The offence finally woke up this week,
propelling them to a pair of victories, and at least for the time being, keep
them in the playoff hunt. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs fell back to earth,
winning only 1 of 3 games, but still remain in more than solid shape for the
postseason. Our prospect report features Ben Maxwell, while we’ll look a
little closer at the Rivet-Gorges deal, plus an ode to Rivet, in the Recap.
This set does not include the Sunday game vs
Columbus. No grades last week, so no comparatives.
C He may be 3-1, but that’s been more
reflective of the team’s play (they’ve actually scored a few) than his.
Decent, but nothing to write home about.
B Very steady defensively, even picked
up a couple of points.
Mark Streit: B Had
no problems switching back to defence, and still put up the numbers he was as a
Francis Bouillon: B
Really looks more comfortable out there, looking more like the player the team
overpaid for last summer.
Mathieu Dandenault: B-
Another steady week for the often underappreciated defenceman.
Sheldon Souray: C+
Scored as many against the Habs as he scored for them.
Mike Komisarek: C+
Pressure of playing in his hometown took its toll, wasn’t overly productive the
other games either.
A- He may not be scoring goals, but he’s finally setting
them up again.
Garth Murray: A- He seems to
have found the drive that escaped him the first half of the season, very
impressed with his production and effort.
Michael Ryder: B Much more
of a threat this week, not surprisingly coincides with Koivu’s resurrection
Sergei Samsonov: B Has
surprisingly picked up his play lately. Or is it surprising, given what’s
coming this week? Production is production at least.
Chris Higgins: B Got it
together this week, didn’t look all that hurt against the Isles.
Maxim Lapierre: B Not
producing like in his first stint, but he’s been very effective as a 4th line
centre. Probably playing a few too many minutes in some games, he is not a
Duncan Milroy: B He played
more than he should have (the PK is not his forte), but has worked his way back
into the organization’s plans.
Andrei Kostitsyn: B There’s
some drive to his game, something that was lacking in his first callup.
Tomas Plekanec: B- So much
for the offensive touch, still playing well defensively at least.
Alexander Perezhogin: B-
One of his better efforts in recent memory.
Radek Bonk: C+
Virtually a non-threat most of the week, surprising given his play of late.
Mike Johnson: C+ Some
real bad blunderous plays over see an otherwise decent week.
Guillaume Latendresse: D-
Not only has he hit the rookie wall, it apparently knocked him out. The
benching was a long time coming.
The Dogs struggled this week, missing their top
defenceman (EDM), top 2 scorers, and top 2 goalies, but still earned 3 of 6
February 23, 2007 – Syracuse 5,
Baines (10), Grabovski (16)
Shots: 24-22 Syracuse
PP: 0-6 PK:
February 24, 2007 – Grand Rapids 1,
Hamilton 0 (SO)
Shootout: Grabovski 1/1, Locke 1/1,
Urquhart 0/1, Chipchura 0/1
Shots: 37-25 Grand Rapids
PP: 0-4 PK:
February 25, 2007 – Hamilton 3, Grand
Urquhart (3), Jancevski (4), D’Agostini (13)
Shots: 27-20 Grand Rapids
PP: 1-5 PK:
3 Key Notes:
The Bulldogs current starter, Dov Grumet-Morris has spent some time with the
Portland Pirates this season, after the Habs’ ECHL affiliate loaned him out (as
who would’ve figured he’d be needed in Hamilton?)
2) Cory Urquhart, like Duncan Milroy, is starting to work back into
the good graces of the organization; 10 points in 10 games is a good way to
3) For those of you who follow the Bulldogs, the newest Dog, Troy
Bodie, is a 9th round pick of the Edmonton Oilers, not a newly-signed Hab
The trade: Montreal acquires D
Josh Gorges and San Jose’s 2007 1st round pick in exchange for D Craig Rivet and
Montreal’s 2008 5th round pick.
3 Key Notes:
Rivet, despite the fact he is only 32, becomes the oldest player on the Sharks.
2) Up to this point in the season, the Canadiens have made a pair
of trades…this one, and the Traverse/Biron deal, also with the Sharks.
3) Gorges’ contract is up at the end of the season, and he is
making the league minimum (which goes up after this year.) The trade saves
roughly a pro-rated $1.9 million on the cap for the remainder of the season.
By Jason Brisebois
This week’s feature prospect is Ben Maxwell.
Ben, a native of North Vancouver, was drafted in the 2nd round, 49th overall.
Maxwell is a 6’1, 190 pound center.
Maxwell is currently in his 3rd full season with the Kootenay Ice of the WHL.
After putting up a fairly impressive rookie season, Maxwell became noticed.
Though slipping somewhat, Maxwell was picked up by the Canadiens in the 2nd
round, in what may have been a steal. He returned from the Habs’ camp more
determined than ever, and is now playing an even bigger role with the Ice.
He is playing in every situation, including the PP and PK.
Maxwell is described as a solid two-way player. He plays a solid defensive
game, while still being able to find the net frequently. He is also an
extremely good skater, and can use that speed to beat defenders one on one.
He will however need to develop muscle mass and size if he wishes to compete at
a higher level. Look for him to make the jump to the AHL in the next few
Next week: To be determined.
Until late Sunday, my plan was to write a final
thought on how there was to be no winning with regards to Sheldon Souray, how
there will be questions if the team keeps or trades him. Given the events
of the day, I feel it would be prudent to pay tribute to Craig Rivet, who had
one of the longest tenures with the Canadiens in the last quarter-century.
Was he an all-star? Certainly not, and you could argue he wasn’t
even slightly above average. However, Rivet was generally dependable,
consistent, and a vocal voice in the locker room, a loss that will certainly be
felt for the remainder of the season. He rarely complained, and always
stood up for his teammates, and the same can’t be said for several others who
still are on the team. Even when he was benched, he didn’t make a major
fuss, he was just unhappy enough to show the passion he has for the game, and
for his (now former) teammates. He just went out day in and day out, and
did his job, and nary said a word about it, a true lunch-bucket player that many
I know in my own personal case, when I learned of the trade, I had mixed
emotions. Value-wise, the Canadiens appear to win in the long run, and so
I’m happy about that. I’m also happy Rivet, the loyal soldier he’s been,
gets a shot at a Cup, something that’s not forthcoming in Montreal anytime soon.
However, I won’t mince words, I’m going to miss the guy. I was hoping all
season he’d sign an extension and that he’d stay a Hab for life. For me,
loyalty is one of the qualities I like to see most in a professional athlete,
and Rivet was that and then some. I certainly recognize and appreciate why
the deal was made, the game is a business and this is a good business decision.
But rather than blasting the guy for his deficiencies, I’d much rather see/hear
people talking about the good things that Rivet brought, I know I will.
Bonne chance, Craig, bonne chance.
Correction: I’d like to thank the readers who pointed out my
erroneous oversight, the unintentional omission of Tomas Plekanec from my
assessment of the Habs’ situation at the trade deadline. The short version
of his status: He’s the lowest paid player on the team (tied with Gorges
now), and plays a key role, it’s highly doubtful he’s going anywhere. (1)