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Game 65: Habs/Sharks

  • I love when the Habs play Western Conference teams. Not because we win (we usually lose), but because it offers a chance to see players that we just don’t see enough of during the course of a season. The Olympics was such a fantastic opportunity to see a guy like Shea Weber, who Habs fans see at most a couple times over the course of a few seasons.  How fun was it to watch Drew Doughty or Dan Boyle? I know the NHL sticks to its set up to cut down on player travel and costs, but I for one would LOVE to see a little less of the East and more of the West on a regular basis.

    That said, I wont see it tonight other than probably the first period. A 10:30pm EST start time is out of my range these days. (Me 5 years ago would mock present day me for that). So lets hope for a good first 20 if for nothing other then entertainment.

    Deadline: Gauthier stayed the course yesterday, choosing not to involve himself other then the two minor deals he had already made. Honestly, as much as you would love to hear some exciting deal where Gomez was dealt for Ovechkin, Doughty and Miller – I think that the best that PG could do was to stay out of the mess.

    Consider for a moment that Boston traded a second round pick for Seidenburg, while letting Morris go for a fouth round pick? Huh? How about the Leafs, full of talk of a first rounder for Ponikarovsky, who let him go for (in essence) Caputi (a 4th round pick), and a 5th rounder.. Huh?

    There are so many examples of GMs who made deals seemingly just to be involved in the mix yesterday. It is SO much easier to be ripped off than to win a trade in the NHL. Gauthier simply hasn’t had the opportunity to evaluate his team this season. We have a hard time too. What is Benoit Pouliot? How about one of the leading scorers of the Olympic tourney -Sergei Kostitsyn? If they get the opportunity – could they be the answer to our top 6 forward questions? We’d need to see them play to know. With so many injuries devastating our lineup through the season it is near impossible to judge what this team is. Despite the trials of this season we are in 7th in the East (for now). Might we be better if Markov, Gionta, Kostitsyn x2, Cammy had all been in the lineup? Without any evidence, it is far more likely that to land a good player Montreal would have to sacrifice too much in the way of prospects and picks. For a team whose fans are constantly aware of the trap of being a ‘tweener – this would be disaster.

    Deadline deals almost NEVER improve a team in the long run. Montreal’s fate is tied directly to the development of talent already in the system. There is good news in that. PK Subban WILL be on this team next year. The kid is dynamite. He is the owner of a mind-boggling +36 +- ratio!  Ryan O’Byrne is 200% better than last year, and will be cheap muscle again next year. We probably have 3 or 4 NHL level goalies in our system. That is money in the bank. In fact Guy Boucher’s Bulldogs are tearing up the AHL. There is talent being developed. Guys are getting the opportunity to play, and learn which will pay off in the end just as it did when the ‘Dogs won the Calder Cup a few years back. While the Habs remain in limbo, there are reasons to believe that staying the course might be the best possible strategy- if not for this season, then for the ones to come.

  1. #1 Senet1 says:
    March 4, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    I agree that this was not the time to be making deals especailly when there was not Many GM’s that were in the selling mode. So every GM was looking for something for nothng and some teams accomplished that like Pittsburg. There were a couple of players I would have liked but they were not sure things so better not trade away the farm for a chance.

  2. #2 Senet1 says:
    March 4, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    Everyone talks about getting rid of this player or than of that we have a terrible team and should be rebuilding but if you go down the list of players who would you want to get rid of?

    Let start with our top two lines. Who would you want to get rid of, Gomez is a good player he just makes too much money. Gionta and Pouliot I would keep. Everyone says we should be resigning Plekanec and not sure if anyone would get rid of Cammy. That leaves AK46 who has played off and on to me he has market value and would be the one player I would consider trading in the top six especially if we could get a power forward who could play on one of the top two lines and oontribute. The bottom six forwards we have some good and some not so good but they should be easy to replace or repair the holes. Many of those holes could be filled by our Hamilton players. To me we have four good defenceman and four that are average or below average. We have one or two in the minors ready to come up.

  3. #3 Mats Naslund says:
    March 5, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Well, I don’t know about you guys, but when I went to bed the Habs had a 2-1 lead – so its clearly not my fault they lost last night. It was a bummer to wake up to the highlights of a third where the team gave up 2 goals to lose in regulation. I only saw the 1st and half of the 2nd period, but I have to say the Habs played a good game last night. Price was fantastic. The 3 goals were solid NHL goals. 2 redirections and a roof job through traffic to seal the win. Unfortunately in the NHL it doesn’t matter if you played well or not. A loss is a loss and with it, Montreal has been relegated to 10th place. Such is life in the parity filled NHL.

