ChrisMember since November 21, 2007
Habs fan since: 1984
Favorite current player: Andrei Markov...who will now be traded because I listed him. Still love Koivu and Higgins as well.
All-time favorite player: Mats Naslund, but also Eric Desjardins, Stephan Lebeau, Kirk Muller
- Comment on Habs’ Weise lives dream with OT goal in Game 1 (2014-04-17 18:17:38)
I imagine he might have taken some offence to the "Swiss Miss" label. :) I agree that the makeup of the defence as a whole was wrong, but I'm still not sure I agree that Diaz was necessarily the guy that should have gone. Right now, the Habs are struggling because they have no offensive presence on the blueline behind Markov and Subban. Murray, Tinordi, Emelin, Gorges, Bouillon and Weaver give you absolutely nothing in that regard. That means that the coaching staff have to overplay Markov and Subban on the power play (Markov rarely played the entire power play until this year...it was usually 1:00 - 1:30, then on came Hamrlik/Spacek, Rivet/Streit, etc.). This could change next year when Beaulieu is ready to come up, but that is a glaring weakness for the team right now...they have nobody to play the second wave of the power play.
- Comment on Habs’ Weise lives dream with OT goal in Game 1 (2014-04-17 18:11:34)
On that front, I like the suggestion that they stop waving the center out of the box and start moving them back 1 foot every time there is an infraction. That would speed up faceoffs and reduce the crap where a center intentionally gets thrown out, daring the refs to call a faceoff infraction penalty by throwing out the second center. I think I've only ever seen that call once in junior or the NHL. If they aren't going to call the rule, change it and institute an actual penalty they are willing to enforce.
- Comment on Habs’ Weise lives dream with OT goal in Game 1 (2014-04-17 18:08:23)
I love Eller. But I think the issue about him not being given regular linemates is overplayed. Plekanec had just as much of a revolving door as Eller did. Eller's season fell apart this year because of Eller, not because of the coaching staff or whatever. I see a lot of similarities between he and a younger Tomas Plekanec: they are both perhaps too self-critical and it eats at their confidence. With no confidence, they try to do too much and end up doing even less. Eller's confidence has always been an issue...he has had a sports psychologist for a couple of years now. Eller is at his best when he gets his feet moving and makes simple, high-percentage plays. As he builds his confidence, he can start working his skill back into the equation. He has excellent speed, but he's got to work on his balance and driving the net. It is way too soon to give up on Eller. Worst case scenario, he remains a checking line centre that can pot you 15-20 goals in a good season, a la Chris Kelly. That is nothing to sniff at...it has helped the Bruins reach the Finals twice, winning one Stanley Cup. Kelly was 6 months younger than Lars Eller is now when he finally broke into the NHL as a regular. I can absolutely live with Lars Eller as a Chris Kelly-esque player on the third line. He has the defensive chops, he's just got to work on cutting down his mistakes. If his offence surpasses that of Kelly, all the better. Eller, like Higgins and Lapierre before him, could end up being a victim of perception. Because he has more skill than most 3rd or 4th liners, people want to see him become a top-6 forward or he gets labeled a bust. He's not. If he could get to a Bobby Holik level, a strong defensive forward that can pot 50 points, great. But he would need top-6 minutes and PP time to do that. If he's not going to get those two things, 15 goals and 30-35 points are respectable totals and easily achievable for him. Even in this brutal season, he potted 12 goals and 26 points. That tells me that he can get 15-20 goals and 30-40 points as a checking line centre when he's on his game, and those are numbers that can elevate a team from pretender to contender.
- Comment on Habs’ Weise lives dream with OT goal in Game 1 (2014-04-17 17:11:44)
My big question is why people think it is imperative that Galchenyuk move to centre. His best junior season came on the wing of Charles Sarault. Tampa Bay uses Steven Stamkos as a hybrid wing/centre...the position is fluid, depending on the situation. Given Galchenyuk's weakness in the defensive zone, using Galchenyuk in this way could be the way to go. I think the center "logjam" is a bit of a nonissue. The problem with Galchenyuk and Eller this season is that Eller's game fell off the map after the first couple of weeks. If he can resurrect himself with a good playoff and bounce back strong next year, Galchenyuk and he could form a formidable duo on their line, and you can call it whatever you want (1, 2, 3, 2B, 1A, etc.). Plekanec had a decent season in 2006-07 and a breakout 2007-08 before cratering in 2008-09 at age 26. I think Eller can do the same thing...he had a season to forget at age 24, but he is still a valuable contributor to the team. In the offensive zone, Galchenyuk can be the primary playmaker, while Eller can handle the primary defensive zone responsibilities. By keeping the pair together, you get a nice division of labour. What that line needs is a good power forward. In my perfect world, Jacob De La Rose ultimately fills that role and the Habs have the makings of a very good line there. While he does not give the line the physical presence I think it needs, Michael Bournival could also be a good fit there: he's got great speed and he showed a nice scoring touch before he ran into the injury bug.
