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Division Rivals - Who is our biggest competition this year?

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Old
10-14-2005, 11:21 AM
  #26
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Originally Posted by 417 TO MTL
I don't believe that for a second...IMO...Habs have the best goalie in the division, Theodore isn't playing up to his standards right now, but he's the player on the Habs that I worry about the less...neither should Habs fans....

Sens aren't clear cup favorites for this year to my eyes, i've heard the same Stanley Cup champion speech since the 98-99 season, and i've held my stance every since. Nothing against Sens fans, but I honestly think your chances of winning the Cup were greater in previous years, then this one (yeah go ahead flame me, I don't care, my track record in saying this is impeccable).

Yes Spezza is playing great, he's wicked, i'll be the 1st to admit that, that trade for Chara and what turned out to be Spezza will turn out to be, if it isn't already, one of the biggest steals in sports history (in terms of trades) I just dont see Jason Spezza, at this point of his career, as my #1 center for my Stanley Cup winning team, I simply don't. Down the road is another story, the way some of the younger players are looking on this team, I don't think a Cup win is too far off (although the habs might have something to say about this )
The way I see it, Bob Gainey wouldve been the perfect GM for the Sens. But as much as I hate Mucklers ways, theres no denying the team they had. They lack one single ingredient and thats playoff performance. They dont have money players and thats where I also wouldnt take Spezza as my number 1, the performances in the WJC and minors is not something I want from my franchise center. As much as fans around the league dont like how Habs fans love Koivu, the guy is money.
You gotta give Hasek his due though, right now, he's been great for the Sens and if they give him about 50 games this year, he'll be in top shape for the playoffs. As a Habs fan, you should know how much this guy has helped destroy our franchise over the years. He was the guy I hated the most growing up. He was simply too good a player. I personnally dont like to put too much stock in past lack of success, I think its important but when you see a team like Detroit who had problems getting to the next level win 3 cups in the matter of a few years, its easy to understand my optimism regarding the Sens. The only ingredient I see lacking on this team is a Saku Koivu type in the middle.

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10-14-2005, 11:21 AM
  #27
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Originally Posted by 417 TO MTL
Funny, I think the departure of Jacques Martin was inevitable, but I think naming Bryan Murray as his replacement was a step back, if coaching was an issue before, it'll be even more now...just my opinion, i'm not sold on Murray at all...
Maybe but he is not Jacques Martin and that is the point.

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10-14-2005, 11:28 AM
  #28
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Originally Posted by 417 TO MTL
Nothing against Sens fans, but I honestly think your chances of winning the Cup were greater in previous years, then this one

I just dont see Jason Spezza, at this point of his career, as my #1 center for my Stanley Cup winning team,

Funny, I think the departure of Jacques Martin was inevitable, but I think naming Bryan Murray as his replacement was a step back, if coaching was an issue before, it'll be even more now...just my opinion, i'm not sold on Murray at all...
Spezza would have problems in the playoffs, just like Havlat had problems adjusting to the playoffs and Hossa did as well. If this was 03-04.
What are the playoffs even going to look like this season? It certainly won't be WWE-style playoffs like most of us have gotten used to. If the refs call penalties, the value of skill increases drastically.

Bryan Murray? ... Sometimes I think he was just hired because he coached successfully throughout the 1980's. Since we seem to be returning to that style of play, that might just make him useful.

