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Cunneyworth coaching assessment

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I think he has 10 games under his belt, so I thought I would chime in on what I have seen so far.

1. Shame on the local media for making this man's job even more dificult than it already is! A non French speaking coach is not ideal and I agree with this, but the same people that wanted Martin gone are now screaming about his replacement! Did they not look at the Francophone options out there and come to the same conclusion we did? There is no better French coach than Martin right now. Kudos to Cunney for remaining professional and weathering the storm, and may you enjoy your revenge when you beat Montreal with whatever team you coach next. Calgary maybe? I just don't see him staying on.

2. We all were very frustrated with Martin's bench management. Cunney seems to be doing a much better job of this. Running a short bench game in and game out is sure to fatigue players, and I sometimes wonder if this hasn't been a factor in the Habs injury woes. His use of Blunden and the fact that he roles 4 lines have been refreshing. Using Subban Gorges, Diaz Emelin while alternating Campoli, Kaberle, and Gill seems to be a good use of resources. I give Cunney top marks for his bench management. Even when they were losing.

3. As much as I have hated the odd man rushes and high percentage chances against Price, I must admit that the two man forecheck game has been a refreshing change. More stretch passes and better scoring chances at both ends have brought some excitement to this new look. The caveat here is that I really think there will be games where I crave the old boring one man deep, neutral zone trap and return with numbers and short passes. Martin's system was very effective. He just couldn't make changes when he needed to. There's a reason Halak and Price both had career years under Martin. I'm not sold on a Cunneyworth system yet, but I have enjoyed watching the higher risk game. I also think that a healthy Markov will help with all the stretch passes.

4. It just seems that the team is embracing tough play. It could just be me, but I think Cunney likes a no nonsense, hard hitting, finish your check style game. His use of Blunden And Emelin would be a testament to this, and the general tone of the game seems to point toward a harder nose game plan. I think White will get along fine here and I wouldn't be surprised to see an Ott, Neil, Thornton style player brought in to help this. My feeling is that PG did not do this, because he knew that Martin would not use him. Huge marks for team toughness since Cunney took over. This is my biggest criticism of Martin.

5. Communication on the bench and in press conferences seems very good. Cunney seems to show his hand a bit more to the media, which may or not be a good thing. His efforts to appease the French media may just win them over (something which iritates me a bit). On the bench he is vocal and seems to give a lot of himself during the game. This has been the biggest complaint of players who played for Carbo and Martin. They didn't really talk to the players. This is also a nice change.

Lastly Cunneyworth seems like a really nice guy. I know this doesn't mean much, but I like him. His personality and the fact that he is a gen X could make it easier for him to relate to these quirky gen Y personalities. Less of a generation gap. Hopefully the players WANT to perform for him. Not HAVE to perform for him.

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I think that you got it right, particularly on the last two points. I guess that we needed a coach more vocal on the bench. My wife also told me that he was younger and that it could be a big plus for him. I think she is right, a younger but experienced guy brings a new approach, more vitality. It could work.

I did not analyze his game plan like you did, but I did remark that the team looks more disciplined since he is in charge. I guess that it's probably the result of the way the guys are working now; they are more mobile and the emphasis is to get the puck out of the defensive zone quickly, at all cost (more icings, maybe). No need for Hal Gil in this type of hockey. Well, we just need to get the PP working. That's the next test.

Another possible result from this new style of hockey: maybe less injuries. When you think about it, if you play defensively, if you are reactive rather than proactive, you probably place yourself in more dangerous situations. The odds are probably greater to get injured. It's just a hunch, but I would not be surprised if the facts proved me right.

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I like what Cunneyworth is doing with the team. I think the results speak for itself. If you look at the record (3-5-0) since his take over it doesn't look that impressive until you really look at it. He lost his first 4 in transitioning the team to his system. Since then he's 3-2 scoring no less than 2 goals a game. Martin's system is to score about 2 and call it quits for offence.

By no means is Cunneyworth's system perfect, but it's refreshing for the fans and mosty for the players to let their creativity flow. Eller's hat trick goal is a prime example of how Martin's system wasn't working. Kostitsyn took the puck around the net and came to the slot without shotting, strike one with Martin, then dangled around a player, strike two, while Eller and Moen stood at the net, strike three. Under Martin as soon as Kostitsyn was behind the net one forward would be around the top of the circles, and while Kostitsyn was going toward the blue line, the other forward would be starting to exit the zone. Nice to see Cunneyworth letting the team embrace the fact that on offense their there to score and focus on that. Especially loving the second and third chances with the puck in the offensive zone.

