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Thread: Montreal Canadiens

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikerocksthered View Post
    Entire post was great! Luckily I benched Price tonight because I am ahead of pace for goalies at this point, and don't need to chance lowering my top of the league SV% or GAA. Wasn't able to watch this game tonight, but couldn't believe when I saw the score. Just glad to read your post and hear that Price battled to the end, your continued confidence in him!
    Thanks for the feedback. With goaltending I tend to go by the following theory: shit happens. Goals of all kinds will go in during a season. All he can do is stop the next puck, win the next game, etc. And from the body language I saw, although he was upset at the team he continued to battle and make tough saves. Let's see how this goes tomorrow.


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  2. #62
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    According to RDS, Pouliot and Subban are scratched tonight. Weber and Kostitsyn are in. No TSN ice chips showing the lineup in practice and the way Martin juggles lines who knows how that will go. My best bet is Cammalleri-Plekanec-Kostitsyn and Pacioretty-Gomez-Gionta. The bottom 6 are in limbo.


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  3. #63
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    Default Montreal Canadiens in 3 years

    As requested by Bighabfan, here's a review of what the Habs may look like in 3 years. I'm going to put a fantasy spin on it, as each player's location on the depth chart clearly impacts how he will perform. I'll break it down position by position (with dark horse possibilities where they exist) and then I'll explain which roster players and Bulldogs will be gone and why. I know that players move around from one wing to the other but I'll try to list everything in terms of "depth chart" to make things more simple.

    Left Wing

    Clearly, this position is dominated by Mike Cammalleri. He's currently in year 2 of a 5-year contract. In 3 years he'll be in the final year of that deal. He's not going anywhere and I don't see anyone in the organization overtaking him. He has flaws but his scoring ability is invaluable to any team.

    The #2 spot is up for grabs right now. The prime candidates to win the spot long-term are Benoit Pouliot and Max Pacioretty. If this season is any indication Pacioretty has the inside track. He has performed at an elite level in the AHL and has been nothing short of spectacular since being called up. I believe he has this spot locked down. His upside during these three years is roughly the same as Andrei Kostitsyn (50-60 points). He could put up decent PIM totals too.

    Pouliot appears to be on the outs. He might be kept around as a 3rd line depth scorer but I believe within 3 years he'll be a UFA and will probably seek a team like the Islanders where his off-and-on play will be more tolerated.

    The 3rd spot will probably go to a graduating Bulldog. My best bet is Ben Maxwell. He's a very reponsible two-way player who has paid his dues in the AHL. I believe he'll transition into a quality 3rd line player at the NHL level. As such, don't expect much offensively.

    The last spot could go to Max Lapierre. He's more of a RW but as you'll see later the team has some intriguing players that can slip into RW spots. Therefore, Lapierre could easily switch to LW. His crash-the-net style makes it almost irrelevant which wing he plays.

    Center

    Here the Canadiens are very deep with long-term contracts. The top two spots remain in possession of Tomas Plekanec and Scott Gomez. This is overall a solid yet unspectacular duo that will perform effectively as long as the wingers are providing the necessary support.

    Currently Jeff Halpern is performing admirably on the third line. But I believe he will cash in this summer on another team. That gives a 3rd line spot for Lars Eller. He's certainly fit for the role in terms of skill set and playing style. He will remain here until Gomez hits the free agent market. For now expect under 45 points.

    The fourth line center spot interests me. I don't see anyone in the system that will step in and take this spot. I firmly believe it will be filled externally. Jacques Martin likes defensive minded vets and I could see him fetching a cheap guy that is good on faceoffs. There are talented centermen in the system however I don't believe it's in their best interest to be getting under 10 minutes a night.

    Right wing

    Captain Brian Gionta will remain #1 in the organization in the next 3 years. Nobody will overtake him. It will be the final year of his contract. I would hope to see him sign an extension at that point. He's a very good player to have on a team as he does everything well.

