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The Chicoutimi Cucumber

Rebuild in disguise - Some confirmation?

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You don't need to finish last to rebuild. It's a myth. 40 years of Habs dynasties proves it. Detroit and New Jersey prove it, along with lesser examples such as Anaheim, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Boston, etc.. Finishing last is also no guarantee of successful rebuilding. See Columbus, Atlanta, etc..

IF we are indeed "rebuilding in disguise," it's really just fine by me.

I'd take Columbus' roster over ours any day of the week. Also, just for the record, Columbus has never finished last and the only time they drafted 1st overall was via a trade.

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I think this is a mix of hope and informed speculation on my part. I have never said that this IS what Gainey is doing. I've said that it offers a credible explanation of what he's really trying to do. Until I see hard evidence to the contrary, which would be Bob trading young players or picks for immediate help, I'll work with this theory, because it is an optimistic reading of the situation.

I've boldfaced some claims where you point to mistakes on Gainey's part. Yes, Bob has made mistakes. The real mistake, at least as we can infer from his actions, was in hiring the wrong coaching staffs. Firing them was not the mistake; hiring them in the first place was. (But please, Julien? Talk about yesterday's news).

Boivon remarked that Bob was considering firing Lever at al. in 2007, before the Dogs won the championship. That little nugget is what got me thinking that Gainey in fact realized something was rotten in the state of player development before the rest of us. Unfortunately, he got thrown off-course by the Hamilton victory and then the spectacular 2007-08 season.

This may help to explain why he took the drastic action he did in 08-09. The fundamentals of the rebuild had turned out to be wrong, and the disaster of that season re-affirmed Bob's original suspicions. The primary target was the coaches, but veteran "leadership" may also have been deemed lacking in his estimation. As for the Higginses, Latendresses, and Komisareks, he obviously did not believe they had developed as originally hoped and cut them loose. So far, his judgement about players surrendered looks pretty good.

Now you're right about the lack of cap flexibility. But that *also* can be related back to the "rebuild in disguise" idea. Young players are cheap. So IF you're planning on staying competitive during the rebuild, you may as well spend close to the cap and manage those headaches in the interim. (Plus, he presumably felt that guys like Gionta and Gomez represented better "surroundings" for young players, as well as just better players, than Kovy et al.). As I've said before, Rebuild 2.0 poses no cap problems because guys like Subban and whoever are not going to cost much. By the time they're blossoming, in 3-5 years, the Gomez era is going to be winding down. The real trick will be in the interim: re-signing holdovers from Rebuild 1.0 (Pleks, Price, etc.). But I'd like to wait and see how it plays out before throwing myself off a bridge about it.

Your fundamental point, Wamsley, seems to be that we should follow the Pittsburgh/Tampa model of being absolutely awful for a few seasons and then rebuild with superstars. I just do not believe this to be feasible in Montreal, especially not (ironically) after 15 years of futility. Neither fans nor owners will tolerate utter wretchedness for any extended period. (In fact, they don't tolerate it too well in those other markets either. The Penguins were touch and go for a while).

Besides, you don't need to rebuild that way. Teams like Detroit, Philly, Anaheim, New Jersey and Vancouver - or the Montreal Canadiens, prior to 1996 - have been able to develop high-end young players from within while avoiding scraping the basement for long periods. This has to be the model Gainey is looking to. Hopefully he gets it right this time. (You can always argue that Bob has "proven" that he isn't the right man for the job, but I don't see too many better options out there. Indeed, having been through the previous exercise he must have a very steely-eyed vision of how to a rebuild properly this time - assuming that I am correct about his intentions. If any human being alive has earned a second chance from Habs fans, it's Bob Gainey).

I watched the Maple Leafs sell out the Gardens in the 1980s with an abysmal team on a nightly basis.

I have watched the Canadiens slowly morph into a replica of the Leafs cashbox over the last 5 years.

Selling any and everything with a logo on it, going from a small market team that needed to sell Recchi

and Damphousse for pucks to a team making $40-50M profits.

As for NOT rebuilding that way, it is true, you do not need to rebuild that way. The problem I have with your

theory is that you are affording the same management team a second 5-year plan when they self admittedly

######ed up the original 5 year plan. Gainey torched his own work, now I am supposed to have faith that him

and Timmins can get it right the 2nd time with the same draft slots and LESS cap money?

Hence why I called it a 10-year plan. I am not happy to invest another 5 years in a management structure

that made false promises to me for 5 years. They mis-identified their future core and sold me on it yearly only to

turn around and offer an OOOPS, my bad. Let's do this again, trust me, I got this, this time.

