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Lets take a look at 2 of our top 3 lines..


Aebischer4life
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Changes - just about ANY changes - would be welcome. We're slumping, and even when we were winning, many of our wins were WAY too close for comfort and resulted mostly from atypically high contributions from D plus superb goaltending. It's not reasonable to expect either of these things to continue and let the forwards coast. We need to find a way to increase offense. To me, taht's our most pressing concern by a long shot. I love the third line, and have always argued to keep it intact utnil now, but I think considering the way the team is playing as a whole, I'd be willing to break them up and mix up the lines to try to come up with something new and successful. The third line has been an exceptional shut-down line, but all three players on it are capable of playing in a more offensive capacity, and some of the players on the other lines are capable of playing in a more defensive capacity, so would it be such a bad idea to shift someone (any of Bonk, Perogie, or Johnny) up to another line, depending on what works in terms of combinations, and move someone like Higgins to the third? Play Ryder on the fourth for a bit to wake him up? That kind of thing?

I lean toward moving Bonk or Perogie up and keeping Johnny on the third, as I think he can continue to help that line and he's the least offensively gifted of the three...

What do you all think?

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I agree that it might be time to tinker, but let's not panic. For Pete's sake, the Habs have been saying all along that they were bound to slump sooner or later. And I was wondering how long it would take before people started to argue that their record up to this point has been flukely - 'way too many close games, atypical contributions from the blueline, stellar goaltending, etc., etc..' It's as though, unless the Habs blow out the opposition every night, a spectacular record is just luck. The Habs got stellar goaltending because they have a stellar goalie; offence from the back end because they have Souray; tight games, because they're not the 1987 Edmonton Oilers.

This is a good team with tons of depth. We'll come out of it, as long as the team doesn't panic and lose confidence, Guy doesn't overreact, and injuries don't suddenly waylay us. Stay cool. Guy is. And so is Bob.

Edited by The Chicoutimi Cucumber
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I agree that it might be time to tinker, but let's not panic. For Pete's sake, the Habs have been saying all along that they were bound to slump sooner or later. And I was wondering how long it would take before people started to argue that their record up to this point has been flukely - 'way too many close games, atypical contributions from the blueline, stellar goaltending, etc., etc..' It's as though, unless the Habs blow out the opposition every night, a spectacular record is just luck. The Habs got stellar goaltending because they have a stellar goalie; offence from the back end because they have Souray; tight games, because they're not the 1987 Edmonton Oilers.

This is a good team with tons of depth. We'll come out of it, as long as the team doesn't panic and lose confidence, Guy doesn't overreact, and injuries don't suddenly waylay us. Stay cool. Guy is. And so is Bob.

I'm cool with not panicking, I'm just not cool with not trying to fix it. You leave it alone if it's not broken; right now it's broken. maybe not a huge break, but still, broken. Let's not let our awesome record up to this point go to waste and still be struggling in April to make the play-offs because of a slump we could have tried to do something about. Let's try to get home ice in the playoffs this year. Set our bar a little higher... Let's just switch things up a little. It certainly can't hurt, know what I mean?

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I'm cool with not panicking, I'm just not cool with not trying to fix it. You leave it alone if it's not broken; right now it's broken. maybe not a huge break, but still, broken. Let's not let our awesome record up to this point go to waste and still be struggling in April to make the play-offs because of a slump we could have tried to do something about. Let's try to get home ice in the playoffs this year. Set our bar a little higher... Let's just switch things up a little. It certainly can't hurt, know what I mean?

My sentiments exactly, if we all saw a slump coming why not start trying better lines and solutions? Call up some rookies maybe find a spark and end the slump quickly. Our slumps are not because of a lack of talent, we have loads of that, it's a lack of effort and that is just unacceptable.

I think we will definitly get a trade at the deadline, this team is sorely lacking one key ingredient and without it we are just one lazy effort away from elimination.

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I completely agree with ShortHanded and OneSharpMarble. Something needs to be done. Having patience is fine and dandy, but you can overdo it. Sometimes you have to take action. The 2nd line should have been changed up 10-15 games ago... it just doesn't work, yet they keep flogging a dead horse.

With all due respect to others like Kozed, Shortcat, Cataclaw, Chicoutimi Cucumber, etc... who continuously preach the "don't panic" and "P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E" mantra and who seem to 'mock' the rest of us who suggest changes should be made, I have to strongly disagree with them. Our good record up to this point is deceiving... I have the feeling that we are a house of cards that could come crashing down at any time. We rely way too much on Huet and the power play. Not good.

I love ol' Carbo, but I don't entirely agree with some of his decisions:

(1) As mentioned, the way he insists on keeping Samsonov and Kovalev together. They just don't click. Stop it.

