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Real Needs: SKILLED Forward Grit & Defence Depth?

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Old
01-20-2009, 05:21 AM
  #26
BaseballCoach
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Originally Posted by Kriss E View Post
Again a post about grit?..Really??..how often do we have to go down that road...

We didn't lose in the POs due to grit last year, and we arguably faced the 2 most gritty teams in the East.
We lost because we came into the POs with one ammo, our PP. We slowly collapsed when it disappeared vs BOS but recuperated well in Game7, and then there was the meltdown of Price vs PHI.
In no way were we affected by this mythical lack of grit.

If Patches stay up, he brings grit, the kost broz also bring some type of grit especially when playing together, Tanguay already won a cup so he knows what he's got to endure, Koivu is as gritty as they come, Higgins can bring some when focused too, I don't think I have to mention how gritty Lappy/Kosto/Begin/Komi are, Hamrlik was a beast in the PO last year, Lats is slowly getting there.

Seriously, a Morrow/Doan type player is always great, but we don't lack grit.
Re-enforcing our D seems to be our biggest concern at the moment for a cup run. We need more production from our back end and a bottom pair that is capable of packing on more than 16min a game.
Krisstee, didja read my post?

I wasn't calling for some poor-skating stiff(s) to be brought in to give us unskilled grit.

I was arguing that fast-skating youngters with skill, like Pacioretty and d'Agostini, who have shown they aren't afraid to go into corners and instinctively go to the net, are a necessary part of our success. I compared them to the youngsters that were in the lineup in both 1986 and 1993.

I also did say we should ADD a skilled defenceman, so I don't see what you strongly disagree with?!

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Old
01-20-2009, 09:30 PM
  #27
Quiet Robert
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Defining Grit

It seems hockey fans incorrectly use grit, physicality and fighting as interchangeable terms. This post isn't necessarily directed at the OP, but calling Higgins somewhat soft got me thinking on how we define grit and other similar terms. Higgins doesn't fight, and he isn't overly physical but I'd argue he plays a gritty two-way game.

In a perfect world I think this team would maybe have some more aggressive forwards, and yes it wouldn't hurt to have some physical guys who win fights. But this team does not lack grit imo. Grit is taking a hit to make a play, blocking a shot you know will hurt, battling in the corners to win the puck, battling to win a key faceoff (this includes wingers winning their battles) and generally making it difficult for the other team to play offensively.

It's easy to notice the guys who dump the puck in and smash a defenceman into the boards. However, their effectiveness is usually limited and thus they are usually called energy players. It takes more to vault into the "two-way player" category. Granted, energy guys are exciting to watch and that style certainly has a role to play in the game, but I get the impression that fans think this is the only aspect to being a seen as a gritty player when in fact a player needs far more.

For those not convinced of this definition, I think Stephane Yelle's name should be proof enough. Yelle was one the grittiest forwards in the league for a long part of his career because of how he played the game. He has 1 career fight and was never the type of guy to dump the puck in and smash dmen into the boards.

If we're talking playoffs, here's a lineup that may not be overly physical or intimidating, but doesn't seem to me to lack grit when compared to other top teams.

A.Kost-Lang-S.Kost : A skill line. Every good team in the NHL has skilled players playing together. They may not have a ton of jam, but they can put points up.

Higgins-Plekanec-Kovalev: Another skill line with Higgins doing the dirty work that Pacioretty is now doing. (Not to get sidetracked, but I think a 06-07 and 07-08 version of Higgins could do the job Pacioretty is doing right now only at a higher level. I have nothing against Pacioretty and in fact am very excited about his future with this club but the lack of respect Higgins gets on this forum is mind boggling. 25g 50pts two-way guys aren't as easy to replace as some believe.)

Tanguay-Koivu-Latendresse: For the playoffs I could see Latendresse moving to this line to bring size and goalscoring.

Begin-Lapierre-Kostopoulos: A very gritty line. All three guys hustle and make life difficult for the opposition but could also create some offence.

Alternate/Reserve Line: Laraque-Begin/Chipchura-Stewart: Grit and physicality though not a ton of footspeed.