    Number two is a bit of a toss-up. Andrei Kostitsyn has been in the coach's doghouse lately but I believe he will remain in the organization as a serviceable streaky scorer. Barring that, they might fetch a replacement on the free agent market. Expect more of the same offensively with a slight possibility of hitting the high 50s.

    Next is where things get very interesting. Two spots available and a number of candidates could step in. Aaron Palushaj, Ryan White, Ian Schultz, Louis Leblanc, David Desharnais and Danny Kristo all have a chance at securing a position. However, I tend to side with Palushaj and White.

    Palushaj has quietly been very good in Hamilton this season. His success has been overshadowed by Pacioretty, but he won't remain a hidden gem for long. Next to Eller and Maxwell, this could form a very good young 3rd line. Just don't expect much offensively as long as he's on line 3.

    White came close to making the Habs out of training camp this year. He's not very gifted offensively but he's sound two-way and does all the little things to succeed including crashing the net and riling up the opposition. He could offer a nice PIM payoff for people in deep pools, and unfortunately due to his lack of talent this is probably as high on the depth chart as it gets for him.

    Defence

    This area of the team will go through a major transition over the next 3 years. Some of this transition has already begun, as young blueliners PK Subban and Yannick Weber have had a lot of exposure, and even more than anticipated due to the serious injuries to Andrei Markov. With veteran contracts running out expect some major turnover in bodies in the years to come. Some young players will emerge while other vets will be brought in as well.

    The first pair will be future captain Josh Gorges partnering with PK Subban. Gorges has developed into an outstanding defensive defenceman and shot blocker. Subban, for all his struggles, remains an elite talent and will improve in his own end over time. His agitating qualities also add to his effectiveness against the other team's top talent. Gorges will remain a 20-25 point guy, but if your pool counts blocked shots he could be valuable. In Subban's case, the upside is nearly unlimited but how much he will grasp the pro game in 3 years remains to be seen. My bet is a solid 40-45 points (80+ PIM) with some progress shown in the turnover department.

    The second pair will feature Weber. He has improved a lot in his time in the AHL and has had some good moments in the NHL already. He will man the top power play unit with Subban in 3 years time. His partner could come from within but I tend to favor signing a veteran free agent (think Roman Hamrlik but younger). As for Weber, think 35-45 points, around the same totals as Subban.

    The third pair in 3 years could very well feature a rookie or sophmore Jarred Tinordi. I expect him to be brought along in a way similar to Mike Komisarek and Ryan O'Byrne in the past. He will see limited ice time (around 14-15 minutes per game in the early going) and this will increase as he develops and gains consistency. In pools he doesn't have much value but his presence could help Carey Price in the long run. His partner could be a Bulldogs graduate such as Mathieu Carle or Brendon Nash. I tend to think it will be another vet defenceman, probably one on the cheap side but with enough leadership qualities to help Tinordi along.

    Goaltending

    Obviously Carey Price remains a fixture in goal. Nothing will change here. His backup position offers a bit of intrigue as it may be a bit of a revolving door. Currently it's Alex Auld in this position, but I don't expect him to be retained. Karri Ramo could be brought in as a backup next season but I highly doubt he remains in the organization 3 years from now. I see him taking the quick NHL dollar and then going back to the KHL. He has done next to nothing in North American pro hockey so the deck is stacked against him if/when he does return.

    All in all, I believe in 3 years time it will be Price pairing up with a cheap veteran goalie that knows his role.


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  4. #64
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    Default Montreal Canadiens in 3 years (continued)

    Dark Horse players that have not been outlined

    Ian Schultz: He could be a guy that steals Max Lapierre's spot in the lineup. He's a quality player that probably offers an offensive upside similar to Ryan White. That is, it's probably 4th line and nothing more. With his size he could pick up a lot of the enforcer slack that's lacking in Montreal right now. I just don't know if he will arrive in the NHL within 3 years.

    Louis Leblanc: He will probably be in his final year with the Bulldogs 3 years from today. He has an outside chance of securing a roster spot though, especially if guys like Kostitsyn and Pacioretty don't work out. He'll be a good one, especially in pools, but you'll have to wait. In the end, it's better for young guys not to be rushed.

