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The Chicoutimi Cucumber

Two questions

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A couple of questions to keep us amused as we face the dismal prospect of a Habs-less playoff.

1. Has David Desharnais maxed out his potential this season? - or, do nuance the question a bit: is this his 'career year,' is this representative of what he will do for the rest of his career, or is this just the start of a Briere-like blossoming?

2. Do you think we should try to bring back Saku Koivu as an affordable UFA, perhaps in a bottom-6 role? :B)

Discuss.

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1) I don't see Desharnais becoming an 80 pt player, but I do believe he can maintain his current production. I still think he's a winger though, not a centre long term as there are just too many defensive deficiencies in keeping him at Centre. I think that once our first rounder this year is ready, it will push Desharnais to the wing. A quick look at the plus/minus of the Patches/DD/Cole line at home vs what they do on the road can confirm what I've been talking about all season. When opposing team coaches get the ability to match Desharnais against their big powerful centre, he can't control their cycle game in our end of the rink and we get dominated.

2) I'd love to bring Koivu back, but I don't think he fits with the current lineup. If Koivu came back it would mean Eller is forced to wing and our top 3 centres next year are Plekanec, Desharnais and Koivu. I love that guy, and I love the idea of him retiring as a Hab... but he just doesn't fit. I'd rather keep Eller at Centre where I feel he's more effective and where he's needed IMO.

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1. I've been doubting him for a while. He certainly has skill but at the centre role I feel he's not doing enough on the top line. Now I don't believe this is all Pacioretty and Cole as if Desharnais is nothing more than the hanger on, you know like the Sedins and whoever they put them with but I do feel he wouldn't have broken 50 points if he'd been in Plekanec's role this season. I feel he's a good player but not one I'd take to war. Briere is an interesting comparison.

2. I wouldn't want to bring Koivu back until we have a Koivu appreciation night after he retires.

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1. Two things with DD: First, he's improving drastically from his first to second year at all level he's been. Next year will be his 2nd full season. Can't wait to see how he performs. Second, DD has primarly been a passer this year. However, looking at his track record, he's also quite the scorer, with 0.5 goal/game average up to AHL. Once he starts scoring, and if adds a little more assists, then he's already at 80 pts. Brière got 60 pts at his 5th season in the league. I like to think DD will establish himself as an improved version of Brière

2. I don't know, but if Roy is GM or coach, do you think he would like to sign him?

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What about Koivu in a 4th-line/utility role with some PP time? Not possible?

I don't think its fair to Koivu to ask him to play that role. I'd love him to do it, but I think he'll get third line offers elsewhere, and for a lot more money. I see two options for Koivu. 1) Selanne plays one more season, he stays with the Ducks. 2) Selanne retires. Saku goes to Minnesota to add some offence to a team that desperately needs it and to play with his brother. He'd easily be their number 3 centre, and the two Koivu's would be great mentors for Mikael Granlund who should come over from Finland and take their #2 job next season.

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I don't think its fair to Koivu to ask him to play that role. I'd love him to do it, but I think he'll get third line offers elsewhere, and for a lot more money. I see two options for Koivu. 1) Selanne plays one more season, he stays with the Ducks. 2) Selanne retires. Saku goes to Minnesota to add some offence to a team that desperately needs it and to play with his brother. He'd easily be their number 3 centre, and the two Koivu's would be great mentors for Mikael Granlund who should come over from Finland and take their #2 job next season.

Interestingly, there was an interview last week on Vancouver radio with a Finnish journalist about Selanne and Koivu. (That's what got me thinking about a possible return by Saku). According to this apparently very well-connected journalist, there is now WAY Saku would play with his brother. The two are more like rivals than bosom pals and it would be a huge clash of egos. Take that for what it's worth, but it does suggest Minny would not be high on his list.

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I think Koivu enjoys the west coast and likely doesn't have any plans leaving unless traded. No room for him in LA, maybe room in San Jose, definitely room in Anaheim. I could see him in Phoenix if there's a Phoenix next season.

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I think Desharnais could reach the 70 point plateau...as long as he plays with MaxPac and Cole and they all remain healthy.

I always liked Koivu, but I don't want him back. His time in MOntreal is over and we don't need more smurfs on this team, we have enough.

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Here's a question about Desharnais's defensive weaknesses. I believe it will particularly interest Commandant.

