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Montreal Canadiens year in review


yave1964
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PRESEASON OUTLOOK

  They made the playoffs last year and disappointed their fans by bowing out early to the Senators in the first round. Hope was the club would toughen up and make it out of the first round

 

FINAL RECORD

46-28-8 100 points 3rd in the division.

 

HIGH POINT OF THE SEASON

After a slow start to the season the club caught fire going 9-0-1 from November 19th to December 7th outscoring their opponents 33-20 in that stretch. That was when they came together. Of course the other high point was coming back from being down 3 games to 2 against the hated Bruins to win in the second round.

 

LOW POINT OF THE YEAR

They started as if they were hungover, sitting at 10-9-2 at the quarter turn. I know a lot of folks might consider the fact that they lost to the Rangers a low point but frankly they have to consider the year a success,

 

 STRANGE STAT OF THE YEAR

PK Subban had a very poor 4.9 shooting percentage. He was second on the team in shots but had the 5th best shooting percentage even among Canadien d-men. David Desharnais was mediocre with 19 points in 40 games at home but close to outstanding with 33 points in 39 games on the road.,

 

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Max Pacioretty had 39 goals in the regular season. PK Subban had a good year with 10 goals and 43 assists. Desharnais had a slow start but finished with 52 points in 79 games. Andrei Markov had 21 Power Play points. Brendan Gallagher (19-22-41) put up solid numbers as a rookie and found a nose for the net. Thomas Vanek had 6 goals and 15 points in 18 games after coming over at the deadline. Carey Price was solid winning Gold in the Olympics and playing well all year as did Budaj his backup. Thomas Plekanec (20-23-43 was good but not great.

 

WHAT WENT WRONG

George Parros got his clock cleaned early in the year and never really did much. Rene Bourque (9 goals 63 games) was largely ineffective as was Brandon Prust and Ryan White. Alex Galchenyuk (65 games, 13-18-31) showed flashes but was inconsistent.

 

MVP

Have to go with Max Pax after his 39 goal season giving the Hab's a true scorer.

 

UFAs

Thomas Vanek

Francis Bouillon

Brian Gionta

Andrei Markov

Douglas Murray

 

OFFSEASON QUESTIONS

 The club took a big step forward making the conference final and hitting the century mark in points. The question comes down to this, can they maintain it? Lots of big names in Vanek, Markov and even Gionta are likely gone. Who will they go after and even be able to resign?

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Its hard to "dive" into something like this the day after a team is eliminated.  I certainly don't think that any of their fans would necessarily think of this year as a "flop" since they made it to the ECF.  But let's not "act" as if the players are satisfied as being second loser in the playoffs. For the most part, they have held the course with their young players, and have not tried to "buy" the cup with rentals.   I don't expect to see Vanek will be back next season as he is going to "attempt to sell" his services to the highest bidder, but with experience the rest of the team can take away from this run, their future is bright.

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Its hard to "dive" into something like this the day after a team is eliminated.  I certainly don't think that any of their fans would necessarily think of this year as a "flop" since they made it to the ECF.  But let's not "act" as if the players are satisfied as being second loser in the playoffs. For the most part, they have held the course with their young players, and have not tried to "buy" the cup with rentals.   I don't expect to see Vanek will be back next season as he is going to "attempt to sell" his services to the highest bidder, but with experience the rest of the team can take away from this run, their future is bright.

I have usually been giving it a day or two before writing these to allow a perspective to set in, but I think it was a foregone conclusion that the Rangers would win the series since Price got steamrolled.

  I agree the fans have got to be saddened by the knockout but overall taking a look at it this has to have been a very satisfying season.

Like the 'dive' comment BTW.

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Its hard to "dive" into something like this the day after a team is eliminated.  I certainly don't think that any of their fans would necessarily think of this year as a "flop" since they made it to the ECF.  But let's not "act" as if the players are satisfied as being second loser in the playoffs. For the most part, they have held the course with their young players, and have not tried to "buy" the cup with rentals.   I don't expect to see Vanek will be back next season as he is going to "attempt to sell" his services to the highest bidder, but with experience the rest of the team can take away from this run, their future is bright.

 

  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:

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Who will they go after and even be able to resign?

 

I would get rid of Budjai and put Takarski (sp) as back-up. He is the heir-apparent for price. Not to say I would ditch price (he is under contract 3 more years), but Budjai is not the answer in back-up at this point after what happened this spring. Toskarski is 24, looks ready for prime time. The question is, is he better off riding the bus in the AHL and getting big minutes or advancing to the show getting small minutes and great exposure / coaching?>

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They also have Fucale further down the line, but a great prospect just the same.

 

I had to look it up, but it seems Tokarski is a big game player. Not bad during the regular season, but steps up during playoffs. He won the Calder cup with the Norfolk Admirals in 2011. 

