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Improving now is better than tanking!


REV-G
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I'm sure we'll all have different thoughts on this but for me, the improvement that we have seen on our team over the past 7 games is more valuable going forward than continuing to be as bad as were for the rest of the season and getting a shot at the top pick. I know some wanted us to continue to lose so we'd have a better shot at the top pick. Personally I think that would have been more harmful. So I am very glad we brought in Marty St. Louis. Here's why.

 

1. Hugo can now better determine who to keep and who to trade. They're seeing a more realistic view of what we have. To just name three, Nick Suzuki, Cole

   Caufield and Jeff Petry, in a small sample size, have greatly improved. 

2. The culture and spirit on the team was being destroyed. Maybe rot was settling in. Not sticking up for each other. Not caring. That is dangerous territory.

     That seems to have changed quickly. 

3. We are now way more attractive to young drafted players and free agents and all the rest, than we were a month ago. Who would have wanted to come here. 

4. It my be easier to attract and sign players we've drafted but not signed yet. eg. Jordan Harris.

5. We will be way ahead come training camp this fall doing what's happening now that having not made the coaching change and lived thru misery for the final

    37 games or so and starting from scratch.

6. Shane Wright or whoever the first pick is, is not worth that amount of sacrifice and pain. No disrespect intended. 

7. We will likely get more for the players that we do trade than if we had continued to lose at the pace we were. 

8. According to the players, Josh Anderson said it outright, they were not enjoying coming to the rink. They were not having fun anymore. I'm sure tempers

    were frayed. They couldn't just keep going and not address what was happening.

 

So I am glad we did not try to tank. I don't think the draft pick would have been worth it. They're playing like a team again and we all can see that maybe with all that's in place now from top to bottom, if we can get some good prospects back and make some good trades, we may be competitive in 2-3 years instead of 5.

 

They're fun to watch again and from what we read, they're having fun again as well, and producing! Let the rebuild continue!! Draft Smaft!! lol

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

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I fear that hoping/trying too be competitive in a couple of years will be another "re-tool" that might put them back on the "try to make the playoffs and anything can happen" roller-coaster that we have been on almost full-time since 1993 ... IMO they need to a couple of high drafts to build a solid foundation of higher-end talent and THEN some good trades can make them a legit Cup challenger.

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We don't have to be a dead-last Sabres style laughing stock to get a top pick.  I agree that we would have done longterm harm to the team if we had let the season run its course under Ducharme.  On the other hand, we've gotten to the point that we don't have to worry about losing our pick to Carolina thanks to what a disaster the first half was. We'll fall back to earth once we start playing more playoff teams and the holes in our lineup will be exposed.  Most importantly, we need to come out of this season with a stud in the draft, preferably at C.

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I don't think anyone wants the team to not try, that would be a disaster and ingrain bad habits.  It's great to see Suzuki and Caulfield play the way we expected/hoped and it gives us hope for the future. I hope they continue to work hard and have fun for the rest of the year.  I also don't want them to win too many games as we need to come away from this disaster with something that will really help going forward.  You can say "draft/smaft"  but the "draft/smaft" is how teams like Pittsburgh/Chicago were competitive for so long with the top 5 picks they nailed.  But the Habs need to get it right whether they draft 1st, 3rd or 5th,  the higher we draft, the better shot we should have. 

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Indeed. Assuming that just dropping in Gorton, Hughes and St Louis is magically going to turn around this team in two years is a pipe dream.

 

Yes, the team looks good right now and has won four in a row. But it really is a false spring. We're not there yet.

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The draft/smaft comment was a reference to Cliff Fletcher when he was with the Leafs. We all know that draft picks are gold.

 

Personally I think we have too many good players to be bad for two or three years. With what we have and what's coming, Guhle & Harris etc, and with trades I think we'll be better each year and with Marty St. Louis and the rest of the staff I think we'll improve and never be dead last again. Although being in no-man's land where you miss the playoffs but you're not low enough to get a decent pick isn't great either. 

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10 minutes ago, REV-G said:

The draft/smaft comment was a reference to Cliff Fletcher when he was with the Leafs. We all know that draft picks are gold.

 

Personally I think we have too many good players to be bad for two or three years. With what we have and what's coming, Guhle & Harris etc, and with trades I think we'll be better each year and with Marty St. Louis and the rest of the staff I think we'll improve and never be dead last again. Although being in no-man's land where you miss the playoffs but you're not low enough to get a decent pick isn't great either. 

 

Agreed, no man's land is the worst place to be, not great, not terrible and always getting middle of the road picks. Hard to say what next year will look like, I tend to agree that we won't be at the bottom unless they really clean out the veterans, no Price etc.  but who would have thought we would be where we are right now?  Not me.  

