MHT Pre-Game: Habs vs. Penguins – Feb. 27th, 2014
Join Steven Hindle, Rob Elbaz and Coach K as they preview the second of back-to-back games for the Montreal Canadiens, this time against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
With the Olympic trade freeze coming up quickly and the trade deadline coming March 5th, ten days after the Olympic trade freeze is lifted, trade rumors are coming fast and furious. The Montreal Canadiens have been part of trade rumors for the bulk of the season, with the latest rumors being them heavily shopping forward Rene Bourque. Let’s look at what the team needs and who a rumored to be on Bergevin’s radar and who might be on the outs.
Needs: Big bodied top-6 winger, second pairing right-handed defenseman, bottom-6 physical forward with size
It’s no secret – and it’s been ongoing for years – the Habs need to get bigger, though without sacrificing significant talent. Most people thought or think that Max Pacioretty is the top-line power forward the Montreal Canadiens need. However, people have to stop thinking that Pacioretty is a power forward and pressure him to play like Tomas Holmstrom because this is a waste of his talent. The truth is, “Patchy” is a sniper with size. Which means, the Canadiens still don’t have a true power forward for their top-six group. However, when you looks closely, it’s very hard to find a top line player who plays like a prototypical power forward. Players like David Backes and Milan Lucic are hard to find, and when you have them, you keep them.
The last few games have revealed another big hole in Bergevin’s team: the team lacks a second pairing right-handed defender. Preferably, the defenseman would have size and be able to play on the power play. Looking at the team’s defensemen, only Subban and Diaz are righties. With Diaz recently sitting out most games, this means the CH always have two rearguards playing on their off wing. GM Bergevin desperately needs to fix this glaring issue.
Bergevin also needs to add a big, physical forward to the bottom-six group because… well… his forward group averages for 5’11.75″ and 198 lbs. A little height and weight wouldn’t help, would it?
Rumored to be available or willing to listen to offers: Rene Bourque, Daniel Briere, Raphael Diaz, Lars Eller, Brian Gionta, Andrei Markov, Max Pacioretty
A few names up their might raise a few eyebrows, but they all have popped up in trade rumors of late. First off, if Marc Bergevin ever trades Pacioretty, he’s an idiot. Sorry for the language, but there’s no other words that come to mind. Having a player who can score over 35 goals and 70 points per season at 4.5 million dollar cap hit for another four seasons… you don’t trade this.
Lars Eller and Andrei Markov are two other names who may surprise some, but their names have indeed appeared in a few rumors, for different reasons. Eller appears because of the Habs’ depth at center with Plekanec, Desharnais, and Galchenyuk also playing center. All this depth has apparently made Eller available if the right deal comes along. As for Markov, his experience and talent level makes him an attracting commodity for teams looking for a veteran power play specialist. It’s mostly because of his age – 35 years old – and his pending UFA status that has rumors swirling on his status with the Canadiens. Also, you have to remember, in order to receive, you have to give. With the other names left, don’t expect a big return for them.
Bourque, Briere, Diaz, and Gionta; what to expect in return? Not much. There were reports of the Avalanche and the Canadiens close to a deal involving Parenteau and Bourque respectively. Some reported a straight up one-for-one deal, which was totally insane on Colorado’s behalf, and some reported the fact that Bergevin’s unwillingness to add Andrighetto to the deal caused the deal to fall through, which would be a head scratcher from Bergevin’s behalf. Others report that Bergevin and/or Sakic were eyeing other players from each other’s clubs. What’s obvious though is if Montreal’s GM wants or manages to move either of them, he will have to eat up half of the pay the player’s salary. No other GM would be willing to grab one of those players at full price. As for Diaz, at this point he can only be considered as a throw in of any deal.
Rumored to be on Bergevin’s radar: Dustin Byfuglien, Evander Kane, Jamie McGinn, Ryan O’Reilly, Steve Ott, P.A. Parenteau
Everyone knows the Montreal Canadiens need to get bigger, and Bergevin seems to target the right guys, almost. Byufglien is an impressive 6’5″ 270 lbs, but everyone knows of his conditioning issues. Evander Kane is 6’2″ 195 lbs, Jamie Mcginn 6’1″ 210 lbs, O’Reilly 6’0″ 200 lbs, and Ott 6’0″ 189 lbs. All these players would help make the Canadiens a tougher team to play against. As for Parenteau, who is 6’0″ 193 lbs, he isn’t much of a physical player, but he’d definitely help Montreal’s top six group. The problem for Bergevin is all these players would require him to part with a player or players he might not want to part with.
