In Bob, We MUST Trust

The trade deadline is quickly approaching, and many Habs fans are wondering, what will Bob Gainey do? The question we should be asking is, what should Bob Gainey be doing.
The short answer: Be a limited buyer…Many experts predicted that this team would finish anywhere from 10th to 15th at the end of the season. Obviously, the Habs are on the right track to proving them wrong. Not many people were getting their hopes up for this season, including myself, considering I had predicted that the Habs would finish 8th in the Conference.
10 games into the season, people weren’t at all sold on the Montreal Canadiens strong start. It was dismissed. People said it was an early season hot streak and that we would very soon come crashing back down to earth.
20 games in people still refused to believe the team was going to hang on for much longer. They were simply overachieving.
30 games in some started to take notice, and some started to believe. 30 games is awfully long for a simple hot streak, and the argument that the Habs were pretenders rather than contenders was losing its wheels.
40 games in, many Habs fans started to become increasingly optimistic. So called ‘experts’ from networks like TSN finally started to give the Habs credit for some of their achievements half way through the season.
And now, almost 50 games into the season, here we are. The bandwagon is steadily filling up, but people are aware that in a 5 game period we could still come crashing back down to earth. People are afraid to start believing in the team after what happened last season. People are afraid to call Montreal legitimate. We do not want to have our hearts broken again as we did last season.
Reasons against being sellers:
1) Even with all of these positives, us Habs fans need to stay realistic! We can not truly expect for Bob Gainey to trade away an asset like Saku Koivu at the deadline. Whether he is producing or not, he is still 3rd on the team in points, and more importantly, he is our captain. For some reason some people can not seem to realize the impact trading away the team’s captain would have. Imagine the Sens without Alfie, or the Flames without Iginla! While Koivu may not produce as much as they do point wise, he is still a valuable asset who is vital to the success of the team. Koivu is known for being stronger towards the end of the season, and if he were to get going in the playoffs we all know this team could make a serious push.
2) Yes, people were very likely expecting the Habs to be sellers at this point in the season. Yet simply because expectations were low then, it does not mean our expectations have to stay low. The youngsters on the team are proving that they are up to the task, and trading away a veteran presence would crush their moral and make them feel as if what they have accomplished has been all for nothing.
Reasons for being limited buyers, and reasons against being high buyers:
Try to name a major weakness for the Habs.
Goal scoring has not been a problem for the Canadiens. they have scored more goals 5 on 5 than they have allowed. Overall, they ranked 4th in goals for per game.
Defensively and in the goaltending department they have been above average, sitting at 11th in goals against per game.
Penalty killing has been below average but isn’t exactly an Achilles heel at 21st in the league.
The power play is ranked number 2 in the league.
In overtime the Habs are 6-8, that means 20 points out of a possible 28.
They are 7-2-1 in their last ten games. They have at least a point in 13 of their last 16 games.
This team is not in need of any major names. While acquiring somebody like Marleau or Hossa would be fantastic, it is not worth giving up any of the youth for them. The Habs should simply look to swap lesser role players like Dandenault, Gorges, and the fan favourite Ryder. But at the same time we can not expect to get big name players for these guys.
There is one obvious weakness that could haunt the team if they do not address it, and that is the face off situation. I’d be dreaming if I asked for Draper, but you get the general idea of what I’m saying. We need to improve on face offs and not regret having a face off in our zone with 10 seconds left. We should be able to have confidence in a proven face off specialist.
The bottom line is, the Habs do not need a big name player, wait till the summer of 2009 to do that. For now, keep giving the youth movement more ice time, and help them develop with the veteran presence you already have. Habs fans, you have to trust Bog Gainey and know that even though he might not make a huge deal, he is doing the right thing. You do not win a cup in Dallas by sticking your finger in your butt. This man knows what he is doing. Just give it time, this is a great time to be a Habs fan!

22 Responses to In Bob, We MUST Trust

  1. CanadaIsGold says:

    What a great article, I've only been saying this for the past 3 months the teams intact and on the right track, and finally everyones on the same page as me, a lot of bandwagon jumpers if you ask me.
    I'm always loyal to this team whether they are playing excellent, or in a funk, so like I said its about time people start realizing this team doesn't need to make a big trade or bring in a high-priced player like I've stated over and over again.