    Mathieu Carle: He's a good two-way defenceman that could earn a spot on the Canadiens at some point. But with Subban, Weber and Tinordi in the organization I fear he could be victim of the numbers game and may be forced to find work elsewhere.

    Brendon Nash: I believe his chances of being a Canadien are better than Carle. He has come seemingly out of nowhere and has played very well with the Bulldogs this season (31 games, 14 points, +12, 33 PIM). With a bit of seasoning, he could win a spot in Montreal. His size would be a welcome addition and he could be a decent points/PIM combo player in Montreal once day.

    David Desharnais: He has no problem scoring at the AHL level. Earning a spot in the NHL could be a huge challenge nonetheless. He's a tiny player and is definitely not suited for a defensive role. He does have 3 shorthanded goals in Hamilton, so that could be a sign of him adjusting his game and putting more focus on the defensive side of things (and the coach trusting him in man-short situations). If he does make it he will have to steal a spot from Maxwell or Palushaj. Otherwise he might go into Brett Sterling mode while moving on to different teams looking for an opportunity.

    Danny Kristo: Still in College, he's a good talent but I don't think he will arrive in the NHL within the next 3 years. He's going to need a lot of seasoning. He could surprise though and push for a spot in the bottom six.

    Mathieu Darche: I feel that within 3 years he will be gone, because he's 34 now and teams don't retain guys like Darche as long-term fixes in their lineups. But he's scoring at a very nice clip this season and could pull off the impossible and remain in Montreal come 3 years time.

    Players not already detailed that won't be in the organization in 3 years

    Travis Moen: He has no hands whatsoever. He misses so many chances. This will probably be the flaw that forces him out of hockey. He is tough and works hard defensively, but there are other good two-way players that are better skaters and have more scoring ability.

    Tom Pyatt: Like Moen, I just feel his hockey skills are what you think would be required of an NHL player. He's a good defensive player and is versatile but so is Ben Maxwell. Expect him to be on the outs soon, although he might be carried as a 13th forward for a season or two.

    Dustin Boyd: Just hasn't fit in well in Montreal. Being waived and demoted is usually not a good sign when it comes to long-term future within the organization.

    Alexander Avtsyn: A lot of people are interested in this guy. Dobber likes him. I believe he's talented enough to be in the NHL but in order to get there he'll need another 2-3 years of AHL seasoning. With the more immediate coin offered in the KHL I tend to side with him departing before he has time to realize his potential in North America.

    Andrei Markov: I wrote a long article about his situation. If he is retained it will be short term, meaning the chances of him being here in 3 years are almost nil. The only way he sticks around is if he's willing to sign short-term contracts at a discount level. He could be the vet paired with Weber in 3 years time, but that is highly unlikely.

    Roman Hamrlik: He's currently being paid too much money to be retained. He's a good player and has done the best he can to fill in for some of the minutes lost by Markov's injury. That said, he's 36 now. I fully expect him to be retired within 3 years.

    Hal Gill: I believe his play warrants another two-year contract. But after those two years, I believe the extra miles on his legs will make his skating even more of a liability. If his body and skills hold up to the test of time he could be used as a groomer for Tinordi.

    Jaroslav Spacek: I don't like this player. He has put up numbers in the past but he makes so many mistakes that it's tough to justify the offence. I did not know about this before he signed in Montreal, but I've been disappointed with him other than a few games here and there. His contract runs out next season and I believe that's the end of him in this town.

    Alexandre Picard: He's a short term fix. I don't believe he has a long-term future in the NHL period. He plays safe but does not stand out in any one area, and that is often the undoing for a lot of players.

    If anyone is missing and you'd like to see some analysis please let me know. Otherwise thanks to Bighabfan for the idea and I hope you enjoy reading this.