That is the problem with trades. You have to give to receive. You can’t get one of these players named above without paying a hefty price. Eller and Markov could definitely get a good return, but both players are an important part of coach Therrien’s lineup. Trading Markov could make sense to avoid losing him via free agency, but you have to get another defenseman in return because not replacing him would greatly weaken an already weak defensive group. As for Eller, he is one of the only natural centers with size in the team. At 24 years old, Eller has shown was he is capable of. If used properly, he can be an excellent second line two-way center on any team.
There’s no denying the Montreal Canadiens need serious help. They have a serious lack of size, a weak defense that relies way too much on their goaltending, and an offense that lacks physicality. Bergevin has a lot of work to do, and making this team a Stanley Cup contender will take some time. What say you? Should Bergevin trade a few pieces or stand pat and keep building for the future?
Follow me on Twitter @SLavoie54
(Photo source: Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)
During the 2013 off-season, Marc Bergevin spent nearly $6.5 million to improve the Montreal Canadiens. He started off with the ever confusing and controversial signing of Daniel Briere for a generous two-year deal that will pay the Gatineau native $8 million. Bergevin’s following move was trading a seventh round pick in 2014 along with AHLer Philippe Lefebvre to the Florida Panthers for enforcer George Parros. His final move came in August with the signing of Douglas Murray to a one year deal worth $1.5 million to replace the then injured Alexei Emelin.
Thus far, as likeable as they may be, all three of these players haven’t improved the team all that much.
Combined, the trio average 23 games played, 2.3 goals, 2.6 assists, a differential of 5.3, and 22 penalty minutes. I don’t think Bergevin was looking for such a terrible stat line from these three veterans.
I know Murray and Parros aren’t expected to bring any offence, but together they don’t even total 40 games played and they are a combined -14. Murray has the team’s worst differential with a -13 in only 32 games. The big rearguard has been a give-away machine and has proven his reputation of a defender with cement hands and feet. It is safe to say that Murray will not be resigned at season’s end and will need to find another team either willing to give him another chance, or desperate for a veteran physical defenseman.
George Parros’s acquisition was met with a rather positive reaction from the fans. Playing on opening night against the hated Toronto Maple Leafs, the now 34 year old was having a very good game and had won a fight against fellow enforcer Colton Orr. However, in a freak accident, Parros’s night came to an abrupt end during his second fight against Orr. Since then, things went downhill for him, often struggling during fights and being on the ice for a few goals against. Subsequently, he suffered a second concussion in two months against the Islanders’ Eric Boulton. With no points and a -4 rating and 42 penalty minutes, Parros is fighting more than he ever did in his career. The question is: can he sustain such a game with his concussion troubles? I don’t think so.
The Montreal Canadiens’ management, or Parros, will have to take a tough decision if the 6’5″ veteran suffers another concussion, no matter how small it may be health and his children. With his major in economics at Princeton University, he shouldn’t have any worries for his post-hockey career. Some people were telling me that Parros can’t retire midway in a season. Well they are wrong. The Canadiens can place the Washington native on long-term injury reserved and shut him down, much like the Boston Bruins are doing with Marc Savard. Anytime I see Parros drop the gloves now, I cringe because another concussion could be disastrous for him.
Like I mentioned earlier, Daniel Briere’s signing was rather confusing to say the least. Marc Bergevin said he believed in having a balanced team. This means having a good balance between size and speed, and grit and speed. The Habs have lots of speed and skill, but lacked in size and grit. After striking out on Vincent Lecavalier, Bergevin signed Briere, but after Briere’s rejection to sign in Montreal back in 2007, Habs fans have always kept a grudge against him. Thus, his signing here was met with a generally negative reaction.
Personally, I wasn’t thrilled at all with his addition, and I have maintained that opinion throughout this season. My negativity wasn’t because of his snubbing years ago, because I moved on a long time ago. I was upset because he is another small fragile player on the decline. He’s not helping the team’s balance, he’s worsening it. However, I was willing to give him a chance.
