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Third Quarter Report Cards



Covering Games 42-62 [Jan. 14-Mar. 7]


The grades assigned for the players are based on the third quarter of play, but the statistics include the previous quarters.


Forwards:



Steve Begin – Grade: A-


Stats: 60 Games, 11 Goals, 9 Assists, +4, 99 Pim, 97 Shots, 1 PPG, 2 SHG, 2 GWG, TOI 860:54, TOI/Game 14:20, Faceoff WL 285-280, FO Win% 50.44, Hits 154, Takeaways 32, Giveaways 37, Blocked Shots 50


Comments: Begin has continued to be an excellent 3rd/4th line player, bringing energy to the team and big hits when it’s necessary. Since the new coaching team has taken over, his discipline has improved, as he’s taken only 10 penalty minutes over the last 20 games. His faceoff percentage improved around 3%, and he cut down on his giveaways while continuing to lead the team in hits.



Jan Bulis – Grade: A-


Stats: 57 Games, 16 Goals, 17 Assists, +7, 18 Pim, 105 Shots, 3 PPG, 1 SHG, 3 GWG, TOI 903:12, TOI/Game 15:50, Faceoff WL 49-62, FO Win% 44.14, Hits 77, Takeaways 36, Giveaways 25, Blocked Shots 16


Comments: Bulis has excelled during the 3rd quarter when pressed into more offensive situations. He has responded with 11 goals and 6 assists in 20 games [+9], including an outstanding 4 goal game against Philadelphia on January 25. He has floated between the 1st, 2nd and 3rd lines all season and played well regardless of the line or linemates. Recently, he has clicked with the presence of Richard Zednik & Radek Bonk on the 3rd line, to form a good 2-way checking line.


Radek Bonk – Grade: C


Stats: 41 Games, 2 Goal, 13 Assists, -4 +/-, 34 Pim, 49 Shots TOI 651:23, TOI/Games 15:53, Faceoff WL 307-350, FO Win% 46.73, Hits 30, Takeaways 30, Giveaways 14, Blocked Shots 39


Comments: Bonk continues to struggle offensively, but has quietly been effective in defensive situations. His offensive game needs to improve if he intends to stay with the Canadiens long term.


Chris Higgins – Grade: B


Stats: 59 Games, 13 Goals, 10 Assists, -2, 20 Pim, 88 Shots TOI 793:23, TOI/Game 13:26, Faceoff WL 18-19, FO Win% 48.65, Hits 49, Takeaways 30, Giveaways 14, Blocked Shots 33


Comments: Higgins has nearly doubled his offensive contributions for the the first half of the season, indicating that the coaches have put more faith in him by increasing his ice time. His speed has been an asset both on offence, by setting the opposition defencemen back on their heels, and on defence when he’s given penalty killing roles. He suffered a groin injury during a warm up on January 21, but only missed 2 games. Chris also produced two 2-goal games, and was the runner up for Offensive Player of the week, for the period ending March 5 (3 games, 4 goals, 1 assist, +4, 4 shots).


Saku Koivu – Grade: B+


Stats: 51 Games, 14 goals, 30 assists, +2, 56 Pim, 103 shots, 4 PPG, 2 GWG, TOI 965:55, TOI/Game 18:56, Faceoff WL 540-479, FO Win% 52.99, Hits 28, Takeaways 47, Giveaways 26, Blocked Shots 14


Comments: Captain Koivu continues to lead the Habs, but there’s a little concern as his offensive contributions declined in the 3rd quarter, with a “mere” 4 goals, 9 assists in 20 games. The toll of playing a long stretch of 8 games during the Olympics may be a factor, and the coaches will have to monitor him for the Canadiens run to make the playoffs. However, for his first game back from the Olympics, he registered 3 assists. Strangely enough, Koivu has doubled his penalty minutes from the first half of the season. He continues to perform well on faceoffs, and has excelled when given penalty killing assignments, due to his speed and puck handling.



Alex Kovalev – Grade: A


Stats: 48 Games, 16 Goals, 29 Assists, +0, 38 Pim, 133 Shots, 5 PPG, 3 GWG, TOI 962:49, TOI/Game 20:03, Faceoff WL 17-18, FO Win% 48.57, 33 Hits, 33 Takeaways, 34 Giveaways, 16 Blocked Shots
28 Games, 8 Goals, 19 Assists, +, 30 Pim, 82 Shots, 4 PPG TOI 602:09, TOI/Game 21:30, Faceoff WL 14-14, FO Win% 50.0, Hits 19, Takeaways 26, Giveaways 19, Blocked Shots 10


Comments: Kovalev cranked his offensive game a notch to register a point per game for the last 20 games [10 goals & 10 assists]. This is particularly impressive as he was held off the scoresheet for 8 of those 20 games, including 4 in a row between Jan. 21-26. His effort level has been high nearly every game, so the explanation lies with heavy shadowing by the opposition rather than a streakiness factor. Alex’s leadership skills are becoming more evident this quarter, and he’s visibly more talkative with his linemates when he’s on the bench. His return from the minor knee surgery earlier this season appears complete.