    I still say this team makes the playoffs. I know it sounds crazy. Its not based on any rational mathematics. I just think they’re better than the teams around them in the standings. Boston just won its first home game in 10 attempts. They may be feeling relieved – but they are terrible. I watched most of their game with the Leafs and they were very lucky to be in that one at all. If the Leafs could finish a break-away (they had at least 4 in the game) there would have been no reason for a shoot-out. But hey, thats why they’re the Leafs.

    At some point NOT having Kovalchuk is going to catch up to Atlanta. They may be rallying for the cause right now, but if Antropov, Afinigenov, and Bergefors is what it takes to get it done in the NHL these days – we’re ALL calling for the wrong players to be brought in.

    If Montreal can somehow get all hands on deck for the final 15 games of the year, they could ride hot goaltending in a head-to-head battle with the Rangers for the post-season. Of course, all that guarantees is a date with Washington or Pittsburgh in the first round. But from my perspective – a year with playoff experience for those IN our system is more important than moving a couple places down in the draft order to roll the dice on a mid-1st rounder who probably wont make the team for 2 years. With an expanded roster we could bring PK up for a taste. Who knows, maybe a goaltender steals a round to clarify our situation. We own Washington this year anyways right?

  4. #4 Donnie says:
    March 5, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Just when I was getting ready to come on here and write something good and positive. ALMOST the whole team gave a great effort last night….for ALMOST 60 full minutes.
    Listen, I havent been the biggest Carey Price fan in the world…but I have his back today. It’s just not in the cards for the kid is it? No matter how well or determined he plays, there just no rewards. Finally seeing why he looks so uninspired and so frustrated. Did you see the game winning goal…you could read his mind by the look in his eyes coupled with that head shake….”Come on fellas, I stand on my head to keep this from being an 8-2 game, and again you let me down”. Boy, I feel it Pricey. Gotta ask someone out there…..Is it some iron-clad rule written down somewhere that we have to sh*t our pants in 3rd periods? Can we not hold onto a lead down the stretch? Cuz the amount of times we have let this happen this season is staggering. God, we’d have our playoff spot wrapped up if we had a team of finishers. This is an example of the elements we are missing, which is holding us back from success.
    Our PP was horrible also. We fumbled about on pretty much every one. Taking a whole minute in one case just to get in the zone. Blind passes, forced passes and playing without our heads up. But in the end, we cant hold leads and thats why we are a below average team as a whole this season.
    I do agree with you Senet. But with Andrei, we gotta send Sergi with him. Enough of these two guys lazy play. They’re like 2 players who are trying to rest on what they’ve accomplished in the league…but, unfortunately, that is NOTHING. I prayed for the trades of Higgins, Latandresse, and D’Agostini. Again, 3 players who really brought nothing to the table, and both Kost boys are the same thing. Oh, and don’t even consider the re-signing of Hamrlik…make that my off-season B-day gift.
    However, I can’t agree with Mats. We are not playoff bound in my estimation. Too low on the totem pole with too few games to go, and too many teams equal with us in points or just a point behind who also have 3 games in hand. Spells disaster. Remember our last road trip to Flo. We absolutely didnt show up to play for 2 minutes and lost both games? I said it on here then that these losses will haunt us down the road, and I stand firm to that. Lets see in the end how many points we miss by.
    But ya know, its not missing the playoffs that hurt. The hurtful thing is having a team AGAIN this season who are just good enough for 8-11th. No success again, and no good picks in the draft again. It’s our motto…and this si hurting this team just as much as any other factor.
    We had an almost completey great team effort for almost the whole 60 mins last night. If we can remove the “almosts” from that sentence, we can then start to get some results.
    In closing…great game Pricey, Metropolit is a 3rd liner at best, the Kost’s have to go, we must practice our PP, and Hamrlik’s mug better not be on the ice for us next season.
    But I’ve hit another level in the process. My frustration turned to anger a while back and now my anger has turned to acceptance. We are not good enough to challenge anyone for anything, and we have too many wastes-of-space on this club to even start on the road to minor sucess. Too bad where this once great team has ended up.