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10-14-2005, 11:32 AM
  #29
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Originally Posted by 417 TO MTL
When I look at the Sens, I see a great team, but there's still something I can't quite put my finger on, that stops me from calling them real Stanley Cup contenders, and i've felt this way for the last 5 or 6 years (and suffered at the hands of friends and co workers as a result, only to turn the tables after playoff disapointments).
I think success breeds success, and other than the occasional Memorial Cup, Ottawa hasn't really won anything in any sport for 25-30 years. The last time our football team had a winning record was in the 70's. It's hard for a team to develop a culture of success. That's why I'm happy with Muckler and the changes he's made. High expectations and an iron will should take us a long way.
Quote:
I don't think the Sens are any better then they were 2 years ago, while Montreal and Boston have gotten better and closed the gap.
Disagree. Goaltending is better. Defense is more mature and offense is about the same but less evenly distributed (yay!). I think the difference will show in the playoffs.
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I hope you all don't think the purpose of my post was to troll, or speak ill of the Sens, it's really not my intention, its my honest opinion of your team, of course, if i'm wrong, i'll be the 1st to admit that.
You expressed yourself well. You came across as an intelligent and passionate fan. Your team is respectable and on the upswing, which helps too.

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10-14-2005, 11:33 AM
  #30
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Originally Posted by 417 TO MTL
Everyone talks about the Habs lack of size, but let's compare forwards between the Habs and Sens, I think they're pretty equal, and the Habs might actually be bigger up front The Habs can definately skate with the Sens, as I previously mentionned, the big difference is on defense. No one in the division, much less the league, can match up with your top 5 IMO (Not even those overrated Flames )
When I talk about the Habs lack in size, I'm not comparing them with our forwards, but with our defence. To me it was noticeable in our previous meeting this year, whether it continues to be a big factor or not remains to be seen. Montreal forwards can't skate through our defence, they have to skate around them. Sometimes it works, and they score (as in both goals Montreal scored), but other times they just spin their wheels very fast without any quality scoring opportunities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 417 TO MTL
When I look at the Sens, I see a great team, but there's still something I can't quite put my finger on, that stops me from calling them real Stanley Cup contenders, and i've felt this way for the last 5 or 6 years (and suffered at the hands of friends and co workers as a result, only to turn the tables after playoff disapointments).
Most people identify it as the lack of proven veterans and particularly Stanley Cup veterans on the team. Even this incarnation of the Sens is young. Everyone except for Alfredsson, Hasek and Smolinski is pretty much under 30. The Sens have always been a young team. Our top 6 forwards have 1 forward over 30 and our defence has no one over 30.

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Originally Posted by 417 TO MTL
Don't get me wrong Sens fans, if I were forced to pick a winner for the division, I would bet the Sens no doubt, but it's not nearly as clear as all fans, media and Don Cherry make it seem, I don't think the Sens are any better then they were 2 years ago, while Montreal and Boston have gotten better and closed the gap.
Well, I think the Sens ARE better, because I think experience is valuable and our young core of players are starting to accumulate it. Experience leads to remaining calm when behind, working hard at both ends of the ice, and coming up in clutch situations. Unfortunately, while Havlat, Redden, Chara, Alfie and Phillips get older, we have the massively skilled but unexperienced Spezza, Heatley, Mezsaros and Volchenkov coming in. So our maturity is tempered somewhat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 417 TO MTL
I'm just sick of fans and media, trying to shove down my throat the dream of the Sens or Flyers winning the cup every year to only find out they just don't have that 'something' to actually do it. The real SC contenders are the SC defenders, Tampa Bay Lightning, anyone who tries to tell me different is just talking out their *** IMO...Sens are going to have to fight through it all just like all the other teams, this "plan your Stanley Cup parade on Bank st." talk from the media, is just another false sense of security for Sens fans (again), it's not going to be easy, and talking to alot of Sens fans, it just sounds like they think it will be.
I think the media in Ottawa and the fans in Ottawa are pretty restrained considering the quality of players in their lineup. We've been favorites before. We've racked up 113 points in a regular season, and still lost. National media icons and Leafs broadcasters pick the Sens, sure. But that's all tongue in cheek, in my humble opinion. They want to build us up high just to see us fall far.

We've never had a centre with offensive skill since Alexei Yashin. We've never had a sniper like Heatley before.

