And here come the Rangers

lundqvist

The first team to 60 points, the New York Rangers play at the Bell Centre Sunday having blanked the Maple Leafs 3-0 in Toronto on Saturday. Marty Biron got the shutout, which likely means “King” Henrik Lundqvist — who many people considered the league’s top goalie in the first half of the season — will face Montreal.

Against the Leafs, the Rangers got secondary scoring, as they have lately, with big Mike Rupp and bigger Brian Boyle getting goals in the second period. Derek Stepan, who has been a linchpin in the Rangers offence this season, scored in the third.

The six-foot-five, 23 pound Rupp, who missed 22 games during the first half with a knee injury, also scored twice against the Flyers in the Winter Classic (taunting Philadelphia with a Jaromir Jagr salute after the first) and has a knack for big goals (including a Stanley Cup winner for the Devils in 2003).

For the six-foot-seven, 244 pound Boyle, who had 21 goals last year, it was only his third of the season and his first in 23 games. But he’s been an effective checking centre this season. Even when someone on this team isn’t scoring, they are doing something to help the team win. It’s a club with good chemistry and a determined attitude. They have lots of offensive balance — seven players with 20 or more points and six more in double digits.

It was a typical Rangers outing Saturday, displaying one of the NHL’s most effective forechecks, something you can expect to see on Sunday if the they bring their “A” game. The Leafs defencemen had almost no time to move the puck all evening as nearly every shoot-in was fiercely contested, nearly every play was made under pressure. According to the stats sheet, the Leafs committed 26 giveaways and the Rangers stole the puck four more times; that’s 30 turnovers compared to the 17 the other way.

The stats also show the Rangers out-hit the Leafs 48 to 39. They are credited with the most hits in the NHL this season, 1219. That’s about 200 more than the Canadiens. They are a team with good size and they use it.

“That’s a big part of our game,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said after the Leafs game of New York’s physical game. “That’s the way we have to play; we’re not talented enough, we’re not a good enough team if we don’t play the way we’re supposed to play. We’ve defined that as a team, we’ve developed an identity as a team and now it’s our responsibility to try and continue to play that way.”

But, other than Marian Gaborik and Michael Del Zotto, they are not an especially fast team, which was evident in the Canadiens’ 4-0 defeat of New York the last time they visited in November.

Although he had uncharacteristically kept his forward units together for weeks, an amazingly long stretch of games for him, Tortorella mixed up his lines at the start of the Leafs game, partly by necessity and partly to change things up after the Rangers lost to Ottawa on Thursday. Brandon Dubinsky missed his second consecutive game with a shoulder injury on Saturday and Carl Hagelin, a late-November call-up from the AHL who was a collegiate star for Michigan, was moved to that spot with Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan.

Tortorella also fiddled with his second line, promoting John Mitchell from the bottom six and slotting him between Stepan (who leads the Rangers with 19 assists) and Gaborik (who leads the Rangers with 23 goals). Stepan has had excellent chemistry with Gaborik and centred for him and Artem Anisimov. But he was bumped to wing and Anisimov was moved to the fourth line as a centre between Rupp and Wojtek Wolski.

As the game went on, Tortorella juggled things even more, and some of that was because Ruslan Fedotenko left that game with back spasms. It’s unclear who will take his spot if he can’t go on Sunday. Regardless, don’t get used to seeing any set combinations from New York.

But like so many moves Tortorella has made this year, it all worked out for him and his club, especially once they got motoring in the middle frame and forced Toronto into numerous errors, like on the first goal, caused by a bad pass from Mike Komisarek (video) that turned into a great three-way passing play between Wolski and Stepan that was finished off by Rupp early in the period.

The Rangers ability to defend has been one of the bigger surprises of the season. They have become very stingy in their own zone, the product of good positional play that blocks shooting and passing lanes. They’re third in the league in blocked shots with 692 (the Habs lead with 717) led by Dan Girardi, whose 106 blocked shots are fourth in the league (Josh Gorges 122 are tops). Emerging as a top defenceman, Girardi averages over 27 minutes a game.

