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In recent weeks, Habs Inside/Out has yielded two excellent analyses of the state of the franchise. Thought I'd share:

http://habsinsideout.com/boone/15097

Boone gives a spot-on assessment of the issues around the team. He correctly identifies Price as the key and has lots of accurate, perceptive claims to make about other guys. Not a hatchet job by any means, but a fair, reasonable assessment with the conclusion that this bunch is highly unlikely to win the Cup - this year, anyway. Do yourself a favour and read it.

http://habsinsideout.com/otherwing/j-t/14857

I posted this in the `Rumours`thread, but it`s so apposite that it bears repeating. In a nutshell, the Habs`Cup chances have (likely) been done in by sheer bad luck, such as horrible injuries to all of their key offseason acquisitions; and any further major moves are likely to deplete the future in the name of a patch-up job for this year`s stretch drive. All Habs fans should ponder this before rattling on about radical moves to blow up the team or to `save the season.`

I think it would behoove us all to get a little more philosophical about things. Gainey made all the right moves to put together a team with a legitimate chance to win. The hockey gods simply have not smiled on us this 100th Anniversary season - that`s all. We should (basically) accept this and pull for the team we`ve got, that they can get their collective game together and gather themselves for a solid stretch drive and playoff run. It`s all coming back to the young guys like Plekanec and Higgins and Price. Let`s see if they can, at this stage in their careers, make something happen.

In short, time to relax our expectations and pull for a good, still-young team. Full stop.

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Good reads, however, I have my own gut feelings about this Stanley cup winning business.

As unlucky as we have been this season, the playoffs are a whole other beast. We are not the best team in the league and won't be, at any point this season. Alright.

Detroit won last year, and was expected to win. Before that, how many cup champs were expected to win it? All that matters is that we get into the playoffs. From there, anything can happen. That's the approach I'm taking. There simply is no way to guarantee your teams wins a cup.

Luck, fortune, whatever you want to call it, plays a role in the playoffs too, not just in the regular season.

I'm not counting any of the 16 playoff teams out until they officially are.

Maybe the law of averages will take over and we'll get a few Philly-like bounces come the post-season?

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Good reads, however, I have my own gut feelings about this Stanley cup winning business.

As unlucky as we have been this season, the playoffs are a whole other beast. We are not the best team in the league and won't be, at any point this season. Alright.

Detroit won last year, and was expected to win. Before that, how many cup champs were expected to win it? All that matters is that we get into the playoffs. From there, anything can happen. That's the approach I'm taking. There simply is no way to guarantee your teams wins a cup.

Luck, fortune, whatever you want to call it, plays a role in the playoffs too, not just in the regular season.

I'm not counting any of the 16 playoff teams out until they officially are.

Maybe the law of averages will take over and we'll get a few Philly-like bounces come the post-season?

Quite possible. Our success 5-on-5 all season is a good omen for the playoffs, for instance. You look at the 1986 team, they were stumbling down the stretch. So did the 1993 team. Anything can happen, assuming we make the playoffs; and we do have a reasonably deep team.

However, I'm just saying we need to chill out - a lot of the agitation and proposals for radically exploding the team, or for making some big trade of young guys for some established name, which we're currently reading on this site and elsewhere, are informed by an underlying assumption that WE GOTTA WIN THIS YEAR. And that, in turn, is informed by expectations going into the season (which were not unreasonable, but which are no longer realistic, due mainly to horrible luck). Shift the expectations, folks, and you might find this year a lot less frustrating - and the future is still bright.

Edited by The Chicoutimi Cucumber
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Quite possible. Our success 5-on-5 all season is a good omen for the playoffs, for instance. You look at the 1986 team, they were stumbling down the stretch. So did the 1993 team. Anything can happen, assuming we make the playoffs; and we do have a reasonably deep team.

However, I'm just saying we need to chill out - a lot of the agitation and proposals for radically exploding the team, or for making some big trade of young guys for some established name, which we're currently reading on this site and elsewhere, are informed by an underlying assumption that WE GOTTA WIN THIS YEAR. And that, in turn, is informed by expectations going into the season (which were not unreasonable, but which are no longer realistic, due mainly to horrible luck). Shift the expectations, folks, and you might find this year a lot less frustrating - and the future is still bright.

