The Habs tiptoed through another iffy week, but
seem to be showing some limited signs of life. The Bulldogs meanwhile have
no such problem, as they took 2 of 3 contests this week. Our former player
feature looks back at a Russian who left the league not once but twice, while
the Final Thought takes a closer look at Alexei Kovalev. This, plus the
weekly grades, in the Recap.
8.00 to 10.00:
I) Stars/Superstars playing at or above performance, salary, and role expectations.
II) Above average players producing beyond performance, salary, and role expectations.
III) Average/Role players delivering well beyond performance, salary, and role
7.00 to 7.75:
I) Stars/Superstars playing below performance, salary, and role expectations.
II) Above average players producing at performance, salary, and role expectations.
III) Average/Role players delivering beyond performance, salary, and role expectations.
I) Stars/Superstars playing far below performance, salary, and role expectations.
II) Above average players producing below performance, salary, and role expectations.
III) Average/Role players delivering at performance, salary, and role expectations.
I) Stars/Superstars playing outrageously below performance, salary, and role
II) Above average players producing far below performance, salary, and role expectations.
III) Average/Role players delivering below performance, salary, and role
The team may only have won the one game, but they were all close thanks to Price. (Previous:
Stepped his play up even further this week; the
team may actually have their #4 d-man in house after all. (Previous:
Looked more and more comfortable with Gorges as
the week went on, scored the critical tying goal in what was the team’s only win. (Previous:
Steady as she goes with Hamrlik, and that’s
exactly what the team needs out of a veteran like him – stability. (Previous:
Managed to play well despite being paired with the two pylons on skates this
past week. (Previous:
Failed to build upon a quality week and regressed into the immobile clutcher
that we’ve seen most of the season.
(Previous: 6.75 Average:
Is effectively useless unless he’s playing well on the PP, but he’s not even
doing that now. (Previous:
7.75 Continues to be really the
only consistent offensive producer in the lineup, regardless of who plays as his
7.25 Yet again, was a
consistent threat offensively, but the production wasn’t, save for the shootout
goal in Ottawa. (Previous:
7.25 Say what you will about
missed opportunities, but he was the only player to have a point in every game
this week. (Previous:
7.25 Lots of controlled energy;
this was the feisty player we’ve come to expect over the years. (Previous:
7.25 Even though he didn’t score, he
was a regular threat in the offensive end, and looked okay in his 2 shifts on
defence. (Previous: 6.50 Average:
7.25 You gotta love it when his
hard work finally results in some positives on the scoresheet – he was more than
7.00 Played well in both his
games despite being on different lines, a little more offensive production would
go a long way to solidifying a spot on an offensive line. (Previous:
7.00 Like last week, he saved
his best effort for the last game, and is slowly rounding back into form. (Previous:
6.75 All but invisible
offensively, but had a solid week in the defensive end. (Previous:
6.75 Nothing wrong with his
play in his game this week, one of these days, Carbonneau should let him go back
and play defence. (Previous: 6.75 Average:
6.50 Wasn’t bad in his lone
game, but didn’t make much of an impact either. (Previous:
6.25 Looked a little better
when taken away from Kovalev, but still has a long way to go to get back to
form. (Previous: 5.75 Average:
6.00 Was adequate when taking a
regular shift vs Boston, but the lack of energy in his game remains cause for
concern. (Previous: 5.50 Average:
5.75 More laziness, bad decisions,
and ugly mistakes, but at least he finally got on the scoresheet with a pair of
assists. (Previous: 5.50 Average:
The Bulldogs, despite being forced to dress
only 5 defencemen for 2 of the games this week, continued their strong play by
going 2-1, and remaining the highest scoring team in their conference.
3 Stars: 1) Purcell – MAN 2) Azevedo – MAN 3) Moulson –
3 Stars: 1) Vishnevskiy – PEO 2) White – HAM 3) Drazenovic
3 Stars: 1) Desjardins – HAM 2) Carle – HAM 3) Trotter – HAM
It was another explosion of offence this week,
but this time, the leader was one we haven’t heard much from this season, Brock
Goals: D’Agostini (13)
Assists: Lehoux (15)
Points: D’Agostini (23)
+/-: Belle (+15)
PIMS: Stewart (77)
Hamilton vs San Antonio
Hamilton vs Binghamton
Binghamton vs Hamilton
Recently, we’ve looked at a lot of
players who’ve spent a very brief period of time with the Habs. This week,
we break the trend, and look at a fan favourite who had a pair of lengthy stints
The diminutive Oleg Petrov was a 6th rounder (127th overall) in 1991. He
came overseas to North America for the Stanley Cup winning 92-93 season, and
actually played a playoff game that year despite spending the majority of the
season with Fredericton (AHL). He spent the next 3 seasons with the
organization, but never cemented a regular role, playing at least 17 games in
the minors each season, and topping the 25-point barrier with the Habs only
once. He went to Europe for the 1996-97 season, and became a high-end
point producer, averaging over a point per game in each of his 3 seasons with
Piotta of the Swiss league, including one season where he scored over 2 points
The Habs came calling again in 1999, and he rejoined the team, starting off once
again in the AHL, with the Citadelles. He was brought up midseason, and
finally became a full fledged regular. He played the next 2 full years
with the Habs, picking up at least 41 points each season. Late in the
02-03 season, he was dealt to Nashville in exchange for a 4th rounder (which was
subsequently traded). His final totals with the Habs were decent, 183
points (70-113) in 365 games, with 99 PIMS. He left Nashville in the
summer of 03 and went back to Switzerland, where he spent 4 full seasons.
In his 5th year there, he transferred over to Kazan in Russia, where he
continues to play today. You may recognize the team name as one of
Montreal’s current prospects, Alexei Emelin, plays over there. The Russian
d-man has tallied 1 assist in 25 games with a -6 rating and 30 PIMS so far this
I can see the signs and posters now, "MIA –
Alexei Kovalev," and it’s certainly more than justified given his beyond
lacklustre performance over recent weeks. If any one of the 3rd or 4th
liners put forth the same effort and produced the same results as Kovalev in the
past 3 weeks, they’d have been benched long ago. So why not Kovalev?
I can’t really think of a great reason not to bench him, so instead, I will
present to you 3 logical reasons why the Habs seriously need to consider letting
him have a night in the press box.
1) Let’s get the obvious out of the way first, and look at his production.
Since Nov. 1 (the game where he last scored a goal), he has played roughly 200
minutes (over 3 hours) of ice time. Here’s what he’s brought to the table:
3 assists, a -2 rating, a 3.5 – 1 giveaway/takeaway ratio, and almost 43%
(15/35) of his attempted shots have either been blocked or missed the net
2) The powerplay, rightfully or wrongfully, relies way too much on Kovalev
to create offence for them. By forcing them to play without him for a
game, the remaining players may develop some confidence in an alternative option
– surprising the opposition in the process and working towards bringing the PP
back to the multi-dimensional unit that led the league last season.
3) This team needs a real message sent to them. Pulling names out of
a hat and reworking the lines that way, which essentially is what’s been done
the last 2 weeks, isn’t cutting it. Nothing sends a message like sitting
what is supposed to be one of your top players. The team would no longer
have the attitude of "Well, my spot is safe at least," and the complacency would
go away quickly, which is exactly what this team needs.
I’m not advocating that Kovalev gets benched for multiple games, or traded
(although I wouldn’t oppose that option either), but this may be one of the rare
instances where taking away some of the talent in the lineup may ultimately turn
the ship in the right direction.