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The Chicoutimi Cucumber

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Everything posted by The Chicoutimi Cucumber

  1. Now, you all know that my job is to bring pessimism to the table. So let me say this: YES, Galy is a bust, and yes, the Habs spun straw into gold...or at least bronze...when we moved him for Domi. Great trade! At the same time, remember that everyone was going on and on for three or four years about how Galy was this young star in the making, a Can't Miss Kid who was going to be a core player for us. In other words, they used EXACTLY the same type of language about Galy that they are now using for our prospect pool as a whole (even though that pool has few players as "blue chip" as Galchenyuk was supposed to be). This is one of many examples that caution us that prospects often look better in theory than they turn out to be in practice. And that's why we should be careful about all this We're Guaranteed to be Great in Three Years stuff.
  2. Quick thoughts here: 1. It is a good question, who MB's replacement might be. I agree that there is a danger that it be Patrick Roy or some other "old fogey with ties to our past Cups," to build on Neech's concern. Think about what this means, though...it means we should keep the current GM because we can't trust ownership to hire someone based on criteria of excellence rather than sentiment. In other words, this organization is absolutely committed to mediocrity; mediocrity is utterly baked-in. So when I say "MB should be fired if we miss the playoffs," what I really mean is that an organization committed to excellence would fire him and do a rigorous and intelligent search for a top-end replacement. Maybe I'm giving the Habs too much credit in assuming these conditions hold in their case. 2. One of the basic differences separating me from Commandant is that I tend to take MB's work as an ongoing whole, where he accepts a categorical break in 2018 between Hapless Bergevin and Competent Bergevin. If you think in terms of continuity - four missed playoffs in five years, a team that has flat-lined two years in a row below the playoff bar, etc. - then you are probably comfortable saying MB should be canned. If you think in terms of 2018 as Year Zero, then firing him is surely premature. That's fair. 3. In terms of being "skeptical about prospect depth," let me clarify. I accept (because I have no way of knowing differently) the widespread expert view that the Habs have good prospects. What I am skeptical about is that this translates into Cup contention within Weber's window - or at all, really. Many people talk as though it is just axiomatic that we will contend when these prospects mature. In fact, it is anything but axiomatic. So what do I want? It's really very simple. I want the GM to improve this team enough that it makes the playoffs this season. Then I want the GM to build on that modest success going forward. These are hardly ridiculous asks IMHO. And yet when I complained in the summer that MB had done jacksh*t to improve the club, I was told to be patient, that the season hadn't begun yet. With the season is well begun, I'm now being told it didn't matter all along that he didn't improve the club, either because this season is irrelevant to the mythical Three Year Vanishing Point, or because we should just sing Zip-A-De-Doo-Dah all the time regardless of what the Habs do. No. As it stands right now, the team is no better than last year's: that's a FAIL. And as with many other failures, it's on Bergevin. Now hey, if the team rights the ship, charges strong in the new year and makes the playoffs, then God bless. But if current trends continue, then MB should go, subject to proviso (1) above.
  3. I think folks might be confusing tone and content. Like you, I don't lose a wink of sleep over the Montreal Canadiens. My wife's had breast cancer, my sister-in-law died catastrophically in her early 30s, I'm a parent, I've been around the block, I know what matters and what doesn't matter so much. Following the Habs really is a minor sidebar in life, a mental holiday from more important concerns, like watching "Star Wars." That said, when I *do* turn my mind to the Canadiens, I see a franchise mired in long-term mediocrity and hear quite a few fans basically saying that that's Jim Dandy. So I'm not buying that. One can cheer for a team and still critique it - just as one can be patriotic, and disagree with the direction of your country's government, or criticize its practices. (The analogy is imperfect of course, because what countries and governments do actually matters. But the point, which is that allegiance can combine with critique, stands). Let's remember what contributed to some of this discussion. I piped in and said that IF the Habs miss the playoffs for a fourth season out of five, the GM should be fired. I find it quite amazing that this is some wildly controversial position. The fact that it is, exemplifies the problem. And as for me being "100% pessimistic," I don't think it is terribly negative to say that this team is one quality LD from being more than a bubble team. The true pessimists are the ones who say to blow everything up because this team is garbage from top to bottom. Where I am pessimistic is in my skepticism that MB will fill the hole. But that's a well-earned pessimism; this guy has proven quite good at adding quality depth pieces and absolutely horrible at fixing major, top-end roster holes. I am also skeptical that we have all these fabulous players who are going to emerge as stars in three years. That's because a lifetime of watching hockey has taught me that expectations should generally be tempered about prospects (except in rare cases, where guys like Price, Subban, or Gallagher step in and right away you can see they are going to have an impact). Finally, I am skeptical that Weber and Price are going to be elite or semi-elite into perpetuity, which is an obvious fact to any living human except Bergevin, apparently. They will fade away like everybody else. And I think it'd be a pity if Price in particular plays out the string without being part of a serious, ongoing contender; he deserves better than that.
