Monday, June 30, 2008

Habs Review 2007-08:

Steve Begin

The numbers

2007-08
44 GP: 3 G, 5 A, 8 Pts, 48 PIM, E, 67 Shots

Career best year – 2005-06
76 GP: 11 G, 12 A, 23 Pts, 113 PIM, +9, 134 Shots

2007-08 playoffs
12 GP: 0 G, 3 A, 3 Pts, 8 PIM, +1, 21 Shots

Career best playoffs
This season



Plays of the game: 0

Game pucks: 1

Domes: 7

3 Star selections: 1 Second, 2 Third


The story

Where he started the season
One thing we knew for sure was that Steve would make the team and would have a guaranteed 3rd or 4th line spot. One thing we didn't know was whether he would be the Steve of year ago (10 points/often injured) or the Steve of 2 years ago that posted career highs in almost every stat category. He could play centre if we needed, but with the addidtions of Smolinski, Grabovski and Chipchura it was obvious that he would be back playing the wing. The goal for him was to put up a positive +/- and to provide some tertiary scoring - stuff that he had done so well for us just 2 short seasons ago.


The season
He definitely didn't turn too many heads early on in the season, but he was doing his job. The Habs were winning and we were successfully shutting down the opposition's top lines better than they were shutting down ours, so I must give Steve and his linemates credit there. Throughout the season there was the rare flash of the old Steve - the Steve that hit anything that moved, that took quality shots, that fought and that basically brought us our energy. As the season wore on, however, the new Steve was more visible than the old - the Steve that fades into games and that you forget about. He had his 'Tucker' or 'Avery' moments this season, but I wouldn't characterize him by those. Even players like Kovalev and Koivu can show that flare from time to time. What we needed from Steve was a constant effort, we needed a pest to get in the other team's face each and every night. Instead we got what looked like a player who is losing his feel for his old game.

Highlights: That kind of season for Begin, so full of highlights they had to show the same goals from different angles to make up the time




Begin by the numbers: Canadiens.com

Lions' links on Begin:
New Concept for Montreal Media: Rolling Squad

Grade: C
Steve missed 38 games this year, mostly due to injury. So, he only featured in 54% of our games, which to me is not enough. In fact in four seasons with the Habs he has missed 104 games (albeit some were benchings) which works out to about 1/3 of the teams total games. Pests have to be there each and every night, they have to get in Crosby's face one night and Heatley's the next. They can't be there half the time, especially if they aren't really much of a pest when they are there. His play in the playoffs (especially the first 3 games against Boston) was improved, but it wasn't unique. I feel players like Stewart, Lapierre or even Kostopoulos could bring more to Steve's role. It seemed more than anything that Steve was just along for the ride this year. In a year where so many individuals stepped up to make us the team that we were Steve simply showed up to work on most nights, collected his paycheck and went home.


Where we'd have him next season
Steve, at 30, is in no ways an old man just yet, so there is hope that he can return to form, but after two sub-par seasons I am actually beginning to question just what is par for Steve. The fans fell in love with him in the 2004 playoffs against Boston, a series in which he was quite simply dominant. Since then, however, he has not really done too much. The hits are less frequent, the goal-well has seemingly dried up and the energy that I thought he was to bring is less and less evident with each passing season. He will be back next year, the last year of his contract, but I would suggest to him that if he wants to last the full season in Montreal he'd better start making an impact from day one. There are players in our orginization that are ready to take his spot, so this will surely be his last chance. I'd welcome back the energy-ridden Steve with open arms in October, but if we just get more and more invisible appearances following lengthy stints on the injured list then I'm affraid we'll have to say good-bye.

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