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Old
10-21-2008, 09:38 AM
  #1
GoldenForum
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Points of Concern

Obviously the Habs are doing great. But (and I am not one of those eternal pessimists), there are a few things that need fixing and the earlier the better.

1- PP. Looks beautiful, but could be far more effective. They guys aren't shooting enough, plain and simple. Too many cross-ice passes in the opposing zone that are getting intercepted...sometimes we're trying to be too cute, which is anti-Jarvis.

2- Kovy. In many ways he epitomizes what I see in the PP. Effective, but can be so much more effective. Of course, other teams are zoning in on him along the half boards...he needs to work with what he's given and shoot more instead of always looking for the pretty pass. I really like the way he's driving to the net more on the PP. Even strength, he sometimes looks a little lacksidaiscal on the backcheck. Not worried, but you can see he doesn't look 100% comfortable yet. He, Pleks and AK46 will get it going, but I think, as Carbo pointed out, they can put in a little more effort and not expect their talent to just dictate their success.

3- O'Byrne. I think he's made some great strides this year and I have full faith in his growing pains...Komi went through much of the same (though I think we all know OBee will never be Komi). My concern is him coughing the puck up in our own end...often times when he's under no pressure at all to clear the zone. Happened twice last night against the Panthers, once leading to a goal and once a great scoring chance. We also saw it in a game earlier this year (I think against Boston) that cost us a goal in our own end. He's got to be a bit quicker in clearing the zone and maybe cut an inch off his stick.

4- Biggest concern: Taking our foot off the pedal once we have the lead. We can dominate and then just sick back a bit. We've all seen it in the past (perhaps not the dominate part) and we've already seen it this year with the exception of the Phoenix game. 60 minutes and consistency wins championships. If we zone out the way we have against the likes of Detroit, the Rangers, Pitt, Dallas, or San Jose, they'll pop 2 quick ones in our net and we'll find ourselves suddenly playing catchup. Do keep in mind that our schedule has been relatively easy thus far.

So many great things on display so far, but this year we're thinking Cup and we have to correct these shortcomings early so they will not become habits or part of the team psyche. Getting all our guys back from injuries will obviously also help...I think we could use a little Higgins lunch box effort in there!

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Old
10-21-2008, 09:45 AM
  #2
Blades 0f Steel
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Kovalev has looked incredible in at least 4 games so far. I honestly think people are being way too critical & for some reason, keep raising the bar for expectations of him. He's looked better in 6 games than he did all year in 06-07.

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Old
10-21-2008, 09:54 AM
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I think its obvious we need another good Dman....it doesn't need to be a top two guy but a solid #4.

We have a good enough D corp to make the playoffs and battle for top spot in the division...but Breezer and OB have been up and down so far, both getting ice time reduced in games because of mistakes.

If we want the cup its one more good dman we need.

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10-21-2008, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blades 0f Steel View Post
Kovalev has looked incredible in at least 4 games so far. I honestly think people are being way too critical & for some reason, keep raising the bar for expectations of him. He's looked better in 6 games than he did all year in 06-07.
I agree. Kovalev has 4 posts that I remember this year. If all of those go in, he's on pace for 50 goals. I'm not saying that near-misses are a good thing, they show that Kovy still has to get into the groove. However, I think it's a lot more troubling when Kovalev is not creating chances. That is when he is truly playing subpar hockey and is a detriment to the team. Luckily, that slumping Kovy style has not appeared for awhile, so people think that his recent play is his off-game (when it can get much worse).

As for the powerplay, the Habs are getting good puck movement, but lacking some finish. I'm not worried, as the sample size is too small to be discouraged here. I would wager good money on the Habs PP going over in a game in one of their next 5 games.

The OP is bang on about O'Byrne so far.

The concern about slowing down is valid, but not a huge concern at this point. The team has won 5 of 6 games, and the main gauge for a team's killer instinct is its win total.

All in all, this is a team that still has some clear kinks in its game, but at the same time, is finding early success. If the guys get healthy, and clicking on all cylinders, it will be a beautiful thing to see.

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Old
10-21-2008, 10:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by couz View Post
I think its obvious we need another good Dman....it doesn't need to be a top two guy but a solid #4.

We have a good enough D corp to make the playoffs and battle for top spot in the division...but Breezer and OB have been up and down so far, both getting ice time reduced in games because of mistakes.

If we want the cup its one more good dman we need.
I agree with that. I still think the solution is a rental at the deadline. Right now a lot of the guys that could fill the need either make too much or cost too much.

In regards to O'byrne, he's made pretty good strides from last year. One of the reasons he's coughed up the puck a few times is he is handling it more and is more confident. Less off the glass and more taking an extra stride and making a break out pass. I think he is a guy we will need come playoff time, if we add another d-man we still need O'b and his physical play and big frame.

