Kovalev wants to do more at even strength

The Gazette’s Pat Hickey writes that Alex Kovalev is on pace for a 30-goal season, something he has not done since the 2002-03 season, but the talented Russian isn’t happy with the way he is scoring.

Of his 12 goals, eight have come on the power play and that worries Kovalev.

"You always think that way every year, (that you can) get over 30 goals, but it’s difficult these days when you’re not producing much 5-on-5," said Kovalev. "That’s one reason why I’m not happy. I mean, I’m happy I’ve scored 12 goals, but I’m not happy because most of them came on the power play."

"I’d be more happy if we produced more 5-on-5 and played a more complete game," Kovalev said.

Read Hickey’s complete article here. 

70 Comments

  1. Habby67 says:

    Well, lets look at the bright side. The team is drawing a lot of penalties while they are 5 on 5 and getting all of these power play opportunities. The key is to continue drawing penalties with their speed….

  2. Lee Hayes says:

    There is another possibility Ali, Mr. Gainey could break his negotiation during the season rule and sign Cristo first then trade him. It does make Cristo more attractive to prospective GM’s for the obvious reasons.
    Earlier in the year I stated that BG would do exactly that and sign him to a 3 year 10-12 million dollar contract.
    I’m starting to think we can afford to keep both.
    Maybe we can still make a move by trading some of our up and coming D-men.
    What do you think?

    Go Habs Go

  3. Fairfax says:

    Very good point. The “playing not to lose” approach was one of the trademarks of the really bad pre-Gainey Habs of 5-6-7-8 years ago. In those days it seemed whenever we had a lead in the 3rd period, we would stop trying to score and just dump the puck out of our zone any time we got a stick on it, or dump it in to the other team’s corner and go for a line change any time we were actually able to control the puck across the red line.

    This was exactly how our team played the 3rd period with a lead for at least 5 years, consistently. And it would always enrage me, as inevitably this meant the other team would dominate possession, the period would be played almost entirely in our end, and more often than not we’d get tired and give up the late goal to tie or lose the game – unless Theo or Hackett stood on his head.

    As you say, this approach definitely reflects a lack of confidence. I thought we had finally kicked that dirty habit for good and started finishing off games with more confidence last season. Even during our awful stretch in January and February last year, the problem wasn’t that we were blowing leads, it was that we were never even getting the lead because we seemed to ALWAYS give up the first goal.

    But this negative approach with the lead reared its ugly head again in our most recent game at Ottawa, the Saturday afternoon game at the Corel Centre 3-4 weeks ago now which I feel kind of started our recent run of mediocre results. Remember, we led 1-0 until they scored twice in the last 5 minutes to beat us?

    I was at the Corel Center for that game. All the articles I read in the papers afterwards said Montreal played a great 55 minutes… but I completely disagreed. We played great for 40 minutes, and then from the very first minute of the 3rd period it seemed we just stopped playing. We stopped even trying to string passes together anymore. We were just dumping the puck every time we got possession, never even attempting to carry the puck across Ottawa’s blue line. I don’t know if we had control of the puck in their zone for more than 90 seconds in that entire period. I kept saying to the buddy I was with at the game (a Sens fan), every 2 minutes or so, “I know we’re winning, but I’m really worried right now… I don’t like this at all… we’ve stopped playing… we’re just dumping the puck as soon as we get it… if we keep playing like this you guys are inevitably going to score… this is reminding me of the bad old days.”

    And ever since that game, I’ve felt like the Canadiens have been playing scared like that anytime the game is tied or we have a lead in the 3rd period. Tuesday night’s game in Toronto was another perfect example.

    Luckily, despite this we’ve continued to win 50% of our games the last 3-4 weeks because our team is a lot better this year than it has been in a long time, especially in our own zone. But we won’t start winning games as consistently as we did in October again until we start playing with confidence again when the game is tight in the 3rd period. Until, as you say, we start playing to win rather than playing not to lose in those situations.

  4. showey47 says:

    if higgins and ryder had buried a reasonable amount of their quality scoring chances, our 5 on 5 problems would not be much of an issue. Higgy could easily have close to 20 by now with all the good chances he has missed and ryder could have 12 to 15.

  5. linp says:

    All the talk about trading is only wishful thinking. Don’t hold your breath!
    Improving on our 5 on 5 with what we have is more urgent. There are some good suggestions as to controlling the puck when breaking out from our zone. I noticed that Markov’s passes were not that accurate recently. That has led to us doing more dump and chase. Markov is playing with some injuries (he needs medical treatment on every off-day) and I hope that he can get well soon.