I think once the team progresses Cunneyworth will tweak the defense and we may be climbing the standings. I'm not holding my breath for the playoffs this year, but the team is looking good.

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I am not holding my breath for the playoffs either. The possibility is there, but probability is low. Anyhow, if guys like Cammallerie, Plekanec and Gionta can find their legs and get going, we might make a big surprise. And we still have guys like Gomez, White and Markov who might join the team and give a hand. This will be awfuly tough, but it's doable. Such a comeback would be great fun to watch; let's hope it will happen.

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Basically we have to get real hot and it needs to start now.

If we don't take like 75% of our games between now and the trade deadline, we might as well dump some vets and say screw this season cause it ain't happening.

I'd love to see us go on the run though, playoffs is always more fun than no playoffs.

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To make the playoffs we need about 95 pts (2x pittsburg current pts adding a win and a loss to their record to make it 82 games is 94 pts in 8th). We currently have 39, so we need to 56 to make 8th. Thats 28-13-0 in the next 41 games. So to have any chance we need to win twice as much as we lose, regulation and OT combined.

Is it impossible? No, but I'd be looking for the lottery pick if I were in PG's shoes.

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I think the Habs will need 93 points to make the playoffs. 93 - 39 = 54 points in 41 games. They would have to go something like 25-12-4 in the final 41 games to get to 93 points. It's gonna be a tough assignment, but it is doable. If i'm Pierre Gauthier, I would keep a close eye out on my t3eam. If by the final week-end of january, this team is still 7-8 points out of a playoff spot, I would start shopping some of our players around. Moen, Gill, and even Cammalleri. Even though I really like Moen and Gill, I think that we could get some decent returns for them. A team like Chicago could use Moen's gritty style of play. If we could get a decent pick for Moen and Gill, i'd say go for it. I'd also look to trade Cammalleri. The rumours that I keep hearing from the reporters who follow the team on a regular basis is that he's a selfish player and is NOT a team player. His selfishness is really starting to show this year(seeing as he's struggled for most of the season). I think we could get a 1st round pick for Cammalleri...and maybe even a little more.

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I think the Habs will need 93 points to make the playoffs. 93 - 39 = 54 points in 41 games. They would have to go something like 25-12-4 in the final 41 games to get to 93 points. It's gonna be a tough assignment, but it is doable. If i'm Pierre Gauthier, I would keep a close eye out on my t3eam. If by the final week-end of january, this team is still 7-8 points out of a playoff spot, I would start shopping some of our players around. Moen, Gill, and even Cammalleri. Even though I really like Moen and Gill, I think that we could get some decent returns for them. A team like Chicago could use Moen's gritty style of play. If we could get a decent pick for Moen and Gill, i'd say go for it. I'd also look to trade Cammalleri. The rumours that I keep hearing from the reporters who follow the team on a regular basis is that he's a selfish player and is NOT a team player. His selfishness is really starting to show this year(seeing as he's struggled for most of the season). I think we could get a 1st round pick for Cammalleri...and maybe even a little more.

I think you are pretty much bang on, maybe 5% chance of playoffs. Just i would already be looking to place Weber, Campoli and Gill in new homes, Gill might fit nicely with Blackhawks whose defense is weak and Weber for any team looking for a young MAB type d-man whose defense may improve with time, Oilers, Kings maybe? Cammalleri would look good in Pittsburg (or any team not the Habs).

I would shop Moan, Kostitsyn, Desharnais, Gionta around deadline if for sure out of playoffs.

Cunnyworth has made some sweet changes, Eller and yemelin got 20 minutes last game, which Martin wouldnt have done. And using the 7 d-men seems to be a nice dsitribution of ice and create good competition amonst the group. His communication manner/demenor seems much different than Martin and likely better for players?

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I think you are pretty much bang on, maybe 5% chance of playoffs. Just i would already be looking to place Weber, Campoli and Gill in new homes, Gill might fit nicely with Blackhawks whose defense is weak and Weber for any team looking for a young MAB type d-man whose defense may improve with time, Oilers, Kings maybe? Cammalleri would look good in Pittsburg (or any team not the Habs).

I would shop Moan, Kostitsyn, Desharnais, Gionta around deadline if for sure out of playoffs.

