Rabid Habs

Bag O’Questions: August 19, 2015

Credit: Robert Hradil Credit: Robert Hradil

Where do you go when life’s difficult questions are getting in your way? To whom do you turn when, as the hours tick by slowly at night, you remain awake, tossing and turning as your mind wrestles with modern paradoxes and ancient mysteries?

Why, your friendly neighborhood podcast hosts of course! In this first ever, one-of-a-kind “Bag O’Questions” feature, Sean O’Neill and Zach Vanasse of The Montreal Bias look to comfort you as you try to navigate this cold modern age.

 

Which NHL coach will be the first to be fired this upcoming season? 

– Anthony C.

Let’s first take a look at whose head is already precariously close to the chopping block. For my money, Bruce Boudreau in Anaheim, Claude Julien in Boston and Ken Hitchcock in St. Louis are currently seated on the hottest of seats in the NHL.

Boudreau and Hitchcock probably don’t have a ton to worry about. They’re coaching really good teams that should both be a lock for the playoffs. Their respective teams’ playoff performances will likely dictate whether or not they stay employed, more so than the regular season.

Which leaves us with our good buddy and excuse maker extraordinaire Claude Julien.

The Bruins failed to make the playoffs last season and they don’t look as though they’re going to be any better in 2015-2016. Dougie Hamilton, Milan Lucic and Reilly Smith are out, while Matt Beleskey, Jimmy Hayes and Zac Rinadlo have been added to the Beantown mix. That’s… not great, Bob.

New Boston general manager Don Sweeny managed to bring back some first round picks in moving out Hamilton, Lucic and Smith, but that doesn’t do Julien much good for the season ahead. Not to mention the fact that Julien isn’t even Sweeny’s guy, so his leash is probably going to be real, real short.

Truth be told, I’ll be surprised if Julien makes it to Christmas.

In related news, Tyler Seguin used to be a Bruin, but then they traded him ‘cause he liked to party. This has been you regularly scheduled ‘The Bruins Traded Away Tyler Seguin’ reminder.

But what about our own guy? Is there any chance he gets canned in the early going if the Habs don’t play up to par? How long of a leash does Michel Therrien have? Hard to say since it’s difficult to ever figure out what’s going in Marc Bergevin’s head. His pants are tight, his inner circle even tighter.

Unlike his BFF Claude, Therrien’s management likely made his squad better in the offseason. A deteriorating Brandon Prust and a deteriorated P.A. Parenteau have both been jettisoned, and project players Alex Semin and Zack Kassian have been added to the mix. Even if all the aforementioned individuals perform exactly as they did last season, that’s two extra goals for the Canadiens. Win. Little tiny win.

And then there’s Carey Price. Can we expect another Hart and Vezina season from Price? That’s probably a little greedy. Could he be the most dominant goalie in the entire NHL again? That seems quite likely.

But, if Price flounders some from his God Like 2014-2015, Therrien might find himself in some hot water should the Habs’ scoring woes continue.  All things being equal though, it’s highly unlikely Bergevin considers replacing his bench boss anytime before the 2016 offseason.

 

Will Bud Holloway be more than a normal AHL signing?

– David M.

First things first: let’s figure out who the hell Bud Holloway is.

Well, Bud is a 27-year-old native of Wapella, Saskatchewan, the proud home of NHLers Dave Dunn and Brett Clark. They’ve even got a sign to prove it. Dunn spent a few seasons in the NHL with the Canucks and Leafs in the ‘70s, while Brett Clark was drafted by the Habs in the 6th round of the 1996 NHL Draft, playing 102 games on the Canadiens blue line before spending time with the Thrashers, Avalanche, Lightning, and Wild.

Why mention this? Because Wapella, Saskatchewan has a population of just 354 people. I don’t care how mediocre the careers of Dunn, Clark and Holloway might be; a town with a population of 354 people producing three quasi-NHLers is damn impressive. If Montreal could produce NHLers at that rate it would have produced 14,000 NHL players by now. I have no idea how many native Montrealers have played in the NHL, but I’m going to assume it’s less than 14,000. So, way to go Wapella.

Second things second: let’s figure out if Bud is his real name.

It isn’t. Like most Bud’s out there, he’s going by a nickname.  His real name is George Holloway III. Bud Holloway sounds like a 1920s moving picture star. George Holloway III sounds like an 1890s robber baron.  I’m still torn on which I prefer.

Third things third: let’s answer the damn question.

Considering ol’ Bud – wait, I’m no longer torn, I like Bud better because we can call him ol’ Bud – is 27 years old and has yet to play a minute in the NHL, he’s going to be a really, really long shot to be anything more than “a normal AHL signing.” Add to that the fact that the Habs are already deep at the forward position with legit and semi-legit NHL players slotting in ahead of him and there’s no chance ol’ Bud ever cracks the big club.

Sorry Bud, looks like Wapella won’t need to update their sign anytime soon.

(Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article said Holloway wouldn’t make the team because of “a logjam at the blueline.” Which was a stupid thing to write because Holloway is a forward.)

Are we going to have another year of David D as our #1 centre ? Say it ain’t so? Forget improved scoring if true!  

– Dave J.

First, a stick tap to David M. for sending in that Bud Holloway question. You have to be an especially rabid Habs fan to give a crap about bottom-six AHL forwards (sorry Bud).

Second, at this point, complaining about David Desharnais is like snarking on U2. I mean I get it – it ain’t great – but it’s not that bad. Desharnais may be an undersized midget who stands on Pacioretty’s shoulders and calls himself a giant, but 60-point players still don’t grow on trees.

It’s true, however, that Desharnais is not a legit #1 centre for a Stanley Cup contender. If recent Cup winners have had one thing in common, it’s strength down the middle: Toews, Kopitar, Bergeron, etc. Desharnais is clearly not anywhere near that level – that remains why, if the Habs are gonna truly contend for a Stanley Cup, it is absolutely essential that Alex Galchenyuk seize the 1C role.

 

Who will Semin play with? And what needs to happen for Therrien to throw him under the bus Parenteau-style.

– Pete S.

The funniest part of the Alex Semin signing is that he seems like the type of player custom-designed to drive both Therrien and Bergevin insane. For all their talk about ‘character’ it’s a little bizarre that the Habs front office took a flyer (albeit a low-risk one) on one of the seemingly lower-character guys in the league.

Semin will obviously play on the top-six (he literally offers nothing as a bottom-six guy). I’m guessing he slots in on the 2nd line with Plekanec and either Kassian or DSP (one of our two power forwards has to click for this team to do any real damage). What happens, however, if Semin is still playing like the 6-goal guy he was in Carolina? Again – this is a guy who literally offers nothing beyond his (potentially prodigious) goal-scoring. Seems like Semin either scores 25 or he’s off the team by January – there may be no middle ground here.

Do you have a question you need answered. Toss your queries our way! Comment on this post, or tag your questions on Facebook and Twitter with #RabidHabsQ, or mail us your question at themontrealbias@gmail.com.