Friday, February 05, 2010

Bratislava is Getting Giddy: Habs 3 - Bruins 2 (shootout)

It's not as impossible as Kovalchuk turning down 110, .. what?

Quite surprising that we'll be inserting a plan the parade tag to this post. But last night's win got us thinking about another kind of parade. La fête, eastern Europe style.

Vibe with me people.

Isn't Jaro Halak's performance starting to feel like Jose Théodore's back in his Hart winning 2002 season? Remember when he started really getting his game together at the 50-game mark and brought home one 45-stop win after another? That year, the race for the Hart trophy was a close one, with Jarome Iginla's Flames missing the playoffs and probably depriving their star of well deserved MVP status in the process. This year, it's really no contest. Ovechkin with that newly minted C on his chest is helping the Capitals runaway with the Conference. Unless Ryan Miller takes the Sabres there or bags another 5 or 6 shutouts by year's end, Ovie will claim the Hart.

But Jaro is doing a fabulous job. Last night, with the Bruins outshooting the Habs by a wide margin for 2 periods, skating them to sleep and looking very much like a team that was ready to break out of a historical funk (didn't we tell you guys about Michael Ryder?), Jaro kept the Habs within striking distance with some inspiring goaltending. He's officially in the zone, as the acrobatic blocker and toe saves would suggest. Gomez had a bit of spark in him in the third and so did Metro and Markov, but make no mistake: Jaro won this game pretty much all by himself. And he's writing an increasingly interesting subplot.

Something has happened to the Habs' ability to keep the opposing team to an acceptable number of shots. And we're not just talking plain shots, we're talking decent scoring chances. With a defence corps and a depleted lineup at the forward position clearly scrambling for some kind of structure on the ice, Jaro remains square to the puck, unfazed, totally together.

What does Gainey do? Does he trade his MVP with a team clearly still in the playoff hunt? Does he stick to his Carey is my big horse of a thoroughbred stallion, look how well he chews hay I love how he gallops logic? Two years ago, he handed mission control to Price with Huet's UFA status looming large. Well we're back at Mission Control and Gainey's got a small problem. He's been praising Price for years.

I was speaking to someone not too long ago who was discussing the concept of potential. She used lawyers as a good example of the trouble that arises when one remains stuck on the promise of potential. Society has been branding lawyers as an elite group, monetarily speaking, well capable of reaching important financial heights. And so people keep on selling lawyers their potential rather than what they actually have. The result is that lawyers live more over their means than any other category of workers. And they are hurt by it in the process.

If you import this logic, there is no doubt the Canadiens' prestige drives them to think in similar terms, that in Montreal, we need to do well, we are capable of far more because of who we are and what our franchise stands for. Everything this organization has done with regards to Price speaks of a team desperate to see something in the goalie and in itself. And lost in that projection of mystique is the blunt reality of things: on its face, there is nothing mystical about the Montreal Canadiens in 2009-2010. It's an average hockey team blessed with a very passionate fan base, and it has been a very average team for a very long time.

This franchise has been almost fraudulent for 3 years now. Selling us anything that can be made in Small Medium and Large with the 100 Years logo on it, while giving us mediocrity to feed on in the now. Selling the past while shortchanging us in the present. Why can't the Montreal Canadiens just call it the way it is?

Carey Price is not a thoroughbred. He's a young goalie with a ton of upside who's just adjusting to a life in the spotlight while playing hockey in the league's most capricious and voracious market.

How much is riding on Carey from an organizational credibility perspective? Picked 5th overall, way higher than anyone had predicted. Given the number one status way before anyone thought he could handle it. Constantly re-endoresed by management despite so many flat performances. And it makes sense, no argument there. Stand behind him. Believe in him. Get him to where he needs to go. But Montreal has to stop throwing the rest of the team under the bus in a grand sacrifice for Carey's anointment to something nobody can be sure about.

You keep on trading away your "backup" to keep the "Carey is our future" banner flying high, and you're just guilty of wanting too much, too soon. You're paying Scott Gomez 8 million a season now so better make the most of it now and get the best team on the ice now. Selling promise over reality and over-stretching a team in goal, a crucial position, just perpetuates this need to see something now that's just not ready to be there.

What they have now gives them a chance for today, and maybe tomorrow if the team dare look beyond next season and what that could mean about their self-assessed Price chart. How much better does this team, those other 20 players, get in the future if they ride a hot streak with Jaro and do something in the playoffs? Why has it been about how much experience you need to give Carey no matter how much it deflates the rest of the team? There must be room for this logic: a more confident team will only alleviate the pressure on Price in the future. The way the team has orchestrated things so far is making it up to the young goalie to lift the entire weight of the franchise. How much easier would it be if they had it going in the other direction.

