HFBoards

Go Back   HFBoards > NHL Eastern Conference > Atlantic Division > Montreal Canadiens
Mobile Hockey's Future Become a Sponsor Site Rules Support Forum vBookie Page 2
Notices

Nagging Concerns

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old
12-03-2006, 03:48 PM
  #1
Mike8
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 11,123
vCash: 500
Nagging Concerns

I have a few ongoing concerns with this Montreal club, most of which are minor, but aren't being rectified. This is sort of a rant thread. Concerns are as follows:

(1) First and foremost, the breakout scheme. The players are far too cautious and passive with the puck in their own end. If they're not being passive, then they're panicking. It drives me nuts how often these defensemen go D to D, or reverse the flow along the boards. The result is that Montreal winds up hemmed in their own zone for shifts at a time because there is no proper breakout scheme.

For awhile, this had been rectified. Players were just keeping the puck ahead of themselves, chipping it forward and bulldozing the puck until they have a clear passing lane to launch a quick transition up the ice.

These days the defense goes D to D at least once and occasionally up to three times which results in the forwards having to slow down, curl back, etcetera. It slows down the game which is incredibly counter-productive for a team based on speed up front.

There is no justifiable reason to go D to D so often. Other than slowing down the game for the quick Montreal forwards, it enables the opponents to get into position and set up their neutral zone positioning & forecheck to their liking.

So not only does it serve as a detriment to Montreal's own asset (speed), but it caters to the opponents' game-plan.

This is a primary difference between Montreal and Buffalo right now. Buffalo's D is, in my view, subpar in many respects, but they all move the puck and skate with the puck. Some of them aren't even great puck movers but they skate up the ice with the puck then make a quick 2-3 foot pass to a streaking forward who can then carry it up the ice. Every defenseman on Montreal can move with the puck. It drives me nuts to see a player like Komisarek sit with the puck at his goal line, trying to decide who to pass it to, only to make a long-bomb pass that misses everyone and results in an icing (which happened last night, and is not an infrequent occurrance).

Komisarek needs to just start moving with the puck. It's simple: moving forward with the puck opens passing lanes and closes the gap between defenseman and forwards.


I think this is the single largest problem this club is having and is the reason why the team is being outplayed recently. This inability to move the puck forward is resulting in long shifts spent entirely in Montreal's own zone, racking up the shot-count for the opposition.

The defensive zone coverage is actually solid to good, but it's this inability to move the puck & deal with the forecheck that's killing it. Teams don't respect Montreal, Markov aside, for their puck movement, which is why teams intentionally send in an aggressive forecheck--even if they're normally passive clubs.



2) That serves as a good segue to my next point: the forecheck. This 1-2-2 stuff needs to be used against teams that move the puck well, but not as a general rule. Against Philly on Saturday it was mind-boggling, to me, to see the team lining up in a 1-2-2. This is a skating team, by having the forwards line up in a 1-2-2, it slows the game down to a crawl, thus catering to opponents like Philly who are not fleet of foot.

Use a two-man aggressive forecheck and it pays off against teams like Philly, Toronto, et al. Does anyone remember Montreal's series against Carolina last season? Montreal had tremendous puck-possession through the first 2.5 games of that series. Why? Because the puck-pursuit was aggressive! On Carolina's breakout, there were two, sometimes three forecheckers getting into the passing lanes, aggressively pursuing the Carolina puck-carrier and forcing frequent turnovers.

This is a skilled, quick club that can force turnovers and generate offensive lines 1 through 3. There's really no reason why this shouldn't be utilized.

Samsonov, for example, is a very intelligent player who thrives in open ice. We've seen him come out of nowhere and intercept passes several times thus far. Have him do that. What's the point in having Samsonov sit up on the boards in the neutral zone in a 1-2-2? The guy can't play along the boards. Have him forecheck aggressively and play the part of the pesky waterbug.

Same deal for Perezhogin. He's good along the boards, but his best asset is his closing speed and ability to read the play. Let him use that. Johnson would also be excellent in this regard. Let 'em loose!



