Sympathy for Non-Playoff'ers

The playoffs are up, regular season is over and everyone is talking about the playoff teams. Well, I like to be different! I like this place to be different than other Web sites. Everyone is talking playoffs hockey so what is the point for me to do the same and saying not much different, right?

Toronto Maple Leafs

Indeed, the injuries have hurt this Leafs team, but it does not excuse them from not making the playoffs. When quite healthy, this team blew some chances. Toronto cannot blame the New Jersey Devils for losing in shootouts against the New York Islanders, and they cannot blame the injuries either. What theoretically eliminated this team from the playoffs was the 5-2 loss against an Isle’s team that was doomed when Rick DiPietro went down with a nasty injury. Luckily for the Isle’s, Wade Dubielewicz came up huge. Unfortunately for the Leafs, Andrew Raycroft came up with nothing. I truly believe that this is what killed any hopes for the Maple Leafs: goaltending. Raycroft’s numbers are mediocre at best. I know some fans still like the guy, but he had to be pulled twice in order for his team to have a chance to win in the last few games. The first time it made no difference as the Rangers hammered them 7-2, and the second time it did, winning against the Montreal Canadiens. Even if the Maple Leafs made the playoffs, how could anyone expect the team to even win a game or two against the Buffalo Sabres with Raycroft in net? Yes, Rayzor deserves another shot next season, but JFJ better look for a solid….SOLID back-up goaltender. The defense is way too expensive for this team, closing in on the $15M mark I believe? The team needs top six fowards and they don’t even have to be stellar forwards. Forget the big names as there are actually few of them this summer. Paul Maurice is the kind of coach that makes a solid, hard-working team thrive when it has depth. Not stellar depth, but solid depth. There are some good solid forwards out there, specifically wingers. The Leafs are in desperate need of that.

Montreal Canadiens

I understand that some Habs fans want Bob Gainey’s head for such a chaotic season. And yes, he made a mistake with the team at the start of the year where it looked frail and weak up front, especially with a UFA bust in Sergei Samsonov. But, that’s a tough one to expect. I think Gainey deserves a break here. I hope the Quebec media is not grilling him. There are more important things in life than hockey and the man had a horrible……..horrible loss when his daughter went missing. The man is committed, he made the Dallas Stars into a Cup team before, he knows how to build a team and he will need time. Right now he does not deserve any booing on the fans’, and media’s, part. Leave the man be, let him be with his family peacefully. Now, once the playoffs are done, then let’s talk hockey and I am sure he will be stronger inside to focus better by then. He traded Craig Rivet, character guy. Will he keep Sheldon Souray? Should he keep Souray? If not, then I think the Canadiens need retooling. Tank the season and retool. For some odd reason, I’ve read on a message board that Captain Saku Koivu is not as liked by the fans as he used to be. Maybe it’s time to change identity by trading the captain? He could attract a lot of interest around the league. The Canadiens had a tough season, and a messy one. Changes need to be made and one path is where Gainey retools the team with big decisions, and the other is by strengthening the team by keeping the core and cutting guys like Alex Kovalev and Samsonov, quite possibly Andrej Markov, from the team. Use the cap money on quality frowards that fit Carboneau’s kind of game.

Carolina Hurricanes

What a big stinker. In my season preview, I stated my doubts of the Hurricanes pointing out two key issues. One, defense. It was ranked 17th in 2006. It was ranked 19th in 2007. Second, Cam Ward had a great playoff run, but it never escaped my mind that he looked decent at best last season when backing up Martin Gerber. So, my question in September was “will this guy actually bring his playoff game into the regular season?”. Well, he didn’t. And you can say injuries, Cup hangover, loss of players via free agency. But, where it all went wrong was the defense. GM Rutherford should have improved the defense when losing Aaron Ward, but not even just because of that. The guy should have seen his 17th ranked defense last season and said to himself “I better fix this”. He didn’t. He made a lousy move by trading top prospect Jack Johnson to the LA Kings. For what? Nothing that helped. And by the way, I was really disturbed by the recent play of the Hurricanes in the last two meetings with the Florida Panthers. You want to know what dives look like, go watch the Carolina Hurricanes. Eric Staal should be ashamed of himself by taking such a poorly performed dive in OT against the Panthers on a Sunday afternoon game. Eddie Belfour did the right thing to call on the dive and make the ref look silly as for some reason he saw no dive. So, I never had anything against Carolina…..but I’ve lost a great deal of respect for Eric Staal and a couple of his teammates who just make pathetic dives. Well deserved of not making the playoffs.

