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Some cracks are starting to appear...


Canajun
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Happy with the stolen win tonight, no doubt about it... but some big cracks are definitely showing themselves in our lineup:

(1) After our "Big 3" on defense, it drops off pretty sharply.

(2) I've always liked ol' Ryder, but he's really taking the steam out of our 1st line.

(3) Our 3rd and 4th lines are seriously lacking any offensive "jam".

Whadda we do?

Well, first I'd try Latendresse up with Koivu and Higgins. It's worth a shot... can't be any worse than it is now. Ryder does hustle so he might generate some offense on the 3rd line. If that doesn't work, then we're looking at some trades and some Bulldogs callups. For example:

(1) We need one more studley top-4 defenseman. A good solid all-around performer like a Derek Morris (how he used to be, although he seems to be decent this year). Someone with good size, a mean streak, and doesn't panic. Basically, another Hamrlik. Then we could put Brisebois down on the 3rd pairing with Streit.... I'd feel better about that. I always liked l'il Bouillon, but I think it's time for him to go. Keep Gorges and rotate him with Brisebois. Trade Ryder, Halak and whatever to obtain this #4 defenseman.

(2) Get Lapierre back up here and put him on the 3rd. Smolinski I'm not crazy about, I think his skills have declined too much. Chipchura's good and has some offensive game, I wouldn't mind seeing him centering the 3rd line... even though he's a rookie.

(3) Send Latendresse down to Hamilton for some seasoning. Whatever he had last year seems to be gone.

(4) Wait and see how young Sergei K. does down in Hamilton. If he continues to rack up the points, I'd call him up and put him with Koivu and Higgins.

Here's what I'd *like* to see towards the end of the season:

S. Kostitsyn - Koivu - Higgins

A. Kostitsyn - Plekanec - Kovalev (Plekanec is GOLD)

Lapierre - Chipchura - Dandenault

Kostopoulos - Smolinski - Begin

Markov - Komisarek

Hamrlik - Hamrlik #2

Brisebois - Streit

Gorges

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Hmmm, giving a 1st line assignment to S-Kos over everyone else in the current lineup, including Grabs; or moving Laps and Chips over Kosto and Smolinski... it screws up the entire "work hard, get a reward" system the coaches are trying to implement. Not mentionning the fact that the 1st line plays against the top guys from the other side.

Besides, you can't just switch Higgs over to the RW and expect him to play the same way. Its not that easy.

Not really any need to shake up the entire lineup, especially when we're going this well. Minor adjustements like switching Ryder with Dandy or something like that.

Lil' Kost will get his chance in due time, but right now there's a couple of guys in front of him who deserves a chance first.

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I hate to say it but bouillon and streit are the weakest links. streit hasn't been really good since the beggining of the season and he's the worst in minuses. I think gorges could use to play a bit more. he's alright that kid.

ryder, ryder, ryder... the worst thing is that his lack luster play is starting to take a toll on his line mates. maybe latendresse(not that he deserves it more) could play rw on the koivu line.

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(1) After our "Big 3" on defense, it drops off pretty sharply.

Briesbois is decent with Hamirlik watching out for him, giving us 2 solid d lines who can play 80% of the game. D isn't really an issue, no team can expect 6 super dmen, we're getting a lot of bang for our buck.

(2) I've always liked ol' Ryder, but he's really taking the steam out of our 1st line.

Obviously this is the biggest factor in the last 2 weeks' play where the habs offence has fallen off. This guy Ryder is a proven goal scorer, I'm not a NHL calibre coach here, I don't know what it's gonna take, I'm sure between Carbo, Muller, Jarvis, and Gainey something can be figured out and these guys can regain their killer instinct sooner or later. The season isn't under water yet, because the good news is that even with our best line slumping, we're still winning games! The goalies, the 2nd line and teh Dmen (gotta love them flying in from the point) have pulled through bigtime.

(3) Our 3rd and 4th lines are seriously lacking any offensive "jam".

Whadda we do?

The 3rd line of Dandenault-Smokes-Begin is pretty good at keeping it deep, hitting hard, and generating chances. Keep them together and put the hackers on the 4th line. Carbo does a good job of mixing and matching these role players though to get the job done. Can't expect them to score too much, that's not their job anyways.