And this speaks so much to how Jaro has been treated by this organization. Did Jacques Martin fly over to Jaro's house this summer to have a quality chat with his young goalie? Has Jaro ever played a game following a loss in his THREE YEARS in Montreal (can you believe that???)?

Would you want to commit to this team if you were Jaroslav Halak? So at least make it interesting, Gainey. See what you've got before he goes, because you're not going to resign him and by all accounts he's in a much better position to deliver something special this year than your young stallion. Make it interesting. Keep him, give your team a fighting chance, give the goalie what he's earned. He's your number one, he's done what it takes to get there. Maybe the best way to assess his true worth is by keeping him and risk losing him. If he does well, really well, you may not need to buy into the Price perspective. You may see yourself suddenly detaching from it. If he does well, really well, then at least you'll be in a better position than anyone to apologize and make it up to him. Take him for one of those celebrated walks around Old Montreal.


RiRi said...

This is probably the deepest thing I`ve ever read on this blog!!

Well done, 4!

HabsFan29 said...

whoa whoa, who's sullying up Sexy Friday with serious hockey discussion???

good job 4

Boob Gainey said...

The Montreal Canadiens are a lawyer?

Anyoen know any good Montreal Canadiens jokes?

Ben Dugas said...

More sullying ahead:
I don't quite understand why we can't sign both goalies or why everyone's comparing it to the Huet situation. They're both RFA's and therefore have little leverage and should be easy enough to sign to reasonable deals.
I agree that we'll need to trade one or the other eventually but if they're appealing to other teams now why wouldn't they be next year when they're both singed to reasonable deals.

I'd like Bob to sign Pleks long term and then if there's money leftover sign both goaltenders to 3-5 years deals and hang on to them until someone's ready to overpay for one of them.

RiRi said...

Lil` Tits, Pleks and Chicken miss practice.

Desharnais, Trotter and White called up.

Holy shit.

Why do we always dress something like 6 AHLers when we face Pittsburgh.

The parade is off.

L Dude said...

So. Much. Reading. Must. Stop. Can't. Wait. Heh..good ol' Spidey.

Yeah, anyway the plan is to stay on course. Don't trade either. Keep playing Halak. Play Price when they have back to backs or after Halak has a seriously off night. Figure it out in the off season.

Before we move on, one more thing about last night's scat theme. THE HABS TUUKKA CRAP ON THE BRUINS' PLAYOFF HOPES.


Boob Gainey said...

Eklund says we're trading Price.

Oh well. I'll miss Jaro, but that's life. said...

I went all cross-eyed - as brilliant as the expose was it felt like a well-developped argument. could this site be run by lawyers?

WV Shies ; I shies away from serious Friday afternoon conversations (English is my 2nd language)

Moey said...

Nicely done!

Bob should hang on to both of them at least until the off season. Jaro's stock will (hopefully) continue to rise and GM's see the potential in Price, we could potentially get something really decent in return for either one of them.

moeman said...

Keep both keepers.

Boob Gainey said...

Can't. Both are RFAs.

We'll need to pay them too much. If you pay Halak less than 3M someone will make him an offer sheet.

Trade both and bring Desjardins and Sanford up.

You know it makes sense.

kevincrumbs said...

I have no idea what to do which is why the Molsons pay BG and not me. I don't envy the guy for having to make the decision.

I think it'll be a disaster for this year if they trade Halak. However, in the long term it may end up being the better move. Goalies take forever to develop (Fleury sucked for years) and unfortunately, Cari the Fat Wale can't be sent down to the AHL to work on his game. I mean, no one here actually thinks they'll do anything in the playoffs, so why not try to get something for whichever one you trade? The downside is that I don't anticipate Bob getting much in return.

Jaybird said...

I'm fucking destroyed as I see Montreal's Cap Number's and Gomez is signed at his ludricrous amount until 20 fucking 14.

He looks AIDS-y or sick and pale lately.

I had to bring the level of conversation back down.

Anonymous said...