I would afford a first time GM these type of slip ups. These mistakes from a veteran GM are unacceptable.

What has he learned in the last 5 years that he shouldn't have known in the previous 10? Poorly identifying your

core, firing your coach, hiring your protege to do the job, then firing him and hiring a guy to do the job of the

first guy you fired 4 years later? It is his job to be ahead of the curve. It is his job to identify player weakness

and to maximize on the prospects he feels will develop and the ones who will not. It is his job to offer out loophole

contracts like the ridiculous one Savard just signed (It is essentially a 4 year deal that will pay him 6.5M per with

a $4.5M cap hit and a 1.25M buyout over 6 years if he declines). Not hand out 5 year $5M annual deals. It is his job

to sniff out that his AHL coach is not developing his players properly before 4-5 years.

He FAILED at all of these things, you have essentially admitted he has. So why in Hell would you offer him the keys

to your brand new Porsche when he just smashed the shit out of your previous one?

He is All-In right now in my books. There is no re-buy after this season. I do not trust him to rebuild this team if this

team crashes and burns. He has proven that he cannot rebuild while remaining competitive. Timmins has a remarkable

ability to snag NHLers in the mid-late rounds, but not stars and he has had plenty of misfires in the first round.

The argument that there is nobody better out there would have worked fine in Detroit before they hired Holland from

out of nowhere. It would have worked in New Jersey before they flew in Lamierello out of Providence. There are strong

hockey people who have figured out the cap, use different methods to rate players and are longing for the chance to

make an impact. It is the organizations job to make the right decisions, and after the last calendar year, I am not sure they are capable of doing so.

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You don't need to finish last to rebuild. It's a myth. 40 years of Habs dynasties proves it. Detroit and New Jersey prove it, along with lesser examples such as Anaheim, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Boston, etc.. Finishing last is also no guarantee of successful rebuilding. See Columbus, Atlanta, etc..

IF we are indeed "rebuilding in disguise," it's really just fine by me.

Though you need great scouting for that. We dont have it right now. When other teams constantly "steal" guys from your own backyard while you miss yours; it's a bad sign.

The 40 years of dynasties were built on knowing the Quebec talent pool inside out and developing a monopoly on that territory. I mean, Frank Selke created the QMJHL just to keep an eye on every kid in the province.

On top of that, they crafted players. Meaning they had staff whose sole purpose was to take players day in and day out and work tirelessly on the little details to mold them into NHLers. In the light of the recent prospects failures, you keep hearing how it would have never happened back when they had Claude Ruel iron out every little wrinkle in the kids' game. Hopefully in Guy Boucher they got a man who can do the same.

Still, they'll need to do a better job at the draft table.

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I'd take Columbus' roster over ours any day of the week. Also, just for the record, Columbus has never finished last and the only time they drafted 1st overall was via a trade.

Rick Nash was acquired during a 57 pt season. They have had a top 6 pick SIX times in the last 10 years

and before last year had never drafted lower than 8th.

This is a better way to go than the previous five-year plan. Even Doug Maclean was capable of rebuilding

a contender with this plan.

Edited by Wamsley01

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You don't need to finish last to rebuild. It's a myth. 40 years of Habs dynasties proves it. Detroit and New Jersey prove it, along with lesser examples such as Anaheim, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Boston, etc.. Finishing last is also no guarantee of successful rebuilding. See Columbus, Atlanta, etc..

IF we are indeed "rebuilding in disguise," it's really just fine by me.

OK, if the Habs hire the scouting staff and GMs of any of the Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers

or Boston Bruins, then I will support your "rebuild in disguise". I will not get on board with a management staff who failed at this principle and then essentially admitted it by jettisoning all their previous work.

Right now I am left with the hope that Boucher CAN develop the young talent, that Price will develop into a superstar

(a pick that was acquired through nothing but sheer luck and coincidently the only top 5 pick they have had in 30 years

is their ELITE prospect) and that Martin can implement a system in which they can compete with less talent.

Edited by Wamsley01

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Gainey torched his own work, now I am supposed to have faith that him

and Timmins can get it right the 2nd time with the same draft slots and LESS cap money?

Hence why I called it a 10-year plan. I am not happy to invest another 5 years in a management structure

that made false promises to me for 5 years. They mis-identified their future core and sold me on it yearly only to

turn around and offer an OOOPS, my bad. Let's do this again, trust me, I got this, this time.

