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The Chicoutimi Cucumber

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Everything posted by The Chicoutimi Cucumber

  1. Good Lord, I sure did. Up there in the nose-bleeds, surrounded by red sweaters, watching that madness unfold as two dubious teams basically played road hockey. Yowza! I was so happy when Caufield scored that opening goal. He was on my side of the rink, so I had a direct line of sight to witness first-hand what may become one of the iconic sights of the next decade of Habs' history, i.e., Caufield blasting one in from the left hashmarks. This is a game that defied rational analysis. Complete carnage out there. However, it was interesting to see the Habs live, something I haven't done since well before Covid. Random observations: Habs made a LOT of "young team" mistakes. I mean things like pointless icings, where you miscalculate where you're shooting the puck from so it crosses multiple lines; multiple breakdowns on the same play; sloppy plays around the team's blueline to fumble a clearing pass; that sort of thing. They also fell down a lot at key moments (my God, Mattheson in OT was comically brutal), which may have had to do with the ice, I dunno. Anderson is a better player live than on TV. He does a lot of positional and physical things out there that you don't necessarily notice on the telecast. A tough player to play against. I guarantee you his teammates love what he brings, and opponents hate him, even if fans don't always appreciate it. Dach looked very strong on his skates, an impressive-looking player. Edmundson looked just terrible for much of the night. Sort of Anderson in reverse - a guy who seems to be a lot worse live than on the broadcast. Ugh. Or maybe he just had a bad game. But watching him caused me to rethink my previously-staunch belief in his value. I enjoyed the running commentary from the Habs fans around me. One pointed out that Armia never, ever shoots. A pertinent observation, even if the Armia line was fairly strong on the forecheck much of the night. He also poked holes in Evans's game. Evans was a mixed bag for sure. He shouldn't be expected to play too many minutes. Slaf: I was relieved he wasn't injured on the hit. He plays the game in an "aw shucks" way that may just be part of who he is as a player, but he worries me. He does some good things, is strong and a good skater, but (1) I don't think he protects himself properly - he's already suffered 3 or 4 explosive hits this season, and I would expect that eventually he will suffer serious injury; and (2) he has that early Kotkaniemi "gee, I'm just happy to be here" vibe where he doesn't seem to feel a need to drive anything or impose himself on the game. Understandable, but I don't want that settling in as a habit for him. It's something I've seen from too many Habs prospects over the years - and when they wake up 3-4 years later and realize they're expected to manufacture things, it's often too late to flip the switch. For both reasons, he should be down in Laval: learning to play with his head up and anticipate being a target in the North American environment, and learning to be the take-charge guy who drives a team. I do not understand what the Habs are doing with him. I wore the Doug Harvey last night. Ironically, that game was the antithesis of what I understand Doug Harvey's play to be, i.e., cerebral, controlling, masterful. Oh well. One thing these young Habs are is never boring!
  2. I've long suspected that that Cup run was de facto coached by Weber, Price, Perry, and maybe Danault, much like the 1986 team won it all with Jean Perron as a wax mannequin while Gainey and Robinson led the team. This seems like credible confirmation. As for Richardson being named HC, odd that the players thought that, given that coaching and GMing roles in Montreal are affirmative action programs for francophones or at least bilingual folks. Somehow the players haven't got the memo - ?
  3. Anyone interested in what a Gong Show Vancouver is, check out their bizarre bumbling on the Brock Boeser file here: https://canucksarmy.com/news/if-canucks-torpedo-brock-boesers-trade-value-nailed That said, Boeser is supposedly going to play with Pettersson tonight, and will probably be unusually determined. I wouldn’t be surprised if he bags at least one tonight.
