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CH-CH-CH CHANGES The Montreal Canadiens failed miserably in what was supposed to be a grand celebration of 100 years of greatness last season. The NHL's otherwise most successful franchise operated in disarray and then reacted by making sweeping changes in the off-season. It is a pity how this team appeared to be on the cusp of greatness through careful planning and grooming of its prospects and now is starting all over from scratch. I'll take a wait-and-see approach on the changes, but at first blush, I'm not crazy about the players GM Bob Gainey has brought to town. To many second-liners being paid first-line money. Time will tell.

Link: http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/2009/09/02/...hy_nhl_horrors/

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CH-CH-CH CHANGES The Montreal Canadiens failed miserably in what was supposed to be a grand celebration of 100 years of greatness last season. The NHL's otherwise most successful franchise operated in disarray and then reacted by making sweeping changes in the off-season. It is a pity how this team appeared to be on the cusp of greatness through careful planning and grooming of its prospects and now is starting all over from scratch. I'll take a wait-and-see approach on the changes, but at first blush, I'm not crazy about the players GM Bob Gainey has brought to town. To many second-liners being paid first-line money. Time will tell.

Is this a Mike Brophy comment?

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What a tool, he blasts the team then says he'll wait to see how they play.

I guess i'm not sure what second line players he was talking about. Point and production wise they match up better then the previous high priced second liners. If he thinks Kovalev, Koivu and the others are top liners for there salaries he's nuts.

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Gomez and Gionta can certainly be framed as second-liners making first-line money. Neither has put up anything like elite numbers since they were broken up. On the other hand, they were FIRST LINERS on New Jersey's Cup-winning teams; they have been first-line players for their teams for most of their careers; I'm not sure what further argument is needed that they are legitimate front-line players. Cammalleri certainly is.

There are two issues being confused here. One is the undeniably bloated contracts. The other is the actual team being put on the ice for 09-10. The former is a question for those who want to assess the longer-term implications of Gainey's strategy ('will he be able to re-sign youngsters like Carey Price, or will he be too close to the cap?' 'Hasn't he put the Habs out of the running for possible acquisitions of truly elite players like Lecavalier or Kovalchuk, etc.?'). The latter is a question for those presuming to expound upon how the team will do THIS season. Too many commentators confuse the two issues, including Red Fisher, and anyone else who keeps bringing up Gomez's contract when assessing him *as a player.*

As for the 'pity' of Gainey blowing up a team 'on the cusp of greatness,' what can you say. He got rid of an aging, declining core in Koivu and Kovalev that HAD to be replaced no matter how we did in 2008-09. And he lost Higgins and Komisarek, of whom only the latter can plausibly be considered a major ingredient of a hypothetical 'great' team. The rest of the 'youth wave' of the Gainey era remains in place. So I don't really know what he means, unless it's that the first phase of the Gainey rebuild was unsuccessful, which it obviously was.

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Yea, i don't think anyone can argue that Gomez's contract isn't too high.

Cammallari's is actually pretty fair market value based on other players who signed.

Kovalev got 5 mill, so did Gionta, Gionta is a more complete player and i'm thinking he'll be close to 30 goals this year barring injury. He also plays in all 3 zones.

BG had to address the D which he did, he needed to acquire a player to land some real talent, which he did. Did he overpay, sure in some cases but so did alot of other teams.

Time will tell, i think they'll be better, they will at least be faster, more talented and have some character guys on board.

Are they too small? I don't think so i read an article i beleive in average forward size is around 22nd or so. Ahead of Pittsburgh, Tampa to name os few.

I'm excited to see the new club, i have been calling for it for a few years now.

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McKeen's puts us fifth in the Conference - which is about what I'd expect from one of the few really excellent publications around. I find it reassuring that the best hockey scouting mag confirms what you and I think about this bunch, Chris ^_^ But Brophy's right about one thing: time will tell. He sure earns his salary with that.

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Yep, The team for years has been lacking many things, BGgot some good young prospects coming up, He only gave away 1 real good prospect. They still have 3 or 4 pretty solid D prospects.