The curveball in this equation is obviously the youngsters. I don't think anyone who is injured has lost a roster spot, so the dilemma then becomes slotting the young guys or moving vets to make room for them. Of the two, D'Agostini and Pacioretty, conventional wisdom says that D'Agostini may stay up as he is in the final year of his contract and management may want to see where he fits. If so I think he moves up and plays with some more skilled players.

Finally, a comparison with the top two teams in the East.

Lucic-Savard-Kessel
Wheeler-Krejci-Ryder
Sturm-Bergeron-Kobasew
Axelsson-Yelle-Thornton

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov
Fleischman-Fedorov-Semin
Laich-Nylander-Fehr
Brashear-C.Clark-Bradley

Where is this excess in grit and toughness that is carrying these teams to victory? I see two guys on Boston, Lucic and Thornton who can physically punish their opponents. Axelsson and Yelle are gritty two-way players. The rest are skill guys, some who play a solid two-way game.

Washington is an interesting case because of Ovechkin. He can punish people physically and still lead the league in scoring. The rest of the top 6 is filled with skill guys. The third line is mostly a skill line with Laich's two-way play thrown in for good measure. (Very underrated player imo, he's really solid.) Their fourth line has a lot grit and physicality though. Brashear is one of the best fighters in the East. Clark is a very gritty player, although he's struggling this year. Guys like Bradley, Steckel etc...bring it.

So all that to say that a solid top 4 dman would be more beneficial to this team than a mid-level forward. It doesn't even have to be a Kaberle or a JayBo. A solid puck mover who play 20+ minutes would really help stabilize this team. As it stands we're scoring goals and playing solid defensive hockey most of the time. I think our forward group is solid to the point where any upgrades would have to bring about major shifts to the current roster. Defensively however we should be able to upgrade fairly easily.

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01-20-2009, 09:42 PM
  #28
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Originally Posted by natey2k4 View Post
I'd give away 3 rosters players for him. He's so ****ing good.
We can see how well Ottawa is doing with their collection of slow footed stay at home d-men...no thanks.

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01-20-2009, 09:47 PM
  #29
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Defense. Montreal's #1 want is a stud top-four defenseman, preferably a right-hand shot with offensive ability.

Montreal's forward grit is not much of an issue IMHO. It's underrated, really, especially in these days of the Lapierre Line. With MaxPac and Andrei K the scorier lines have a guy who can muscle it... and Higgins has his moments.

Compare it to Boston's. Seriously, do it. Where's their forward grit? Lucic, sure, then who? Wheeler? Ryder? Krejci? Kobasew? Certainly not Savard. Their grinders, sure, but they're grinders. I just don't see the huge disparity you'd expect from a team I suspect would be held up as a model of forward grit.

Scorers with speed and grit are welcome on any team, but are rare. I don't think Montreal is in a hole.

Boston won't beat anybody with grit...we have more than them. Their strength is they have 2 #1 quality centermen having big years. Their defense is pretty no-name but they play within their limits like Charra and Ward. Thomas has always been a hot and cold goalie but this year Fernandez has been there to pick up the slack.

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01-21-2009, 09:43 AM
  #30
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Originally Posted by BaseballCoach View Post
I'm not really opposed to player development through the AHL, but here's MY problem.

The Habs have too many young skilled forwards that are somewhat soft:
Let's debate/discuss!!
Um. Let's see. "Grit" is what the English CBC guys fall back on when a team of talentless grinders beat a gifted, skilled team through a series of fluky goals. Grit is overrated and too nebulous a term to be of any use.

Tell me that kids like the Kostitsyns have no "grit." It didn't take any fortitude to do what they've done?

What the Canadiens need, and have needed for quite a while, is a player who can make a difference in a close game. They need a 50 goal guy. Koivu has never had a decent finisher to play with--ever. That's what's missing. Has been since they gave up on Richer.

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01-21-2009, 10:04 AM
  #31
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This team will pay the Price come playoff time, i dont doubt it one bit but we lack in quality defesnmen. Upgrade is needed.

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01-21-2009, 10:15 AM
  #32
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We need everyone in this team to look at the jersey they are wearing.

