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Game 24: Habs/Penguins

  • Late breaker today for the Habs vs Pens game. I don’t have much time but I will say that though I’m glad that Sidney Crosby is back, I fear the rampage he’s on right now. Here is hoping that the Habs can channel the game of the team that beat the Rangers last weekend and not that of the Friday afternoon game against the Flyers. Go Habs Go!!!!

  1. Matts, after watching most of the last few games I think it is time to determine who on this teams deserves to stay and who we should be looking at to trade and upgrade that position. So I am going to take stab at this and lets have some discussion.

    Well lets start with the easy part our Goaltending.

    PRICE: I think most of us would agree that Price is one of the untouchables on this team.

    BUDAJ is an adequate backup but is expendible if we could improve our team in other areas.

    Lets move on to more difficult areas.

    DEFENCE: (Gorges, Weber. Diaz, Emelin, Gill,Subban, Spacek, Markov, Camponi.
    When we get healthy and the last three on the list get back to playing, we have 9 defenceman. I can see us dressing seven. With either Weber or Diaz playing fourth line minutes. So who goes.

    Gorges is a reliable defenceman and is gradually taking over a leadership role on this team in the absence of Markov and with Gill and Spacek out recently I was impressed with his leadership with the younger D. So He would stay but he is not untouchable if we can improve our team in other areas.

    Weber: Weber plays a steady game but when big teams pressure him he tends to make bad mistakes and giveaways that are causing problems for our D. I had hoped he was one of the answers to our PP but NOT, he does bring some versatility to the team and can play fourthline minutes and be productive in that area. However, I believe he is tradeable that would help our team.

    Diaz, is the second coming of Weber, however, I believe he is a better defenceman and in time would have more upside than Weber. In his first year in this league his mistake level are not any worse than Weber’s. So my first decision would be that one of these two need to be traded but if I have my choice I keep Diaz.

    PK Subban: He has shown signs of being a super stat but at times he just tries to do too much. One of the reasons I feel is because nights when we are not scoring goals he tends to over play the puck and get himself into trouble. He is a keeper, he just needs more seasoning.

    Emelin, finally the defenceman that likes to play it tough, I believe in two years he could be our best defenceman on the team. He has strength, body checking skills, he can skate and his passes are usually on the money. As he gets a little more comfortable I think you will see his offensive skills start to show up. So he is a keeper as well.

    Markov, a lot has been said about Markov, and really until he starts to play we won’t know if he is capable of taking this team to the next level or not. I think if he can stay healthy he will also help Emelin’s development. So right now he is a keeper but on a short leash based on this health and ability.

    Gill: He has been a stabilizing influence on the young defence, and helped PK, Weber, Gorges and the rest in their development. However, I believe that Gill has done all he can for this team and deserves to be traded to a team that has one final shot at the cup come trading deadline. I think of all our defenceman I have appreciated Gill’s skills on and off the ice more than anyone. He has been this defences ROCK. But his UFA again this spring and if I can get a draft pick or a good prospect as a rental player I would say thanks Gill not go try to win a Cup.

    Spacek, he came back off his injury and actually help stablize our defence when our young guys had no one to turn to. I appreciated that part of his game but he seems to get injured more and more all the time and in his last year of his contract he is trade bait come February if not sooner.

    Camponi, depending on how well the kids are playing he would be traded ASAP once he is healthy. He was a short term solution anyway so again come trading deadline he is gone.

    Well that is my take on our goal and defence. We have about four defence that could be traded and improve our team either immediately or for the future. Obviously we cannot deal all of them unless of course we add defence in the process such as a prospect. I will deal with our offense in my next comment Space.

  2. OUR OFFENSE: Lets list them so we do not forget anyone. Gomez, Gionta, Cammalleri, Plekanec, AK46, Cole, Pacioretty,Eller, Desharmais, Moen, Nokelainen, Darche, Palushaj. These are the players currently playing. We have a few either injured or in the minors but lets concentrate on the current lineup.

