Jacques Martin will be named the Montreal Canadiens new head coach.
So the Habs internet universe is abuzz with the news that Jacques Martin will be the new head coach of the Montreal Canadiens. So far much of the chatter that I’ve heard has been negative, which is to be expected considering it happens any time a new head coach is announced in the NHL. While I remain hesitant to endorse the move based on Martin’s sometimes overly defensive tactics, I disagree that this is a bad sign for the Canadiens for the following reasons:
1) Martin has loads of NHL experience at all levels of responsibility. As both a former coach and GM he brings a capable and current presence to the locker room. He will be able to immediately contribute given that he would have already been prepared for scouting the draft, and that he has many existing relationships that may help in trade or free agent negotiations.
2) He is a stabilizing force. For veterans, they know that Martin is a guy who will control his room as a professional. The days of uncertainty are over. He will communicate as Guy could not. Bob spent the remainder of last season and knows very well what kind of guy he needs behind the bench. Martin will give the team a concrete anchor in the turbulent sea of Montreal hockey.
3) He has experience with developing young players. While many in Habsland are willing to sever ties with young players after only a short time with the club, Martin knows that young players typically do not flourish until their 3rd or 4th season. Look at any of the other superstars in the league and ask whether it would have been smart to unload Carter or the Sedins? Martin has worked with youngsters and will give them what they need to succeed.
4) This is still Bob Giney’s team. While Bob has added another NHL mind to the staff, ultimately he makes the personnel decisions. Since he knows explicitly what this team has and doesn’t have – I’m willing to wait and see before I judge whether or not this move is for the best. Ultimately I like the idea of having another experienced GM mind working in collaboration with the boss. Frankly Gainey could use a hand. While Carbo had the player resume to be a successful coach – Martin brings the extensive experience that a team on this stage needs.
I think that hiring Jacques Martin is a good choice for a number of reasons. First of all he won’t take any crap from the few players who don’t buy into his systems. Second; he has alot of experience to draw on and will be able to hold his emotions in check during the tough times. Unfortunately I believe that was one of the two downfalls for Guy C. Third; he has proven that he can, at times, get the best out of players. He helped Ottawa develop into a very good hockey team from a rather poor team.
In addition, this sends a message to the players that they better play hard and well or they’re gone. I wonder if our goalies didn’t see eye-to-eye with Roland Melanson who was let go today. Nothing vs Rollie but one has to think that
was the case. Will they be bringing in Arrard to coach the goalies. Hope so. Any comments?
Arrard is of course Allard.
Is it good, is it bad…who knows? Only time will tell. Right now, this is just perpetuating the sterotype that I’ve mentioned in here a dozen times already….that a coach has to speak french to have a chance at coaching the Habs. But, even with that little tidbit proved, it’s still neither here nor there right now.
I’ll tell ya what I feel with this hiring…..I feel nothing really. It’s just a happening. No one know if it’s gonna be good or bad until it starts to unfold. One thing I do find to be good is the coaching record Martin is bringing…that’s a positive sign right?
Let’s not forget what Martin had in Ottawa though. A first line center in Spezza who could set up a 50 goal scorer in Heatley, combined with a very productive captain…all 3, 90+ point getters at the time. We are still in the same boat we just got out of unless, dare I say again, we go out and spend money on getting a true first line center.
An acquisition like this combined with the hope that Martin doesn’t try a defensive system, could start turning things around.
We will be able to start estimating the quality of hiring Martin is, when we start seeing the quality of players Gainey gives to him with these off-season signings to come. Until then, he’s just a man filling a position.
I agree totally that the Habs need to pay more offensively. Sure they’ll give up some goals being caught up ice but it’s time that Habs fans see some excitement from our team.
To be fair, he had Heatley for only one season ans I think as coach, he should be able to take credit for developing some of the young talent like Spezza etc.
Ultimately, this is most significant in that it is the necessary first step in Bob’s offseason work. He first needed the coach. Now he can focus on the draft and FAs. Without the coach, none of the next would be possible.
As for Rollie the goalie coach: I have heard rumors that Melanson spent a lot of time calling Price into question for his work ethic. Interesting since it was Rollie’s job to put him to work. Clearly the new goalie coach will be a high priority.
Al Strachan seems to think somewhat like me, saying last night that Montreal didn;t hire the best possible coach, they hired the best coach with a specific ethnic background. I can cry and cry about we have to get out of this outdated practice, but being average seems to be ok with this franchise as long as you can carry on a conversation in french. Anyways…(my pet peeve with my team, sorry)
Strachan also sets Martins time in Montreal to the 15th of Feb….he doesn’t think that Martin’s techniques and personality are gonna be bought into by the players…(any of this sounding familar?)….and he plays a defensive game which the players nor fans will like. He used the example of…imagine telling Kovy that unless it’s a 3 on 2, dump the puck, don’t carry it…..if this comes true, whats different from last year.
Gonna be a nail biting year for Hab fans I believe, I will be there yet again cheering them on AS WELL AS critizing them when their shortfalling become more evident.
And as horrible as it may sound, seems we may have to, over the next couple of years either, start paying big bucks to get the talent here we need, or tank it for draft picks. The Wash, Chi, Ana, all took their turns….and as much as we hate and laugh at the Leafs misfortunes, we basically finish the same as them…..barely in or barely out of the playoffs most tears, which in turn makes you average with no high picks to come.
Gonna be interesting to see what Bob does in the next 8 weeks or so. GO HABS GO !!!
No offense to Al Strachan, but what criteria was he using to judge whether or not Martin was the best available for the job? Its such a cop out to say that Martin was chosen because he speaks French. The guy is the 9th winningest coach in NHL history. He oozes experience. Who does Strachan suggest is better qualified to do the job? He’s a guy who has experience in a dual language, hockey crazed market. He’s a guy who has been in charge when things were really tough, and someone who has developed young players. As far as I’m concerned I am going to judge him on what he does in Montreal and not what he’s done elsewhere.