    As for getting more goals during 5 on 5, I still like Baffalo scoring most of their goals. Instead of shooting towards the goalie, they shoot low towards one of their player parking close to the net to either tip-in or one-time it. Lindy Ruff has developed this culture with his team and I hope that our players practice this style of play.

  6. KerryPrice says:

    I agree with you 110%.

  7. teamplayer says:

    so if we are -7 5 on 5, i remember somebody said there are only two teams behind us, so whose worst 5 on 5 then us?

  8. CrashTheNetCrashTheNet says:

    Ha Ha thats the kinda language that has lead to some of my posts being deleted. I don’t see how “ass” is less offensive than “balls”, I mean same neighbourhood and all.

  9. Mike Boone says:

    Yes. And it’s a pain in the ass, so you should become a member.

  10. earl says:

    Meh. If you can get Svatos for Huet, given Huet’s contract status, you do the paperwork quick and fax it to the NHL before Giguere sobers up.

    Can’t happen imo.

  11. earl says:

    Huet wouldn’t get you Svatos straight up . A third round pick would get you a Svatos autographed jersey.

    Let’s not fantasize too wildly here, Svatos is a very gifted offensive player. If he can stay healthy (some question his ability to do this) he’s a highlight reel player .

    To get Svatos I think you need to give a cornerstone player back, like Komisarek or Higgins. I don’t think anyone is prepared to do this. After all Colorado is back in the playoff picture and not motivated at all to give him away.

  12. earl says:

    Svatos is at times a dazzling offensive player. But he’s a piece of the future in Colorado. A proposed trade of Huet and/or Ryder underestimates Svatos value.

  13. likehoy says:

    Ryder’s definitely not as talented as Kovalev, but Ryder’s a goal-scorer and finishing isn’t something you can teach, which if i’m not mistaken, is still a talent. So he has all the same capability of kovalev going from a 70ptplayer to 45pt player back to a 70 pts player. Only difference, Ryder will go from 30goals to 10 goals to 30 goals.

    and in terms of the media…have you not heard that Michael Ryder’s brother Dan has quit hockey? He’s a flames prospect drafted 3rd round that had second line potential and supposed to be more talented than Michael. How do you think that affects his family and Michael as the older brother? I’m not saying that’s the sole reason of his poor play, but it is a personal issue he has to deal with.

    and the stats tell otherwise to his “absent play” that you have mentioned. -1 is far better than -25 last year. Yes he screwed the pooch on the Alfie play, but Koivu screwed the pooch on the Sundin goal a couple nights ago, everyone makes mistakes, it’s a long season.

    and for the taking the sweet time on his shots, aforementioned, he’s on pace to taking more shots than last year. If anything, that’s indication that he’s taking shots from everywhere and quite often (try taking your sweet time and taking 13 shots in a game)

    but yes I do agree that he’s been terrible offensively, but it’s not for a lack of effort and as long as the effort’s there, he has the ability to turn things around.

    I won’t be sad to see Ryder go in return for something useful, but we have to rally and get behind Ryder and give him some fan support as long as he’s still wearing the CH.

  14. likehoy says:

    Bryzgalov was still rather raw and he’s making over 2 million a year. I think Burke might have been asking for too much, and he seems like an impatient man so dumping him on waivers was the best move to dump his salary for the impending returns of niedermeyer and selanne (who’s out of contract).

    I’m sure there were a lot of teams that were interested in picking up Bryzgalov, but they might have been low-balling Burke.

  15. krob1000 says:

    I know nothing of the Tampa Tribune but I do know that if someone in Tampa surfed the net and found some of the stuff written in Montreal by the folks at “La hard Pressed” (for real news) a rumour could start in a hurry the other way.

  16. krob1000 says:

    Fox is the sporting equivalent of CNN (which we call the paranoia network at my house). The only difference between our outrageous supposed rumours and rumblings and those at Fox is that we aware that we are just speculating. Fox is great for the Simpsons, Seinfeld and Married with Children but as a hockey source they are terrible. I do read Spectors blog every day but I have probably made 5 comments over the years as it is usually utter rubbish and the quality of posters on that site is equally awful. I have never found a site with such detailed personal reporting for any hockey team (I have looked as I am a Fantasy League junkie) as this one….for that I thank you again Habs Inside/Out staff. Any crap and speculative B.S. on this site is the result of us posters not the writers as is the case at Fox.