His partner, Ryan McDonagh (yes, him) is second, averaging 25 minutes a night. He’s also second among Rangers defencemen in plus/minus with a plus-11.

Another big surprise has been the play of blueliner Del Zotto, team leader at plus-24 and a power play quarterback with a big shot. He wa a turnover machine in his first two NHL seasons, but he has matured and gained confidence this season and has Tortorella’s confidence as well.

With former All-Star Marc Staal back and regaining his form after missing most of the season with post-concussion symptoms, they are becoming even better defensively. They’re 5-1 since his return and have given up only nine goals. Staal is being used more than when he started out at the Winter Classic playing under 13 minutes. He’s now up to around 19.

The Rangers power play is no great shakes for a team first overall. They’re 23rd, clicking at only a 14.6 rate. The penalty kill is better, sixth in the league, negating 86.4 percent of opponents’ man advantage chances. They also have six shorthanded goals. They have to be good on the PK — they are among the most penalized team in the NHL, averaging almost 14 minutes a game. They also are tied with the Bruins for most major penalties, 33.

Here’s how the Rangers might start the game on Sunday (assuming Fedotenko can play). Then again maybe not. And even if they do, don’t expect it to stay that way.

Carl Hagelin-Brad Richards-Ryan Callahan
Derek Stepan-John Mitchell-Marian Gaborik
Ruslan Fedotenko-Brian Boyle-Brandon Prust
Mike Rupp-Artem Anisimov-Wojtek Wolski

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto-Anton Stralman
Marc Staal-Anton Stralman

Henrik Lundqvist
Marty Biron

425 Comments

  1. Qais says:

    Anyone got an online site to watch the game guys? thanks.

  2. HABZ24 says:

    price doesnt deserve 7 mill. look at his numbers this season so far. pice is not playing like its a contract year.he is soft very soft on the glove hand up high and every team knows it.his avg is 2.44 below avg.we should have kept kari ramo who was having a good season, he could have been a solid back up to price.

    GO HABS GO

  3. Mike D says:

    Some thoughts on The Trade, how it pertains to AK46…..and some interesting speculation:

    I’d LOVE to get people’s thoughts on this so if you’re patient enough to read what will be a lengthy post, please share your thoughts.

    A few weeks ago I wrote a long post on AK’s situation and how important it is for PG to:
    1) Decide whether or not he wants to retain AK, and;
    2) If PG does want to retain him, to negotiate with him NOW to see if AK is interested in staying here and willing to sign a reasonable contract. If AK isn’t then we MUST move him by the deadline because he’s too much of an asset to lose for nothing.

    So what’s a reasonable contract for AK46?

    Great question. Looking at production and style of play, I think our very own Cole and Bourque are actually decent comparables. Points-wise over their careers, the numbers are very close. Style-wise AK is more finesse than those two and not as much power-forward, but does play physical. At the time, I stated a reasonable contract for AK46 would be 3-4 years at around 4mil per. I still think that’s correct and it happens to fall between Bourque’s and Cole’s cap hits. Nice and tidy IMO.

    I have no idea if PG has contacted AK’s agent to discuss an extension, or if he’s even decided whether or not he wants to keep him around any longer, but I do hope he’s made headway on the matter in some form.

    Does AK46 want to stay with the Habs?

    I think that’s anybody’s guess. He said he wanted more than a 1 year contract when asked at training camp, but did he mean it or was he just avoiding a media sh!tstorm by not saying he’s unhappy here. I remember him saying that his agent’s advice was to just play hockey and shut up – take from that what you will. How much merit does that interview he did in Belarus in the summer hold? Was he misquoted? Even if he said what was reported, with JM now gone have his concerns disappeared? I honestly have NO idea.

    Leaving AK alone for a moment, let’s look at The Trade:

    Basically it was Bourque+futures+cap space for Cammy. Ramo wasn’t coming to play for us, and the 5th round pick – while potentially valuable if you draft a guy like Gallagher – is not likely to turn into much. The 2nd rounder is much more valuable than the 5th and Holland might be an NHL quality player.

