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Now that all is said and done...


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...are we contenders? I apologize if this sounds like a rehash of past discussions. I just thought that, with the playoffs behind us, it might be good to have a place to reflect on how our habs fit into the whole picture.

This is one of the issues that I wonder about. It's a proven fact by now that the regular season refereeing bears no resemblance to playoff reffing. So where does this leave the Habs? At face value, we seem to be a paradigmatic example of a 'speed/skill' team, therefore doomed to defeat.

Now I happen to think this isn't exactly the case. Guys like Cammy and Gio seem to actively thrive in the playoffs. Our D - albeit one about to be reconstructed to a degree - has also tended to do better under playoff rules. And a guy like Subban can dole out as much punishment as he takes. Neverthless I ask: despite the sentiment many of us have that the Habs are pretty close to contending, DO we have a nucleus that can go four playoff rounds in a post-season refereed like this one was? What do you all think, in the end?

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We don't know until our team is signed.

Did we have a legitimate chance of winning the Cup this year? Yeah. But if that makes us a contender, there were ten other contenders in the NHL. Montreal is not in the top 5 teams in the NHL, they are borderline top 10.

If they bring back Markov and Wisniewski and stay healthy they could potentially be a heavyweight this season but there are 15-20 teams thinking the same thing every off-season.

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Based on what I saw for officiating this year in the playoffs, that's a pretty tough call. The let them play route has to favour Boston, Philly, San Jose, Anaheim type teams. However, we do have a strong constricting defense that can take advantage of that. As stated a million times before, there arent any good UFA top 6ers this year, so Markov and Wiz should be signed.

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Oh, I definitely think there are a couple of UFA D options out there... Pitkanen would be a real good add, a younger version of Hamrlik in a lot of ways. But if its determined that Wiz can't come back I'd target a forward as I think we could use another very good forward to give us a real boost and create favourable match-ups night in, night out. I'm quite confident in Markov, Subban, Gorges, Gill, Yemelin and even Spacek. Adding a player of Wiz or Pitkanen's ability would give us an amazing group going forward for sure.

I think there are ways for us to jump from a solid team to a contender. Our foundation is well established.

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we came within a bad bounce of killing the bruins, does that make us the 2nd best team in the nhl? I don't know but I will say that this team is really close, it has chemistry and talent based on speed. If and only if we can sign markov (wiz is gone) and we can add a couple of pieces we are contendas baby. :habslogo:

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we came within a bad bounce of killing the bruins, does that make us the 2nd best team in the nhl? I don't know but I will say that this team is really close, it has chemistry and talent based on speed. If and only if we can sign markov (wiz is gone) and we can add a couple of pieces we are contendas baby. :habslogo:

Yeah, it really doesn't add up quite like that... were the Canucks a bad bounce away from winning the 1989 Stanley Cup because they took the Flames to Game 7 OT? Probably not. But I do think we were a better team than where we ended up. How much better we can be is the question.

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I like this game, even if I think it's mostly impossible to know the answer, because, as BTH said, the team is not signed yet, and, more importantly we are not a clear top 5 team (but who is? Wash? Det? Van? Phil? Bos???!) - we may be top 10, which means we could become top 5, if several things fall into place:

1) The signings in the days and weeks ahead - I agree with others that the Wiz is the key question. Who does PG go after up front if he trades the Wiz's negotiating rights away at the draft? Laich? Jagr?

2) Although blessed with options, the D will start the season all question marks: Markov's knee? Gorges knee? (or does he get traded?), the Wiz, if signed, can he continue to put up top 10 offensive D numbers?, Emelin - the real deal?, Weber - earns a spot? Spac - still up to the job?

3) Gomez - bounce back year? That could be the single biggest factor after Markov's health.

4) Patches - healthy? a real top six power forward?

5) The elephant in the room - Carey stays healthy all season? Can most of the top 6 and top 4 head into the playoffs relatively healthy?

If most of the answers to these questions are positive, then my answer is yes, the Habs are a contender.