Most of the defense struggled last night except Markov and Hamrlik. Gorges gave up the puck a lot more than usual, O'b got caught a few times. Komi had his worst game this year. The team as a whole did not have the energy they usually have also.

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Old
10-21-2008, 10:09 AM
  #6
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I like OB and if we were hunting to just make the playoffs like the past I'd keep things how they are...but its the cup we want this year.

Having said that, you need strong Dman and an upgrade at #4 would be essential.

I think Gainey knows it.

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Old
10-21-2008, 10:16 AM
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main point of concern is giving too many shots. For last 3 yrs we are giving almost 30 shots a game. Can't we bring this down.

OUr goalies playing great. If one of them has a good back to back game, we might lose. OSgood plays well and is able to win. Why? His team gives 24 shots a game.

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Old
10-21-2008, 10:30 AM
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I think the plan is to leave the perimiter shots to our goalies, alot of shots are non threatening.

The important stat is scoring chances and I don't think we give up as many as the past.

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Old
10-21-2008, 10:33 AM
  #9
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Too many shots on goal last night - our goaltenders are playing awesome - 2nd stingiest team after Buffalo.

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Old
10-21-2008, 10:51 AM
  #10
Darz
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My biggest 'Points of Concern'

............GP W L OT PTS.........
Montreal 6 5 0 1 11

THAT STUPID FRICKIN POINT WE DIDN'T GET VERSUS BUFFALO!!!!

Makes my 82-0-0 prediction look stupid now. Anyone could of predicted 81-0-1!!

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Old
10-21-2008, 10:53 AM
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Aside from the Buffalo Sabres, who the entire league is underestimating, we haven't faced a real challenge yet. We haven't even put 100% in. It's no surprise we've been lazy on leads and not worried about O'Byrne or the Plekanec line. There has been nothing to worry about.

These sort of worries would be similar if you watched the 70s Dynasty in regular season. We only remember them dominating in playoffs, but in the regular season, they'd play half effort games like this because they were just that good. They only saddled up when playing the Bruins, Blackhawks, Flyers and such.

Canadiens soon play the Wild, which I'm sure will be a game too irritating due to trade speculation, but it will be Montreal against a team whose defensive style locks them every year in the post-season. That will be a challenge for us. How we play against the Wild will be a much better way to figure out how good we'll be.

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10-21-2008, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darz View Post
My biggest 'Points of Concern'

............GP W L OT PTS.........
Montreal 6 5 0 1 11

THAT STUPID FRICKIN POINT WE DIDN'T GET VERSUS BUFFALO!!!!

Makes my 82-0-0 prediction look stupid now. Anyone could of predicted 81-0-1!!
I guess I am anyone....

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Old
10-21-2008, 12:00 PM
  #13
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Honestly, I'm not worried about the team... Why?

1) Long season to make adjustments for players/team... It's a marathon and not a sprint...
2) Hot and cold streaks during the season... The Habs are currently in a hot streak, not with how they play but with results. Later during the year, they'll play amazingly but won't get results because of bad luck, injuries, cold streaks to key players, etc...
3) The wins the Habs got so far give the team a cushion to work with... because we all know how the points obtained in October matters at the end of the year (see: Ottawa last year, without the hot streak early on, I don't think they make the playoffs).
4) Personally, I don't like to judge/analyze players/teams on a game by game basis. I rather do it for a span of 5-10 games where you kind of get an overall picture of their performance.

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Old
10-21-2008, 12:48 PM
  #14
Darz
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I guess I am anyone....
DAMN YOU....anyone!!!!!!

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Old
10-21-2008, 12:54 PM
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My own points of concern :

Montreal is first in the league for 5 on 5 differential

Montreal is 4th for GFPG

Montreal is 2th for GAPG

Montreal is 6th for faceoff percentage

Montreal has the 4th best winning percentage

Montreal is one of only four teams who are still unbeaten in regulation

Andrei Markov leads all Dmen in points

Carey Price is top 5 among all goalies for wins, GAA and save %

Saku Koivu is the top 10 for points in the entire league, with a 1,50 PPG average


We should all be very concerned!

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Old
10-21-2008, 12:56 PM
  #16
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Originally Posted by Lone Rogue View Post
Aside from the Buffalo Sabres, who the entire league is underestimating, we haven't faced a real challenge yet. We haven't even put 100% in. It's no surprise we've been lazy on leads and not worried about O'Byrne or the Plekanec line. There has been nothing to worry about.

These sort of worries would be similar if you watched the 70s Dynasty in regular season. We only remember them dominating in playoffs, but in the regular season, they'd play half effort games like this because they were just that good. They only saddled up when playing the Bruins, Blackhawks, Flyers and such.

Canadiens soon play the Wild, which I'm sure will be a game too irritating due to trade speculation, but it will be Montreal against a team whose defensive style locks them every year in the post-season. That will be a challenge for us. How we play against the Wild will be a much better way to figure out how good we'll be.
Maybe because the team is too good? I wouldn't say Philly and Boston are bad teams, they're definitely playoffs teams...