  17. A. Berke says:

    I agree with you that Cristobal is holding the bigger end of the stick.

    And frankly he deserves one good last contract either from Habs or another team.

    Ali B.

  18. A. Berke says:

    Good point.

    The difference between being able to trade or not, maybe the player’s salary (or at least one factor). And we don’t know what Burke wanted in return.

    Another good selling point in favour of Huet, he was an all-star last year and will be again this year. Bryzgalov never had that distinction.

    On the other hand Burke has called a phone conference with all GM’s on Monday to discuss eating up to 2 mil of a player’s salary by the “selling” team so that a trade can be facilitated. Max total amount each team can absorb is proposed to be 4 mil. This apparently has good traction among the GM’s and will be put to governors approval at the end of the week. Apparently this measure/rule will help teams in situations like Bryzgalov being traded.

    Of course I don’t know if BG can trade away Huet. However one thing is certain, unless Huet accepts an offer of say 1 to 1.5 mil max, I don’t see him staying with the Habs or getting a better offer from Gainey. And that’ll put us in a situation a la Souray later in the year.

    Regardless how much I or the other fans like Huet, it looks like Habs will have very soon two choices: a) offer a good contract to Huet to keep him or b) try to trade him for whatever we can get.

    I’ll bet that the latter will be the case.

    Ali B.

  19. Blitzen says:

    If they trade Lecavalier, they might as well fold the team.

  20. Scotty90 says:

    Where there is hope….. (this from Spector’s yesterday..)

    TAMPA TRIBUNE: Erik Erlendsson yesterday reported on his blog on the possibility of the current Lightning ownership engaging in cost-cutting player moves if a new buyer cannot be found for the team. However, Martin Fennelly today reported current Lightning CEO Tom Wilson attempted to allay fans fears that the club would make such dire moves, and remains optimistic that a potential buyer might emerge.

    Spector’s Note: Hat tip to Dave Stewart for the Erlendsson link.If any big changes were to be made they would involve trading Vincent Lecavalier as he lacks a “no-trade” clause and not re-signing defenceman Dan Boyle, who’s an unrestricted free agent next summer. That being said, folks shouldn’t get too far ahead of themselves or start panicking just yet as there’s lots of time for another buyer to step up.

  21. Hoegarden says:

    No matter how we slice this issue, Cristo is holding the bigger end of the stick. Trade or no trade, he wins big.
    If Bob wants to move him, now or later on, Huet will insist on having a huge contract (3 to 5 years) before packing his pads. If not, he decides where he goes next summer, as long as he plays the way he is at the moment his phone will ring a lot late next spring.
    We thought Tampa might be coming our way for a deal but they started to win. They only way he’ll be moved is if a team has their #1 go down due to injury.

    O’byrne must be recalled soon, for good. Both Bouillon and Streit are already showing signs of wear and tear. They won’t last the whole year and Gorges has yet to convince the brass that he deserves a full time job on the blue.

  22. wd40 says:

    to paraphrase many others above, the cautiousoptimist et al, there is a significant difference between playing to win, and playing not to lose. during the last, oh i don’t know, 7-10 mins of the leafs game, we looked like a team afraid to make a mistake. as Koivu pointed out post-game, the team has suffered from a lack of confidence in the last little while and this will certainly impact how you play the game. with their skill, speed, and goal tending can be a strong contender down the stretch, but they’re going to have to adopt a mindset of ‘play to win’.

    go habs.

  23. Habs_008 says:

    I see your point Berke, but what makes you think that we can get anything for Huet right now? ANA couldnt get anything for Brezgalov. Why not wait until teams get desperate for a goalie.

  24. A. Berke says:

    To 24 Cups posted at 14:52

    Sorry I am writing here because down below all postings are getting too mixed-up and complicated to follow.

    I agree with you that if we can hang on to Huet till March (or end of the season) that will be fine. But keep in mind, if Huet is not traded by the deadline, we’ll have an army of people complaining to BG: why didn’t you trade him so that we could get something in return? (remember souray?).

    Then the question is: do we wait till deadline to trade or do we trade now to get a player that’ll be useful to us now?

