HabsWorld.net -- 

The Habs, despite scoring a grand total of 5
goals this week managed to win 2 of their 3 games, keeping pace in the tight
Eastern Conference.  The Bulldogs weren’t as offensively challenged
themselves, and also wound up taking 2 of 3.  The stat of the week looks at
blocked shots, while the Final Thought talks about the effectiveness of
shootouts.  This, plus the weekly grades, in the Recap.

 Player
Grades

The ratings:
8.5 – 10:  Player has exceeded
expectations for the week, very strong contributions.
6.5 – 8:  Player has met expectations
for the week, play has helped or at worse, not hurt the lineup.
5 – 6:  Player has performed below
expectations for the week, play has at best not hurt the team, but likely has
had a negative affect.
Under 4.5:  Player has had a week to
forget, questions should soon be arising about his future with the organization.

Goalies:


#39 – Cristobal Huet:  8.0 
As glaring as his mistake in Atlanta was, at least he fought back and held the
fort down afterwards, and he can hardly be faulted for Saturday’s loss. (Season Average:
7.82
)

Defence:


#8 – Mike Komisarek:  8.0 
Still the only player who seems to stand up for his teammates, regardless of the
circumstances.  (Season Average:
7.53
)

#79 – Andrei Markov:  7.5 
Nothing wrong with his defensive play, but the 2nd highest scoring defenceman in
the league was very quiet in the offensive end. (Season Average:
7.44

#26 – Josh Gorges:  7.0  For
the most part, very strong positional play, but with Brisebois chomping at the
bit to return, he still looks like the odd man out. 
(Season Average: 6.89)

#32 – Mark Streit:  7.0 
He may be happy playing defence again, but I know I’m not.  Skating is his
biggest asset, and he never uses it on defence. 
(Season Average: 7.00)

#51 – Francis Bouillon:  7.0 
His play has slipped a bit lately, but still significantly better than in the
early season. 
(Season Average: 6.93)

#44 – Roman Hamrlik:  7.0  Second
straight sub-par week for the $22M defenceman, what happened to the strong
defensive play? 
(Season Average: 7.34)

Forwards:


#14 – Tomas Plekanec:  8.0  The
coming out party continues for the Czech centre, if it hasn’t been said already,
he has become the team’s top centre. 
(Season Average: 7.59)

#27 – Alexei Kovalev:  8.0  He made
the right call to take the empty netter himself, never leave things to chance,
just ask Patrik Stefan. 
(Season Average: 7.69)

#46 – Andrei Kostitsyn:  8.0 
Scored quite possibly Montreal’s best goal of the season, he needs to drive to
the net more often, good things generally happen when he does.  (Season Average:
7.13)

#25 – Mathieu Dandenault:  7.0 
I have no qualms with the effort, but the puck seems like a hot potato with him
lately. 
(Season Average: 7.09)

#20 – Bryan Smolinski:  7.0 
Him and Ryder seem to have a little bit of chemistry going, very impressed with
his passing this week. 
(Season Average: 6.88)

#21 – Chris Higgins:  7.0 
Being reunited with Koivu unfortunately didn’t help him score any more, although
the chances are still there.  (Season Average:
7.72
)

#73 – Michael Ryder:  7.0 
The confidence still isn’t all there, but at least he’s starting to shoot the
puck more often.  (Season
Average:
6.69)

#84 – Guillaume Latendresse:  7.0 
If he scored half of the easy tap-in goals that he’s missed so far, he’d be the
team in goals.  (Season Average:
6.69)

#11 – Saku Koivu:  7.0  His play
isn’t all that bad, but 4 games without a point makes it hard to realize that,
even at the best of times. (Season Average:
7.31
)

#40 – Maxim Lapierre:  6.5  Aside
from the penalty kill, it was hard to even notice he was on the ice, although
being moved to the 4th line explains that somewhat.  (Season Average:
6.71)

#74 – Sergei Kostitsyn:  6.5 
He has regressed since his first couple of weeks with the team, like Price and
Chipchura recently, he’s guessing a lot on the ice.  (Season Average:
7.08)

#6 – Tom Kostopoulos:  6.5 
After being benched last week, I was hoping to see a little more from the de
facto tough guy. 
(Season Average: 6.75)

Week’s Average:
7.21
Season Average:
7.19

 The Dog
Pound


The week couldn’t have started off much worse for Carey Price, being booed off
the ice after allowing 7.  Fortunately, he recovered to play a solid game
in Houston, being named 3rd star.

 Results:

Games 39-41 of the season.

