It was another split week for both the Habs and Bulldogs. Montreal, despite the controversy and negativity, won 2 of 4, while Hamilton split a pair. League-wide, a Hall-of-Famer retires again, one star goalie signs while another refuses to, and another page in the Ted Saskin saga. All this, plus ways to spin Montreal’s recent play in a more positive light, in the recap.
What a week it was for the Habs. After getting crushed in Vancouver, the Habs came out on Monday and got crushed again by a 7-3 count. Wednesday in Philly first saw Jan Bulis being scratched, and then scoring 4 goals to lead the Habs to a 5-3 win. The next night, the team came out flat in Ottawa and stayed that way the whole game in a 3-0 loss, the score being quite flattering to the Habs. Saturday’s contest saw a better effort, and it paid off with a 4-3 OT win over the Leafs.
The Good: 4 goals for Bulis, could it be anything else?
The Bad: Offence is the key to success in the new NHL. Despite scoring 12 goals this week, they were outshot and outchanced in every game.
The Ugly: Jose Theodore’s GAA is now second-worst amongst NHL starting goalies.
The Curious: 10 days ago, the Habs had no need for an enforcer. When did it click in that they needed 2 in as many days?
Like the Habs this week, the Dogs split their games, losing 4-1 to Rochester in a game where many felt they outplayed the Amerks. They got a better result the next day, edging Manitoba 5-4 in a shootout.
The Good: The Bulldogs will be represented at the AHL All-Star Classic by 2 players, Corey Locke and Yann Danis.
The Bad: Pierre Dagenais was a scratch vs Manitoba? Ouch.
The Ugly: Same as last week. Total goals Dagenais and Alexander Perezhogin have combined for so far in Hamilton? 0
The Curious: Why did it take an injury for Danis to make the All-Star team? He’s been the only consistent force on the Bulldogs this season, he should’ve been there originally.
With all the negativity surrounding the team recently, we thought we’d try to put a more positive spin on things.
Reality (bad): Montreal has now lost 17 of their past 20 road games.
Reality (good): Montreal has won 2 of their past 23 road games.
Reality (bad): Habs lost 4 of 6 games this week, hard to gain ground in the playoffs with a .333 winning %.
Reality (good): Habs actually gained ground this week, now find themselves in the playoffs thanks to Atlanta and Toronto’s struggles.
Reality (bad): Saku Koivu and Alexei Kovalev were both held scoreless in 3 games this week.
Reality (good): Koivu and Kovalev combined for 5 points on Saturday in Toronto, perhaps this will get them going.
Reality (bad): The Bulldogs remain last in their division, despite a recent influx of talent.
Reality (good): Miraculously, the Dogs aren’t last in the conference, and if they win their games in hand, will pass Cleveland and move out of the basement.
Around the rinks:
With contributions from Eric B.
Lemieux calls it quits again:
On Wednesday, Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux retired from the NHL. After being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat last month, Mario attempted yet another comeback, but was forced to step away from the game. During his illustrious career, Mario netted 690 goals and 1033 assists.
Brodeur signs cheap, Luongo wants more:
Martin Brodeur reached a contract agreement this week that will keep him in New Jersey through 2012. The six year extension is worth $31.2 million. This deal all but guarantees that Brodeur will play out the reminder of his career for the Devils. Meanwhile, in Florida, G Roberto Luongo rejected a 5 year, $30 million extension, citing he wants to play for a winner more than the money. We’ll see how true that statement is.
Saskin gets a vote of confidence, sort of:
NHLPA leader Ted Saskin got good news this week when the NLRB announced it would not pursue any claims made against him led by former NHL’er Trent Klatt. This officially puts an end to the controversy of whether he is the main man or not, as now the vote has gone through, and legal action cannot be taken.
The league awarded the 2007 All-Star Game to Dallas. It will be held in mid-week rather than a weekend, good call. 2006 AHL All-Star Classic goes this week, Skills on Tuesday, game on Wednesday. Hurricanes retired Ron Francis’ #10, he was the first player to have his number retired by Carolina.
I really want to know what Bob Gainey was thinking when he claimed Aaron Downey off waivers from St. Louis. Downey was waived after a confrontation with coach Mike Kitchen where he demanded more ice time, does Gainey think that he’s going to get more ice time here? If he felt the Habs needed more toughness, why not recall one of the four enforcers already in Hamilton? This seems like a waste of cap space to me, space that could be better used to fill one of the more gaping holes the team currently has. Fortunately, Downey makes the minimum, so that part isn’t entirely bad. I’ll leave you today with this thought: Aaron Downey wasn’t good enough for the league-worst St. Louis Blues, but he’s good enough for the Habs. Draw your own conclusions.