    Gomez: Much as been written about Scott and how much money he is making and his lack of contribution based on that money. This seems to be a no brainer as far as trade accept as we all know say and doing are too different things. Gomez seems to have come back and played some good third line minutes but now he is injured again. To me he makes a great third line center for forward for $1-11.5 M however, obviously if he could be traded he would be and it is a matter of time before he is either dealt or sent to Hamilton as a player coach. Gomez may make a good coach someday. So send him to Hamilton give him some responsiblity and if we make the playoffs he is an obvious call up. How knows someone may pick him up on waivers.

    Gionta, maybe it is me but I have been expecting more out of our team captain, not only on the score sheet but also in the leadership area. Gionta should be scoring 25-30 goals a season but just does not seem to get on track. So come February and depending where we are in the playoff picture Gionta could be a salary dump.

    Cammalleri, I have always loved this guy and no more than in are playoff run of two years ago. However, Cammy is going to be turning 30 soon. We pay him $6M to play 60-65 games a year to score 18-20 goals. I asked someone yesterday if you could have two Pacioretti’s for $3M each or one Cammy what would you want. Well to me it is a no brainer. If your go to guy only scores =\- 20 goals a year and only plays 3/4’s of the schedule each year is it $6M well spent or now. I say NOT. So Cammy would be dealt ASAP for a younger player who can grow with this young team.

    Plakanec: He has always been thought of has our #1 centre but i feel he has been harnessed with linemates that play the same kind of game he plays and therefore he has not been as successful as he should be. I blame this on JM. Plekanec is a keeper and I would not trade him.

    AK 46: Well everytime we start to talk of trading this guy he starts to play like we all know he can but doesn’t. Then he plays great for about six or seven games and then he goes back into this Kovelev impersonation for another 10 games. This guy should score 30+ goals a year, is it time to say maybe we would be better off seeing if there is interest out there for him. I like his skill levels and his physical presence. I do not like his consistency which is typical of many Russan forwards. He is UFA this summer so I say trade him now before he walks.

    Cole: The last of the top six especially considering salary is Cole, he has been a present surprise and not scored as much as we had hoped but his provides the speed, strength and skill levels that appear to be helping this team and he is signed for a few years so he is a keeper at this point.

    So we can break this up a little I will stop this posting with these six and start another.

  3. Next up Pacioretty, Eller, Deshamais, Moen, Darche, Nokelainen

    To me Pacioretty, Eller and Desharmais and untouchables based on this age, salary and what they bring to this team, so I am not going to discuss even the thought of trading these guys, they are part of the future of this team.

    Moen is playing probably the best he has played since coming to our team, so depending on our playoff chances in February, he is a make or break guy. Moen is like trading in the stock market, buy low sell high and Moen could not have any higher value than he does right now. So if we could get something great for Moen and if we are looking like missing the playoffs, then he goes in February.

    Darche seems to be lost this year? I am not sure why but I have a notion that he does not seem to be able to gell with his linemates. So when White comes back Darche is on the market.

    Nokelainen is a good fourth line center with good faceoff skills which is one thing we need so although I am not attached to him, I would not trade him right now.

    White; i did not includin him in my initial list but hopefull he comes back healthy, he his the type of guy and can fit in on any team.

    So these are my ideas, I would be be interesting in everyone’s elses opinions.

  4. #4 Avatar37 says:
    November 27, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Senet – Between Diaz and Weber, I thought there were interchangeable until I started paying closer attention. Diaz has a bit more edge to his game, and is better defensively than Weber, my choice would be to trade Weber for McQuaid.

    McQuaid will make $1.5 mil a year after this season, but that’s less than Campoli is making, and I think Boston would be open to trading a tough defensive d-man for someone with more offensive upside. Emelin could certainly use the help in the physical department, and Price would certainly appreciate someone who can keep players running him as often. Even in last night’s game, the second goal that was disallowed came because the Pitts player deliberately turned his skates into Price. Habs response to someone running Price? Nothing. How long will it be before someone runs Price like Lucic ran Miller? What will the Habs response be?