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    Default Canadiens 3, Hurricanes 2

    Finally a good effort by the Habs. They controlled the play for most of the game. The power play made the difference as they scored 2 goals during a 5 minute power play awarded after Erik Cole hit Jaroslav Spacek from behind into the boards. Now some analysis:

    Carey Price: Solid bounce back game. He was soft on the first goal but responded very well to the situation, especially in the 3rd. His positioning was very good which made saves a lot easier. Needs to stop trying to make the big play when handling the puck as he nearly got caught twice trying to clear the puck out of the zone. The overhandling is my only complaint.

    Andrei Kostitsyn: Solid game returning from the press box. Used his size to gain position in front of Cam Ward for a PPG in the 2nd. He and his linemates Plekanec and Cammalleri each had several near misses. A good night for this line.

    Pacioretty/Gomez/Gionta: I say this a lot but they were the best line out there tonight in terms of puck control and scoring chances. Gomez now has 8 points in the last 5 games (2 points tongiht). All I can say is wow. He was the MVP of the game. The two wingers failed to register any points but they contributed to a lot of attack zone time.

    Hamrlik/Spacek: Brutal night for this pair of defenders. They played the most minutes and were on their heels for most of it. Part of the reason is the speed of the Hurricanes forwards, although the speed didn't seem to affect Hal Gill so I don't know. They could also be tired, as they're getting a ton of ice time since Markov blew out his knee. Also factoring in is Spacek getting his bell rung on the Cole hit. Perhaps he should have been kept out of the game after that.

    Picard/Weber: A decent night of work overall. Picard was solid (including a PPG game winning goal) but Weber was rather ordinary. Perhaps Picard is feeling the heat because at some point he might be the one to sit out in favor of Weber and Subban.

    Recommendation: I understand the rationale behind pairing Spacek with Hamrlik. They're both experienced vets that can handle a lot of minutes. But in a game like this one their lack of foot speed was evident. Like I mentioned in reply to Dean Youngblood a few days ago, I think it's time to return Subban with Hamrlik. It worked so well in the playoffs. Meanwhile they can pair Spacek with either Picard or Weber. It can only benefit the younger defencemen to have experience at their side, while the vets can use some fresh legs at their side. Everybody wins!


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  6. #66
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    Played Price tonight despite being ahead of pace on goalies. Glad I did!!!! You said not to fear, and it paid off. Thanks!
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikerocksthered View Post
    Played Price tonight despite being ahead of pace on goalies. Glad I did!!!! You said not to fear, and it paid off. Thanks!
    Glad it worked out. I was actually going to imply that it might be best to sit him for a few additional games because the team has stunk it up recently but I'm glad you interpreted the improved body language as a sign of better things to come.


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    Default Louis Leblanc: Canada vs Russia

    Had the chance to watch the 2nd and 3rd periods of the game today (outdoor hockey at my house 1-5 PM today). I was very impressed with Louis Leblanc. He was tenacious and good with the puck along the boards. He was especially good killing a penalty in the 3rd period. I did not see his assist in the 1st.

    Based on what I saw he has a style of play that is appealing to NHL coaches which means he'll be a player for a while. How much of his upside he realizes is up to how much his offensive game develops. If he keeps it up he might force his way onto the Habs sooner than the projection I made in my "Habs in 3 years" article.


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    Default Canadiens 1, Islanders 4

    As the title of this post states, this was a very forgettable game. Moen and Subban were healthy scratches, and the result was a very flat performance. Don't let the shots fool you, so many shots were just wasted opportunities. On to some individual analysis.

    Mike Cammalleri: Was surprised to see him get some shifts killing penalties next to Plekanec (since his usual partner was Moen). Cammy created a lot of offence while killing penalties and received 3:12 in shorthanded situations overall. Keep an eye on this situation as the Plekanec/Cammalleri duo is prime for some SHG opportunities.

    Tomas Plekanec: About the only Canadien forward that had a positive effect on the game. Fought hard and created chances all game.

    Roman Hamrlik: Another terrible game. Too many giveaways and weak coverages. He is probably worn out but this level of play is not acceptable for a guy that gets 23 minutes of ice time.