3) Once again, a good segue from Samsonov in #2 to this one. I was prepared to give Samsonov a good solid chance. I still believe he's a good solid player. I understand why Gainey signed him: he's a quick forward, a proven offensive producer, not too expensive and he does give an honest effort. But he needs some hands-on coaching. He's stagnated and regressed. Samsonov's game is such a perimeter game at this point that he's rendered himself entirely ineffective.

I'm certain this isn't news to any of you, but to those of you who then conclude that he was a bad player to sign, or that he's no longer worthwhile as a scoring player, I would say that with some tweaking he'll be good to go.

Firstly, one reason Samsonov is struggling so mightily is that he needs to understand that board-battles are key to success. While he looks small on the ice, this is no excuse to lose battles; the fact of the matter is, Samsonov's low center of gravity and craftiness with the puck should mean that he wins more than he loses along the boards. Tenacity isn't missing from his game. He just needs to understand the importance of winning these battles, because he's losing his vast majority at this point. Plekanec's not a whole lot bigger than Samsonov, and he wins more than he loses.

If Samsonov can start competing better along the boards then he'll be in much better shape. He'll also start drawing penalties because no one likes being beaten in a board battle by a quick midget, and if he comes off the boards with the puck, he'll likely beat his opponent to the net, thus forcing a hooking or holding call.


4) I admire Carbonneau's willingness to give the Samsonov-Kovalev duo a long, long time to find its groove. I hope for everyone's sake that it pays off. But I don't think the two need to stick together forever in the hopes that they'll pick it up. If Carbonneau's sold that these two will do well together, no problem. But that shouldn't mean they can't be tried out in different line combinations on occasion to see how they look elsewhere.

We have only seen Samsonov play on the third line very briefly this year. That's the only time we've seen him play away from Kovalev. During his brief stint on the third line, he looked good.

I strongly believe that in order to be successful, Samsonov needs to play with players that can complement him and don't need to be the puck carrier.

Further, Kovalev is struggling without a proper center to complement him.

There's nothing wrong with having these fickle talents that only produce in the right environments, but it's important to address their needs here. Kovalev's demonstrated time and time again this season that he's at his best next to Koivu. Why not try the two together with Latendresse on the left side? It seems natural to me to put Koivu and Kovalev together. The team has adequate enough depth at this point that it wouldn't be throwing all the eggs in one basket, and the two seemingly have tremendous chemistry. Worth a shot, in my view.

In any event, the second line is a problem. I think every player on that line can be successful on this club, but they're a continual problem in the defensive zone and their styles don't seem to mesh. I'd like to see Carbonneau try some different combinations once in awhile to know what he has working for him, rather than staying true to the same lines/pairings we've seen since pre-season.



5) Plekanec - while I still have high hopes for the guy, and I'll admit this is a minute detail, he needs to stop causing so many bloody off-sides virtually every game.



I think that's about it for now. Just needed to get some of those rants off my chest.

Mike8 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-03-2006, 04:16 PM
  #2
Drakkar
Registered User
 
Drakkar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Québec, PQ
Country: Canada
Posts: 383
vCash: 500
Very good post. Your first point is exactly what's annoying me the most. Markov is the only defensemen that is constantly moving the puck forward in our defensive zone.

Right now, this is our biggest problem I think. We must have had 10 icings last night against the Leafs.

Drakkar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-03-2006, 04:23 PM
  #3
Ross MacLochness
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Toronto
Posts: 6,774
vCash: 500
Points 1 and 2 are absolutely spot on. Haven't read the rest yet.

The team is slowly going back to old habits of the Julien era. Not good. Funny thing is, Kovalev has alluded exactly to points 1 and 2 this year and last, yet most here want him crucified for it.

This team having a 1-2-2 forecheck against the weaker, poor skating teams in the league is an absolute crime. I cannot believe what I'm seeing sometimes. Hopefully Carbo corrects this pronto.

Ross MacLochness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-03-2006, 04:23 PM
  #4
Teufelsdreck
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 14,252
vCash: 500
Plekanec would thrive on an up-tempo line with Perezhogin (as he did in the playoff series against Carolina). Trouble is, the Habs don't have a suitable right winger to complement them besides Johnson, and Johnson should remain with Bonk. Also, that would leave Kovalev without a center.

