Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
The Chicoutimi Cucumber

Watching the playoffs...

Recommended Posts

Terrific games and series with terrific teams. And looking at these games, I find myself asking the same question Mike Boone posed today on Habs Inside/Out:

Does anyone harbour the delusion that the Canadiens can play with Carolina, Boston or any other team still alive in the playoffs?

It's a disturbing question, because it's a thought that's crossed my mind more than once watching Chicago, Washington, and Pittsburgh. I haven't paid much attention to the Carolina series (other than to gloat that the Bruins Miracle Season is turning into a nearly-exact mirror of the 2007-08 Habs' season. I'm sure this is partly to do with the fact that we made it so ridiculously easy on them in Round One, they weren't prepared for an actual playoff series).

Anyway, I sure have a hard time answering Boone's question in the affirmative. These games are generally MUCH more physical than the regular season. The refs are tending NOT to call the holdings and interferences they do during the regular season. Most of these teams have at least one forward who is next to impossible to stop consistently (in Chicago's case, bizarrely, it's been Byfuglien). The team that lacks this, Vancouver, is running into real trouble.

I think our bottom two lines are as good as most of those I've seen. But I don't think our top-6 forwards are good enough to win these kinds of playoff series on any kind of regular basis. If our D had a Hamrlik playing well, a healthy Markov, and a healthy and confident Komisarek, it probably could compete, but you can't count on any of that either.

I don't want to start another thread on whether the Habs suck or not. What I'm asking is whether these series have been any kind of eye-opener. I worry that we're light years behind, say, Chicago. I'm not sure that, come playoff time, we even rank in the top 10, no matter what the results are in the regular season. Thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Terrific games and series with terrific teams. And looking at these games, I find myself asking the same question Mike Boone posed today on Habs Inside/Out:

Does anyone harbour the delusion that the Canadiens can play with Carolina, Boston or any other team still alive in the playoffs?

It's a disturbing question, because it's a thought that's crossed my mind more than once watching Chicago, Washington, and Pittsburgh. I haven't paid much attention to the Carolina series (other than to gloat that the Bruins Miracle Season is turning into a nearly-exact mirror of the 2007-08 Habs' season. I'm sure this is partly to do with the fact that we made it so ridiculously easy on them in Round One, they weren't prepared for an actual playoff series).

Anyway, I sure have a hard time answering Boone's question in the affirmative. These games are generally MUCH more physical than the regular season. The refs are tending NOT to call the holdings and interferences they do during the regular season. Most of these teams have at least one forward who is next to impossible to stop consistently (in Chicago's case, bizarrely, it's been Byfuglien). The team that lacks this, Vancouver, is running into real trouble.

I think our bottom two lines are as good as most of those I've seen. But I don't think our top-6 forwards are good enough to win these kinds of playoff series on any kind of regular basis. If our D had a Hamrlik playing well, a healthy Markov, and a healthy and confident Komisarek, it probably could compete, but you can't count on any of that either.

I don't want to start another thread on whether the Habs suck or not. What I'm asking is whether these series have been any kind of eye-opener. I worry that we're light years behind, say, Chicago. I'm not sure that, come playoff time, we even rank in the top 10, no matter what the results are in the regular season. Thoughts?

I thought just the same thing.

I made no secret that Chicago is my 2nd favorite team. They're just emerging and they're already tough to play against. They got everything at every position and are still very young. They were way behind us a year or two ago and they're already ahead of us now. They're reaping rewards for the high draft picks of the past couple of seasons: Barker 3rd overall in 2004, Toews 3rd overall in 2006, Kane 1st overall in 2007. And through trades they've added Ladd who was a 4th overall in 2004; and they're waiting after a big speedy powerforward in Skille (7th in 2005) and their late picks have panned out well.

What I'm getting at: they drafted 3-4 elite players and build around that core, mostly with players they drafted/developed themselves (Seabrook, Byfuglien, Keith, Bolland, Verteeg, Burish, Brouwer, Hjalmarsson ). They traded for 1 big name and that was Havlat. Sharp was a mucker until he got to Chicago. Their only UFAs are Campbell and Khabibulin. And most of those players are competitive and have leadership qualities.

Pittsburgh and Washington are pretty much the same: high draft picks for elite players a couple of years in a row and good development.