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01-21-2009, 10:23 AM
  #33
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Yes we are a little soft up front, but we have guys within the organization who can provide a little bit of grit. What the team needs is another solid defencemen, similar to Hammer. We need someone back there that we don't have to necessarily worry about. Someone who can play solid in his own end and also contribute on the powerplay as well. If we could make a trade and aquire a player like that, the Habs would be able to take their game to the next level and be a serious contender.

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01-21-2009, 10:27 AM
  #34
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Originally Posted by Chris Nilan View Post
Um. Let's see. "Grit" is what the English CBC guys fall back on when a team of talentless grinders beat a gifted, skilled team through a series of fluky goals. Grit is overrated and too nebulous a term to be of any use.

Tell me that kids like the Kostitsyns have no "grit." It didn't take any fortitude to do what they've done?

What the Canadiens need, and have needed for quite a while, is a player who can make a difference in a close game. They need a 50 goal guy. Koivu has never had a decent finisher to play with--ever. That's what's missing. Has been since they gave up on Richer.
Oh come on. Pierre Larouche was a 50-goal guy with no grit and little playoff success.

Let me give you a clue: a lot of the 'fluky' goals you are talking about come about when players are crashing the net. THIS is what I was talking about. I feel strongly that guys like Pacioretty and d'Agostini are important to the club because they go to the net, and they go into the corners and win battles. Andrei Kostitsyn does too, by the way.

I know Sergei is not a wimp. I don't equate grit with 'courage'. But Sergei loses more one-on-one battles than he wins. Tanguay too. Plekanec too. Even Lang. They are a bit 'soft' in that sense. They will get more easily pushed away from the net or off the puck in the corners. Higgins is decent in puck battles but doesn't really have the scoring touch near the net. Kovalev and Koivu are good stickhandlers but they need some strong North-South guys on their lines.

That was the point of my original post. The STYLE of Patches and d'Ago is a bit more North American (not a coincidence that Higgins is closer to that style than the Europeans). I have nothing AGAINST the "European" big ice surface style, nothing against some slick talent and tic-tac-toe goals, but we need a BALANCE.

Ideally, we have Andrei on one of the top three lines, Patches on a second, and Dags on a third. They can all go to the net, but they can also rack up some points. The fourth line and spare forwards are made up of all North-Southers already, but except for Lats, none of them should really be playing with Koivu or Kovalev because they lack finishing ability. Kosto furthermore also lacks the SKATING ability that Patches and Dags have that let's them keep up with our top offensive players.

Again, my original post was a plea to keep Patches and Dags in the lineup for the kind of gritty offensive contributions they can make.


Last edited by BaseballCoach: 01-21-2009 at 10:34 AM.
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Old
01-21-2009, 10:35 AM
  #35
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Originally Posted by BaseballCoach View Post
Krisstee, didja read my post?

I wasn't calling for some poor-skating stiff(s) to be brought in to give us unskilled grit.

I was arguing that fast-skating youngters with skill, like Pacioretty and d'Agostini, who have shown they aren't afraid to go into corners and instinctively go to the net, are a necessary part of our success. I compared them to the youngsters that were in the lineup in both 1986 and 1993.

I also did say we should ADD a skilled defenceman, so I don't see what you strongly disagree with?!
Ya..sorry, I didn't read your post completely..
So don't know if you were talking about it, I just thought it was another post about us needing grit because of the title and I wasn't ready to read such a long post about it..

I should have known better since it was coming from you..
My bad buddy

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01-21-2009, 10:37 AM
  #36
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I would look at Bieksa and Artyukhin. But only at the cost of guys like Higgins and Chipchura. I am NOT sold on Chippy and I think Higgins will only backlog the already deep forward position.

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01-21-2009, 12:24 PM
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Nilan View Post
Um. Let's see. "Grit" is what the English CBC guys fall back on when a team of talentless grinders beat a gifted, skilled team through a series of fluky goals. Grit is overrated and too nebulous a term to be of any use.

Tell me that kids like the Kostitsyns have no "grit." It didn't take any fortitude to do what they've done?