  4. I'll be there with Mrs. Cucumber, wearing my Howie Morenz jersey. Or maybe my Doug Harvey. It'll be a last-second mood decision. The Canucks are missing their ace goalie Thatcher Demko, and, of course, are one of the most haplessly mismanaged NHL squads of the past decade. Their D has exactly one bona-fide top-4 player on it (the sublime Quinn Hughes). Nonetheless, they have some good players, and Petterson and Horvat have been in beast mode. Line combos courtesy Team Line Combinations - Daily Faceoff LW C RW COLE CAUFIELD NICK SUZUKI KIRBY DACH EVGENII DADONOV CHRISTIAN DVORAK JOEL ARMIA JURAJ SLAFKOVSKY SEAN MONAHAN JOSH ANDERSON MICHAEL PEZZETTA JAKE EVANS REM PITLICK DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS MICHAEL MATHESON DAVID SAVARD JOEL EDMUNDSON KAIDEN GUHLE ARBER XHEKAJ JOHNATHAN KOVACEVIC LW C RW J.T. MILLER BO HORVAT NILS HOGLANDER ANDREI KUZMENKO ELIAS PETTERSSON ILYA MIKHEYEV BROCK BOESER SHELDON DRIES CONOR GARLAND CURTIS LAZAR NILS AMAN JACK STUDNICKA DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS OLIVER EKMAN-LARSSON ETHAN BEAR QUINN HUGHES LUKE SCHENN RILEY STILLMAN TYLER MYERS
  5. Wifi is sometimes dismissed by the advanced stats folks, but I dunno - I see a guy who could end up as a Kevin Bieksa-ish type, an under-the-radar prospect who ends up as a quality #4-5 for a lot of years. He just seems to have the mental resilience and the varied toolkit to be more than (say) the Igor Ulanov 2.0 that I originally cast him as. Interesting that he keeps chugging away while the much more highly-touted Harris has now cratered.
  6. Another highly entertaining game by this group. Guhle had a strong night. I wonder what our record would be if we had better discipline. Seems to me we’ve taken quite a lot of unnecessary penalties this year - likely a symptom of exuberant youth. But still annoying.
  7. The bloom seems to be off Harris. This is what often happens with rookies…they come in, look good, and then start to fade.
  8. I’m inclined to think that those guys are, in fact, “showing their worth” under MSL. They’re just not particularly good players. Armia is a plodder who only uses his size once every 10 games; he’s only attractive to plodding coaches who abhor offence and creativity. Pezzetta is a marginal 4th liner who takes dumb penalties and probably never would have seen the NHL if the Habs had not become so terrible. Evans is better than either, though - he might indeed be an example of a guy who has fallen out of favour, but who could be a serviceable 30-point 4th-liner if he had a coach’s trust. The problem he faces is that these Habs have decent depth at C. And that’s another consideration…maybe what he really is, is a guy who looks decent on a team that lack depth at C. Maybe next season, when Monahan is gone, he will step up a bit.
  9. https://montrealgazette.com/sports/hockey/nhl/hockey-inside-out/stu-cowan-chris-nilan-takes-canadiens-young-guns-under-his-wing?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook#Echobox=1669658351 This could easily go in the “Where are they Now” thread - certainly the anecdote about Knuckles threatening to beat the sh*t out of any rookie who didn’t give their all to get Gainey and Robinson another Cup in 1986 is priceless - but the article is relevant to the Revamp because it suggests that a cultural shift is taking place: Nilan inviting Harris and Xhekaj to his home for dinner is another example of how the Canadiens’ alumni has reconnected with the team since GM Marc Bergevin was fired one year ago Monday and Jeff Gorton was named executive vice-president of hockey operations, later hiring Kent Hughes as GM and Martin St. Louis as head coach. In July, Canadiens owner/president Geoff Molson announced that Nilan had been added as one of four new team ambassadors — along with Guy Carbonneau, Vincent Damphousse and Patrice Brisebois — to join Yvan Cournoyer and Réjean Houle. During Bergevin’s 10 years as GM, the Canadiens’ alumni felt like they were shunned.
  10. Normally, I disagree with the rule against trading between rivals. In the case of Toronto, though, I live in fear that any given year will finally be THE year when their undeniably excellent core finally breaks though and goes to the Finals. It’s a realistic risk. So sending them a playoff warrior/ stabilizing defenceman like Edmundson? Non merci.