Garth Murray – Grade Incomplete


Stats: 18 Games, 1 Goal, 1 Assist, -3, 11 Pim, 14 Shots, TOI 127:11, TOI/Game 7:03, Faceoff WL 41-45, FO Win% 47.67, Hits 20, Takeaways 2, Giveaways 2, Blocked Shots 11


Comments: Murray suffered a severe shoulder separation, which caused him to miss 15 of the third quarter’s 20 games. His return to the lineup was March 7. He’s expected to continue a yeoman’s job on the 4th line for the rest of the season.


Alex Perezhogin – Grade: C-


Stats: 36 Games, 6 Goals, 6 Assists, +2, 24 Pim, 59 Shots, 2 PPG, 1 GWG TOI 480:57 TOI/Game 10:13, Faceoff WL 0-4, FO Win% 0.0, Hits 10, Takeaways 18, Giveaways 9, Blocked Shots 14


Comments: Perezhogin was briefly banished to the AHL by former coach Claude Julien, for a lack of effort and execution with his game. He returned after exactly one month to take part in 11 of the 20 games, and produced only 1 goal and 1 assist, but his level of effort is much improved. He has received ice time on the top 2 lines for most of those 11 games. He was a minus player for only one of the 11 games, but unfortunately was a plus player for only two. He will be counted on to produce more offence for the stretch run to make the playoffs.


Tomas Plekanec – Grade: B-


Stats: 31 Games, 4 Goals, 8 Assists, -2, 10 Pim, 51 Shots TOI 394:04, TOI/Game 12:42, Faceoff WL 151-142, FO Win% 51.54, Hits 17, Takeaways 21, Giveaways 18, Blocked Shots 12


Comments: Tomas suffered a knee injury in the middle of December, and did not return to the lineup until January 23. His return was spectacular, as he scored twice, adding an assist. He took part in 15 out of the 20 games for the quarter, and managed to score 3 goals and 7 assists. Plekanec’s versatility is evident, as he’s been able to take a shift in any of the 4 lines and fit in well. He suffered a minor shoulder injury on March 6 which only caused him to miss one game.


Mike Ribiero – Grade: C+


Stats: 59 Games, 13 Goals, 25 Assists, -9, 28 Pim, 95 Shots, 7 PPG, 2 GWG, TOI 797:31, TOI/Game 16:36, Faceoff WL 266-314, FO Win% 45.86, Hits 38, Takeaways 46, Giveaways 18, Blocked Shots 14


Comments: Offensively, Ribeiro has continued to be inconsistent. He’s scored well with 6 goals and 6 assists, including 3 power play goals, during the third quarter, but has been held off the score card in 12 of those 20 games. For a second line centre who’s had ice time on the 1st and 2nd lines most of the season, that streakiness is disappointing but not completely surprising. It’s nice to think he’s scored 12 points in 8 games, but it’s difficult to count on Ribeiro when he only contributes in 40% of the games. That level of contribution has had the coaches juggling Mike to the wing occasionally. Defensively, Mike has improved. While Ribeiro does not possess great speed, he is a smart player and when he keeps his feet moving, and when he can react quickly to a turnover situation, he can be effective on defense. He’s shown that in the third quarter, but he needs to improve his offensive game to help better support the top line, to give the team 2 lines for their opponents to worry about. He’s improved his plus/minus stat one point.


Michael Ryder – Grade: C+


Stats: 61 Games, 24 Goals, 16 Assists, -4, 36 Pim, 174 Shots, 13 PPG, 5 GWG, TOI 975:22, TOI/Game 15:59, Hits 78, Takeaways 27, Giveaways 26, Blocked Shots 17


Comments: Michael Ryder has had a similar season to his fellow Habs sophmore, Mike Ribeiro: streaky. At times he’s a good sniper, as the 6 goals and 5 assists in 20 games attest. He’s on pace to better his rookie season goals. However, he’s scored those 11 points in 7 games, which means he’s only contributed to the offence in 35% of the third quarter. For the 13 games he’s been held pointless, he’s not had a shot on goal in only 4 of them, so there has been some effort there. Since the Olympic break, he’s scored 4 points in 5 games. Similar to Ribeiro, his plus/minus stats are still too low, but he has improved them by one point. He registered the first hat trick of his career on February 5th against Philadelphia, but unfortunately followed that up with 3 consecutive games without a point. His defensive game is improving a little but there’s still work to be done in that area. He’s primarly remained on the 2nd line, occasionally seeing some 1st line ice time.