The team lecked character, work ethic and true leadership. Let's be honest, the last 15 years have been tough to watch. Never out of the second round.

I think thye can go 6-10, depending on how quickly they gel together. A slow start may cost them in the long run.

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Brophy loses points for being part of Sports Net, but his comments are pretty fair. Negative about the Habs, as always, but still fair.

As for the 'pity' of Gainey blowing up a team 'on the cusp of greatness,' what can you say. He got rid of an aging, declining core in Koivu and Kovalev that HAD to be replaced no matter how we did in 2008-09. And he lost Higgins and Komisarek, of whom only the latter can plausibly be considered a major ingredient of a hypothetical 'great' team. The rest of the 'youth wave' of the Gainey era remains in place. So I don't really know what he means, unless it's that the first phase of the Gainey rebuild was unsuccessful, which it obviously was.

NOW it seems awfully clear that buying a younger core was a good idea. When I put on my fuzzy Optimism Slippers, I feel like it was a wonderful string of moves too. We got younger, possibly better versions of older players. How about BEFORE the off-season? If I remember correctly, you first thought the right move was to re-sign Koivu, Tanguay and Komisarek, while letting Kovalev walk. Then you decided that you'd prefer Kovalev to Koivu?

The only ones that I remember calling for an ejection of the core BEFORE it actually happened were Chris and a couple of others (possibly brobin, tokyohabs [it's tough to remember who said what 3 months ago]) that were considered - at least by me - to be pretty radical changes. Not to mention the fact that Gainey himself had the intention of re-signing Kovalev and Komisarek, but had to settle for Brian Gionta.

I haven't necessarily changed my mind; I think Gainey did a good job and was right in his conscious decision to get rid of Koivu and turn a fresh leaf. But - so many people - people that made love to their Koivu jersey after every Habs win, people that rallied outside the Bell Centre for Kovalev to stay with the Habs, people that argued that Komisarek was worth 5.5 million dollars per season, people that thought Tanguay was our best player when healthy last season - suddenly changed their minds after the fact and began to assure us all that the radical changes HAD to happen.

HAD to happen? What had it not happened? How many here would have whined about how necessary it was to replace our aging core? Probably very few. You? Probably not.

When it comes to Habs fans, 40% of them are happy no matter what, 40% of them are angry no matter what, and then only 20% of them seem to actually be forming an opinion. I think on this issue you fell into the happy-no-matter-what trap.

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I wanted Komisarek back. The others I could see in certain scenarios, and while I didn't expect them all to go, I didn't dismiss that possibility. I fluctuated, admittedly, from week to week. I basically thought anyone under 30 was worth consideration, but given what happened with the Komisarek negotiation, I don't think Bob should regret a single thing.

I didn't expect to trade Higgins and McDonagh for Gomez, that's for sure, but oddly enough (on another board), I listed Gomez and Drury as potential Gainey targets when it came out he was talking to something like six teams about centres. By the end of the day, Gomez was a Canadien.

I definitely was full of possibilities, but I wouldn't have recommended the full out turnover.

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Dunno if we take off the homer glasses we might see a flicker of truth in this, we could have traded away our core a long time ago but we patiently stuck with Gainey's 5-year plan, which unfortunately was a bust. Now we're gambling. I don't mind that so much, but it's a new direction for sure. In a few months we can look at the standings, if the new Habs don't deliver Gainey's Christmas present could well be a pink slip.

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CH-CH-CH CHANGES The Montreal Canadiens failed miserably in what was supposed to be a grand celebration of 100 years of greatness last season. The NHL's otherwise most successful franchise operated in disarray and then reacted by making sweeping changes in the off-season. It is a pity how this team appeared to be on the cusp of greatness through careful planning and grooming of its prospects and now is starting all over from scratch. I'll take a wait-and-see approach on the changes, but at first blush, I'm not crazy about the players GM Bob Gainey has brought to town. To many second-liners being paid first-line money. Time will tell.

Link: http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/2009/09/02/...hy_nhl_horrors/

I don't think it's really starting over from scratch since we traded only 1 prospect that will actually play. The changes that did happen aren't really all that drastic if you aren't looking at the jersey numbers and names alone.