Florida Panthers

They had their chances to make the playoffs, but they blew a few of them. Despite the key injuries to Joe Nieuwendyk and Todd Bertuzzi, plus other key contributors for short legths of time, the Panthers blew some games that they should have won. Yet, there is quite a big plus for this team. The Panthers traded away Roberto Luongo for an all-star first line player who only played seven games as a Panther. For a decent starting goalie who struggled all season long and then had a season ending injury, which may carry out early next season. For a solid second pairing defenseman. In the first half, goaltending was abysmal. In the first half, goal scoring was lagging. Yet in the end, this team managed to put slightly better numbers this season than last. And that’s without Luongo, Bertuzzi, Nieuwendyk, Roberts…..Auld. They allowed the same amount of goals, but scored more. Slight improvements, but not too shabby when key players were not able to contribute for all 82 games. Nathan Horton finally became a 30-goal scorer. So, I give credit to the Panthers and definitely to Jacques Martin. This guy has so many issues to deal with and he managed to improve the team. Slight improvement, but noticeable. As I’ve been informed from a source, there is a very high chance, I’d say more than 80%, that Eddie Belfour will remain a Panther. Unfortunately the latest incident may change that, but the guy was stellar in net for the last 30 games or so. He had over 25 consecutive starts; not bad for a 42-year-old goalie. The fans started to love him, cheer for him. Considering that the list of UFA goalies is rather weak this season, I’d say the Panthers should retain Belfour, and GM Jacques Martin will have to play the free agent market well by acquiring scoring depth forwards, 2nd tier. Yet one possible problem is Nathan Horton, who butted heads with Coach Martin earlier in the season. Will he cause trouble to re-sign? We don’t know, but it is possible. If so, though, the Panthers have the best tradeable player in the NHL in the summer. So here is a theory of mine. If the New York Rangers have Henrik Lundqvist playing stellar in nets in the post-season, then they may want to resolve the issue of future goaltending problems. This team lacks a young scoring winger, and Nathan Horton fits that spot. The Panthers could find keen interest in Al Montoya, who keeps getting better. A package deal including Horton and Montoya? It would satisfy me as a Rangers fan, and satisfy me as a Panthers supporter. But back to reality, depending on what Martin does this summer, I think the Panthers should be considered as a tough team to face next season, no doubt. They youngsters played well this year, and can only get better for 07-08.

Boston Bruins

As much as I like Tim Thomas, he is not a capable starting goaltender. The Bruins need to make the playoffs, soon. They spent big bucks last year and they’ll spend big ones again if J-S Giguere shows a sign of interest to play for Black and Gold. This team has consistency issues, depth issues from forwards to defense, and goaltending. You can’t necessarily fix all that with free agents, but GM Chiarelli may be able to get the right players on the team for next season that really make a difference. Some of the young players have played well, but they need to start putting their names on the scoresheets more frequently. Not much else to say about this team other than I am waiting for something different worthwhile seeing that is noticeable. Bruins hockey in the playoffs is good for the NHL, so…..bring it back soon; I like seeing Black and Gold in the post-season and raise the volume of a Dropkick Murphys album.

Washington Capitals

If GM George McPhee fails to provide any top talent for Alex Ovechkin by October, then I hope Ovechkin demands to be traded. Here is a guy who has nothing on his team other than decent young players, but not so talented either. The guy ended up playing an all-round game to try and make his team win. What a player. That’s what I define as a real hockey player. Sid the Kid had the commodities playing with much better talent around him, yet this Russian guy needs to order a crapload of stuff from room service for chubby Ted Leonis. Please, don’t waste such an amazing talent. Give him a skilled center. The problem is, there are not many available this summer. So, once again I expect the Capitals to make a few minor signings that add pretty good depth, make minor imporvements and still stay well below the salary cap. Does this team plan on staying with a low-budget for three more years or so? I mean, my suggestion would be to sign Viktor Kozlov and bring back Oleg Kvasha as I think he’d fly with Ovechkin. But if none of that happens, which is highly likeable, then here is my crazy Mad Mikster idea. TRADE FOR ALEXEI YASHIN!!!! What’s there to lose? The team won’t be able to spend huge bucks the next few seasons, they won’t make a run at the cup the next few seasons, so may as well give Ovechkin a skilled center that just does not belong on Long Island. Give Ovechkin Alexei Yashin and who knows what can happen? It may be that these two will become so scary and good together. And imagine if Alexei Yashin finds his game back WITH Ovechkin. I’d call it Monstrin in Russian.