 

Interesting trade by the Bolts. Be interesting to see TFG's take. They give a Tokarski (23 y/o at the time) for a Cedric Desjardin (27 y/o at the time). Desjardin appears stapled to the AHL, yet Tokarski seems to have a much higher ceiling. 

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You know, overall, I would have to say the Montreal Canadiens' 2013-14 season was a good one.

They were a contender for the playoffs throughout the year, then fell off a bit, only to have some ppl write them off, then come back to make the post season, then sweep away a very good, but young and inexperienced Lightning team (just you wait next year, Habs! ;)  ), beat their arch rivals (and defending EC Champions) Boston Bruins on their way to the Eastern Finals.

 

I bet if you would have told most Habs fans pre-season, that their team would be in the Eastern Finals and went through Boston to do it, they would have taken it!

 

That said, this IS Montreal after all. And much like Toronto, a season is not really a success unless it ends with a Stanley Cup win.

Well, obviously that isn't going to happen this year and all the Habs can do now as a group is see what went right, push that further, and retool in areas where they perhaps faltered....and believe it or not, overall team defense, at least in the playoffs was minimal...and that is an area I believe the Rangers were able to take advantage of.

That is strange for me to say because historically, Montreal has been pretty sound without the puck and in dealing with opposing teams' rushes.

They usually play a responsible brand of defense then use their team speed to take advantage of take aways and turnovers.

 

I just felt the Habs weren't particularly good on defensive coverage during the playoffs. Not to beat this into the ground, but they DID get away with subpar defense against the Lightning, who were too naive to punish Montreal's poor defensive play, and they got away with it against Boston, who appeared to tired out and/or slow to take full advantage of it.....not so with the Rangers, who have been one of, if not THE most, opportunistic teams in these playoffs.

 

Off season re-tooling of the defense? Perhaps....or just execute better.

PK Subban, Josh Georges, and Alexei Emelin look to be staples on Montreal's defense for some time to come....the other three regular defensive spots need to be filled, perhaps with some more stay-at-home types (maybe Jared Tinordi plays a bigger role for the Habs next year?), and it will remain to be seen whether Andrei Markov is re-signed.

 

In goal, well, they had Carey Price through most of the year and into the playoffs until the collision that took him out.

And as many have mentioned, how Carey Price goes, so do the Canadiens.

 

That said, Dustin Tokarski stepped in and did a pretty damned good job being thrust into the spotlight. Not saying Tokarski > Price, because really, Carey Price is still much more accomplished at the NHL level than Tokarski is, but Dustin did NOT play like he was a downgrade from Price in the overall scheme of things....again, had his defense played a bit better in front of him, perhaps the ECF series is still going on.

 

If I am Peter Budaj, I am worried about my job, because if Tokarski has a great training camp and exhibition season this September, there should be no reason why he doesn't make the club as Price's backup for next season. There just isn't a whole lot more for Tokarski to accomplish at the minor league level, and Peter Budaj, while a reliable backup, is not going to be anymore than what he already is.

 

Do the Canadiens make another deep run next season as well? That is tricky to answer.

They certainly have some players in their primes and some young players who one would expect to get better with experience, but alot will hinge on what kinds of contracts and signings the Habs make in the off season which could determine their course for the next few seasons.

 

UFA's and RFA's alike will require some decisions with some long term vision. I think the Habs need to start on smart signings and/or re-signings on defense, then work from there.

They are in a division where teams like Ottawa and Toronto VASTLY underperformed, IMO, and I would think they would improve to varying degrees....others like Tampa Bay and Detroit will no doubt look to be playoff contenders again, Boston will be Boston once again (meaning always tough to play against..though age may be catching up with some of their players), then you have teams like Florida and Buffalo, who may struggle again, but with young players fighting to stay in lineups, could be problematic for a team like Montreal if they don't have their own affairs in order.

Edited by TropicalFruitGirl26
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This next post is for @Vanflyer :

 

Yes, Dustin Tokarski was traded to the Habs for journeyman goaltender Cedric Desjardins.

At the time, that trade was a real head scratcher for Bolts fans, including myself.

 

I had heard all sorts of stories from all sorts of sources regarding that all over the internet:

Some claimed Tokarski had a 'bad attitude' while playing in the AHL....others said Tokarski had peaked and he would not be any more than what he was (i.e. a great minor league goalie, but a marginal NHL one).....and still others said the plans were already in place to bring in several other goaltenders (starting with Lindback, ending with Bishop...but with Gudlevski in the pipeline as well) and that Tokarski simply wouldn't get the proper looks to be successful at the NHL level.

 

I tend to believe that last one.

Goaltending, as many know, was a HUGE issue for the Lightning, and Steve Yzerman made it a point to bring in as many viable options as possible to see who would emerge as the guy they could go to.

Turns out, Ben Bishop was that guy.