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We all know that there will be some form of injuries, no team can escape that, so another important factor if a major piece goes down would be the back up.

Would Aaron be ready? or another bulldog come up and play too the level we saw Decharnais and Pacoretty play this season?

I know Engvist is ready and may make the team as like another Darche or Pyatt or something, but if Plecky goes down, think we will have someone who has real deal offensive talent who could help the habs?

Obviously this will be easily answered once the next season starts and see who makes the best advances in the off season.

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The team doesn't have a true grinder centre, so If Plek went down, he would be replaced with Eller or Desharnais. Not great, but let's see how they do next year.

I'd qualify that further, because, IMO Desharnais should stick to being a winger, so we really only have one option.

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The team doesn't have a true grinder centre, so If Plek went down, he would be replaced with Eller or Desharnais. Not great, but let's see how they do next year.

There's Halpern/whoever replaces him.

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Don't forget that if there was an injury to a top 2 centre, Cammalleri is always an option to go back to his natural position. He has been a top 2 line centre in the NHL in the past.

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Don't forget that if there was an injury to a top 2 centre, Cammalleri is always an option to go back to his natural position. He has been a top 2 line centre in the NHL in the past.

That's something o actually brought ip on another thread. Let's day we do get Jagr and gomez sucks again to start the year. If ownership shows a willingnes to eat Gomez's salary we could always try the following line combos:

Maxpac-Cammy-Gionta

Ak46-pleks-Jagr

Pouliot-Eller-desharnais

Trotter-Palushaj-white

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That's something o actually brought ip on another thread. Let's day we do get Jagr and gomez sucks again to start the year. If ownership shows a willingnes to eat Gomez's salary we could always try the following line combos:

Maxpac-Cammy-Gionta

Ak46-pleks-Jagr

Pouliot-Eller-desharnais

Trotter-Palushaj-white

It's a great idea and would solve a lot of problems, BUT Cammy has been pretty clear that he prefers to play as a winger, and his best career moments have come with him playing that role of deadly sniper off the wing. When you think of Cammy, what's the defining image? Him down on one knee ripping a shot past the goalie - a prototypical 'scoring winger' type of play. So while I'm sure he'd accept a move to C on a temporary basis, in the longer term this is a recipe for making your best offensive player unhappy. Not good.

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It's a great idea and would solve a lot of problems, BUT Cammy has been pretty clear that he prefers to play as a winger, and his best career moments have come with him playing that role of deadly sniper off the wing. When you think of Cammy, what's the defining image? Him down on one knee ripping a shot past the goalie - a prototypical 'scoring winger' type of play. So while I'm sure he'd accept a move to C on a temporary basis, in the longer term this is a recipe for making your best offensive player unhappy. Not good.

getting rid of gomez is a great idea but it ain't gonna happen Molson's do not like losing that kind of $

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getting rid of gomez is a great idea but it ain't gonna happen Molson's do not like losing that kind of $

Yeah. Especially since I decided to permanently switch to McAulslan...

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...are we contenders? I apologize if this sounds like a rehash of past discussions. I just thought that, with the playoffs behind us, it might be good to have a place to reflect on how our habs fit into the whole picture.

This is one of the issues that I wonder about. It's a proven fact by now that the regular season refereeing bears no resemblance to playoff reffing. So where does this leave the Habs? At face value, we seem to be a paradigmatic example of a 'speed/skill' team, therefore doomed to defeat.

Now I happen to think this isn't exactly the case. Guys like Cammy and Gio seem to actively thrive in the playoffs. Our D - albeit one about to be reconstructed to a degree - has also tended to do better under playoff rules. And a guy like Subban can dole out as much punishment as he takes. Neverthless I ask: despite the sentiment many of us have that the Habs are pretty close to contending, DO we have a nucleus that can go four playoff rounds in a post-season refereed like this one was? What do you all think, in the end?

