To say "Mission Accomplished" may be an
understatement for the Habs, as they now head into the playoffs as the Eastern
Conference’s top seed. The exact opposite can be said for their farm team
unfortunately as they head into their final week of the season. Looking
ahead to the postseason, we look at the Habs’ all-time record against the
Bruins, while the Final Thought looks at the benefit of having depth at this
time of year. This, plus the weekly grades, in the Recap.
After a week’s hiatus, we’re back with the final regular season grades.
The rating criteria will continue for the playoffs in order to maintain
continuity in terms of comparing to these final totals.
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: 9.0
A grand total of 2 goals allowed, including a huge shutout in Ottawa, not much
more needs to be said. (Season Average:
Final Grades for other goalies: #41 – Jaroslav Halak:
7.67, #39 – Cristobal Huet:
#32 – Mark Streit: 8.0
Points in 5 of his last 6 games to reach the 60-point plateau…and a few
hundred thousand per season on a new contact.
(Season Average: 7.13)
#26 – Josh Gorges: 8.0
Aside from the fact he can’t buy a goal if his life depended on it, a very
strong week on the top pairing.
(Season Average: 7.04)
#79 – Andrei Markov: 7.5 A
little too cute on the powerplay, his goals were scored by shooting, not spins
and toe-drags, time to get back to the basics for the playoffs. (Season Average:
#44 – Roman Hamrlik: 7.0
He’s the second highest paid player on the team, and almost won the award for
Most Underrated, that says a lot about his play not just this week, but for the
(Season Average: 7.35)
#3 – Ryan O’Byrne: 7.0 Given the
relative unimportance of some of the games this week, I would have
preferred to see him get some more ice time.
(Season Average: 6.75)
#71 – Patrice Brisebois: 7.0
The whole week, I didn’t log anything about a significant mistake, that’s gotta
be worth something.
(Season Average: 6.65)
Final Grades for other defencemen: #8 – Mike Komisarek:
7.48, #51 – Francis Bouillon:
#21 – Chris Higgins: 8.0
They’re finally starting to go in for him, a trio of important goals after being
moved back to his old position. (Season Average:
#20 – Bryan Smolinski: 8.0
Now this was the player most people were expecting to see when he was signed; it
took 80 games, but better than never I suppose.
(Season Average: 6.93)
#27 – Alexei Kovalev: 7.5
For the first time in what seems like forever, he finishes the season with over
a point-per-game average. (Season Average:
#70 – Gregory Stewart: 7.5 He
showed why he wasn’t a sniper with the Bulldogs, but I was impressed with his
speed, not sure the fight was really necessary, but he held his own there too. (Season Average:
N/A, first rating)
#25 – Mathieu Dandenault: 7.5
The ‘benched-then-produced’ trend continued for him, how long before the cycle
starts again I wonder? (Season Average:
#46 – Andrei Kostitsyn: 7.5
Was noticeably the better of the 2 brothers this week, despite the drop in
production on his line. (Season Average:
#6 – Tom Kostopoulos: 7.0
Strong week for the grinder; the best news for him is that his shiner is just
about gone now.
(Season Average: 6.85)
#22 – Steve Begin: 7.0
Well, he proved me wrong (I thought he’d be hurt again by now), let’s hope he
avoids a repeat of the last playoff series he had against Boston.
(Season Average: 7.18)
#84 – Guillaume Latendresse: 7.0
Seems to have recovered nicely from the neck injury, even won a few footraces
which is a rarity for him. (Season Average:
#40 – Maxim Lapierre: 7.0 The
makeshift francophone line (with Latendresse and Dandenault) was able to
produce, and he had a large part in that. (Season Average:
#36 – Matt D’Agostini: 7.0 His
debut didn’t start off well, but he wound up making a few good plays happen in
limited time. (Season Average: N/A,
#14 – Tomas Plekanec: 7.0
The offensive drought continues, so far it hasn’t been noticed much, but if it
continues into the playoffs, that will be a different story.