Philadelphia Flyers

Would it not have been fun if there was a game that fans pick which team will be dead last in the league? Why do we always have to pick the Cup winner? How about the season’s loser? I bet you that if that happened back in September, and this is all money-prize talk of course, a Leafs fan would have won the money! Anyway, I don’t see how the Flyers want to make another UFA splash this summer. Martin Biron was a great acquisition for the next couple of years and he adds a lot of character to the team. But, even if he gets Daniel Briere to sign with the Flyers, what about the rest of the team? One guy cannot fix it all for them. Yet, the Flyers will be ready to spend and expect to make the playoffs next season. Some of you know my favorite saint in hockey. Saint Happenin.

That’s it for now as next time it will be the Western Conference non-playoff teams. That’s right. Complete coverage of non-playoffs hockey, only right here on Aren’t we special now?

Thanks as always for reading and hope you all had a nice weekend earlier.

Micki Peroni

Vice Administrator

36 Responses to Sympathy for Non-Playoff'ers

  1. habswinthecup-again says:

     You are right about Gainey, he is the right man for the job. Koivu is still loved by 98% of Hab fans. Souray should only be signed if he takes less than Markov(3.5-4.25mil.), but he won't because some idiot GM will offer him 5-6million, so Souray will be gone. The no.1 thing that Gainey has to do is buyout the contracts of Samsonov(duh!) and Kovalev (yes him too). Get rid of them 2 and the team has none of the problems they did this season which were a major factor for the team in not making the playoffs.

  2. wingerxxx says:

    I'm glad that you did a paragraph on the Caps.  I'm probably one of maybe…3 or 4 people on this site that actually watches Washington play on a regular basis (they're the only game in town, here in Maryland).  Ovechkin is all that is keeping this team afloat.  The only reason people go to the MCI Center is to watch Ovechkin play.  Semin had a good season, but he's not an elite player by any means.  I can't believe how many shifts he tanks.  Ovechkin is all-electric, all the time.  And he is much more verbal towards his teammates now than he used to be.  I really hope that McPhee can do something to improve the team, because this hockey team needs Ovechkin's talents.  He's made Dainius Zubrus and Chris Clark look much better than they would be otherwise.

    Ovechkin didn't always look pretty in his own zone this year…this is the first time he's been really asked to do that, you can tell…but he really made the effort.  There are a lot of people who don't realize how much better all-around Ovechkin is getting, and he still can improve.  Overall though….the Caps are a mess.  Without Ovechkin, they have next to nothing.

    Yashin would be interesting…and yeah, they could really light it up together.  Yashin isn't worth his contract, but he's a solid, talented offensive center.  And Ovechkin would be the best most consistent left winger he has played with, since McEachern was on his line. 

    I actually got to see a little of Florida-Carolina (thank you Comcast Digital)…and yeah, Staal's dive was bad.  That was no Andreas Johansson work-of-art dive, it was just a blatant flop.  They can turn it around, but their coaching staff has issues to address.

    I like the comments on Toronto….I don't think their defense is absolutely horrible, but their blueine is definitely not worth what they are paying them.  Raycroft may yet turn out to be a good goaltender, given time, but that's hard to do with the Leafs.  It's all pressure, all the time. 

    Also, if Sundin leaves after this year, that will truly be a sad day for this franchise.  He's been nothing but solid gold for Toronto over his career, and he's caught nothing but crap…which is terrible considering that Sundin is not what was wrong with Toronto.  But he is a goal scorer…and he was not scoring goals.  Still…the Leafs will be worse off without him.  This guy is a warrior, and if he leaves, there will be a LOT of teams lining up for his services. 