Well, I'd argue that trading Kovalev is as radical as any of the other proposed moves. He's as major a part of the heart of this team (whether you think it positive or negative) as any other habs. Also, most of the rumours are about Lecavalier, who's 28 and under contract for 11 more seasons. Hardly a move that only takes the short-term into account.

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Well, I'd argue that trading Kovalev is as radical as any of the other proposed moves. He's as major a part of the heart of this team (whether you think it positive or negative) as any other habs. Also, most of the rumours are about Lecavalier, who's 28 and under contract for 11 more seasons. Hardly a move that only takes the short-term into account.

Kovalev is a big part of the mix, but not a big part of the future given his age and contract status. I've long maintained that he wouldn't be re-signed in any case, due to cap demands. His dismal performance this season just seals the deal. However, I'd prefer to think in terms of 'Kovalev for Pronger' (say) rather than for Lecavalier. If I were Bob, I'd certainly be shopping him around.

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If Kovalev is traded this year for players with a bright future, but can't help this season, some serious questions should be asked by ownership. At some point you've got to roll the dice in life. It's like people who stay in university most of their life, sure, learning is great, but life is passing them by. Yes, injuries to all of Bob's off season moves have affected our winter, but good GM's adjust. Personally, I've had it with this bright future garbage. Alot of these players may never develop the way we hope. A perfect example is Chris Higgins, at one point, he was a future captain, now? I want him as part of a package deal to salvage a year that began with so much promise.

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I think 'shift expectations' is right on the money. I have little to no hope that this team can go deep in the playoffs anymore; just making the playoffs seems a more realistic goal. And given how much of this is due to injuries, I can forgive Bob Gainey for this epic failure of a season...IF he does the right thing in the offseason and gets this team a real leader and the help it needs on defense.

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We need a leader, a fresh face, an identity-type player to build around. Lapierre could be Captain material, and have a big acquisition wear an 'A' and redefine us.

We need a bit of help on D but are not that far off, IMO. Maybe even with solutions in the system.

We don't need to conduct a youth fire sale to hope to get past the Bruins - no way we can get them this year, and just getting into a long first-round playoff series would be a plus at this stage, against whomever.

Edited by tokyohabs
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Good reads, however, I have my own gut feelings about this Stanley cup winning business.

As unlucky as we have been this season, the playoffs are a whole other beast. We are not the best team in the league and won't be, at any point this season. Alright.

Detroit won last year, and was expected to win. Before that, how many cup champs were expected to win it? All that matters is that we get into the playoffs. From there, anything can happen. That's the approach I'm taking. There simply is no way to guarantee your teams wins a cup.

Luck, fortune, whatever you want to call it, plays a role in the playoffs too, not just in the regular season.

I'm not counting any of the 16 playoff teams out until they officially are.

Maybe the law of averages will take over and we'll get a few Philly-like bounces come the post-season?

What you're saying may be true, but at the same time, this team doesn't play the right "style" of hockey (aka, not willing to play rough or get pushed around) to go deep into the playoffs , and right now, they're not convincing anyone that they'll be able to do it on superior skill either. I agree with CC that we all just need to tamp down our expectations for the season.

I also think trading Kovy, so we can get something for nothing, would be a great idea if the interest is there with other teams. I don't think trading young guys in the system is a good plan right now, not for anyone short of Lecavelier or Bouwmeester.

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That second link is all well and good, except for the team that Bob put together in the offseason is not getting it done this year. Regardless of whether its injury or ineptness, this squad is not performing the way Gainey expected and something needs to be done.

This team has serious fundamental problems that need to be addressed. This team is soft. This team does not play defense well. This team doesn't score consistantly. The goaltending is very inconsistant.

The team takes alot of very dumb penalities This team powerplay stinks when compared with the last 3 years.

I am not saying that these are easy things to fix, nor maybe are the players out there for trade that may help all of these situations immediatley. But if these are the problems of this team right now, it stands to reason they will be the same problems in the future if you do not address them now.

