Monday, May 05, 2008

 

C'est vrai

Leafs fan and Leafs' Media-hater [redundant? -ed.] Chris Selley bangs out a rather spot-on post on, "Things the hockey commentariat would be saying right now about the Montreal Canadiens if they weren't the Montreal Canadiens, and especially if they were the Toronto Maple Leafs". I liked the conclusion especially:
...I hasten to add that I prefer the media's deference to the Habs as an abiding national treasure to their treatment of the Leafs as an abiding national cold sore, since the former at least recognizes that NHL hockey, for all the passion it quite rightly arouses, is a game.

Hear hear. Even if the NHL GMs were the 30 smartest, best-informed, most sober-minded hockey people in creation, the seasons of 29 teams would end in disappointment. Way too much hockey commentary pretends otherwise.

Comments:

The coverage of the Habs -- and Habs fans in general --- is and are just hateful.

I might blog on this over at Ty's site but when Huet was dealt off at the deadline, I immeadiately thought back to the Sabres failed run in '06 when everyone knew they needed to shore up their D yet they kept Biron as insurance for Miller and ran into the playoffs being vulnerable on the backend.

That didn't turn out so well for them and I could forgive Gainey Somewhat if he picked up some depth in return for Huet but he basically dealt him away for a 2nd rounder, not sure if it's the Caps or an old Ducks pick, but it's around the 50th overall slot which probably an asset that never helps the Habs win a Cup in the lifespan of Kovalev and Koivu.

Discounting the '06 draft, which was super loaded, if you went back to 02-08, I doubt the Habs have a big chance to lift a real player out of that slot, do they?

And it also left him vulnerable in goal and Price was simply bad in the playoffs and let some goals in that were just tough to get past. The kid seems like a super nice guy and I have a feeling I'll end up cheering for him in international comps but because he's a Hab I hope he Turcos his first few playoff appearences;)

I watched as much as I could of the Caps series plus the Habs games and Huet made some dandy saves behind a Caps defense that allowed a tonne of great chances. I think the Habs had a much better chance of making the 3rd round with Huet as the caddy and maybe you spare Price's feelings a little in the meantime. When I saw that deal made I told my Habs buddy it was a tacit admission by Gainey that he didn't have big expectations for the Habs that playoff season.

I can't say for sure if that's true or not but he didn't get a whole lot in return for what would've been a fine insurance policy.
 


Some of the Habs fans were speculating that Gainey was trying to get young kids playoff experience to set the team up for a run next year on their centennial, but that seems to assume an awful lot - if teams could plan how well players would play in given years, there would never be any bad contracts.
 


Yeah, the Habs kids Should have gained a lot of insight just by playing in the first round so in that respect, it's been a successful season for Gainey no matter how you spin it.

It's nice to see someone else hating on them, though:) Maybe it's because I'm old enough to remember when they were good every year and I grew up in the era of local coverage but it's an uncomfortable atmosphere when this team's good and people start fawning over them.

I suspect it's gonna be hellish next year given it's the club's 100th anniversary and the Leaves are almost sure to suck again; the carry-over will see HNIC turning into a anglocized RDS for the early games.
 


For the life of me I will never understand trading Huet for a SECOND-round draft pick. Basically gave him away (unless Habs totally luck out, but most first-rounders rarely pan out.)
 


I think you hit the nail on the head Dennis - Gainey figured this team wasn't going anywhere and that it wasn't like he was sacrificing a possible Cup.

Except the Habs did have as good a chance as anyone getting to the Final and then what? Say Huet backstops them past Philly and then Malkin goes down and then they get Detroit or Dallas and they get lucky. Remember how Buffalo was ravaged by injuries in '06?

One other point I heard was that he made the move in part because Carbonneau was unable to choose between the two and Gainey wanted Price to get played more moving forward. So by moving Huet he made Carbonneau's decision for him.

To me if you have a team that is relatively healthy and has a shot then trading Huet is a mistake.
 


I think you can make a hockey case for trading Huet, but you absolutely have to get more than a 2nd rounder. It always felt to me like the first part of a two part move, with Montreal getting more back, but it just never happened.
 


I think you can make a hockey case for trading Huet, but you absolutely have to get more than a 2nd rounder. It always felt to me like the first part of a two part move, with Montreal getting more back, but it just never happened.

The consensus theory is that Gainey was trying to get Hossa and Hedberg, but got slew-foot at the 11th hour by Pittsburgh. Because apparently Colby Armstrong is just that awesome.
 


Fans and media should just use making the playoffs their only benchmark, as I do each year.

The odds are against any one team, no matter how great they are.
 