Just find Jaro a nice Quebecois girlfriend. The only place in the world where the women were chosen for their looks. (You can look it up- by order of the King of France). Carey Price may not be fully usable until he gets through rehab- the 28 day kind. The night he threw the body check he set up on once face off with his stick at mid shin level. Remember Gino Odjick? Actually, the challenge is to get past the concept of seeing eye to eye. Just because some player is the same height as Bob Gainey, doesn't mean he is the right player. Is Jaro the goalie worth more than then Jaro the space cadet? two more years on the 3 year 11.5 million contract? Beauchemin would have been slightly cheaper. Did MA Bergeron get hurt by a shot from one of his own players? Isn't that part of Jacques' one scoring play game plan- screen screen screen crash- you know like when your computer blows up.

GoldenGirl11 said...

is that you JHK?

ezzeloharr said...

Amazing post, but tl;dr for now.

Guys. Is it bad that I'm watching the laffs' game? Just to see KovyII?

wv: karput, as in the Habs are karput without Halak.

ezzeloharr said...

Another question: Can the Habs sign Cari to a two-way contract at the end of the year? Or is that now out of the question?

dwgs said...

That was an excellent, well-reasoned piece of writing that... hey wait a minute, what the fuckety fuck is going on here? I'll go to JT's site if I'm looking for intelligent analysis, I come here to wallow in the filth and perversion.

cetterobidas said...

I say trade the whale. I think it's crazy to hold down a team and it's fans because of potential, esp when Jaro is already playing to his. Tough situation for Gainey, I know. I'd hate to see one go and have him be stellar between another squad's pipes for years, but at some point he'll have to gamble, und wit Jaro, verk ettic mean so mach. On another note, recent scatological references have inspired me to share Nowhere near as disgusting, appropo of Sexy Friday and well, well worth the visit.

GoldenGirl11 said...

Yesterday was the end of the world as we know it. Today is organizational credibility perspective and concept of potential! I'm sure you're a lovely person but STFU! No offense of course.

And speaking of sitting on chocolate cake with your bare ass, Toronto lost to NJ in the last 10 seconds.

Le Douze said...

After a long stretch of Ronnie W. trying to out-Lemaire Lemaire, some of the most enjoyable few minutes of Laffs hockey I've seen this year with Mrs. Le12. (Not sure she agreed).

Must say though, Kovy 2.0 didn't look the same in red and white. Guess it will take him a few days to work out which colour is his own team.

moeman said...

I may slag and enjoy leaf misery but it is being reported that Burke's son died in a car accident today. Losing a child is one of life's biggest nightmares. Sympathies to the Burke family.

Orangeman said...

I came here to laugh at the Leafs for their loss but like moeman I just found out about Burke's son. My lord. That is just terrible. And there was another 18 year old on the car, too. I was going to talk about the goalies, too, but for the life of me I can't remember what I was going to say. What a terrible thing to happen.

kevincrumbs said...

Condolences to the Burke family.

I remember reading an awkwardly written but still great article about Brendan coming out of the closet and the way he way accepted by his college team, along with his family. It made me glad that the same man who espouses truculence was also so accepting of his homosexual son. Very sad news. RIP.

Oleg Petrov said...

Just a note re "How much is riding on Carey from an organizational credibility perspective? Picked 5th overall, way higher than anyone had predicted." -

Central Scouting had Price at #5 in their final rankings before the 2005 draft. (Gui!:() was at #22.)

Anonymous said...

It is time to bring in Patrick Roy to make these decisions. NOW!

Number31 said...

wtf are you talking about? Why are we always shocked a Habs goalie had to make over 40 saves for a win when they've been doing it all fucking year? Everyone makes it sound like Price has been horrendous this year, when he hasn't, but you don't win games when the team doesn't score. Hell, if Metro hadn't realized he was playing the Bruins (he always scores on them it seems) or if Hammer missed on his golf swing, the Habs would have fucking LOST last night. Just like that Nashville game where the team skated around for 60 minutes and couldn't bother to wiff at the puck but Price ended with 53 saves and a stick in the throat from Paul Mara as a thank you. This team needs to pick it up, regardless who's in nets.

And Bob shouldn't trade ANY OF THEM. The depth chart for our goalies is horribly thin after these two. Don't bring up the name Desjardins either because he won't have the Bulldogs playing in front of him but the porous Habs defence. Trading the only real strength this team has will be the biggest mistake of Bob's GM life.

Remember, Tim Thomas got the Vezina for flopping in the right direction last season. Now how does he look?

Anonymous said...

right on #31... WTF was Carey supposed to do, score as well? And Jaro never played this well ever before...ever!

I hate this jaro's awesome,carey sucks attitude...

Everyone loves an underdog, it makes for good posts...

TheIronLung said...

Price has more wins that Brodeur had at this age.
He's 22. Christ, it's called patience.