Teufelsdreck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-03-2006, 04:40 PM
  #5
Quiet Robert
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 5,262
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8 View Post
2) That serves as a good segue to my next point: the forecheck. This 1-2-2 stuff needs to be used against teams that move the puck well, but not as a general rule. Against Philly on Saturday it was mind-boggling, to me, to see the team lining up in a 1-2-2. This is a skating team, by having the forwards line up in a 1-2-2, it slows the game down to a crawl, thus catering to opponents like Philly who are not fleet of foot.

Use a two-man aggressive forecheck and it pays off against teams like Philly, Toronto, et al. Does anyone remember Montreal's series against Carolina last season? Montreal had tremendous puck-possession through the first 2.5 games of that series. Why? Because the puck-pursuit was aggressive! On Carolina's breakout, there were two, sometimes three forecheckers getting into the passing lanes, aggressively pursuing the Carolina puck-carrier and forcing frequent turnovers.

This is a skilled, quick club that can force turnovers and generate offensive lines 1 through 3. There's really no reason why this shouldn't be utilized.

Samsonov, for example, is a very intelligent player who thrives in open ice. We've seen him come out of nowhere and intercept passes several times thus far. Have him do that. What's the point in having Samsonov sit up on the boards in the neutral zone in a 1-2-2? The guy can't play along the boards. Have him forecheck aggressively and play the part of the pesky waterbug.

Same deal for Perezhogin. He's good along the boards, but his best asset is his closing speed and ability to read the play. Let him use that. Johnson would also be excellent in this regard. Let 'em loose!
Good post and I agree with most of it but this part really stood out as something I agree with wholeheartedly. The 1-2-2 or even 1-4 at times against Buffalo was very effective and indeed should be used against quick teams like the Sabres or the Sens etc...

But against teams like Philly it's absolutely unecessary. We have 3 lines that can put the puck the puck in the net and three lines that can skate. There's no reason to be sitting back against slow teams waiting for a counter-attack. If we send in two forcheckers and agressively attack the puck carriers we can cause a bunch of turnovers and generate a lot of good chances with our speed.

Same with our fourth line. They should be sending in 2 guys deep to crash and bang along the boards to keep the opposing D worried. To me that would make guys like that much more effective. Our other 3 lines shouldn't be crashing as deep, but we should be agressively hounding the puck and cutting down passing lanes.

I've noticed we let other teams enter our zone way too easily. We sit back maybe make them make a couple extra passes, but in general they can come into our zone rather easily. We should be attacking them as soon as they exit their zone, not sending one guy out there to passively follow the puck. Sure the 1-2-2 makes it safer for us, but against slower teams it really does nothing but put us at a disadvantage.

Quiet Robert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-03-2006, 06:52 PM
  #6
baldrick
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Country: Canada
Posts: 1,111
vCash: 500
I was wondering if the problem with the breakout has more to do with the forwards not being positioned properly rather the the D just taking their time? With regards to the forecheck and line combinations both are entirely up to Carbonneau.
If a veteran player doesn't know what's important at this stage of his career
Don't have a problem with Plekanec except that he should center the 4th line not the 2nd, not his fault.

My penny.

baldrick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-03-2006, 06:53 PM
  #7
mcphee
Registered User
 
mcphee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 19,105
vCash: 500
I've noticed that when Mtl plays a team with top level talent, Buffalo, Ottawa are 2 examples. They play their best hockey as they seem better at taking away what the opposition does rather than setting tempo against a so called weaker team.

I think I understand why a bit better now. Bouillon and Dandenault rounding into shape should help the breakout to an extent. Both can skate the puck out. It would help with the annoying situation of getting hemmed in by a 4th line.

Good post Mike. Nice to read that ineffective play is more than just not working hard.

mcphee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-03-2006, 07:02 PM
  #8
zurg999
Registered User
 
zurg999's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Brampton ON
Country: Canada
Posts: 2,532
vCash: 500
We're for sure not seeing as many passes up the middle and I think it's a safe bet that that's a change that the coaching staff is stressing.

zurg999 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-03-2006, 07:13 PM
  #9
mcphee
Registered User
 
mcphee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 19,105
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by baldrick View Post
I was wondering if the problem with the breakout has more to do with the forwards not being positioned properly rather the the D just taking their time? With regards to the forecheck and line combinations both are entirely up to Carbonneau.
If a veteran player doesn't know what's important at this stage of his career
Don't have a problem with Plekanec except that he should center the 4th line not the 2nd, not his fault.