 

Also, it seems Tampa Bay had decided that, in goal, "bigger IS better" as when you look at the size of the main goalies the Bolts were looking at (Bishop 6'7, Lindback 6'6, and even Gudlevski at 6'4), Dustin Tokarski, at 5'11, probably looked like a guppy by comparison.

Granted, size isn't everything as the skill set is obviously still necessary, but seems the Bolts, as long as they felt those big guys had good to decent skill sets compared to a smaller goaltender, that they should go with a larger netminder to go along with their larger-than-average defensemen.

 

Enter Montreal who really needed not only a guy to backstop Hamilton in the AHL but a guy who could be a very reliable backup and possibly REPLACE Carey Price eventually.

Basically, the Bolts traded away Tokarski for almost nothing (no offense to Desjardins, but frankly, the Bolts had NO INTENTION of having him as a regular on the big club), and figured Desjardins was just good enough to backstop their AHL affiliate and at least be an experienced option to call up should the Bolts have severe injury issues in goal at the NHL level...which actuallly they did, and Desjardins did see some games with the Lightning.

 

I remember, outside of the Tampa fanbase, not much was made of this trade.

I remember trying to discuss this with fans outside the Bolts fanbase and most were like "Who? What? Big deal...minor league swaps".

 

Well, if this playoff was any indication, Dustin Tokarski COULD make this trade a big deal.

Did the Bolts screw up by not keep Tokarski?

Can't really say that because, like I said, I believe the Bolts were dead set on a certain type of goalie and Tokarski apparently didn't fit that mold. And Ben Bishop has made it clear that it is now his starting job to lose moving forward, while the Bolts still have reasonable to good options further down the line as well.

 

If we want to call this a "win" for Montreal on the trade front, I could go with that...however, it was something where I believe TB felt "if Tokarski turns into something good for the Habs, then great, but we like what we have".

 

Yes, @Vanflyer , Tokarski HAS been a winner wherever he has played. Memorial Cup, Calder Cup, Gold at the Junior Worlds.

 

Now, all he has to do is prove he has what it takes to get the hardest prize of them all...the Stanley Cup.  :)

 

And wouldn't it be something if the Bolts at some point in time run into a very good Montreal team in the playoffs, backstopped by, yup, Dustin Tokarski....THEN the issue can be settled whether the Lightning with Bishop or the Canadiens with Tokarski got the better of the fortunes since that 'obscure' minor league swap.....

Edited by TropicalFruitGirl26
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Yes, @Vanflyer , Tokarski HAS been a winner wherever he has played. Memorial Cup, Calder Cup, Gold at the Junior Worlds.

 

TFG- Thanks for the response. I get and understand every point you make. I guess for me, no matter what, I want to get value for value. Even if Tokarski was meant to be an AHL goalie, he was still a championship goalie (with the Admirals). That certainly has warrant significantly more than tampa got for him via trade- especially given his age. 

 

Montreal has some things to think about this summer. Granted 3 games does not warrant much, but they were the SCCF and the kid posted fabulous numbers. What do you do with Bjudai if you are montreal? Do you say, okay, you are under contract, but we went with the better goalie at the moment and say "sorry"? Or do you say, Bjudai, are you interested in playing someplace else that we can trade you to as we would like to give this kid a crack. The one thing I havent looked at is if Bjudai can be sent down (ie. let Bjudai and Toskarski fight it out in camp and may the better goalie win). 

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  Montreal has half the battle over with. They have their franchise goalie signed long term, and the makings of a very respectable, mobile defense. Now they just need to sit back and funnel their cap money and drafting around quality forwards. They would have been hurting if they did not have Danny B's offensive output, and that well is obviously going to run dry sooner than later....so that playoff production must be replaced.

 

 My absolute favourite non Flyer in the league today is Gallagher. This kid just gets it, never ever quits working, awesome finish, loves to go to the tough areas to score, a GM's dream. I'd kill to have that kid on the Flyers. In many ways, he reminds me of a young Clarke with his feisty nature and never say die attitude. Not saying he will produce like Clarke, but a lot of elements of his game remind me of a young Clarke....except he fights his own battles.....damn, did it hurt typing that....LOL!

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but I think it was a foregone conclusion that the Rangers would win the series since Price got steamrolled.

 

The habs did not lose because of that blatant hit. The lost because the other 18 skaters were not as good as the Rangers. I also think that the Boston series drained allot from their tank. Lastly, the size / speed differential was pretty stunning. Montreal is a smallish team and that normally translates into a speedy team, but the Rangers had size and equaled / surpassed the Habs speed. 

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  Montreal has half the battle over with. They have their franchise goalie signed long term, and the makings of a very respectable, mobile defense. Now they just need to sit back and funnel their cap money and drafting around quality forwards. They would have been hurting if they did not have Danny B's offensive output, and that well is obviously going to run dry sooner than later....so that playoff production must be replaced.

