Sunday, February 14, 2010

Um, Let's Talk About the Future, Shall We? Phlyers 6, Habs 2

Admit it, you were thinking it. Stop it.

Well, that was unpleasant.

Lots of negative things to take out of that home-and-home against a second tier team with more goons than brains. We could start the discussion with lack of clutch goaltending, move on to talk about how tired and old both Hamr and Jaro 2.0 looked (among others), continue with a lament about how Gio and Pleks are the only forwards who could find the crease without a road mad (don't get me started on Gomez), and finish off with how unlikely a playoff spot now appears, especially give the injury situation.

So let's not do that. Instead, let's talk about the positive.

P.K. Subban.

I don't recall being more exciting about a young skater for the Habs since a certain young Finn in the early '90s. After all, when was the last time you saw a home-grown player wearing the CH go coast-to-coast? Not in my lifetime.

The Norris Trophy pic is obviously wishful thinking. He got caught out of position a couple of times - once forcing Spacek to take a tripping penalty which later resulted in a goal. He has a lot to learn.

But it was his second game, and you can teach defence. You can't teach the guts it takes to spin on the blueline or the puck skills to pull it off, or the heart it takes to rush the puck up the boards when you know you'll pay the price. Even when it didn't work, he's such a great skater (arguably the Habs best already) he's often right back on D when the play goes the other way - if he doesn't create a scoring chance or draw a penalty, like he did against Brayden Coburn.

This is the Habs, after all, so the hype machine will be in overdrive after the 2 game-2 assist weekend for this bright and engaging young man who seems destined to force his way onto the blueline in the (relatively) near future. We're been down this road before: Benoit Brunet rightly (oh, I feel dirty) pointed out that the very same finicky fans chanting "PK!" were also chanting "Gui!" a few short seasons ago - and we all know how that turned out. Although it should be pointed out that, for a large contingent of Habs fans anyway, there was, let's say, other non-hockey-related reasons to see more in Latendresse that there really was.
(See also: Price, Carey.)

So here's an idea: let's not predict multiple Norris Trophies; let's not start engaging in hypothetical trade scenarios ("Now let's trade Hamr, Spacek and Dagger to TBay for Lecavalier and St Louis!"); let's not place the weight of 24 Cups worth of expectations on a very young man, albeit with exciting potential; let's not even assume he should be on the NHL roster when the Olympics are over.

He may yet turn out to be the best and most exciting Canadiens defencemen of our generation. But let's see him earn it before we ruin yet another prospect with unrealistic expectations.

One last thing, now that the Habs are officially on their Olympic break (and Darwin knows they needed it):



gillis said...

Please don't compare him to Gui!

I was at the game and you just felt the whole place start to buzz whenever he stepped on the ice. But the chanting wasn't the same as the Gui! chanting though. For Gui!, everyone was excited for him to improve and become a great hockey player. Last night with PK, nobody was thinking of the future, we just wanted to see exciting, and that was the only exciting thing last night, watching PK skate end to end and doing his little spins at the blueline. Or at least thats why I was cheering. It was more like when Kovy was having one of his good games and everyone knew he was about to do something exciting. Gui! does nothing exciting

the Maritimer said...

A promising glimpse of the future.

I don't think the Habs could be in a worse spot going into the break. In 8th spot, just enough to convince Gauthier to stand pat or be a buyer rather than a seller.

If he could get annthing for Hamrlik, Spacek, Mara and Gill, I would take it. And, I know a lot of you FHF's really like Plekanec, but he is going to be overpaid and then pushed around for the next 5 years. I would take the 1st round pick and the cap space. This team cannot go to the playoffs as constructed. I only saw one Euro on Philly last night and he was Finnish, like the lamented #11 who used to play for the Habs. Bob really blew it last summer.

Number31 said...

Told ya he was awesome. PK!PK!PK!PK!PK! WOOO!

Step one to not ruin PK Subban: Fire Count Chocula.

Step two to not ruin PK Subban: Hire Guy Boucher.

