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The Chicoutimi Cucumber

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Posts posted by The Chicoutimi Cucumber

  1. 29 minutes ago, Commandant said:


    No one is saying that it is unreasonable to ask them to become an elite team. 


    The idea is that it is unreasonable to ask them to do so, overnight. 

    This team is in the midst of a retool, was one of the worst teams in the league in 2017-18.  One season isn't enough to fill all the holes. 


    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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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?



  4. 1 hour ago, Chris said:

    If they miss the playoffs again, is that the end of MB, CJ and the coaching staff? 


    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.



  5. 2 hours ago, Habber31 said:

    Bernier, is not even a starter in the nhl (on a quality team, anyways) . The last 5 shots Montreal took on him, were literally right in the chest.


    I know it sounds ridiculous, being this early in the season, but Montreal can't afford to give away points to non-playoff teams.


    Nights off won't cut it, for a meat and potatoes type of team, like Montreal. These points will make a difference at the end of the season. 


    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.

    • Like 1
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  6. 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.

    • Like 1

  7. 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).

    • Like 1
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  8. 3 minutes ago, BCHabnut said:

    He looks hungry to me. I know that's a simplified statement.  I mean he looks like he's fighting to win puck battles and have an impact. I think his production will be fine. The slash was a weak call. The slash by Moore on Suzuki which led to the kerfoot goal was probably more impactful.  And it wasn't worth discussing by anyone. For me, I dont want to see Tatar dial back his battles.  Just hope he takes a few less penalties.


    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.

    • Upvote 1

  9. 10 minutes ago, Habber31 said:

    Byron was waivers

    Trade Suzuki? 


    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 -


    34 minutes ago, BCHabnut said:

    I honestly see petry as a number 2. One more is needed badly though.  If mete becomes that, thank God, but right now he is a 5.


    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.

  10. 17 minutes ago, DON said:

    Tatar averages 29 PIMs/yr, so again dont go crazy after all of 4 penalties in 3 games.


    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.

  11. 2 minutes ago, BCHabnut said:

    I liked horvat for captain even last year.  Hughes is crazy good. Its cool to see all the pieces in Vancouver come together. I'm almost jealous Hughes is not a Canadien.  But I think kk has a massive upside so I'll have to rein in my jealousy a bit.


    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.

  12. 15 hours ago, dlbalr said:


    I'd go with Horvat.  I'm not a fan of giving the C to someone who's just basically starting out in the league.  Horvat's still young himself but this is his sixth season already.


    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.

  13. On 10/7/2019 at 2:35 PM, Commandant said:


    Zdeno Chara has aged out of being the Bruins the #1 defenceman but is still a quality top 4 guy. 


    They have a number 1 guy who they drafted 14th overall.  Their number 2 was acquired as an undrafted free agent. 

    Shea Weber himself was a 2nd round pick.  The guy we traded for him, our previous #1, was a second round pick. The guy before that, Markov, was a 7th rounder. 

    Lets look at the other final four teams last year...

    The Blues top defenceman is debateable.  Some will say Pietrangelo (a 3rd overall pick)... others will say its Parayko, who was picked at the bottom of the third round. In any event I maintain that Parayko could be a #1 D on many teams in the NHL. 
    The Canes have Jaccob Slavin, drafted in the 4th round as their top guy. 
    The Sharks have Karlsson (who they traded for) and was a 15th pick, and Brent Burns (who they also traded for) and was a 20th overall pick. 

    You can go further through the league and find many top defencemen taken outside of the top 10 of the draft.  


    The fact is that defencemen develop later, and there is no way of knowing that none of our D can be #1s.... I'd argue that its too early to really tell with any of them, but Romanov, Brook, Fleury, and Struble all have some of the skills teams look for in number 1 ds.  Its not a guarantee that they will develop into that role, but its possible and by having a bunch of them, you can have a number 1 D. 