    I’m in favour of a trade sooner, for two reasons:

    1) unlike in the Souray’s case, we can afford to go w/Price and Halak or Danis combination if we have to and

    2) I see our 4th position as a rather precarious one because in the last 7 games we won 3 and for whatever reason, we’re not playing the good game we had earlier in the year. There is only 7 points differential between us and 14th place lowly laffs. Of these 9 teams 3 have a game in hand and two teams (5th and 6th) have 2 games in hand. I say we need the scoring help now if we can get it.

    Yes keeping Huet as long as we can would be very nice but there are the realities of the game and within that context, I can’t see that’ll be possible to hang on to Huet. Ryder is also an UFA and similar considerations are called for him as well.

    I’m trying to be realistic in terms of what can be done for the good of the team.

    Cheers.

    Ali B.

  25. 24 Cups says:

    I also agree (is that agreed squared?) Huet has been a very valuable Hab since coming here. There’s not much happening around the league yet. The main focus seems to be on management changes (doesn’t count against the cap:-) In March, teams will know where they stand and the law of averages dictates there will be a few injured goalies. IF we are not in the playoff picture then we can move Huet. Let’s use San Jose as an example. They’re going for the bundle this year. If Nabokov gets hurt they have no real replacement. Then we deal from strength and demand one of their young power forwards. Until then, let’s use a two goalie system. Huet and Price, more than anyone else on the team, may just be our ticket to the playoffs.

    I better get off this site before my wife gets home from work or I’ll have less credibility than …let me think now…..ponder, ponder…..Samsonov!

  26. Habs_008 says:

    Maybe Gainey can trick the AVS GM again, (Theo) and get Svatos for next to nothing. Still smart to wait it out. All GM’s dont make real moves until the new year anyway.

  27. A. Berke says:

    Svatos, I believe is 24 or 25 years old, i.e. relatively a new (read young) player. Just like Lapierre, Kostytsin et al have not played a full season, it is understandable that he did not play a full season as well (at least till now).

    But this year he played in all 23 games and has 9 goals and IMO, he can be had for a reasonable cost. And he can score without any excuses, including in front of the net dirty goals. And he should be worth a closer look.
    That’s my point.

    Ali B.

  28. 24 Cups says:

    You know I try not to be vindictive in my life, it’s wasted time, energy, and emotion but I have to admit that I really had the hate on for Samsonov last year. Gainey gave him a chance when most teams had passed and at a great rate of pay over a two year deal. We were desperate for a goal scorer and the role was his for the taking. Not only did he bomb out but he acted as a malcontent for all the other players and Carbo. The Chicago deal was a salary cap swap which has proven to be a good return for a guy who still can’t or won’t produce – even on a team that’s loaded with good young players. If nothing else, you think he could ride on their coat-tails. I’m sure he’ll go back to Russia next year and still make a couple of mil a year. Fine by me – he can play on a line with Yashin for all I care. Someone from the Russian mafia can play on the other wing. As I stated, I try not to be vindictive!

    As for Wolski, (lower post) he’s a real comer, drafted a few spots right after Chipchura. He would cost any team a bundle right now. Who knows, maybe Lowe will try and sign him through the back door (RFA) just like Penner:-)

  29. A. Berke says:

    With all due respect, Ryder has nowhere near the talent and capabilities of Kovalev. So the comparison is not right. Yes Kovi wasn’t up to par last year but other issues (i.e. samsonov, russian media etc) may have affected his output.

    As to your claim of Ryder hasn’t hurt us, I beg to differ, besides taking his sweet ol’ time to prepare to shoot (by then the D and the goalie are ready for his shot), poor passing and absent dekeing ability, poor defensive play come to mind. He was watching Alfredson score (without even attempting to intervene) in the sens game that we lost in the last 6 minutes.

    Yes he’s working harder and seems to have a better work ethic and he’s hitting well. But what we need is a scorer (which he hasn’t been this year) and not a hitter for about 3 mil per.

    He’s a good player and he may attain 25-30 goals sometime, somewhere, but like other poster (TradeRyder) wrote, Ryder’s style and game does no longer fit the Habs play style. I think that’s why he seems to be the misfiring cylinder. I’m sure he will be quite successful in another team.

    What I’m saying is this most of us (if not all) we can be more successful working for another company doing the same /similar job. So why not Ryder?

    Ali B.

  30. krob1000 says:

    I agree. If an all star calibre scoring forward were to present himself then maybe I could see it but until then…he is worth far more than prospects and hope. Six goalies and 26 forwards make the all star team….give me one of those guys.