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Next year, if we lose Petry, Chiarot, Gallagher, Hoffman and Allen (or some similar set), and do not rush the kids to the NHL, we will probably be in the bottom 10. And that's without considering the risk to Price and Edmundson.

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:nuts:

"Improving now is better than tanking!" is what I told myself before eating a Boston cream doughnut this morning... 🍩 🍩 🍩 

:nuts:

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5 hours ago, tomh009 said:

Indeed. Assuming that just dropping in Gorton, Hughes and St Louis is magically going to turn around this team in two years is a pipe dream.

 

Yes, the team looks good right now and has won four in a row. But it really is a false spring. We're not there yet.


Although it is safe to assume that the Habs won’t win in almost any given season, just like any other team, I personally dislike the approach of going into a season acting like we know it won’t happen.
 

Last year will be the permanent example. There were people on these very boards insulting the Habs and saying things like we shouldn’t even be a playoff team as late as rounds 1 and 2 last year… Then we made the final and they disappeared… Some forever… 
 

With that being said, I understand your point but I disagree that we as fans can have such a crystal ball as to guarantee that we do not have a chance in any given future season. To me it almost seems as though in the modern age of analytics and tanking, we’ve become too smart for our own good and it could even be to our own detriment.

 

I am not saying we are likely to win a cup next year. Personally, I feel as though that would only be a realistic possibility if Price was back to form as well as having shored up our defense.  
 

What I am saying is that we should strive to be competitive in general. We lost a lot of players so management do indeed have a lot of work to do, but for me it’s not out of the question that we have a team that performs next year. As always, I’ll know how I feel by September or so. 

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1 hour ago, xXx..CK..xXx said:

... Last year will be the permanent example. There were people on these very boards insulting the Habs and saying things like we shouldn’t even be a playoff team as late as rounds 1 and 2 last year… Then we made the final ...

 

It is true nobody can predict with certainty whether a team will or will not win in any particular season ... IMO MB re-tooled the team from the goaltender out to "try to make the playoffs and then see what happens" ... I want a team that is a legit contender for MANY years (i.e., the team is generally EXPECTED to be in the playoffs), not usually chasing a wild card and then being a "Cinderella playoff team" every few decades ... IMO significant changes are needed to the roster, and thereby the cap, to build a foundation for long-term, sustainable success.

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If tanking is the only way Montreal can get an elite player then no it's not.

 

That way of thinking has lead us to 30 years of being a bubble team.  If we're this fare out of a playoff spot, only thing on our mind should be getting the best possible draft pick.  

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12 hours ago, The Chicoutimi Cucumber said:

If we’re not tanking, we should not have traded Toffoli.

 

Too late now for second thoughts.


i agree. I actually look forward to the “transformation” as Hugh-Gort are calling it 

 

I am really curious to find out who they have identified as core players. 

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1 minute ago, Prime Minister Koivu said:

We were never tanking. 
 

The Habs were suffering from having a complete moron coaching the team. 
 

Now we have a coach that isn’t a moron. 
 

I genuinely wonder what could have been with Kotkaniemi but at least Caufield is being redeemed 


i could not disagree more. Ducharme is far from being a moron. The situation with MB and the off-season injuries made many on the team give up on the season from the start 

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Ducharme may not be a total moron, but if you look at the sequence of events during his tenure of the team, the only thing that makes sense is the following. He took over during a losing streak wth a rash of injuries and an incredibly tight schedule. He never had time to impliment his system so the ream kept playing Julien's system, and barely squeaked into the playoffs. Once there Weber and Price returned, and the habs got rolling after a slow start. Initially not dressing any of the teams young players other than Suzuki, many of us questioned Ducharme lineup choices on a nightly basis. KK and Caufield returned to the lineup and provided some timely offence, however Romanov was unexplainably scratched in favour of AHL calibre retreads for almost the entire playoffs. Going into this years regular season, Ducharme began to institute his system, he was without Price and Weber, which was indeed a huge hole to start in. The players were confused and eventually disillusioned with the new system. When things didn't go as planned, the coach did not adapt, couldn't change his approach, and the losses piled up. The games lost to injury made the situation even worst. The management change meant his fate was sealed for sure, but he was given the chance to finish the year as coach. All he had to do to keep his job was play the young guys real minutes, and lose competitively for the remainder of the season. Instead we had Caufield on the fourth line, his confidence shot. Poor defensive play had to huge shot totals which destroyed Primeau's confidence as well. The team was in such terrible shape that a coaching change had to be made before management really wanted. Immediately following the coaching change, the teams spirit is lifted. Although the players defend Ducharme publicly (mostly) the incredible change in team spirit can lead one to only one conclusion, Ducharme and his system were killing this team. In my opinion, Ducharme's (Julien and Therrian as well) insistence on punishing young players every mistake, benching and inability to teach destroyed the careers of many young players like KK, Mete, Galchenyuk. WE have been saddled with this nonsense since carbo was replaced as head coach. The change is refreshing, so I'll reserve judgement on the teams direction as it seems to be in good hands now.