The critics are saying that he has a stifling defensive system: I say good – this team lost this year because of its pathetic defense. If he can come here and create a cohesive defensive strategy we will see Carey Price looking more like Roy than Racicot. People seem to forget that this past season fell apart because we couldn’t keep the puck out of our net. We started getting shelled consistently. Yes Price and Halak struggled, but that was only because the rest of the team had no idea how to keep the opposition from the dangerous area on the ice. Its no coincidence that every player (save Markov) had a disappointing statistical season. There was no solution from the coach. There was no cohesive strategy other than to mix lines ad nauseam in hopes that something… anything would work.
Yes Martin is Franco-Ontarian. He will be able to comfortably address half of the fans of the franchise, and much of the media. That is not a bad thing – but considering the coaching credentials of the man, I would really object to someone implying that his linguistic capabilities were the most important factor. Given the immediate team needs – defense, youth, structure – Martin was a solid choice. Al Strachan likes to hear the sound of his own grumpy voice. He’s only pleased when he’s griping about something in the hockey world. The fact is – only Gainey knows what his criteria were for choosing the next head coach of the Canadiens. Its typical of Strachan to think he has all the answers.
I have to agree with Matts on this one, Strachan would have complained about the French thing even if Gainey found the best coach in the NHL. I also agree that we need to become more defensive minded. Everyone criticized Price last year but to me it was more our defence than it was Price. He had no support half the time in and around his net. Yet we complained that he let in goals that should not have been let in. Everone said that he did not stop the shots that could have kept us in the game, well I am sorry but he did stop a number of shots that could be considered difficult, I guess the question is how many is a goalie expected to stop? I do not care what you say your defence can make or break a goaltender just like your forwards can make or break your defence by playing good defensive hockey in your own end and supporting the puck for the defence in order that they can move it out of the zone. What was wrong with the way we won the cup in 1993 or 1986 for that matter, we certainly did not have any Guy Lafleurs on those years, we just had a team with good defence and good goaltending and forwards who looked after busines in their own end of the rink first. Yes it is nice to have fire wagon hockey but the fire truck can not leave the garage before it has water to fight the fire. Sorry but could not resist that one.
Mats Naslund great post, i could not argree more.
I’m just waiting to see who our re-signings and new signings will be to play under Martin. We know we need a change this year…Gainey has even said it himself. So will our new players this year be drab 3rd and 4th liners like Smolinski again, or something much higher up the food chain who will help us score. Hopefully this is the year we get the center we so so woefully need.
I think that Martin’s past record has earned him the chance to see what he can do with the Habs. Strachen is interesting but I don’t think he’s the most astute guy in the hockey world. Now Gainey should try acquiring some goals scorers with grit… and go for Lecavaliers in Tampa.
Even is we have to pay (player wise) a little over market this team needs a LEADER and Vinnie has shown he can do that. And being that he is Frence Canadian.. I believe the crowd would be behind him / the team and perhaps some excitement would reappear at the Bell Centre.For those who don’t think we should go for Vince, I ask this,’How good were we last year? What optimism do we have bringing back all the same players?” You have to give up something to get something. Who was our demonstrated ‘go to guy’ over the last five years. Other than Kovalev (who I believe is extremely talented) we didn’t have a ‘go to guy’. Get Lecavaliers and start rebuilding our forwards from there.
Amen to that steve. If theres alot of optimism going into next season with the same squad, then we are grasping at straws. Vinnie could also be headed to LA…difference being is that they are willing to pay for him to better their team. This would be a travesty if he ended up out there.
We gotta start understanding here….we don’t get high enough draft picks to acquire that goal scorer the good old fashion way, so we have to go the other route if we wanna be competitive…we gotta pay for him.
We pretty much saw the best in our farm system last season, and these guys don’t rank very high as bonafide threats in the big league. As you said steve…..get Lecavalier and start rebuilding from there is something we almost HAVE to do.
I disagree that we saw the best of our farm system last year. We can’t be willing to just throw out young talent every time they have a set back. We lost Michael Ryder last season because of the same foolish presumption. He had a terrible year. The media jumped all over him, and fans were the first in line to ship him out. All he did after that was score over 50 points in the regular season and lead his team in scoring in the playoff including several critical goals against his former club.
We saw bursts of success from several players last year (A.Kotitsyn, Latendresse, Pacioretti, D’Agostini, Price) coupled with stretches of inconsistent to terrible play. And while there are those who see this as a sign as a need for wholesale change – I tend to see it as a failure of the group as a whole. It was really frustrating to watch Andrei Kostitsyn disappear after such a great season last year, and for some of this year. There was a point in which I predicted he may lead the team in scoring this year. As frustrating as that was – it would be even more so to watch him accomplish that with another team because we were too quick to dismiss him as a bust after one turbulent, and frankly strange season. Kostitsyn is just one of many examples.
Unfortunately the centennial celebrations and all of the hype and baggage that came with it was simply another unrealistic expectation that was heaped upon this club. In reality, here is a high likelihood that many of the players who struggled last year will rebound. Clearly Bob will be making some personnel changes which will ultimately decide who gets another shot, and who will be gone. I personally believe that it is in his best interest to try to either use his young players as trade bait to bring in guys who could suit the needs of the team (physical defenseman, and a strong centre), or to let the team work through the adversity of the past 12 months and find out if the Canadiens can make the same sort of rebound that we have seen in the Flyers and Bruins (and our own team in 07/08). GM’s that build their team solely on a reactionary basis to the past season are doomed to overspend on disappointing players, and to see their own talent flourish elsewhere. My hope is that Gainey sees this season for what it was – a setback. He still has valuable pieces that can bring Montreal to contention much faster than he could by simply chasing big names.