Anyway, big deal, this team isn't perfect, but still better than the vast majority and thinking they're not playing at their best should be death scary for the other teams...

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Old
10-21-2008, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozymandias View Post
My own points of concern :

Montreal is first in the league for 5 on 5 differential

Montreal is 4th for GFPG

Montreal is 2th for GAPG

Montreal is 6th for faceoff percentage

Montreal has the 4th best winning percentage

Montreal is one of only four teams who are still unbeaten in regulation

Andrei Markov leads all Dmen in points

Carey Price is top 5 among all goalies for wins, GAA and save %

Saku Koivu is the top 10 for points in the entire league, with a 1,50 PPG average


We should all be very concerned!
Why do you always have to be so defensive when there's something even remotely criticizing the Habs?

I agree that's it's too early in the season to be be concerned but it certainly isn't too early for improvements.

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Old
10-21-2008, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by HotPie View Post
Why do you always have to be so defensive when there's something even remotely criticizing the Habs?

I agree that's it's too early in the season to be be concerned but it certainly isn't too early for improvements.
LOL, heaven forbid someone post a counter-argument. I hope you do realise that the points he brought up (and the OP) are both valid. I don't know about you but I'm enjoying this season so far. Room for improvement for sure but I've been smiling alot so far!!!

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Old
10-21-2008, 01:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blades 0f Steel View Post
Kovalev has looked incredible in at least 4 games so far. I honestly think people are being way too critical & for some reason, keep raising the bar for expectations of him. He's looked better in 6 games than he did all year in 06-07.
It's goldfish syndrome.

Fact is, last night he looked like 05-06 Kovalev.

Now, people with long term memory (or even moderate short term memory) can understand that this was one freaking game, but others have issues there.

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Old
10-21-2008, 01:19 PM
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Let's see whether this team is constructed for the playoffs. Unfortunately, we won't know until April.

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Old
10-21-2008, 01:25 PM
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Let's see whether this team is constructed for the playoffs. Unfortunately, we won't know until April. Bruins fans think their team, not the Habs, will play in the SC finals. I'd so like to disappoint them! In fact, I hope some other team knocks them off in the first round so that they never even get to face the Habs. It would follow the pattern of first round eliminations in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2008 (they didn't make the playoffs in 2006 and 2007 and 2005 was the lockout year).

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10-21-2008, 02:20 PM
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This thread is very lame; how can you be concerned with 11 points out of 12 ? If we had 5 straight losses, then I'd be "concerned". Even Team Canada has some minor tweaking to do, you can't expect ALL the Habs to be at 100% of their capacities 100% of the time, it's almost a question of probabilities here.

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Old
10-21-2008, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by SpreeEndaz View Post
This thread is very lame; how can you be concerned with 11 points out of 12 ? If we had 5 straight losses, then I'd be "concerned". Even Team Canada has some minor tweaking to do, you can't expect ALL the Habs to be at 100% of their capacities 100% of the time, it's almost a question of probabilities here.

I normaly don't agree with you..

This time +1 Billion !!!

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Old
10-21-2008, 02:50 PM
  #24
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1- PP. Looks beautiful, but could be far more effective. They guys aren't shooting enough, plain and simple. Too many cross-ice passes in the opposing zone that are getting intercepted...sometimes we're trying to be too cute, which is anti-Jarvis.
I'm not inclined to panic over the no-doubt temporary slump of the PP because Montreal has been a dominating team at even-strength. Montreal as a team is currently a whopping +11 after six games, which is good for #1 in the league. For comparison, they were +11 over all of last season (which was still good enough for 10th). This is a huge improvement over last year, and if it keeps up, its impact practically cannot be overstated.

Montreal's Achilles Heel used to be seen as over-reliance on the power play for scoring. It's still very early but this seems to have been improved on considerably. Unsurprisingly, much of the improvement has been due to the line of Saku Koivu (+8 and 1st in the league) and Alex Tanguay (+7 and 2nd, tied with Markov). That line has been dynamite at even-strength. The acquisition of Tanguay has so far done exactly as we could have hoped -- it really hit the spot in terms of addressing the Habs' weak point.

More to the point, Montreal is currently undefeated in regulation despite only middling results on the PP. If Montreal manages to more or less keep this up and bring their PP to top-5 territory... they could get really scary in a hurry. Let alone if the ATAK line gets untracked at even-strength, too.

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Old
10-21-2008, 03:23 PM
  #25
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Originally Posted by HotPie View Post
Why do you always have to be so defensive when there's something even remotely criticizing the Habs?

I agree that's it's too early in the season to be be concerned but it certainly isn't too early for improvements.
Ozy doesn't mind giving criticism when its due. I've had my share of battles with him, but he's right.

There is nothing to be concerned about after 6GP.

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