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The most recent practice pairings were:

Markov - Subban

Gorges - Beaulieu

Emelin - Diaz

Bouillon - Murray

This looks about as good as it can to me. If we sit the dead-ends Murray and Frankie and give Beaulieu a real shot with a reliable partner in Gorges, we're making a move that could help both short term and long term. Beaulieu looks like he has the potential to be a game-breaker with the puck, but there will be some blunders that come with that. Emelin was struggling mightily, and playing on his wrong side probably added to that. On paper, he and Diaz should complement each other.

Despite our at-times chaotic defending, we still have a pretty good goals against. Most people would safely chalk that up to Price, although conservative coaching also plays a part. If we can get that top-6 playing regularly, it looks like a group that can generate a lot of offense from the back end.

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I like those pairings. Some real potential. I think far too many scrutinize the D when the puck is in our zone instead of paying attention to what work the forwards are doing. Too many forwards lack Plekanec and Moen's IQ of knowing where to go when the other team is cycling in your zone.

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I like it! Really liked what I saw of the wheels on Beaulieu, and like I said before, he couldn't make any more mistakes than half the veterans on the club have lately. Pairing him with Gorges might just be what Gorges needs as well, and the way I see it it can't hurt to try this configuration. Emelin will be better on his natural side. Gotta say I agree with Machine, it's 5 guys per shift that need to defend better in our zone.......

Edited by KoRP

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Absolutely right that we need to be easing Beaulieu - or at least one of our other young D - into the league, so that we're not stuck with a glut of young guys all at once on the back end, or else forced to leave some to rot in Hamilton just to prevent that. You've got to get a slow-and-steady pipeline of talent coming in from the Pound. Putting Gorges with Beaulieu and Emelin with Diaz creates two pairings that each contain one supposed "stabilizer" and one supposed puck-mover: a classic configuration. Now if Emelin continues to suck, it won't be long before it all falls apart...but it looks good on paper at least.

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Absolutely right that we need to be easing Beaulieu - or at least one of our other young D - into the league, so that we're not stuck with a glut of young guys all at once on the back end, or else forced to leave some to rot in Hamilton just to prevent that. You've got to get a slow-and-steady pipeline of talent coming in from the Pound.

We can reasonably expect that top-6 to be back next year, give or take Diaz, and with Drewiske taking #7 duties. Add one of Tinordi/Pateryn to the mix and the pipeline is working in theory. Bouillon and Murray are hardly forcing their way into the lineup, so we might as well take a chance on Beaulieu with the long view in mind.

If we do end up using Gorges as trade bait, I could see Tinordi taking his place. He has a good reputation as a leader, and should round into a solid defensive guy with more physicality.

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Chantal Machabée mentioned that we've given up nearly two more goals per game since Markov-Subban have been split up.

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I had expected at the beginning of the season that at least 1 of Tinordi, Beaulieu, or Pateryn would have forced their way into the lineup.

Except I wouldn't say they've forced their way on... more like the veterans have failed their way out. I really hope Beaulieu has a "eureka!" moment while up and plays well enough to stay, because if Bouillon and Murray play in over half of the remaining 33 games, this team will continue to flounder.

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These pairings are truly encouraging. They represent the best possible puck-moving top six available to the team. Beaulieu is the natural replacement for Diaz, with Pateryn and Tinordi entering the fold by next season (or earlier).

Some interesting things to consider: Davis Drewiske is skating and could be back after the Olympics. This would give the club eight veteran defensemen, and three rookies in Beaulieu, Tinordi, and Pateryn. We all know that other injuries can arise between now and then, but in the bigger picture - something has to give. The club can't afford to keep stifling the rookies' development by relegating them to the AHL. Especially when one could argue they're already better options in the top six than Bouillon, Murray, Diaz, and even--at times this season---Emelin.

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As far as worrying about any d rotting in Hamilton, no future regular NHL player has ever been hurt by too much time in the AHL, but force-feeding young d-prospects can be an issue.

Time will tell if Beaulieu is ready and whether his defensive gaffs are costly. But if can add to offense, that is one thing that the Habs are lacking and he must be considered an upgrade on the 2pp unit at least.

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A separate thought - getting the rookies some quality NHL experience before the playoffs could pay off significantly if a) the Habs make a deep playoff run; b) the Habs run into injury trouble before or during the post-season.

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I had expected at the beginning of the season that at least 1 of Tinordi, Beaulieu, or Pateryn would have forced their way into the lineup.

Except I wouldn't say they've forced their way on... more like the veterans have failed their way out. I really hope Beaulieu has a "eureka!" moment while up and plays well enough to stay, because if Bouillon and Murray play in over half of the remaining 33 games, this team will continue to flounder.

Yeah, I expected Tinordi at least to be a regular by now. I hope Beaulieu impresses, too, because you know that Therrien will be just itching to replace him with one of the vets. And those guys just don't have it any more. Bouillon as a complete package, and Murray's faults don't make up for his physicality. It's fun to see a Habs player throw guys on their asses with such ease, but even Hal Gill could skate circles around him, not to mention the atrocious puck-handling.

A separate thought - getting the rookies some quality NHL experience before the playoffs could pay off significantly if a) the Habs make a deep playoff run; b) the Habs run into injury trouble before or during the post-season.

It would help this year, but I think the benefit would be even greater down the road so we can stagger the rookie time with Tinordi/Pateryn. There will be some overlap, but we want to minimize the time with two untested guys in our top-6.

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Playoffs? This team could be out of them by the Olympic break.

I do like those pairings, Emelin back to the LD, Gorges can be equally good or bad on either side.

