Rant answers: Coming down on the Habs

We asked you to rant again this week and you did not disappoint, my friends! Let’s take a look:

ThePin04: If I could sum up the Habs' season in one word: embarrassing. Oh, wait, do I have to add more in order for it to be considered a rant? OK, here goes. This team is the epitome of failure. The first line, with Plekanec and whoever gets called up for the day, seems like they deserve to score goals as often as Scott Gomez actually scores them. There is no heart in the team, and with the exception of the second line, Plekanec, Eller and some injured players, they seriously need to re-evaluate what the team is doing.

How many games as a healthy scratch will it take P.K. Subban to stop playing selfish hockey and demanding the puck whenever it is in the offensive zone? Do you want to know why the second line is scoring? They don't play as often with Subban and when they do, they don't give him the puck. Seriously, the team was built as a defense-first team (at least for the past few years), with a breakout crew at forward. Do they not remember getting outshot by 20 in the playoffs and still winning the games? It's because of blocked pucks and unselfish hockey (not to mention a goalie standing on his head).

Gauthier kept removing pieces from a solid team until he was left with nothing of the original, and this is why the Habs are in the situation they are in. Dominic Moore, Maxim Lapierre, Tom Pyatt, Jaroslav Halak were in the first batch to go, the energy guys that would keep the stadium going, then Gill, Cammalleri, Kostitsyn, Spacek. I mean, what are they left with to build around? Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta and Thomas Plekanec? Is that really something you would want to build your team around? The Devils won the Cup in 2003, for those that cannot count, that is 9 years ago. When is enough enough and we just scrap everyone on the roster?

P.S. At least they finally got it right and realize that they are not making the playoffs this year, but the packages received in return were lacking, especially for the near future.

My take: Beauty, eh? Great job on the rant. Once GM Pierre Gauthier traded for Tomas Kaberle earlier this season, I would have axed him right then and there. How he added that brutal contract to a team that already had the contracts of Andrei Markov and Scott Gomez is beyond me. No one knows for sure, the Canadiens are a cone of silence, but most people around the league expect a GM change after the season.

Dead Hex: My beef here is with the tiebreaking procedures. I just don't understand why it makes sense to take away shootout wins before looking at overtime losses. The argument is that shootout wins mean less than a regulation win does, but couldn't you make the argument that an overtime loss means less than a shootout win? Admittedly, I'm not a fan of teams getting points for an overtime loss, after all, a loss is a loss, but if they insist on sticking with it, I think that OTL should be the first tiebreaker, and not wins adjusted without shootout wins.

My take: The NHL’s 30 GMs enacted the ROW tiebreaker rule (it’s in its second year) as a way to minimize the impact of the shootout. It’s the same reason Wings GM Ken Holland would like to see an extra five minutes of overtime added, but three-on-three, in order to end games playing hockey as opposed to the shootout. He represents the vast majority of GMs on that account. They can’t stand the shootout. They know the fans like it, so they’ll live with it, but they don’t want it to decide who makes the playoffs or not. Hence, shootout wins have been eliminated from the tiebreaker formula. I’ve got a better idea: Why don’t we just scrap the shootout?

SumNoob: What is going on in Calgary? I thought this was the time of the year you were supposed to really push! Instead, like last year, they're throwing away a great stretch of hockey that saw them climb up into a playoff spot, just to throw it away and gun for another 9-11 finish. What's the problem? It's not injuries; they have played some solid hockey while missing key players and they are now starting to get back all the key players who were missing. So what is the problem? What are we missing to get the players going? I've seen and heard the way this city comes alive during the playoffs and I'm not asking for another '04 run, I just want a chance to go to my first playoff game. So what is it going to take to get this poor playoff-starved university kid in the Saddledome come the playoffs?

My take: The Flames are like a ’68 Chevy Camaro running on its last fumes. Everything has its time. This core is old. The Flames need a serious retool. With nine pending free agents (6 UFAs, 3 RFAs), GM Jay Feaster will finally have his window to bring more serious change to this roster. And that’s his intention. Sure, the Flames are only three points out of a playoff spot going into Tuesday night’s games, but what exactly are they going to do if they get in? The big picture is what matters here. Time for change in Calgary.

Instinctz1: Something needs to be done to the point system. Isn't winning what matters most? Detroit has 43 wins and is behind St. Louis, which has 2 fewer wins. Same with Vancouver. It's just not right. 43 > 41. change the system to reward winning more!