    BTW I just checked Svatos career stats and he has never played a full season…..anywhere.

  31. Habs_008 says:

    As good as Price is, and he will get better with time. I dont think trading Huet right now is a smart move. I know he is more then likely gone next year but let Price learn the ropes, no need to put pressure on the kid and make him #1 right now. In time he will be the guy. Dont rush him. I dont think we should pull the trigger on a trade right now anyway. Lets wait and see where we are at in Jan.

  32. krob1000 says:

    I know but I don’t think Svatos is an upgrade over Ryder and I know he is noweher near the value of Huet.

  33. krob1000 says:

    Svatos is no better than Ryder and is almost the same player (goals guy). He only scored 15 goals last year and has the same amount of points as Ryder. The Avs are more offensive minded than the Canadiens and he still has the same point total as Ryder. I would not make that trade straight up Ryder for Svatos but given his current situation I could almost see it as both players cvould use more ice time with top players. I think we should trade the 12 min game/non power play Ryder to ourselves for the 17 min/game/powerplay specialist and see how things go…..without the threat of demotion hanging over his shoulder.

    Huet is far from someone to thriow in a package he is the leading all star vote getter and was an all star last year. He alone is worth the deal you speak off Svatos and a first or second rounder.

  34. likehoy says:

    I hoped Theo would get better too, but samsonov was just a pain in the ass in Montreal so I have no remorse on him. Theo’s having a decent season but some of the goals I’ve seen him let in this year have been disgustingly easy.

  35. likehoy says:

    so huet can steal theodore’s job all over again?

  36. A. Berke says:

    IMO, Wolski is a keeper for the Avs.

    Ali B.

  37. likehoy says:

    Ryder is actually on pace to taking more shots this year than he did last year.

    He’s not getting clear cut chances and he’s not taking the same shots as he did last year (slot positions). But he’s worked hard and has been hitting hard and he’s not terrible on the +/- figures like he was last year.

    Last year I was angry with Ryder cause he’d try to do too much and was inconsistent. His work ethic has been much better, but on the contrary of trying to do too much, he’s doing very little in the offensive zone. But I preach patience on Ryder, he’s been a consistent 25g+ 50pts+ player. This could be he his off-year, and he could come back flying near the end of the season or next year (too bad he’s not under-contract, but at this rate, no one would want to take a risk on him and we could get him on a discount of the 2.95mil we’re paying him).

    I don’t think he’s the second-coming of Samsonov, but rather maybe he’s like Kovalev, who was appalling last season and we all wanted his head, but now we love him cuz he’s producing. So lets be patient with Ryder, he hasn’t hurt our team at all, we’re on pace for more goals this year than last year, our PP is still number 1, and he’s only -1. and he’s been hitting harder than I’ve seen him hit in his entire career which is a good sign.

  38. krob1000 says:

    I liked Samsonov before he came here and I secretly hoped he would find success again (I hope the same for THeodore sometimes) but it seems he is content relying on his talent and not working anymore. He is an older, slower, disgruntled version of his old self that needs to spend a summer working ut with Rod Brind’Amour or Gary Roberts and remember what it takes to excel for a long time in the NHL. Who knows maybe his toxic attitude will rub off and help slow the Hawks down because they have quietly put together one of the best young teams around. They will likely be a serious contender in the West for years to come.

  39. A. Berke says:

    I said Huet for two reasons:

    1) He will be UFA so the chances of him getting any new contract from the Habs is minimal, if any. IMO, Price can handle with Halak and/or Danis the next few months.

    2) Budaj and Theodore are sharing the goalie job right now but both seem to struggle at times, and frankly neither of them are franchise caliber. Huet would be a good bait to get Svatos and may be another player or first rounder.

    I’m OK with a straight trade of Ryder for Svatos, but doubt very much if the Avs would do that (i.e. giving away a younger 9 goal scorer RW for another who scored only 3).

    That was why, I thought Huet+Ryder can fetch us a better combination in return. Huet is worth more than Svatos so when we package like this we may get another (or even two) substantial player/pick for it.

    Ali B.

  40. The Teacher says:

    When a player is an UFA, it is his choice…Tampa won’t be ‘getting rid’ of him, per se.

  41. likehoy says:

    guys we have officially ruined sergei samsonov’s career.

