The week that was for the Habs could
essentially be summed up as follows – "sweep", and no, I don’t mean the curling
variety. In Hamilton, the team’s worst losing streak continued, 9 games
and counting now. Fortunately, all is not lost for them, as discussed in
the Final Thought segment. The stat of the week looks at plus/minus, plus
as always, the weekly grades, in the Recap.
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.
#31 – Carey Price: 8.5
There were a couple of "hold your breath" moments, but aside from that, another
solid week. (Season Average:
#41 – Jaroslav Halak: 8.0
He showed at times the rust that everyone expected, but suffice it to say, it
was a pretty good performance for a backup vs St. Louis. (Season Average:
#26 – Josh Gorges: 8.0
Seeing his ice time practically double didn’t hurt him, in fact, it seemed to
help his play.
(Season Average: 6.96)
#79 – Andrei Markov: 8.0
With Komisarek going down, his minutes are going to be through the roof, so far
he’s yet to have any issues with the extra time. (Season Average:
#44 – Roman Hamrlik: 7.5
Considering he had a different guy with him each game, I was pretty impressed
with his adaptability.
(Season Average: 7.35)
#32 – Mark Streit: 7.5
Had no issues switching positions in mid game, and we finally saw some jump in
(Season Average: 7.06)
#8 – Mike Komisarek: 7.0
Hopefully, the time off will do him some good to get him back to his
early-season form. (Season Average:
#51 – Francis Bouillon: 7.0
Nothing wrong overall with his play, but a big message was sent when he was not
one of the defencemen used in overtime against Boston.
(Season Average: 7.00)
#3 – Ryan O’Byrne: 7.0 Given
Boston’s physical style, I was hoping he’d make a couple more hits, but that’s
really the only issue I had.
(Season Average: 6.70)
#71 – Patrice Brisebois: 6.0
Some good, some bad, a little more of the latter over the former though.
(Season Average: 6.61)
#27 – Alexei Kovalev: 8.5
Sure, there were those 2 wonderful moves, but what about the penalties he took?
Those need to be mentioned as well. (Season Average:
#46 – Andrei Kostitsyn: 8.0
In a week where Kovalev got all the hype, guess who had the exact same
production? (Season Average:
#11 – Saku Koivu: 7.5 Missed a
couple of golden opportunities, but you can’t argue with his passing abilities
at the moment. (Season Average:
#14 – Tomas Plekanec: 7.5
All but invisible on the point sheet, but the line produced, which counts for a
(Season Average: 7.72)
#73 – Michael Ryder: 7.5
He’s starting to assert himself more out there, commanding the puck and at least
trying to get the shot off…it’s about time. (Season
#74 – Sergei Kostitsyn: 7.5
Really stood out in the St. Louis game, but tailed off a little after that. (Season Average:
#54 – Mikhail Grabovski: 7.0
Scored a key goal vs the Blues, it’d be nice to see him shoot more, his shot
appears to be underrated.
(Season Average: 6.77)
#21 – Chris Higgins: 7.0
Needs to be a little more selective with his shots, too often are the pucks just
going straight at the goalie with no screen/deflection. (Season Average:
#6 – Tom Kostopoulos: 7.0
He may have lost his fight, but he at least stood up for his teammates, unlike
(Season Average: 6.81)
#22 – Steve Begin: 7.0
Needs to keep that energy level up, but does anyone think that if he does, he’ll
still be healthy for the playoffs?’
(Season Average: 7.18)
#20 – Bryan Smolinski: 6.5
Good vs Boston, awful vs St. Louis, a good example of one extreme to the next.
(Season Average: 6.88)
#84 – Guillaume Latendresse: 6.5
With Begin healthy now, I’d be getting a little concerned about having a
locked-in lineup spot for the playoffs. (Season Average:
#40 – Maxim Lapierre: 6.5 Saturday
night, scrum in the boards. Begin is fighting, Kostopoulos is trying to
stand up for his teammate (actually here, Lapierre), while Lapierre…does
next to nothing until he’s pushed away – he then mouths off to the Bruins
player and laughs at him. One thing’s for sure, that’s not his job, and if
you’re an energy player not willing to stand up for yourself, you will go
nowhere in this league. I will say this much though, he was at least doing
well on the PK, otherwise, this grade would be much lower. (Season Average:
9 losses and counting for the powerless
Bulldogs, but on the plus side, they did finally manage to get a point, losing
in OT to division leading Toronto.
Games 67-69 of the season.
3 Stars: 1) Frischmon – SYR 2) Wilson – SYR 3) Sestito –
3 Stars: 1) Murphy – TOR 2) Desjardins – HAM 3) Muir –
3 Stars: 1) Clemmensen – TOR 2) Ling – TOR 3) Earl –
The Bulldogs did get a pair of core players back this week in Daniel Corso and
Pavel Valentenko, however, they combined for a whopping 1 goal and -6 rating.
Same old, same old…
Goals: Locke (22)
Assists: Locke (33)
Points: Locke (55)
+/-: Milroy (+9)
PIMS: Stewart (126)
March 26: Hamilton vs Binghamton
March 28: Hamilton vs Wilkes-Barre Scranton
March 29: Hamilton vs Hershey
March 30: Hamilton vs Philadelphia
One of the keys to any team being successful in a playoff run is being able to
produce both at home and on the road. After a sluggish start at home, the
Habs are firing on all cylinders there, but on the road, things have slowed down
from the first weeks of the year. This week, we look at the players and
their +/- rankings, which, flawed as they may be, is about all we can go with
here. The stats below show each player’s +/- rating for at home, on the
road, and overall, with rankings for the home and away portions.
|Alexei Kovalev||+6||T4||+11||T2||+17||Roman Hamrlik||+2||T12||+7||4||+9|
|Tomas Plekanec||+3||T6||+11||T2||+14||Mike Komisarek||+8||T1||+1||T8||+9|
|Andrei Kostitsyn||-3||21||+15||1||+12||Francis Bouillon||+8||T1||0||11||+8|
|Sergei Kostitsyn||+7||3||+2||T5||+9||Josh Gorges||+3||T6||+1||T8||+4|
|Maxim Lapierre||+3||T6||+2||T5||+5||Ryan O’Byrne||+2||T12||+1||T8||+3|
|Chris Higgins||+3||T6||-1||T12||+2||Andrei Markov||+2||T12||-3||16||-1|
|Steve Begin||+2||T12||-2||15||0||Patrice Brisebois||-7||22||+2||T5||-5|
|Michael Ryder||+6||T4||-6||T19||0||Mark Streit||-2||T18||-6||T19||-8|
As much as the past few weeks have been
exciting in Montreal, the same can’t be said for the Hamilton Bulldogs, who
haven’t won in over 3 weeks now. As much as I may sound condescending and
sarcastic in my small weekly blurbs about the team, their struggles have taken
away from my enjoying the success that the Habs have had this season. But,
all is not lost for the team. Mercifully, the division that the ‘Dogs are
in is so weak that it makes the NHL’s Southeast Division look like a perennial
powerhouse, meaning that despite a 9-game losing streak, they still hold down a
playoff spot somehow. So, provided that the team can eke out a few wins
between now and mid-April, the playoffs will be returning to Hamilton once more.
Although they’ll inevitably be eliminated by powerhouse Toronto, at least the
full-timers (Locke, Ferland, Milroy, and the like) will be able to avoid total
embarrassment by not becoming one of the few AHL teams to win the title one
year, and miss the playoffs the next.