The comment about making trades just for it being a centenniel year are bullshit. Because any chance you get to make your team better you do it. This team has too many fundamental problems to NOT make a move just becuase its your 100th year and you think you have a team to compete that really isn't competeing even when healthy. You could just as well be handicaping your future, even if it means doing nothing at this point. And even if it means the Centennial is not our year.

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As kaos so eloquently put it, the 100th has no pull on making trades. If we didn't win this year, and won the next 5, would anyone really give a toss? Are we still pissed we didn't win for Expo?

Anyone else sick of the whole Centennial Extravaganza? It has to have been a distraction, totally overblown, overhyped, great stuff indeed to be celebrated but methinks half of what has been done would have been sufficient.

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My thoughts:

If anyone thinks this team, as it currently stands, can win two playoff rounds, than that person thinks it's worth acquiring rentals. Lord knows the Habs don't need to worry about playoff revenue this year of all years. Bubble teams that make big trade deadline acquisitions aren't doing so to win the Cup, they're doing so to try and make decent playoff runs that yield a good profit for the club, and momentum heading into season ticket renewals. So whatever Florida does, we should feel no need to "react" to their moves, for example.

Let the current group of guys sink or swim. There are too many UFA's for us to gamble big time on this group... if this team can't win two rounds as is (and when you're dealing with making it as one of the 4-8 seeds, the answer likely means no), then bringing in rentals is counter productive to how your team will fare in future years. If you can acquire a piece that you legitimately believe you can re-sign, or is already under contract and you think will help you beyond this spring, then get it.

Signing Marian Hossa never looked so good.

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That second link is all well and good, except for the team that Bob put together in the offseason is not getting it done this year. Regardless of whether its injury or ineptness, this squad is not performing the way Gainey expected and something needs to be done.

This team has serious fundamental problems that need to be addressed. This team is soft. This team does not play defense well. This team doesn't score consistantly. The goaltending is very inconsistant.

The team takes alot of very dumb penalities This team powerplay stinks when compared with the last 3 years.

I am not saying that these are easy things to fix, nor maybe are the players out there for trade that may help all of these situations immediatley. But if these are the problems of this team right now, it stands to reason they will be the same problems in the future if you do not address them now.

The comment about making trades just for it being a centenniel year are bullshit. Because any chance you get to make your team better you do it. This team has too many fundamental problems to NOT make a move just becuase its your 100th year and you think you have a team to compete that really isn't competeing even when healthy. You could just as well be handicaping your future, even if it means doing nothing at this point. And even if it means the Centennial is not our year.

The soft thing is somethign we really have to address in some way, and not by getting goons or fighters but by getting players who aren't afraid to play rough and who don't play on the perimeter AND who have a lot of talent. People like Begin and Tom Kostopoulous are great, but their talent doesn't match their heart, and then there are others who's heart doesn't seem to match their talent. Somehow, the team culture needs to change so that it's unacceptable to play Samsonov style hockey.

As for the goaltending and goalscoring being inconsistent, this is less a culture thing in my opinion and more a development thing. We have a lot of AMAZING players coming up. but the key here is coming up. Price isn't the best goalie in the league now, but neither was Luongo at his age. My point is that Gainey took a gamble here and for better or worse, Price is the number one and he will be for a long time. We'll have to go through the growing pains with him. He's still learning. He's going to be great, just not this year, and probably not next year either. But his learning right now and all of these are valuable lessons that will help him become great.

Same goes for the younger forwards - Lats, Lappy, Pacioretty, D'Ago, Sergei Kost, and to a lesser extent Andrei Kost, Plex and Higgy. I expect more from the older three, but the younger ones are doing everything that could be asked of them and they'll improve a lot.

My thoughts:

If anyone thinks this team, as it currently stands, can win two playoff rounds, than that person thinks it's worth acquiring rentals. Lord knows the Habs don't need to worry about playoff revenue this year of all years. Bubble teams that make big trade deadline acquisitions aren't doing so to win the Cup, they're doing so to try and make decent playoff runs that yield a good profit for the club, and momentum heading into season ticket renewals. So whatever Florida does, we should feel no need to "react" to their moves, for example.