Don't have time now, but if someone wants to do it, I'd like to compare the basis of the 5 years plan that were in place 5 years ago with the basis of a 5 years plan that would start now...

Like who was already there + what we needed to add + what we really added vs who is there now + what we would need to add in the future.

Because calling then next 5 years a bust is very prematured IMHO.

Edited by JoeLassister

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I think what Wamsley is trying to say is that he's lost some of the faith he had in Bob Gainey. 6 years ago, when they said we needed to rebuild, we bought into that plan. We trusted Bob and his team. We were patient, we supported the team, even though it was a good team. They asked us to be patient and we were.

6 1/2 years later, we've lost some faith in Bob (and his team). We aren't as patient anymore, rightfully so. We 're willing to give him another chance, but not another 5 years. The management team fv.cked up and now they made more mistakes in trying to patch their original mistakes.

I'm willing to give bob another chance, but he can't afford to fv.ck up again...and unfortunately, i get the feeling that he didn't make the right moves last summer!

Things aren't looking very good.

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We didn't have sellouts as recently as a decade ago. There's absolutely no reason to think the fickle Montreal fans wouldn't leave in droves if we sucked to get draft picks.

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We didn't have sellouts as recently as a decade ago. There's absolutely no reason to think the fickle Montreal fans wouldn't leave in droves if we sucked to get draft picks.

I wouldn't say they left in droves. Even in the worst years (98-01) the habs were still getting 20,000+ fans per game ( 94% of Capacity) and that was before the marketing plan used by the Gilett administration.

I'm pretty sure that even if they sucked for a couple of years, they'd still sell out the Bell Centre.

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I understand what CC is getting at: there does seem to be a rebuild under way. But I support Wamsley's assertion that a guy shouldn't be given full reigns on a new 5 year plan after admitting his first one failed. Even if he had correctly identified the faults of the previous plan, it seems like a huge leap of faith to trust him on it right now. But after the summer of moves, I don't know what a new GM wanting to rebuild could do, other than bring his own management team and scouting staff. Player personnel wise... Bob has set this team up for 5 years.

Honestly, I'm all for getting a top 5 pick added to the mix this summer. But then I don't know if Markov, the one legit elite veteran we have, will return if the team is that bad the summer before his free agency kicks in.

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To be honest, I would rather have a team compete FOR the playoffs every year, than suck for X amount of years to get the top end draft picks.

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I think Wamsley's position that BG can't be trusted with a second rebuild is reasonable and defensible.

However, in my view rebuilding is not an exact science and therefore I tend to shy away from a punitive attitude toward failure. For instance, Bob had faith that Carbo could make the jump in a relatively short time frame. He based this, presumably, on his extensive previous experience with Carbo (and perhaps his sense that a guy with extensive experience in Montreal might be the right person). Lever and Jarvis also had credentials that suggested they were good choices. Obviously these decisions didn't work out, but I don't think that makes Bob an idiot or means that his decision was idiotic. Similarly, players such as Higgins, the Kostitsyns, Streit, Lats and Komisarek were all highly-regarded as prospects and the crop of young players Gainey and Timmins assembled was universally viewed as one of the best in hockey. We can therefore infer that they were reasonable draft picks - not obvious blunders or idiotic choices.

Philosophers refer to this process of making reasonable-yet-unpredictable choices in a murky world as the "burden of jugement." Gainey has generally made what seem to be reasonable decisions given radically imperfect information. Now, one can take a purely results-oriented view and say "you only get one try." Like I say, that's a reasonable conclusion. But given the inherent unpredictability of a rebuild, the real issue to me is whether the reasons for the earlier failure have been identified and fixed. I think it's reasonable to argue that Gainey seems to have identified coaching (and perhaps veteran leadership/team culture) as the principal causes behind the failure of Rebuild 1.0 and has taken comprehensive steps to address those underlying problems. On that basis, I think it's equally reasonable to give Bob the opportunity to try again.

We can also argue that our drafting has just sucked. Maybe. Or maybe the real issue has been in player development. Again: either view is reasonable, given that none of us really "knows" the truth of the matter.

So we have an honest disagreement here. If I see Gainey dumping youth and picks in a desperate drive to make the playoffs, then I will definitely swing to the Wamsley side. For now, I'm still with Bob.

