HabsWorld.net -- 

The Habs, despite being sellers at the
deadline, have pushed their way to 1st in the conference with 6 weeks to go in
the season.  The Bulldogs weren’t as successful in their homestand, but
still took 2 of 4.  We’ll also wrap up the deadline, including a final
thought on the lack of movement by the Habs, in the Recap.

 Trades
& Grades

Rather than breaking down every single minor
deal, let’s change things up this year.  We’ve taken some of the more
significant deals and broken them into 3 categories – blockbusters, significant
moves, and headscratchers, with 3 deals per category.


Blockbusters:

Pittsburgh acquires Marian Hossa and
Pascal Dupuis from Atlanta in exchange for Colby Armstrong, Erik
Christensen, Angelo Esposito, and Pittsburgh’s 1st round pick in 2008. 

Thoughts:  This was a surprise that Pittsburgh came in with a late
offer, but in terms of value, this is a very good deal for both sides.  The
Pens get a guy to make a run, and Atlanta gets some quality youngsters to build
around.  Winner:  Atlanta

Dallas acquires Brad Richards and Johan Holmqvist from Tampa Bay
in exchange for Mike Smith, Jeff Halpern, Jussi Jokinen, and Dallas’s 4th round
pick in 2009.

Thoughts:  Mike Ribeiro, time to take a backseat, the Stars now have
a true #1 centre, and were able to get one without moving any significant core
players.  Tampa manages to unload that contract, but is Mike Smith really a
bonafide #1 heading forward?  Winner:  Dallas

San Jose acquires Brian Campbell and Buffalo’s 7th round pick in 2008
from Buffalo in exchange for Steve Bernier and San Jose’s 1st round pick
in 2008.

Thoughts:  For the second straight year, San Jose moves its 1st
rounder for a pending UFA d-man.  This time though, not only do they lose
the pick, but also a core young forward in Bernier.  The Sabres lost the
best player in the deal, but did very well for themselves here.  Winner: 
Buffalo

Big
moves:

Colorado acquires Adam Foote from
Columbus
in exchange for a conditional 1st round pick (Colorado’s) in either
2008 or 2009, and a conditional 4th round pick (Colorado’s) in 2009.

Thoughts:  Considering the Avs were out of the playoffs at the time
this deal was made, I almost put this in the headscratcher category.  Foote
is on the downside of his career, but still brings a lot to the table that
should make losing a 1st easier to swallow.  Winner:  Colorado

Chicago acquires Andrew Ladd from Carolina in exchange for Tuomo
Ruutu.

Thoughts:  This has the potential to be one of the most significant
deals of the deadline, if each player can get it going in their new city. 
Even though he’s been injury prone, Ruutu seems to have the bigger upside and
has made an impact already.  Winner:  Carolina

Phoenix acquires Al Montoya and Marcel Hossa from Rangers in
exchange for Fredrik Sjostrom, David LeNeveu, and Josh Gratton.

Thoughts:  This deal won’t make a huge splash now, but the future
impact looks to be significant, particularly with the goalie swap.  And,
will Marian Hossa want to go play with his brother now?  Winner: 
Rangers

Huh?:

Washington acquires Cristobal Huet from
Montreal in exchange for Anaheim’s 2nd round pick in 2009.

Thoughts:  Hands up if you saw this one coming.  Washington’s
making a run for the playoffs this year, but how much of an upgrade is he over
the veteran Kolzig?  At the very least, the Habs got reasonably fair value
for the pending UFA.  Winner:  Washington

Rangers acquire Christian Backman from St. Louis in exchange for
the Rangers’ 4th round pick in 2008.

Thoughts:  I know Backman’s been struggling, but he’s still a
capable defender good enough to play for most teams.  To only lose a 4th
round pick here is thievery.  Winner:  Rangers

Ducks acquire Marc-Andre Bergeron from Islanders in exchange for
Anaheim’s 3rd round pick in 2008.

Thoughts:  A small, non-physical defender being coveted by the
Ducks?  This goes against the grain for Brian Burke, but it’s a good deal
nonetheless, adding a depth guy who can help the PP.  I thought the Isles
weren’t selling though.  Winner:  Anaheim


Grades for Week #22
           
Forwards WG SA   Defence WG SA
Kovalev 9 7.93   Markov 7.5 7.43
Plekanec 8 7.73   Hamrlik 7.5 7.31
A. Kostitsyn 8 7.41   Komisarek 7 7.52
Koivu 7.5 7.27   Gorges 7 6.9
Higgins 7.5 7.55   Bouillon 7 7
Ryder 7.5 6.77   O’Byrne 6.5 6.64
S. Kostitsyn 7.5 7.21        
Streit 7.5 7.09   Goalies WG SA
Smolinski 7 6.89   Price 9 7.59
Begin 7 7.19        
Grabovski 7 6.69   Team totals 7.43 7.19
Lapierre 7 6.73        
Latendresse 6.5 6.73        

 The Dog
Pound

The Bulldogs, having lost essentially most of
their talent, continue to hold down a playoff spot, 12 points up on 5th place
Grand Rapids for the final North Division playoff spot.

