Friday, 10 May 2013

Habs Post-Season: Year in Review

Marc Bergevin Year-End Presser:

Highlights and thoughts:

- Conference wrapped up - the usual predictable assortment of questions, too many about Carey Price, but Bergevin handled them with ease. Really, really impressed with the responses, and his continued determination for the franchise to build towards a championship utilizing internal resources. And giving the kids a fair chance to prove themselves. That's great to hear.

At face value, you'd think that Bergevin's insistence that the Habs won't look outside for quick fixes means that the summer will be quiet. But there's still much to do - the Kaberle decision, trying to negotiate an extension with Subban (which won't be easy if he picks up that Norris trophy), and pondering over whether to shake up the dynamics of the grinding line. Does he keep Moen? Armstrong? Lots to mull over.

- Bergevin agreeing with assessment that Travis Moen did not have a good season, but that he has confidence that he'll return to form. I guess the question is, will that return be in a Canadiens uniform come October?

- Any questions referencing Michael Ryder, Bergevin turns away quickly as possible. Said earlier he'd still make the trade again, but you know the relationship is over. And really, it was a good trade if only because it cleared up a lot of cap space, that will probably be gobbled up once the Subban extension is hammered out.

- Such a great thing to hear, really runs counter to the general philosophy that hurt this organization so badly for nearly 20 years, but here it is: "We're not afraid to give kids a chance .... what I tell the kids is if there's no room, make me find room. Force me to make a decision, earn your spot."

- Safe to say Bergevin is a massive fan of Gallagher. Who couldn't?

- Radio hacks not satisfied (there's one person in particular whose credentials really should be revoked but he shall remain nameless). Now asking about concerns about Pierre Groulx, Habs goalie coach. Bergevin turns the question away, says he won't point fingers.

- "In hockey it's not how many you win, it's how many you show up for."

- While not stating it outwardly, Bergevin hinting that Markov was probably tired, the compressed schedule too much to handle, I'd reckon.

- Bergevin says he will look to bolster defense via prospects before looking at external possibilities. Wonder which of his current defense crew he's most iffy about? Bouillon? Diaz? Emelin (long-term injury status)? Markov and his aching legs?

- Not pulling punches:

"Marc did Louis Leblanc take a step back this year?"

"Yep. Louis is aware he took a step back this year. He's still part of our plans."

- Crazy number of questions about Price today. Bergevin being very patient, but the volume is just ridiculous. The hacks in Montreal will never be satisfied.

- Stated "100%" and then "150%" confidence in Carey Price. An appropriate and just response - I've counted at least six Price-related questions so far. It's the same old story/curse in Montreal. If you play in goal and you aren't winning a championship by carrying the team on your shoulders, something is dreadfully wrong. Line of the scrum: "I'm not sure how we'll work this out. Maybe I can do his groceries for him?" Great stuff.

- Won't comment on Kaberle buyout, but said operations will be examining the CBA option. The decision to buy out was done lonnnnnnnng time ago.

- Gave his coach full vote of confidence and the rest of the coaching staff in general. Twitter twatter that Therrien wouldn't be back next winter was just that - twatter.

- On extending P.K. Subban's contract: "I don't negotiate in public."

- Restated general philosophy that the franchise will build itself as a winner from within. He won't try to "buy" a championship, won't try to make his team "good for one year", won't trade young players for [assumed] rentals. Excellent.

- On Brenden Gallagher: "Forget about taking a night off, he doesn't take a shift off. He's a building block for us."

- On the greatly disappointing David Desharnais: "He's a young player and I believe he'll be fine, he'll bounce back." I guess there's nothing else he could have or should have said, but you won't convince me that Bergevin hasn't been questioning himself over that four year contract extension.

The Injury List:

The curtain is lifted. What can you say? It's nasty.

-Bouillion: Broken finger. Played through it.
-Eller: Broken face.
-Gionta: Torn bicep. Tried playing through it. Facing surgery.
-Pacioretty: Separated shoulder (game one). Played through it.
-Prust: Dislocated rib, messed up shoulder. Played through it. Possible surgery ahead.
-Price: Sprained MCL, possibly other unspecified injury from season's end. Possible surgery ahead.
-White: Double-punctured lung from game three fight. Played through it. My opinion of White just went through the roof.

No way the Habs had a chance in that series. Not with those injuries. Not. A. Chance.

Media Day:

Ah, media day. It's always melancholy because it represents the REAL-WE-AREN'T-MESSING-AROUND-THIS-IS-THE-END conclusion to the season.  Players have been answering the usual questions with the usual answers - we're now finding out who was injured (none of it a surprise), and how badly they were injured. This team was badly banged up - too many key players had too many serious injuries. More on that in a bit.

Meanwhile, this to chew on. One player didn't bother showing up. Michael Ryder. Habs PR said that Ryder "forgot and left".  Yeah. Right. Well at least we know where that story is headed, so good luck Mr. Ryder, wherever you end up. I'm sure many GMs will be drooling with anticipation given your stellar performance against the Senators. Sorry, did I say stellar? I meant craptacular.
More in a bit.

Friday Update:

Our Habs Game Blog isn't going anywhere over the summer months. We'll be posting here fairly frequently about the season past, as well as current events, including player movements, signings, drafting, and looking forward to the 2013-14 season, which, to be perfectly honest, is shaping up to be very good for the Canadiens.

First up, we'll be doing a little post-season review of the Habs 2013 season, the good and the bad, the strengths, weaknesses and gaps facing Marc Bergevin moving forward.

I'll be working on a post for the next little while, hoping to post the player review this weekend. From time-to-time I'll also be posting some League-related nonsense and videos, just 'cause we're allowed to have fun, dammit!

More later.

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