My penny.
I've always kind of thought spacing was the issue, which I considered the forward's problem. I hadn't really looked at from that perspective.

I've found the line combinations awkward all year. Ribeiro leaving without a C replacing his spot in the lineup has just left things a bit 'off' in my opinion. I'm not saying they miss Ribs, I'm not in the mood for that discussion, they miss a C.

mcphee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-03-2006, 07:27 PM
  #10
Hackett
HF Needs Feeny
 
Hackett's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Country: Canada
Posts: 15,453
vCash: 500
excellent post.

I agree with your first point especially. Teams that use an aggresive forcheck against the habs are giving montreal fits. The D seems to get flustered quickly and make a bad decision in their own zone resulting in a turnover.

As for koivu and kovalev, I'm thinking we will hear more about this possibility if the habs get into a slump... which hasn't happened yet. My only concern is of higgins. If we have a line of lats-koiv-kovalev, then I wonder if higgins' game drops down a couple notches. But he's progressed so much since being promoted to the first line that I think its worth seeing what higgins can do without koivu.... but again, until the habs get into a slump, I dont really see carbo mixing things up.

Hackett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-03-2006, 07:30 PM
  #11
coolguy21415
HFBoards Sponsor
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Country: Vietnam
Posts: 9,285
vCash: 500
It should be said that at least half the Plekanec offsides are when Samsonov is holding the puck, and he ALWAYS makes a move just before he crosses the blue line. You're never supposed to make a move there, but yet he always does, and Plekanec ends up offside because of it.

__________________
This content is hosted here with the objections of the poster.
coolguy21415 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-03-2006, 07:36 PM
  #12
habitue*
 
habitue*'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Country: Canada
Posts: 9,252
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diogenes View Post
Plekanec would thrive on an up-tempo line with Perezhogin (as he did in the playoff series against Carolina). Trouble is, the Habs don't have a suitable right winger to complement them besides Johnson, and Johnson should remain with Bonk. Also, that would leave Kovalev without a center.
They have the winger for Perezhogin & Plekanec: Ryder !

Just play Kovalev with Saku, and Samsonov with Bonk & Johnson.

habitue* is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-03-2006, 08:05 PM
  #13
Mike8
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 11,123
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hackett View Post
My only concern is of higgins. If we have a line of lats-koiv-kovalev, then I wonder if higgins' game drops down a couple notches. But he's progressed so much since being promoted to the first line that I think its worth seeing what higgins can do without koivu....
Plekanec plays a similar offensive game in many ways to Koivu. He's not as talented and not as explosive, but he has a similar mindset to offense and similar (though limited) strengths and weaknesses. He's played with Higgins a lot, and they've enjoyed good chemistry together. I believe they'd be real solid as a pairing.

Mike8 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-03-2006, 08:15 PM
  #14
Ross MacLochness
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Toronto
Posts: 6,774
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by habitué View Post
They have the winger for Perezhogin & Plekanec: Ryder !

Just play Kovalev with Saku, and Samsonov with Bonk & Johnson.
Higgins-Koivu-Kovalev
Samsonov-Bonk-Johnson
Perezhogin-Plekanec-Ryder
Latendresse-Begin-Murray

I'd love to try these lines.

Ross MacLochness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-03-2006, 09:04 PM
  #15
Hackett
HF Needs Feeny
 
Hackett's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Country: Canada
Posts: 15,453
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8 View Post
Plekanec plays a similar offensive game in many ways to Koivu. He's not as talented and not as explosive, but he has a similar mindset to offense and similar (though limited) strengths and weaknesses. He's played with Higgins a lot, and they've enjoyed good chemistry together. I believe they'd be real solid as a pairing.
yeah, good points all around once again. A plekanec/higgins duo could be quite effective. Which winger would you add to supplement this potential line?