What we had were players who were actually very similar in style, who did not complement each other as well as what I've seen so far this season. Hossa, Havlat and Alfie are skaters, who use their speed to their advantage. They skate all over the ice, they beat their opponents with that aspect of their game. Spezza and Heatley have brought positioning as an element into our offensive game. Neither of them are faster than Hossa or Yashin, but they know where to go, they don't skate up and down the ice in parallel lines, and they can go to the net when required.

The kinds of goals we've scored this year is much more exciting than the number. Guys screening the goalie, guys getting rebounds. These aren't the kinds of goals we scored before, and those are the kinds of goals you need in the playoffs.

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10-14-2005, 11:35 AM
  #31
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Originally Posted by cup2006sensrule
I am going to the game tomorrow. I hope it is a good one, I am excited to see how the Bruins play us.
Same here will be wearing my #19 Thornton jersey.......just like all the other bruins fans that will attend

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10-14-2005, 11:36 AM
  #32
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Originally Posted by 417 TO MTL
Funny, I think the departure of Jacques Martin was inevitable, but I think naming Bryan Murray as his replacement was a step back, if coaching was an issue before, it'll be even more now...just my opinion, i'm not sold on Murray at all...
Jacques Martin was unable to adapt his coaching strategies or game plans.

He had taught the players all he could, and the team was ultimately unsuccessful.

In his short tenure so far, Murray has:
-called out certain players for selfish play
-emphasized the need for our big players to defend our small players
-emphasized the need to go to the net and pay the price if necessary
-emphasized the need for offense, and to always look for another goal, rather than rest on your lead

By the end of Jacques Martin's tenure, our game plan was so fixed that we literally COULDN'T win a game unless we were leading going into the 3rd. If we didn't score the first goal, we were pretty much going to lose the game. In the 2003-2004 season, the FIRST time we ever came back in the 3rd period occurred in Game 6 of the 1st round of the playoffs. 1 comeback in 89 games.

Time for Martin to go.


Last edited by NyQuil: 10-14-2005 at 11:46 AM.
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10-14-2005, 11:37 AM
  #33
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Montreal will be the best competition you will have this year in the North division.

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Old
10-14-2005, 11:39 AM
  #34
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Originally Posted by NyQuil

The kinds of goals we've scored this year is much more exciting than the number. Guys screening the goalie, guys getting rebounds. These aren't the kinds of goals we scored before, and those are the kinds of goals you need in the playoffs.

I had to put an emphassis on this. Up until 2003-2004, I found it was the complete contrary for the Habs. We had so little talent the only type of goals we're those kind. Now, I think that just like the Sens, our forwards are very balanced. The only thing missing is a guy who can take punishment in front of the net. Although I think Zednik is perfect for that role.

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10-14-2005, 11:41 AM
  #35
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The only thing missing is a guy who can take punishment in front of the net. Although I think Zednik is perfect for that role.
I've always liked Zednik and saw him as a kind of pseudo-power forward. I've felt he's been underrated for awhile now.

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10-14-2005, 11:45 AM
  #36
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What's funny about Spezza is that I look at a player like Lecavalier whose mental toughness and prima donna attitude were constantly called into question until 1 single playoff run which resulted in that label being completely stripped away and a huge contract being given to him.

All it takes is one good playoff and that reputation is gone forever.

Spezza did not come through in the AHL playoffs, but I'll hold my opinion until I see him in the real thing. It IS possible for a player with relatively little playoff experience to come up big in the post-season. Just look at Vinnie.


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10-14-2005, 11:53 AM
  #37
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Originally Posted by NyQuil
What's funny about Spezza is that I look at a player like Lecavalier whose mental toughness and prima donna attitude were constantly called into question until 1 single playoff run which resulted in that label being completely stripped away and a huge contract being given to him.

All it takes is one good playoff and that reputation is gone forever.

