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The Chicoutimi Cucumber

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Everything posted by The Chicoutimi Cucumber

  1. Very interesting - akin to the Richer case, but this time we have a much better understanding of anxiety as a disorder and better options for treatment. Maybe JD can start fulfilling his potential in a way that Richer was unable to do. One can hope, anyway.
  2. Agree...and I'd add that we don't really need a #7 puck-mover either, since we already have that in Kulak. (He should be higher on the depth chart IMHO but the coaches seem to hate his guts). I mean, I won't rip my hair out if they sign such a guy, but it's a legit top-6 puck-mover we need, not a marginal player.
  3. Any player not vaxxed - in addition to being a sociopathic dumbass - is a terrible teammate.
  4. Poor Chiarot…a reliable blood and guts defender on a moderate contract getting roasted like that, LOL
  6. I love Petry. He is a tremendous D-man who has, mysteriously, aged like fine wine. However, you are correct - he does have regressions here and there which tend to knock him out of any Norris discussion. Plus, because it took him so long to round into his current, elite form, he does not have the pedigree that Norris voters like; they still tend to think of him as the guy he was 6 years ago. I’m sure he has more left in the tank, but I’m not expecting a 60-point pace this time round. As ageless as he seems, some decline should start creeping into his game pretty soon. In any case, it is a structural flaw to have only one credible puck-moving D-man, no matter how good he is.
  7. Excellent analysis by Brian. Hoffman will be a test of this coaching staff’s flexibility and imagination. With some of the plodders we’ve had behind the bench in the past, I would expect him to slowly slide down the depth chart until he becomes defined as a “problem” and gets benched for being one-dimensional. And yet I have always maintained that if a team can carry one-dimensional defensive players, it should also be able to find room for a one-dimensional offensive specialist. We’ll see what DD does with this asset.
  8. Good news for us if he retires. We can put that cap space to massively better use.
  9. All last season, I kept in reserve the possibility that the Habs might be like the 2012 LA Kings - a bubble team that turned out to be “built for the playoffs.” And that hopeful possibility turns out to have been correct. However, imagine if the Kings had not won, but lost handily in the Finals. And imagine that Drew Doughty had been 35 years old and immediately after the playoffs was revealed to be so badly injured that his career is likely over. Nobody would then have been picking those Kings to be an elite team in 2013. So, we’re like that parallel-universe version of the LA Kings. I think this group has a solid chance to make the playoffs, and, once in the playoffs, to be a tough “out.” Much like last season. But I certainly wouldn’t peg them as top-tier contenders.
  10. 1) It would be great if we had the Perrault of a few years back, and 40-point C. His back may be healed up, but he’s 33 years old and on the decline. I wouldn’t expect **too** much from him. Still, it’s a good point that he may be an option if Evans falters… 2) I don’t see much evidence that the Julien/DD regime has much tolerance for defensively-questionable D-men. Look how they keep jerking around Kulak, the extreme caution they took with Romanov in the playoffs, and of course their extraordinarily selective deployment of Gustafsson. As I say above, i think this team is build on an extremely old-school vision of the D-corps as a hermetic, suffocating defensive unit (and offence from the back end be damned). I doubt Nordlinger will get much room to be the exception. He may, of course, become the new Gustafsson, perhaps drawing in here and there when the team is really offensively slumping, or used purely on the PP, etc. But basically I’d guess the coaches are pencilling him as #7, just like they like to do with Kulak - assuming he even makes the cut.
  11. Byron cleared waivers. That shows you how much value he brings relative to his contract. At this stage, he is a grossly overpaid, marginal, and often-injured forward who has the occasional great shift. We’re just going to have to carry that contract, I suspect, until it expires. (Don’t get me wrong, I have enormous respect for the way he carved out an NHL career against all odds. But this isn’t five years ago. He’s done as a reliable contributor IMHO).
  12. A lot does depend on Evans stepping up and playing effective regular 3rd-line minutes. I like the kid and think he probably can do so provided he stays healthy, but we won’t know for certain until the season starts. Hoffman was acquired to add PP production and general offence. He’s like Michael Ryder. The acquisition challenges the coaching staff to make optimal use of a one-dimensional player. Too often in the past, the Habs have had plodding coaches who inevitably drove such guys out of the lineup on the principle that you’re only allowed to be one-dimensional if that dimension is defence. Hoffman is 31; he is not going to change into Bob Gainey. It’s up to the coaches to use the asset intelligently. It’s a nice little test for the imagination of Ducharme. https://www.habseyesontheprize.com/analysis/2021/7/28/22598831/instant-analysis-mike-hoffman-should-help-solve-montreals-power-play-woes-nhl-free-agency Given that we have Drouin, Caufield, and Hoffman, none of who are likely to be defensively impeccable, MB’s theory is probably that our stifling D-men can make up for lapses by the W. This is yet another way in which the D unit and the FW are not in sync; it’s a very 1950s model of team building, where the forwards are there to score and the D are there to defend, and there is not much overlap between the two functions.
  13. I’ll say this: I think we have a pretty darned good FW configuration. Lots of depth, lots of players who, on any given night, can be productive. Everyone wants superstars, but I always liked the “roll four lines” concept. The Habs have made some highly strategic decisions designed to make us more dangerous on the PP too. So that should help. But, ultimately, I agree that we will “have trouble scoring,” and the reason is simple. Only one of our defenceman is competent to move the puck, lead the rush, and make plays. As long as that is so, this team will be required to overcome an offensive handicap night after night.