 Results:

Games 58-62 of the season.

February 27
1
2 3
Tot

PP

SOG
Grand Rapids 1 1 1 3 1/4 23
Hamilton 2 1 2 5 1/4 26

Attendance:  3,137
3 Stars:
  1) Corso – HAM  2) Locke – HAM  3) Stafford – GRA

February 29
1
2 3
Tot

PP

SOG
Iowa 2 3 1 6 2/3 42
Hamilton 0 0 0 0 0/3 23

Attendance:  5,197
3 Stars:
  1) Stephan – IOW  2) Neal – IOW  3) Byrne – IOW

March 1
1
2 3
Tot

PP

SOG
Hershey 1 1 0 2 2/7 33
Hamilton 2 0 1 3 1/8 31

Attendance:  4,831
3 Stars:
  1) Biron – HAM  2) Gordon – HER  3) Danis – HAM

March 2
1
2 3
Tot

PP

SOG
Syracuse 1 0 3 4 1/5 25
Hamilton 0 2 0 2 0/7 40

Attendance:  4,409
3 Stars:
  1) Lindstrom – SYR  2) Chipchura – HAM  3) Wilson –
SYR

 Stats:

With Halak and Price now out of the picture for
the remainder of the season, Yann Danis has a chance to run with the #1 job. 
Not a great debut as the starter for him though.

SKATERS

# Player GP G A +/- SH PIMS
4 Marvin Degon 4 1 0 +3 11 2
5 Jon Gleed 1 0 0 -2 0 2
6 Conrad Martin 3 0 1 -2 4 0
7 Eric Manlow 4 1 1 E 3 0
12 Jean-Phillipe Cote 4 0 0 +1 4 6
15 Daniel Corso 4 3 2 -3 4 0
16 Greg Stewart 4 0 0 -2 7 0
17 Kyle Chipchura 4 2 2 +1 12 0
18 Brett Engelhardt 3 1 0 +2 6 2
19 Duncan Milroy 4 0 1 E 2 2
21 Jonathan Ferland 4 0 2 -1 8 4
22 Matt D’Agostini 3 0 0 -3 12 0
27 Janne Lahti 4 0 0 +3 7 4
32 Ajay Baines 4 0 0 E 8 0
34 Mathieu Biron 4 1 1 -5 8 7
39 Brock Trotter 2 0 0 -1 2 0
55 Andrew Archer 4 0 2 +3 6 6
72 Mathieu Carle 4 0 2 E 6 2
84 Corey Locke 4 1 3 -1 10 4

GOALIES

# Player MINS SF SVS GA
33 Cedrick Desjardins 20 10 9 1
35 Yann Danis 219 112 99 13

Season Leaders: 

Goals:  Locke (21)
Assists:
  Locke (31)
Points:
  Locke (52)
+/-:
  Milroy (+14)
PIMS:
  Stewart (112)


 Schedule:


March 7:  Manitoba vs Hamilton
March 9:  Manitoba vs Hamilton

Final
Thought

Were we all surprised and disappointed (for a
time at least) with the lack of movement from the Habs this past Tuesday? 
Sure, but considering what the alleged asking prices became for the high quality
players, can you really blame Bob Gainey for not making the overpayments? 
I think he feels (and I agree) that this team was not just a player or two away
from being considered a true contender like Anaheim or Detroit.  Bringing
Hossa (or Tanguay, or Havlat) in would have helped this team, but wouldn’t have
pushed them over the top, so is it worth jeopardizing the future here? 
That being said, the Huet deal still has me scratching my head; I understand why
it was done (and I believe it was independent of other talks), but the decision
to actually do it is odd.  It’s nice to have an extra asset for the 2009
draft in Montreal, but that pick is going to be really late in the 2nd round,
how much of an impact can it have?  The transition had to be made some
time, but at this time?  So far, it seems to be working, all we can do it
hope that the same holds true a few months from now.

Next week, the Recap will return
to its regular format with more detailed grade analysis.