Most of the players we either signed or traded for are copies of the originals to some extent.

Gomez/Koivu = playmaker

Cammalleri/Kovalev = Goal scorer

Gionta/Tanguay = All around offensive

Gill/ Komisarek = Physical d-man

Spacek/Schneider= PP specialist QB

Really the only true upgrades (aside from who we think is better head to head) are Moen and Mara

Edited by Habitforming
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I certainly did want the core ejected. Last year was "their year" to do it. They were all free agents. The youth were rounding into form. What we needed was our core vets to dig deep, show leadership, and make the drive. Instead, they blew chunks, sulked, staged a coup, and then delivered a turd.

Good riddance.

Its funny, but the only guy I wouldn't mind seeing back is Lang if he was cheap enough. Clearly, he was there to play. He was smiling constantly. He was having a great year. Anyone else notice that once he went down the team chemistry took a nose dive? I think he was one of the guys in the room reminding everyone that they were lucky as hell to be there. Once he left, the whiners took over. If Lang can skate at all and would accept a modest salary, I wouldn't mind him being a spare part on the team providing a positive boost that is expected from a vet...

As for the new team, I have no idea if they will work out. They are definitely over paid, but so are many in this league. They are definitely small, but that can be resolved with one more trade to bring in a bigger number 2 centre. Price still scares the crap out of me, I hope he has a good year because Gainey has proven that he is too stubborn to give Halak a chance, or make a trade for a vet goalie. I hope Hammer bounces back and earns his money for a change.

Still, while this may not be a cup winning team, the changes needed to happen and perhaps this is the start of a new era.

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Brophy loses points for being part of Sports Net, but his comments are pretty fair. Negative about the Habs, as always, but still fair.

NOW it seems awfully clear that buying a younger core was a good idea. When I put on my fuzzy Optimism Slippers, I feel like it was a wonderful string of moves too. We got younger, possibly better versions of older players. How about BEFORE the off-season? If I remember correctly, you first thought the right move was to re-sign Koivu, Tanguay and Komisarek, while letting Kovalev walk. Then you decided that you'd prefer Kovalev to Koivu?

The only ones that I remember calling for an ejection of the core BEFORE it actually happened were Chris and a couple of others (possibly brobin, tokyohabs [it's tough to remember who said what 3 months ago]) that were considered - at least by me - to be pretty radical changes. Not to mention the fact that Gainey himself had the intention of re-signing Kovalev and Komisarek, but had to settle for Brian Gionta.

I haven't necessarily changed my mind; I think Gainey did a good job and was right in his conscious decision to get rid of Koivu and turn a fresh leaf. But - so many people - people that made love to their Koivu jersey after every Habs win, people that rallied outside the Bell Centre for Kovalev to stay with the Habs, people that argued that Komisarek was worth 5.5 million dollars per season, people that thought Tanguay was our best player when healthy last season - suddenly changed their minds after the fact and began to assure us all that the radical changes HAD to happen.

HAD to happen? What had it not happened? How many here would have whined about how necessary it was to replace our aging core? Probably very few. You? Probably not.

When it comes to Habs fans, 40% of them are happy no matter what, 40% of them are angry no matter what, and then only 20% of them seem to actually be forming an opinion. I think on this issue you fell into the happy-no-matter-what trap.

I, for my part, was a big fan of Bob re-signing Komisarek and Tanguay. I still think Komi worths 5M+ and that he will destroy Gionta and Camms 6 times this year if he stays healthy.

As for Tanguay, I had no other choice to agree with Bob's moves when he first acquired Gomez. With a playmaker of this trend, Tanguay was not the best fit and I'm happy we went for snipers and guys who'll crash the net and shoot.

In a scenario where we were getting a Lecavalier, for example, Tanguay would have been a top priority though.

40 % of myself is happy with the new coming players and with the improved and younger core.

40 % of myself is angry because Komisarek and, to a certain extend, Tanguay left.

20 % of me will wait a few months to see how Jacques Martin will bring this new team together.

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Brophy loses points for being part of Sports Net, but his comments are pretty fair. Negative about the Habs, as always, but still fair.