My take: Clearly you weren’t reading our page last Friday! Once and for all, I went after the NHL’s points system.

jmblumenshine: My rant is simple. Why didn't the Hawks do a package deal for Tim Gleason or Joni Pitkanen and Cam Ward? I think they could have leveraged some of their young talent along with Corey Crawford and gotten a young veteran goaltender who has won a Stanley Cup. Plus, Gleason would be a great replacement for Sean O'Donnell on defense. Every Hawks fan has to realize that with guys like Hayes, Shaw, Morin, Smith and Beach waiting in the wings, Patrick Kane is not long for Chicago. They should have packaged him, an AHL player and/or a draft pick and Crawford. This could be the difference between getting swept by the Yotes and another trip to the Stanley Cup.

My take: Simple answer: The Hurricanes did not make Ward or Gleason available.

lpfanatic54669: What is going on with San Jose? Seriously! My beloved Sharks have put their fans on the biggest roller-coaster ride this season, consistently going up and down the whole way. What has happened to the high-powered offense that we have benefited from at the beginning of the season? I find it hard to believe that EVERY goalie they face is on a hot streak (other than Ryan Miller). Combine that with Niemi's own up-and-down season, and the subpar play of the defense (with and without Douglas Murray), and we stand exactly where we are currently: in 7th place and season slipping through our fingers faster than the Toronto Maple Leafs' season. Is there any hope? Is Havlat really all we need to right this ship, or are the Sharks finally falling apart after sooo many great years?

My take: The Sharks have been really disappointing. Especially in a year when really no one is pushing that hard in the Pacific Division, at least when it comes to the lofty standards San Jose had set over the last several years in that division. But here’s the hope for Sharks fans: Martin Havlat and Douglas Murray return with a big impact for the playoffs, and the Sharks open for once as an underdog seed with no pressure on them. They would be a dangerous low seed, that’s for sure. They’ve gone to back-to-back conference finals, and they’ve knocked out Detroit two years in a row -- this is a team with playoff mettle. The Sharks just have to get there first.

kbattleson: I'm glad to see that there's buzz from Blues fans. What I'm a little tired of, though, is how large-market teams get all the glory and respect from analysts and the NHL themselves even when a smaller-market team is doing really well. Might I remind you that most people at the beginning of the season had the Blues picked for somewhere 8-11 place in the Western Conference. Now? They're in the hunt for the Presidents Trophy. Very little has been said about how good this team is, or "bad" for that matter. But time will only tell with the last month left of regular season and then the playoffs. I hope that not only can the Blues bring home a Cup to the fans in STL, but also open the eyes of others in the league.


courv: You're ranting to the wrong analyst/journalist. LeBrun has been talking about the Blues all season long.

My take: Thank you, courv. Indeed, I predicted the Blues would be playoff-bound back in September. I believed in the makeup of this team. Of course, I didn’t know it would be Ken Hitchcock leading the charge behind the bench instead of Davis Payne. If Hitchcock doesn’t win the Jack Adams Award this season, it’s highway robbery.

Stephen7417: Trading Ben Bishop for a second-round draft pick. Say what you want about the Blues' ownership problems, but a second-round draft pick? The Blues have habitually made bad drafts in the second round, with exception to David Backes, so how can the Blues justify the trade? Did they think they could have a better chance at finding new owners by selling the team at $150 million vs. $151 mil? I just can't rationalize trading a player who waited patiently in the AHL to play for his city and then, instead of being given the chance, was shipped off. I'd rather have Bishop playing in the AHL and helping talented prospects develop until he replaces Elliott.

My take: Bishop was slated to be UFA July 1 before signing a one-year, $650,000 extension upon joining the Senators. With Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott both signed for a few years, it didn’t make much sense to hold Elliott up at No. 3 at 25 years old. A second-round pick is decent value for a goalie with almost no NHL experience. I have no issue with what the Blues did here.

ChazFDC: Caps are so disappointing this year. I really want them to make the playoffs but they don't deserve to. Le sigh ...


sporty7527: It is hard to believe that 2 years ago, the Caps had to most exciting offense in the league and won the Presidents Trophy with a 54-15-13 record for 121 points. I don't even recognize this team anymore. They're not fighting for top spot in the conference, they're fighting just to get in the playoffs.

My take: Is there a more disappointing team in the NHL this season when you consider expectations? Maybe Buffalo, but the Sabres haven’t had the track record of the Capitals as contenders these last few years. The concussion to Nicklas Backstrom cannot be overlooked. He’s their best player, plain and simple. Mike Green’s injury struggles this season have hurt, as well. The goaltending hasn’t been good enough. More than anything though, Alex Ovechkin needs to have a serious look in the mirror this offseason and ask himself how much he wants to win in this league. Because right now he’s not committed at the level it takes a franchise player to deliver night in and night out. He needs to look at Pavel Datsyuk, Evgeni Malkin, Jonathan Toews et al, and realize what it takes to be a leader and superstar.