    Under the circumstances (Cammy’s production and play this season plus his recent comments to the media – misquoted, misread, or not), I think PG actually did pretty good. Especially considering he was in a position where getting fleeced was a possibility. A small player with a 6mil cap hit for 2.5 more years, and an actual salary of 7mil starting next season can be very difficult to move even with ‘okay’ production, let alone bad production. A big physical player with a 3.33mil cap hit is MUCH easier to move if things don’t work out or if he doesn’t meet expectations with his production. That’s a huge plus.

    Lack of size has been an issue on this team for a while and by directly trading a small player for a big physical one, the impact is two-fold; sort of like how playing a divisional rival close to you in the standings is a 4-point game. Bourque’s regular season numbers have been better than Cammy’s over the past 2.5 years, but Cammy has the higher ceiling of potential and IS a proven playoff performer.

    No clear-cut winner in this trade, or at least not yet. If that 2nd round pick we acquired turns into something good then we definitely win hands down. If not, then it’s likely even as long as Bourque can achieve similar production with us and be the physical presence we need while not being a defensive liability. Even if Cammy lights it up in Calgary, I saw no evidence that would happen here any time soon (although it was possible I suppose).

    My issue with Bourque is his reputation that he doesn’t bring it every night, despite being a quality player who obviously can put up good numbers. Strangely enough, our very own AK46 has had the same knocks against him his whole career. Having two of those guys in your top 6 is not good. I truly hope a change of scenery for Bourque will shake that inconsistency out of his game. If not, he might get eaten alive.

    My other issue with Bourque is his age. He’s only a few months older than Cammy so it’s not that we added another 30 year old, it’s that we didn’t get younger.

    Tying it all together, and how AK fits in – speculation.

    My biggest issue with The Trade was that I believe it was done in haste. I realize both GM’s said they have discussed it for a while but that’s an easy story to come up with while you’re discussing trading millions in players salaries. Not to mention PG said Dec. 1 and Feaster said mid-November. Add in the recent comments Cammy had made and the coincidence is far too great for me to believe this was in the works for more than 48 hours.

    I don’t think PG examined the market as well as he could have, nor did he try to create a market to the extent that was possible. Basically what I’m saying is I think PG could have got more or done better overall for the long-term in this trade with a different partner than Calgary. That also would have likely included different or better pieces on our end, but also better pieces coming back.

    I’m looking at Anaheim. To summarize, of their big 3 they consider Bobby Ryan their most trade-able and want roster players in return. Perry is almost untouchable and they want A LOT for Getzlaf which isn’t surprising as he’s that big elusive #1 C that so many teams are lacking and has a complete game.

    Okay, let’s look at Bobby Ryan. Big (6’2″, 210lbs.), young (will be 25 in March), fast, skilled, physical, and defensively responsible. Three straight 30+ goal seasons and on pace for 30 again this year despite having a bit of an off-year. Usually plays LW but has NHL experience playing Center as well. Being a RH-shot, he can likely also play RW if need be. If you’ve seen him play, you know he can stick-handle and dangle very well, and though he’s not a pure sniper like a Stamkos, he has an excellent shot and is at the very least a partial sniper. His point distribution over the past 3 seasons has been pretty 50/50 between goals and assists which is also nice.

    On the other side of that coin, he’s able to achieve that production at least partially because spends a lot of ice time with elite line-mates in Perry and Getzlaf, and often with Teemu and Saku. Saku might not be elite like Perry, Getzlaf, and Teemu, but he’s still very good and Ryan gets at least one elite player on either line. Despite all this, his career year so far is 71 points and has averaged only 64 points over the past 3 seasons (on pace for only 49 this year). Far from a point-per-game player, but given his youth has time to develop and be even better. With lesser line-mates one could assume he wouldn’t do as well, but also consider he doesn’t get as many looks because there’s so many other options on his lines. Also keep in mind the Ducks have done poorly as a team despite having so many excellent players so something must be wrong there somewhere.

    He’s signed until the end of the 2014-2015 season at a cap hit of 5.1mil which is pretty reasonable given his youth, skills, and potential.

    What I’m getting to (finally) is this:

    Why didn’t we trade Cammy and AK46 to Anaheim for Ryan?