NOW it seems awfully clear that buying a younger core was a good idea. When I put on my fuzzy Optimism Slippers, I feel like it was a wonderful string of moves too. We got younger, possibly better versions of older players. How about BEFORE the off-season? If I remember correctly, you first thought the right move was to re-sign Koivu, Tanguay and Komisarek, while letting Kovalev walk. Then you decided that you'd prefer Kovalev to Koivu?

The only ones that I remember calling for an ejection of the core BEFORE it actually happened were Chris and a couple of others (possibly brobin, tokyohabs [it's tough to remember who said what 3 months ago]) that were considered - at least by me - to be pretty radical changes. Not to mention the fact that Gainey himself had the intention of re-signing Kovalev and Komisarek, but had to settle for Brian Gionta.

I haven't necessarily changed my mind; I think Gainey did a good job and was right in his conscious decision to get rid of Koivu and turn a fresh leaf. But - so many people - people that made love to their Koivu jersey after every Habs win, people that rallied outside the Bell Centre for Kovalev to stay with the Habs, people that argued that Komisarek was worth 5.5 million dollars per season, people that thought Tanguay was our best player when healthy last season - suddenly changed their minds after the fact and began to assure us all that the radical changes HAD to happen.

HAD to happen? What had it not happened? How many here would have whined about how necessary it was to replace our aging core? Probably very few. You? Probably not.

When it comes to Habs fans, 40% of them are happy no matter what, 40% of them are angry no matter what, and then only 20% of them seem to actually be forming an opinion. I think on this issue you fell into the happy-no-matter-what trap.

Way to hold me accountable! Actually, I'm flattered you pay so much attention to my opinions, BTH. Thanks.

In truth, I've oscillated on the question of what to do about the aging core. But there is no way that I was ever in denial of it being a problem that had to be addressed sooner or later. For 2-3 years now I've been agitated about the fact that the organization had no credible Koivu replacement anywhere in the system, not necessarily because Koivu wasn't a 'leader' or wasn't good enough, as Chris argued, but because he was aging and getting closer and closer to that decisive 'tipping point' where he could no longer be anyone's idea of a top-line guy. That's why I lobbied (notoriously) for a Koivu-for-Marleau trade two years ago.

As for who I thought should have been re-signed, I originally favoured Koivu over Kovalev for a short term deal (only because we had no other credible C); then I decided that losing Koivu would force the organization to solve the hole at C - also I was horrified by the obvious and painful decline in Koivu's speed last season - whereas Kovalev at least gave you a fearful gamebreaker who could keep the heat off your young talent. What I never anticipated was Gainey being so successful on the UFA market.

Both Tanguay and Kovalev would, in fact, have been decent re-signings regardless. But with the acquisition of Gomez, Tanguay became redundant (both being playmakers), and since Bob could not have anticipated Tangs being signed so cheaply, he did the right thing with the knowledge available at the time. Gionta is a lateral move, less explosive than Kovy steadier and younger. Cammalleri is a massive upgrade over any previous player on the Habs. What changed everything was Gainey *finally* replacing Saku Koivu, a move I wanted made all along. So for all my flip-flopping on who the Habs should have re-signed, in the bigger picture I actually don't think I'm being inconsistent.

(Finally, there was another idea I toyed with, namely Wamsley's argument that the best move would have been to re-sign the core for one more season and wait for the cap to collapse in 2010-11, then pounce as teams became forced to shed salary. This would be a bold, high-risk, high-reward strategem; time will tell if it would have been the best move. I would have supported it. But for now, I'm just happy that Koivu was replaced; many of the other moves are dominoes that fell logically as a result of that).

PS: yes, Lang on the cheap would be a *great* signing. And yes, Komisarek should have been re-signed. I said it earlier and I'll say it again. However, Bob has done a deft job of papering over that loss and arguably upgrading the D as a whole. So in the bigger picture, again because of his unexpected success in attracting UFAs, no real harm seems to have been done. It comes back to none of us anticipating Bob being so effective in the UFA market this summer. A lot of the previous discussion occured in the shadow of the belief that Montreal was not an attractive UFA destination, a myth that this summer effectively exploded.