In contrast, the Habs havent drafted/developed any elite player very high in all those years. Markov was a 8th rounder that came into his own very slowly. Only Komisarek (7th), Kostitsyn (10) and Price (5) were picks in the top 10. Their potential is still there, but we can see how much the team depends on those high picks to match up against other teams in the playoffs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bleh. Is there anything that can be said in this topic that hasn't been said a million times?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been watching the Boston - Carolina series and have asked that question many times. Why are the Canes taking it to the Bruins (for the most part)? What are they doing that the Habs did not? Is the skill level on the Canadiens that much lower than the Canes?

The biggest thing that I see from that series and from a very fun to watch Pens - Caps series is the level of desire. These teams want to win and will give/take any amount of punishment to achieve it.

Can we compete? Not right now we can't. Skill aside, I just don't see the same level of desire to win by the whole team.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have been watching the Boston - Carolina series and have asked that question many times. Why are the Canes taking it to the Bruins (for the most part)? What are they doing that the Habs did not? Is the skill level on the Canadiens that much lower than the Canes?

Can we compete? Not right now we can't. Skill aside, I just don't see the same level of desire to win by the whole team.

Carolina has outstanding Goaltending.

They have a young superstar.

They have a strong centerline.

Locker room isnt the united nations

they play hard ALL the time

Wolfpack mentality

They a good coach.

all of these Montreal didn't have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Coaching is obviously a huge issue. I don't think ANY coach could have won with the injury-depleted roster we iced in the Boston series, but throughout Carbo's tenure this team showed erratic discipline, work habits, and commitment to team defence. After this season's humiliations, I'm sure whoever we hire as a new coach will have an attentive audience, and we'll see a huge improvement in these areas, at least in the short term.

It's more the sheer talent question that troubles me. Unfortunately, despite the 'New NHL' rhetoric, it remains true that playoff success is not the same as regular season success. It's the reffing, first of all - can you imagine, say, Plekanec ever being effective given the kind of interference being permitted here? - and the physical play, second - can you see our team holding up over four playoff rounds of this?

Off the top of my head, I'd say that, were the following important players to bring their 'A' games, they could compete over four playoff rounds:

FORWARDS

-Andrei Kostitsyn*

-Sergei Kostitsyn*

-Maxime Lapierre

-Guiaulme Latendresse

-Alexei Kovalev

-Christopher Higgins

-Alex Tanguay*

DEFENCE

-Roman Hamrlik

-Josh Gorges

-Mike Komisarek**

-Andrei Markov*

The following either would break down, or just aren't good enough:

-Tomas Plekanec

-Saku Koivu

-Mathieu Schneider

The asterisks (*) indicate players whose track records in the playoffs have to be considered a question mark. In other words, although they have the talent to succeed in the playoffs, there's ground for very serious doubt about whether they can be counted on to deliver. Komisarek gets a (**) because he likely will be gone this summer.

Three things to note here:

-the only A-list player on the list without asterisks is Kovalev.

-we have zero C capable of taking us four rounds.

-a LOT hinges on the Kostitsyns. If they decide to man up and really become the players they can be, our 'talent profile' for the playoffs looks a lot better. Those guys are physically robust, they need to find their stones and will, and if they do, they can make an impact. But will they?

Edited by The Chicoutimi Cucumber

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FORWARDS

-Andrei Kostitsyn*

-Sergei Kostitsyn*

The asterisks (*) indicate players whose track records in the playoffs have to be considered a question mark. In other words, although they have the talent to succeed in the playoffs, there's ground for very serious doubt about whether they can be counted on to deliver. Komisarek gets a (**) because he likely will be gone this summer.

Three things to note here:

Not sure how the Kostitsyn's get a bad playoff track record. I think you can almost throw away this 4 game series because everyone sucked. Looking at last years numbers, the Kostitsyns were rather good considering it was their first time in the playoffs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our centre problem is massive.

We need two quality centres to play on the top two lines. We either trade, rebuild and draft them or we tank (go with what we have) for next season and hope to land a big fish in the following year via UFA.