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Ryder keeps working hard out there, but his confidence has taken a huge blow. Everyone knows, including Carbo, that if Mike nets one, he'll get about 5 in 10 games or so and get that top line back on track... here's hoping it happens sooner rather than later.

I wouldn't mind seeing Grabs get a shot on the first line. He'd offer a (pure) offensive element to the hard-working net-crashing duo of Koivu and Higgins. Still, I expect Carbo to ride out Ryder at least another game.

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Ryder keeps working hard out there, but his confidence has taken a huge blow. Everyone knows, including Carbo, that if Mike nets one, he'll get about 5 in 10 games or so and get that top line back on track... here's hoping it happens sooner rather than later.

I wouldn't mind seeing Grabs get a shot on the first line. He'd offer a (pure) offensive element to the hard-working net-crashing duo of Koivu and Higgins. Still, I expect Carbo to ride out Ryder at least another game.

Yes, I would like to see this as well.

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Well, first I'd try Latendresse up with Koivu and Higgins. It's worth a shot... can't be any worse than it is now.

I agree. Last year, when higgins went down, tehy put latendresse with Koivu and he started to score. Get Ryder off that first line, he's like acancer for Higgins and koivu, put Latendresse in for 3 or 4 games, if it doesn't work out, try Grabovsky on the first line, and if that doesn't work, call up S. Kostitsyn!

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We really do need two or three of these groups to start scoring:

1) Ryder (duh)

2) A young guy - Kostisyn, Latendresse, or Grabovski

3) Smolinski (he's been good for 16-20 goals the past several years, had 27 about 7 years ago)

Right now, here's our offence:

Markov, Koivu, Kovalev, Plekanec, Higgins. That is all. Kostitsyn has shown some nice flash but needs prolonged productivity. He also needs to get in better shooting position.

Luckily Markov & Kovalev are playing with unreal finish right now.

For all the Sergei Kostitsyn love, he does only have 3 goals right now. I'm looking for more of a finisher. D'Agostini seemingly fits the mold (and is a RW as well), but he's not lighting it up right now (13 games, 4 G, 4 A).

A simple switch... put Ryder on LW for better shooting opportunity. I like Kostitsyn on RW from last year. Switch 'em.

Higgins-Koivu-Kostitsyn

Ryder-Plekanec-Kovalev

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We may have cracks in the lineup, but we've been doing well with our current lineup to be honest. Once Kovalev's line starts to fumble, I'm sure Koivu's line will start scoring the goals... It happens all the time. As for Ryder, yeah, I agree he could be moved for at least a game or two to be brought back to reality. Latendresse, however is not the answer in my books.

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He's given him more than enough games to snap out of it. I'm getting very impatient with Carbo's patience! :angry:

Indeed. It's akin to him waiting for Samsonov and Kovalev to gel last year... maybe it just ain't gonna happen.

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We have a bad game and eveyone starts to panic.

The only guy who is outright terrible is Ryder. He has to be moved off the first line or be benched for a game. Everyone else is more then fine. Let's hope Carbo has the insight to leave guys where they are for a while (Kostitsyn deserves to stay in the lineup for the full season now)

"Change this line to......." does nothing except mess with the offense and confidence of the second best team in the east....we aren't the leafs for christ sake.

Funny, when Ottawa pulls off the same things that we did last night all they get is "The good teams find a way to win", us?, we have to totally overhaul our lineup :wacko:

The hockey gods are evening out the playing field, we outplayed Florida, Toronto for 2 games, and matched Ottawa. from all this we got 2 points and 4 losses. Last night we shouldn't have won at all, the four games previously mentioned, we should have won at least 3 out of the four, so things are leveling out a bit. Be happy about it and move on.

Edited by Habitforming
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I have defended Ryder and I'll do it again. He's not scoring, but he's hitting, he's forechecking. He is getting horrible bounces, Higgins is having hard time finishing as of late as well. It looks like Ryder is doing stuff different than the last couple of years. He use to park himself in the slot waiting for passes, now he seems to be hanging back and then skating in. Maybe he's too worried about being more responsible defensively, and this puts him out of position for scoring chances.

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We have a bad game and eveyone starts to panic.