  3. FrankTheTank3388 says:

    Nice article, I like it. Only thing I think I'd have to disagree on about the Bruins is that the one position I think they have good depth at is Defense. We had 3-4 NHL ready defensemen in the AHL that we didn't use simply because we didn't need them. The main problem with the defense is we had 1 top 4 defenseman. As much as I love a lot of the guys on the team, I'll admit that none of the defensemen should be considered top 4, except for maybe Aaron Ward and Andy Alberts since he's shown great improvement. I think Wideman should go down to AHL though. At the same time, we had NHL ready defensemen in veterans Jason York and Nathan Dempsey along with prospects with Matt Lashoff and Mark Stuart. That was one thing I felt strongly about the Bruins defense, was they had solid depth at defense. Unfortunately, although we had a lot of defensemen, not many were good.

  4. SabresFan220 says:

    Ovechkin and Semin are 2 steps in the right direction in Caps country, but they do need more. I like Chris Clark a lot, but your best young talent outside of Alex O and Semin I think might be Fleischmann. He has looked good in the limited action I've seen of him. Zubrus is a great passer, he's been great for my Sabres but the Caps couldn't give him the 5 year deal he demanded, I dunno if anybody will give him that. The Caps are waiting for Backstrom to be here to center Ovechkin, but really will he be in Washington next year?

    I expect after dumping Bertuzzi for a bag of pucks that the Panthers will be big players in the free agent market. When the cost of Bertuzzi was perhaps the best goalie in the game and they got a prospect and mid round pick for him, they damn well better sign a big name.

  5. WDF says:

    One thing the Leafs did wrong with Raycroft was that we mis-judged what kind of goalie he was.
    We played Raycroft like a Kiprosoff, Luongo and Brodeur, we played him in too many games. Raycroft would excel in a system like San Jose's or Buffalo's before they treated Biron. Raycroft cant play in 70 games, its amazing that he pulled out 37 wins this season. If we reduced his games and bring in a goalie that can play 35 or 40 games we could have a great goalie tandom.
    I wont name names on who we would get but im sure finding a decent goalie to play half a season wouldnt be hard to find or be too expensive.

    ps…Pogge is still atleast 3 years away. So hes out of the question.

  6. WDF says:

    traded biron :P. Spelling mistake.

  7. wingerxxx says:

    I agree, the Panthers really need to put out alot of feelers in this summer's free agent market. 

    Clarkie's a hard working player and deserves the captaincy.  But on a good team, he's a third liner.  Good guy for the Caps though.  Zubrus is a fair playmaker, and I don't know if I prefer him more at center or at wing…but his two-way game is just horrible, and sometimes he will just not show up.  I can see why he's bounced around the league.  I'm not convinced at all that he's the center for Ovechkin.  I'm not sure about Backstrom again, but if he is a good prospect, hey…lets give him a chance. 

  8. mikster says:

    Good to hear about Koivu. I still admire the guy. I’d let Markov walk and keep Souray. He brings character, goals, and toughness on the blueline. He may be expensive as anything but i’d rather pay Souray $5M a season than Markov $3.5M a season or maybe even as high as $4M.

    Buying out contracts should be the very last option. So, it may happen for Samsonov, but i think at that price for just one more season, some team would be willing to trade next to nothing to get him or pick him up on waivers. As for Kovalev, he won’t be traded, i think he will remain but puttin ghim on the block is worth a shot.

    Gainey is right for the job and i am glad you support that. You’re a good Habs fan for sticking up.

  9. mikster says:

    It’s always good to talk about teams that no one really cares about. That’s being a good hockey fan! And i agree with what you said. Sure, Yashin may be worth his contract, but in a cap era, who cares how much he makes if the team will remain low-budget? Say the guy gets traded to Washington and they still maintain a $34M budget. That’s low. That’s very low. And without Yashin it would be $27M, which i think is too low, but regardless……’s low. See how it doesn’t matter? $27M….$34M, who cares? It won’t stop them from adding a $3M via trade during the season.

    Glad you saw that Staal dive too. I was furious as i saw it 13 rows from the ice, right where it happened but on Belfour’s left side. And i saw Eddie jumping like that, it pumped the whole crowd.

    I think that if Sakic just signed, then Sundin must sign as well. He is the captain, a leader and he needs support. Who doesn’t? JFJ must give him a winger that can thrive with Sundin. I like him as a player, but if he were available and i was Slats, i wouldn’t make an offer. Some teams must get him, others can get him, and some others don’t need him.