Hackett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-03-2006, 09:33 PM
  #16
toshiro
HFBoards Sponsor
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Western Canuckland
Country: Canada
Posts: 4,951
vCash: 500
Send a message via Yahoo to toshiro
Quote:
Originally Posted by habitué View Post
They have the winger for Perezhogin & Plekanec: Ryder !

Just play Kovalev with Saku, and Samsonov with Bonk & Johnson.
That idea might not be too half bad.

toshiro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-03-2006, 10:41 PM
  #17
guapo23
Registered User
 
guapo23's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Country:
Posts: 2,474
vCash: 500
You made some smart points but I totally disagree with your 1st point about breaking out of the defensive zone.

1 - The reason we are making so many D to D passes before breaking out is because we are playing against other NHL teams !!

Professional hockey players know how to deny the easy breakout : it's called DEFENSIVE COVERAGE in the neutral zone.

I am happy that the D is taking its time, waiting for someone to be truly open as opposed to making quick passes that are easy for the other team to predict and intercept.

2 - Likewise, the other reason we are making so many D to D passes is that Carboneau is line matching. When the D take so long to break out it is frequently because the forwards are changing.

3- Markov is consitently making quick passes to break out of our zone that are resulting in scoring chances.

guapo23 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-03-2006, 10:55 PM
  #18
Estimated_Prophet
Registered User
 
Estimated_Prophet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Ontario
Country: Canada
Posts: 3,165
vCash: 500
Great post Mike8!

I have had the same "nagging concerns" this season!

I truly believe that the problem in Montreal is that the influence of Carbonneau, Gainey, Jarvis and Muller is too conservative. All of these players were very intelligent players who may simply have a difficult time in trusting their players instincts. The result is a very structured, safe system which has resulted in wins but I beleive we can be better.

I see no reason why we are not the offensive equal of Buffalo. This team has a boatload of speed and skill and if the coaching staff would just put a little trust in the players I think the floodgates would open and this team would blossom into a legitimate powerhouse.

I think Carbonneau and co. are guilty to a much lesser extent of Julienitis where they are almost playing not to lose as opposed to imposing their will on a game and doggedly pursuing a victory.

Teams like the Leafs would be blown out of the arena if this team was permitted to aggressively forecheck and had a transition game that allowed it to carry speed through all three zones. It definitely is frustrating watching untalented teams hang in there with the habs simply because we are allowing the opposition to dictate the pace of the game.

Estimated_Prophet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-03-2006, 11:05 PM
  #19
Joey
Registered User
 
Joey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Ontario
Country: Canada
Posts: 4,073
vCash: 500
Send a message via MSN to Joey
Good post and I agree with all your points Mike, so much that I don't even feel the need to elaborate at all.

But another nagging concern I have is not one within the team, but in the conference. We are already one third through the entire season and our 4th place Habs are only out of 13th spot by a measly 4 wins. We don't seem to be going on any prolonged winning streaks at all and I don't think we will be able to fend off losing 2 in a row all season. We have a good place in the standings now, but 1 or 2 decent slip ups all year and we are drafting 10th overall if teams in the East continue to have such parity. It's a scary and tiresome thing to have to worry about as a player, I'm sure, even if they aren't thinking about it quite yet, because I have a feeling they might be soon..

Joey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-03-2006, 11:08 PM
  #20
coolguy21415
HFBoards Sponsor
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Country: Vietnam
Posts: 9,285
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey View Post
Good post and I agree with all your points Mike, so much that I don't even feel the need to elaborate at all.

But another nagging concern I have is not one within the team, but in the conference. We are already one third through the entire season and our 4th place Habs are only out of 13th spot by a measly 4 wins. We don't seem to be going on any prolonged winning streaks at all and I don't think we will be able to fend off losing 2 in a row all season. We have a good place in the standings now, but 1 or 2 decent slip ups all year and we are drafting 10th overall if teams in the East continue to have such parity. It's a scary and tiresome thing to have to worry about as a player, I'm sure, even if they aren't thinking about it quite yet, because I have a feeling they might be soon..
I don't see that as an issue. The lack of a winning streak perhaps, but the lack of a losing streak is awesome. I'd rather have a balanced and composed team than a streaky one. Streaky teams always fizzle come playoff time.