The current Stanley Cup final is a fantastic example of what I’m talking about above. Look at the Penguins: Probably the luckiest franchise out there – they were able to draft Malkin, Crosby, Staal, Fleury with high draft picks. They were able to fuse those players into a Stanley Cup contender, but without the incredibly terrible seasons and high picks they had in the past, they would have been sunk. Bettman is betting that all of the struggling franchises will reap the same reward. To me this is not a healthy strategy. Especially given Montreal has never been bad enough to make wholesale upheavals in the past. Our system is still our biggest asset, and our approach to how we use those players should always be careful and conservative. We can’t afford to let cheap talent walk in today’s NHL.
Detroit on the other hand is the picture of perfection on how to build a team without high picks. Datsyuk(Det-6th round), Zetterberg (Det-7th), Holmstrom (Det-10), Franzen (Det-3rd), Fillpula (Det-3rd), Erickson (Det-9th), Helm (Det-5th), Lidstrom (Det-3rd). None of these guys who form the basis of an All-Star Team were drafted higher than the third round. Almost none of them had breakout rookie seasons. Can you imagine if Detroit had said goodbye to Johan Franzen after 16, 30 and 38 points in each of his first 3 seasons?
Things are bad in Montreal and for that I understand the frustration of the fans. But the ONLY way to build the type of team we want is to allow the young players on the squad to develop into the pros they will eventually be. Whether they are 40 point guys or 80 point guys, the only way to decide that is with careful scouting and time. One bad season is definitely not enough.
Mats Naslund; you make some very good points!
Very good words of wisdom Mats. I do see what you are saying and do hope you are right. These player who can do more in Montreal, it seems, are being held back by other factors also…..it didn;t seem like a very happy place to be last season. The system and the atmosphere seemed to poison most of the team, which could account for alot of the futility last season. Compare these guys to Detroit…The wings look stacked, they look totally professional all the time, and ready to play at the drop of the puck. The atmosphere and the sytem in Detroit are different than Montreal. The Wings started this with Yzerman back in the 80’s…he was sat down by the ownwers and told that they want to build their team around him; be patient and rewards will be reaped…boy were they ever, they are still reaping them 30 years later. Detroit doesn;t just pick a 4th liner for the sake of filling a position…these guys can also skate, stick handle, and shoot. But just being on the wings with their seemingly flawless system makes these guys better. Most of these guys would be just another player on almost any other team in the league. It is so amazing to watch this team play, and you, as a fan of hockey itself, must respect this organization…they make me envious as a Habs fan…because we used to be like that…ending about when the Wings started.
My point is, you must have a system that you will not stray from, and you have have a great enough environment that young players want to stay and buy into that system.
You can;t be trying to appease the media and fans just because a guy does or doesnt speak a certain language…this is stupid and outdated and does not work in the 21st century…isn’t this currently our longest stretch without a Cup? Without even a sniff really. The league is too competitive now, and we don’t get first selection of anyone coming out of Quebec anymore. Ask the people of the belle province would they really mind having to say hello rather than bonjour to a player who could trun this franchise around. If yes, lets get busy, if no, then you get what you deserve basically. All we need now is that “Steve Yzerman” to start the process…thats where the real challenge begins building a winning team here in a place where there are sooooooooo many factors at work….and seemingly, most negative…not alot of players want to come here remember. This is one of the first things we must work on…its not the 70’s anymore, get with it!!!
Great game last night by the Pens to force game 7. I can’t wait.
While I do I thought I would throw out a couple scenarios that have popped up in the last few days that may involve the Canadiens.
1. Komisarek. What do you do? A year ago he was the prized possession of a seemingly dominant defense. This offseason most Habs fans agree that if there is a bidding war Komisarek’s contract will be grossly overvalued given the downswing in his physical play. That said, GMs around the league are chomping at the bit to land the large D man. This leads me to my point – Komisarek may still have value for the Canadiens if they are willing to trade his negotiating rights as the Leafs did with Sundin. This would clearly signal that Montreal will not resign him, but could lead to dividends if he is signed by the club we choose.
2. Heatley wants out. While some say that it is unlikely that players move between clubs in the same division, it does happen. Heatley is signed long term (7.5 – ’13/’14) which sounds bad but upon reflection is only five seasons which would see him as an UFA at the ripe old age of 33. He is a bonafide scorer and is still young enough to provide for years to come. The question is – does he want to be reunited with his old coach Martin? The Habs have precious few players signed to contracts, but could come up with a package of players combined with the negotiating rights to Komisarek to make the deal happen. Long shot? Yep. But given Ottawa’s defensive problems over the past few seasons, they may be willing to take a shot on Komisarek to solve their issue with Heatley.
3. Lecavalier. We’ve talked about this possibility since last season when Tampa talks seemed to subside. They remain in a position of strength from a bargaining stand-point, and yet the no-trade clause in Vinny’s contract could have devastating consequences for a team that needs to stay young in order to keep close to the cap floor. A trade with Montreal for the negotiating rights to Komisarek + a slew of young players may be what Tampa needs to make the deal happen. The emergence of Subban and Weber last season could have an impact here. This scenario alone will make the draft day in Montreal a tense one for the thousands of Habs fans in attendance at the Centre Bell – especially given the amount of attention a possible LA – Tampa deal has gotten over the past week or so.
4.Sedins. The sisters are looking for identical contracts to match their identical faces. I’m among those who believe that they are worth it. For all of their critics, they still led their team with an identical 10pts in the playoffs. Plus with the Kostitsyns thrown in the mix, we could have a powerplay in which the announcers only have to call three names. That for me is reason enough.
5.Flames. Talk in Calgary is that Bertuzzi is gone for sure and that the Flames are looking to get rid of Dion Phaneuf in a trade. He’s signed for 5 more years at $6.5 million. Given his age and potential I would jump at the opportunity to make a deal for him. Bob has to like the option of hearing “Markov to Phaneuf for the one-timer..”. We’ll see what happens and how many team want to risk a trade for negotiating rights. As I said before, the Canadiens don’t have a whole lot in the way of signed players, but their capspace could be a valuable tool if other teams (ahem.. Calgary) are serious in their intent to pursue J Bo.