Desharnais does get overpowered in the defensive end, especially on the road. But to what extent could this be mitiaged by having another effective scoring line? As it stands right now, the top priority of other coaches is to defend against the Desharnais line, and this means that DD gets obviously overmatched down low when the coaches have last change. But let's say we get Pleks some wingers. At that point, the enemy has to start making a priority of matching up against the Pleks line as well as the DD line. This might make it harder to find the optimal matchup against the DD line on a regular basis.

I'm not trying to campaign for Desharnais here, but I do think it's impressive that he's performed as well as he has given that he's basically been our #1 C all season, facing match-ups that reflect this. If we can become a two-line offense, we might actually see his overall performance improve, especially defensively.

This is the sort of thinking that supports my cautious contention that our situation at C is actually better than conventional wisdom suggests. We know Pleks can be better. And there's a realistic possibility that his being better would make DD better. Throw in Eller, and I'm not so sure we need to continue to pant after that elusive Big Centreman, so much as adding high-powered wingers to complement Pleks. Just a thought.

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Parise-Pleks-Galchenyuk (if he didn't go to OHL again) :D!

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1. Believe Desharnais will get even better. "The puck follows him."

2. No place for Saku on the squad IMO. The idea of limited time on the 4th line is charming but I would prefer a high-energy 4th line stocked with youngish S.O.B.s

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Here's a question about Desharnais's defensive weaknesses. I believe it will particularly interest Commandant.

Desharnais does get overpowered in the defensive end, especially on the road. But to what extent could this be mitiaged by having another effective scoring line? As it stands right now, the top priority of other coaches is to defend against the Desharnais line, and this means that DD gets obviously overmatched down low when the coaches have last change. But let's say we get Pleks some wingers. At that point, the enemy has to start making a priority of matching up against the Pleks line as well as the DD line. This might make it harder to find the optimal matchup against the DD line on a regular basis.

I'm not trying to campaign for Desharnais here, but I do think it's impressive that he's performed as well as he has given that he's basically been our #1 C all season, facing match-ups that reflect this. If we can become a two-line offense, we might actually see his overall performance improve, especially defensively.

This is the sort of thinking that supports my cautious contention that our situation at C is actually better than conventional wisdom suggests. We know Pleks can be better. And there's a realistic possibility that his being better would make DD better. Throw in Eller, and I'm not so sure we need to continue to pant after that elusive Big Centreman, so much as adding high-powered wingers to complement Pleks. Just a thought.

Possible... but I think part of the reason he's been put with two of the biggest most defensively sound wingers on the team is to insulate him defensively as much as possible. Even then there are still a few issues.

I'd really like to try him at wing, because when he was a PKer in 10-11, he was very good at it, which tells me he can play effectively when he's put up high in the defensive zone (ie on wing). I really think he'd make a great line with Eller and maybe Cole at RW.

Patches - Pleks - Gionta

Desharnais - Eller - Cole

Bourque - G/G - Leblanc/Palushaj/Gallagher competition.

would break in the rookie centre slowly and he'd eventually move up the lineup

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1. Believe Desharnais will get even better. "The puck follows him."

2. No place for Saku on the squad IMO. The idea of limited time on the 4th line is charming but I would prefer a high-energy 4th line stocked with youngish S.O.B.s

What's up JLP ! How's life in Japan ?

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Possible... but I think part of the reason he's been put with two of the biggest most defensively sound wingers on the team is to insulate him defensively as much as possible. Even then there are still a few issues.

I'd really like to try him at wing, because when he was a PKer in 10-11, he was very good at it, which tells me he can play effectively when he's put up high in the defensive zone (ie on wing). I really think he'd make a great line with Eller and maybe Cole at RW.

Patches - Pleks - Gionta

Desharnais - Eller - Cole

Bourque - G/G - Leblanc/Palushaj/Gallagher competition.

would break in the rookie centre slowly and he'd eventually move up the lineup

I think the key to DD is Patches, they have been playing together for years and have always had their best chemistry together. I think lines like...

Gio-Pleks-Cole (if Gio could play left)

Patches-Eller-DD

Would be a better fit, but... I was wondering if I was the only one thinking we would go after Parise this offseason?