    Cammy was getting traded regardless. If AK doesn’t want to re-sign with us, or re-sign at a reasonable price and term, or if PG decides he doesn’t want to retain AK, then why not get a young star player to build around and one who will help attract other desirable FA’s? Heck, even if AK does want to stay and will sign a reasonable deal and PG wants him, this would be a good move. I realize Ryan isn’t Sid, Ovie, Stamkos, etc. but he’s a better player and a lot more desirable a teammate to FA’s than any of our other forwards (and no offense to those guys b/c I really like them and we have a lot of quality players).

    Is that deal fair to both sides? Very tough call. Some might say we’d have to include more, some might say we’re overpaying.

    If we have to include more, then maybe throw in Ramo since ANA might want some depth at goalie given Hiller’s health issues and play this year. We also have a plethora of offensive Dmen (young, seasoned, and right in between) that we can part with and they may have interest because other than Fowler they don’t have much. Vishnovsky is good but is already 35 and often injured. If they want one or two of St. Denis, Weber, maybe Diaz, Campoli, Kaberle, Bennet, Pateryn, we can afford to part with them. If they want a draft pick, fine as long as it’s not a 1st or 2nd rounder. Maybe a forward prospect like Palushaj or Engqvist. I’m not saying ALL of the above, but maybe Cammy, AK, and Ramo. Or Cammy, AK, Weber, and a 3rd rounder. Something like that.

    For those thinking that we’d actually be overpaying with just Cammy and AK (and there’s some legit reasons to think that), then they can throw in a decent pick or okay prospect.

    I don’t know what would have been required by either side but Ryan, Cammy, and AK as the centerpieces and some other stuff to balance it out was doable IMO and I don’t think it was even considered which is an absolute shame.

    ANA would have to be intrigued by it. It’s conceivable that either player could replace Ryan’s production alone playing with Getz, and Perry, but both together certainly would and then some. AK’s contract is up this year, but they have plenty of room to re-sign him looking at their situation on capgeek and I don’t think it would take much to convince him with a decent offer, sunny California, and quality line-mates. Plus there’s Saku and Cammy as familiar faces for a guy who seems shy/quiet to help integrate him if that’s a concern.

    For us, we get a better overall player who’s younger, and clear some cap space as well. Plus I like the idea of having Bobby Ryan as opposed to Bourque and AK46. With the cap space , we could easily acquire another player who would replace either’s production.

    Imagine a line of Ryan-Eller-Cole?

    Of course this is all fantasy and the deal that was made is done, but the point of all this is why didn’t we do something along those lines instead of acquiring a 30 year old with consistency/effort issues?

    BTW, I like AK46 and now that Cammy’s gone I think he should be kept. Power forwards are good but you can’t have all those types in your line up. You also need skilled guys to balance things and create different opportunities. AK actually brings both which I like a lot, but if we lose him for nothing in the summer or trade him and end up with less than what could have been compared to the trade I proposed above, I will be pissed.

    – Honestly yours

    • citizenSanto says:

      or the reader’s digest version:
      I ♥ AK

      btw Mike D, I love your work with the Beastie Boys (especially the shorter songs)

    • jamefour says:

      Cammy had a clause in his contract in which he selected 7 teams he could be traded to. It’s likely he didn’t select the Ducks. We know the Flames were on that list. You think there are 6 other cup-contending teams he would choose over the Ducks? I do.

  4. KKMTL says:

    I heard today that Price has been offered 7M/yr for 7 years. He countered with 7M/yr for a 10 year contract

    • Seps says:

      That’s very fair, 7y/49M is exactly what Rinne got and that’s exactly what I said down further, comparable goalies, they’ll get comparable salaries.

      • Chris says:

        Except Rinne got his deal as a UFA, while Price is an RFA. He does not have the same bargaining power.

        And there is also the fact that Rinne is better than Price.

        • Seps says:

          See that’s where I disagree, would you not agree Nashville has a better d-corps than Montreal? Would you not agree Nashville has better goal scorers than Montreal? Rinne constantly struggles to get out of the first round even when he does manage to make the playoffs, he made it to the second round once, last year, Price made it to the second round in his rookie year, Rinne has no vezina and no one-ups on Price, both are unproven playoff goalies who lost to the Championship teams from last year.