    Carey Price: Very unfocused tonight like most of his teammates. Mishandled the puck all night which led to a near-goal that was disallowed after video review. Basically he gave the puck away to an Islander and on his way back to the crease he deflected the puck onto the goal line. Josh Gorges cleared the puck right before it crossed the line.

    Maxim Lapierre: Not really an analysis here, but in the 2nd period he was drilled from behind and received a diving penalty (along with the original boarding call on Comeau). I don't understand how a guy that gets drilled from behind gets called for diving. How do you embellish a hit you don't see coming? I know he's marked as a known diver but this was just a bad call.

    PK Subban: More of a big picture analysis here, but why keep him out of the lineup? I know that they won and Martin doesn't like changing a winning lineup (even thougn he did - he re-inserted Pouliot) but this is a very short-sighted way of thinking. It's one win. The season and the player's development are more important than a short term boost. Meanwhile, send Yannick Weber back to Hamilton. He needs the ice time and he's clearly #7 on the Habs. Call up an older guy like Alex Henry to serve as #7. And then only call up Weber when he's going to be used (injury replacement).


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  10. #70
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    You failed to mention MTL taking way more penalties than the opposition...and playing poor team defense again and again. The game is over before it starts because they shoot themselves in the foot - failed clearing attempts, turnovers in their own zone, lack of finishing, etc.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by lektrix View Post
    You failed to mention MTL taking way more penalties than the opposition...and playing poor team defense again and again. The game is over before it starts because they shoot themselves in the foot - failed clearing attempts, turnovers in their own zone, lack of finishing, etc.....
    Yes I did omit this, and thanks for bringing that up. Part of that plays into what I wrote about Hamrlik - he and Spacek are the main culprits when it comes to the bad play. They stopped doing the easy things well and as a result finishing plays becomes so complicated.

    Another thing - Andrei Kostitsyn was BAD during this game.


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    According to RDS (french article):

    http://www.rds.ca/canadien/chroniques/312253.html

    Josh Gorges and Travis Moen missed practice today. Moen in fact had the flu (which is why Pouliot was back in the lineup last night) while it is a known fact that Gorges has been playing hurt for a while. He got hurt again in the Isles game (missed parts of the 3rd, but I know it was a foot issue) and I wouldn't be surprised to see him miss a game or two. Something to keep an eye on as these two players can assure that Subban, Weber and Pouliot are in the lineup.


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    Default Canadiens acquire Wisniewski

    As reported on TSN and on the dobberhockey message board, Wisniewski to Habs for 2011 2nd and 2012 5th. I'm heading out for dinner but will have more on this later tonight.


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    Quote Originally Posted by ericdaoust View Post
    Thanks for the feedback. I'm really enjoying the chance to do some hockey writing and since I'm always watching the Habs games so it's barely a dent in my schedule to do the game recaps. I'm glad it's serving a purpose.

    Price is a really fascinating goaltender. He's a great case study for those who wish to learn more about the "game within the game" that goes on behind the mask. Sure it's easy to draft Brodeur or Luongo, but understanding how goalies react to various environments can be key in making middle-round choices that often win or lose pools.

    Do you know anything about Price behind the scenes in your town that isn't already known? So much has been made about his life in the NHL but not much is known about his personal life beyond the airplane rides he would get to games in his youth hockey days. Any info there would be appreciated.

    As for McGoo, he has a lifetime invitation to do game recaps here whenever he wants.

    Sorry Eric, I'm quite a bit older than Carey and had moved away before he came to prominence in Williams Lake Minor Hockey. I know a couple of stories 1 funny and 1 insightful but other than that I'm just a huge fan who grew up with his midget rep coach.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericdaoust View Post
    As reported on TSN and on the dobberhockey message board, Wisniewski to Habs for 2011 2nd and 2012 5th. I'm heading out for dinner but will have more on this later tonight.

    Looking forward to your analysis Eric. I'm thinking this is a great shot in the arm for the D as it may lower Spacek's ice time, toughen up the area in front of Carey and give an other veteran to pair PK up with.

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