If we did could we go with a top 9 like this? Parise would be more of a target for the shutdown guys then DD's line. Also, I'm worried about Gionta. He has put up almost 2 30 goal years with the habs, which is awesome... but without Gomer (hopefully) next season and their chemistry, with his injuries this year, and age will he regress to depth scoring? I believe CC has commented on how some people don't fit him into the top six... but what sort of Gionta should we expect next season?

Patches-DD-Cole

Parise-Pleks-Gio (edit: Galchenyuk here if Gio regresses or has lack of chemistry, perhaps Bourque, for size, if he wakes up at some point in his career.)

Galchenyuk-Eller-Bourque

I have to admit, the idea of a Bourque-Pleks-Glachenyuk line would be excellent two ways and maybe Parise-Eller-Gionta would be amazing for Eller's development... We could run 2a,2b,2c and a 4th line... with say... White-Someone-Staubitz just to stir stuff up... Course this whole thing doesn't leave room for Leblanc or Geoffrion... Maybe we can deal Bourque and make room for Leblanc :D!

Excuse the unorganized windy rant there, don't have a clear train of thought at the moment haha!

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I think Des is made much better by playing with Pacs and Cole. If Gomez was healthy and played all season with them, he might have 60 points.

My gut tells me that Des is ripe to trade as his value might never be higher. I suspect that if he was dropped into a line with lesser wingers, he would suffer greatly. I would rather that be on another team then on ours. Doug MacLean made that point the other week (not about DD), then the real trick for a GM is to know who is making a line look good, versus who looks good because of someone else. One example was Komi, who he felt looked good because of Markov. Take away Markov, and Komi is vastly over rated.

If someone offered us a trade where Des was valued as a 60 point center with the return that went with that, I would be tempted to take it. I don't think he is the next Briere.

I would rather see Pleks, then (big Center), then Eller as our three guys down the middle, then keep Des. As a winger, I am not sure he would look as good as he did.

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I think the key to DD is Patches, they have been playing together for years and have always had their best chemistry together. I think lines like...

Gio-Pleks-Cole (if Gio could play left)

Patches-Eller-DD

Would be a better fit, but... I was wondering if I was the only one thinking we would go after Parise this offseason?

If we did could we go with a top 9 like this? Parise would be more of a target for the shutdown guys then DD's line. Also, I'm worried about Gionta. He has put up almost 2 30 goal years with the habs, which is awesome... but without Gomer (hopefully) next season and their chemistry, with his injuries this year, and age will he regress to depth scoring? I believe CC has commented on how some people don't fit him into the top six... but what sort of Gionta should we expect next season?

Patches-DD-Cole

Parise-Pleks-Gio (edit: Galchenyuk here if Gio regresses or has lack of chemistry, perhaps Bourque, for size, if he wakes up at some point in his career.)

Galchenyuk-Eller-Bourque

I have to admit, the idea of a Bourque-Pleks-Glachenyuk line would be excellent two ways and maybe Parise-Eller-Gionta would be amazing for Eller's development... We could run 2a,2b,2c and a 4th line... with say... White-Someone-Staubitz just to stir stuff up... Course this whole thing doesn't leave room for Leblanc or Geoffrion... Maybe we can deal Bourque and make room for Leblanc :D!

Excuse the unorganized windy rant there, don't have a clear train of thought at the moment haha!

I think the same way the DD and Patches have chemistry together, but as I watched the end of the season, it would seem that 4 on 4, the coaches would put out DD - Cole together and Eller - Patches. I would have thought DD and Patches would be together, but they weren't.

I'm not sure why that was, but it was something that got me thinking.

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Saku's days in Montreal are over. I hope we have a nice night for him sometime in the future. Package dd and prospects or 2nd rnd draft choices and get a bigger version of him on the wing. draft grigenorenko. center problem better.

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1. Love DD. Love his line. Love his craftyness. But if we're drafting a centre, he is definitely trade-bait. Plekanec is way more versatile.

2. I miss Saku, he was one of my favorite Habs. But, no.

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A couple of questions to keep us amused as we face the dismal prospect of a Habs-less playoff.

1. Has David Desharnais maxed out his potential this season? - or, do nuance the question a bit: is this his 'career year,' is this representative of what he will do for the rest of his career, or is this just the start of a Briere-like blossoming?

2. Do you think we should try to bring back Saku Koivu as an affordable UFA, perhaps in a bottom-6 role? :B)

Discuss.