As for Bert – he is an interesting option. Hi 44 points in 66 games aren’t exactly great. That said, on a team that lacked grit above all else Bertuzzi could provide some needed sand paper allowing the finesse guys a little more breathing room. A player who could most benefit would be Max Lapierre.
5. Defenseman. If the prognosticators are right and Komisarek is gone – Gainey will have some big boots to fill on the Canadiens defense next season. Clearly Markov will be in the top pair. I for one would love to see Phaneuf in the tricolore, but aside from that scenario there are other options available. One such option is Mathius Ohland. Most seem to think his time in Vancity is done. He is durable, big, and can contribute in many of the ways that Komi did (lets hope fighting Lucic isn’t one of them). I’ve also heard the names: Ville Koistinen, (Montreal native) Denis Gauthier, Martin Skoula, (Trois Riviers native) Marc Andre Bergeron, and (Sorel native) Francois Beauchemin. Obviously there is a lot left to happen before anyone is signed by Gainey, but I wanted to mention some of the rumors for the simple fact of reminding everyone that there is a lot of quality defenseman out there who could at least fill some of what he does, and for a better price.
Thats all for now. What do you guys think Gainey should do? Keep his options open or really go for a few specific guys? Any other rumors that you’ve heard about possible transactions?
MatsN, I love the sound of Franky Beauchemin and Denis Gauthier. These guys are solid if unspectacular professionals, maybe underrated a bit because offensive numbers aren’t great. With Markov and Hamrlik its a great top 4. If we can keep Komi too, its bonus…. Ohland too.
From the goal out….
I don’t think we can land a big name forward, I hope I’m wrong. I still say Vinnie’s contract shuts the door in this cap environment.
Ok time for the negotiations to begin for the Habs. With 15 roster players either UFA or RFA (17 if Stewart and Janik are in the picture), Gainey certainly has his work cut out for him. So lets here your bold predictions – a simple yes or no (will they be resigned):
M. D’Agostini- Y
R.Lang- Y……..but cheap
K.Chipchura- trade bait as part of a deal
G.Latendresse- Trade him
M. D’Agostini- Y
M. D’Agostini- Y
Follow up, I have mixed feeling about Kovalev, but then again he is due for a good year again next year. If not then he is trade bait come trade deadline. I liked the way Lang played he gave us a bigger presence at center and he would have scored 30 goals had it not been for his injury, to me his only question mark is will he be the same after the injury? Higgins took a lot of hard knocks last year but yet he was one of our best performers down the stretch and in the playoffs. I just think he is a good third line player and was out of place on the first line. I hate to give up on Chipchura so if the money is right I would still sign him but the $$ will talk. Schneider I would keep as long as the money is right, if not then I would change my answer to no. I think we have five or six good young defensive prospect that could move up next year if needed. ONly thing is we need experienced defenceman to help the out.
I wonder after all the bad things that were said about Price if anyone had the different thoughts after seeing Marc Andre Flery perform for Pittsburg, I wonder how many of you would have given up on him had the habs drafted him, because lets face it he did not have that great of start to his career either some good games then some bad one. With his goals against average somewhere between 2.3 and 3.3 per game and his save percentage in the low 90%. However, I bet he is now going to be mentioned as a possible team Canada candidate. Not all players mature at the same stage and Fleury is a prime example of a good yound goaltender that had needed some time to develop. So the question is did Pittsburg do the right then playing him 50-60 games a year for the last four years. It would seem that in Fleury’s case the experience paid off in the long run. But one thing I did notice, his defence played a much stronger present in front of the net than our habs did and that of course was the secret to his success and the reason they even got to game seven. I did not give Pittsburg much of a change against Detroit mainly becuase I felt Detroits defence was too strong, however, Pittsburg wore Detroit’s defence down over the seven games and it was Pittsburg’s defence that actually out played Detroit’s D in the last two games. I guess my only comment is that we cannot run down a young player so soon in his career because it takes time to become a super star for most players. We are not all Patrict Roy or Wayne Gretzky.
Kovalev-Y (but don’t put the fate of the team in his hands)
Higgins-No No No
Plekanec-Y I guess…for lack of centers
Kostopolous-who cares…4th liners are a dime a dozen
Dandanault–does he even want to come back?
Komisarek- not for anywhere close to 4Mil
Any first line center who can produce and is willing to come here-YES, DESPARTLY
These are the same faces, same trouble. I hope I’m wrong, but I have 0% faith in these guys for next season, without a leader…a much needed center who will get points, won’t cry cuz he wants to wear a C, won’t cry cuz of who he’s playing with, and one who will show the rest of these followers, how to follow a good, strong work ethic…the complete opposite of last season. Losing faith here Bob, make that big deal this year please…no more 4th liners!!!!
Its interesting to see how differently we all see it shaking down. My predictions were simply a prediction of who I think will be back – not who I want. A couple thoughts:
RFAs: There are a group of players who will be restricted (Higgins, Plekanec, Chipchura, Latendresse, D’Agostini). Basically this means that Montreal has the rights to sign them, and can match any offer made by another team. I would be highly surprised if most of these players are not back with the club next season. 1st – you don’t spend the time developing the players only to let them walk. 2nd – none of them had seasons that would warrant them being offered a contract by another team. 3rd – They are cheap and allow for more $$ for trades/ufas. Because it was a big list, I thought if any player is likely NOT to be back it is Chipchura due to the fact he has never really done anything to how that he is an NHLer. Anyone of those guys could end up being a bargain, and so they will be back. You need to have a roster come October, and they will be the easiest and cheapest to sign.