    He’s been a consistent healthy scratch over in Chicago. What makes that funnier is that they actually traded for him and thought he might help the team. Unless keeping the bench warm for kane and toews is helping…

  42. krob1000 says:

    Anyone see the Spin last night it was hilarious. During their phone in segment the caller (some Joe from down East) went off criticizing the network for giving too much attention to the Leafs ….they eventually cut off his phone call although they said it was accidental. Kouleas just put his head down while the guy was going off. He is from out west and in all fairness they do have a very diverse program and were probably the last show to deserve the rant but it was an opportune forum to get a message across…….thumbs up to Joe from down East if he is a Habbie hanging out on here.

    The following portion of the phone in segment and questions were mainly regarding the Leafs and everytime it happened Kouleas just kind of shrugged and apologized. Quite funny for those who missed it.

  43. krob1000 says:

    I’d rather have Wolski.

  44. Habs_008 says:

    Svatos would be a great addition, but not for Huet. I dont think we should trade Huet at all this year. Maybe at the deadline if we are desperate, but Gainey doesnt make desperation trades, thats why he is one of the best. If they can get Svatos for a 3rd rounder or something like that. it would be good, or for Ryder straight up.

  45. Oleg Petrov says:

    I would agree – this isn’t what we need, too old and too slow – would rather have Lapierre up before adding one of these guys. Really, if we had a do over – would we have Smolinski on this team @ $2 million instead of Lapierre? Is he really adding that much to the team? Unless you are adding an impact guy and not somebody else’s cast offs – why do it at the expense of a young guy?

  46. A. Berke says:

    I agree with 24 Cups.

    We don’t need any of these guys. If they had left anything substantial in them, the Pens would keep them.

    The only help we need is a forward that can score on 5-on-5 and/or give a boost to our first (and second) line in that department.

    I don’t know if we can get a player that’ll fit the bill without costing us an arm and a leg and then some. IMHO, Marek Svatos of the Avs is a goal scorer (9 goals 1 ass.) and he seems to see the least amount of playing time there with 12 min/game. I had read he wasn’t very happy with that. He’s not a big guy but is a goal scorer and probably will not cost us much! I believe that the Avs will jump to an offer like Huet for Svatos or Huet + Ryder for Svatos + ?? (a first rounder)?

    Forget about Lecavalier. Yes he’s the one, but nobody is getting rid of him for any price.

    Cheers,

    Ali B.

  47. krob1000 says:

    Scotty90 …..I don’t think we would really be interested in either of those guys at this stage of the season and eat the bulk of their salaries. Maybe at the deadline as they are both leaders with tons of heart and experience but I can’t see either really helping right now. They are both struggling playing along side Malkin and/or Crosby so I don’t know how productive they can be for 60 games plus postseason playing with Plekanec, Koivu, Chicpchura or Smolinski. For the playoff stretch (because I think these guys still have something in the tank for the postseason) I would like either one.

  48. 24 Cups says:

    The team that needs these players the most is the Penguins. Soooo, if they are dumping them that basically tells me that these guys are close to done. It’s certainly not about cap room, Pittsburgh has lots of space. Roberts ($2.5 mil) is 41 and is living on his past reputation. Recchi ($1.75 mil) is a small, hard working forward – we already have lots of those guys in the system. Sydor has lost a step and has two years left on his contract at $2.5 mil a year. Besides, we need a hulk back on defense, not another offensive defenseman. This is a year of transition for the Habs – let the young guys play with an eye on developing for next year. We shouldn’t trade young players or picks for over the hill guys just so we can slip into the playoffs or maybe win an upset round. We’ll leave that to the Leafs. Any moves we make have to always be done with the big picture in mind and the ultimate goal of winning the Cup at some point in the next few years.

  49. Scotty90 says:

    According to Spector…. Penguins making room for the younsters. Recchi expected to be traded by Friday! doesn’t know the fate of Roberts or Sydor. Think the Habs could be benefit from any of these? Roberts, if available, is quite the grinding in your face guy. Comments?

  50. krob1000 says:

    Agreed. That and Carbo has to take the reigns of the defense again and allow them to join the rush more frequently as that is how we managed to generate offense and powerplays early on. I have said this too many times so sorry for those sick of reading it over and over.

  51. TradeRyder says:

    Good point about how Buffalo scores. The team needs help there. Who’s job on the coaching staff is that? Or is it everyone?

    (Hey developer – I thought it remembered my changed footer but it didn’t (my piont 3 above)…come to think of it, that would be really hard to implement. sorry!)
    ____________________________________________________
    Go Habs Go!