Niklas Sundstrom – Grade: C


Stats: 48 Games, 6 Goals, 8 Assists, -3, 28 Pim, 50 Shots, 2 GWG, TOI 697:38, TOI/Game 14:32, Faceoff WL 1-9, FO Win% 10.0, Hits 8, Takeaways 42, Giveaways 15, Blocked Shots 22


Comments: Niklas’s play in the third quarter landed him in the pressbox for 9 of the 20 games as a healthy scratch. He still offers some veteran savvy, as his ratio of takeaways to giveaways indicates. But his effectiveness as a checker or 4th line player has been wanting. Coincidentally, he was scratched from the lineup at a time when the Habs as a team improved their play, partly due to some inspired games by goalie Christobal Huet. At this rate, he’s unlikely to be offered another contract by the Habs, as there are younger, hungrier forwards that are ready and willing to take his place.


Richard Zednik – Grade: C+


Stats: 49 Games, 14 Goals, 9 Assists, -2, 38 Pim, 116 Shots, 6 PPG, 3 GWG, TOI 793:12, TOI/Game 14:03, Faceoff WL 1-4, FO Win% 25.0, Hits 57, Takeaways 29, Giveaways 16, Blocked Shots 18


Comments: Consistency has been a big problem for Zednik during the 3rd quarter. He’s registered 3 goals and 2 assists in 17 games, but managed those 5 points in only 6 games. He missed 1 game due to a thumb injury, one game to the flu, and was a healthy scratch once. His irregular play has dropped him off either of the top two lines onto the third line. However, when paired on the checking line with Czech-or-Slovak linemates Bonk, Bulis or Plekanec, he has improved his 2-way play. Since the Olympic break Richard has been given the 3rd line assignments and has reponded with 4 points in 5 games, including a +3 plus/minus.


Defensemen:


Francis Bouillon – Grade: B-


Stats: 61 Games, 3 Goals, 15 Assists, -4, 30 Pim, 3 PPG, TOI 1282:29, TOI/Game 21:01, Hits 137, Takeaways 57, Giveaways 58, Blocked Shots 108


Comments: Bouillon’s offensive production has continued at exactly the same pace as the first two quarters [6 points], and his ice time has increased with increased confidence from the coaches. His plus minus rating improved 3 points. Overall, his play has been consistently good. He passes the puck out of his zone well, and has good skating ability to carry it when necessary. His heavy hits are always apparent to the opposition, who likely cannot believe a 5’8″ defenceman can hit so hard. He continues to lead the Habs defensemen in hits and takeaways.


Mathieu Dandenault – Grade: B-


Stats: 61 Games, 1 Goal, 12 Assists, +3, 66 Pim, TOI 1172:23, TOI/Game 19:13, Hits 63, Takeaways 20, Giveaways 43, Blocked Shots 75


Comments: Dandy has filled in well as a #5-6 dman for the Habs this season. His skating has kept him in good position to defend the opposition, and his penalty minutes decreased in the 3rd quarter, indicating some improvements with is discipline. His giveaways are still a little too high but he committed only 8 of them in the quarter. His offensive game is not exciting, but he’s been a steady influence overall in the third quarter.


Mike Komisarek – Grade: C


Stats: 50 Games, 0 Goals, 1 Assist, -8, 69 Pim, 39 Shots, TOI 702:47, TOI/Game 14:03, Hits 98.0, Takeaways 12, Giveaways 37, Blocked Shots 61
31 Games, 0 Goals, 1 Assist, -2, 39 Pim, 19 Shots TOI 400:38, TOI/Game 12:55, Hits 59, Takeaways 7, Giveaways 23, Blocked Shots 26


Comments: Komisarek’s play in the third quarter has improved. His plus/minus stats are down 6 points, and his offensive stats are unchanged. He has been given more ice time, and was only a healthy scratch once in the last quarter. His confidence with and without the puck has been showing. His hits and blocked shots have increased significantly. There’s hope that his offensive game will come out in the long run.


