PuckCast, Vol. 2, No. 12 [Podcast]

The Canadiens have entered 2008 on a positive note having survived the six-game holiday road trip without falling into a deep funk. They have even found a way to win at the Bell Centre in the new year. Listen in to hear our experts give their opinion about the team’s first half and the recent players movements as Gazette sportswriter Pat Hickey, I/O blogger Mike Boone and moderator Kevin Mio are back for the season’s 12th edition and the first of 2008.

This week: The panel examines the team’s play through the first half of the season and looks ahead to the second portion of the calendar; Will Carey Price benefit from his time in Hamilton?; Has the team finally figured out how to win at the Bell Centre?; Has Michael Ryder finally found his scoring touch again?; The emegence of Andrei Markov as one of the Eastern Conference’s elite defenceman.

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  1. Oleg Petrov says:

    Finally! Thanks guys – I needed my fix!

  2. J.T. says:

    Great to see the puckcast back! It’s a fun chat, as always.

    A couple of things:

    I’ve been thinking about the reasons why they haven’t been playing as well at home as they do on the road. I’m becoming more and more convinced it’s because of the line-matching Carbo tries to do. On the road, where he doesn’t have last change, he goes with the flow and lets the line matchups fall as they may. But at home, he tries to be more strategic and keep the guys he wants out against the other team’s lines. As a result, the other coach is setting the tempo of the game and Carbo is simply following. It’s hard to gain momentum when you’re playing the other team’s game.

    I’ve also been thinking about Komisarek, Higgins and Plekanec. I don’t know if they all signed two-year deals last summer because that’s what Gainey wanted, or because that’s what the players wanted. If the idea was to see what kind of seasons they’d have, I think they’ve all answered the bell better than expected. And they’re the types of hard workers who will only get better.

    Either way, I hope to see them all signed to lengthy extensions this summer, before they get a chance to become free agents. With the way the league is going these days, as guys like Mike Richards have shown, security for the long-term is worth something to the players too. I’d like to see Gainey offer those players long-term security for fair compensation. At least then, if they choose to leave, we’ll know the team did what it could to retain their services. Andrei Kostitsyn too…this summer he’ll be open to offer sheets unless Gainey signs him quickly. And, with Lowe breaking the taboo on RFA offers and with the league-wide dearth of trades as a way of acquiring young talent, there’s a better chance than there used to be of a guy like him receiving an offer. I know it’s unlikely the team will be able to retain all of its young core indefinitely, but I’d rather see a guy like Komisarek leave in his thirties than at 26, just as he enters his prime.

  3. TradeRyder says:

    That’s a good point. Does anyone have the straight poop on why these guys signed 2-year deals. These guys that we should keep!!

    Let the kids play… let the non-performers watch or walk.

  4. The Teacher says:

    I don’t think Higgins has an argument for a huge raise. He might geta bump to 2.5

    Komi might need a raise to the 3 million or so neighbourhood

    Pleks will get around 2.5-3.

  5. Odie Clegorn says:

    Should Ryder end up in Boston, and I hope this does not happen, with Marc Savard as his center, we’ll be watching the second coming of John LeClair – eight times a year.

  6. TradeRyder says:

    Ryder is no LeClair and never will be. LeClair used his size (he was 6’3″) and was a physical threat. He also had great mobility.. he was a force on the ice. Ryder (when he’s on) is a sniper – that’s most of his game. He doesn’t punish other teams, push them around, and wreak havoc. Man we could use a LeClair!

    Let the kids play… let the non-performers watch or walk.

  7. Smart Dog says:

    Listening to the fact that Komisuarus will be a UFA in a year makes me realize that there is an additional vitally important consideration come draft-time: speed to maturity. A player that can be almost as good at 22 than they will be at 26 is worth MUCH more than a player who will take to 25 or 26 to become a solid first or second line guy. This means Lats for example may be seen as a better deal than Komiserik, if Lats continues to perform and progresses just a little to score 25-30 or more over the next few years. One significant downside of the new agreement. This also means smart GM’s will be more inclined to choose players who they feel might want to stay with the team that drafted them long term (distance from family, etc.)

    What do you think?

    Be happy! At least the FUTURE looks bright!
    Plekanec, Higgins, Komi, Chips, Lapierre, O’Byrne, K1 &K2, Price

  8. Lee Hayes says:

    I think your one incredibly smart dog. My beagle, Thurston, has a serious crush on you. He seems happy to go both ways …so it doesn’t much matter what sex you are. I think the glasses make you look like a boy, Thurston disagrees.

    In all seriousness I think your analysis is bang on, keep up the good work, tell your master I think you deserve a cookie.

    Go Habs Go

  9. Bill H says:

    You raise some interesting points Doggie. Lats has picked it up a notch lately, but a few weeks ago we had one group screaming to trade him while the other group were preaching patience as power forwards take several years to develop. So does that mean power forwards will be drafted later because they take longer to mature?

    Certainly the likelihood of wanting to stick with the team and the speed of reaching maturity will be important things to consider IF they can be predicted with any certainty at all. And that word IF I think is the key part of the sentence. GMs and scouts have enough to deal with in terms of predicting if a player will be able to produce at the NHL level a few years down the road. In the majority of cases, I don’t think the two factors you mention will come into play because they will be too hard to predict with any certainty. But from time to time, they might be assessing a prospect, and one of those 2 things might pop out at them and be taken into consideration. I guess it becomes another aspect of a player’s “attitude” that they try to measure.

    In a related point, they were discussing David Fischer, who seems to have almost disappeared as a prospect in the last 6 months. That’s the way it goes with young prospects.

    Hey, I think Lee is trying to say that his beagle Thurston wants to see a shot of your other end. You know, just for verification purposes.

  10. TradeRyder says:

    I agree, it’s hard to predict if a player will stay – or even if they will turn out for certain. But I think there’s a point to be made here. Time to maturity may sometimes be possible to take a guess at. You know for example that Crosby is going to be ready soon – that’s a no-brainer, and there are few Crosby’s. But you can tell by size partly, but physical play, etc., by drive, who MIGHT be ready sooner. Subban is a case in point. Drafted a few rounds in (I think) but he’s got the drive of a mack truck, and his play is coming along with it – fast. That would make him a smarter pick (more years at low pay) in the Cap world, then a small, shifty finess player who may take more years to bulk up, or mature. None of this is 100% of course, it’s all gambling – but that’s the name of the game… predicting based on today, what is more likely to happen later.

    Let the kids play… let the non-performers watch or walk.

  11. TradeRyder says:

    I think it’s a boy (smart).

    Let the kids play… let the non-performers watch or walk.

  12. Chuck says:

    Nah, definitely some pretty feminine specs there…

    “Vote Saku for All-Star… or little Timmy gets it!!!”

  13. Odie Clegorn says:

    My point was that LeClair went from a plumber to a power forward who filled the net against us everytime. With a center like Savard setting him up, Ryder will do the same. As you noted, when he’s on his game, he is a sniper. Glen Murray is on the way out in Boston and Ryder would be the perfect replacement and I would be willing to bet that, with Julien as his coach, he would be a regular 40 goal 30 assist man with the Bruins. Beware…

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