Edited by The Chicoutimi Cucumber

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I think the Boggalot theory must apply here too. That many of our prospects are playing 20 games a year in NCAA or whatever they call it. 4 years later, they don't have nearly the developement they should. Kristo, McDo, Fisher, Leblanc.... How good are these guys? WHo knows? they don't play hockey! Then you can add all the Russians that have defected from the system and our prospects look a lot deeper than they are. We have no depth. Partly due to drafting, partly due to developement (gainey seems to have recognized this, and made neccessary changes.) partly due to where your draft choices play and how easy it is to work them into your system at a young age. And get the value out of them in a cap system. I agree with Bog. If a player plays in college for 2 or 3 years, that's 2 or 3 years that you will not have him on the big team. that's 2 or 3 years earlier that he get's a raise. that's 2 or 3 years earlier that he moves on. or you trade him without really knowing what you have, like McDO.

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I understand what CC is getting at: there does seem to be a rebuild under way. But I support Wamsley's assertion that a guy shouldn't be given full reigns on a new 5 year plan after admitting his first one failed. Even if he had correctly identified the faults of the previous plan, it seems like a huge leap of faith to trust him on it right now. But after the summer of moves, I don't know what a new GM wanting to rebuild could do, other than bring his own management team and scouting staff. Player personnel wise... Bob has set this team up for 5 years.

Honestly, I'm all for getting a top 5 pick added to the mix this summer. But then I don't know if Markov, the one legit elite veteran we have, will return if the team is that bad the summer before his free agency kicks in.

Could we please stop with this lack of flexibility, team set for 5 years stuff. At the conclusion of the 2011 season, the team has 5 contracts on the books, for a grand total of $23.8 million. The only contract, in my opinion, difficult to move is Gomez. And one other thing, Wamsley never stops with this cap is going to be less argument. NOBODY anywhere has confimed this, prove it, if I'm wrong. It's all maybe, we're not sure, the economy has started to recover. The team has money, in this market, it has to be spent.

Edited by Habsy

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It seems to me that a lot of our good thinking and talent recognition as far as the draft is concerned went out the door with Andre Savard. Much of the credit for their joint work in Ottawa and Montreal goes to Timmins, without much mention of AS.

The argument stands that if we actually HAD access to some of the talent we drafted (like some of the Russians or the NCAA guys) we may look better in that department. But we haven't developed a thoroughbred in so long either, I wonder if more creativity as far as packaging and trading picks with other teams wouldn't be in order, not trade a 16th for a 15th, but really change the outlook and strategy of your draft.

Edited by redondo

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Could we please stop with this lack of flexibility, team set for 5 years stuff. At the conclusion of the 2011 season, the team has 5 contracts on the books, for a grand total of $23.8 million. The only contract, in my opinion, difficult to move is Gomez. And one other thing, Wamsley never stops with this cap is going to be less argument. NOBODY anywhere has confimed this, prove it, if I'm wrong. It's all maybe, we're not sure, the economy has started to recover. The team has money, in this market, it has to be spent.

5 players at $23.8M. Yeah, no big deal, until you realize those players are Gionta, Gomez, Cammalleri, Spacek and Moen.

Add in a re-signed Markov and Price and you are now at $32-33 for 7 players.

You can choose to believe the economy is improving, but what will offset the money generated

by the rebirth of the Chicago market last season? The Canadiens 100th Anniversary merchandising

bonanza? In Toronto the Maple Leafs have SIX luxury boxes sitting vacant. This is UNHEARD of. I have

season ticket holders asking me if I want tickets for the first time in my life because they can't unload

them. So believe what you want.

Even if the cap stays at $55M, that would leave $22M to cover 16 players and improve on the above core.

What you see in front of you is the team. Outside of Subban, Weber, Max Pac, S. Kostitsyn or Leblanc

developing into superstars or Gainey pulling an impact player out of his ass, this team is set.

As for Gainey correcting his errors, I don't understand why a Stanley Cup winning GM who took over the coaching reigns

in 2006 failed to recognize leadership errors during that playoff run. I don't understand why a team that rocketed

out of the gate and yearly collapsed around mid-season was not structurally flawed. Why did he have the patience to

stand by the team after the 2007 season when they choked their way out of the playoffs? He took Kovalev for a walk,

he remained patient and the Habs put up 103 points. Then they play great through January and suffer injuries to Lang,

Price, Markov, Tanguay etc and MAKE THE PLAYOFFS, he guts the teams core. Why was he blind to the flaws of the team

in 2007, but not in 2009? If all of these flaws existed, they were not new last season, they existed since the lockout.

Why the sudden realization? It seems all too convenient that he came to these discoveries during the Centennial season.

Firing Carbo, ripping out the core, blowing his brains out on July 1st.

