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The Chicoutimi Cucumber

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Everything posted by The Chicoutimi Cucumber

  1. And I think that's probably fine, provided the LD is not an older guy on a hefty contract. Neither Suzuki nor Poehling project to be indispensable superstars. It wouldn't be like trading a 22-year-old Price, like a lot of fans wanted at the time.
  2. Yes, the way Petry has gotten better and better - hitting another level to his game at ages 30 and 31 - is something we don't see too often. He was always a quality player, but it took him about nine seasons as a regular to really hit his peak. Or maybe CJ's coaching has something to do with it. Either way, he's beating the odds for sure.
  3. Sometimes, when players get old, they fall off a cliff. I don't expect this to be the case with Weber. What is more likely to happen are sustained bouts of substandard play, followed by periods where he looks like his old self. But gradually, as the former become more recurring, people will stop expecting him to play like his old self.
  4. Weber looked dodgy (by his standards) over the last chunk of last season, but we could chalk it up to coming back from injury. It's slightly ominous that this sub-standard play is continuing. We have seven more years of Weber at a cap hit of $8 mil. Good thing he will be immune from the aging process... 🙄
  5. Yeah, that seems fair. I still think my wider point about the fans stands, however. Witness the number of people defending Bergevin's seven years of failure on the grounds that things will start looking up around year 11.
  6. Listen, all I'm saying is that too many Habs fans seem to accept that it is somehow unreasonable to demand the Habs to become an elite, contending team - even though quite a few franchises have accomplished this feat. The fact that several posters have responded to this proposition either by making excuses for the Habs or by exaggerating the difficulty involved in becoming an elite, contending team, proves my point.
  7. MB sees the holes. He just fails to fill them. Over and over and over. Anyway, there is a difference between being a contender and winning a Cup. HEARTS's post elides that distinction. Teams like Vancouver (2011), the Rangers, Tampa, San Jose, and Nashville, have all been bona-fide heavy-duty contenders, reaching the Finals and consistently being regarded as teams with a legit chance to win it all. Boston has been to the Finals three times *and* managed a significant retool in the process. The Habs have not been ranked in that category since 1994. The closest we came was 2014, and we haven't had a whiff since. I'm not even asking for a Cup, fer heaven's sake. I'm asking for a team that moves in those circles - one of those teams that is widely feared, widely regarded as a contender, and is a genuine (not a long-shot) threat to make a deep run. The idea that this is an unreasonable expectation doesn't stand up. The Bruins can do it. What's the Habs' excuse?
  8. I don't think it's the end of MB. As I've suggested several times before, expectations have grown absurdly low in Montreal. It seems to be enough to have a team that has the following characteristics: 1. It's plucky and serviceably entertaining 2. It's competitive most nights 3. It has a good prospect pool, so people can tell themselves, "just wait, in three or four years, we'll be great" - even though we have heard this mantra several times since 1995, and the projected "greatness" has not once materialized. Making the playoffs is a bonus. Contending is not even on the radar. I believe that, deep down, a huge portion of the fanbase has internalized the idea that the Habs (for some reason) cannot reasonably be expected to contend for a Cup. That is perfect for MB. He has managed to lower expectations sufficiently that he can reliably meet them. And there is the suspicion that the Kegmeister is mostly interested in the huge profits flowing in. More likely is some firings to the coaching staff. This would, IMHO, be a stupid move. CJ knows what he is doing, and coaching is the very least of our problems.
  9. Welcome to the world of a bubble team. Good enough to occasionally beat the elite clubs, bad enough to drop a disconcerting number of games to weak teams. I'd expect this dynamic to play out for most of the season.
  10. Habs just didn't have the jump tonight. I do think Suzuki finally showed some flashes in the second half, and from what I'm seeing Drouin is playing focused and hungry. Maybe we can dream that Armia is going to hit another level and become a 20-goal man. It's not all bad. Just one of those games IMHO. One thing was clear: they can't handle Detroit's first line.
  11. I dunno...I haven't made a study of it, but most teams seem to have had a MUCH easier time of adding #1C than the Habs. And a few teams have two legitimate #1C. I'm not saying that they are easy to acquire, but the Habs are probably an extreme outlier in terms of our pathological inability to draft, develop, or trade for one. Most organizations haven't found it *that* hard. (The Habs are reminiscent in this of the Vancouver Canucks' chronic ability to add bona-fide #1D - a problem that Quinn Hughes has finally solved, presumably. Hopefully KK is similar).
  12. I'm finding the refs are calling a lot of "borderline" stuff early in this season. Which is fine by me - provided they are consistent and stick with it. But we all know that, no matter what the standard is in the regular season, it all goes down the crapper come the playoffs, when it's lumberjack time.
  13. It depends on how Suzuki turns out. It's Domi, hands-down. Although the Petry trade is kind of forgotten, isn't it? Speaking of which - It's true, Petry is a legit #2. But the fact that our GM can't even go out and get an impact top-4 LD - say, a guy with a #3 profile - reinforces my suggestion that acquiring a #1 defenceman may not be discernably easier than acquiring a #1C.
  14. Nah. the only reason for concern is that Tatar had that strange drop-off year where he was mediocre in Detroit and horrendous in Vegas. The question - and it's only a mild musing at this point - is whether he is vulnerable to a relapse.
  15. Hughes...love, love, love players like that. 🤙 He'll probably falter at some point, but so far he's like Petterson in that he just oozes skill. It's crazy.