  10. mikster says:

    Panthers won’t do anything of that sort. There aren’t many BIG TIME UFA’s out there and the likes of Briere, Drury…and Smyth won’t be attracted to Florida. Martin is not that kind of guy either. He has his team going, he will re-sign certain players, notably Belfour and Stumpel, and look for players like Todd White to sign.

  11. mikster says:

    Very well said and i should have taken their depth on D into account. Yet like you said, some of those guys just are not that good and the numbers show that. They’d be fine if they had a top notch goalie in net, but they didn’t so…it looks worse than it it. Bruins are an old time rival of my Rangers but it’s always a pleasue to see Boston have playoffs hockey for USA. Good luck Bruins.

  12. mikster says:

    I actually never thought about that; great job pointing that possibility out. I can be very judgemental on goalies when i look at their SV% as now the decent mark is like .899 to .907. Anything under that is quite mediocre at best. So, i thikn Raycroft managed to win some games for the Leafs, kind of like older style hockey where a goalie allows like 4….5 goals on 30 shots or less, and yet makes a couple of game savers that get his team to win in the end.

    But you may be on to something here as far as his usage. Still, i was really betting on Raycroft to find that hot streak he had once earlier in the season and then just lost it and never found it again. I watched the game against the Canadiens and man…..he was going to lose it for the Leafs. Too inconsistent and i think he is worth one more shot with a very reliable back-up. He just has to turn out right for JFJ’s sake though as Rask may become one heck of a solid NHL’er.

  13. Komic-J says:

    Well, I'm one of those who criticized Bob Gainey…not because Sergei Samsonov was a bust, but because I feel we didn't even need a player like him in the first place. Not because he traded Rivet, but because he decided to keep Souray, which was a huge gamble considering the various reports that he may leave at the end of the season, looking for a $5.0m contract. Not because he traded Theodore and Ribeiro, but because he didn't manage to get anything we needed in return of them. Not because he signed Kovalev to a very expensive multi-season contract, but because he failed to bring in some players who would've been crowd favorites in no time when he had the chance (Ian Laperriere, Denis Gauthier, etc…)

    Yeah…Gainey deserves some time off to deal with the loss of his daughter, and I really wish the best to him and all his family, I really do. But most of these moves have taken place before the tragedy. And if Gainey feels he can't do the job, which would be understandable given the circumstances, he should take a step down until he feels better and let Gauthier do the job. I'm not saying he's a bad general manager, just that his focus may not be where it needs to be for us to be succesful anytime soon.

  14. ferron says:

     Who cares if Souray goes and thank god if he goes , you all seem to like "Souray"now but wait this year was a fluque! Plus there are much better D-man on the market then Souray and at lower price (Timonen, D.Markov, Sydor).I also think that the offense we would lose with "Souray" gone , we would get by signing a good foward ( Briere, Drury, Kariya) with at least some credibility. If the only players left Are guys like Shanny, Guerin, or other washed up third liner that makes more then G.W.Bush and we should skip. One thing i know is that at "Bob" will probably be to slow and will end up with SAMSONOV we need a model to show these kids ( LaTendresse, Kostityn, Plekanec, Grabovski, Higgins) the way not another lazy bum ( Kovy ,Sammy).

  15. mikster says:

    Those moves worked very well in the first half. And, keeping Souray was after the loss of his daughter.

    Every GM makes mistakes, and he made them in Montreal just as he had in Dallas. If Samsonov alone would have worked out, then the Canadiens may have been in the playoffs; rather a good chance they would have been in it. It’s easy to look at those moves now and say they were wrong. If those moves turned out to be right though, you would have also had an easy time forgetting your first opinions of them 😉

    Look, i criticized Slats for making wrong moves too. I like Shanny and Cullen, but they did not meet expectations and that’s management’s fault. Wrong calculation on Cullen, thinking he’d be the 2nd line center for Shanny. Aaron Ward was a mistake as he pointed his finger at the team’s star in Jagr and failed to make his poor play an issue. And he made many……many ugly defensive plays.

    But hey, this stuff happens and sometimes they can still work and other times no. Kovalev is a great hockey player. Twenty-eight (excluding the Rangers), would have taken a chance with him if they had the opportunity. So, i think Gainey had the right idea and you disagreed with it, but i thought they were going to be good enough other than looking at a very weak position down the middle.

