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Bergevin’s best opportunity to improve Canadiens is in front of him –



MONTREAL — It feels like years ago, but it’s only been eight months.

Surely you remember when Marc Bergevin held court with reporters in December, just two weeks after the Montreal Canadiens dropped eight consecutive games, when he repeated for what seemed like the 1000th time over the last three years that he wouldn’t mortgage the future for a quick fix. Boy, was he ever right at the time, as his team was bulldozing its way towards the bottom of the NHL standings.

But if Bergevin is still thinking that way after what he just saw from this team in these Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Canadiens are never getting out of neutral under his watch.

To witness young centres Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Nick Suzuki take massive leaps in their development in just over three weeks, to see Carey Price and Shea Weber play as well as they ever have over their illustrious careers, and to be right there to feel the Canadiens gelling together in a way that allows for the future-is-bright narrative to actually ring true, is to know the time to strike is right now.

Because for as good as the Canadiens were—and they were full value in knocking off the Pittsburgh Penguins in the qualifying round and giving the top-seeded Philadelphia Flyers all they could handle and then some in the first round—it still took everything they had to go as far as they did, which was nowhere near as far as they’d like to go.

They need more, and they need it immediately while the mojo is as positive as it is. Because the fact is, the Canadiens aren’t the only young team on the rise in National Parity League.

If they want an edge on some of the other ones, Bergevin is going to have to do the best work of his eight-year tenure before the puck drops next season.

The good news is he’ll never be in a better position to do it than the one he finds himself in right now.

General managers dream of having the kind of leverage Bergevin currently possesses. He has a desperate need for elite-level scoring — and some depth on defence and in net — and he has 14 picks in the upcoming draft, a loaded prospect pool, good non-core roster players he could part with, and an abundance of cap space to make the necessary acquisitions to fill those needs.

“As far as assets, yes, we have I believe 10 picks in the top three rounds in the next couple of years, [and] we have 25 overall. So we’re set that way,” Bergevin said during his 30-minute, season-ending press conference Saturday. “We’ve put ourselves in a good position to look around. If anything becomes available, we should be looking into that… If we can make our team better by moving a pick or players that we feel can make us better for a long period of time, we’ll do that.”

If not now, then when?

Here’s what else is in Bergevin’s favour: the NHL’s salary cap is going to be stagnant at $81.5 million for at least one more season and several of his competitors will have to shed salary (and some pretty good players) to comply with it.

And Bergevin can downplay it as much as wants — and he did in saying several times during Saturday’s availability that he has to be cautious and careful about how he spends Canadiens owner Geoff Molson’s money — but he’s got just over $63 million committed to a near-complete roster for next season and roughly $18 million to play with to make the team better.

This is the part where you retort with: Bergevin has had loads of cap space over the last two seasons and done little with it from that advantageous position.

But you know what the GM hasn’t had over that time? The evidence he needed to see in order to believe just a couple of sacrifices made to improve the Canadiens in the short run would go a long way towards cementing their place as perennial playoff participants moving forward.

“Today we see a team going in the right direction, a team fans should be proud of,” Bergevin said before exalting the virtues of his fresh-faced and talented Suzuki-Kotkaniemi punch up the middle.

Bergevin also talked about his unwavering faith in Price and Weber, saying both players, aged 33 and 35, respectively, proved they’re still on top of their game.

So how can he not look to bridge the gap between those four parts as quickly as possible?

A lot has changed here in a short span. So much so that what was best for the Canadiens in March is no longer what’s best for them now, which is a reality Bergevin acknowledged when he said he wouldn’t trade the experience his players just gained for a top-10 pick in this year’s draft.

“The experience of our young players and the way they showed their progression has no price,” Bergevin said. “So to move back seven picks (from ninth to 16th), that’s a very small price to pay. What we experienced the last month will really help the organization to move forward … The trade-off was worth it, to have lived this experience with our kids, how they showed their character and also the evolution of our organization.”

It won’t be worth as much if Bergevin doesn’t cash in on the opportunity at his feet.

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Jays lose third in a row to Yankees – Bluebird Banter



Blue Jays 7 Yankees 10

Well, game three end up a lot closer than the first two games.

There were lots of Yankees home runs. Lots. Yankees seem to have that swing down to loft the ball to the short porch to left.

Julian Merryweather ‘opened’ and he managed not to give up a home run. But he wasn’t good, 2 hits, 2 walks, 2 earned. I hoped he could go two innings but no such luck.

Chase Anderson followed and threw a very good second inning. Then he gave up 5 home runs in the third, while getting just 2 outs. He gave up three consecutive home runs on three pitches.

It did remind me of a joke from my youth. What goes whoosh, crack, whoosh, crack, whoosh, crack. A pitcher going down to the minors.