Vinny: The UFA situation has become a slippery guess simply because there is a large unknown element at play here which is the draft. Talk has heated up in the last few days that Montreal is back out front on the Lecavalier sweeps. This will be further cemented if Tavares somehow falls to 2nd. Rumour has it that Montreal has put Markov (say it aint so Bob) back into the deal which to me makes sense because he is the only asset on the team that is signed that could beat out the kind of firepower that other teams are willing to spend. If Montreal makes the deal for Vinny, then who knows what will be involved. My personal hope is that Markov is not involved. My gut tells me he is. To me this would be making a one step forward, two back move. Yes we need a strong centre – but how on earth do you replace Markov? There are only a couple guys in the league who can do what he does – and none of them are available. Hopefully the deal goes through with picks/prospects and roster players not named Markov.
UFAs: If Vinny is in – there is only one remaining spot for Plekanec, Koivu, and Lang. There are many scenarios that could play out as a result. My own feeling is that Lang was finished when he got hurt last season. He was a slow skater to begin with and will be 39 this season. I loved what he brought last year, but I think its over for him. Koivu is unlikely to be back as well as the money for him will be needed elsewhere. Plex is cheap and still young. Going into this season I think he’ll be the #2 centre.
Vinnie 1, Plex 2…I can live with that. I know I sound preturbed about the whole Habs situation alot, but that because I am. Watching this futility for a number of years now, as have all of you…and it’s gotten to the point where the attempts at getting this team back on track to return to it’s storied past have not been good enough…period. Time to bite the bullet and get that 1st line center…something we haven’t had for so long now. Try this approach. Can’t be too bad, seeing how ever cup winner for years now has had at least 1 top notch center to lead the charge. Seems to be a trend we really should get in on.
Alot of Habs fans like myself are getting frustrated with this 16 years now of mediocracy (with a couple of high points along the way). Get that centerman…show the legions that you are at least trying to forge a winning club again…and if it takes a couple more years still to have, at the very least, a contender…the patience and belief will return. We have no one offensively to build around…this is what I’m saying we need. In a way, start from scratch, but catch up with the rest of the league that we are slowly falling further away from.
You want the proof….flashback to watching teams like the Hawks, Caps, Pens and Wings play in this years playoffs…now try to gauge how far behind these teams we are….now that you’re depressed, I’m gonna wrap up. I just want a winner back in Montreal, and at least some attempts from Gainey to make it happen. Nothing else has worked so far….try that big center Bob.
I agree and disagree about Markov, I agree because it is hard to give up a defenceman that brings what he brings to the team. I disagree if we can get Vinny and sign another good defenceman to replace that position. Maybe it is time we let the kids take over behind the blue line if we make th playoffs great if not we get better draft picks. WE have been in the middle of the pack for the last 15 years and we have not got any top picks. If we cannot trade for them when does not seem possible, then we have to start to use our younger players take our lumps and do what the leafs are doing and go after unsigned players as well as get a few top five draft picks. I know none of us want to see our team not make th playoffs but where has that got us the pass 15 years except for heartache. Maybe it is time to clean house of all our veterans and go with Youth.
Fleury has accomplished something that Price hasn’t yet, and thus Price will be criticised until he does the same, or at least close to the same.
For as long as he continues to faulter in the post-season he will be questioned and criticised. That’s just the nature of the sport. Any sport in fact…. which is why Alex Rios is taking all the heat in Toronto for the Blue Jays’ mediocrity. Well, him and Wells anyway.
But are the Canadien’s recent failures entirely Price’s fault? No. Are they partially his fault? Yes.
I hear what you’re saying Senet, it has been very frustrating to watch the Canadiens shuffle between pretty good and pretty bad in all of recent memory. You’re absolutely right that not having top picks has hurt the Canadiens. We’ve watched as the terrible teams in the league have been rewarded with names like Corsby, Malkin, Ovechkin, Kovalchuk, Lecavalier, Hossa etc, while we plug away with prospects found deeper in the draft. It was solely because I am a Southern Ontarian who grew up a Habs fan – and thus could never cheer for the Wings – that I cheered for the Penguins to take the Cup this season. While I am in awe of the play of Staal, Crosby and Malkin, it was terrible for those of us who actually care about the game (unlike Gary Bettman), that they won. It sets a horrible precedence. The team that lost its way to the Stanley Cup. They lucked out on the lockout draft lottery – and sucked their way into contention by drafting an unbelievable cast of young talent. While they have reaped success, there are other teams who haven’t been as lucky. Montreal as a city has never shown the patience required to build the team through terrible play and draft picks. So while our best chance may be to weasle our way into losing seasons to pad the roster – I think it is unlikely that Montreal will replicate Pittsburgh’s or Washington’s model.
How incredible then, that the gem we have – Markov – a player Montreal drafted, developed and watched turn into a bonafide superstar is now the subject of most trade talks. To me, it is typical that Canadiens fans always see the grass greener elsewhere. Vincent Lecavalier is an amazing talent. He would no doubt give us the dynamic presence at Centre we have missed for so many years. But if the cost is Markov, where does that put us? We trade a great contract for a terrible one. We trade for an offensive boost for a defensive hole in the spot that was filled by the only truly capable and incredibly durable defender we had last year. Lecavalier is good, but I don’t have to remind everyone that he is the captain of the second worst team in the league. Having Lecavalier didn’t make Tampa a cup contender, and won’t immediately make us one either. The only way that a trade involving Markov pans out for the Canadiens is if Gainey knows that he will be able to sign/acquire a marquee defenseman to replace him – because if you think losing Souray, and Streit hurt us, wait until we lose the reason those guys scored in the first place.
I personally would much rather see the team fill in the roster with more reasonable trades/signings. Maybe you convince a guy like Ohlund what playing with Markov could do for him. Maybe you make an ostentatious offer for a guy like Gaborik or the Sedins. This team is still going to rely on the development of young players like Lapierre and the Kostitsyns in order to succeed. Maybe if one domino falls, the rest will follow. But it has been proven time and time again that a team with a solid defense will get you much farther than without. If O’Byrne, Komisarek, Weber, Subban McDounagh, Valentenko etc were further along in their development, you night consider Markov a tradeable asset – but considering the setback our NHL defenseman all took last season, I shudder to think what our year without Markov would have looked like.