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2 hours ago, hankhab said:

Ducharme may not be a total moron, but if you look at the sequence of events during his tenure of the team, the only thing that makes sense is the following. He took over during a losing streak wth a rash of injuries and an incredibly tight schedule. He never had time to impliment his system so the ream kept playing Julien's system, and barely squeaked into the playoffs. Once there Weber and Price returned, and the habs got rolling after a slow start. Initially not dressing any of the teams young players other than Suzuki, many of us questioned Ducharme lineup choices on a nightly basis. KK and Caufield returned to the lineup and provided some timely offence, however Romanov was unexplainably scratched in favour of AHL calibre retreads for almost the entire playoffs. Going into this years regular season, Ducharme began to institute his system, he was without Price and Weber, which was indeed a huge hole to start in. The players were confused and eventually disillusioned with the new system. When things didn't go as planned, the coach did not adapt, couldn't change his approach, and the losses piled up. The games lost to injury made the situation even worst. The management change meant his fate was sealed for sure, but he was given the chance to finish the year as coach. All he had to do to keep his job was play the young guys real minutes, and lose competitively for the remainder of the season. Instead we had Caufield on the fourth line, his confidence shot. Poor defensive play had to huge shot totals which destroyed Primeau's confidence as well. The team was in such terrible shape that a coaching change had to be made before management really wanted. Immediately following the coaching change, the teams spirit is lifted. Although the players defend Ducharme publicly (mostly) the incredible change in team spirit can lead one to only one conclusion, Ducharme and his system were killing this team. In my opinion, Ducharme's (Julien and Therrian as well) insistence on punishing young players every mistake, benching and inability to teach destroyed the careers of many young players like KK, Mete, Galchenyuk. WE have been saddled with this nonsense since carbo was replaced as head coach. The change is refreshing, so I'll reserve judgement on the teams direction as it seems to be in good hands now.

 

That seems a fair summation of the Ducharme era. 

 

The last bit, about all our coaches destroying young players, I’m undecided on. Did our NHL coaches wreck these players, or were they simply brought up too early, on a team that was not rebuilding, but rather battling to make the playoffs every year? 

 

Our coaches have been like most coaches: risk-averse and aware that their mission was to get into the playoffs, or be fired. That disincentivizes giving juicy ice-time to unseasoned young players. If that is the organizational situation, then it’s important to bring up young players only after they have marinaded in the AHL and learned to become pros. (Of course, this assumes that your AHL staff are competent - something that has all too often been questionable in Montreal). Instead of using the farm system to make players NHL ready, the Habs have tended to take shortcuts, often for the quick PR sugar high, the “hey, look over here!” distraction of shiny prospects to placate angry media/fans. That then put the coaches in an impossible position: win now, but use high-risk young players in key situations.

 

In other words, you can argue that the coaches have been in an untenable situation because of Montreal’s failure to understand player development in the context of a bubble team. (And I‘m pretty sure that if St Louis is still coach when this team starts winning, we will see him reverting to the “win now, young players be damned” philosophy). 

 

That being said, one case that stands out to me is PK Subban - a fabulous, dedicated, high-energy young player who instantly was the second best defenceman on the team, and immediately the coaches went to war with him. I suspect that only PK’s sheer bull-headedness allowed him to survive unscathed; a less resilient young man might well have lost confidence and become a risk-adverse shell of himself. The case of PK shows that yes, at least one of our coaches (Therrien) was stupid enough to frame gifted young players as a “problem” to be “fixed” instead of gifts to be maximized. 