  16. habswinthecup-again says:

     I like Souray alot, like you say he brings character and toughness to the team, but he is going to get atleast 5 million and that is too much for player with his defensive abilities (just ask TO). As far as Markov goes he along with Timmonen in Nashville are probably the 2 most underrated defenseman an the league so it is most definately a must that Gainey signs Markov and if they were thinking of spending 4-5 million on Souray they would be better off offering it to Timmonen instead.

  17. Tachmo says:

    Maybe if the sharks lose out early they may want to look at a trade with Boston. Glen Murray and 2nd Rounder for Nabakov. Maybe Boston would need to sweeten that a little for San Jose to take on Murray's contract.

    Boston should go out and try to sign Scott Hannan, or Andy Sutton or Timmonen. Or (2) of those.
    Chara    Sutton
    Hannan  Ward
    Ference  Alberts 

    3 million for Sutton, 3 million for Hannan. An extra million added for Nabakov. I would love this. This would be the best Boston back end since I have followed the team. Since the early 90's.

  18. Komic-J says:

    I get what you're saying…but I think I'm a pretty objective hockey fan. I thought it was a mistake not to send Latendresse back to the juniors this year, and well he proved me wrong. I think I even posted an article or a comment about that here. So when I'm wrong about something, I usually have no problem admitting that I was.

    But lately…I've had doubts about Gainey's vision for the team. In my book, and I've been saying those things from day 1, trading Rivet was a good decision, but keeping Souray hoping we would reach the playoffs is a gamble we just couldn't afford to take. It was the perfect opportunity to acquire some prospects/picks instead of losing him for nothing, or signing him to an immovable contract.

    There's no way Gainey could've known that Samsonov was going to be a bust, you're right about that. But the fact remains that we didn't really need another small scoring winger, at least not as much as we needed a big right-handed second line center, or a good reliable defenseman.

    There's no doubt that trading Theodore and Ribeiro were good decisions. I'm not questioning that; but again, we didn't need Aebischer since the reason why we could afford to trade Theodore in the first place was because we had faith Huet could be our number one. Same thing with Ribeiro…if you want to get rid of him so badly, at least, get something useful in return. And if you can't…then at least don't take a player with an even bigger paycheck.

    I still think Gainey made a wise move when he signed Kovalev. It turned out to be kind of average for the team, but still it was the right decision. But that doesn't explain why he never even tried (as in no call whatsoever) to sign a player like Laperriere, who was an unrestricted free agent when he signed with Colorado, or why he didn't even bother to look at Denis Gauthier when he was playing with Phoenix.

    And now, everybody in Montreal is praying for Gainey to make strong push for Briere this summer. Personally, as much as I like Briere, I don't think he's the kind of player Montreal need. He's extremely talented, don't get me wrong…and he would probably quickly become a fan favorite here, but I don't think he is quite the franchise-type of player that Montreal needs.

    But Gainey doesn't really have a choice…he has to at least try, and try hard. Otherwise, people are quickly gonna be on his back. Now I'm not saying the guy deserves to lose his job, but he needs to be better at it because, personally, I'm not "impressed" by what he did so far. In my opinion, for every good decisions he makes, he takes a bad one.

    And whenever the day comes, no matter how many times it happens…if I feel the decision he took was bad, and it turns out to be a good call, I'll be the first one to admit that I was wrong. And believe me, I hope it'll happen more often than not.

  19. hockeyhead says:

    boston problems start with the coach.

    at times they looked like a playoff team and most times they look like an expansion team.

    they could not score at all down the stretch.  the power play was predictable and never changed.  chara was over worked and put in situations not suited for him.

    thomas should be a backup not a workhorse.

    the trades did help the defense but they still couldnt score goals.

    this team is truly sad and it only hurts the nhl.

    sell the team jacobs…for the millionth time.


    young players look bright however.  kessel, kalus, lashoff, stuart, rask…..bergeron will rebound.

  20. simplyhabby says:

    Whats the number one aspect wrong with the Habs?
    The media and fans. No they are not they reason why they missed the playoffs but in this hockey mad market, the question about Koivu's relevance of being a captian is nothing more thrn francophonism at its worst. Remember the Ribs, Koivu skirmish?  If Koivu was french, there would be little issue.  What Kovalev apparently said about the French players does have some truth in it.  Maybe not on the team but certainly in the media.