Or heck, just let Captain Kirk coach the fucking team already.

Actually that's pretty much the golden forumla for not ruining the Habs. Hmm...

Le Douze said...

Watching PK in the real NHL was a bit of a revelation ... sure, he fucked up a coupla times, but mostly when he made a mistake, he was fast enough to cover up. But the scary cool moves he made were by far the most entertaining part of two otherwise pretty miserable outings. And when you compare his fuckups with those of some of the flairless veterans, well, hey, I'll take 'em in return for the entertainment value.

Having said that, I'm of mixed feelings about whether he should stay up with the big club this season, if the weight of expectations would be too much. He can play at the NHL level, but can he carry the million ton weight of the 100 year old franchise? But if not this year, will it be any different next year?

- confused douze

Le Douze said...

@#31 -
++, thanks for unconfusing me, that's definitely the answer.

RiRi said...

Methinks the crowd was chanting "PK! PK! PK!" because watching the current edition of this team play hockey is the equivalent of popping a few Ambiens. He just brought a little excitment to the game JM is slowly ruining with every game he coaches.

We just want a little entertainment. Maybe some passion every now and then. Is that too much to ask?

GoldenGirl11 said...


HFF33 aka Panger said...

So now we're on the "Fire JM" bandwagon? Coaches don't play, and the game is so fast and reactive, there is only so much you can control as a coach. Do you think if JM coached the Red Wings (just an example) they'd be in 15th place? If Babcock was MTL's coach, would we be in first? It's about the players. Hamr can't control a puck at the blueline - is that JM's fault? Halak doesn't hug the postr on Briere's goal - still JM's fault? Come on.

boob gainey said...

But the chanters were right about Gui! He has turned into John Leclair: 17 goals in 35 games.

If PK turns into the Gui! of the past 35 games (except playing for us) I won't complain.

Re: Olympics. I can't cheer for a team that has Chris Pronger on it. Go Sweden. And Russia if an injury forces them to call up Kovy (the real one).

kevincrumbs said...

Can we trade Hamr, Spacek and Daggers for Lecavalier and St. Louis, anyway?

Excited enough about PK to become a fan of his on Facebook.

GoldenGirl11 said...

PK on facebook, Drew Brees on Twitter... I remember when my mother would freak when I called the party line... but only after I walked to school up to my armpits in snow, of course.

L Dude said...

@33: I'm not saying JM should be fired or not. I never liked his signing to begin with, but that's neither here nor there.
Thing is last night he did a terrible job of coaching. Putting the midgets out to start the game when the Phucking Phlyers were obviously icing a starting line sent out to make a statement. And Laperriere placed that statement squarely on O'Byrne's left jaw, as he was the only eligible 'fighter' on the ice. Not that the Habs have m(any) of those players, but a line of Moen, Metro and Lapierre to start against them would have helped.
Then O'Byrne is benched for better part of the game, playing about 10 minutes, while recently concussed Spacek and his fellow aged countryman, playing possibly his worse game of the year see significant minutes to make up for it.
Bottom line is that team, with many key cogs missing, isn't likely to win more than 1 in 3 games. Perhaps if we have everybody back after or shortly after the break, there's a slight chance.
Don't bet on it though. If PG can get some picks for anybody (except PK and Markov) on this team, I say take it.

RiRi said...

@33 True, it`s not ALL JM`s fault but he has made multiple questionable decisions (L Dude mentionned the ones I tought stood out most from last night).

The thing is, our bottom six forwards are simply inneffective. They don`t hit, they don`t score goals, they don`t know how to protect a lead, they don`t instill fear in other teams...

Also, the top six, if we can call them that, haven`t played more than a game all together. For
about a month, we had Tits-Squid-Pleks scoring goals, then we lost Big Tits and that line slowed down. After that, Gomez started clicking with Chicken and Gionta and we lost that too... The injuries certainly haven`t helped us.