(2) Sending Lapierre back down. When Lapierre was up here, the 4th line was a legitimate offensive threat with Latendresse and Streit. Latendresse loved playing with his buddy Maxim, and it really showed. They were flying out there. I saw a 'buoyancy' and lightness of step in the Habs that I hadn't seen in a long long time. All 4 lines were rolling, and they could all produce offensively. It was very Buffalo Sabres-like. There was NO need to send Lapierre back down at that time... roster freeze my arse. We could have put Murray on waivers just before the roster freeze. Nobody would have claimed him anyway... every team in the league has at least 2 or 3 guys like him (or better) on their farm team.

(3) Overplaying Huet. Huet is a premier goalie in this league, but he doesn't have the stamina of a Martin Brodeur (at least not yet anyways). Huet can't play 5-6 games in a row and be effective.. he just can't. he can play 3, then Aebischer should play one - that should be the routine. At this stage, Huet is good for about 55 or so games a year...not 70.

(4) And what happened to the 2 man forechecking that Gainey implemented towards the end of last season that in my opinion, really turned us around. Carbo is back to a 1 man forecheck with the rest of us sitting back just waiting to be attacked upon. God I hate that.

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I completely agree with ShortHanded and OneSharpMarble. Something needs to be done. Having patience is fine and dandy, but you can overdo it. Sometimes you have to take action. The 2nd line should have been changed up 10-15 games ago... it just doesn't work, yet they keep flogging a dead horse.

With all due respect to others like Kozed, Shortcat, Cataclaw, Chicoutimi Cucumber, etc... who continuously preach the "don't panic" and "P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E" mantra and who seem to 'mock' the rest of us who suggest changes should be made, I have to strongly disagree with them. Our good record up to this point is deceiving... I have the feeling that we are a house of cards that could come crashing down at any time. We rely way too much on Huet and the power play. Not good.

I love ol' Carbo, but I don't entirely agree with some of his decisions:

(1) As mentioned, the way he insists on keeping Samsonov and Kovalev together. They just don't click. Stop it.

(2) Sending Lapierre back down. When Lapierre was up here, the 4th line was a legitimate offensive threat with Latendresse and Streit. Latendresse loved playing with his buddy Maxim, and it really showed. They were flying out there. I saw a 'buoyancy' and lightness of step in the Habs that I hadn't seen in a long long time. All 4 lines were rolling, and they could all produce offensively. It was very Buffalo Sabres-like. There was NO need to send Lapierre back down at that time... roster freeze my arse. We could have put Murray on waivers just before the roster freeze. Nobody would have claimed him anyway... every team in the league has at least 2 or 3 guys like him (or better) on their farm team.

(3) Overplaying Huet. Huet is a premier goalie in this league, but he doesn't have the stamina of a Martin Brodeur (at least not yet anyways). Huet can't play 5-6 games in a row and be effective.. he just can't. he can play 3, then Aebischer should play one - that should be the routine. At this stage, Huet is good for about 55 or so games a year...not 70.

(4) And what happened to the 2 man forechecking that Gainey implemented towards the end of last season that in my opinion, really turned us around. Carbo is back to a 1 man forecheck with the rest of us sitting back just waiting to be attacked upon. God I hate that.

I couldn't agree more!

Why are we carrying so much dead weight? Niinimaa, Downey, Murray take turns in the press box. Lapierre was playing excellent hockey but was sent down. Drop one of our press box sitters and bring Lapierre back up.

Again, Carbo has many, many options with our forwards. It is time to try some other lines.

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I think the real simple solution is to just flip Samsonov and Higgins for a few games.

1. We'll see if Higgins can produce at a high level without Koivu...and I think he can, plus he has some chemistry with Pleks and maybe that can spark Kovalev more.

2. Samsonov may enjoy having Ryder crash the net from the other wing...and Koivu setting him up may help him feel comfortable to shoot more.

3. It's a simple change that doesn't affect the overall chemistry of the other players...

Quite trying to make such drastic changes. The 2nd line just needs ONE guy to start putting the puck in the net to spark the rest of them.

Also, we have very good team D because of how the team is coached. That will not change, regardless of the line changes.

If Samsonov can not turn it around then he should be dealt with one of our d-men(Rivet?) and a draft pick for a very good d-man who is signed beyond this year...those two guys make over 4 million combined so it clears enough cap room to acquire a quality player even if they're paid high. Then replace Samsonov with Lats or Kosty...if Sammy's not producing well then these 2 should replace him just fine. Plus we'd likely have a better situation on D with Souray and Rivet both FA at seasons end.

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Well, for the record, I didn't say 'don't touch the lines.' It's partly a question of tone - omigod, something HAS to be done and right now!!!' etc., when if we had won that Washington game, we'd be 2-0 and everything would be hunky dory. Also, I just don't accept the 'house of cards' analysis. Specialty teams are THE most important thing, given the ways games are called now. Winning because of them is as valid as winning any other way. As for all these close-fought wins, I call that 'finding ways to win,' not 'being a house of cards.'

I AM a bit puzzled by Carbo's Huet fixation; he hasn't looked sharp for three or four games, yet Abbey sits, which to me defeats the whole logic of keeping Abey around.