You are right, I don't trust him anymore.

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Wamsley, I think that blowing up the core comes down in significant measure to the decline of Koivu and Kovalev, especially the former. Presumably Bob had no interest in re-signing Saku Koivu for any duration of time because Saku Koivu is no longer a top-6 player. Presumably he was willing to let Kovalev walk for related reasons. Locking those guys in for 2-3 more seasons would mean accepting steeply-diminishing returns from the veteran core over that span. Given the (assumed) desire to remain competitive during the rebuild, this wouldn't have been an option. (It's easy to say that he should have re-signed those guys to cheap contracts for only one season, of course. Easy, and totally unrealistic).

As for the young vets Gainey has moved, I think he just gradually concluded that they were never going to become elite players. Patience, yes, but at some point you cut bait.

Personally, I think Gainey was correct that the old core was not a good bet to be competitive over a 2-3 year span. Koivu especially had to be replaced.

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Wamsley, I give up. But look forward to reading your posts. Mike Cammalleri can be traded, if a 1st tier player actually agrees to come to Montreal. He's a 40 goal scorer, surround him with a Joe Thornton type, he could approach 50. Spacek? We may have overpaid, but he's easily dealt, especially in his final year. Travis Moen makes $1.5 million, you know that's not a problem.

Edited by Habsy

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It is completely clear to me that this is a total rebuild. The mass signings and not re-signings combined with dumping two of our "blue chip" prospects is evidence enough for me. I do not think that Bob is done yet either.

Cucumber is right about the piss poor management of young assets but Bob is dumping them now. He is cutting his losses...There are other young guys who should be worried. I love the fact that Martin is not taking any of this "country club" attitude. Follow the system, play hard or GTFO.

The only handcuffing, crappy move Gainey has made is Gomez.

Short sighted? No way, this is long term thinking. Cut your losses, admit your mistakes and move for the future.

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Rejean Houle proved they were not to big to fail a decade ago.

The luster is gone from the Habs organization, once the expectation was a Stanley Cup every May, then it was a contender every year,

then a playoff birth. This season, I have ZERO expectations.

That's not my point. The Habs failed in the late 90s because of poor management. Nowadays, they are simply THOUGHT OF or DEEMED too big to fail now because of inflated expectations for the most storied franchise in all of hockey. I say let them fail.

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Wamsley, I think that blowing up the core comes down in significant measure to the decline of Koivu and Kovalev, especially the former. Presumably Bob had no interest in re-signing Saku Koivu for any duration of time because Saku Koivu is no longer a top-6 player. Presumably he was willing to let Kovalev walk for related reasons. Locking those guys in for 2-3 more seasons would mean accepting steeply-diminishing returns from the veteran core over that span. Given the (assumed) desire to remain competitive during the rebuild, this wouldn't have been an option. (It's easy to say that he should have re-signed those guys to cheap contracts for only one season, of course. Easy, and totally unrealistic).

As for the young vets Gainey has moved, I think he just gradually concluded that they were never going to become elite players. Patience, yes, but at some point you cut bait.

Personally, I think Gainey was correct that the old core was not a good bet to be competitive over a 2-3 year span. Koivu especially had to be replaced.

Kovalev signed for 2 years, Koivu for 1. Are you really trying to convince me that the rebuild is better off with Gomez for the next 5 years and $7M+?

Why is the assumption that he needed to give these guys 2-3 years? Every guy that we anticipated costs for in April signed for significantly less.

This team looks more and more everyday like it is headed for the lottery, yet I am supposed to have faith in the management team that capped out

and put this mess together just 5 months ago? I don't want to here the Markov injury nonsense either, this team is 8-2 in OT, that is propping their

record up, this team has been brutal more often than not, and people are finally starting to realize it and have stopped bitching about the goaltending.

THe Leafs were being hammered for weeks and within the week could pass the Canadiens. Gainey has turned a 103 pt team into a team that is looking

lottery bound in less than 18 months, yet you still want him in charge? The outlier season was the 103 pt year, not the other 6.

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Ok, Scott Gomez makes too much money, and you don't think Bob is a good GM. Next topic.

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Ok, Scott Gomez makes too much money, and you don't think Bob is a good GM. Next topic.

There is an ignore button. Feel free to use it, I just did.

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There is an ignore button. Feel free to use it, I just did.

I apologize, bad attitude on my part, I'm watching tonights adventure in Buffalo.

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Digging up an old thread...I'd say the "in disguise" can be dropped from the thread title.

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