Spezza did not come through in the AHL playoffs, but I'll hold my opinion until I see him in the real thing. It IS possible for a player with relatively little playoff experience to come up big in the post-season. Just like at Vinnie.
Very good point, which is why I said I dont like to put too much stuck in past lack of sucess, it doesnt take much to change a whole persona. However, its disconcerting IMO to know that not only Spezza has not performed in the AHL playoffs, but he's actually never performed when it counted. Players who perform like Alfredsson have got to be the norm on the Sens. I look at your roster and the only guys (outside the defense) I'd take for a playoff run are Fisher, Alfredsson (and Hasek). On the Habs, who are not a powerhouse like the Sens by any means, theres Koivu, Kovalev, Zednik and Begin. thats not counting guys like Higgins and Ryder who havent gotten a real chance to perform but have always stepped up before. Guys like Heatley and Spezza will need to play a notch higher then they have in the regular season.

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10-14-2005, 11:58 AM
  #38
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I've seen Heatley play at an absurd level back in the 2004 World Championships, where he was the MVP. He singlehandedly led the team to gold, scoring 2 GWG winning goals in the playoffs (one in OT) and changing the momentum in the final with another.

What's important to note is that this occurred AFTER his accident.

He hasn't yet had the opportunity to play in the NHL playoffs but I have a feeling he'll be up to the challenge. Spezza is definitely a bit more of a skill player and the playoffs tend to be more tight checking, but seeing him block a shot in the closing minutes of the game against Montreal gave me a nice fuzzy feeling inside.

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10-14-2005, 11:59 AM
  #39
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Originally Posted by NyQuil
I've seen Heatley play at an absurd level back in the 2004 World Championships, where he was the MVP. He singlehandedly led the team to gold, scoring 2 GWG winning goals in the playoffs (one in OT) and changing the momentum in the final with another.

What's important to note is that this occurred AFTER his accident.

He hasn't yet had the opportunity to play in the NHL playoffs but I have a feeling he'll be up to the challenge. Spezza is definitely a bit more of a skill player and the playoffs tend to be more tight checking, but seeing him block a shot in the closing minutes of the game against Montreal gave me a nice fuzzy feeling inside.
I have a feeling this season will be amazing .

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10-14-2005, 12:02 PM
  #40
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Originally Posted by Habsaku
I have a feeling this season will be amazing .
Me too Just happy to have hockey to watch, and highlights to follow every night.

Considering a dozen or more teams probably think they have a legitimate shot at the Cup, and 26 or even 28 think they can make the playoffs, there are going to be a lot of disappointed people after it's all said and done.

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10-14-2005, 12:19 PM
  #41
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Personally, I feel the Bruins will be the main rival, followed closely by Toronto and Montreal, and probably not that far back, Buffalo. It's the toughest division in hockey as far as I can tell.

Toronto will most likely be the focus though in terms of whether we will match up against them in post-season (for obvious reasons). I for one, would like to face the Leafs again in the playoffs, because as dangerous as they are, if the Sens took them out, it would not only excercise a long-lasting demon, but propel the team in giving them the best chance of hoisting Lord Stanley. The idea of losing to the Leafs is or course the most painful possible scenario, so many fans privately fear this.

The Bruins though have the most depth at forward, and with the return of Boynton, a very solid D. Assuming the goaltending holds up, they will be on the best teams in hockey IMO.

The Habs though have the potential to emerge in the same light when you combine the new rules and the fact they really do have a bit more firepower up front with Kovalev.

But I really don't think the best teams will emerge until the 20-30 game mark. Everyone is still figuring out what the new league is all about, with several new rules and how those rules are being called.

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10-14-2005, 12:22 PM
  #42
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I don't know about fair test tomorrow...

Absence of #1 and #2 centers (Thornton and Zhamnov), second game coming from the injury of the center #3 (Scatchard), and probable absence of Boynton... Well I am not trying to make excuses , but that that's alot of ???? when playing against the top team in the NHL.