(Season Average: 7.70)
#73 – Michael Ryder: 7.0
Only the 1 game this week, nothing really good or bad to talk about. He
should be ready for Game 1 vs Boston fortunately. (Season
#74 – Sergei Kostitsyn: 6.5
Over the last few weeks, he’s looked tired as if he’s hit the rookie wall.
A few days rest should do him a whole world of good. (Season Average:
Final Grades for other forwards: #11 – Saku Koivu:
7.29, #28 – Kyle Chipchura:
7.19, #57 – Garth Murray:
7.00, #54 – Mikhail Grabovski:
6.75, #45 – Corey Locke:
The Bulldogs finally turned it around this
week, picking up 5 of a possible 6 points. However, their season will
still be ending in the coming days, as there will definitely be a new Calder Cup
champion this year.
Games 74-76 of the season.
3 Stars: 1) Hensick – LEM 2) Bacashihua – LEM 3)
Englehardt – HAM
3 Stars: 1) Locke – HAM 2) Stewart – LEM 3) Desjardins –
3 Stars: 1) D’Agostini – HAM 2) Ferland – HAM 3) Manlow –
All but 2 forwards (Wyman and Baines) picked up at least a point this
week, as the team "exploded" for a whopping 9 goals in 3 games.
Goals: Locke (25)
Assists: Locke (37)
Points: Locke (62)
+/-: Milroy (+8)
PIMS: Stewart (137) (Active team leader: Cote (110))
Rochester vs Hamilton
April 11: Toronto vs Hamilton
April 12: Hamilton vs Lake Erie
April 13: Hamilton vs Syracuse (final game of the season)
With a playoff rivalry vs Boston being renewed starting this week, here’s a
summary of the team’s record against the B’s all-time in the playoffs:
2004 – won 4-3, Eastern Conf. quarterfinals
2002 – won 4-2, Eastern Conf. quarterfinals
1994 – lost 4-3, Eastern Conf.
1992 – lost 4-0, Adams Division finals
1991 – lost 4-3, Adams Division finals
1990 – lost 4-1, Adams Division finals
1989 – won 4-1, Adams Division finals
1988 – lost 4-1, Adams Division finals
1987 – won 4-0, Adams Division semifinals
1986 – won 3-0, Adams Division semifinals
1985 – won 3-2, Adams Division semifinals
1984 – won 3-0, Adams Division semifinals
1979 – won 4-3, semifinals
1978 – won 4-2, Stanley Cup Finals
1977 – won 4-0, Stanley Cup Finals
1971 – won 4-3, quarterfinals
1969 – won 4-2, semifinals
1968 – won 4-0, quarterfinals
1958 – won 4-2, Stanley Cup Finals
1957 – won 4-1, Stanley Cup Finals
1955 – won 4-1, semifinals
1954 – won 4-0, semifinals
1953 – won 4-1, Stanley Cup Finals
1952 – won 4-3, semifinals
1947 – won 4-1, semifinals
1946 – won 4-1, Stanley Cup Finals
1943 – lost 4-1, semifinals
1931 – won 3-2, semifinals
1930 – won 2-0, Stanley Cup Finals
1929 – lost 3-0, quarterfinals
Series record: 23-7
This week, we had a chance to see some of the
benefits of having GM Bob Gainey around the past few years. Of course it
starts with the quality NHL debuts of Matt D’Agostini and Gregory Stewart, a
pair of late draft picks who have shown some potential. Also, and I’m sure
some of you will disagree with me, but the decision to bring in (or keep) depth
players like Brisebois, Smolinski, and Dandenault at least for now, appears to
make more sense than at any other point all season. All 3 of these players
(plus some other depth guys) had a noticeably good impact on the Habs in the
past couple of weeks to help secure the conference title. Any team that
makes a lengthy run in the playoffs will have some bumps and bruises, it’s nice
to see that these veterans should be able to contribute in some positive way
when the inevitable injuries happen.