Pat: Yeah, I don't think the Habs could beat the Rags -- and I don't think Pit would've had such an easy job with them had Gomez and Jagr not been playing with rib injuries and had Avery not been knocked out in G3 -- so on the one hand I didn't mind Gainey trading an impending UFA in return for an asset.

But every situation brings it's own set of circumstances and in this case you were trading an insurance policy for a 20 year old tender plus you were only getting a 2nd rounder in return.

Anyway, I'm glad that Gainey did it;)
 


When I saw that deal made I told my Habs buddy it was a tacit admission by Gainey that he didn't have big expectations for the Habs that playoff season.

did you ACTUALLY say "tacit" ??? (i must know...)

Gainey was trying to get young kids playoff experience to set the team up for a run next year

one of my pals is a MASSIVE habs fan, and insists that koivu & kovalev hate each other. he figures koivu (being UFA as of july1) will get the short end of the stick and kovalev will stay.... if there's any truth to this, then 08 was the year that gainey should have been focussing on. i think gainey should get canned for trading huet for a sack of pucks, though (admittedly) philly beat huet as well....
 


Huet took his Capitals to seven games. Montreal lasted five and was behind the eight-ball almost the whole time. Gainey should have to account for why he traded Huet for a second-rounder. Unless he drafts a star, it was a very foolish move by a so-called great hockey man. I just can't figure out his logic. Can anyone else?
 


one of my pals is a MASSIVE habs fan, and insists that koivu & kovalev hate each other. he figures koivu (being UFA as of july1) will get the short end of the stick and kovalev will stay.... if there's any truth to this, then 08 was the year that gainey should have been focussing on.

Is your pal aware the both Koivu and Kovalev each have a year left before their contracts expire?
 


uhh... my pal told me koivu was UFA this summer and i didn't bother fact-checking cause he is a MASSIVE habs fan....

.........or maybe he just told me koivu would get dealt this summer and i mis-remembered (and thus, mis-quoted) the conversation.

[the latter is FAR more likely if you could possibly understand his adoration for les canadiens, coupled with my ability to put back beers on gamenights....]
 


Walk: Yes, I really said it. Why?

Doogie: You know, there could be something to that theory. I remember watching TSN'c coverage of the deadline and Pierre Maguire -- who licks the ass of all things Habitant -- was smiling like a chesire cat when Huet was dealt and said something else was on the way. Later on he went off his head slamming Shero for giving up too much to land Hossa.

Right then I thought that he was pissed that his buddies weren't getting Hossa and considering that the Pens had lots of Christensen types and Esposito had question marks already, I didn't see any problem with the Pens striking right now.

Pierre did, though, and I thought it might have had something to do with where Hossa DIDN'T wind up.
 


Walk: Yes, I really said it. Why?

cause it's rad. like, duh....
;)
 


Walk: Good enough:)
 


it was a very foolish move by a so-called great hockey man. I just can't figure out his logic. Can anyone else?

One of the mysteries of the season to me. Buffalo did something similar last year with Marty Biron and it didn't work out too well for them either, but at least Miller was a proven #1 by that point. All that talk about Price = Roy = Dryden proved to be a tad premature to say the least.

I was frankly shocked to see the degree of Price's meltdown in the playoffs, to my eye he lost his composure in several different games and gave up goals in bunches a la Kiprusoff. (Had to get that in :) I'm not sure he was ever solid after that brutal giveaway in Game 5 vs. Boston. From that point to the end of Montreal's playoffs, Price allowed 24 goals in 18 periods, essenitally 4.00, which is never going to get it done in this league.

Huet showed a terrific compete level; even when things were going bad, he would come up with the big stop to keep them in there. Not to mention his fabulous stretch drive where he went 11-2-0, 1.63, .936 as a Cap, winning his last 9 starts and allowing just 3 goals in the last 4 games as the Caps ran the table.

So while I agree it was a foolhardy move by Gainey, you have to give George McPhee some credit for a terrific acquisition.

Ask the Flyers which goalie gave them the most trouble and their first response would be to wonder if the question was on the level.

As for Price, he's a good kid and I hope he bounces back. He could do worse than to consider the case of Grant Fuhr, who as a 19-year-old rookie in 1982 got lit up three times in five games by the Kings, posted a 5.05 GAA, and bounced all the way back to the HHoF. But it took him about a year to recover.
 


From what i saw of the series though, the Habs outplayed the Flyers for most of it. Sisu Jeff had a post up a while ago documenting it.

While it could have certainly gone the other way quite easily, it was still a silly move on Gainey's part. I read that Price's SV% over the last seven games was .850. Ouch. I don't know that Huet would have won them the series against Philly, but i'd bet he would have given the habs a longer chance to turn their luck around.
 

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