10 points will separate 3rd and 13th all season. Take it a game at a time, and try to solve problems as they arise. Cool-headedness will prevail!

coolguy21415 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-03-2006, 11:12 PM
  #21
Mike8
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 11,123
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hackett View Post
yeah, good points all around once again. A plekanec/higgins duo could be quite effective. Which winger would you add to supplement this potential line?
Well, initially I was thinking of sticking Latendresse with Koivu and Kovalev. But thinking about it, that doesn't work (where would Samsonov and Ryder fit, then?).

I'd be okay with trying Samsonov with Koivu and Kovalev for a few games, just to see how it'd look. I think Koivu's main asset is bringing the best out of his linemates, so you never know if it'll work.

In that case, plugging Ryder with Higgins-Plekanec would work just fine.

That'd leave Latendresse for the fourth line again, which isn't necessarily bad, but the fourth line has got to be revamped a little. I'd look to inject Lapierre in there, just because I think he'd offer more in the offense-department than Murray, while not sacrificing any grit.



The pairings I'd like to see up front are basically Koivu-Kovalev, Higgins-Plekanec, Bonk-Johnson. Every other player can work around those duos and be shifted around, as far as I'm concerned, until something works. That's assuming management doesn't want to try Higgins at C.


Quote:
Originally Posted by guapo23 View Post
You made some smart points but I totally disagree with your 1st point about breaking out of the defensive zone.

1 - The reason we are making so many D to D passes before breaking out is because we are playing against other NHL teams !!

Professional hockey players know how to deny the easy breakout : it's called DEFENSIVE COVERAGE in the neutral zone.

I am happy that the D is taking its time, waiting for someone to be truly open as opposed to making quick passes that are easy for the other team to predict and intercept.

2 - Likewise, the other reason we are making so many D to D passes is that Carboneau is line matching. When the D take so long to break out it is frequently because the forwards are changing.
I don't agree with this (surprise surprise? ). Reason is simple, for me: the majority of the teams in this league do match-up jobs. There's no reason for this much D-to-D passing. It doesn't mean that the D is taking its time, finding the right pass;

a) it takes time away as Montreal's forwards have to curl back and hang around in the neutral zone;

b) it widens the gap between forwards and defensemen, as defensemen regularly back up while going D to D, while forwards are thinking transition-offense and are looking to go up-ice;

c) it slows the game down which is usually to the opposition's benefit, since Montreal's among the quicker teams in the league;

d) very, very frequently we see Montreal's defensemen ring the puck along the boards to reverse the flow. Result of this is that the opposition forechecks aggressively and forces a turnover. It occurs very, very frequently that we see Montreal hemmed in their own zone because of the lousy D to D or reversing-the-flow plays. There was a string of plays in the first period versus Toronto where Bonk, Souray and Rivet kept reversing the flow back and forth and weren't getting anywhere. Any time any one of them got the puck, they'd turn away from looking up ice and ring the puck back behind their own net. It was just mind-boggling. The Leafs continued putting forth a two and occasionally even three man forecheck to force turnovers that happened the vast majority of the time.


And if this was simply a case of Montreal having a tough time with the breakout because the opposition are pros and know how to deny an easy breakout... well, I don't see opponents going D to D frequently versus Montreal. I don't see Buffalo, or Detroit, or Anaheim, or any of the other good transition teams sitting around in their own zone going D to D and struggling on the breakout.

That's because they're quality transition teams that've embraced the need to have their defensemen move with the puck. The best defense is a good offense here, to use an old, tired cliche; if Komisarek is standing still with the puck, he's an easier target for a forechecker than if he's moving, isn't he?

Furthermore, if Komisarek is in motion, he can skate straight ahead, cut to the middle, cut towards the middle without going to the middle, or any number of options that will put him in various unpredictable positions to give him more passing lanes.

This is the key to good transition: movement.

If he's standing still his passing lanes remain the same in best-case-scenario, or wind up worse as the opposition gets better angles on him.



So yes, if there's line-changes, I have no problems with the D to D stuff. I'm not talking about in those instances, of course, but those instances do not account for many of the D to D passes we see over the course of a game...