The only guy who is outright terrible is Ryder. He has to be moved off the first line or be benched for a game. Everyone else is more then fine. Let's hope Carbo has the insight to leave guys where they are for a while (Kostitsyn deserves to stay in the lineup for the full season now)

"Change this line to......." does nothing except mess with the offense and confidence of the second best team in the east....we aren't the leafs for christ sake.

Funny, when Ottawa pulls off the same things that we did last night all they get is "The good teams find a way to win", us?, we have to totally overhaul our lineup :wacko:

The hockey gods are evening out the playing field, we outplayed Florida, Toronto for 2 games, and matched Ottawa. from all this we got 2 points and 4 losses. Last night we shouldn't have won at all, the four games previously mentioned, we should have won at least 3 out of the four, so things are leveling out a bit. Be happy about it and move on.

Agreed, since Kost is developing good chemistry with Plexs and Kovy I would sit Rider and give Lats a try on the first line...but Kostopolus? I like the guy, but he isnt really a sniper (sarcasm alert).

All in all, the team is playing well, even the TO media is noting how the Hbas outskated the Leafs in the 3rd. Learning how to win when you are not at your best is the hallmark of a good team.

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I agree that there's no need to panic, but something must be done about Ryder. He isn't doing anything correct at the moment.

As for the team in general, i'm still cautious about what will happen this year, although I am a bit optimistic. The next two games(friday in Buffalo, and Saturday against the Pooh-Bears) will give us a better indication of how good this team REALLY is. How will they handle back to back games?

If they can come out of the week end with 3 points out of a possibility of 4, I'll be pleasantly surprised.

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Well people can analize the "cracks " on the team all they want. The cracks show up when the Habs don't show up. When they skate, play hard and tough they look great. When they don't you get last night.

The cracks are still the same:

5 on 5 scoring

No dominant player (offensively)

Dumd penalties

No work ethic

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Well people can analize the "cracks " on the team all they want. The cracks show up when the Habs don't show up. When they skate, play hard and tough they look great. When they don't you get last night.

The cracks are still the same:

5 on 5 scoring

No dominant player (offensively)

Dumd penalties

No work ethic

True, but they aren't getting much offence other than from 5 players in any situation, whether they work hard or not.

It is frustrating when they don't show up against a very beatable team like Toronto, though.

Someone talked about our "big 3" and how the depth on D really drops off from there. I think you can look at all teams but about 3 or 4 in the NHL and say the same thing. If any team loses one if it's top 3 d-men, they are hard pressed to compete for over the long haul. I actually think our depth is better suited for making up for that loss than other teams, though obviously it'd be very tough.

Just be thankful our top 3 is producing, although I personally think Markov has dropped off defensively signficantly this year. He's been turned inside more than a couple of times already.

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Two players that are playing heartless are Streit and Ryder.

After a good start Streit is playing poorly as a defenseman, his legs are not moving and only plays position.

O'byrne deserves a shot.

I say bring up O'byrne who plays body hard and good positionning. He can play PK and

relieve Komisarek of some pressure for aggressiveness.

Why do you think opponents are not afraid to push the goalie. Like Blake did last night.

By the way Bouillon punished Blake with a heavy body check that was good to see.

Place Streit on the first line with Higgins and Koivu. He has the best hands and vision

offensively over Grabovski and Latendresse.

Ryder, get back to basics and go to third or fourth line duties. He has to learn to play hockey

all over again, i think he forgot.

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O'byrne deserves a shot.

I say bring up O'byrne who plays body hard and good positionning. He can play PK and

relieve Komisarek of some pressure for aggressiveness.

I'd also like to see O'Byrne in Montreal, but I'm afraid he might be lacking in the "speed" department. I hope he doesn'T turn out to be another Hall Gill!!! :D:huh::unsure:

Edited by Habsfan
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I'd also liek to see O'Byrne in Montreal, but I'm afraid he might be lacking in the "speed" department. I hope he doesn'T turn out to be another Hall Gill!!! :D:huh::unsure:

I'm not so worried about him becoming Hal Gill, but I think the habs will have to give up on/have injuries to 2 current d-men before we see O'Byrne. That (hopefully) will not happen soon.

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I'd also liek to see O'Byrne in Montreal, but I'm afraid he might be lacking in the "speed" department. I hope he doesn'T turn out to be another Hall Gill!!! :D:huh::unsure:

O'bryne could skate circles around Gill.

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