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2 hours ago, hankhab said:

Ducharme may not be a total moron, but if you look at the sequence of events during his tenure of the team, the only thing that makes sense is the following. He took over during a losing streak wth a rash of injuries and an incredibly tight schedule. He never had time to impliment his system so the ream kept playing Julien's system, and barely squeaked into the playoffs. Once there Weber and Price returned, and the habs got rolling after a slow start. Initially not dressing any of the teams young players other than Suzuki, many of us questioned Ducharme lineup choices on a nightly basis. KK and Caufield returned to the lineup and provided some timely offence, however Romanov was unexplainably scratched in favour of AHL calibre retreads for almost the entire playoffs. Going into this years regular season, Ducharme began to institute his system, he was without Price and Weber, which was indeed a huge hole to start in. The players were confused and eventually disillusioned with the new system. When things didn't go as planned, the coach did not adapt, couldn't change his approach, and the losses piled up. The games lost to injury made the situation even worst. The management change meant his fate was sealed for sure, but he was given the chance to finish the year as coach. All he had to do to keep his job was play the young guys real minutes, and lose competitively for the remainder of the season. Instead we had Caufield on the fourth line, his confidence shot. Poor defensive play had to huge shot totals which destroyed Primeau's confidence as well. The team was in such terrible shape that a coaching change had to be made before management really wanted. Immediately following the coaching change, the teams spirit is lifted. Although the players defend Ducharme publicly (mostly) the incredible change in team spirit can lead one to only one conclusion, Ducharme and his system were killing this team. In my opinion, Ducharme's (Julien and Therrian as well) insistence on punishing young players every mistake, benching and inability to teach destroyed the careers of many young players like KK, Mete, Galchenyuk. WE have been saddled with this nonsense since carbo was replaced as head coach. The change is refreshing, so I'll reserve judgement on the teams direction as it seems to be in good hands now.


thanks for the extensive description of what most fans believe is “the book of Dom”


What I find disingenuous with this stance is how it dismisses the impact the I juries to half the team during g the off-season. It also dismisses the lack of NHL-level roster moves that were made by any GM to help DD in the 2021-2022 season.

 

Ducharme made mistakes, but he did not singlehandedly destroy the season or any player’s morale. Management had a big part to play in his demise, and more significantly Petry and some veterans Ha e up on the season before it began. It was reported by a French beat reporter that Petry refused to play hard during the pre-season games and was already at war against DD’s system back then

 

I respectfully disagree with your interpretation

 

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8 minutes ago, alfredoh2009 said:


thanks for the extensive description of what most fans believe is “the book of Dom”


What I find disingenuous with this stance is how it dismisses the impact the I juries to half the team during g the off-season. It also dismisses the lack of NHL-level roster moves that were made by any GM to help DD in the 2021-2022 season.

 

Ducharme made mistakes, but he did not singlehandedly destroy the season or any player’s morale. Management had a big part to play in his demise, and more significantly Petry and some veterans Ha e up on the season before it began. It was reported by a French beat reporter that Petry refused to play hard during the pre-season games and was already at war against DD’s system back then

 

I respectfully disagree with your interpretation

 

 

There is no way this team was making the playoffs with all the injuries. That, I agree with.

 

However, think about what you’re saying here. DD failed to get buy-in from key veterans. AND he failed to put young players in a position to succeed. This was the worst of all possible outcomes. Had he consistently achieved one or the other, he might have survived. Failing on both counts is a sign of a spectacular flop.

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34 minutes ago, The Chicoutimi Cucumber said:

 

That seems a fair summation of the Ducharme era. 

 

The last bit, about all our coaches destroying young players, I’m undecided on. Did our NHL coaches wreck these players, or were they simply brought up too early, on a team that was not rebuilding, but rather battling to make the playoffs every year? 

 

Our coaches have been like most coaches: risk-averse and aware that their mission was to get into the playoffs, or be fired. That disincentivizes giving juicy ice-time to unseasoned young players. If that is the organizational situation, then it’s important to bring up young players only after they have marinaded in the AHL and learned to become pros. (Of course, this assumes that your AHL staff are competent - something that has all too often been questionable in Montreal). Instead of using the farm system to make players NHL ready, the Habs have tended to take shortcuts, often for the quick PR sugar high, the “hey, look over here!” distraction of shiny prospects to placate angry media/fans. That then put the coaches in an impossible position: win now, but use high-risk young players in key situations.

 

In other words, you can argue that the coaches have been in an untenable situation because of Montreal’s failure to understand player development in the context of a bubble team. (And I‘m pretty sure that if St Louis is still coach when this team starts winning, we will see him reverting to the “win now, young players be damned” philosophy). 

 

That being said, one case that stands out to me is PK Subban - a fabulous, dedicated, high-energy young player who instantly was the second best defenceman on the team, and immediately the coaches went to war with him. I suspect that only PK’s sheer bull-headedness allowed him to survive unscathed; a less resilient young man might well have lost confidence and become a risk-adverse shell of himself. The case of PK shows that yes, at least one of our coaches (Therrien) was stupid enough to frame gifted young players as a “problem” to be “fixed” instead of gifts to be maximized. 