    I listened to Coach’s Corner last night, and Don was talking about the Lucic hit on Miller, and I thought what he had to say was very appropriate for the Habs:

    “Everyone complained about the lack of response by Buffalo on the hit by Miller. You can’t have a bunch of greyhounds and expect them to turn into pittbulls. Buffalo, no enforcer, and you expect them to fight Lucic and Chara? It’s completely unfair for people to criticize them, you can’t expect greyhounds to be pittbulls.” (If there’s any part of his quote that is inaccurate, I apologize, but I tried to quote him as acurately as I remember what he said).

    We play in the same division as Ottawa, Toronto, and Boston, all with multiple fighters on the roster. It’s not so much the fighters that are the main problem, it’s the cheap shot artists that try and deliberately hurt other players and often get away with it (Chara on Pacioretty, Lucic on Miller, Malone on Campoli are three examples that come to mind). This is why we need a real dur-a-cuir, a legitimate tough guy. McQuaid could bring this to our roster, and certainly keep players like Lucic off Price.

    Subban is a great offensive d-man with the typical holes in his defensive game. Someone needs to actually coach this kid on how to play defense, or he’s liable to turn into another Marc-Andre Bergeron or Brisebois. Just in observing his posture, he doesn’t know how to hold himself or his stick when it’s a 2 on 1, or in covering someone in front of the net. These are skills that are teachable, and someone better do it fast, while he’s still young.

    Emelin has a great skill set and physical presence, I agree with your assessment completely.

    Gill is a good defensive d-man with little offensive upside. If we could have him for about $1.5 mil a year, I’d say keep him. Otherwise, he’s not worth the extra room under the cap. I disagree with you saying to him go win a cup somewhere else, because we’re trying to win the cup here! =D

    Spacek I’d love to trade but I doubt there are any takers out there, more than likely he’ll depart as a free agent come summer, which is fine considering the youth we have in our system in need of a roster spot.

    Campoli is a rental player, he’ll be gone at the end of the year. Hopefully he’ll be around to play the second half of the season for us, but it’s hard to say how good or bad he is, he’s played in one game for us.


    For our offense, I just want to preface this by saying I like our current offensive roster. We have certain players in slumps (Gomez, Gionta, Cammalleri) and certain players who aren’t (Cole, Pacioretty, Moen). I Hesitate to want to dump players who are slumping simply because they are in a slump. How much will Gomez’ game improve once he has Markov able to hit him in stride with breakout passes? I noticed a decline in Gomez’ game with Markov out of the lineup. Why is Cammalleri slumping? I have no idea, but I do know that when he’s on his game, he’s amazing to watch, and so is Gionta, they all have the ability to be game breakers, and I hope they find their games soon.

    If we were to trade any of them away, it would also have to be for game breakers. Iginla and Nash have all come up in trade rumours, wouldn’t it be great if a blockbuster trade could be pulled off that could bring those two players to our roster? That would involve a trade or demotion of Gomez, picks/prospects, and a roster player. For those two names, the only untouchables on our current roster of forwards, I’d say, are Pacioretty, Plekanec, Eller, and Cole. Iginla makes $7 mil a year. Nash makes $7.8 mil a year. The only way to afford those two players would be to get rid of Gomez’ salary $7.35 mil, and either Cammalleri’s $6 mil or AK $3.2 mil and Spacek $3.8 mil. I’d personally choose the latter, as I’d love to see Cammalleri reunited on a line with Iginla.

    Want to see Pleks pick his game up? Center him on a line between Cole and Pacioretty. Or put Eller between them, his style of play fits in perfectly with Cole and Pacioretty. Then again, so does Iginla. Can you imagine a line of Cammalleri-Iginla-Nash? Or Gionta-Iginla-Nash? And a third line involving Eller-(Gionta/Cammalleri)-White? It’s a third line better than most team’s second lines. The possibilities are sick.

    Darche doesn’t seem to be doing well since the departure of Pyatt. I’m not sure why we let Pyatt go, he’s playing in Tampa for $525,000.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts.