Finally, (now, I feel like I`m writing an essay!), the D is mediocre at best on most nights. Hamr and Spacek are always gassed by mid-second period, Markov has hit a slump and O`Byrne, while showing signs of improvement on some nights, makes bad decisions on others. Of course, there`s that glimmer of hope, Subban, to keep us watching!

Combine all these elements and you have a recipe for disaster!

`Kay, maybe you were right 33, there is loads wrong with the players too!

P.S. And don`t get me started on the goalies!

kevincrumbs said...

@RiRi: Yeah, fans are delusional if they think that upcoming UFAs Cari the Fat Wale and Mr. iTuna are going to fetch a whole lot in return in a trade.

boob gainey said...

Jack Martin was obviously forced on Gainey. I think it's one reason he quit.

Martin has never won in the NHL, and he is a good 6-7 years past his heyday. His 6 years in Florida were 6 years of unmitigated mediocrity.

b said...

Hard to say whether it is bad defensemen, or a bad system. Always pinching requires the center to cover the pinch, but that isn't happening. The system seems to have a leash on the forwards where they can't get more than ten feet apart. The turnovers are systematically consistent. You don't get that many just by bad decisions by defensemen. I don't think the bottom six forwards are allowed to hit, Moen and Metropolit aren't fast enough to catch anybody, anyway, but like all older lovers they try to make it for it with their hands. The defensemen are also assigned to clog the outside lane down the boards. Curious, especially when you lack mobility and agility, and your centers are tiny and up ice. And who would be afraid to go into the corners at our end. Hall Gill gonna mess you up? Hamrlik gonna hit you with a rubber mallet? Gonna get hurt by a sweep check? Where is that little tough d guy that liked to hit, oh yeah, adding color to Nashville. He must have been too expensive. The injuries show that the scouts/GM staff forward thinking- they haven't made a good choice of a defenseman in years. PK could just as well be forward, and he'd be better than quite a few on the roster. What does he use a lie 8 stick?

GoldenGirl11 said...

Just watched a ctv reporter interview the chinese figure skating pair....
Reporter: how does it feel to know that you set the tone for the competition?
skater: (look of complete confusion)
reporter: uh, howwwww doessss itttttt feeeeeeel to knowwwwwww that you set.... tone? Uh, (fuck!! Think think another word for tone...SHIT WHY DID I GET THE CHINESE SKATERS!!!!)
skater: huh?

It was a thing of Canadian beauty.

Ronan said...

The offense sucks because JM won't let anyone forecheck past our own blueline (I never thought I'd say this, but I'd kill for the Lats-Laps-TTB line from last year), and the D sucks because our "breakout" consists of clearing it off the boards to centre ice, where the puck is picked up by the opposing D and pounded back in. Both are coaching decisions. When was the last time you saw Markov make an honest-to-God stretch pass? Scratch that, when was the last time the Habs had a breakaway? We've got the league's fastest forwards, but JM won't set them loose.

Number31 said...


Suck on that you unemotional millionaire merchant of spam skiing jerk Begg-Smith. Wouldn't kill you to crack a smile either.

RiRi said...

That`s another thing I don`t get. If Gainey hired Martin, why would he then sign a bunch of fast skilled forwards? After 63 games, it`s quite clear they don`t go well together. I think it`s now obvious to everyone that Gainey was pressured by Boivin to hire a french-speaking coach and JM was the only one available at the time.

Also, if you look at Guy Boucher in Hamilton, he`s not exactly working with the most talented bunch of players, but he makes it work somehow and the Bulldogs second overall in the league. I`m definitely not suggesting bringing up Boucher right away, but this proves that coaching does have somewhat of an impact on a team`s performance.

moeman said...

Nothing is ever guaranteed but P.K. Subban just feels like the real deal. I fantasize a Robinson-ish end-to-end rush+goal some day.

A late Timmins pick no less, suck on that pure fucking woolers.

I agree with all comments above, no need to rush the young, effervescent and energetic young man.