    • Lizardking89 says:

      I love Price but there is no way in hell I’d sign him for 10 years. Goalies can regress really quick and Montreal has a habit of chewing up and spitting out goalies.

  5. AndyF says:

    “Player Contribution is a method for allocating credit for a team’s performance to the individual contributors on a hockey team. More precisely, it is a way of allocating a team’s wins to individual players. It puts offense, defense and goaltending performance on the same page, in the same currency.”

  6. AndyF says:

    Last post about this because it doesn’t go over well with everyone:

    Player Contribution is a method for allocating credit for a team’s performance to the individual contributors on a hockey team. More precisely, it is a way of allocating a team’s wins to individual players. It puts offense, defense and goaltending performance on the same page, in the same currency.

    http://hockeyanalytics.com/2004/03/player-contribution/

  7. AndyF says:

    Last post about this, as it doesn’t go over well with some:
    ” “Player Contribution is a method for allocating credit for a team’s performance to the individual contributors on a hockey team. More precisely, it is a way of allocating a team’s wins to individual players. It puts offense, defense and goaltending performance on the same page, in the same currency.”

    http://hockeyanalytics.com/2004/03/player-contribution/

    http://andyfroncioni.com

  8. Timo says:

    Ooh, another jam from Calgary Herald. It’s a poll question.

    “Do you think Michael Cammalleri’s return means that Flames will have a shot at the Stanley Cup?”

    Seriously? It’s like asking the same question upon Gomer’s return.

  9. nova scotia vees says:

    Boone or some other reporter….why not watch how the Habs practice and compare with successful teams. I maintain that they are NOT IN SHAPE. I read that at practice Price often works on his stick-handling and shooting!!!! What is that about? Perhaps he could work harder on his positioning and his abililty to stay on his feet. 2nd goal…on his knees waving glove at puck. Had he stood up and actually been on the correct side of the net…even a deflection doesn’t go in.
    As for Cammy…not in shape. Boasted in training camp that he had done NO cardio training in the off-season. He said it was overated. I coach and even great players can suck if not in shape.
    Finally…do not sign Price, or AK, and why not go with youth..LeBlanc, Gallagher, Tinordi, Kristo(?)…let youth be served.

    • habsfan0 says:

      If Price works on his stick handling and shooting in practice, then why not let him take a shot in a shootout?

      Couldn’t possibly get any worse result than popgun offence we have now.

      • Timo says:

        Can goalies actually shoot in a shootout? Also, Price could have dressed as a forward instead of Gomez or Darche tonight, since Boodaay is in nets.

        • habsfan0 says:

          That’s a good question to ask Boone or Stu Hackel. How about it? Is a goalie eligible,without his goalie equipment of course, to take a shot in the shootout?

          • Psycho29 says:

            I don’t think they can…
            A goalie is not allowed to handle the puck past the red line….

    • And if he would have went into the butterfly on the first goal he would have stopped that too.

      NEXT!

      Instead of Price working on ANYTHING at all, maybe he should work on scoring goals with his goalie stick.

      I cannot believe someone would pick points out about the only player on the team that can be considered a Franchise player.

      Shane Oliver
      http://www.Sholi2000.com Inc.
      Custom Sports Figures
      Brandon, MB,Canada
      R7B 2R7
      hockey@sholi2000.com
      Ph- 204 724 8418

  10. Bripro says:

    The problem with today’s salaries is that the agents are smarter than the GMs.
    When a team signs insane contracts like:
    Bryzgalov – $10MM/year x 9 years
    Lecavalier – $10MM/yr x 11 yrs
    Heatly – $8MM/yr x 6 yrs
    E. Staal – $7.75MM/yr x 7 yrs
    Wisniewski – $7MM/yr x 6 yrs
    Phaneuf – $6.5MM/yr x 6 yrs
    and disasters, like Redden – $6.5MM x 6 yrs

    these teams create precedents that the agents use as barometers.
    The agent doesn’t care about team chemistry or longevity or compromising money for the sake of the team.
    All they care about is getting as much money for their guy, and for themselves by extension; regardless of which team will be the taker.