1. As i've been saying since last year's playoffs, I want to see DD on the wing and no, I don't think he has maxed out. I think he can be a a 70-75 point guy. Depending on who he plays with, maybe more.

2. Koivu should never have been let go and given the way Gainey dumped him for Gomez, I can't see Koivu wanting to come back.

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2. Koivu should never have been let go and given the way Gainey dumped him for Gomez, I can't see Koivu wanting to come back.

Koivu was a great leader on the ice and a mediocre leader in the locker room. He deserves full blame for losing the locker room close to every season.

For as much scrutiny Gomez deserves on the ice for poor performances, teammates love him, rookies have nothing but great things to say about him, he takes care of the boys on the road and did more to stick up for Pacioretty after the Chara hit than anyone else on the club. The idea of Gomez wearing the C in Montreal might make some peoples stomach sick but if there was a team and I had to choose between Koivu and Gomez for captain, I'd choose Gomez. He at least cares.

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Interesting discussion. I don't have the analysis abilities you guys do, but I surely am not unhappy at all with DD. For reasons I can't really define the way I thought I saw other things in other players, I think DD has some character and that goes a long way. Just a pretty vague impression.

As to dear Saku, I can't see it out or respect for his memory and who he was for so long with us. He is an icon to himself now.

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Koivu was a great leader on the ice and a mediocre leader in the locker room. He deserves full blame for losing the locker room close to every season.

For as much scrutiny Gomez deserves on the ice for poor performances, teammates love him, rookies have nothing but great things to say about him, he takes care of the boys on the road and did more to stick up for Pacioretty after the Chara hit than anyone else on the club. The idea of Gomez wearing the C in Montreal might make some peoples stomach sick but if there was a team and I had to choose between Koivu and Gomez for captain, I'd choose Gomez. He at least cares.

Seriously???? Who cares if he cares, if he is a blend of shit and vomit on the ice.

I blame management more for the lack of cohesiveness on the team and what was Koivu supposed to do when most of disruptive or laziest players were the ones loved by the french media. The three amigos.. Lats... Laps. yep we really need more french players in the mix that RDS can prop up and make them invincible. Can you imagine if Subban was french???? With all the shit that is out there right now and complaints about the need to reign him in, if he was french, he could do anything and the media would crucify any player who spoke up about him.

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Koivu was a great leader on the ice and a mediocre leader in the locker room. He deserves full blame for losing the locker room close to every season.

For as much scrutiny Gomez deserves on the ice for poor performances, teammates love him, rookies have nothing but great things to say about him, he takes care of the boys on the road and did more to stick up for Pacioretty after the Chara hit than anyone else on the club. The idea of Gomez wearing the C in Montreal might make some peoples stomach sick but if there was a team and I had to choose between Koivu and Gomez for captain, I'd choose Gomez. He at least cares.

What a nice post. I think Gomez is terrific. I'd like to lend him some goals and assists, but I really admire him a lot, even particularly during this time of what must be considerable torment and anguish. OK, not as much as the laborer who loses his job and can't feed his wife and three children, but I must admire him all the same. And what a skater!

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No offence, but I can't believe that ANYONE is defending Gomez, let alone saying he'd make a better captain than Koivu.

I was always a Gomez fan, way back to his first season in Jersey. Loved his game - the crazy, alarming rushes, the blinding speed, the on-ice smarts, the terrifically inventive playmaking. Zero physical element, but what panache! He would have made a perfect, almost quintessential Montreal Canadien - or so I thought. And in his first year with us he delivered, not his 'A' game, but a reasonable enough facimile to make him a key offensive element for us.

But come on. Since then he absolutely has been the combination of shit and vomit Habs29 points out. He is worse than worthless, he is a one man black hole - the single biggest reason Bob Gainey got fired - and cannot be driven out of town fast enough to suit me.

Those rumours that he's expecting a buyout and plans to go play for Jersey underscore the unreality that surrounds him. It's like he doesn't comprehend that he just completely, totally, and absolutely sucks. He still thinks he's the Man.

Anyone who fails to appreciate what Saku Koivu did for this organization is like anyone who fails to appreciate PK Subban, simply clueless, or else chronically incapable of appreciating good things when they have 'em. The Montreal Canadiens were the problem, not Saku Koivu, whose career was sadly sacrified to an incompetent organization.

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