- Comment on About last night … (2014-04-17 15:38:43)
I'm actually finding it amusing how much you are getting trashed on this front. See what happens when you try to post a useful link!? :) For the record, I've always liked that website. It is kind of fun seeing where the shots came from. What would be really fun is throwing a chip in the pucks so that you could get live time velocity data. Then you could attach the speed of the shot to the shot origin and you're really onto something. The accelerometers needed to do this are dirt cheap these days: every laptop computer has one to protect the hard drive from damage when the computer is bumped or dropped.
- Comment on About last night … (2014-04-17 15:22:06)
Twi: I share your aversion to compiling that data. It would be mind-numbing. It is a good example of a number that the NHL is tracking, and teams are probably compiling, that is not being released in a more palatable form to the public. Another good example is the shot attempts blocked. They give you missed shots, they give you blocked shots (by the defenders), but you can't easily find the statistic for the players who have their shots blocked the most. Anybody want to bet on Emelin having the largest percentage of his shot attempts blocked?
- Comment on About last night … (2014-04-17 15:18:11)
One thing is crystal clear: it is Therrien's fault that you are confused.
- Comment on About last night … (2014-04-17 15:16:37)
He was firing with reckless abandon, but the Bruins showed the rest of the league how to guard it: just charge him. When the puck hits a shin pad, you have a good chance of being off to the races on a short-handed breakaway.
- Comment on About last night … (2014-04-17 15:15:03)
It's not like they have any other option. I miss Roman Hamrlik. :)
- Comment on About last night … (2014-04-17 15:10:44)
Off to watch Game 1 of the Guelph Storm - Erie Otters series tonight. Should be a great series, as both teams are firing on all cylinders...Erie dispatched a very good Soo Greyhounds team in 4 straight, while Guelph surprised me by easily handling a very strong London Knights team in 5 games. Guelph gets Brock McGinn back from suspension in Game 2, which will really add to their firepower. With Tyler Bertuzzi stepping back into the lineup and producing immediately despite his long layoff (concussion like symptoms from a neck injury back on December 8th), Guelph's line-up gets stupidly deep with NHL caliber talent down to the 3rd line. Throughout these playoffs, I've been VERY impressed with the play of Swiss import Pius Suter. He has quickly become a crowd favourite as a relentless forechecker and penalty killer that has stepped up and played on the top two lines when necessary due to injuries and/or suspensions. He's a bit small for the NHL (5'10", 150 pounds), but if he can add some muscle he could be a dark-horse to make the NHL due to his great skating. He's performed well on the international scene for Switzerland at the U16, U17 and U18 world championships. I'm really looking forward to watching Andre Burakowsky (Capitals 1st round pick), Dane Fox (Canucks free agent signing), Connor Brown (Leafs 6th round pick) and Brendan Gaunce (Canucks 1st round pick) for the Otters. There is some impressive talent there. Gaunce used to drive me nuts when he played for the Bulls: you can see he has talent, but he seemed to float a lot. His NHL future is going to be dictated by his skating, which has been sub-standard through his OHL career, but he could become an elite 3rd line and perhaps good 2nd line player. Guelph should have an advantage in this series on defence, and I think their forward group is deeper. The wild-cards are the superlative Connor McDavid and Oscar Dansk, the Otters' goaltender. I've seen Dansk a few times over the past two years and I can't say that I was all that impressed (shocking, I know, as he is Swedish and I only like Europeans! ;) ). But he's put in a solid campaign this year, and the Storm's goaltending is their biggest weakness: Justin Nichols can be great, but he is often prone to giving up weak goals. I don't have to say much about McDavid...he's the best junior level player since Stamkos and an absolute treat to watch. GREAT hockey player. I'm really hoping Guelph can pull this one out, but it should be some very entertaining hockey either way.