    Yes, some players will only chose to play for certain teams, but at the end of the day, teams like the Rangers, the Kings and the Red Wings will be on that list, and some are willing to give away the bank.

    So if anyone wearing rose-colored glasses thinks that they can produce a well-balanced and exciting team while keeping salaries down, there is only one way of doing that: through the draft and keeping them within the organization, convincing them that it is all for the good of the team.
    Then the players have to believe in this system.
    I know of only one team that fits the description, the Red Wings.
    And as someone pointed out earlier, we’re not the Detroit Red Wings.
    So you pay the price (no pun intended) or lose the player.

    • AndyF says:

      Bryzgalov – $10MM/year x 9 years
      -> 213.9 / 10 = 21.39 PC per $1M

      Lecavalier – $10MM/yr x 11 yrs
      -> 51/10 = 5.0 PC per $1M

      Heatly – $8MM/yr x 6 yrs
      -> 56/8 = 7.0 PC per $1M

      E. Staal – $7.75MM/yr x 7 yrs
      -> 62/7.75 = 8.0 PC per $1M

      Wisniewski – $7MM/yr x 6 yrs
      -> 39/7 = 5.57 PC per $1M

      Phaneuf – $6.5MM/yr x 6 yrs
      -> 54/6.5 = 8.3 PC per $1M

      And using the same metrics, Price would have:
      -> 245/7 = 35 PC per $1M

      That would probably be one of the highest player contribution scores per $1M in the league, except for Ward, Thomas, and Rinne.

      http://andyfroncioni.com

  11. HardHabits says:

    The best offence is a good defence. – Jacqueoleon Martinparte

  12. BJ says:

    Pittsburgh 3 Tampa 1. How many still want Boucher as coach?

  13. AndyF says:

    Another good article about the draft by Alan Ryder.
    http://hockeyanalytics.com/2009/06/the-real-draft-lottery/

    (Edited)
    Tldr; Draft picks in the first round are worth it. Beyond the first round, they level out considerably. To make the best of it, have more picks.

    http://andyfroncioni.com

  14. Timo says:

    LOL, great comment in Calgary Herald:

    “Wow! Talk about a trade having an immediate impact. Instead of losing 4-0, we lost 4-1.”

    • Rob says:

      There’s no doubt it’s a bad trade for Calgary. The question is whether it’ll be a good trade for the Habs

      The Montreal Canadiens: sporting the best AND worst fans since 1909!

  15. jimmy shaker says:

    Let’s get budaj the majority of the rest of the starts, since the season is over now, and if price does want that type of deal (rinne like) let him walk and go after Schneider in vancouver. Price should get no more than 5.75mill per over 6 years. He’s not as good of a tender as Rinne. That’s a doable contract for both parties.

    Shaker

    • TomNickle says:

      Wonder where Price would be with Shea Weber and Ryan Suter playing in front of him.

      • jimmy shaker says:

        probably still struggling if the offense can’t score….. if weber and suter could play the whole game, he’d be fine, but as soon as D’s 3-6 came on the ice with the same offense, he’d be in troube again.

        Shaker

        • TomNickle says:

          He has two defensemen in their first NHL seasons, one young player who is struggling mightily in his own end, a large player and a small player who can’t clear the crease.

          You’ve always had a problem with Price and a love affair with Halak Jimmy. I didn’t see you all over Price last season. Funny how you kick him when he’s down.

          And facts are facts, this team doesn’t have a defenseman, not one, that can log big minutes effectively and even slightly lighten the burden on a goaltender.

          What goalie in the upper tier of the league in terms of stats right now is in a similar situation?

          Just one would suffice.

          • slapshot777 says:

            + 1 Good point Tom.

            To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high.