  11. I keep saying to send Slaf down…somehow management refuses to listen to me 🤷‍♂️
  12. It really was exciting. “Somehow he gets another chance”… that somehow is called Nick Suzuki, who made one of the unbelievable passes that are becoming routine for the 10th leading NHL scorer!
  13. I don’t follow his podcast, but I’m with you, both on rejecting his politics and on endorsing his worth as a commentator and overall awesome hockey guy. I bought my dad an 80th birthday greeting from Nilan via Memmo, and he did an absolutely fantastic job - took some time, shared his thoughts on aging, wished my dad well, and overall came off as authentic and engaged. (My favourite part was when he noted that my dad likes “old time hockey” and had a sh*t-eating grin and raised his first in the “punching” gesture). My father loved it of course. A quality dude even if his politics are f***d up 👍
  14. That was the dead puck era. Absolute numbers tell us nothing. Saku Koivu led the league in points for much of that season and at worst was in the top-5 before he went down. Suzuki is #10 in league scoring right now. This suggests that at this moment Suzuki is about at the same level Koivu hit before his ACL blew out. Although frankly, if Suzuki were #1 in league scoring, like Koivu was, we would be losing our minds. That would be considered “next level” from where Slick Nick is right now. Koivu simply was not the same player after that injury. No comparison. He was still an excellent player, but that injury shifted him from an elite #1C to a #1A. Although only Suzuki and Goal Caufield are what I’d call sure things among the FW - guaranteed, sure-fire top-line talent - when you factor in how the young D has looked, you’re absolutely right. You have to go back to the Savard rebuild to see anything analogous. And with the exception of John LeClair, even that rebuild lacked top-end offensive talent like Slick Nick and CC. It may not be a stretch to say that we have not seen such a comprehensive wave of quality young talent enter the organization since the early 1970s. Not that this bunch will ever hold a candle to that group [!!!], just that in terms of overall calibre, this may prove to be the best batch of young talent brought up in a relatively short span of time since that era.
  15. Excuse me, Koivu was leading the lead in scoring before he blew out his knee 50 games in 1997. He was never the same after that, but until that moment he was absolutely elite. That said, Slick Nick is unbelievable. It would no longer surprise me if he enters the upper echelon. And his chemistry with Caufield is off the chart. You know who had a tremendous 3rd period? Guhle. It’s like he stepped if up a notch in light of the game situation. Really looked like a #1D for stretches there.
  16. Oddly tactical overtime. Both teams seemed to be playing conservatively. Owen Tippett - just a hell of a game. Looks like a future all star - he showed tremendous imagination and deadly hands. Didn’t help in OT, though! Suzuki with another stunner of a play in OT. That guy is simply superb.
  17. Pretty helter-skelter period, and not really as entertaining as the score would suggest. It definitely has a whiff of “two crappy teams” about it. Happy to see CC tie it up, though. David Savard pinches a surprising amount. I guess he has the green light. But I doubt he’s spent this much time south of the hash marks in years.
  18. Should we consider pinning an “Interviews” thread? Just a thought.
  19. 100%. That one was/is spectacular. I thought these "Expos" ones looked kinda neat, UNTIL I saw them actually in action on the ice. Yeech.
  20. Oh, that's good! Maybe I can try listening to TSN 690 again.
  21. I’m with you there. He’s a complete clown, a blaring moron lacking any insight whatsoever, and it’s a long-running scandal that somehow this boob hosts the flagship show covering the greatest franchise in the history of the sport. I take it as one major symptom of the general decline of the Montreal anglophone community.
  22. 100%. Dach’s development is almost as important organizationally as Slaf’s, and he looks to be blossoming. Why mess with that?? I continue to advocate for Slaf to be sent down and learn how to dominate the North America professional game, but have grown resigned to the probability that management disagrees.
  23. That franchise has a history of decent attendance and fan support despite atrocious on-ice results and a fair bit of miserable PR and bad luck. Columbus Blue Jackets yearly attendance at hockeydb.com They're not a candidate to move IMHO, and we shouldn't sneer at the market just because the franchise blows chunks.
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