  16. Horvat is the obvious choice and was identified as captain material almost from his first NHL game. Any other choice would have been sheer pig-headed stupidity. Not that this is an unknown quality to NHL GMs/coaches. Incidentally, I like the Canucks this year. They've added two top-4 D in Myers and Hughes, which alone is enough to transform a team. They've also added enough FW depth that they should be competitive every night. I see them as having a really legit chance to make the dance this season. Not that you'd know that from the fog of negativity following the fanbase around.
  17. I appreciate the optimism, and who knows, maybe we can develop some configuration on D whereby we have three #2 D-men or something. Win with depth rather than top-end killer talent. I tend to disagree that a #1C is harder to find than a #1 D-man, though. Our GM has not even been able to find a legit #2 LD, let alone a legit #1. As for the recent posts here about Markov, it makes no difference now, because Markov would be washed up in any case. The Radulov issue remains resonant. I think Bergevin - uh-oh, now I'll get downvoted!! - has a pattern of being overly cautious with gifted players whose "character" does not fit the orthodox mode of old-school NHL robot. Hence, the dumb-ass bridge deal for Subban, and hence the reluctance to lock down Radulov. Stupid, but what can you do.
  18. Unfortunately, I missed the third period of this one. Suffice it to say I was surprised by how erratic Buffalo's defensive coverage is. Not that I think of Buffalo as a good team, but I was surprised to see an NHL team be that spotty in their own end. One guy who is worrying me a bit is Tatar. He's gotten points, but he's also taken a surprising amount of dumb penalties in the early going and - to my eye, anyway - hasn't looked particularly good when he's not in the box, despite getting on the scoresheet. It does look as though Suzuki is not ready for prime time. He needs to adjust.
  19. I agree, the timing of this post is odd. That said, I've maintained for a while that the "rebuild" (or retool, or whatever the hell it is) has a structural problem in that it is dependent upon Weber being exempt from the laws of human aging. To my knowledge, there is no Weber-style #1 defenceman in our prospect pool. It's Weber or bust. I think it is unwise to have so much of the team's future hinging on a 34-year-old defender with a lot of hard miles. Say the youngsters - including, improbably, Caufield - take three years to mature into their full potential. Even granting that they are the nucleus of a Cup contender, which is debatable, Weber will be 37. Now consider that teams often need multiple seasons of being contenders before they break through and win. You have to learn how to go from being hotshots to actually being able to win four grinding playoff series. Plus luck plays a huge role. The rebuild, therefore, can't be about building toward one "peak year" and praying that that's enough; it has to be about contending over a number of seasons, if it's to be a realistic plan. So if the youth peak when Weber is 37, they may need further seasons before they go all the way. And Weber will be 38, 39...you see the problem. Even as the rest of the team attains its apogee, he will be regressing. On an $8 mil cap hit. It's not an insurmountable problem. Maybe we could, in a couple of years, both trade a declining Weber - it would have to be some team that is desperate to make the cap floor - and somehow add a #1 d-man to replace him. But both of those feats are easier said than done. Prima facie, then, the argument stands: the rebuild is structurally flawed.
  20. Boy...you have to wonder if Cooper is long for this world, with results like that.
  21. Random observations: -It was like the 1980s out there. Crazy entertaining, firewagon stuff. -That might have been Weber's best game as a Hab. Dominant in all facets of the game. And Petry is that rarest of players, a guy who keeps getting better well into his 30s. -Max Domi: also that rarest of phenomena, a high-profile trade in which the Habs are actually clear-cut winners. Notwithstanding occasional glitches in his own end, he is a pistol out there. The 72-point season is going to prove to be the norm, not a fluke. -Price was Price: a frigging wall, stopping some of the league's deadliest players cold at multiple times. I love how he barely seemed to move during the SO. Vintage #31. -I really like what I'm seeing from Drouin so far this season. He is showing no quit, lots of hustle. As one of the analysts noted, burying him downward in the lineup helps him in terms of matchups. Good coaching by CJ. Indeed, CJ is a quiet star on this team. They're playing a very strong system, especially on the forecheck and on the PK. All of that said, this was a game in which the Habs had ALL the breaks. It should have been at least 4-1 coming out of the second - the only reason it wasn't was that Matthews' stick exploded on an open net. If I'm a Leafs fan, I'm pretty peeved at the hockey gods. That said, you have to take advantage of the break you get, and the Habs did that. Toronto...man, what a team. They've got a legit #1 D-man in Reilly and a pack of FWs so good that guys you've barely heard of, like Moore or Mikhayev, make amazing plays. Speaking of the 1980s, they remind me a little bit of the '80s Edmonton Oilers (not *that* good of course, but the same kind of team). Fabulous entertainment. And ominous for the Habs, if we ever become contenders, is that Matthews seems to have Price's number.
  22. While I still stand by my claim in another thread that Toronto has a significantly stronger line-up than ours, there are definitely thunder-clouds on TO's horizon this year. Spezza was benched for the home debut for ridiculous, petty reasons...Matthews is a #metoo embarrassment...Babcock has lost collective goodwill and there are rumours of him and Dubas being at odds...and the whole culture around the team is riven with anxiety that this stacked team has a horrible playoff record and may never make the jump to playoff success. Toronto is exactly like Montreal in that the fishbowl leads to exaggerated hysteria which can then throw an organization off track (as happened to the Habs in 2009 and 2012, say). The odds of a melt-down in the TO pressure-cooker are significant. Let's hope.
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