Edited by The Chicoutimi Cucumber
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Way to hold me accountable! Actually, I'm flattered you pay so much attention to my opinions, BTH. Thanks.

In truth, I've oscillated on the question of what to do about the aging core. But there is no way that I was ever in denial of it being a problem that had to be addressed sooner or later. For 2-3 years now I've been agitated about the fact that the organization had no credible Koivu replacement anywhere in the system, not necessarily because Koivu wasn't a 'leader' or wasn't good enough, as Chris argued, but because he was aging and getting closer and closer to that decisive 'tipping point' where he could no longer be anyone's idea of a top-line guy. That's why I lobbied (notoriously) for a Koivu-for-Marleau trade two years ago.

As for who I thought should have been re-signed, I originally favoured Koivu over Kovalev for a short term deal (only because we had no other credible C); then I decided that losing Koivu would force the organization to solve the hole at C - also I was horrified by the obvious and painful decline in Koivu's speed last season - whereas Kovalev at least gave you a fearful gamebreaker who could keep the heat off your young talent. What I never anticipated was Gainey being so successful on the UFA market.

Both Tanguay and Kovalev would, in fact, have been decent re-signings regardless. But with the acquisition of Gomez, Tanguay became redundant (both being playmakers), and since Bob could not have anticipated Tangs being signed so cheaply, he did the right thing with the knowledge available at the time. Gionta is a lateral move, less explosive than Kovy steadier and younger. Cammalleri is a massive upgrade over any previous player on the Habs. What changed everything was Gainey *finally* replacing Saku Koivu, a move I wanted made all along. So for all my flip-flopping on who the Habs should have re-signed, in the bigger picture I actually don't think I'm being inconsistent.

(Finally, there was another idea I toyed with, namely Wamsley's argument that the best move would have been to re-sign the core for one more season and wait for the cap to collapse in 2010-11, then pounce as teams became forced to shed salary. This would be a bold, high-risk, high-reward strategem; time will tell if it would have been the best move. I would have supported it. But for now, I'm just happy that Koivu was replaced; many of the other moves are dominoes that fell logically as a result of that).

PS: yes, Lang on the cheap would be a *great* signing. And yes, Komisarek should have been re-signed. I said it earlier and I'll say it again. However, Bob has done a deft job of papering over that loss and arguably upgrading the D as a whole. So in the bigger picture, again because of his unexpected success in attracting UFAs, no real harm seems to have been done. It comes back to none of us anticipating Bob being so effective in the UFA market this summer. A lot of the previous discussion occured in the shadow of the belief that Montreal was not an attractive UFA destination, a myth that this summer effectively exploded.

I didn't mean to call you out personally. Like I said, when looked at in the right light, Gainey did a solid job. And I think he did do a solid job. But I certainly never said before the offseason that I was pulling for something like this.

I also think that Martin was the best possible coach out there. I thought this from the moment he was hired. Did I think so the moment before he was hired? I can no longer remember. I find it concerning.

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Well, given your 'death of the bandwagon' thread, now I'm even more paranoid. :lol: Just to be clear, BTH, I was NOT trying to say that I agreed all along with Chris that the team needed to be blown up. What I was saying is 1) I HAVE been consistent in lobbying for a Koivu replacement (for different reasons than Chris); 2) with Koivu gone it stands to reason that other players might be moved around (e.g., Tangs becomes redundant because of Gomez, etc.); 3) I agree with Chris that the net result of all this maneouvering is a promising-looking team (although we did lose Komisarek, an unmitigated negative), and that a lot of media 'experts' seem oblivious to this; and 4) the old 'core' really did nothing to warrant the sentimental hysteria that some fans are giving it.

OK...onwards. ^_^

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I was a huge fan of Wamsley's idea. Load up on 1 and 2 year terms and wait for the cap to come down.

I think people are over estimating the decline of the cap. Bettmen won't let it decline that much no matter how they have to cook the books.

I have given up thinking the cap is going to cause a pile of free agents to be available. Teams have been very creative finding ways to squeeze guys in under the cap. Best case scenario, they will dump underperformers, not top flight guys.

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