  4. Disappointing to hear my view caricatured this way. That is not my position and never was. As for supporting mediocrity, some of the posts on here prove my point. 'The team may not contend within Price and Weber's window and that's A-OK.' 'I just want to cheer for the Habs no matter what.' Such claims exemplify an uncritical embrace of eternal mediocrity. We all cheer for the Habs, but some of us don't see that as interchangeable with swallowing the organization's Kool-Aid all the time. You only have to consider how this 'everything is awesome' mindset would have worked during the Houle era to see its folly. Worse, by cheerleading endlessly we indirectly enable the franchise's mediocrity, just as Leafs fans did all those years.
  5. Man, it's forest and trees. You can look at this tree or that and go, "hey, this forest is doing great." When you zoom out and look at the forest as a whole, it's not doing that well at all. Eight years and still no obvious, clear-cut top-6 C. It looked like Domi was the answer - and yes, I like him, and yes, he is much better than Galy - but between his faceoff % and his overall sketchy play this year, the thought that he is the solution at C no longer self-evident. KoKo may yet become that guy, but he's having a troubling sophomore season and it is not a given that he will amount to more than a 50-point-ish 2nd line C. Two and a half years of a crippling hole on LD. And counting. A team that missed the playoffs in 2018, "improved" to a bubble team but still missed the playoffs last year, and is no better than that this year. For all of that - like I keep saying - this team has strengths in many areas, and the addition of a Markov replacement would likely vault it upwards past "bubble" status. This is precisely why I find it so frustrating that MB hasn't cracked that nut. Not only are we burning the playing lives of Weber, Petry, and even Price - the first and last of these being higher-impact players than anyone in our prospect pool projects to be - but in depriving our young players of playoff experience, we are further delaying the overall development of the franchise into a team that might actually threaten for the Cup. The complete disinterest by some posters on this site in actually having a quality, contending team continues to baffle me; it's exactly like listening to Toronto Maple Leafs fans from the 1970s, 80s, and parts of the '90s. The main difference is that "the new NHL" is now being used as an explanation for why the Habs can't actually excel. "UFAs don't come here." "The cap is challenging." Blah blah blah. You know what attracts UFAs? Success. If UFAs don't come here, it's because they rightly don't take the Habs seriously as an organization that is likely to contend any time in the foreseeable future. I've read that Hall told the Devils he would only sign with them if he could see a path to contention. If that's his goal, why would he sign here? Because MB will say "sure, we always miss the playoffs, but we've got some solid, non-susperstar-level prospects in the system?" Please.
  6. Judas Priest! It’s either Panglossian cheerleaders or C-3P0-style Doom and Gloom around here... This team has a lot of good elements, right now. In particular it has good FW depth, two legit top pairing D-men and a goalie with heavy pedigree. If our Andy Capp of a GM would get off the couch and fill the abyssal hole at LD, I honestly think that would be enough to get us over the playoff bar. And that should be the goal this season: getting over the bar. Remember, even if we’re retooling with youth, those youth will need playoff experience. It is consistent with - indeed, desirable to - a youth movement to ice a team that makes the dance. I do not subscribe to this narrative of endlessly deferred gratification in the name of some continually-shifting three-year vanishing point when we will miraculously contend. MB’s job was to make this team better than last year’s. As usual, that turned out to be too ‘tough.’