Still have a comment waiting moderation for 3 days now…whats up?
Thanks mister moderator.
With the sale of the Habs now completed (well as far as matters for now), and the draft swiftly approaching – talks are ramping up about who may be signed in the next few days, and what will occur at the draft. There is one issue that I wanted to address that has come up on other sites in the Habs’ universe. There is a misconception that is floating around that Gainey and Timmins have ignored the centre position in recent drafts. This is simply not true. Since 2003 the Canadiens have drafted 11 centres. In fact, in recent drafts, the Canadiens have focused PRIMARILY on defense and centre positions. While the Canadiens have yet to land the “Getzlaf” type centre we need, it is important to acknowledge that it is not for lack of attention of our needs at that position. The Bulldogs Roster had 9 Centres during the course of the past 08/09 season. Unfortunately in the NHL it is the quality, not quantity that gives you depth at a position. There is no doubt that all of the talk at the draft concerning the Canadiens will include our needs at the centre position. I just hope that there is some acknowledgment that the Canadiens have a GLUT of players at the centre position, and that our team need for toughness (at all positions) is more important than simply selecting players of a certain position. Given what we have all seen from the officiating during the playoffs in the last few seasons, drafting size and skating ability at all positions should be a priority.
If the Lecavalier deal does not happen and Montreal retains its pick of 18th overall, there are a few players who should peak our interest.
Zack Kassian RW 6’3″ 210. If Montreal can’t find a big centre, why not surround a small centre with size? He’s one of the toughest kids in the OHL, and could be a VALUABLE asset to a Canadiens team that has lacked grit in recent seasons. Kassian is a specimen who has been tracked at anywhere from 12th to 20th in the draft, so he may not be available at 18. Maybe Gainey could move up a few spots to select him?
Carter Ashton LW 6’2″ 210. Projected as a late first round pick, Ashton could be a great pickup. He has the potential to be a powerful, scoring forward. He is a big kid and will need time to develop in the AHL, but he seems to be the type of player that could flourish in the regular AND post seasons.
Chris Kreider C 6’0″ 200. Kreider is a highschool player which tends to be a risky move when you consider the level of competition that he faces. He scored over 50 points in 26 games which is an impressive feat. He could be a future star, but Gainey would be rolling the dice big time considering how green he would be at a professional level.
Of course there are other smaller players that could be on our radar, as well as a heap of potential defenseman. I just figure, since we already have a solid group of defensive prospects, it may b time to break from the mold and try to attain a player who could become the “Milan Lucic” that Canadiens fans seem to admire so much. Kassian is definitely that player in this draft, so if our pick is not taken in some draft day dealing, I would hope that we would make selecting him a priority.
Annoying Habs misconception #2: Gainey and Timmins blew the 2003 draft by not selecting a centre.
I am soooo tired of reading posts (mainly on other sites like Habsinsideout etc by people complaining that Montreal did not select Jeff Carter, Zack Parise or Ryan Getzlaf with the 10th overall pick in 2003. They instead took Andre Kostitsyn which upsets many fans who see our problems at centre in the context of 2009 rather than 2003. They say hindsight is 20/20… but six years is some kind of ‘hind’.
There is a myth being promoted out there in the Habs blogosphere that somehow the Canadiens already had a problem brewing at the centre position and that Gainey and Timmins dropped the ball. This is utter fallacy.
In 2002-2003 the Canadiens Had Saku Koivu, Chad Kilger, Mike Ribeiro, Yannik Perreault, Jan Bulis on the roster as Centres. Say what you want about that season, but Koivu led the team in scoring by 21 points (71), and Mike Ribeiro emerged as a rising star on the team. At that time the next highest scorer on the team was Richard Zednik with 50 points. The next highest scoring winger? Household name: Andreas Dackel with 25 points. Just so we’re ultra clear here – Montreal had 4 centres (if you include Doug Gilmore who played 39 games for the Canadiens that season) and 2 defenseman (Markov and Brisebois) who scored more than Dackell that season.
Given that piece of selectively forgotten history, place yourself in the shoes of newly installed GM Bob Gainey on draft day. Contrary to future consensus, you have enough centres in your system at the NHL level for 2003/04. Your most blazing need is for winger who can put the puck in the net. And with the 10th pick overall Montreal selected a guy who many believed to be the most dynamic forward in the draft whose stalk had only fallen to 10th due to concerns about the possibility of epilepsy: The Canadiens selected Andrei Kostitsyn. What no one mentions is that the Canadiens went on to draft 3 more centres that draft day – one of which is now a fixture on the roster – Maxime Lapierre.
What many Habs ‘revisionist’ complainers ignore is the fact that the next season Mike Ribeiro led the team in scoring. The Canadiens boasted an improved attack at all positions led by youth (Ribeiro, Ryder, Souray, Markov etc). In Hamilton the Dogs finished first in their division led by promising young names like Plekanec, Perezhogin, Higgins, Marcel Hossa, Beauchemin, and Komisarek.
It kills me when people talk about how Gainey and Timmins should be canned for missing out on names like Getzlaf and Carter. Certainly from the perspective of 2009 it is easy to comment on the existence of such a great class of centres, but considering the state of the roster in 2002-2003, the pick of Andrei was a good one given that the organization had the image of Kostitsyn on a wing with Ryder and Ribeiro.
Joseph, if you go back three or four years and come forward to could say exactly the same thing about Fleury. Seemed to be good at times but each year he failed in the post season. He almost did it again this year but because he has a strong defence he survived, so would price in front of that defence. Not saying he is ready to win the cup just yet, but my point was that we have to stop critizing him and allow him to develop just like Fleury was allowed to develop.
He won’t develop playing only 40 games a season or not playing in the big games at playoff time. Will he fail probably at times but will he improve, I would have to suggest he will based on his ability.