 

 My absolute favourite non Flyer in the league today is Gallagher. This kid just gets it, never ever quits working, awesome finish, loves to go to the tough areas to score, a GM's dream. I'd kill to have that kid on the Flyers. In many ways, he reminds me of a young Clarke with his feisty nature and never say die attitude. Not saying he will produce like Clarke, but a lot of elements of his game remind me of a young Clarke....except he fights his own battles.....damn, did it hurt typing that....LOL!

 

 Huh? Briere had 7 points, which made him the Habs 10th leading scorer in the playoffs. Or did you mean regular season, where he was 10th in scoring?

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@jammer2

 

  I too love Gallagher.

 

 I first started paying attention to him very early in the year in a game against my Wings, Eller won a faceoff and tossed it over to Gallagher who went right between two Wing defenders who were standing still because it happened so quick and beat Howard before Howard, Quincey or Smith had a clue what the hell was happening. My first instinct was to be mad at the wings but Gallagher simply made up his mind the split second the puck hit his stick and in spit of his size, giving up 5,6 inches to both Quincey and Smith and took the net.

  And then I watched a Hab's game a few days later against Toronto and damned if he didn't do the same thing, I remember he went THROUGH Gunnersson not around him, Gunersson looked like a deer in headlights and actually moved out of Gallagher's way. Gallagher did not score on the play but I don't care if he is a little guy, not too many players play as big as he does. He simply bull rushes to the net like an old time hockey player. Among my favorites too.

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@flyercanuck  Not really talking about his overall pts, but Danny just seems to rise to the occasion, most of his pts are game winners or tying pts etc. He was a very important part of the offense in the Boston series, not sure they make it by the Bruins without Danny boy. His 3 pts in game 6 brought them to within one, then the tying goal, then the winner. The guy just seems to turn it on when it matters most, but we already know that, being Flyer fans. Remeber when he was with the Sabres, and they throttled us in Game 7....think it was 9-2....with Danny getting 4 pts.

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@jammer2

 

 I didn't like Briere when he came to Philly (I thought signing him cost us a shot at Stamkos/Doughty/Pietrangelo etc)  but he made me like him in the postseason. But I also figured that contract was way too long. Can't say i miss him at this point of his career, and I doubt the Habs would either.

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Some guys just seem to be more dangerous in the playoffs.   They might not score a ton of goals, but they're capable of getting that back-breaker.  Briere is that kind of player. 

 

Dickie Duff was also. 

 

NY Yankees had a player named Tommy Henrich.  Back inna day, he was a pip for clutch hits. 

 

Fun to watch the guys who come through when the bets are on the table.

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Fun to watch the guys who come through when the bets are on the table.

 

 I have a few really nice examples of what you are talking about....Wayne Gretzky is 1st all time in playoff points per game production...an amazing 1.837, Lemieux is 2nd with 1.607....but the 3rd player on the list would surprise many...yep, Barry Pederson 1.529 ppg. He was never an elite star, just a better than average type of guy, but he obviously turned up the heat when the post season hit.

 

 Another example, this time from the Flyers. Paul Holmgren is 202nd all time in playoff ppg average, with a real nice 0.622 stat line. Never would have expected that, had to read it twice to see if it was correct....lol.

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Some guys just seem to be more dangerous in the playoffs.   They might not score a ton of goals, but they're capable of getting that back-breaker.  Briere is that kind of player. 

 

Dickie Duff was also. 

 

NY Yankees had a player named Tommy Henrich.  Back inna day, he was a pip for clutch hits. 

 

Fun to watch the guys who come through when the bets are on the table.

Dickie Duff and Tommy Henrich!! Okay you old duffer you are showing your age, lol. Maybe i am showing mine as well by knowing who you are talking about. :o

  Your right, some guys simply know what it takes to win the big games and series and find another gear to do so.Hats off to Duff, Whitey Ford, Pete Rose, Vernon Davis, the Rocket, Gordie and guys like Claude Freaking Lemieux and Patrick Freaking Roy whose legend transends the regular season and they make their name by how they performed when the game counts the most. I agree i love the guys who simply win when it counts.

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guys like Claude Freaking Lemieux

 

Claude was a pistol.  I think I've already posted this, but Chris Nilan tells a funny story about him.

 

When he first got a shot to make the Canadiens, for some reason known only to Lemieux, he goes into their spa and pisses on the steaming rocks.   I guess that was his idea of humor.  When it was revealed that he was the culprit, he was told to take his sorry ass back to Sherbrooke tout suite.  He's infuriated.  He takes his gear out to his car and punches the mirror.   The mirror gets smashed all to hell.  As does Claude's fist.  He has to go back into the room to have his hand sewn back together. 

 

He's different.

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