Let the current group of guys sink or swim. There are too many UFA's for us to gamble big time on this group... if this team can't win two rounds as is (and when you're dealing with making it as one of the 4-8 seeds, the answer likely means no), then bringing in rentals is counter productive to how your team will fare in future years. If you can acquire a piece that you legitimately believe you can re-sign, or is already under contract and you think will help you beyond this spring, then get it.

Signing Marian Hossa never looked so good.

Absolutely agree. And I don't think we'll win two playoff rounds.

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As kaos so eloquently put it, the 100th has no pull on making trades. If we didn't win this year, and won the next 5, would anyone really give a toss? Are we still pissed we didn't win for Expo?

Anyone else sick of the whole Centennial Extravaganza? It has to have been a distraction, totally overblown, overhyped, great stuff indeed to be celebrated but methinks half of what has been done would have been sufficient.

I totally agree with your take on the centennial. It's almost sacreligious to say, but true. Oh, and if I hear another debate on retired numbers, WHO CARES...

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My thoughts:

If anyone thinks this team, as it currently stands, can win two playoff rounds, than that person thinks it's worth acquiring rentals. Lord knows the Habs don't need to worry about playoff revenue this year of all years. Bubble teams that make big trade deadline acquisitions aren't doing so to win the Cup, they're doing so to try and make decent playoff runs that yield a good profit for the club, and momentum heading into season ticket renewals. So whatever Florida does, we should feel no need to "react" to their moves, for example.

Let the current group of guys sink or swim. There are too many UFA's for us to gamble big time on this group... if this team can't win two rounds as is (and when you're dealing with making it as one of the 4-8 seeds, the answer likely means no), then bringing in rentals is counter productive to how your team will fare in future years. If you can acquire a piece that you legitimately believe you can re-sign, or is already under contract and you think will help you beyond this spring, then get it.

Signing Marian Hossa never looked so good.

I agree. A lot of people believed the hype at the start of the season, because they wanted to - centennial, finishing first in the East last year, etc. etc., and now want to blow it all up because the team isn't leaving up to unrealistic expectations. Most of our top guys have been, or are injured at some point. The problems Flyers (and Bruins) exposed remain. Us winning the Cup this year was always a very unlikely scenario....

What needs to change is the work ethic, and you do that by letting Kovalev to go, almost regardless of the return. I would honestly prefer to go with our young guys then go for a patch job, and as far as constantly rebuilding, well, Lang just went out and it probably ended his career. That's a reality. That's your #1C. And honestly, since he's not coming back, that centre position has to be addressed because we don't have a solution in the system. Chipchura is not that guy, not this year. But otherwise, let the guys grow.

This team will ultimately go as far as Price takes it this year, so fix that most glaring issue, be patient on the rest, let the team go through another round or hopefully two in the playoffs, assess it again at the end of the year, calmly, and make your moves. Which is what I think Gainey will do.

Last thing - I also think people are underestimating what a healthy Georges Laraque will do for us, if we can get him to stay that way, especially in the playoffs (if we make it). Beyond being just a fighter, he's a physical player and has been effective in the past.

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I, in the minority, and maybe in the one, feel that we have a group of players here who really can parade down Ste Catherines. There are, of course, plenty of issues around the team, but none that I would actually call fundamental. Rather this is a team that is missing one particular ingredient on many nights.

Perhaps that comes from a feeling of entitlement because of the perceived talent on the club, I don't know, but what that particular ingredient would change pretty much everything. Some players already have it, to a degree, but there are plenty of others who just don't.

I was going to call that ingredient anger, but perhaps hostility is more to the point. If you've watched closely over the past few days/months/years, you'll see that these very players are able to put together their best games when they are hostile towards the opposition. They play the game now like it's clinical - oh, a hockey game, we're to do this and this.

No. They need to be bitter about not being first. About being ragged on by everyone in the hockey world. Time to get mad and get even.

A thought, anyhow.