Matts, I do not want to loose Markov either, I was just attempting to look at other options. I agree we would not want to build the team by being in last place like pittsburg and because you need to be at the bottom of the pack for at least three of four years in order to build that way. I do not think any of us have that kind of patience. We do have some very good young talented defenceman in our organization and this could be the year that we have to either play them or trade some of them. As I said earlier if you are going to bring these young guys up they need an experience defenceman to work with them. Maybe we need a Larry Robinson back as a defensive coach?
One other thing someone mentioned that all the great teams have a great centremen, that is very true but they also have a great defenseman as well and usually it is the great defenseman that will make or break the team. They also have a better than average goaltender.
Hey senet i dont think pittsburgh’s defence was all that great besides gonchar. I can think of 20 other teams in the nhl with beter defence…….for real.
Talk has ramped up even further today that Montreal is planning a huge move at the draft. You have to believe that Lecavalier is the news, and thus Markov is on his way south. As I’ve said previously, I’m not a fan of losing Markov, but you have to lose something to get something of value in NHL trades, I just wish we had been able to sign Komisarek earlier in order to send him instead. Gainey has said that he will not sign any of the UFAs on the team until after the draft which obviously signifies that the team’s plans hinge on being able to make the pre-draft move. The Habs are reportedly out of the Jay-Bo mix (with most indications being that he wants to be in Western Canada). This leaves a large hole for the Canadiens to fill on defense. The Canadiens may be banking on re-signing Komisarek which would obviously become priority #1 after the draft, although that scenario would only really fill his own spot in the #1 pairing for next season. This means that Montreal will HAVE to be in the running for at least 1 more big name defender or risk entering the 09/10 season with a name like Hamrlik, Gorges or O’Byrne in the top pairing. The thought of which should make Canadiens fans shudder. My personal opinion was that Montreal was in need of another quality, physical defenseman even with Markov on the squad. If he has been dealt, our needs on defense grow exponentially.
The question becomes – Who makes up the Defense for next season in the absence of Markov – arguably the most gifted offensive defenseman the Habs have had in over 20 years? As it stands now Markov, Gorges, Hamrlik and O’Byrne are our only signed defenders at the NHL level.
Schneider, Bouillon, Dandenault, Brisebois, Komisarek.
Weber, Carle, Belle, Subban.
Well, today is the day kids. The cards are on the table and we will have to wait to see what Gainey has in store for us. All I can say is that I’m glad Bob is the one who holds our fortune. As I was making coffee this morning, I picked up my copy of D’Arcy Jenish’s ‘100 Years of Glory’, and read the forward written by Bob Gainey. He explains why he took the job in 2003 when everything in the Habs universe was upside down. He wrote “In Montreal, the Canadiens matter! In Quebec, the Canadiens matter! In Canada, the Canadiens matter!.. Les Canadiens have been parts of the lives of our great-grandparents, our grandparents, our parents and ourselves… May not only our children, but grandchildren and great-granchildren, have the opportunity to learn about , watch and understand why the Habs are such an important part of our collective history and culture.”
The draft has come and gone. Still no Vinny. Bob… talk to Tampa and get him. The Habs’ fans need to have some hope. Money is not the problem a s we have a number of UFA’s and remember this. With those players we barely made the playoffs and exited quickly with little fight. Some of our ‘heros’ are in fact not very good hockey players.
Don’t resign Plecs, Boullion, Dandeneault, and a few others, and use that money to get at least 2 solid UFAs.
I like Komaseric but he has never been the same since he got hurt in the fight with Lucic. He’s a tough call because he’s our toughert D-man and we’ve given up on players before (Streit, Souray) and have lived to regret it.
PACTUM SERVA: You could be right about the Pittsburg defence, but you cannot denign they outplayed the Detroit defence in games six and seven. Yes Gonchar anchored the defence and like Lindstrom with Detroit he is the go to guy, but he did not play all sixty minutes and they may have played over their heads but they did play great and I do not think you or anyone else can suggest that they didn’t. Without that defensive play the Fluery would not have been as successful and the cup would have been in Detroit.
Bob has two priorities, sign a good defensive defenceman, and sign a quality centreman. To me he also should get Tanguay signed and Kovalev. Komesarek I don’t think we should give up on them just yet, sometimes it takes a year to overcome a serious injury, and last year he recovered physically from that injury now he needs to recover his strength In order to get Vinny, we need to have something to give up in order to get him, Plex could be part of that package but they will want an impact player, someone like Markov or Price. If not Markov, then Price maybe the other option. If we trade Price we may have to get another FA goalie until their goalie prospects are ready. Basically, we are asking Gainey to trade a quarter to get a dollar, not sure it is doable.
I agree Senet1, although the very fact that the rumors have lingered for so long around credible sources, leads me to believe that the Habs and Lightning are at least in the same ball park for the trade. The fact is (and excuse me for using your own metaphor), Tampa is only looking to trade Vinny because they want to spend a quarter, bot a dollar. Lawton is trying to cut spending, get future prospects and be a contender all in one shot. To me this seems like another example of the ridiculous management structure that the Lightning have in place – from the very top on down. They have an owner who doesn’t want to spend more than $40 million, and a centre that will literally command 25% percent of that money. Any reasonable hockey manager would try to set himself up long term with cheap, young talent to work along side two of the best young prospects in the game (Hedman and Stamkos). Why Markov is involved in the deal is beyond me. He’s entering the final year of his contract, and at $5.75 million he is set (in the case of this trade) to become the highest earning player on the team. It doesn’t make any sense! They’ll lose him after one year, and the only benefit they will have gained is to sabotage their own mission of getting cheaper and younger. Given the bursting stable of defensive prospects in the Habs system, wouldn’t the names set to earn entry level contracts like Weber, Subban, Pacioretti, McDonaugh etc be more valuable? I thought for sure that our 1st rounder this year could have been a large factor in the deal, given that Tampa could have addressed two needs by drafting one of the many quality players still on the board. But in the world of instant gratification, Tampa has chosen to eschew patience and attempt to be both – rebuilding and contending – and doing neither effectively.