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Well, our hopes are dashed on the pudgy crags of Therrien's head... BOTH Bouillon and Murray are in, Diaz and Emelin are out.

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Well, our hopes are dashed on the pudgy crags of Therrien's head... BOTH Bouillon and Murray are in, Diaz and Emelin are out.

Unless Emelin and Diaz are hurt, it's decisions like this why I think therrian has to go

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Risky move to say the least. Not sure if it's a good idea. We'll see in a few hours.

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Risky move to say the least. Not sure if it's a good idea. We'll see in a few hours.

Seems it was the perfect move, just 79-76-31-67 (till last 10minutes) forgot to show up to play.

But both Murray and Boullion played very well, so credit goes to coachs for that and Beaulieu also played well, so again good on coachs.

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New pairings today:

Markov - Emelin

Gorges - Beaulieu

Murray - Subban

Bouillon - Diaz

I guess the coaches haven't learned that Emelin on the right side has been nothing short of a disaster (other than for his first few games).

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Unless Emelin and Diaz are hurt, it's decisions like this why I think therrian has to go

Oh come on you can think of a lot more reasons than this. I know I can. :) But c'est le gueere we are stuck with him for now.

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Like I said in the other thread, MT is a generic modern NHL coach and thus eminently replaceable in principle. If the team keeps struggling, especially on D, then I'd rather like to see a Lou Lamiorello special where we dump Therrien down the stretch and bring a new guy in. This is less because I have a bunch of specific grievances about MT - no matter who we have coaching us, they will be second-guessed to death whenever the team struggles - but because the change probably give the team a jolt of energy and excitement that might scrape out a few extra points and maybe even playoff wins, and it'd also send a message that we're now one of those ruthless teams that will not tolerate garbage. Because Therrien is so average, this scenario becomes perfectly plausible IMHO. It's not like we're talking about Joel Quennville or Mike Babcock.

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Therrien took over a team that stunk up the season two years ago, 15th in the conference and couldn't beat anybody, virtually the same line up(because the additions have sucked) and turned the team into a playoff team. He and MB have maintained all along it will take time to get to being competitive with top teams, and that's the truth. We always get the "steamrolled by Ottawa" story, which is just that, a story. We had injuries, and we had some bad, bad puck luck, and an injured starting goalie, while Ottawa was even permitted to kick goals in. The only game Ottawa dominated was game 5, other than that, we held our own, and dominated games, only to be thwarted by that pinhead Anderson. MT did all he could do, yet was accused of being out coached by the Walrus, when he was really "out lucked" and it was from every angle.

I think it's the bi-polar fans that are less than mediocre when assessing the coach. I don't think there is another coach that could make this roster any better in terms of the standings. Guy Carbonneau was fired while 7 games over .500, after winning the conference, and the team played hard for him and Muller. The team got lucky and over achieved in two playoff series a bit under Martin before it sunk to the bottom, and I don't think Toe Blake himself could keep this team higher than where it is in the standings any better than MT is.....

Roster changes are needed, lot's of them, then we will see about what we need as a coach...... remember the discipline and finals loss to Calgary under Burns, then the change to the reigns coming off under player's coach that let them play and win, Demers. That was a roster that wasn't so great, but strong at center, and in nets, with a good stay at home D game..... We arent' strong at center, and our stay at home D is named Murray.....

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Oh come on you can think of a lot more reasons than this. I know I can. :) But c'est le gueere we are stuck with him for now.

Such as? And which big upgrade coach, that Molson/Politicians will approve of hiring, do you think is realistic or even on Bergevins radar? The Tampa retread?

Would he put Yemelin on left side and call up the Tin-man and all will be rosy? With just 1 all-star forward at present, would need to mortage future to make real change, or simply wait till summertime (smartest route to go, I think).

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Panic Panic Panic....we are in a slump, several players in a personal funk all at the same time, but seasons are full of highs and lows, and it is important to not follow along with it as a fan. Instead look around, see the teams around us who were in much more horrible situation than we are, who have climbed out and gotten back on the rails. Take a step back and realize if they can turn things around in the blink of an eye, so can any team, including our own.

Look at toronto, not 2 weeks ago were not even in the top 8 anymore, had Ottawa nipping at there toes. Now on the heels of a 6 game win streak, can possibly catch us tonight. They were raving about firing Carlyle, trading Kadri, etc etc. Now all is well, the train is on the move again. Philly had a horrendous start to the season, suddenly find themselves in a position no one saw coming based on a hot month.

Point is, 3 weeks from now this team could be 9-1-1 in their last 10, we would be battling for top 3 positioning again, and would be none the wiser right this minute. No one expected this team to be a contender, so why are we surprised and angry to find ourselves in the bottom of the playoff teams? When the playoffs start, i'm sure there will have been at least another 2 bad streaks, and another 2 hot streaks, we will have leveled off in 7th - 5th spot, and i would be fine with it. I'm objective enough to see this team is not that good, and also not bad enough to not be a playoff team, and I am ready and able to wait out the development of our youth, while maintaining a playoff team for the next few years, to ensure this team reaches the next level with a solid core, and a long line of back up coming up the ranks.

Over and Out

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Thank you for that Link67!

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Such as? And which big upgrade coach, that Molson/Politicians will approve of hiring, do you think is realistic or even on Bergevins radar? The Tampa retread?

Would he put Yemelin on left side and call up the Tin-man and all will be rosy? With just 1 all-star forward at present, would need to mortage future to make real change, or simply wait till summertime (smartest route to go, I think).

Don, take it easy, that was a joke. Habs 29 wanted him fire the day he got here. I am just too damn sutble. But I don't like MT, I don't think he is a good coach. Hey it's my opinnion but as I say he is here for now.

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