Cunnyworth has made some sweet changes, Eller and yemelin got 20 minutes last game, which Martin wouldnt have done. And using the 7 d-men seems to be a nice dsitribution of ice and create good competition amonst the group. His communication manner/demenor seems much different than Martin and likely better for players?

The only way that I would shop Kosty is if he said he will not sign with the team. DD is pretty cheap and should stay that way for a few more years. I think he is earning his paycheck.

Cunney needs another 40 games to prove himself. If at the end of that, his record is descent and the team looks good, I will be bitter to see him go to Columbus just because he doesn't speak French.

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The only way that I would shop Kosty is if he said he will not sign with the team. DD is pretty cheap and should stay that way for a few more years. I think he is earning his paycheck.

Cunney needs another 40 games to prove himself. If at the end of that, his record is descent and the team looks good, I will be bitter to see him go to Columbus just because he doesn't speak French.

Dont get me wrong, i am a fan of both Kostitsyn and Desharnais, but Desharnais is just 1 too many small top 6 forwards ( if 13 or 21 goes, than he would fit better), has an attractive low salary and may be a great fit on various teams, such has L.A. and Kostitsyn is also an easily tradable player, an upcoming UFA and would also fit well on numerous teams and bring back some good assets, and who knows maybe Habs could just resign in July?

Also with Weber, Gill and Moan, i like them but again they could be a nice fit elsewhere and possibly bring back a good pick/prospect or 2?

Nothing they will do with coach, its too bad but he will likely be axed along with Gauthier i fear come mid April.

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A succinct explanation of the main change made on the forecheck so far:

Previously, if a forward chipped the puck into the offensive zone, he was supposed to be the second man in to pressure the defence. However, that man was getting rubbed out, since contact was legal because he was playing the puck. That led to some extra room for a breakout. Now, the player dumping it in is supposed to remain higher, and let the other two forwards charge ahead.

http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/opinion/2012/01/realignment-woes-potential-cba-circus-30-thoughts.html

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As for the whole language thing, I've got a handful of thoughts:

If I were him, I would have written a speech for the introductory press conference, had it translated, and had someone go over with me how to read it, at least passably. I would have said that while I may not speak the language, I will make an effort to respect the culture of Montreal. However, language will be secondary to hockey. Winning is important to all Montreal hockey fans, whereas speaking French only matter to some of them. Montreal hockey is about winning, and that will come first. In addition, I would hire a permanent translator for whenever I speak to the media. I would point out that not only am I making it a point to reach the French speaking audience, but I am creating a job for a French speaking person during rough economic times. :thumbs_up:

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A succinct explanation of the main change made on the forecheck so far: http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/opinion/2012/01/realignment-woes-potential-cba-circus-30-thoughts.html

I always enjoy Elliott.

As for the whole language thing, I've got a handful of thoughts: If I were him, I would have written a speech for the introductory press conference, had it translated, and had someone go over with me how to read it, at least passably. I would have said that while I may not speak the language, I will make an effort to respect the culture of Montreal. However, language will be secondary to hockey. Winning is important to all Montreal hockey fans, whereas speaking French only matter to some of them. Montreal hockey is about winning, and that will come first. In addition, I would hire a permanent translator for whenever I speak to the media. I would point out that not only am I making it a point to reach the French speaking audience, but I am creating a job for a French speaking person during rough economic times. :thumbs_up:

Genius

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Why is learning French so out of the question?

Say Cunneyworth does an awesome job and is clearly the man we want. OK. You go to him and say, 'look, the job is yours, on the proviso that you take intensive French lessons in the off-season (paid for by the team of course) and make a commitment to speaking a meaningful amount of French in dealing with the media, no matter how embarassed you may feel.' Is he gonna say no? Then hey presto, problem solved.

The idiots aren't demanding that the coach speak like Molière. Gainey's French was pretty make-do and, apart from a few snarky remarks, everyone accepted it. I myself have never understood the Koivus of the world, who would rather say nothing in French than risk using the language clumsily. My own approach to French has always been to barrel in unapologetically - if I make mistakes, so what?

I think if Cunneyworth had emphasized his commitment to learning French and outlined a plan for doing so, the fan/meida outrage would have been moderated considerably.

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Cunneyworth has done so though.

He pledged to start Rosetta Stone now and intensive lessons in the offseason.

He starts press conferences now with one or two lines in french.

But its being ignored. For the sake of keeping the story going, the small number of politicians and media members who continue to fuel this story totally ignore the efforts Cunneyworth has made. To the extremists with the loudest voices, its still not good enough. To them, there is no such thing as learning on the job, not for a head coach. Their opinion seems to be that you are an assistant at best when learning, and can't take the head job til you are ready.