Mike8 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-03-2006, 11:24 PM
  #22
Mike8
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 11,123
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Estimated_Prophet View Post
I see no reason why we are not the offensive equal of Buffalo. This team has a boatload of speed and skill and if the coaching staff would just put a little trust in the players I think the floodgates would open and this team would blossom into a legitimate powerhouse.
I agree with everything you've written, but I wanted to touch on the comparison to Buffalo.

At the beginning of the season I went up and down both rosters and I didn't see Buffalo as a superior team (player for player) than Montreal. Sure, the defense is more mobile, but what they have in mobility, Montreal has stronger match-up defensemen and top-end defensemen (led by Markov).

I gave the edge to Buffalo because of goaltending. Forward depth, I didn't expect Vanek's quick development, but otherwise I don't see Buffalo as having superior talent. I think if Montreal just embraced the transition game, constant movement, aggressive forechecking, that they'd be better off for it.

Top-to-bottom this D core also has good offensive instincts. I'd love to see them jump into the play a whole lot more. Come up the ice as a five-man unit; forget positions for a little while. I loved how Colorado used to do this up until last year, really, where they'd come up the ice as a five-man unit. You couldn't tell who the defensemen or the forwards were when they were in transition offense; it could be a D on Sakic's wing flying up there just as easily as it'd be a winger.

Montreal's at a point where the team-speed, skill, and accountability is high enough that they can do this. The youngsters (Higgins, Perezhogin, Plekanec) are all so defensively conscious that they can cover for a guy like Markov jumping into the play, or Dandenault/Bouillon utilizing their speed to go deep in the offensive zone.

I'd love to see the chains removed, so to speak, and let the players run wild for awhile. Any time the game opens up, Montreal now outchances the opposition.

Mike8 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-04-2006, 01:37 AM
  #23
Hackett
HF Needs Feeny
 
Hackett's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Country: Canada
Posts: 15,453
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8 View Post
Well, initially I was thinking of sticking Latendresse with Koivu and Kovalev. But thinking about it, that doesn't work (where would Samsonov and Ryder fit, then?).

I'd be okay with trying Samsonov with Koivu and Kovalev for a few games, just to see how it'd look. I think Koivu's main asset is bringing the best out of his linemates, so you never know if it'll work.

In that case, plugging Ryder with Higgins-Plekanec would work just fine.

That'd leave Latendresse for the fourth line again, which isn't necessarily bad, but the fourth line has got to be revamped a little. I'd look to inject Lapierre in there, just because I think he'd offer more in the offense-department than Murray, while not sacrificing any grit.



The pairings I'd like to see up front are basically Koivu-Kovalev, Higgins-Plekanec, Bonk-Johnson. Every other player can work around those duos and be shifted around, as far as I'm concerned, until something works. That's assuming management doesn't want to try Higgins at C.
Yeah, I can see that you have the randy carlyle mentality. He always keeps certain duos together and believes that the 3rd wingers are interchangable.

I'm coming around to the kovalev-koivu duo more and more because you've basically convinced me that a higgins-plekanec duo has the ability to do quite well.

The kovalev koivu duo always worked well when it was together. If I remember correctly, the only reason they were split up was due to a huge team slump. And koivu got hurt too. A major shakeup was needed. But I think we have enough depth today to put kovalev back with koivu.

Hackett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-04-2006, 05:36 AM
  #24
Estimated_Prophet
Registered User
 
Estimated_Prophet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Ontario
Country: Canada
Posts: 3,165
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8 View Post
I agree with everything you've written, but I wanted to touch on the comparison to Buffalo.

At the beginning of the season I went up and down both rosters and I didn't see Buffalo as a superior team (player for player) than Montreal. Sure, the defense is more mobile, but what they have in mobility, Montreal has stronger match-up defensemen and top-end defensemen (led by Markov).

I gave the edge to Buffalo because of goaltending. Forward depth, I didn't expect Vanek's quick development, but otherwise I don't see Buffalo as having superior talent. I think if Montreal just embraced the transition game, constant movement, aggressive forechecking, that they'd be better off for it.