  52. TradeRyder says:

    Hey guys (whoever the developer is back there), GOOD WORK ON THE SITE!

    I can see THREE cool changes:
    1. I post and it takes me to my post instead of the top of the back page. Cool.
    2. The page numbers at the top make it easier to get around. Hey – thanks for listening!
    3. I changed my footer in the box you type your post in and it changed it permanently… very cool!

    THANKS FOR THE GREAT CHANGES TO THE SITE!!
    ____________________________________________________
    Go Habs Go!

  53. TradeRyder says:

    Who are you and what have you done with Alex Kovalev???

    WOW! Great to hear Kovalev talking this way. You have to like the attitude this year… and as much as we gripe about things that aren’t going right, you also have to know that the team is working on it – one piece at a time.

    And YES – if only we could get Higgins and Ryder to find the corners… me thinks someone needs a little shooting practice. (Back to the griping! lol)
    ____________________________________________________
    Go Habs Go!

  54. TradeRyder says:

    I agree about Streit. I’m nervous every time he’s on the ice.

    And Huet… it’s obvious the league knows how good he is – and so do we. For sure we have one of the best 2 or 3 goalie pairs in the league.
    ____________________________________________________
    Go Habs Go!

  55. JF says:

    Kovalev is certainly right to be concerned about our lack of production 5-on-5. If we can’t improve in this aspect of the game, the best powerplay in the League is not going to get us to the playoffs. While our defensive play has not been great lately and we have struggled to get the puck out of our zone, inability to score 5-on-5 is our biggest weakness. Earlier in the season we were doing OK, but the last half-dozen games or so, production has gone down. If we could remedy this, we would find ourselves caught in fewer situations where we are trying and failing to protect a one-goal lead.

    I’m very worried about the back-to-back games this weekend, not to mention Tuesday’s tilt with the Red Wings. We barely managed to beat the Leafs, a team that seems to be in total disarray, and the threeteams we face are all playing well. If we don’t play with greater intensity, get better defensive zone coverage, and above all produce some offense, we could be facing a three-game losing streak, finding ourselves at the end of it all but out of a playoff spot.

  56. Derek2 says:

    I totally agree, especially as the Devils have owned us for the last two years and are one of the least penalized teams in the league.

    Habs showed more grit and determination in the Leafs game than I had seen in a little while – but after all they are the Leafs – and we still needed OT + Shoot out to finally win.

  57. 24 Cups says:

    One of the reasons that the Habs (and Kovalev’s line) don’t score many 5 on 5 goals is the team’s inability to win faceoffs – especially Alex’s centre, Thomas Plekanec. Puck possession can be a major concern at times, no more so than when the Habs are trying to protect a lead in the third period. The best way to protect a lead is to maintain the puck and push to score another goal and open up a two goal lead. Even though he’s a winger, I wonder if Kovalev has any expertise as a faceoff man. He’s cetainly big enough and strong enough I just don’t know if he has the technique or skill set. You also have to look at the talent distribution on the line. Kovalev, the magician, plays with a second line centre who is struggling and a 22 year old who has yet to break through at the NHL level. I’m not knocking those two guys but just imagine if Kovalev was playing on a line with guys such as Getzlaf or Stastny.

  58. krob1000 says:

    Yanic Perreault is not a strong player and he is the all-time king (this generation anyway). He just gets so low that he has all of the leverage.

  59. likehoy says:

    kovy used to be a centre at the start of his career, but I don’t think kovy is a face-off specialist in anyway, he doesn’t have the grit for tough face off battles, he’s too much finesse for the faceoffs despite his size.

    And also, kovy loves to park in a position where if plekanec wins a faceoff, he can unleash a shot right after…he’s scored like that before, but unfortunately plekanec wins only 5 faceoffs a night and rarely ever in the offensive zone.

  60. coutNY says:

    Of Coarse, being a vetran of the game, Kovy knows that he is becoming the new “GO TO” guy on the PP moving into Souray’s role of last year. If this well runs dry, not only he will he be effected, but the team will struggle. This lack of production will, as we all know from the dark days experienced in January and February 2007, be a source of frustration that will fall upon our leaders shoulders.

    Teams eventually realize that, if they stay out of the Box, they’ll have a good chance to win. Then if a team does get a penalty, by cheating on their go to guy, the other habs are not stepping up to take advantage of their cheating. The one “Kink” in that shutdown therory is Markov is also a threat and can make teams pay for cheating on Kovalev.