What the Canadiens need, and have needed for quite a while, is a player who can make a difference in a close game. They need a 50 goal guy. Koivu has never had a decent finisher to play with--ever. That's what's missing. Has been since they gave up on Richer.
I'd like to see a line of Tanguay-Koivu-Kostitsyn line. We can't say Koivu wouldn't have a decent finisher since him and Kosty played REALLY well together and Kosty is starting to shoot more so having to players to give him the puck in the slot would make this line an amazing scoring line IMO. We could switch Tanguay with Sergei but I haven't noticed Tanguay much on Lang line and he had some success with Koivu. I'd like to see Kost with two excellent playmaker. Maybe we'd have our 50 goals scorer

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Old
01-21-2009, 12:40 PM
  #38
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Originally Posted by BaseballCoach View Post
Oh come on. Pierre Larouche was a 50-goal guy with no grit and little playoff success.

Let me give you a clue: a lot of the 'fluky' goals you are talking about come about when players are crashing the net. Again, my original post was a plea to keep Patches and Dags in the lineup for the kind of gritty offensive contributions they can make.
You're right. The Flyers' goal off the side of the net and the goal off the shoulder were grit as called by you and the CBC crew. Sorry.

Um, was the goal off Doug Harvey's glove in '54 a gritty goal, too? Damn. We should have traded that guy sooner and given up on that team. Where were you and all those gritty guys when Frank Selke needed you?

How many rings does Lucky Pierre have? You're telling me he scored 395 goals by shooting 60' slapshots? Oh, and he was almost single-handedly the reason the Canadiens played the Rangers in the conference final in '86. He came back after spending time in the minors (hang on, that requires determination, er, grit) and was dominant in the playoffs, leading a very young team, at the time. He and the Rangers owned the biggest playoff upsets that year. They were actually worse than Buffalo, who didn't get in because it was top four from each division in those days. I almost forgot that Bowman didn't like Larouche and had a penchant for sitting guys he didn't like, and for playing games, and that Pierre's career was shortened by chronic injuries that were admittedly not helped by his frequent enjoyment of the status that goes with being a pro athlete. But thanks for setting me straight.

How many rings on Cam Neely? Wendel Clark? Aren't they the grit super stars? Grit and admission to the Hall of Fame will get you just as close to the cup.

How do you think Chris Higgins got a broken collarbone (oh, and managed to play with it)? It was surely from shying away. A couple lucky bounces and you'd be holding him up as the next grit super star.

Newsflash: The Flyers traded Umberger right after the playoffs and he's the one who got all those supposedly gritty goals last spring. Again, thanks for setting me straight.

Let's also not forget that most of the gritty guys in Anaheim were Bryan Murray's not Brian Burke's. The latter, if you recall, was responsible for what the Canucks have become--trading to be sure to get both Sedins was him. But thanks, again, for setting me straight.

I saw Detroit get rid of Avery pretty quickly and put Downey and McCarty on waivers. Beyond their checking line--which ours more than matches in grit, by the way--who do they have who is all that "gritty"? Holmstrom? His stats were worse than Latendresse's at comparable ages. The guy didn't really breakout until he was 32-33.

In comparing Montreal to Detroit, I'd say the 3rd/4th lines are a wash. Gritwise, I'd say Maltby, Draper, Cleary, Holmstrom = Lapierre, Kostopolous, Latendresse, Begin and there isn't much to pick otherwise, either. Montreal has better goaltending. Detroit has more depth at defense. They traded Quincey, who could play for just about anyone else b/c there's no room. That speaks for itself. Their 1st two lines have more talent--more natural scoring touch. That's the difference and it's not grit.

Grit only matters if you're not fast enough or talented enough to get to the puck first every time. Speed doesn't have slumps.


Last edited by Chris Nilan: 01-21-2009 at 12:56 PM. Reason: stat added for clarity
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01-21-2009, 12:45 PM
  #39
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Originally Posted by Chris Nilan View Post
You're right. The Flyers' goal off the side of the net and the goal off the shoulder were grit as called by you and the CBC crew. Sorry.

Um, was the goal off Doug Harvey's glove a gritty goal, too? Damn. We should have traded that guy sooner and given up on that team.