Safe to say, he’s far from meeting expectations. In 33 games so far this season (before Tuesday’s game against the Devils), he has seven goals and six assists. For a forward who is as one-dimensional as you can be, this is a rather big disappointment. I know he wasn’t expected to produce 70 points, but he was expected to tally around 50 points. The problem with the 5’9″ 174 lbs veteran is if he doesn’t produce offensively, he is completely useless since he doesn’t bring any physicality or any good defensive play. His poor play and low ice time has reportedly brought Bergevin to shop the diminutive forward, but he can’t expect to get anything good in return of a small 36 year old underachieving, fragile forward carrying a $4 million cap hit for another season.
The only silver lining to these mistakes for the Habs GM is two of those three players will be UFA’s at season’s end, and these two players are easy to bench also. As for the other player, he might be able to trade him to a desperate team, or buy him out. In any of these two options however, he will have to eat up a cap penalty by either retaining parts of the salary, or take the buyout penalty.
Follow me on Twitter @SLavoie54
(Photo source: Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)
No matter whom you cheer for, there is nothing like being in Montreal when the Canadiens are winning or in the playoffs. The Habs haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1993 and yet a mid-season winning streak can make a winter day with sub-arctic temperatures seem like spending a beautiful summer day sipping a pint of your favorite beer on a Crescent Street terrace. As the Canadiens go, so goes the city of Montreal and that’s why when they’re losing there is nothing like being part of the media in Montreal.
What most fans and media accept as part of the ebb and flow of an NHL season can be viewed as the end of times in Montreal and right now many fans and some media are treating this current Canadiens’ mid-season slump as such. I can tell you this city is in an uproar with some calling for a trade, some for general manager Marc Bergevin’s head, and the majority for head coach Michel Therrien’s head on a platter. As I write this, the city is on pins and needles wondering what will happen if the Canadiens fall to the Hurricanes at the Bell Centre Tuesday night. The Habs enter the game riding a four-game losing streak in which they’ve been outscored 19-5 and been embarrassed in their last three games, the most recent a 5-0 dud to the Capitals on home ice Saturday night.
To read more:
MHT Post-Game: Habs vs. Blackhawks – Jan. 11th, 2014
Join Corey Collard, Rob Elbaz, Francis Chechile and Ryan Rider as they discuss the Canadiens 2-1 overtime win against the Chicago Blackhawks.
MHT Post-Game: Senators vs. Habs – Jan. 4th, 2014
The Montreal Canadiens managed to make a game of it in the 3rd period, after 40 minutes of futility, but an ill-timed penalty on P.K. Subban led to the Ottawa Senators winning in overtime 4-3. Join Corey Collard, along with “Twitterless” George Zaboukis, JD and Coach K, as they blow a gasket analyzing what went wrong for the Habs.
Paolo Mingarelli is in studio to discuss the new NHL Pacific Conference with Corey Collard, Steven Hindle, Coach K and Nick Murdocco, fresh off his vacation. The boys also discuss the situation with Carey Price and the contract negotiations (or lack thereof) of P.K. Subban.
Starting the new season this year without hockey would have been hard, but the team at Websports Media Network Have been hard at work developing a whole bunch of new content this year. On the night that should have been the first official game for the Montreal Canadiens, we decided to introduce you to the whole team and tell you about all the new and exciting things happening at WSMN.
Our regular cast of misfits started out the night discussing the lockout and our brand new Montreal studios.
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Ted Bird, Joey Elias, and David Kellerman are back with their weekly review of the NHL.
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New to the WSMN family, we talk to Rick Moffatt and Chris Nilan about their new shows.
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Also joining Montreal Hockey Talk this year are former NHL Player Bobby Dollas, Eric Engels of Hockey Buzz and Sirius XM, and Steve Hindle of Hockey Buzz.
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We sit down with Gary Whittaker and Yury Kutcher to talk about our new fight channel featuring a variety of shows covering a wide range of topics surrounding MMA and boxing. Pre-fight shows, post-fight discussions, behind the scenes looks at being a fighter, gambling odds, fight promotion and more.
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Steve Traynor is here to talk about the Comedy show, and Kamal Panesar talks about the merging of Habs Addict and Montreal Hockey Talk.
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The final word with the new Montreal Hockey Talk Team