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I agree. A lot of people believed the hype at the start of the season, because they wanted to - centennial, finishing first in the East last year, etc. etc., and now want to blow it all up because the team isn't leaving up to unrealistic expectations. Most of our top guys have been, or are injured at some point. The problems Flyers (and Bruins) exposed remain. Us winning the Cup this year was always a very unlikely scenario....

None of the hype was unrealistic. You said it yourself in your post, they finished 1st in the East last year... with every reason to be better this year. It's ridiculous to claim that everyone's expectations were based on it being the centennial season. On paper, this team still is one of the absolute best in the NHL and there record remains in the top third of the league despite loads of injuries.

As ShortHanded said, it's the culture of the team that needs to change. Each individual player is fine but we need to play together.

I'm with Colin, no reason why we can't win this year. When we're at our best we're easily one of the most scary teams out there.

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None of the hype was unrealistic. You said it yourself in your post, they finished 1st in the East last year... with every reason to be better this year.

None of it was unrealistic? Really? None of it?

It's ridiculous to claim that everyone's expectations were based on it being the centennial season. On paper, this team still is one of the absolute best in the NHL and there record remains in the top third of the league despite loads of injuries.

Perhaps it is a ridiculous claim, but that is not what I said. You may want to re-read my post. What I did say (or was trying to at least) is that based on their performance in the playoffs this team had issues that were still lingering this year. Centennial was one of the possible reasons I mentioned for the hype, not the only, or even the main one. Again, you may not agree with me, but what I saw was a team that got bullied into maybe not submission, but definitely elimination as the playoffs wore on. I'm still behind them and I'm still proud of all they've (over)achieved last year, but as someone already said the playoffs are a more realistic picture of where this team is at.

When we're at our best we're easily one of the most scary teams out there.

Sure, you can also say that when Kovalev is playing at his best he's one of the most dominant players out there. Unfortunately neither one of these two things happens frequently enough for my liking this year.

I also don't see how you can claim that this is on paper one of the best teams in the NHL. Look at the roster. Lots of Bulldogs, guys that are talented, but a little on the unproven side. It's normal for them to have ups and downs and you kind of have to figure that into your expectations as well. Sophomore slumps and all that jazz, you know....Or were you talking about the team before all the injuries hit? Even then, one of the most talented perhaps, but definitely not one of the best. Yet.

Look, the bottom line is I'm gonna keep supporting my Habs thru all this and I don't think they're uncapable of a good run in the playoffs, and if stars align, even a Cup run. But they are also not uncapable of missing the playoffs altogether, especially if some serious work ethic, consistency, meanness and lately even confidence issues are not solved in time. Those are not words usually associated with teams that contend, wouldn't you say? I'm not saying blow it up, just adjust the expectations and maybe we'll all enjoy this season a little more. This may be a Cup winning team, but probably not this year. Now let's hope they go out there and prove me wrong.

Edited by redondo
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There are Bulldogs in the line up because of injuries... Compare a healthy roster to other rosters and they were easily in a class with Detroit at the start of the season. Any hype short of a guarantee of the Cup is reasonable for a team like that. They were predicted to be one of the best teams in the league/East... and they are, but their confidence is too fragile. The Centennial is totally irrelevant to both expectations and trade suggestions.

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There are Bulldogs in the line up because of injuries... Compare a healthy roster to other rosters and they were easily in a class with Detroit at the start of the season. Any hype short of a guarantee of the Cup is reasonable for a team like that. They were predicted to be one of the best teams in the league/East... and they are, but their confidence is too fragile. The Centennial is totally irrelevant to both expectations and trade suggestions.

The Habs haven't had significant injury problems in comparison to the rest of the league. Washington and Philly, for example, have been hit much worse by the injury bug.

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We are nowhere near Detroits class. Maybe you could argue Carey Price is better in net, but you have to consider he folded like a cheap suit in the playoffs last year and Osgood has three stanely Cup rings. 2 as the #1 netminder.

Montreal has no one that is on par with Datysuk, Zetterberg, Hossa, Lidstrom and Rafalski.

Then Detroit has guys that you can compare Montreal players with, Hudler, Kronwall, Franzen and Holmstrom.

You cannot mention Detroit in the same breath as Montreal.

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