How many rings does Lucky Pierre have? You're telling me all those came by shooting 60' slapshots?

How many rings on Cam Neely? Wendel Clark? Aren't they the grit super stars? Grit and admission to the Hall of Fame will get you just as close to the cup.

How do you think Chris Higgins got a broken collarbone (oh, and managed to play with it)? It was surely from shying away. A couple lucky bounces and you'd be holding him up as the next grit super star.

The Flyers traded Umberger right after the playoffs and he's the one who got all those gritty goals.

Let's also not forget that most of the gritty guys in Anaheim were Bryan Murray's not Brian Burke's. The latter, if you recall, was responsible for what the Canucks have become--trading to be sure to get both Sedins was him.

I saw Detroit get rid of Avery pretty quickly and put Downey and McCarty on waivers. Beyond their checking line--which ours more than matches in grit, by the way--who do they have who is all that "gritty"? Holmstrom? His stats were worse than Latendresse's at comparable ages. The guy didn't really breakout until he was 32-33.

In comparing Montreal to Detroit, I'd say the 3rd/4th lines are a wash. Gritwise, I'd say Maltby, Draper, Cleary, Holmstrom = Lapierre, Kostopolous, Latendresse, Begin and there isn't much to pick otherwise, either. Montreal has better goaltending. Detroit has more depth at defense. They traded Quincey, who could play for just about anyone else b/c there's no room. That speaks for itself. Their 1st two lines have more talent--more natural scoring touch. That's the difference and it's not grit.

Grit only matters if you're not fast enough or talented enough to get to the puck first every time. Speed doesn't have slumps.
Interesting. Good perspective.

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01-21-2009, 03:30 PM
  #40
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Originally Posted by Chris Nilan View Post
You're right. The Flyers' goal off the side of the net and the goal off the shoulder were grit as called by you and the CBC crew. Sorry.

Um, was the goal off Doug Harvey's glove in '54 a gritty goal, too? Damn. We should have traded that guy sooner and given up on that team. Where were you and all those gritty guys when Frank Selke needed you?

How many rings does Lucky Pierre have? You're telling me he scored 395 goals by shooting 60' slapshots? Oh, and he was almost single-handedly the reason the Canadiens played the Rangers in the conference final in '86. He came back after spending time in the minors (hang on, that requires determination, er, grit) and was dominant in the playoffs, leading a very young team, at the time. He and the Rangers owned the biggest playoff upsets that year. They were actually worse than Buffalo, who didn't get in because it was top four from each division in those days. I almost forgot that Bowman didn't like Larouche and had a penchant for sitting guys he didn't like, and for playing games, and that Pierre's career was shortened by chronic injuries that were admittedly not helped by his frequent enjoyment of the status that goes with being a pro athlete. But thanks for setting me straight.

How many rings on Cam Neely? Wendel Clark? Aren't they the grit super stars? Grit and admission to the Hall of Fame will get you just as close to the cup.

How do you think Chris Higgins got a broken collarbone (oh, and managed to play with it)? It was surely from shying away. A couple lucky bounces and you'd be holding him up as the next grit super star.

Newsflash: The Flyers traded Umberger right after the playoffs and he's the one who got all those supposedly gritty goals last spring. Again, thanks for setting me straight.

Let's also not forget that most of the gritty guys in Anaheim were Bryan Murray's not Brian Burke's. The latter, if you recall, was responsible for what the Canucks have become--trading to be sure to get both Sedins was him. But thanks, again, for setting me straight.

I saw Detroit get rid of Avery pretty quickly and put Downey and McCarty on waivers. Beyond their checking line--which ours more than matches in grit, by the way--who do they have who is all that "gritty"? Holmstrom? His stats were worse than Latendresse's at comparable ages. The guy didn't really breakout until he was 32-33.

In comparing Montreal to Detroit, I'd say the 3rd/4th lines are a wash. Gritwise, I'd say Maltby, Draper, Cleary, Holmstrom = Lapierre, Kostopolous, Latendresse, Begin and there isn't much to pick otherwise, either. Montreal has better goaltending. Detroit has more depth at defense. They traded Quincey, who could play for just about anyone else b/c there's no room. That speaks for itself. Their 1st two lines have more talent--more natural scoring touch. That's the difference and it's not grit.