On to teams that matter. I am very worried as to what will happen with Mike Komisarek. IF the Habs are going to resign him, it MATTERS how much we offer. With the Lecavalier trade still a possibility until July 1 (god help us if the rumors that he’d waive his no-trade-clause persist after the FA period begins), there are a couple scenario that could pop up.
1. The trade for Vinny goes down. At this point Montreal is in utter euphoria. They have their man, Beliveau waives his Jersey signing so that Vinny can be #4 and he is immediately written into the fabric of les Canadiens along side other names like Morenz, Richard and Lafleur. Ok that is a little much, but the real effect that this trade could have would be like a large domino.
All of a sudden the possibility of landing other big names like the Sedins or Havlat or Hossa becomes a real distinct possibility. With the possibility of playing with Vinny, our own FAs may be willing for a discount Detroit style with the glory of a Cup on the mind. Other french names like Beauchemin etc might be more apt to come to town in which case – Komisarek’s contract could be a barrier. First because there would be less cap space for other additions, and secondarily because his contract would be a bench mark for all other players. If Komisarek (who has no offensive game whatsoever) makes more than $4 million per year, how do you pay a guy who does score less?
2. Vinny is a no go. If the trade for Vinny falls through, the real pressure is on. Luring talented free agents will be ever more difficult without the centrepiece of the organization in place. There will be huge questions as to what the Habs are, and only maximum dollars will make us an attractive destination. Again, Komisarek’s contract could be a huge barrier, in that if Komisarek makes 5 or 6 million per year we won’t be able to sign another impact D for less. The real possibility would arise that we enter the year with the same inept defensive squad as last season, and we suffer with a now over-payed Komisarek who doesn’t hit, doesn’t score, and gets skated around while he takes up 23 minutes per night out of necessity because our other defensemen are either too old or young or small to make a contribution.
At least we will have a clearer picture of what will happen soon. Although at this point I see the Komisarek situation as a potential land mine.
I really wish we could do this the good ol’ fashioned way and build, build, build using our picks, prospects and minor system…but hey…it’s not working !!!
You have in the NHL teams who are at the top, teams who are spending there time at the bottom getting GOOD draft picks and soon to be rising to the top and then the category we are in…the middle of the pack , ho-hum teams. The blue collar teams if you will…not quite good enough to be in contention and not quite bad enough to be getting those big, substantial picks.
You really can’t be happy with guys like D’Agostini and Paciorety, when other teams are getting the likes of Getzlaf, Crosby, Malkin, OV, Kane and Toews (just to name a few)…these guys are the starts who help teams become contenders…our guys are picked to help or compliment guys like this. The problem is WE DON’T HAVE THAT STAR!! And if you can’t get a player or players like this through middle draft positions, there is one other alternative…that is go out and pay for him. Then our regular guys can feed of him and become better.
We are in a spot now where we need that leader more than ever. Unless everyone in Montreal is happy enough icing an average team because the rink is still full night after night regardless of the product we put on it. If this is the case…we are all wasting our words on here, and Gainey will make no big move yet again this year..whcih is what I expect will happen again anyways.
I agree with you Donnie in that none of our current prospects ooze talent in the obvious way that Sidney Crosby did.. but lets not forget that for every Sid there is ten Bobby Ryan’s, Jeff Carter’s etc who need time to develop. A guy like Max Pac should be given more than a half of a year in the AHL, and a half with the big club before we write him off as a failure. The situation in Montreal is this: Gainey has $34 million to spend before October. Impact players are out there. If plan A (Vinny), doesn’t happen – there are a few solid options out there that could be possibilities such as the Sedins (only Van, NYI, and Montreal have the space to grab both), Gaborik, Hossa, Havlat etc. If I had to wager I would bet that if the Sedins are still unsigned July 1, that they will become Gainey’s #1 priority. Considering their production, we could do a lot worse than adding two players who would both lead our team in scoring using last season’s figures. After that, Gainey should focus on his needs at defense. Montreal clearly lacks a physical defender who can clear the front of the net. It won’t break the bank to acquire a guy like this, but there is no way Montreal contends next season if there isn’t marked improvement from a defensive stand point.
That is exactly correct, without a good defence Price will not develop as fast, and we will not be successful no matter who we get as our go to guys up front. On the other hand if we can get three impact players and a couple of in your face type players for 20-25M then we can fill in the roster with our prospects and work toward a cup contending team. All we have to look at is Montreal, Boston and Philly, all three had bad seasons and then went to the top of the division, Philly rebounded, Boston will be there again next year and we need to rebound as well. We can do this if we get the three impact players we need two offensive and one defensive and build around those three guys with good hard working hockey players as well as our prospects that should be ready to move up and take a spot.
I would love Vinny (7M), but if I can get the Sedin twins for 11 M per season, I think we would be farther ahead. Sign Tanguay and make Kovalev an offer but not much of a raise and maybe go aftera couple of solid defenseman for 3 to 4 M a piece. Pick up a copy of in your face forwards like Neal or Cole. This along with what we already have should provide a solid team maybe not a cup winner but one that will be hard to play agains and beat. Offer Sundin to come to Montreal for 1 Million, tell him it is to make him a better hockey player, since he does not need the money and a wo year contract to scout for us in Europe once he retires.
Hope you are right guys. I’m not dissing guys like Paciorety and D’Ag…..actually, for how our team played last year there were shades of hope there. But in comparison to the guys I mentioned, even Bobby Ryan, Carter, and almost any one of the brillant young starts coming up in St. Louis now, they are not up to par. That is why, and I think you guys are agreeing that we need some real talent here. I’m to the point where it doesn’t have to be Vinnie, just someone who can score and help up win…maybe, as you say Havlat or Hossa or better yet, the Sedins….it just has to be someone this year. We can’t be left to our own demise, and a first line center really should be our biggest priority.