Member since November 21, 2007

Guelph, Ontario

Habs fan since: 1984
Favorite current player: Andrei Markov, Lars Eller, Chris Higgins
All-time favorite player: Mats Naslund, Eric Desjardins, Stephan Lebeau, Kirk Muller, Saku Koivu


Recent Comments

  • Comment on Habs’ rookie camp wraps up as Scherbak gets in scrimmage (2014-09-17 16:01:28)
    You can spend a day reading about Business Ethics? I would have thought that could be completed in about 15 minutes! ;)
  • Comment on Habs’ rookie camp wraps up as Scherbak gets in scrimmage (2014-09-17 16:00:07)
    Why is he on crack for turning down $3 million per season for the next two years? He is already the best position player on the Blue Jackets by a comfortable margin. If he even matches what he did last season, $3 million would be one of the most team-favourable contracts in the entire NHL. So the question becomes whether he is insane for thinking he can match or better last season or not. Johansen thinks he can. Most hockey observers think he's poised to break out in a big way. So I don't see him turning down that contract as particularly insane. As for the other deals...maybe. 6 x $5.33 million is a million less than the 2nd contract signed by Toews (5 x $6.3 million) even before you factor in inflation. It is much less than Stamkos' second deal. Those guys obviously had multiple good seasons in the bank, but they also had MUCH better supporting casts than that enjoyed by Johansen. I think he's merely confident. It's a new NHL. Johansen, like Subban, is a team guy but he's also about getting paid what he believes he is worth. Like Subban, he may very well settle for a low-ball offer at the last minute. But then the Blue Jackets better be prepared to pay BIG ($9+ or even $10+ million AAV) on his next deal.
  • Comment on Habs’ rookie camp wraps up as Scherbak gets in scrimmage (2014-09-17 15:51:36)
    I also see Desharnais being replaced on to first line in Montreal. But I think he is the kind of guy that can be a top-6 centre for a lot of teams in the NHL. You just have to surround him with the right kind of players, but that is equally true for all but a handful of NHL players. I certainly would rather have Crosby, Stamkos, Getzlaf, Giroux, Malkin, Tavares or Toews instead of Desharnais. But I could see Desharnais doing very well as a 2nd line centre behind Toews in Chicago, or the top-line centre in Toronto, or as a #2 centre behind Sedin in Vancouver. He's a good player that can make a team better. Where I differ from others is that I am not 100% convinced yet that Galchenyuk is the real deal at centre. He might be, but he might be better off as a winger where he can continue to develop his shot. If Galchenyuk had been drafted in the 3rd or 4th round, we wouldn't be rushing to replace Desharnais with him. So much of the Desharnais issue is based on hope that Galchenyuk, given Pacioretty and first-wave PP time, spikes his point total by 30-40 points per season to become an upgrade. I think that is probably a little optimistic on the short-term, and I think that Montreal needs to explore the window of opportunity that they have now as opposed to waiting 2-3 seasons and hoping to hit a home run. With Desharnais centering the Pacioretty line, the Habs have been a very good regular season team for two straight years. People are banking that moving Galchenyuk to that role makes them a great team. Maybe he does...but it is a high-risk proposition.
  • Comment on Habs’ rookie camp wraps up as Scherbak gets in scrimmage (2014-09-17 15:44:39)
    If it is a very long post, you've already narrowed it down to either Normand or myself. :)
  • Comment on Habs’ rookie camp wraps up as Scherbak gets in scrimmage (2014-09-17 15:41:32)
    The Guelph Storm's skating coach the past few seasons has been former pairs skater Barbara Underhill, who did so well that she was asked by a few NHL teams to work with their players. She has been working with the Leafs the past couple of years.
  • Comment on Habs’ rookie camp wraps up as Scherbak gets in scrimmage (2014-09-17 15:16:23)
    I don't dispute any of that. I was just annoyed beyond belief by a whole summer of Desharnais-bashing. I take Desharnais' goal-scoring with a grain of salt. Jonathan Toews had 3 goals in 23 games in 2012-13, but it became a moot point as to whether that was "good enough for a #1 centre" because the players around him picked up the slack. I'm also of the belief that you can have too many smaller guys on the team. Montreal has absolutely had too many smaller forwards. But I'm also of the belief that Desharnais is the best of the smaller forwards, so I would not be against keeping him on the team.
  • Comment on Habs’ rookie camp wraps up as Scherbak gets in scrimmage (2014-09-17 14:12:42)
    Agreed. Stamkos was by far the most dangerous looking hockey player in the playoffs last season, and his fitness wasn't even 100%. If he adds that speed to his already lethal repertoire, he better start clearing some space for a few Hart Trophies on his mantlepiece.