    All I can say is people shouldn't have thrown out all of these ridiculous trade proposals when the team we want is right in front of us already, and of course now that the team is playing well everyone feels the team shouldn't be tampered with, well duh, I've been saying it forever now, GAINEY knows what he's doing, so let GAINEY run the show!

  2. morrissey says:

    Indeed the Habs are above average at every position and have depth on top of that. They are among the top scoring teams in the league, powerplay is stellar, the defense is truly underated  the best it's been in absolutely ages, goaltending is maybe the deepest in the league and huet continues to play extremely well… shorthanded performance leaves to be desired but player movement is not the solution to that one… over all I feel the Habs just need an upgrade at centre, there's still no true number go to guy with size and skill.  I love Koivu but if he has to go to make room for such an acquisition then so be it, but i think he still has a role to play on the team and I'd favor moving him to the second line (that's kinda already happened really) and switching Pleks to the wing.

  3. habsrock99 says:

    I've been saying since September that the Habs could finish anywhere from 4th-9th and that a realistic finish would be 6th and it looks like I'm one of the few whose early predictions are going to be right.

  4. leafssuck67 says:

    i think its fairly obvious that a big name 1st line center is missing…love saku, and he IS the captain so trading him this season is a bit crazy…pleks to the wing is a bad move simply because the kostitsyn, pleks, kovi line is pretty decent and the only consistent unit we got and breaking it up would not be smart.

    id like to see saku sign somewhere else when his contract his up…he could be the best 2nd line center in the league…besides if im not mistaken kovi's contract expires the same summer and combined that clears up $10 mill in cap space….money that will probably be used for that big first line star we desperately need………..lecavalier's contract expires that summer too btw….

  5. lafleur10 says:

    habsrock99 you and i were in total agreement i never ,ever thought that we would finish out of the playoffs!i remember the laffs fans doing there prdictions and them picking us out of the playoffs(not surprising there)and that of course they'd make it!!but i remember you and i said that we'd make it !!and i said we'd finish 5th no worse because i had seen the way the youthwas developing and we were getting better and when we signed hamrlik in the summer i said thatour defence would much improved huet and price would give us elite goaltending and A.KOSTITSYN IS A YEAR OLDER AND STARTED TO COME ON AND THIS WOULD BE HIS BREAK-OUT plus they learned there lesson from last year!this team will finish 4-5 this year and from here on out i expect themto improve on there standings in the east possibly first!!in 1-2 years!!!

  6. CanadaIsGold says:

    Yep you guys are the only one's on here that seem to think the same as me. It doesn't suprise me one bit how well Montreal has been playing because we know the players and what they are capable of. GO HABS GO!

  7. Habs_pm says:

    Everything is great when they are winning. They are bound to hit a speed bump towards to end of the season. Bob Gainey WILL do some tweaking. No big names will be added.

    Ryder will be gone for a decent prospect and late pick.

    The best deals are the ones never made.

    Anaheim added Brad May last deadline and they won the Cup.

    Anyways anyone else exited for the all-star game in Montreal next year!? I am!

  8. THEGREATHAB says:

    Good article, and I couldnt agree more.  I have been saying all year that we are really still in a rebuilding stage, and it may be temtping to move some youth now for a big name,  but that will only hurt us long term.  While the kids are ahead of thier learning curves,  we still will not be a serious contender for another year or two,  if and only if we keep our prospects.  I wouldnt mind seeing a couple of small moves,  ie Ryder, Dandeneult, Halak or Gorges,  but I really want Bob to concentrate in signing Huet and Streit.  Huet will help in our Price's developement, and Streit is probably the most underated D-man in the league.

  9. darcysucker says:

    jesus you said between 4th and 9th, when you broaden your predictions that much of course you have a great chance of being right, wow you're such a genius!

  10. darcysucker says:

    did any of you geniuses predict the success of Kovalev?