That is why no matter what scenario we follow Koivu should not be resigned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, plus in case CC wasn't paying attention over the past few years, your criticism of GC doesn't hold much water. I am not even a real GC supporter however, his teams work ethic was the highest in 15 years, obviously this years crew wasn't that competetive. Last years team was extremely hard working, extremely consistent and played D significantly better then any habs team in 15 years. Theo's big year was more Theo then the team.

As for the players waking up all of a sudden because of a new coach, i'll reming you the current C,A,A have been around for a couple of coaches, Koivu through 5 i beleive. Not much has changed.

The coaches have been thrown under the bus under his years as captain, until the players are held to the same standard as coaching, not much will change. They are simply a year older.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not sure how the Kostitsyn's get a bad playoff track record. I think you can almost throw away this 4 game series because everyone sucked. Looking at last years numbers, the Kostitsyns were rather good considering it was their first time in the playoffs.

Yeah, I should have said that they have to be considered question marks, period. They don't have much of a track record, it's more that they give us no real reason for optimism that they will be able to deliver their A games when it counts most. (You could say the same about Lapierre and Latendresse, of course, but I just think players as hard-working and dedicated as those guys inevitably *will* figure it out).

PM Koivu, like many people, I can see Saks being re-signed on a shorter-term deal (1-2 years) at an affordable rate (say $3 mil). The logic being that he's better than Pleks or Maxwell on your top lines - an impeccable logic, really...albeit a losing one. The situation at C borders on desperate. And if Komi leaves, the same will be true of D.

Edited by The Chicoutimi Cucumber

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't want to start another thread on whether the Habs suck or not. What I'm asking is whether these series have been any kind of eye-opener.

I've been watching the Wash-Pitts series and it sure opened my eyes! I quickly realised that the habs were NO match for the 8 remaining teams! No way could we have competed against these teams!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not because we don't have the talent. It's because we were injured/playing poorly/had dressing room problems. The Habs from last year (with the addition of Tanguay of course) could have made a series with any of these teams if they were on their game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i dont think alot of the goalies that are left are playing alot better then price did..dont get me wrong there been some big saves, but there also been alot of weak goals..i think ward as been the best i seen...the thing i do see is alot of teams that are better in their own zone and work harder then we did, with a never die game play..they just keep coming no matter the score and that what we miss..as soon as we went down it like we had no life left..we quit but for a few guys..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
i dont think alot of the goalies that are left are playing alot better then price did..dont get me wrong there been some big saves, but there also been alot of weak goals..i think ward as been the best i seen...the thing i do see is alot of teams that are better in their own zone and work harder then we did, with a never die game play..they just keep coming no matter the score and that what we miss..as soon as we went down it like we had no life left..we quit but for a few guys..

That helps a goalie to look better. It helps a lot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I thought just the same thing.

They're reaping rewards for the high draft picks of the past couple of seasons: Barker 3rd overall in 2004, Toews 3rd overall in 2006, Kane 1st overall in 2007. And through trades they've added Ladd who was a 4th overall in 2004; and they're waiting after a big speedy powerforward in Skille (7th in 2005) and their late picks have panned out well.

What I'm getting at: they drafted 3-4 elite players and build around that core, mostly with players they drafted/developed themselves (Seabrook, Byfuglien, Keith, Bolland, Verteeg, Burish, Brouwer, Hjalmarsson ). They traded for 1 big name and that was Havlat. Sharp was a mucker until he got to Chicago. Their only UFAs are Campbell and Khabibulin. And most of those players are competitive and have leadership qualities.

Pittsburgh and Washington are pretty much the same: high draft picks for elite players a couple of years in a row and good development.

In contrast, the Habs havent drafted/developed any elite player very high in all those years. Markov was a 8th rounder that came into his own very slowly. Only Komisarek (7th), Kostitsyn (10) and Price (5) were picks in the top 10. Their potential is still there, but we can see how much the team depends on those high picks to match up against other teams in the playoffs.

THis is the price Montreal is playing for mediocrity over the years. They have been kinda bad, while Chicago, Pitts, and Washington have all been terrible over the last years. All those teams that ya mentioned have had many top 10 picks over the last 8 years or so and are finally paying off. They better have excellent teams after being able to draft the OVechkins, Malkins, Crosby's, Kanes and Toews of the leage.