It is still too early to make that determination. There are a lot of pucks in play right now and it would be truly guess work to answer that question today. This should prove to be a very interesting week ahead as the draft comes up. Will PG get deals in place for Gorges and Markov. What will he do with the Miz...sign or trade? Pouliot...sign or trade? Max P......sign a 1 yr. or lock him up? DD....is he a keeper or trade bait for a chnce to bring in some size or do we keep and how do we sign...short or long? Back-up goal-tender...keep as is or look at other options? As someone mentioned here earlier injuries are bound to happen over the couse of the season. Our team cannot afford long term injuries to: Price, Plexs, Subban & probably Cammie. We could also not afford to lose Markov again especially if the Wiz is not retained. I say Price is the key person on the team we cannot afford to lose. When we avg. less than 3 goals per game (26th ranked in the league) how do you equate that to being a Top 5 team? We're like Vancouver in the Cup finals over 82 games just slightly higher but with superior goaltending. We will never be a Top 5 team under the current structure of play. If our game was more like Tampa's I would say "Hell yes!!" in a heart-beat. But this sit back and wait for the coma to settle in will never get us there. The ground and pound offense of the other teams matched against us will wear us out at the end I'm afraid to say.

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We still need a big center and probably another power winger (or some of them to start playing like it).

The playoffs are always about the goon / grinder teams, clutching, holding, and intimidating their way to a cup. The Bruins were heavy favorites when the refs won't call them. If it was called by normal hockey game standards, the Bruins don't get past Tampa, let alone Vancouver. I don't see the Habs winning that kind of battle right now due to our forwards. Our D is not bad at all, pending who signs.

The only other huge factor is a goalie. While we have seen teams win without stellar goaltending, if one team has it and the other doesn't, that is often the deciding factor. Price is a strong asset in this equation. Where we hurt is running into a Tim Thomas and not having the forwards who can deal with him and Chara effectively.

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I agree.....goal-tending is our strength. If the reports are true that Markov has signed again then our defense has taken another step forward. I do understand that PG is in talks with the Hammers agent. It appears that Spacek is suffering from a concussion like syndrome - dizziness and has not been able to shake it since the end of the playoffs. Probably from the Lucic hit in Game 6 in Montreal. You remember...the classy "can't see me" shot from behind that papered Spacek into the glass. Please note: "Can't see me" is the new wording adopted yesterday by the NHL to eliminate "Blindside" from their language. Apparantly it was confusing to: League officials, General Managers and Goons.

Now where was I?

Right, so with defense on the mend....it our forwards. Its imperative that we find more players that know what to do with the business end of the hockey stick. WE seem to employ too many players out there that play like its Ringette. They can't lifet the puck into the net if their contract depended upon it. I would have inserted "Team" in their but we were eliminated so that didn't work. I think having both Max & DD back will help for sure. We need to have a consistent season from AK as well. The other key up front is Gomez....we cannot wait until April to hear him say that the playoffs are a different season and he's hoping to have a better season there then he did in the regular season. I beleive that he deserves a 2nd chance but he doesn't get all the benefits of it. He's had 2 seasons here and he has not played up to par in either of them or the playoffs. So he comes to camp in the number 2 slot as far as centre's go unless we deal for someone like Laaich in Washington. Then he moves down a notch. He'll hold the #3 slot until Eller gets back from his injury and will battle him for the 4th slot. If his game and contributions have not shown merit by end of December then I believe it is imcumbent on PG to put him on waivers and if he has to move him to Hamilton if he clears. WE cannot be giving over 18 mins. a nite to this guy for reg + PP time when they is little return and little if any defense. WE have to move on for the good of the team.

I think that the team should have a set time during practice to work on Offensive rebounds. As noted earlier our failure to finish off the numerous opportunities presented by Thomas ended up in our early exit. There are certain areas that can be worked on: positioning, hand/eye co-ordination, stick-work and other I'm sure. With improved focus will come improved results. It only makes sense to do the same at the other end on how better to defned them as well to eliminate 2nd and 3rd opportunities that over time end up as GA. This could prove to be a WIN-WIN for the team.

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