  • Comment on Habs’ rookie camp wraps up as Scherbak gets in scrimmage (2014-09-17 14:10:10)
    I agree with you whole-heartedly about the PP deployment. I didn't like any of what Montreal was doing there, especially once teams started to aggressively challenge both Subban and Markov in the second half. At that point, the PP basically disappeared. I still think Desharnais can be effective on the PP, but not the first wave with Subban as the focus. Desharnais, historically, has been one of the best Habs at delivering passes on the PP, but setting everything up around Subban neutralizes that advantage. Everybody knows what is coming. Instead, throw the big bodies (Pacioretty, Eller, Bourque, Galchenyuk, Parenteau) out with Beaulieu and Subban on the first wave. If you are going to run the PP through the point, you need traffic and screens to be effective. On the second wave, I would be inclined to use a more creative shooting group: Markov, Plekanec, Gallagher, Desharnais and Gilbert. In that case, let it be more opportunistic...pass the puck around and take the shot that opens up, instead of trying to force everything through the points. That is where I think that the intelligence of Plekanec, Desharnais and Markov would shine.
  • Comment on Habs’ rookie camp wraps up as Scherbak gets in scrimmage (2014-09-17 13:57:28)
    Rob, he was doing it in his first call-up to the team back when he was playing the wing for Gomez. I think we just see Desharnais VERY differently, because I've always felt that he spends a lot of time buzzing around withing 10 feet of the net in the opposing zone. That drive up the seam has always been his main lane of attack. In the QMJHL and the AHL, Desharnais has always been noted for being willing to go to the dirty areas of the ice despite his diminutive stature. He has never been described as a periphery player: not in junior, not in the ECHL, not in the AHL, and (in my opinion) he has not played that way in the NHL since day one. Galchenyuk is FAR more of a periphery player thus far than I've ever seen from Desharnais.
  • Comment on Habs’ rookie camp wraps up as Scherbak gets in scrimmage (2014-09-17 13:55:41)
    Rob, your last paragraph echoes the way I feel, but in reverse. I honestly think you've already got Desharnais out the door, that you don't see the team winning with him so let's just turf him and hope that Galchenyuk or Eller, unknown commodities in that role, can do as well. Your claim was that Eller was given crappy linemates. Hogwash. He had the same linemates that helped him play so effectively the year before. He WAS being given top power play time...he just did nothing with it, so he lost it. If Galchenyuk was good enough to make Eller look like a #1 centre in the lockout year, why are you now arguing that he wasn't good enough for Eller to prove himself the following season? If I'm not making sense about the Gallagher/Desharnais comparison (which I do truly believe), you've completely lost the trail with this line of argument. I'm not a huge Michel Therrien fan, but I give him full credit for the fact that he does generally (and contrary to popular opinion) dole out ice time via meritocracy. Play well, you get more. Play poorly, you get cut. As for Pacioretty being the determinant of the #1 line...of course he is. It would be pointless to argue otherwise. He is the team's best goal-scorer, so he is the guy that is going to go out in choice offensive roles. I truly believe that Desharnais-Pacioretty has been a very successful duo at the NHL level. Breaking up that duo simply because we think Galchenyuk is ready is not a compelling reason. Galchenyuk has to take the role by demonstrating that he's dominating at a lower position: I quite simply haven't seen that yet. I see a guy with talent who still plays tentatively. He is a big guy that has poor balance. He has gusts of great play, followed by bouts of indifference. His play away from the puck is shoddy. You and I both agree that the power play units are not optimal, and that is an area where I think there should be some reorganization. Clearly what they have isn't working. But the even-strength lines have been working relatively well. Over 2 seasons (140 games), I would argue that the team has two very good duos that had emerged: Pacioretty-Desharnais and Galchenyuk-Eller. Those two combinations showed a lot of chemistry with one another. Galchenyuk was taken away from Eller last season very reluctantly, but it was entirely on Eller. His head was a mess. As mentioned, I love the guy, but I don't really understand why you sugar-coat the fact that Eller fell apart last season, and it had nothing to do with Therrien, or ice time or anything else. He was performing, then he fell off the Earth and didn't re-emerge until the playoffs. Eller's problem is purely between his ears: he struggles with his confidence, and has been seeing sports psychologists about that for 3+ seasons now.