Grit only matters if you're not fast enough or talented enough to get to the puck first every time. Speed doesn't have slumps.
Wow, have you ever managed to go off-topic.

Go back to my original post. The point is this: fast, skilled, talented guys like Pacioretty and d'Agostini are a necessary part of an offensively talented team. The team can't be made up exclusively of wingers who are in the Tanguay/Sergei mold. We need guys who can win battles in the corners and who can go to the front of the net, IN ORDER TO SCORE MORE GOALS.

I'm not calling for poor-skating talentless slugs (like say Aaron Downey) to be put on the team. I'm saying that we shouldn't be so fast to send the young, fast offensively-contributing guys back to Hamilton. I'm saying that given that the top three centremen are skilled, talented guys but not power forwards by any means, and given that we have an ARTISTE in one of the RW spots, we don't have room for five more softer type wingers. To maximize our goalscoring, we need some tougher, to-the-net and winner-in-the-corners guys. Of COURSE they also have to skate well enough to keep up with our talented stickhandlers, but Patches and Dags CAN and DO skate well enough!

I'm NOT saying "put Kosto on the first or second line since he has grit" because I know that he doesn't skate well enough and can't finish well enough to complement the Koivus and Kovalevs. But I have no such worries about Patches and Dags.

So if we could move a Higgins or Tanguay or Sergei and get a QUALITY defenceman who can play 20+ minutes, keep the puck away from our net and move it forward expertly, I am ready to do it.

If a trade doesn't happen, then the least performing one of those forwards would become the 13th forward at playoff time if everyone is back from injury, and then maybe next year, I let Tanguay walk and sign JayBo, or something along those lines.

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01-25-2009, 09:46 PM
  #41
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According to our former GM and Hall of Famer Serge Savard, who was the GM the last time we won a Cup, the team needs grit and toughness, which goes along the lines of what some of us have been saying...

http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/267810.html

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01-25-2009, 09:51 PM
  #42
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I think all we need is a big physical defenseman with a great point shot. If only we could have signed both Souray and Hamrlik.

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01-25-2009, 10:20 PM
  #43
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With the Flyers in cap trouble (again) in trying to bring back Brière, I'd pick up the phone and inquire about Scott Hartnell. That's the kind of player that we need to complement our dipsy-doodlers.

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01-25-2009, 10:44 PM
  #44
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We need Kostopoulos' heart transplanted in Kovalev's body. That would effectively give us Ovechkin. But since that's impossible, I'd settle for any top 3 forward that's a bull on skates and is willing to go through a brick wall to win.

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01-25-2009, 11:00 PM
  #45
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As a die hard Leaf fan, I hate everything HABS. But i just came on your board to set you all straight. Forget LeCavalier. From what I can see you are a stud defencement away. There's talk that Anaheim may be willing to move Pronger if they fall out of the race. That's your ticket to the promised land. Give them whatever it takes. Pronger only has one year left on his deal, so it won't effect you long term if the cap goes way down in the future (unlike Lecavalier). You already have enough up front. LeCavalier is a great player and the popular choice but he won't change your team much. Pronger would make you instant favourites.

As a leaf fan, I love watching you lose, so hopefully you make the deal for LeCavalier. As for us...see you in four years (ouch).

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01-25-2009, 11:31 PM
  #46
Templeton
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VanAllen22 View Post
I would look at Bieksa and Artyukhin. But only at the cost of guys like Higgins and Chipchura. I am NOT sold on Chippy and I think Higgins will only backlog the already deep forward position.
Before Artyukhin I would look at a guy like Brian Boyle in L.A. I don't know if he is a tough guy but he can play and he is a monster (6'7'' 244lbs). Kings have tons of centers and the might need something we have. He would cost more but he has more potential. Tough, Montreal ought to look for a reliable defenseman at first. Defense is where everything start.


Last edited by Templeton: 01-25-2009 at 11:37 PM.
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