Wilmer Font finished out the third inning and got through the fourth without allowing a run. Our pitching MVP of the series.

T.J. Zeuch pitched 3 innings, giving up just 1 run on, you guessed it, another homer. He allowed 3 hits, 3 walks with 3 strikeouts.

On offense, it was the Lourdes Gurriel show, with 4 hits, 2 homers, a double and a single. Danny Jansen had 3 singles.

We had a rally in the ninth, giving us a few moments of fun. . With one out:

Aroldis Chapman came in:

  • Bo Bichette singled home 2. 10-7, bringing the tying run to the plate.
  • Randal Grichuk struck out.
  • Teoscar Hernandez struck out to end the game. Hernandez was 0 for 5 with 4 strikeouts in his first game back. It will take couple of games to get his timing back

Jay of the Day: Lourdes (.124 WPA).

Suckage: Anderson (-.319) and Merryweather (-.140), Grichuk (-.111, 1 for 5) and Teoscar (-.093)

Matt Shoemaker can’t come back quick enough.

Tomorrow is a double-header, in Philadelphia. first game is 4:00 Eastern.

We had 753 comments in the GameThread. 13yearoldbaseballfanatic led us to defeat.

The series had me thinking of this song, the chorus is ‘Burn this cabin down’. I’m thinking we should do that to Yankees Stadium, burn it to the ground.

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Blue Jays lose big again – Bluebird Banter



Blue Jays 2 Yankees 13

We held them to a couple of touchdowns today. Progress of sorts.

Yankees hit 7 home runs. 4 off of starter Tanner Roark. The first, a solo homer in the first inning, was a Yankees Stadium special, one that would only be a home run with the short porch in the Bronx. But the other ones were crushed.

Roark went 4 innings, allowed 6 hits, 6 earned, 2 walks and 4 strikeouts.

Jacob Waguespack pitched the next 2 innings, giving up 5 hits, 5 earned, 1 walk with 2 home runs.

Hector Perez got into his first MLB game. He pitched 1.2 innings with 3 hits, 2 earned, 3 walks, 1 k with 1 home run.

Anthony Bass got the last out.

Someone named Kyle Higashioka (the Yankees backup catcher) hit 3 home runs.

Offensively, we only had 5 hits. We didn’t get our first hit until the sixth inning, when Jonathan Villar led off with a double. He would score our first run on a wild pitch. Joe Panik homered in the ninth, to get our second run.

Villar, Grichuk, Vlad, Panik and Espinal had our hits.

Can’t blame the defense today.

No Jays of the Day today. Danny Jansen had the high mark at .007 WPA for his 0 for 2 and a walk.

Suckage: Roark (-.246).

It’s possible that the Jays will send out Wags before tomorrow’s game, if they decide they need someone who can give them a few innings.

We had 643 comments in the GameThread. FlipDown Shades led us to crushing defeat.

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Blue Jays: Tanner Roark does not belong on postseason roster – Jays Journal



If the Toronto Blue Jays earn a postseason berth, it may go without saying that pitcher Tanner Roark does not belong on the postseason roster.

Tanner Roark once again got torched by the opposition last night as the Blue Jays lost their second contest in a row to the New York Yankees. The 33-year old hurler gave up six runs including four gopher balls over four innings of work.

Roark now sports an inflated 6.41 earned run average allowing 28 earned runs on the season and has not pitched past the fifth inning in any of his nine starts. The veteran pitcher has also surrendered an American League-leading 14 home runs in his first season with the Blue Jays.

The right-hander was very outspoken to the media following his previous start when Manager Charlie Montoyo lifted him after just 67 pitches. However, Roark brought much of the same last night and definitely did not adhere to the old “Put up or Shut-up” adage.

Toronto’s magic number for the postseason now sits at eight games and regardless of their last two efforts, they should still earn a berth in the playoffs. The Blue Jays brain trust will then have to decide if Roark is worthy of a roster spot.

The team will hopefully have Matt Shoemaker back before the conclusion of the season so they could employ a rotation of Shoemaker, Hyun Jin Ryu, Taijuan Walker, and Robbie Ray. That would not only leave Roark but Chase Anderson on the outside looking in.

The Jays inked Roark to a two-year pact this past offseason that will see him earn $12 million again next season. Anderson could hit free agency if the Jays decide not to pick up his $9.5 million dollar team option.

Regardless of the contractual obligations, Roark has done nothing to prove he belongs on the postseason roster and will in all likelihood not pitch once the season concludes at the end of September.

Next: Blue Jays: Fisher should never step foot in the outfield again

Talk is cheap, actions speak louder than words, Tanner.

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