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10-14-2005, 12:23 PM
  #43
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Originally Posted by BruinsGirl
I don't know about fair test tomorrow...

Absence of #1 and #2 centers (Thornton and Zhamnov), second game coming from the injury of the center #3, and probable absence of Boynton... Well I am not trying to make excuses , but that that's alot of ???? when playing against the top team in the NHL.
It's not an excuse yet, it's just a fact.

We played the Leafs without Sundin one game and O'Neill another, we played a tired Buffalo team. Still early in the season to make rash judgments.

You guys still beat Florida pretty handily, and Bergeron is looking good.

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10-14-2005, 12:31 PM
  #44
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You guys still beat Florida pretty handily, and Bergeron is looking good.
Thank you.. I was preparing myself for the worst...

I was watching all Sens games (except against Montreal, we didn't get it on CI ) and Hasek looks like old himself!

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10-14-2005, 12:36 PM
  #45
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The Bruins though have the most depth at forward, and with the return of Boynton, a very solid D.
I'm curious Nick, do you consider the Bruins to have a better defensive core than the Leafs ?

It's not something you've said, but it seems that the Leafs are getting a lot of slack in this thread for their defense but the Canadiens/Bruins get a pass in that regard.

Even with Boynton back, their top four is Leetch, Boynton, Slegr, Gill. With Moran and one of Dallman/Alberts as the bottom pairing.

I know I'm a Leaf fan but there is no way I would take that top four over McCabe, Kaberle, Klee, Khavanov/Berg.

Comparing the Leafs' defense with Montreal's and it's a similar situation.

As for the title of the thread - I'd say Boston would be the biggest competition, followed closely by the Leafs and the Canadiens.

As a Leaf fan, I'm not overtly convince that 4 games is a big enough sample set to answer the questions that will plague this team until (well perhaps forever) well into the post season (assuming they qualify). The questions are the health of the two new additions (Allison, Lindros) and their ability to play at a level comparable to their successes in the past.

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10-14-2005, 12:40 PM
  #46
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Originally Posted by BlueAndWhite
It's not something you've said, but it seems that the Leafs are getting a lot of slack in this thread for their defense but the Canadiens/Bruins get a pass in that regard.
I seem to recall saying something like:

Boston:
-I think our forwards will match-up well against their defence


Montreal's defence may be a problem but they do have good backchecking forwards to help them out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueAndWhite
As a Leaf fan, I'm not overtly convince that 4 games is a big enough sample set to answer the questions that will plague this team until (well perhaps forever) well into the post season (assuming they qualify). The questions are the health of the two new additions (Allison, Lindros) and their ability to play at a level comparable to their successes in the past.
The whole idea of the thread is a bit silly since a player can slump for 10 games and it's no big deal in the grand scheme on things, and here we are analyzing minutae after 4 or 5 games. Still, it passes the time

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10-14-2005, 12:49 PM
  #47
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Simply put, this division is crazy and there will be one or two teams sorely disappointed at the end of the year when they don't make the playoffs. And that will undoubtedly come due to the extra slate of games they have to play against each other. I felt that Buffalo was going to surprise some people before the season started and they have lived up to that so far...Miller could make the difference this year, with the help of Vanek.

I wonder if the shootout rule may benefit a strong division such as this, especially considering that the goaltending is strong for all teams. If they play a lot of close games against each other, with the shootout you'll end up having a lot of 3 point games. Those extra points could theoretically push a team like Florida or Atlanta out. Of course it can work both ways as well

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10-14-2005, 12:50 PM
  #48
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Originally Posted by NyQuil

Montreal's defence may be a problem but they do have good backchecking forwards to help them out.

The whole idea of the thread is a bit silly since a player can slump for 10 games and it's no big deal in the grand scheme on things, and here we are analyzing minutae after 4 or 5 games. Still, it passes the time
At the end, it's the defenseman that count and I simply don't see how Montreal/Boston is any better (in fact I believe they are worse IMO) than Toronto.