Edited by The Chicoutimi Cucumber
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A bit of tinkering could go a long way. We have the opportunity and the time is right - no-one will get on Carbo now for trying to shake up a pretty bad offence.

The first line's horrible minus has meant that it hasn't been right for a while. Why Ryder is on that line is utterly beyond me. Awful player, a lot of hustle but zero hockey sense. Kolzig did make a brilliant save on him, but please...raise the puck. He should be rounding out the fourth line, possibly the third if his hustle continues.

I'd love to see what Koivu and Kovalev could do with a big target-man like Latendresse. Gui picked it up when Higgins was out, why not try him with our two best playmakers?

Higgins could fill a Messier-like role, Edmonton days, on the second. Not that I'm comparing him - he's not nearly as viscious and dirty. Maybe use Bonk up here and Perezhogin? Let Bonk play a bit more.

This of course would screw up our 3rd and 4th lines.

But anyway, from what I've been able to see, we are playing way over our heads. Our 'slump' is still pretty short, why not try a few things now?

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Lots of good posts here. Carbo certainly has lots of options. But I still think that it's too early to panic. There have been more positives than negatives this season. We're doing fantastic and that's with some of our key players struggling. I think patience is what we need right now.

We'll have to wait and see how Grabovski does and how Lapierre does this time around. What if Grabovski now plays amazing, and becomes our #2 center (unlikely, but possible)? Then you would all regret having picked up a Comrie, wouldn't you? There are still so many internal options Gainey and Carbonneau can resort to before making a trade.

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In the car on the way home, I listened to CKAC 730 (Montreal francophone station). Wow, most callers want Latendresse on the first line again. And many want Samsonov released outright. Forget about Murray and Downey, most can't even fathom why they're still getting an NHL pay-check. There must be a solution to Samsonov's slow first half. Even he, when interviewed, was surprised the line has stayed together this long without producing.

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Tons of great posts I agree BTH.

Some things need to be changed forsure and those changes will come. The Canadiens have started to lose and Carbonneau is not very happy but with the flu situation the changes may be a bit further out because he will not want to try new things with less options depending on who is available tomorrow night.

Kovalev and Samsonov have flashes of brilliance but unless they are with Koivu I believe they should be seperated at least for a game or two.

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You know there's a problem when ONLY 4 of your forwards are on pace to break 40 points in a season.

Kovalev on pace to score 62 points, Ryder 54, Higgins 63 and the only decent one is Koivu with 80.

When the Philadelphia Flyers have more even strenght goals then you, you know there's a problem.

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Nice point Aebi4life. The 1 thing i would add to the mix is the D can't pass the puck, win a battle or get get the puck out smoothly to help out. When you play the whole night shothanded or in your own end, you can't score.

PS SHOOT the puck might help, 3 shots in the first again?

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Nice point Aebi4life. The 1 thing i would add to the mix is the D can't pass the puck, win a battle or get get the puck out smoothly to help out. When you play the whole night shothanded or in your own end, you can't score.

PS SHOOT the puck might help, 3 shots in the first again?

If Samsonov was not on pace for 12 goals, the whole team would be benefiting. If Ryder was playing like the 40 goal scorer we thought he was and not the one whos on pace for 22 goals, we'd also be benefiting.

If Kovalev wasnt on pace for 20, we would also be benefiting. If Johnson wasnt on pace for like 30 points whereas last season he scored 54, we would be benefitting as well.

Without Huet and the PP, PK this team would be at the bottom of the standings.

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If Samsonov was not on pace for 12 goals, the whole team would be benefiting. If Ryder was playing like the 40 goal scorer we thought he was and not the one whos on pace for 22 goals, we'd also be benefiting.

If Kovalev wasnt on pace for 20, we would also be benefiting. If Johnson wasnt on pace for like 30 points whereas last season he scored 54, we would be benefitting as well.

Without Huet and the PP, PK this team would be at the bottom of the standings.

Hmm... if you're expecting 40 goals from guys like Ryder than no wonder everyone's so disappointed. About Johnson, in Phoenix, even though he had a crappier team, he was playing on the first line, getting top minutes. Here he's put in a defensive role and doesn't play as much (unless we're hogging the penalty box again).

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This is the whole thing about the Habs having 'overachieved' for the first half - which is what the panicky types are now saying, as we slump; arguing that we suck 5 on 5 and that only Huet has saved us, etc., etc..

But the Habs did NOT overachieve. The only players who MIGHT have overachieved in any substantial way are Souray, Huet and Higgins. And in all three cases, it's debatable whether they really were way over their own ceilings.

As for the rest: Ryder, Kovalev, Samsonov, Markov, and Begin are all important players who played WELL BELOW what can be reasonably expected of them, at various times in the first half, based on their career track records.

So how you go from there to arguing that the Habs were a pack of wild overachievers who are only now (as they slump) finding their 'real' level is beyond me. If anything, the real lesson is that IF the Habs can ever get firing on all cylanders, they'll be a real elite club.

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