  14. Lines really have not been static in the NHL in decades. You're right, we're much more likely to see stable or semi-stable "duos" up front than trios. Suzuki-Caufield is particularly exciting to contemplate, at least in the longer-term; growing pains are almost certainly assured this season.
  15. 🤘Is it ever!! WOOT!!! The board’s MVP is back On the issue at hand, we turned Galy into Anderson (major win), Sergachev into Drouin (catastrophic disaster), and KK into Dvorak (result TBD). While MB has done a good job of stocking the team with quality FWs in particular, I think it is a bit of a stretch to say that trading away our prospects is some sort of team-building “strategy.” The Galy and KK moves were forced upon him by circumstances: the fact that Galy sucked, and the KK imbroglio. Those were improvisational salvage operations, not strategy. (When he did trade a top prospect as a deliberate strategy, it was a catastrophe, i.e., Sergachev). It would be nice if we could point to our top-6 and our D and identity some home-grown talent. The situation on D in particular is bizarre. It is at least reasonable to ask why we’re not able to generate quality, internally-developed impact players who stay with the organization.
  16. That's why I said that this suggests MB has an impressive track record of wheeling and dealing. However, something is still awry if you are constantly shipping out guys you drafted/developed, and if the only way to build a successful team is to trade them out. What you really want is for the players you draft and develop to be so good that you wouldn't think of trading them away. You know, like Gallagher or Price.
  17. Thanks. That's pretty poor, although interesting to see that COL - a very well-regarded team - is comparable to us. Apart from that, though, our closest comparators are all either expansion teams or garbage. It seems to me that you do need to have some shared baseline expectations. All players have to work hard, commit to top-end fitness, listen to coaches, and respect the team system, for example. But beyond that, it is axiomatic that you have to modify your approach and your message for the specific player. Some guys you have to ride hard. Others you don't. Some are motivated by positive feedback, others spoiled by too much of it. I cannot believe the Habs do not know this. I would also argue - and here I differ from the NHL default position - that some flexibility should be shown for elite players who have proven they can deliver. I never liked the idea that PK was a "problem" because he rushed the puck more than the "system" dictated, for example. The guy was an advanced stats behemoth who scored and set up loads of chances, came to play every night, was physical, and pretty strong in his own end too. There is little point in riding a guy like that because he is insufficiently deferential to The System. Let him run. In such cases, you have to make some allowance for talent...provided, again, the guy delivers.
  18. A curious point. I was looking at the Habs’ depth chart this morning. We have a grand total of four forwards who were internally drafted and developed: -Gallagher -Lehkonen -Evans -Caufield And exactly one defenceman (Romanov). That can’t be normal, can it? Only five regulars, if we call Caufield a regular, internally drafted and developed? The fact that the roster has quite a bit of legit NHL talent on it seems an impressive testament to MB’s wheeling and dealing skills. He has been able to deal away assets and sign UFAs to assemble a team that ran to the Finals. But something seems clearly amiss. Or am I wrong about the numbers, and most teams have this low a % of internally-drafted/developed guys on their roster? A second point. I’ve long wondered whether Habs’ management understands the perils of hockey life in Montreal or what to do about it. Young guys come in and are treated like gods. We saw KK (apparently) resist coaching and correction; ditto Galy; Subban was accused, probably unfairly, of the same thing; Price was set up in a condo by himself as a 19-year-old in the Old Port, which is equivalent to putting a huge bull’s-eye on his back. It’s a miracle he came through it. The entire Gainey Rebuild 1.0 seemed to immolate in a haze of partying and entitlement. Of **course**, grunts like Lehkonen and Evans come in and thrive. They understand from the get-go that their only chance is to work hard, commit, and respect the coaches. Gallagher too - his coach father always instilled in him that a player his size had to work twice as hard, be twice as diligent, to succeed. But if you are a gifted player, you come in here and you have literally a million people telling you you’re great, you’re special, you’re a star being held back by idiots; that you’re entitled to a top-line spot; that the coaches are not giving you what you deserve and that management is stupid; etc. It’s not a great recipe. Some, like Slick Nick and Patches, rise above it to fulfill their potential. (Subban is a special case who seemed to both ignore Therrien’s BS and succeed spectacularly on the ice). But a higher percentage of talented players risk going by the wayside in that culture. When Crosby joined the Penguins, he billeted with Mario Lemieux. They didn’t throw the kid to the wolves like the Habs did with Price. Have the Habs gotten any smarter in this respect since then? I don’t know.
  19. You're spot on - Subban may be the best parallel for him in that sense. PK came in and was instantly the second-best defenceman on the team. Analogous vibe from Caufield (minus all the racist blowback and ridiculous old-scholl tut-tutting that PK had to put up with, natch).
  20. In the case of Caufield, I do not see how you can take a kid who was an impact player in the playoff run and throw him back to the minors. Maybe if he has a horrible training camp. But sending him down would seem terribly unfair and crash up against the logic that says guys have to earn their spots. He did, surely, and not just because the Habs had no other options or were looking for a quick PR hit. He genuinely forced his way onto the team and made himself indispensable. As I note earlier, there also appears be something “special” about Caufield. This may or may not prove to be illusory. But he is closer to Gallagher (or Price) in coming up and really making a major impact, than to Chucky (fine, I will use this dumb nickname) or KK, who came in and looked all right but didn’t really take over shifts and make a difference the way Caufield reliably did this playoff. All that said, if Caufield disappears over December/January I would not be shocked at all.
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