January 15
1
2 3
Tot

PP

SOG
Peoria 2 3 2 7 3/6 31
Hamilton 1 0 1 2 0/6 23

Attendance:  3,007
3 Stars:
  1) Trudel – PEO  2) Lemtyugov – PEO  3) Drazenovic
– PEO

January 18
1
2 3
Tot

PP

SOG
Hamilton 1 1 3 5 2/5 28
San Antonio 0 2 0 2 0/7 32

Attendance:  8,242
3 Stars:
  1) Locke – HAM  2) D’Agostini – HAM  3) Spina – SAN

January 20
1
2 3
Tot

PP

SOG
Hamilton 0 1 1 2 2/6 25
Houston 0 0 1 1 0/4 19

Attendance:  6,373
3 Stars:
  1) Ferland – HAM  2) Aubin – HAM  3) Price
– HAM

 Stats:

Pavel Valentenko has really stepped it up
offensively.  Including this week’s stats, the rookie defenceman now has 7
points in his last 7 games.

SKATERS

# Player GP G A +/- SH PIMS
4 Marvin Degon 3 0 1 -2 4 4
6 Conrad Martin 3 0 0 -1 1 7
7 Eric Manlow 3 1 0 -1 3 2
12 Jean-Phillipe Cote 3 0 1 +2 2 4
15 Daniel Corso 1 0 1 +1 0 0
16 Ryan Russell 1 1 0 +1 1 0
17 Kyle Chipchura 3 1 0 -1 9 0
19 Duncan Milroy 3 0 2 +2 4 0
21 Jonathan Ferland 3 1 1 -2 10 4
22 Matt D’Agostini 3 2 1 E 13 0
24 Francis Lemieux 3 0 0 E 2 2
25 Pavel Valentenko 3 0 4 -1 2 0
27 Janne Lahti 1 0 0 E 1 0
32 Ajay Baines 3 0 0 -3 1 4
41 Mathieu Aubin 3 1 0 -2 3 2
55 Andrew Archer 3 0 0 -3 1 2
72 Mathieu Carle 3 0 1 +1 2 0
76 Greg Stewart 3 1 2 E 6 11
84 Corey Locke 3 2 2 -1 12 2

GOALIES

# Player MINS SF SVS GA
29 Carey Price 120 50 42 8
35 Yann Danis 60 32 30 2

Season Leaders: 

Goals:  Locke (15)
Assists:
  Locke (20)
Points:
  Locke (35)
+/-:
  Milroy/ (+10)
PIMS:
  Stewart (85)


 Schedule:


January 23:  Lake Erie vs Hamilton
January 25:  Quad City vs Hamilton
January 26:  Syracuse vs Hamilton

Stats
Central

Sacrificing yourself for the team, this is one
of the key elements to any successful team.  With that in mind, here are
the blocks per game stat for any Hab who has played at least 10 games so far
this season (excluding goalies of course):


Forwards   Defencemen
Player GP Blocks Per Game   Player GP Blocks Per Game
Christopher Higgins 47 37 0.79   Mike Komisarek 47 150 3.19
Maxim Lapierre 20 15 0.75   Roman Hamrlik 47 114 2.43
Steve Begin 25 17 0.68   Ryan O’Byrne 11 18 1.64
Bryan Smolinski 33 17 0.52   Andrei Markov 47 76 1.62
Tom Kostopoulos 42 21 0.50   Francis Bouillon 42 62 1.48
Kyle Chipchura 36 18 0.50   Josh Gorges 27 34 1.26
Mathieu Dandenault 46 21 0.46   Patrice Brisebois 29 30 1.03
Saku Koivu 46 19 0.41   Mark Streit 47 31 0.66
Guillaume Latendresse 43 17 0.40          
Alexei Kovalev 47 18 0.38          
Andrei Kostitsyn 43 16 0.37          
Tomas Plekanec 47 17 0.36          
Sergei Kostitsyn 17 6 0.35          
Michael Ryder 42 7 0.17          
Mikhail Grabovski 12 1 0.08          

Final
Thought

With the announcement recently about the
All-Star Skills Competition going to a Slam Dunk style shootout competition, it
made sit back and think, how overhyped and redundant has the shootout become
already?  And this is coming from someone who last year advocated a
competition to this end just one year ago in a previous column.  The
shootout is so exciting that the league has decided to eliminate all
restrictions for this "contest" in order for the fans to see some creativity. 
Evidently, all of the fancy moves are gone now after just two and a half
seasons, so much so, that slapshots in the shootout are considered thinking
outside the box.  Consider this as well – the shootout in its current
format, designed "for the fans," is also designed to be over so quickly that it
almost defeats the purpose, other than to decide who wins, based on who has the
best breakaway players.  If ever there was a time for something like this,
the Skills Competition is the perfect place, but I know I’ll be most interested
in some of the other ones – fastest skater and accuracy, elements that impact a
game for the whole 60-65 minutes of any game, not just a hurry-it-up ending.