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Cunneyworth has done so though.

He pledged to start Rosetta Stone now and intensive lessons in the offseason.

He starts press conferences now with one or two lines in french.

But its being ignored. For the sake of keeping the story going, the small number of politicians and media members who continue to fuel this story totally ignore the efforts Cunneyworth has made. To the extremists with the loudest voices, its still not good enough. To them, there is no such thing as learning on the job, not for a head coach. Their opinion seems to be that you are an assistant at best when learning, and can't take the head job til you are ready.

Fair enough. But the 'spin' I hear from both Gauthier and Molson doesn't seem to emphasize this as it should. Molson SHOULD have emphasized that Cunneyworth is deeply committed to attaining a functional command of the language by next season. But he said nothing about it, instead sounding like he was throwing the guy under a bus. Gauthier originally just said 'languages can be learned' but, as far as I know, did not explain the strategy for doing that. Rather than issuing his shameful apology a few weeks later, he should have apologized only for not clarifying the extent of Cunneyworth's commitment to learning French and the importance the team places upon it. Hell, he should have challenged the team's critics on this point: the guy understands the imperative of learning French; concrete, effective steps are being taken; after this season he will be functionally bilingual; what more is required? Then ask the fans to show the coach their famous (cough) generosity and patience as Cunneyworth develops his skills.

As usual, the Habs let the fan/media narrative spin completely out of control.This time to the detriment of the whole team.

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I think he has 10 games under his belt, so I thought I would chime in on what I have seen so far.

1. Shame on the local media for making this man's job even more dificult than it already is! A non French speaking coach is not ideal and I agree with this, but the same people that wanted Martin gone are now screaming about his replacement! Did they not look at the Francophone options out there and come to the same conclusion we did? There is no better French coach than Martin right now. Kudos to Cunney for remaining professional and weathering the storm, and may you enjoy your revenge when you beat Montreal with whatever team you coach next. Calgary maybe? I just don't see him staying on.

2. We all were very frustrated with Martin's bench management. Cunney seems to be doing a much better job of this. Running a short bench game in and game out is sure to fatigue players, and I sometimes wonder if this hasn't been a factor in the Habs injury woes. His use of Blunden and the fact that he roles 4 lines have been refreshing. Using Subban Gorges, Diaz Emelin while alternating Campoli, Kaberle, and Gill seems to be a good use of resources. I give Cunney top marks for his bench management. Even when they were losing.

3. As much as I have hated the odd man rushes and high percentage chances against Price, I must admit that the two man forecheck game has been a refreshing change. More stretch passes and better scoring chances at both ends have brought some excitement to this new look. The caveat here is that I really think there will be games where I crave the old boring one man deep, neutral zone trap and return with numbers and short passes. Martin's system was very effective. He just couldn't make changes when he needed to. There's a reason Halak and Price both had career years under Martin. I'm not sold on a Cunneyworth system yet, but I have enjoyed watching the higher risk game. I also think that a healthy Markov will help with all the stretch passes.

4. It just seems that the team is embracing tough play. It could just be me, but I think Cunney likes a no nonsense, hard hitting, finish your check style game. His use of Blunden And Emelin would be a testament to this, and the general tone of the game seems to point toward a harder nose game plan. I think White will get along fine here and I wouldn't be surprised to see an Ott, Neil, Thornton style player brought in to help this. My feeling is that PG did not do this, because he knew that Martin would not use him. Huge marks for team toughness since Cunney took over. This is my biggest criticism of Martin.

5. Communication on the bench and in press conferences seems very good. Cunney seems to show his hand a bit more to the media, which may or not be a good thing. His efforts to appease the French media may just win them over (something which iritates me a bit). On the bench he is vocal and seems to give a lot of himself during the game. This has been the biggest complaint of players who played for Carbo and Martin. They didn't really talk to the players. This is also a nice change.

Lastly Cunneyworth seems like a really nice guy. I know this doesn't mean much, but I like him. His personality and the fact that he is a gen X could make it easier for him to relate to these quirky gen Y personalities. Less of a generation gap. Hopefully the players WANT to perform for him. Not HAVE to perform for him.