  11. darcysucker says:

    I agree on most points except for trading gorges, I'd rather trade bouillion, however I wouldn't mind keeping the defense intact.  I think we should be able to get what we want and at the same time shed some salary by trading dandy and ryder, that's almost 5 million in salary.  It's going to be an interesting summer for the habs, with the salary cap growing to around 55 million.  The only future UFAs that we should keep are streit and huet, Huet will probably get a similar contract, or slight raise and streit will get between 2-3 mill.  Then a couple of the RFAs like kostitsyn and lappierre will get raises, which will leave us with enough money to add a big free agent (hossa?)

  12. stanleyfan says:

    Good Article, you expressed your point well and I think you are right. Bouillion should be traded before Georges. Right now other teams would likely want him over Georges and Georges is starting to fit in nicely with the Habs, I would hate to see him go.

  13. habsoverserver says:

    Good article.  I agree that the Habs do not need to make any major moves.  There are numerous positives on this team.  Balanced scoring, special teams, shot blocking and consistency over the past 20 games are all the result of fine coaching and conditioning.  The only criticism I have ever had of Carbo was when he started the season with Plekanec on the third line.  The players are working hard for him and he has the depth to make the slackers sit.  

    Gainey has contributed more through inaction than action. I think the team would be in the same shape with almost any other competent GM.  I don't really believe he has a plan.  I can't say Koivu is a major asset, but when the second line is working, and he doesn't need to carry the team, he plays better.  I wish he would take fewer penalties. 

    Gainey could swap Ryder and a prospect for a useful third line center.  However, I think Smolinski was the right choice in the offseason and I would not be at all critical of Gainey for standing pat at the deadline.  

    The recent Boston blowout and the third period comeback in NJ are defining games for this roster.  I don't know how far they can go, but for the first time in 15 years, they are a legit top 10 team in the NHL. 

  14. JDubb says:

    Great article, I agree with all of it. I wouldnt mind letting go of Ryder and i highly doubt a package including he and otherwould bring back a superstar player. If I was Gainey I would try and package him with another role player to CLB for Manny Malhotra, he would address our two weaknesses. Hes a great faceoff guy that plays the PK. Thats part of the reason our PK is where it is, we dont win our defensive zone faceoffs and the opposing PP can set up right away. He has like a 60% faceoff win percentage on the PK. To me he may be the most valuable guy we could use especially if we can keep our four lines rolling the way they have. Plus he has just a few less points that Ryder so we’re not losing any scoring

  15. habsrock99 says:

    Actually I did say several times between July and September that Kovalev would have a much better season and that he most likely would be Tops among the Habs in scoring.

  16. habsrock99 says:

    Now, if you were to READ where I said that a realistic finish would be 6th, you will plainly see that is where I felt they would finish. The whole 4th-9th thing was just saying they could finish no higher then 4th and no lower then 9th, that's it. Idiot.

  17. CanadaIsGold says:

    darcyf*ucker always likes to start stuff, nothing new here.

  18. morrissey says:

    So you'd like to see "the best 2nd line center in the league" just play out his contract in MTL then sign elsewhere and get nothing in return??? Good plan, good plan.

  19. leafssuck67 says:

    obviously getting nothing back hurts but how many playoff teams sell their captain before the cup run…thats not that smart
    it has to be established at the beginning of the season which is why if there is a trade it has to be at the draft

  20. morrissey says:

    Montreal is not making a run at the cup this year, get real. They are nowhere near the experience level needed to achieve that. The core group of youngsters need to mature substantially. The cup window for Montreal is still 2 or 3 years away, in the meantime it's time to continue building. Will Koivu be a key component in 2 or 3 years? No, so move him when his value is highest (trade deadline) and acquire an asset that will be key in 2 to 3 years when the rest of team is peaking.

  21. leafssuck67 says:

    Ok, I see what ur getting at. You're completely right, although I disagree. Difference of opinion, thats it. Although they might not get to the finals (or even make the playoffs who knows) I just think Saku needs to stay with the club so long as the playoffs are a possibility. He's vital to the cohesion of the habs and getting rid of him, even for some decent prospects, could ultimately hurt team chemistry.

  22. morrissey says:

    Well said, I'll agree to disagree 🙂

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