          • jimmy shaker says:

            I liked halak better yes, but he ‘s gone and price is the man, bottom line. I believe in price as the teams number 1 tender, and just like last year, if price was down too early or too deep in the paint or swimming on his knees I called it out as my opinion just like this year…….and like two years ago, he’s not getting the bounces and the soft ones are adding up a lot quicker. I think another short contract would do both he and the club alot of good or like I said before 5.75 over six years, what’s wrong with that? Also, nashville does have weber and suter back there for renne, but who do they have up front scoring the goals?
            The Habs brass chose to spend money up top with Gomez, cam my, gio, Cole while Nashville has spent it on there back end…..maybe Bobby should’ve spent the money on the d. Coulda, woulda……u need to get results with what u have
            and right now the Habs are not getting it done, that’s why the lower contract for
            price in my opinion. I even think they overpayed for gorges but what’s done is done!

            Shaker

    • CHicoHab says:

      Price is worth more than what some of his supporting cast are getting. Get him signed to whatever it takes and clean up the supporting cast. It all starts from the goal line out to be successful.

      “take your time and hurry up”

  16. HardHabits says:

    I realize that many think the Habs are just having a bad luck season and are really close given that they went to the ECF 2 season ago and took the eventual Cup winners to game 7 OT in the 1st round last play-offs. That is certainly a cup half full perspective. As for the cup half empty view, the Habs snuck into the play-offs with 88 points, getting that last point in a OT loss to Toronto on the last game. Last season Price had an true MVP season carrying the Habs to 96 points. They still blew a 2-0 lead in the series, coming home at that and lost game 4 after they were leading 3-1 and letting the Bruins even the series. Are they close or are they far?

    The new parity league has proven that both can be true. This team could become very good in a year or two or could become even worse. The difference now between being elite and a draft lottery team is often a bounce or two here or there and that extra pound of effort that makes the slightest of differences in a scrum along the boards or in front of the net.

    To swing between the bi-polar states of tanking to being elite is a far more enjoyable ride than spinning ones wheels going nowhere. Get ready for the roller-coaster ride Habs fans. Tears will turn to joy and the joy will be sorrow as happiness follows once again. Better to sink to unfathomable depths and rise to dizzying heights than to stolidly stumble year after year in middling mediocrity.

    Hello! Hooray! Let the show begin I’ve been ready!

  17. CHicoHab says:

    Pens,Leafs,Caps and Sabres are all 4 pointers so hopefully Mr.Bourque is in full swing by then,

    “take your time and hurry up”

  18. AndyF says:

    For those of you who wonder in public what Carey Price has done to earn big numbers, then have a look at Alan Ryder’s “Player Contribution” index from HockeyAnalytics:

    http://hockeyanalytics.com/2011/12/2011-nhl-review/

    Yup, that’s a 4th-place best overall player contribution index, using more information than most of us could swallow. And very similar to Rinne, btw.

    Enjoy!

    http://andyfroncioni.com

    • deuce6 says:

      Numbers, formulas, blah, blah, blah…

      Carey Price is a great young goaltender, but if he wants to be close to the highest paid players in this league, then let him get it elsewhere..We are not in a position to commit so much money to a guy that can’t even get his team into a playoff position..He’s a RFA, FFS..He has next to no leverage..His numbers wouldn’t be in his favor if it was to go to arbitration…That contract offer would be dumb on our part..He hasn’t proven anything, yet..

      ——————

      Yes, I’m a Hab fan..Wanna fight about it?

      • habsfan0 says:

        Exactly. Price was drafted by GAINEY,who referred to him as a thoroughbred.

        ‘Nuff said.

      • AndyF says:

        Have a look at the mess the Flyers have put themselves in year after year by not ante’ing up for a proper goalie. You can have a great team, but like it or not, goaltending will involve the highest player contribution of all. It’s the troll you have to pay to get across the bridge.

        Dollars are numbers, too, by the way. And running your team by looking at raw dollars without the use of a proper denominator for assessing player quality is complete folly in modern sports management.

        So before you write off Alan Ryder’s analysis, you might at least be prepared to have a look at some shift charts, and try to come up with a better argument than just “blah, blah, blah…”.

        http://andyfroncioni.com

        • deuce6 says:

          OK, fine..You want me to analyze this? Fine..What I can see on that list is all but 2 of the top 10 players (goalies) have either a) won a cup or b)been either nominated for a Vezina or won one…Has Price accomplished any of this?

          It also has Reimer higher than Claude Giroux..So, would you think Reimer deserves just as much as a Giroux? get a grip..Its numbers, that’s it..