    I loathe the fact his leadership and committment to the team is questioned.  He had a career year and yes the team bombed mid season (the real reason why they missed the playoffs) but stop pointing fingers at the captain.  No wonder why a lot of high profile free agents don't want to play here, its because of high taxes and the poisonous scrutiny by the media and fans.  Koivu does need to be accountable for some of the faults as it is a team, but not all of what is being put on his shoulders.

    Yes Toronto is a high pressure market to play in but I never see hatred towards players like I see in the Montreal media.  Yes players are paid very well to be under pressure but if you had the choice of equal pay between Montreal and any other team and did not grow up being a Montreal fan, good chance you will likely pick the other team.

    Before all the K-beckers write a rebuttal in response stating biggotry of any sort, I love the PQ (not the BQ).  A great culture within a relatively culturless country (reagrding the meat, potatoes and pancake aspect, and I am canadian).  My fave player of all time is Roy, I have been a habs fan since I was young but this media francophonism has to stop influencing the politics of the team. 

  21. simplyhabby says:

    Hey HH, how have things been treating ya.

    I am suprised Joe was not traded to an NY team because that has a Ruth curse written all over it.  I still wonder why the B's did not pick up an immediate impact player in that deal? (Stuart is a great player but cmom, not the immediate impact player)

    I think their goaltending situation at that time was the killer because didn't they have three competent goalies?  It would have been a good deal (hindsight of course) to pull a deal for Nabokov or Toskala with Stuart.

    Oh well, the life of a GM. 

  22. hockeyhead says:

    whats up habby.  maybe the b's and habs are playiing golf together.

    do you think halek will be the man next year?  or is he another steve penney?

    i think the bruins getting kobasew and farence for primeau and stuart was a good trade for them.

    brad stuart s game has hit the fan.  he is doing nothing this season.  i wonder where he will sign.

  23. simplyhabby says:

    The habs will go with Huet next year and Halak will be the back up.  Just another year or two if things go well before Price comes up.
    Abby is done on MTL for sure.

    I have always been a fan of Ferrence so yes it was a good pick up but of course, now you have to anallyze if two thirds of Thorton is worth Ferrence and Kobasew. 

  24. hockeyhead says:

    they dont even talk about the b's anymore.  on the sports shows.

    it all started when jacobs told occonell to not sign knuble, nylander and rolston and then trade joe.

    look at what those players are doing.  rolston is the captain of the wild. 

    wow,  i am really starting not to care…..if i were to think that 20 years ago i would think i was crazy.

    nice job jacobs

  25. mikster says:

    I am a HUGE fan of Timmonen. I was one of those few fantasy leaguers that ALWAYS picked Timmonen and always guaranteed me a solid season. Yet i would not pick him over Souray. Souray is the kind of d-man that you pay $5M for and he will make the big plays to win you a game. He would be the one trying to change the momentum of the game with a hit or roughing up an opponent. He’d be the type to score a huge goal from the point with under a minute left.

    $5M is expensive, but he’s worth it as far as his kind of market. Look at McCabe…Gonchar. They are making that kind of money yet i wouldn’t put them at the same level as Souray. He means too much to Montreal. Would i want my Rangers to sign Souray? No, because NYR has a solid defensive core and more young guys that are ready to step in. But if i were the GM of a team that had little character on D and needed to establish a starting point on defense, then i’d take Souray over Timmonen or Markov.

    Either way, good luck to you Habs fans and Gainey. I hope his decisions will turn things around for your team.

  26. Tachmo says:

    I couldn't agree with you more. Boston had a terrific team a few years ago. however stumbled in 7 games to Montreal. Only because Joe had broken ribs. It was an ugly ending, but Boston fans and mgmt. couldn't let it go. They figured they needed to gut and rebuild.

    To this day I can't figure out why they didn't resign Knuble, Nylander and especially Rolston. These are three of the most underated players in the league. They could have signed Rolston for 2.5, Nylander for 2.5, and Knuble for 1.5. Instead they signed Zhamnov for 4.0. Then gave Murray a ridiculous 4.15 contract and an even more ridiculous deal was Leetch to 4.0 one year contract!!! They could have made a move to resign Gonchar, he was already in Boston! The team was stacked!
    The combination of these deals and the Thornton trade completely gutted this team and will hurt for years to come.

  27. mikster says:

    Sutton is nothing more than a #5 d-man and only good if paired with another good d-man. The most i’d sign him for would be $1.8M a season.