In the same time Montreal has got lcky by drafting Price 5th overall in the draft lottery in the Crosby sweepstakes. unfortantley for Montreal they drafted the position that takes the second longest to develop at and is the hardest in the league to play

I often wish Montreal had been brutal for a few years and got a few high pickls so we could have some franchise talent. Its been 30 years since Montral had a 1st overall pick! And very few top 10 picks.

The last 15 years have been really mediocre and its hurt in the drafting. Then again, The Devils and Detroit have been in the same boat. Something to think about

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Luongo for Price.. would you do it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Luongo for Price.. would you do it?

in a heartbeat

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well i'm sure if Price wasn't playing goal for Nucks they would have won. Oh wait a minute, it was Luongo who gave up all those goals.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know Price's numbers were horrible. He could have done better. But watching these playoffs, it seems pretty clear to me that he got unfairly ripped for his performance. Brodeur had a disastrous playoff exit. Luongo gave up 7 goals in a deciding game. Fleury and Varlamov have blown somewhat hot and cold. And on it goes.

That's another lesson learned in these playoffs. I think Montreal fans have idealized the goaltending position. We've developed a myth in our minds about Patrick Roy in particular - the idea that a top goalie will be simply unbeatable. But there's not a goalie on earth, or in history, who makes every single big save he needs to make all the time, and who never lets in a weak goal. Roy had bad goals, bad games, horrible series. Dryden likewise. As Luongo shows, even a soft 10 minutes - which is all he had - can ruin everything. No goalie wins game after game single-handedly.

We need to start evaluating Price in light of the real world and other goalies out there, not the Myth of the Unbeatable Montreal Netminder.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most goalies are a reflection of the team in front of them. I am 100% sure if Broduer had played for the habs teams over the last 10 years, he wouldn't have the numbers he has right now.

I poke fun at all the Price bashers because they are so out of touch with reality. Get him a solid D in front of him, then if he bombs he'll be subject to some criticism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow anyone see the Luongo interview where he started crying? What a guy. Feel really bad for him...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Most goalies are a reflection of the team in front of them. I am 100% sure if Broduer had played for the habs teams over the last 10 years, he wouldn't have the numbers he has right now.

I poke fun at all the Price bashers because they are so out of touch with reality. Get him a solid D in front of him, then if he bombs he'll be subject to some criticism.

No doubt he would look better on a more defensive team, but it cuts both ways. Ward is playing amazing for Carolina, fueling their confidence, driving their offense. Washington has won or lost based mainly on how well the goalie plays.

Brodeur had a bad playoff, but he has his name on the cup. Ward has a pile of trophies and a cup, so when he sucked last year, he knows he can do it. This year, he is doing it again, beating Boston. Put Price on Carolina, and I don't think they win this year. Put Ward on Montreal, we probably don't either. BUT! Put Ward on our team last year, and we beat Philly.

No one expects Price to win every game despite the team, but he failed to win any games. He failed to give the team momentum. That is fine, but then I shouldn't have to listen to people idolize him like he has done something worth idolizing. He is a young goalie with a lot of potential. I am tired of screwing this team over to give him "experience".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Price stole plenty of games early for this years team. If not for outstanding goaltending early in the season they may not have even made the playoffs.

I am not of those who idolizes him, i am trying to be fair.

The team was a bottom 5 defensive team, alot of injuries, including Price. The offense dried up since just before the all star game.

You make good points, especially on Ward, but Ward's team is far better then this years habs. Especially defensively.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another thing on Ward: he was really spectacular when he first broke into the league at 20. Then he struggled for 2 years. Now, he seems to have his game back at 23. Price looked great at 20 as well... and struggled at 21.

And yes, Montreal fans have idealized the goaltending position, although I wouldn't say it's a Montreal-specific problem. Roy sucked big time in 1991 and 1992... in fact, he sucked so badly in 1992 that the team almost lost to Hartford and got swept by Boston in Round 2. There were a lot of rough times with Patrick... but it was worth it for the great runs every few years he could take us on.

I don't think the Habs are that much worse defensively than the Capitals, however. Man... they are just so loaded offensively that all the bad pinches and lazy backchecking (an effect of Ovechkin taking 1:10+ long shifts consistently) gets hidden. That David Steckel line is great defensively for them, but that's about all they have (and Fedorov when he's not completely gassed). Pothier seems to know what he's doing in his own end, I suppose.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...