If it was a combination of horrible management and Coaching.

It’s on that GM hen players get rushed. Gainey also rushed players like Ribeiro. Having said that Ribeiro was a punk, that I think at some point he would have been an issue, but it didn’t help handing him an NHL spot, just because we had not other centre other Koivu, and Koivu not only was plagued with injuries, he also had to battle cancer.

 

the AHL teams were better under Gainey, and he even fired one of his best friends (carbo), because he thought it was best for the team. Bergevin on the other hand left that moron Lefebve in charge when he should have been fired after during his 2nd season at the latest. He also not only hung unto that moron Therrien. To long, he gave he idiot an extension.  Until that playoff run, the DD hiring seemed like a complete disaster - the team actually declined and hung onto a playoff spot because how bad Calgary and Vancouver were. Once in the playoffs, it looked like Price and Weber, carried the team, just as the veterans Robinson and Gainey guided the team to a cup win, despite having a mediocre Jean Perron as coach.

 

I had a lot of optimism when Gainey was first hired, but there were a lot of mistakes he made that it was short lived because of how the last 3 years went. I still wonder what could have been if we had McDonough and Subban on D and Maxpac as a centre and did a real rebuild instead of going the Gomez route.
 

The firing of MB and the hiring of Gorton is that most optimistic I’ve been since Gainey was hired. Hopefully we do a real rebuild, and not make decisions for short term gain.

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31 minutes ago, alfredoh2009 said:


thanks for the extensive description of what most fans believe is “the book of Dom”


What I find disingenuous with this stance is how it dismisses the impact the I juries to half the team during g the off-season. It also dismisses the lack of NHL-level roster moves that were made by any GM to help DD in the 2021-2022 season.

 

Ducharme made mistakes, but he did not singlehandedly destroy the season or any player’s morale. Management had a big part to play in his demise, and more significantly Petry and some veterans Ha e up on the season before it began. It was reported by a French beat reporter that Petry refused to play hard during the pre-season games and was already at war against DD’s system back then

 

I respectfully disagree with your interpretation

 

A coach needs to adjust. DD didn’t. The players weren’t buying what he was selling, and he stuck with his pitch like a  used car salesman.  
St. Louis in a recent interview just said the importance of dealing with different players in a way the message gets through. Caufield is a different player now. So is Petry. Were there issues with the injuries to key players - absolutely. But the team should not have been as bad as they were. I said at the start of the season, we are not a playoff team. We should be a team on pace for around 75 points. We were clearly a bottom 10 team. We should not be one of the worst non-expansion teams in history, and we should definitely not have been the worst team in the league until the past week. That’s’ on DD.

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29 minutes ago, The Chicoutimi Cucumber said:

 

There is no way this team was making the playoffs with all the injuries. That, I agree with.

 

However, think about what you’re saying here. DD failed to get buy-in from key veterans. AND he failed to put young players in a position to succeed. This was the worst of all possible outcomes. Had he consistently achieved one or the other, he might have survived. Failing on both counts is a sign of a spectacular flop.

100% agree

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I think where DD failed is accepting their fate early in the year.  He was dealt a terrible hand at the beginning of the year and likely felt a lot of pressure to win based on last year's success as expectations are high in Montreal.  He should have taken the attitude "lets work hard, have fun, make mistakes and learn from them" and not have been so concerned with winning.  The players were tired mentally and physically because of the long run last year and the shorter rest.  A long run in the playoffs takes a toll mentally and the Habs don't have the Tampa type talent to overcome that, especially with the injuries. 

 

DD was handed a lemon and didn't make lemonade. That would be my criticism of DD and that is just me looking at it from the outside.  It's looking like Martin St. Louis is taking the approach that is needed right now. 

 

 

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Any junior manager in an organization has to sell the corporate goals to his crew. 
 

The stated goal of the organization going into the summer was: repeat

 

the series of events into the season didn’t change that goal. It was re-stated during the pre-season even after some of the injuries and NHLPA cases started to filter through

 

The leadership of the players became a void: Weber, Price, Tatar, Danault, Edmundson, Perry, Stall, Byron

 

Those that were supposed to step-in didn’t: Petry, Gallagher (I forget if he was hurt)

 

Those that were added were not leadership material. 
 

once that situation settled in, it rotted the team from the core. Without upper management support (president) and with a lame duck middle-manager (MB), it was a meter on time for the lower management to be flushed: anyone who has gone through that at work would understand that DD was put in an impossible situation 

 

he is not a moron, and he did not destroy anything : he was “chair a cannon” or “collateral damage”

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