    Hannan in Boston? That’s more like it. He’d be an excellent fit there.

    Murray for Nabby could be a possibility, and in a way i think it may be worth doing so. Yet, the Sharks would also want something of value for the future. In this case, a young player included in the package.

  28. Tachmo says:

    You are probably right about Sutton. I think what Boston needs is defensive defenceman. Sutton maybe be a good signing for 2 million/per and play with Alberts or Ference on the 3rd pairing.

    Hannan needs to be signed!!

    Boston should trade any young player with Murray if they didn't want a 2nd rounder then throw in Kobasew, Krecji, Kalus, Karsums, ***** anybody. Just get a #1 goalie in Bean Town and we'll see what happens. It may hurt to give a youngster, but if it means shredding Murray's contract and getting a goalie in return it is genius.

  29. hockeyhead says:

    nice post.  idiot jacobs thinks that over spending for yesterdays heros will make amends with bruins fans.

    we need a star goalie.  another top dman to compliment Z another sniper…and most of all a guy with character that will put fear into the oppostion…neely and oriely are missed for sure.

    we also need a coach like pat burns or mike keenan again.

    should of got pat quinn.

  30. Habroller says:

    I really think that even without Souray the Habs have a better active depth on D than the Rangers (without Marc Staal of course). The only reason you made the playoffs is because you're stacked up front and your goalie stepped up when he needed to (instead of getting injured – Huet – or just becoming mediocre – Aebischer). Likes of Roszival, Rachunek, Mara, Pock, Malik & Tyutin (though I like this one) wouldn't make the Habs top 3 IMO!

  31. mikster says:

    Actually, the defense got the Rangers in the playoffs. The last week or so they went stronger on the offense, but with the injuries before…….it was allllllllll defense!

  32. habsoverserver says:

    koivu had a career year, because of Souray on the powerplay.  take away koivu's 43 powerplay points and he had 11 goals and 21 assists and was minus 21 at full strength.

    mike johnson had 10 goals and 18 assists when not on the powerplay and was plus six. samsonov had 9 goals and 13 assists at full strength and was minus four.  plekanec makes koivu look even worse – he had 15 full strength goals, 18 assists and was +10. 

    if the team had played johnson or pleks at first line center, for at least part of the season, when koivu was struggling, montreal might have made the playoffs.

    if the team's highest paid player, captain and leader can't outscore a rookie or a third liner obtained for nothing, then he needs to stand up and hold himself accountable, as does management for not intervening. 

  33. habsoverserver says:

    i agree with most of what you wrote, but i think that a thorough scouting report of samsonov would have indicated that to thrive he needed more ice time and powerplay time than montreal wanted to give him.  that type of scouting is very easy to provide.  despite that, i still thought that samsonov was an ok move. 

    in retrospect it is clear that gainey needs to clear cap space and have room to trade for the right guy when he shows up, as opposed to always forcing something iffy like samsonov. 

  34. Tachmo says:

    Those are interesting stats. I personally think Samsonov has gotten the shaft. He should end up in Boston where he belongs.

    It was pretty hard for him to produce like they wanted him to with no PP time. It is hard for anyone to produce with no PP time. Judging by your statements, Koivu would have been ridden out of town more then Samsonov if he didn't see the PP.

    In my mind it is all about getting the opportunity. Perhaps Samsonov didn't deserve it.

  35. habsoverserver says:

    like bonk before him, samsonov was expected to produce to a first line level of offence, while being given far less ice time and no special teams play. 

    when the organization makes peripheral players the centerpieces of their offseason strategy and pays them big bucks for their tangenial roles, they leave themselves open to be attacked by the media.

  36. simplyhabby says:

    Stats don't lie, however, Koivu is the only player on this team that I have seen carry on his back for a few wins this year. 

    In know way am i excluding Koivu from fault this year, is a team game and blame, however, I an reinforcing his abilities as a leader and team player.

    In my comments under the "Question's of plenty" I noted the teams horrible +/- rating, specially the first line but when the game is on the line for the habs, would you prefer plex to be at center, or Koivu?

    Don't get me wrong, I think plex is an excellent two way player and her is light years ahead of what Ribs brought to the team but Koivu is still the man in my books.

    To enforce your view, I don't thing Koivu should be a first line center, I think he is more suited to the wing on the first line or a second line center, however, he is the best center we got!

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