What remains of the RDSers (seeing as 76% of their crew is at the CANADA-hosted Olympics) is insignificant in it's cries for Gui! FWIW, they hindered Gu:('S! Habs career more than they care to admit. Also, the Crete and Lavoie's that are left behind are Nordique-loving mouth-breathers.

Number31 said...

What JM did wrong last night was simple. Any momentum from the night before went psssssssh the moment he started Jaro instead of Price and the bizarro trio of Gio-Desharnais-Darche. Like wtf kind of line is that? Was Gomez on the toilet?

If the Gomez/Gio/Pyatt line started, especially with the anger from the night before, it would have been a "take the puck and shove it up their ass" statement. Or he could have paired their goons with some bangers and use the Lapierre/Moen/Metro line. Instead he failed, and the Flyers paced the game like it was their home game. And why is Moore on a line with Pleks and Sergei? Switch your 1st and 2nd players around if you're out of bodies, keep the 3rd/4th liners on their lines.

Of the 3 coaches Bob was pretty much forced to try to get, the Russian was obviously going to say no, Lemaire has that old boring defence style too, and Martin sold a dream of puck possession but has yet to deliver. I wonder how this team would look with Laviolette behind the bench eh. He was available, he preaches a similar aggressive style like Boucher, his name is french but he's not. Still, so you don't air the press conferences live but put subtitles on the bottom later. Big fucking deal.

GoldenGirl11 said...

THAT is your fantasy?

RiRi said...

@31 - Totally agree. I don`t think Gio and Desharnais should ever be put on the same line, let alone go head-to-head against Lapperiere and company.

Interesting: when Darche was called up, he was asked if the transition was easy because the systems played in Hamilton and MTL were supposed to be similar. He said they were completely different and it didn`t sound like it was in a positive way.

Also, I hate the fact that hockey is supposed to be a passtime/hobby/leisure activity/entertaining/etc. and instead the pure woolers have made it all about politics...:(

hfotwc said...

I agree completely with all my fellas FHFers on the JM issue.With all the suckage we witnessed last night,I think he won the BR by far.His lack of charisma and passion are only second to his lack of sense of fashion. I mean c'mon Jacquo, this is fuckin Montreal, one of the most exciting city in world. Listening to Carbo last night, even he seem to know what to do (but we're not buying this do we?)

Number31 said...

Carbo is only good for wicked looking ties these days...

moeman said...

Good catCH GG. Its my current Habs hockey fantasy. My real fantasy is ...

hfotwc said...

and oh I forgot, WAY TO GO Bilodeau, and Go Canada Go!!!

kevincrumbs said...

@RiRi: I've long since stopped regarding hockey as a form of leisure or entertainment. I feel like it's similar to a drug. The highs are few and far between (or not as good as when you were younger) and the lows fuck you up and make you angry. You vow to never again partake but you also know that nothing can make you feel as good a great high.

I wonder if there's any hope in the Molsons getting rid of JM if this debacle continues into next season. There's no way JM is gone at any point this year, unless someone frames him for killing prostitutes. At some point, I think we will see attendance suffer if the team keeps shitting the bed and once that happens, perhaps the Molsons would make a move. My other hope for this is that JM was hired under the old regime. Hopefully they have some they like better than JM.

Despite all this, Go Habs Go.

RiRi said...

@KC - True. What`s also depressing is that, in a city where the hockey team is so important to many, not much is done to ensure it performs well...

P.S. Ha! @ the prostitute murders bit!

Howard said...

The scary thing is that the Goat and Count Chocula seem to have a history together. If the Molsons were sincere in making a change then why give the status quo a vote of confidence. I guess if I was paying the Count a couple mill a year I'd think twice too. We could end up paying Carbo and the Count for years to come. At Carbo spends some of his green on clothes!
The Count's clothes are a manifestation of his system. Completely outdated and mismatched.
Yet Pernell Karl rises above it all and helps us rise above the mediocraty of this team. The Subbanator will be here long after the Count and his ilk are gone.