Top-to-bottom this D core also has good offensive instincts. I'd love to see them jump into the play a whole lot more. Come up the ice as a five-man unit; forget positions for a little while. I loved how Colorado used to do this up until last year, really, where they'd come up the ice as a five-man unit. You couldn't tell who the defensemen or the forwards were when they were in transition offense; it could be a D on Sakic's wing flying up there just as easily as it'd be a winger.

Montreal's at a point where the team-speed, skill, and accountability is high enough that they can do this. The youngsters (Higgins, Perezhogin, Plekanec) are all so defensively conscious that they can cover for a guy like Markov jumping into the play, or Dandenault/Bouillon utilizing their speed to go deep in the offensive zone.

I'd love to see the chains removed, so to speak, and let the players run wild for awhile. Any time the game opens up, Montreal now outchances the opposition.


I think we're pretty much on the same page with the Buffalo/Montreal comparison.

I would give the edge to Montreal in overall offensive abilities on the blueline especially in power play scenarios. I concur with the opinion that Buffalo's D is more mobile than Montreal's D which helps to allow the forwards to be more agressive which is why I could live with Rivet being replaced with a more mobile defender even though I love his work ethic and leadership.

As far as the forwards are concerned I think that the Roy's and Pominville's of Buffalo would not look so good if the played for Montreal as they would probably be producing at the same level as a player like Plekanec. I am not discrediting Roy and Pominville as I really like both of them but I strongly believe that a player like Plekanec would have pretty impressive numbers if he was in the Sabres lineup.

If Kovalev and Samsonov were in Buffalo right now I am confident there wouldn't be any questions about their productivity. Our young guns like Plekanec and Perezhogin would surely flourish playing in a system similar to Buffalo's, not to mention Kostitsyn, who is a tough fit here in Montreal but I guarantee if he was Sabres property he would be on the big club and producing. I am not a huge Kostisyn supporter but with the open ice that the Sabres style of play creates it is hard to imagine him not being a legitimate threat. I could even see a player like Grabovsky being very close to making this team if we adapted this offensive philosophy.


The only real question for me when comparing these two teams is how well our goaltending would hold up. Ryan Miller is a great young goalie who's stats don't necessarily reflect his level of play due to the number of high quality chances that he faces. I am not sure if Huet or Aebischer can play at Miller's level but I have a suspicion that they will be good enough to win especially when we are outchancing the opposition and putting even more pressure on the opposing goaltender.

If Carbonneau unshackles this team we will also be known as a team with great scoring depth. For years Montreal has been coached in an extremely conservative manner, which is why player's numbers are always less than impressive during their time in Montreal. The reason for the conservative approach is a fear of failure in such a high pressure environment. We now have the horses to make a run at the cup while playing the firewagon brand of hockey this franchise had been so reveered for......I say let them loose!

Estimated_Prophet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
12-04-2006, 07:52 AM
  #25
goalchenyuk
Registered User
 
goalchenyuk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: montreal
Country: Vatican City State
Posts: 8,365
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8 View Post
Plekanec plays a similar offensive game in many ways to Koivu. He's not as talented and not as explosive, but he has a similar mindset to offense and similar (though limited) strengths and weaknesses. He's played with Higgins a lot, and they've enjoyed good chemistry together. I believe they'd be real solid as a pairing.
I disagree with that idea ;

I really don't know what he's doing or not doing , but it seems that whoever play with Plekanec don't score . His line looks always dangerous but nothing at the end finish in a net .

Just look how the play of Higgins was good when he was playing with Pleky , but he got only 3 goals . Once Gainey put him on the first line , he scored 23 goals ( for what ? 30-35 games ). The first line was at that point going nowhere , so if Saku helped him to be a better scorer , i don't buy the idea that he " made him " good . Higgins was already good .

goalchenyuk is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Forum Jump


Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:48 AM.

monitoring_string = "e4251c93e2ba248d29da988d93bf5144"
Contact Us - HFBoards - Archive - Privacy Statement - Terms of Use - Advertise - Top - AdChoices

vBulletin Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
HFBoards.com is a property of CraveOnline Media, LLC, an Evolve Media, LLC company. ©2014 All Rights Reserved.