Great post!!!!! He does reward hard work no matter if your a rookie or a vet, he make them earn it keep up the good job randy

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Fair enough. But the 'spin' I hear from both Gauthier and Molson doesn't seem to emphasize this as it should. Molson SHOULD have emphasized that Cunneyworth is deeply committed to attaining a functional command of the language by next season. But he said nothing about it, instead sounding like he was throwing the guy under a bus. Gauthier originally just said 'languages can be learned' but, as far as I know, did not explain the strategy for doing that. Rather than issuing his shameful apology a few weeks later, he should have apologized only for not clarifying the extent of Cunneyworth's commitment to learning French and the importance the team places upon it. Hell, he should have challenged the team's critics on this point: the guy understands the imperative of learning French; concrete, effective steps are being taken; after this season he will be functionally bilingual; what more is required? Then ask the fans to show the coach their famous (cough) generosity and patience as Cunneyworth develops his skills.

As usual, the Habs let the fan/media narrative spin completely out of control.This time to the detriment of the whole team.

I was great the protest did f all and it isn't as much as a issue as we all thought.

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Fair enough. But the 'spin' I hear from both Gauthier and Molson doesn't seem to emphasize this as it should. Molson SHOULD have emphasized that Cunneyworth is deeply committed to attaining a functional command of the language by next season. But he said nothing about it, instead sounding like he was throwing the guy under a bus. Gauthier originally just said 'languages can be learned' but, as far as I know, did not explain the strategy for doing that. Rather than issuing his shameful apology a few weeks later, he should have apologized only for not clarifying the extent of Cunneyworth's commitment to learning French and the importance the team places upon it. Hell, he should have challenged the team's critics on this point: the guy understands the imperative of learning French; concrete, effective steps are being taken; after this season he will be functionally bilingual; what more is required? Then ask the fans to show the coach their famous (cough) generosity and patience as Cunneyworth develops his skills.

As usual, the Habs let the fan/media narrative spin completely out of control.This time to the detriment of the whole team.

I agree 100%, I hate how this has been handled.

From a PR perspective this team badly misses Pierre Boivin who was extremely good at marketing and PR. Since he's left, they haven't had the same success in getting their side of the story out and the narrative always is spun against them.

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It has nothing to do with language and everything to do with pushing a nationalist agenda to save the political wing...they are manufacturing a "crisis" and hoping the lemmings jump on the bandwagon. It's disingenuous and the real fans, those who want a winning product, should be severely pissed off. Local talent doesn't want to be in the organization because this crap (and we all know this is just the latest in a long soap opera spanning many years) creates the environment for pressure on any francophone player/coach...this isn't new...sadly nationalist fervor has outweighed the love and hopes of the club.

I hope the stars of this club tell these media personalities and political agitators to F-off...

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Verdict so far? Better use of some players, worse use of others. Not playing a defence-only game, but not dictating the play. Bottom line, little change. I suspect changing habits, though, is very tough to do mid-season, and it's not really fair to expect to see RC's actual game on the ice. What we'll see for the duration of the season is a hybrid. If he gets the chance to continue coaching, then we'll see what he can do starting fresh next season.

Should be noted that, after watching the Blues play, as well as some of the other big teams recently (GameCentre Live), Montreal cannot ever be considered a Cup contending team, they're missing too many elements. The most you can consider them is Cup pretenders because they have a goalie who has the ability to steal games, and perhaps series. IMO, this franchise will forever spin wheels unless management decides to take a chance and acquire two elements we desperately need: #1 centre, and big, quality shut-down defender. Short of that, we're riding Price's coattails until he decides to leave for a better chance at the Cup.

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I like the style Cunneyworth is trying to implement, we just don;t have the horses for it. Who are the guys who shined wince the change was made: Eller, Kostitsyn, Moen, Blunden, Darche, Cole.....see a pattern here?

We cannot have a hard forecheck system with a group of players who couldn't knock over a 6 year old girl at the fair.

Cunneyworth is goign to be a good coach it's just a shame we won;t know.

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If he gets some more talent on the roster, I truly believe Cunny is a guy that can take this team places, sort of our version of Jim Harbaugh. He is a younger guy with a ton of respect around the league, and he holds players accountable for their play.

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If he gets some more talent on the roster, I truly believe Cunny is a guy that can take this team places, sort of our version of Jim Harbaugh. He is a younger guy with a ton of respect around the league, and he holds players accountable for their play.

But he's not (fill in the blank) therefore cannot coach the Montreal Canadiens.

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But he's not (fill in the blank) therefore cannot coach the Montreal Canadiens.

oh ahh I got this one

FROG?

Kermit4.jpg

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