    Getting the number 1 C is much harder than getting the number 1 D.  The key to this rebuild remains in the hands of Kotkaniemi. 




    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.


  14. 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.

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  15. 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.

  16. 2 hours ago, xXx..CK..xXx said:

    Tampa was outshot 44-13 by Carolina last night.


    Shots by period for Tampa Bay:


    1) 11

    2) 0

    3) 2


    I’m not sure when I’ve last seen 0 shots in a period...and they still managed to get into overtime.


    OT) 0



    Boy...you have to wonder if Cooper is long for this world, with results like that.

  17. 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.

    • Upvote 1

  18. 7 hours ago, titanfan said:

    Heard there was a parade in Toronto today


    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.

    • Like 1

  19. 9 hours ago, Helmethead said:

    Game day baby!!


    Hope springs eternal.


    Can't believe I've been on this site since 2005..


    Ha haaa, yeah, I'm an '06 man. Followed in your footsteps. But I have a scary ridiculous number of posts 😒


    My 'hope' has been severley constrained after living through multiple failed rebuilds under five different GMs, but hey! Always a kick to see a new season of les canadiens.


    • Like 2

  20. 32 minutes ago, DON said:

    Last year;

    Leafs 100pts

    Habs 96 pts

    Too bad Habs are such a worse team than the Leafs. Maybe someday down the road they will be able to compete with them.


    So, Kyle Dubas calls you up and offers to trade his entire team for yours. You're telling me you wouldn't take him up on it? Please.

    • Like 1

  21. 13 hours ago, IN THE HEARTS OF MEN said:




    2018-19 Montreal Canadiens Opening Day Roster:


    Joel Armia.         
    Paul Byron
    Phillip Danault
    Max Domi
    Jonathan Drouin
    Brendan Gallagher
    Charles Hudon____________>Weal 
    Jesperi Kotkaniemi
    Artturi Lehkonen
    Matthew Peca___________> Cousins
    Tomas Plekanec________> Thompson
    Nikita Scherbak_________> 
    Andrew Shaw__________>Suzuki
    Tomas Tatar


    Karl Alzner_______>Chariot
    Jordie Benn______>Weber
    Noah Juulsen_____>Fleury
    Victor Mete
    Xavier Ouellet______>Kulak
    Jeff Petry
    Mike Reilly





    Antti Niemi________>KingCaid
    Carey Price




    We are vastly improved......









    😄  "Vastly improved."


    Many of these "vast improvements" are players we added in the first half of last season. But the team still wasn't good enough in the second half. Yes, the team might be a little bit better than the second-half Habs of last season, and it's possible that those small improvements may concatenate into just enough to get us over the playoff bar. That we can't say this is with confidence is what makes us a bubble team.


    What would be a "vast improvement" is vaulting into the ranks of the Tampas and the Torontos.


    Theoretically, this *could* happen. Koko could erupt into a 70-point C, Suzuki could emerge as a 60-point rookie like Pettersson was, Mete could take a huge leap forward, etc..  But smart planning isn't predicated on everything going as well as it could possibly go. Barring some crazy Cinderella scenario, then, the Habs will be on the bubble. Hardly a vast improvement.

  22. 40 minutes ago, Chris said:

    They are arguably the 5th best team in there division, 


    Playoffs dont seem realistic, 


    Shaw moving out will hurt this team, not enough size and sand paper in the lineup ( I know its the new nhl) 


    Playoffs are "realistic" this year just as they were last year. I don't see the team as worse than the 2018 iteration; but it's also not obviously improved. So the safe prediction would be bubble team, just like last year. This seems to be perfectly wonderful to most Habs fans, who have fallen so dismally low in their expectations as to repose ecstatic hopes on a good prospect pool, albeit one lacking in prospective superstars, and in the belief that Shea Weber is miraculously immune from aging. Colour me skeptical. A middling future awaits, I suspect - as a good team but not a high-end contender; but this year we will likely be less than that.

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