has to take accountability for this, and in the past Presidents, GM's and coaches, assistant coaches have been held responsible, while certain members of the current edition of players have gotten off scott free...

I'd much rather Koivu step up and play like the kind of player he can be, and that's not necessarily a rah-rah type of leader like Souray is for example, but at least set an example on the ice of what's expected...don't go out and repeatedly cause penalties of laziness, you're the captain Saku and our best player...you've got to show it every night, if not in production at least in effort, commitment and passion...3 things that have lacked in Koivu's game the past 2 months, and i'm not used to seeing that in his game

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02-16-2007, 02:04 PM
  #100
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Originally Posted by Mike8 View Post
I don't see how the core has failed. What's the core? Koivu, Markov, Kovalev? Anyone else?

Most would agree that Koivu and Markov are core-player worthy, and Kovalev a legitimately strong support-core player.

Kovalev and Koivu are each paid roughly market value. Markov's paid below market value.

So given the fact that Montreal has a small core as it is, and we could all agree that they are not spectacular relative to the other cores of the league (though still worthy of being part of the foundation of any franchise), why is it that such a small amount (roughly $10.5m) is being spent on the core?

Why is roughly $6.5m being spent on #5, #6, #8 defensemen? (Dandenault, Bouillon, Niinimaa respectively)

While we value what Johnson has provided, he's earning an awful lot for a mediocre offensive player who provides energy, but not much in the way of grit. Same goes for Bonk.

Samsonov was identified as a core player (according to his salary), but hasn't worked out for a variety of reasons, which means Montreal's added more support scoring when a core player was needed.


Look, my point is that Montreal's core is not bad, it's just small. Teams have two options:

1) Small, elite core, a la Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, et al.;

2) Larger core, filled with depth and talents that complement eachother, a la Nashville.


I don't believe Kariya or Sullivan are much ahead of Koivu, for example. Nor do I believe Timonen is much better than Markov. The difference is primarily that Nashville has a couple of more core players which allows a player like Hartnell and Radulov to thrive in a specific depth role, whereas Montreal relies on its Hartnell/Radulov equivalents (players like Plekanec, Higgins) to provide a bulk of the offense.

A primary difference is the blueline. Nashville's got a deep, puck-moving defense. Montreal's defense is a weakness in the puck moving department.

Take the example of Detroit: Zetterberg, Datsyuk are the only forwards that have exceptional talent in some way or another. Datsyuk is not an exceptional player on the whole ... he's streaky, soft, suspect defensively and suspect when the going gets rough. Zetterberg is phenomenal, in my view, and a legitimate star. But then Detroit has the likes of Samuelsson and Cleary playing on the second line there, so we can make a claim that Montreal's talent up front is greater than Detroit's.

So why is Detroit better than Montreal?

In part due to Zetterberg, as he's really that good and helps mold their team as a whole, but largely due to the defense. Lidstrom, Kronwall, Lebda, Chelios, D.Markov, Schneider. They can all skate. They can all move the puck. They're all solid, unspectacular defensively and they're efficient.

Montreal's only efficient defenseman is Markov and at times Dandenault. Komisarek's useful, but the rest are average at best in their own zone. Rivet, as much as I like him, is not a puck mover and not a sufficient threat in transition, which makes him an average defenseman. He's worthwhile due to his character, but when there are three defensemen (Komisarek, Rivet, Souray) who are not efficient and they're all offering the same characteristics (character, grit, physical presence), then there's a problem. (And yes, I realize Souray's got a cannon of a shot).


My point is that this core has not failed. Koivu, while he's struggled horribly of late, also played well above his head earlier in the year and played like one of the better Cs in the league for a stretch. He's balancing himself out right now. Kovalev's played below par for himself this year, but we can likely all agree that he's more of a support to a core player than a core player himself, ideally.

The overpayment of depth players, the lack of an additional core forward added into the mix, and the subpar puck movement on the blueline are true causes for this team's return to mediocrity, in my view.

I can't think of another team in the league that relies on 1.5 core forwards to lead a team to the playoffs. Especially if the blueline isn't exceptional.
Great post as usual and finally some sanity on these boards.

Like I said before, when we were on fire, all our top guns were carrying the load without much support from anybody else. When our top guns started to tail off, nobdy picked up the slack except Plekanec. Worst of all is that none of our goalies have stolen us a game during this whole time; sometimes that's all you need to get the ball rolling.

I see alot of people *****ing about Koivu, saying how it's all his fault, he's overpaid and underacheiving. That we need to start in a new direction. As a Habs fan I shake my head because that's just ******** and everyone knows it. This guy was one of the best centers in the league until january; he just ran out of steam. Our team doesn't even one line this year ES, it was Koivu, Higgins and then kind of Kovalev. Everything else was our PP, PK and the goalies playing like walls. Eventually teams figured that out and just shutdown Koivu, played a more disciplined game and we stopped winning. Our breakout/transition has be also one of the worse in the league as mentionned; when you spend 3/4 of your shift defending against cycling in the defensive and zone and then just have enough breath to dump in, you're not gonna get many points.

As a devoted Koivu fan I laugh and kind of wish he was traded just like last year a part of me hoped for him to leave for UFA. This is guy's salary is market value, half the teams in the league would jump on this guy the moment he was available. He brings PPG (give him actual team, I garantee you at least that), solid two-way play, good faceoff skills, grit and yes leadership. He's one of the respected players through the league and was named to the IOC comittee for Athletes.

Our core is just too small and without enough support. The bad contracts taken on by Gainey don't help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8 View Post
Koivu's worth roughly the amount he's earning on the open market. Look, Arnott makes close to what Koivu does, and Arnott's not in Koivu's league. Satan does, too. Kovalev too.

While Koivu is expensive, he's worth that much. The open market has indicated as much. Koivu's not the problem here. The team's salary structure, as outlined by AymanD recently, is out of whack. There's no justifiable reason to be paying third-liners like Bonk and Johnson as much as they're making, nor paying depth defense (especially Niinimaa, who's acquisition and subsequently keeping him for the duration of the season was completely mind-boggling).

Cheap, cap-friendly contracts like Higgins, Komisarek, Plekanec, Perezhogin are not being put to good use. While these good players are cheap, Montreal could/should have pursued a higher-end talent to be the core, let Higgins be a support forward to Koivu + elite winger, rather than expected to be the catalyst of the line. Let Ryder work on a lower line where he can play a complementary role with his shot + a weapon on the PP, rather than being given big minutes and expected to produce as a big-time forward ... when really, he's just a guy that works hard and has a good enough shot to notch 25 goals, hopefully.

Instead the cap-friendly contracts have been used to give more money to depth players and identifying non-core players like Samsonov as being potential huge contributors. While I didn't mind the Samsonov signing, I don't understand why he was used the way he was, and I don't think it addressed Montreal's need of a core player up front. I don't think Gainey truly believed it did either, which is why it was more of a test-the-waters contract (2-year deal, salary not appropriate for a core player).

It's not the core that failed here. I like Gainey. I have a lot of respect for the man. But the core wasn't large enough to succeed, and the depth has not proven to be as good as their salaries would indicate.

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