  5. #5 goaliesniper says:
    March 5, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    The LA Kings website caught up with LaPierre after practice today before the suspension was handed out to get his version of the hit:

    LaPierre’s portion starts at about 3:20.

  6. #6 Senet1 says:
    March 5, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    Donnie I pretty much agree with everything you say but I am not sure why you are so much against Hammer. Basically, when Markov was injuried Hammer carried our defence, overall I think game in and game out he has been our second best defenceman. Spacek, Mara and Gil have been disappointments though, I thought that by added this size that it would stop us from getting pushed around, but none of them have really done the job. I have been for and against Gil but one thing Gil is good at is PK and the reason is he does not have to skate miles and his reach is so benefical. Obryne has improved greatly and if he keeps getting better I can see him in our top four next year. PK is a comer and should be ready by next year. Beside Hammer is not up for a contact for another year. So next year he will be trade bait sometime during the year because I cannot see us paying hime 5M+ after this contract so he has to go. Clearing up some cap space will be important, which may be one reason why we keep one or two of the three above.

  7. #7 Senet1 says:
    March 5, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Let’s look at our defence: There are some major questions that the GM will have to make this coming year including Markov, Hamrlik, Mara, and Bergeron. If you look at our defence to start 2011 season the only sure thing there are Probably Obryne, Gorges and Spacek of our current defence. As GM what would you do? This is my opinion but I would like to hear yours.

    Mara is a UFA this summer so he is gone, too bad he was injuried we may have been able to trade him this week for a draft pick. Cap space $1.675M

    Specek has two more years on his contact so he will probably be around for at least another year $3.833M. He did not help our PP like we thought he would be played steady as a top four defenceman. Not much you can do with him unless someone really wanted him.

    Gil also has one year on his contact so to me he would have to be trade bait. $2.250M

    Hamrlik also has one year left and becomes a FA end of next year. There is not much hope that he would take a salary cut so he has to be traded at some point next year if we want to get anything for him. Cap Space $5.5M

    Now here is the big question Markov has one more year on this contract at $5.75M if we canot sign him to an extension this summer then there is no doubt he will walk to FA next summer and we will lose him for nothing. So he is probably our most marketable player, If Phil Kessel is worth 2 first round picks then what is Markov worth????
    I would suggest that he will not sign an extension so management has a big decision to make this year. Do we market Markov or risk losing him? I say if we cannot sign him early then I would trade him.

    Obryne and Gorges are RFA end of next year so we will probably sign both of them, PK and these two could be our big three, so there is some work to be done in the next year.

    As the GM what would you do????????????

  8. #8 Donnie says:
    March 6, 2010 at 1:09 am

    Hamrlik to me just seems like a guy thats past his prime. He’s big, but he’s soft. He does’nt really help a whole lot in the offensive department. I find him slow,and his mistakes with the puck are becoming more frequent, and because of his age, he’s not gonna improve…he’s seen his best days. And the clincher for me…the cherry on top of all these reasons, is his salary. Too much money for a player of this calibre, and unlike the 7 million dollar guys we have, his contract is up this season, and we can actually do something about him.
    Bring up Subban, save big bucks in salary. There are Dmen out there who can get the points Hamlik gets and dont charge 4.5M to do so.
    Everyone can interpret things their own ways, and this is just how I see this. For 1.5M….keep him.

  9. #9 Senet1 says:
    March 6, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Donnie according to the information I have on the web site his contract is not up until 2011. I agree he is past is prime and he will not improve and I do agree that we probably should try to trade him while he still has a contact probably if not this summer then aat the trading deadline next February. But I am pretty sure you are wrong about his contract being up this year. i do agree also that $5.5M is a lot of money to be paying him and if we could trade him then that would provide some more cap space.

  10. #10 Senet1 says:
    March 6, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    The one thing he brings is experience and I don’t think he is that soft, he is the type of defenceman that is half way between an offensive player and a defensive player. I do think when Markov was injuried he was our best defenceman and he an countryman Spacek seem to play okay together. Having said all that, it is time to bring some youth up from Hamilton next year. PK is the obvious one but depending on how many of this years defence we have for next year I would like to see one or two brought up from Hamilton or if we could pick up a FA defenceman for a reasonable price I say lets do it.

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