          ——————

          Yes, I’m a Hab fan..Wanna fight about it?

          • AndyF says:

            Guess what? Ascribing a number (1 or 0) to having a Cup or not… is also numbers. Binary.

            :-)

            http://andyfroncioni.com

          • AndyF says:

            Then PC is a good predictor of Cups and Vezinas, now, isn’t it? This is about crystal balls, not about rear view mirrors, deuce6. People pay a lot of money for good predictors of success, and very little for MacGuire-style “told-you-so” analysis.

            It might be stacked in favour of goalies, but that’s because a goalie has much more potential to contribute to his team than a right winger.

            http://andyfroncioni.com

  19. SmartDog says:

    How good is this team?
    WHERE DO YOU STAND?
    a) We’re closer than it looks. We just need to move a bad contract or two and open up space to put in somebody better (younger and not over-paid).
    b) We need to ship out a few guys, but if we replace them with some size and grit, and one more good top 6 forward, we’ll have a team.
    c) Markov and Gomez have us hog-tied. If Markov doesn’t come back and Gomez isn’t taken off the books, we’re in bad shape not just for this year but for the next two.
    d) The air needs to be changed and the team needs to be practically gutted. Keep our younger core but have a fire sale on almost anyone over 26.
    e) This team relies on too many guys who are unreliable. Almost everyone is overpaid (or will be when Price and Subban re-up).

    ————————————-
    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • kempie says:

      They say that answers to multiple-choice questions are usually C so that’s what I’m going with.

      • SmartDog says:

        I’m with you. To me it’s just simple math. It’s not that our team is BAD, it’s that we have too many holes. No-one to dominate in the face-off circle. No-one to score shoout-out goals. Our Power Play is faltering… we need several new parts, and as long as we’re paying Markov to not play and Gomez to either not play or play, but like a 3rd line guy, we’ve just got huge baggage to carry.

        ————————————-
        Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • Dust says:

      I geuss Im with a. I think we need to be sellers. Moving guys like kabele and gill. Hopefully there is an amnesty clause in the new cba so we can get rid of gomez penalty free. See what the summer brings and most importantly our gm needs to listen to every trade offer on every player. and if he decides to shop a player, offer him to everyone in the leauge.

    • Stev.R says:

      My opinion, we need four players for next season. A top 6 forward (winger), a shutdown centreman for the fourth line, a veteran gritty defenceman, and Grigorenko (a superstar rookie). We can do well with just the first three. I have complete faith that Markov will be able to return healthy and that our youth (Subban, Eller, DD, White, Emelin, Diaz, Weber) will be even better.

      Shutdown centreman like Gaustad, a vet dman like Sarich. If we could get Parise (or someone of that nature) that would be pretty dope too.

    • GrimJim says:

      solidly in the (a) camp

    • HardHabits says:

      I kind of think b,c and d are variants of each other. I am not in the a or e camp.

    • vegas says:

      I believe we aren’t that far either

      we should form 2 true top lines
      a shut down line
      and an energy line

      we have several elements for the top 2 lines but they have to be completed
      Pacioretty, Cole, Eller, AK and Bourque are 5 guys we can rely on for 5 of those top 6 spots. We need a big solid center to complete it.
      Plekanek and Leblanc would be ideal for that shut down line and they can contribute offensively
      For the energy line the only guy that realy fits the spot is White. I guy like Gautsad would be ideal here

      On defense within 2 years we will have our 3 movers in Markov, Subban and Bealieu and 3 stay homes in Gorges, Tinordi and Yemelin

      We have our goalie

      I know a lot of people won’t be happy but to get bigger Desharnais, Gionta and Diaz will have to go.

      So what missing

      A top centerman for teh top 6

      a left winger for the shut down line, Could Bournival be the guy? Or do we drop Bourque there, Bournival to the 4th and Gallagher to the top 6

      last but not least we have to complete the energy line

  20. CHicoHab says:

    To finish off January next up are Rangers, Capitals, Penguins, Leafs, Red Wings, Sabres. How many points can be gained?

    “take your time and hurry up”


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