    I think we can incorporate this into our 5-on-5 play. The 1 and 2 lines have demonstrated their ability to cycle well down low, but are not utilizing their Defense enough to generate opportunities. It seems the Defenseman is a last resort option only utilized when the forwards run into trouble. Forwards need to work their point men into their cycling, finding open lanes, exposing out of position goalies or players, or simpily to spread the Defense.

  61. Cable Guy says:

    I think they need to play for run and gun hockey. The have the speed to outskate pretty much any team in the league and the defence is stable enough to allow this type of play. They play to tentative and always looked to afraid to make a mistake. Faceoffs are a huge issue too, we need to be much better on faceoffs.

  62. Mr.Hazard says:

    I hope Kovalev keeps’em coming. Did anyone else notice that his 4-game scoring drought resulted in 1 win and 3 losses for the Habs?

    Ex nihilo nihil fit

  63. habsguy says:

    This is to all you Boogaard fans.
    Six seasons in the WHL……three goals.
    Two seasons in the AHL……one goal.
    Three seasons in the NHL….two goals.

    Do we really need a big goon sitting on the bench and every once in a while we throw him a bone.
    Come on, lets play hockey !!!!!!

  64. CH1909-2009 says:

    Ain’t that the ruth.

    And as for Kovy wanting more 5 on 5 scoring, good idea Kovy. Now go DO IT!

    GO HABS GO

  65. cautiousoptimist says:

    They don’t score 5-on-5 because every time they get the puck they dump the puck in! It’s getting painful to watch, and although our speed gets our guys to the puck first sometimes, we just don’t have the grit to win all those battles along the boards, which is what you need to do if you’re going to play that awful, boring dump-and-dig game.

    There is no formula to winning, but the one that comes closest to the truth for our Habs is this: when they dump, they lose; when they don’t, they win. At the beginning of this season, and last season, they were carrying the puck in, not afraid to work and shove and take their hits, and they have the skill to slip through and take shots. But somewhere along the way they decided to skate only as far as centre ice, flip it by the defencemen, and wait for the counterattack. We don’t score much because we don’t take many high-percentage shots, and we don’t take many high-percentage shots because if the puck is on the offensive zone, odds are it’s on the other team’s sticks… I like this team, I like this roster, we don’t have any gaping holes in the lineup, and our record reflects that. But this dumping game has got to stop – it doesn’t work and it just isn’t fun to watch.

  66. Rocket9 says:

    In my opinion, an important key for 5 on 5 play is an effective breakout which means you leave your own end with posession of the puck and move through the neutral zone with speed and possession, and with players in the right positition to create options as you gain the opposing blue line.

    At the beginning of the year, they were doing this reasonably well. As the year has progressed, they have reverted to the style where the forwards are collapsed on the goalie and so when they finally get posession in their end, the only choice is to try to bang it out to the neutral zone and continue to fight for posession there. Therefore,they rarely have posession, speed and position as they gain the opposing blue line and so they rarely get a decent rush.

  67. Naila Jinnah says:

    I’m glad that Kovy is thinking about what can be improved rather than sitting on his laurels. That’s a sign that he is truly dedicated and committed to the team, to being a part of the team, and to making the team better. It’s also shows that he’s stepping up and being a leader. Who knows, maybe Kovy has a lot of impact in the locker room because of his blunt statements…

  68. 24 Cups says:

    Point well taken – I’m in total agreement. It was just about this time last year when the team’s mindset starting going astray. Sometimes a club’s state of mind can be just as important as it’s on ice skill level. The constructive criticism of today is a lot healther than the whining of last year. (By the way, interesting choice for favourite player in your bio listing.)

  69. krob1000 says:

    I think it is the lack of support from the defense on the rush as opposed to the outlet passes which I think have actually been pretty good. Guys have been afraid to join rushes like they were at the beginning of the year. The first several games in was not unusual to see a defenseman joining nearly every other rush. We have a very offensive minded, intelligent defense corps and as many have stated they need to part of a 5 man unit working in unison both offensively as well as defensively. In my opinion the players got scared after the Gorges giveaway (although Carbo backed him) and the media and fans jumped all over him. We played very loose and then we tightened up and the style hasn’t worked as well as the looser style did at the onset of the season.

  70. The Teacher says:

    Jeff Hackett was awesome. Should have been #1 here hands down ahead of Theo. Too bad the injuries hurt him.


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