  5. Avatar, I understand what you are saying, when I suggested that Gill be traded at the deadline to go win a cup, I had suggested that if we were in a position that we were not going to make the playoffs then as a FA we could rent him out to a contending team so he might have a cup shot. However, if we wanted to we could still sign him in the off season but personally, I have always been a Gill supporter but I think he is close to retirement so not sure that I would sign him again especially with all the young D-men we have. I wonder if he would be interested in coaching, I think he works so well with the young D-men that maybe he would be interested in a position as a coach or playing coach in Hamilton? Just a thought.

    As far as the offense is concerned, you could be right and these guys are just in a slump but personally, I think age and injuries are catching up to these guys and I would like to trade some of them while they still have a market value. If they go all year with little production then next year you are still paying $5-$6M for players who cannot score 20 goals, and really isn’t that kind of money a little much for a 20 goal scorer with less than 50 points???? That is my take on our situation for what it is worth. To me $5M is for players who should score 25-35 goals a year. Players like Carter who are under 30, have offensive upside and in his case he brings size to the table too.

  6. As for Weber and Diaz, I would agree, I believe in time Diaz will be much better than Weber. Weber has been in the league I believe this is his third year count parts of other years, so Diaz to me has adjusted fairly well for his first 20 games in this league. He will get better. Weber should be at least a level or two better than Diaz and he isn’t, so he is the one young defenceman I would trade for the right player.

  7. In order to get McQuaid there would have to be a third team involved because Boston would not trade McQuaid to us. Just would not happen and why would they want Weber, he does not fit their team at all.

  8. As long as out defence is healthy and the young kids are playing reasonably well, I would keep playing them and trade Camponi. If you can even pick up draft picks that could help us in two or three years. Spacek maybe tradeable to teams looking for help at the end of the season for a playoff run?

    I doubt Nash will ever be available but never is a long time. Iglina maybe but then again if he is there will be about 10 teams trying to get him so our offer would have to be really good. Not sure we are in that good of a position to be in a bidding war.

    To me the biggest disappointments are Cammy, Gionta and pLEXin that order. None of them are playing well, I think part of the problem is they are all playing on the same line. They do not seem to work well together.

    I like the idea of either Eller or Plex centering Patches and Cole. My only problem is Desharmais is playing pretty well with these two big guys. What do you do with him. He has protection playing witht he big players, but if you move him off that line then it creates another problem. If we did not make any trades I would leave that line in tac and move Eller between Gionta and AK 46. Then I would move moen with Plex and Cammy. That way we have a little grit on each line and we do not give up any speed.

  9. Our biggest issue for both offense and defence is whether Markov will be able to play up to his potential. If not then we are in real trouble, if he can rejuvenate the PP and steady the defence then you could be right and he may improve Cammy, Gio and Plex’s output. Hope so. If not then the trades I mentioned to me we have to make and start rebuilding the offensive part of this team.

  10. #10 Avatar37 says:
    November 28, 2011 at 1:04 am

    Senet – You’re right, Gill might make a great coach, it’s definitely a possibility worth investigating, and if he wanted a trade with a team in a better position of winning the cup, I’d accomodate him. However, I really like our chances in the playoffs once we get there, especially if we have Markov healthy and back to form.

    Weber is considered an offensive defenseman, and might make a good fit in with Boston. They have ‘toughness’ to spare, I don’t think they’d miss McQuaid, and they only paid a 4th round pick to get him. His salary jumps next year by a million, they might figure for what they’re getting that Weber would be a better fit, and I think McQuaid would make a good fit with our club. Just my take on it. Not sure if Boston would be willing to trade, but I can’t see them not trading if they think it benefits their club to do so. They’ve traded with Toronto before, another team in their division, and their coach is Julien, plus they have several ex Habs on the roster, so I’d be surprised if they would decline a trade that they thought would benefit their roster.

  11. Avatar you could be right but most of the habs players that are there are not from trades. Montreal and Boston just simply hate each other, Boston has not had that kind of relationship with the Leafs since the 1960’s so although I would make the trade, I would bet that Boston would not trade directly with us. On the other hand if we could get a third team involved then I could see it happening.

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