  7. Well, that seems to be an honest difference. We could decide to cheerlead for the organization no matter what it does, or we could conclude that being a fan does not involve surrendering our critical faculties. Obviously I subscribe to the second model, but hey, fill yer boots. And note that all I said above was that if the team missed the playoffs for the fourth time in five years, the GM should be canned. Given that the primary reason for missing the dance would be his comical inability over three seasons to add a quality LD - this after years of analogous floundering in adding a C - I think that’s quite reasonable. The (apparent) argument that it’s more ‘fun’ to support the GM irrespective of results would mean being happy even if Reggie Houle were still GM of this team. Non merci.
  8. Missing the playoffs year after year is hunky dory. Got it.
  9. And if the Habs go nowhere for the next 10 years you would still be praising his glorious work. ‘Just wait...we’ll be contenders any year now...’ This is what normal people would think, yes.
  10. My view is that if the team misses the playoffs again, MB should be fired. That said, the team hasn't missed the playoffs yet, and replacing GMs in mid-season is not always a good idea (c.f. Houle).
  11. Yow! I liked Crawford based on his media hits when he was out of the league, and also based on the fact that he always played an up-tempo style and seemed to have adapted to the modernization of the game upon his return in Dallas. He was my preferred choice over Therrien back in the day. I guess we dodged a bullet in not hiring him! (I'll refrain from asking who *wouldn't* want to strangle and kick Sean Avery...the point is that being someone's boss doesn't entitle you to physically abuse them).
  12. Same old chicken and the egg. We have this argument about young players all the time: "the coach should give him more ice time and prime offensive opportunities" versus "no, he has to earn those opportunities, not have them handed to him for free." The thing about Kinkaid is, he was human garbage in Jersey, so it was never terribly clear why we thought he would morph into a 30-game backup with lots of Ws here. I'm sure Julien would rather be resting Price, but at the end of the day he's been too concerned about Kinkaid, and not without reason, based on his track record. Perhaps we can add Backup G to LD and top-6 C as among the list of necessities which MB has proved consistently incapable of supplying his club.
  13. That is the nature of the job. Now if sending Kinkaid down helps him get more reps and come back stronger, then hey, that's great. But the bottom line is that Kinkaid did not convince CJ that he would be able to win enough games to warrant more starts.
  14. I just don't see the FWs as the problem. We've got a Hawaii-sized crater on the left half of the D, so we go out and get a forward? I agree that that sounds like a quintessential Bergevin move, but it's not what a competent GM would do IMHO.
  15. The long game, LOL. That's the game where if your prospects become decent NHLers after Price and Weber have aged out as impact players, you "win." It's like saying Lyndon Johnson was playing the "long game" in Vietnam.😎
  16. Well now, I may be misremembering. But I seem to recall quite a few posts on here highlighting the Kinkaid pickup as a key "small upgrade" which was supposed to combine with other small upgrades to make the 2019-20 Habs meaningfully improved over the 2018-29 Habs. This claim was generally made in response to old grouches like me, who kept pointing out that the GM had done little to upgrade on a roster that missed the playoffs and arguing that this was basically a fail by Bergevin. Now that Kinkaid has been revealed to be just as mediocre as skeptics like me feared, we're told that nobody really believed he was an upgrade and so it wasn't a fail in the first place. 🙄 Boy, I wish my supervisors were as generous toward me as fans are toward Bergevin.
  17. Surprising to me. I thought he played all right last game, and what if Primeau isn't ready for prime time? Then what?
  18. Your prediction is probably correct, This GM does not address massive organizational holes even over periods of years. So why expect him to make a move to fix a catastrophic short-term slump?
  19. Toronto has a top-notch G. Anderson is probably a better overall goalie than Price at this point. That's an absolutely insane trade for them. Vancouver has a strong veteran goalie and a rookie goalie who is playing well and projects to become elite. Price is the last thing they need. Buffalo: that's more like it! They have young stars galore, need a G, and are desperate to turn the corner. One problem: I very seriously doubt that Price would agree to be traded there. Ever. The NJ scenario is unlikely but, as I noted earlier, fun to consider. One BIG problem with any scenario involving Hall: he wants to win. In fact he told NJ management that he wanted to see them building a winner or he wouldn't sign. This being the case, why on earth would he want to play the rest of his career in Montreal, a team that is now likely to miss the playoffs for the 4th time in 5 years, has no upper-echelon elite young stars and no top-tier prospects, and whose best players are well into their 30s?
  20. That's a bit hard on Fleury, but point taken
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