So Bob didn't give me a birthday present exactly...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

And honestly, I don't really mind too much. I mean, he doesn't know I exist anyway, right? Right. The only thing I really wanted to see was some more help on the blue-line which guys like Mark Recchi and Nik Antropov weren't exactly going to bring, you know? A lot of people were talking Pronger and Jay Bouwmester. In case nobody noticed, those two are staying put.

We could talk about not getting or even making a bid for Olli Jokinen and/or Jordan Leopold, but I've got a couple of things to say first. There was nobody avaible who was going to magically turn this team into a contender. Not Leopold, not Antropov, not Upshall, not Recchi. There's no one single player in the entire league who will turn this team into a contender automatically. Not Ovechkin, not Lacavalier, not Zdeno Chara and not Steve Mason. You need to have a TEAM of good players to win. One good player does not a Stanley Cup winner make. Yes, you an add a key player who will help push your team, but that team has to be there to begin with. If it's not there, you can trade for the best guy in the league, but it wont' help. Ovechkin and Lacavalier will be useless on this team unless they have linemates who will actually skate and pass them the puck. Chara might be able to single handedly stop any puck from going in the net but that's pointless unless the guys up front remember how to score. And despite popular belief, Mason can NOT stop every single shot that comes his way every night by himself. He needs a little HELP from the defense, yes?

What I want to see is the players who are on the team now actually live up to their potential a little bit here. I said "potential" not "hype". I think they could be contenders if they played up to their potential every night. If Kovalev had been less sick and more motivated to play earlier in the season maybe we wouldn't be fighting as hard now for a playoff spot. If Plekanec and the Kostitsyn brothers hadn't gone into a funk, maybe they would have scored more. If Price hadn't cracked under the pressure, maybe he wouldn't have lead in a lot of goals. If Komisarek hadnt gone all weird maybe he wouldn't look like he was just standing still while the opposing team skated by him. We could go on forever with this. Bottom line is the Habs need to start living up to their potential a little bit if they dont' want to get unceromoniously booted out of the playoffs in the first or second round.

I also see people stop bashing Bob Gainey. On paper, what Gainey's done this year has been good. He got Tanguay who looked like he could get a new lease on life on a new team, he got Lang when Sundin decided to play hard to get, and he got Laraque who was supposed to be a little more helpful than he's been. They were supposed to add to a team that came off a good year (if disappointing playoff run) the year before. Last year's team had the number one powerplay, had a motivated Alex Kovalev and Tomas Plekanec. The Kostitsyn brothers weren't being dissed for being linked to mob guys and Andrei was scoring a lot in the latter half of the year. Komisarek and Hamrlik from what I remember, weren't being accused of being inept at the blueline and Carey Price (despite the bad playoffs) looked poised to carry the team in the following year and wasn't being compared to a sieve. Add to that a wealth of AHL prospects who could be aspected to fill in now and then - they were NOT meant to be in the starting lineup night after night. While that's that they're there for (to call them up when you need them), you don't really win a Stanley Cup on the backs of a pile of rookies. There's really no way that we should be relying on Pacioretty, D'Agostini and Stewart to carry this team.

So. Let's not bash Gainey for what has or hasn't happened this year. It's not Gainey's fault that this year has been over blown and over hyped. It's not Gainey's fault that his players have become involved in various "scandals" (rumored/alleged or not). It's certainly not Gainey's fault that his players this year have either been bashed and banged at best and haven't performed up last year's standards at worst (oh wait.... isn't it the other way around?). Is it Gainey's fault that Carbonneau has looked like a guy way out of his league at times? could question his motives for hiring a guy who had very limited coaching experience. But there's no way that I'm going to blame Carbonneau solely for this season. He takes his share of the responsibility along with everyone else (and yes, Gainey is included in "everyone else").

All in all, today hasn't been terrible from a trade point and I'm still happily stuffed full of cake and am still hugging my Habs and Ovie stuff. So really, it's all still good. Now the Habs just have to win tonight.....


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