It's only been 4 games ?? Maybe I should cancel that Wellwood jersey I ordered.

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10-14-2005, 12:54 PM
  #49
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At the end, it's the defenseman that count and I simply don't see how Montreal/Boston is any better (in fact I believe they are worse IMO) than Toronto.
Klee isn't that solid a #3 so far (albeit, coming off injury) and Khavanov isn't particularly reliable yet either. Berg and Belak are the current laughing stocks of the league.

Toronto relies a LOT on their top pairing which is probably better than the other two teams. But I'd say Boston and Montreal both have more depth at D.

So far Kaberle is the MVP of Toronto's season. Can he play 30 + minutes a game over 82 games?

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10-14-2005, 12:56 PM
  #50
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Originally Posted by BlueAndWhite
At the end, it's the defenseman that count and I simply don't see how Montreal/Boston is any better (in fact I believe they are worse IMO) than Toronto.

It's only been 4 games ?? Maybe I should cancel that Wellwood jersey I ordered.
As a Habs fan I dont see how Toronto is any better, the top 4 is very comparable but the bottom defensemen are clearly in Montreals favor IMO. Berg and Belak is the worst duo in the division and I'd take Bouillon-Komisarek any time over it. Dandenault, Bouillon, Komisarek, Rivet, Markov, Souray

Khavanov, McCabe, Kaberle, Berg, Belak, Klee

Only biased leaf or habs fans can say there is a clear winner IMO. The Habs play a more sound defensive game if you ask me and the last time around we had a very good defensive core, I feel we improved this year. Once Souray gets into 2nd gear we'll have no problems there, we really havent had big problems yet.

EDIT: I'll give a biased opinion on it, but you gotta take into consideration I see 80 Habs games per year while I might see about 10 leaf games.

Our top pairing is Markov-Rivet. Markov had what I thought was gonna be his breakout year in 2002-2003. He was solid, at times incredible.He took a step back though due to personnal reasons(his father). But this year, he has been an all-star up to now, hes been a clear number1. Rivet has been solid, nothing bad to be said, he's shown the most heart in the backside and the new rules seem to benifit him a lot. I havent seen him play like that since his jaw injury.
Souray-Dandenault, probably our weakest line up to now. Dandenault plays like a vet, he's calm and he skates well. He does his job wish is good coverage and first passes but he's a 4th/5th/6th guy, not skilled enough for the top line, but good enough for the 2nd. Souray though has been disapointing, but once he adjusts, he'll be a rock as always. He already started making big hits.
Bouillon-Komisarek, Bouillon has been our 2nd best defender, he is probably the most underrated defencemen in the division with Kalinin. He skates real fast, makes a good first past, plays with passion, hits real hard and knows where to be. Komisarek can be strong at times but he still lacks positionning. He's still good for a 6th guy.

On the leafs, Kaberle is a good, verrrry good blue liner. Just like Markov, he has been your number 1, solid in most facets. McCabe I'm not a fan at all but I have to give him his due. Like Souray he's adjusting, with that in consideration, he can hit, he can pass and he can score. I'm surprised though at the mental lapses he can have in his zone. Him and Souray are very similar hockey players, the only difference I see is I think McCabes a dumbass, ever since he's been in the league while Sourays a class act. I just plain dont like the guy, but I'd love to have him on my team. Khavanov is like Dandenault, nothing special but he does the job you want from a number 4/5/6. Klee is very much like Rivet in that he's effective in what he's supposed to do, give middle pairing minutes and not hurt the team, in fact, hes a good one. Its the bottom pairing thats absolutly brutal, and I do mean absolutly brutal. Berg and Belak for Habs fans is like Traverse and Brisebois but with half the talent. No one that boasts those two can ever say they have a superior defense, they can only say they have an equal or comparable one.


Last edited by Habsaku: 10-14-2005 at 01:11 PM.
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