Andrei Markov – Grade: B


Stats:50 Games, 9 Goals, 25 Assists, +5, 72 Pim, 73 Shots, 5 PPG, 1 SHG, 1 GWG, TOI 1198:39, TOI/Game 23:58, Hits 35, Takeaways 35, Giveaways 57, Blocked Shots 79


Comments: Markov continue to be the #1 defenceman for Montreal. His offensive stats were good, with 4 goals, and 5 assists in 12 games; 3 of the 4 goals were on the power play. He missed 8 games in the quarter with a shoulder rotator cuff injury. Before that injury, he managed a 2 goal, 2 assist game against San Jose on January 14th, a first for his career; one of the goals was short handed, and all 4 points were scored in the first period. After his injury, he managed the game winning goal and 4 shots in his first game back. He is the leader on defence for the Habs, and they are a much better team with him than without him.


Craig Rivet – Grade: B+


Stats: 61 Games, 5 Goals, 24 Assists, +1, 84 Pim, 96 Shots, 4 PPG, TOI 1382:31, TOI/Game 22:39, Faceoff WL 0-2, FO Win% 0, Hits 85, Takeaways 45, Giveaways 51, Blocked Shots 101
41 Games, 4 Goals, 13 Assists, -4, 49 Pim, 66 Shots, 3 PPG TOI 935:12, TOI/Game 22:48, Faceoff WL 0-2, FO Win% 0, Hits 56, Takeaways 32, Giveaways 35, Blocked Shots 66


Comments: Rivet continues to enjoy an excellent season. On offence, he’s provided 1 goal and 11 assists during the third quarter. He’s already reached a career high in assists and points! On defence, he’s improved his plus/minus 5 points. His defensive play has also been good, as his blocked shots and takeaways help to show. He continues to be a team leader, and is known as a positive veteran presence on the ice and in the dressing room for the Habs.



Sheldon Souray – Grade: B+


Stats: 54 Games, 6 Goals, 20 Assists, -4, 78 Pim, 121 Shots, TOI 1153:24, TOI/Game 21:21, Hits 81, Takeaways 40, Giveaways 59, Blocked Shots 76


Comments: Souray’s play has improved significantly in the third quarter of this season. His offensive contributions have been very good, with 13 points in 18 games. He scored a game tying goal against Philadelphia March 6, to help force overtime. Sheldon missed 2 of the last 20 games due to minor injuries to his knee and groin. Despite those injuries, he has played in the last quarter more like the player he was two seasons ago, when he had his best career season. Souray has endured a number of rumours that would have had him traded to any number of west coast teams. However, he has publicly stated that he wants to play nowhere but in Montreal, and hopes to help bring a Stanley Cup to the team.



Mark Streit – Incomplete


Stats: 32 Games, 1 Goal, 6 Assists, -7, 26 Pim, 26 Shots, TOI 431:06, TOI/Game 13:28, Hits 27, Takeaways 6, Giveaways 19, Blocked Shots 20
25 Games, 0 Goals, 5 Assists, -5, 16 Pim, 20 Shots TOI 298:23, TOI/Game 11:56, Faceoff WL 0-1, FO Win% 0, Hits 19, Takeaways 4, Giveaways 15, Blocked Shots 11


Comments: Streit’s grade is based on not playing at least half the games in the third quarter. He’s been a healthy scratch for all of the missed games, due mostly to the improved play of Mike Komisarek. Streit registered his first two point game on January 14 against San Jose, including his first career goal.



Goalies:


Jose Theodore – Grade: D-


Stats: 38 Games, 2114 Minutes, 17 Wins, 15 Losses [incl 5 OTL, 1 SOL] 0 Shutouts, 122 GA, 3.46 GAA, 903 Saves, .881 Sv%


Comments: Theodore has played himself on to the bench for the third quarter of the season, as his play and statistics have been worse than the team’s previous 41 games. The combination of poor play, a very high salary and off ice distractions for the past few seasons lead to his March 8 trade for David Aebischer. From Feb. 2-11, he was benched as the coachs leaned on Cristobal Huet for 6 consecutive games.


Cristobal Huet – Grade A


Stats: 22 Games, 9 Wins, 6 Losses, 52 GA, 2.46 GAA, 613 Saves, .922 Sv%


Comments: Huet has been a godsend, providing a stable presence in the nets for the Habs, during a time when their number one goalie [Theodore] has struggled. His good play was a contributing factor for Bob Gainey’s decision to trade Jose Theodore March 8. Cristobal earned the NHL player of the week ending March 5, with a 3-0-0 record, a 1.67 GAA, 1 shutout and a .943 save percentage. His stand up, calm presence in net has given his teammates more confidence on the ice. Huet’s rebound control has been excellent, and he uses the butterfly when it’s necessary. His positioning is sound, and his puck handling capability and decision making is good.


Past Quarter Report Cards:


1st Quarter: http://www.habsworld.net/article.php?id=998


2nd Quarter: http://www.habsworld.net/article.php?id=1043