It was a week of victories for the Canadiens
organization, with the Habs going 3-0 this week. Meanwhile, their farm
team took all 4 of their contests, including 3 in 3 nights. This week, our
grades, plus our nostalgia section which takes a look at a player who for a
small time was the top centre in Montreal, and piecing together the Pavel
Valentenko situation, 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
A little shaky vs the Isles, but solid against the
‘Canes and Wild. (Previous: 7.00 Average:
Lost his point streak but has started another one
with the key game winner vs Minnesota. (Previous:
Last year, his "pairing-mate" was the most
underrated. With his play so far, I’d like to nominate Bouillon as the
early favourite this year. (Previous: 7.25 Average:
I swear I’m missing something with him…the hit and block totals are there, but
to me, the aggression is gone, particularly this week. (Previous:
His passing skills were on display this week, is
it time to give him some PP time to distribute the puck to where it should be
His job, it can be argued, is to make the d-men
around him better. This week, he didn’t. His own play was adequate,
but more is required from the 2nd highest paid player on the team. (Previous:
When there’s a vacant spot in the regular lineup, he needs to do more to prove
he deserves it. He outperformed O’Byrne this week, but that’s hardly an
When your highlight of the week is not getting benched for the whole 3rd period
in one of the games, nothing more needs to be said.
(Previous: 6.00 Average:
8.25 He’s just flat out
producing, what more can I say? (Previous: 8.25 Average:
8.00 The offensive numbers
would suggest otherwise, but he was very much a catalyst during the week. (Previous:
7.50 Sleepwalked through most
of the week, but 3 goals in 3 games is hard to argue against. (Previous:
7.50 Not really a factor for 8
of the 9 periods (although not bad), really looked good with Koivu and Tanguay. (Previous:
7.50 The 4-point effort masks a
week that may have seen him dropped in the lines for lack of production. (Previous:
7.50 Was the sparkplug on the
4th line for both his games this week. (Previous:
7.50 It’s not all about the
numbers, it’s the little things that count too. Last year, he wasn’t doing
them, this year, he is for the most part. (Previous:
7.25 Solid faceoff play, played
well with both sets of linemates, a nice rebound week for him. (Previous:
7.25 Missed a couple of golden
chances, but fortunately, they didn’t come back to hurt the team. (Previous:
7.00 There was some aggression
in his game, something we haven’t seen for quite a while. I still say give
him a shot on D, he can’t do worse than the incumbent duo, can he? (Previous:
6.75 Sluggish return to the
lineup, looks like a shadow of the player who earned a 3-year deal last year. (Previous:
6.50 Showed some nice square
dancing moves in an otherwise uneventful outing. (Previous:
6.25 Ever since his brother got
hurt, he’s been absolutely invisible. Considering Matt D’Agostini’s
lighting it up in Hamilton, the two could be changing places sooner than later. (Previous:
6.25 In a statement game, his
statement was loud and clear – he no longer brings the high intensity that once
made him a staple on the 4th line. (Previous:
With the sudden departure of Pavel Valentenko,
Mathieu Carle’s return to the lineup helped stabilize the defence and the
goaltending did the rest.
3 Stars: 1) Denis – HAM 2) Pacioretty – HAM 3) Maxwell –
3 Stars: 1) Carle – HAM 2) Willsie – LE 3) Glumac – HAM
3 Stars: 1) Lehoux – HAM 2) Glass – ROC 3) Micflikier –
3 Stars: 1) Denis – HAM 2) Pogge – TOR 3) Devereaux – TOR
It took a few weeks, but the Bulldogs finally
got a taste of what highly touted prospect Max Pacioretty can bring to the
Goals: D’Agostini (6)
Assists: D’Agostini (7)
Points: D’Agostini (13)
+/-: Belle (+8)
PIMS: Flinn (38)
November 7: Houston vs Hamilton
November 8: Toronto vs Hamilton
November 9: Hamilton vs Lake Erie
This week, we look at a player who is proof
that it can be worth giving players a second chance.
Selected with a pick acquired in exchange for Jyrki Lumme, Craig Darby was a 2nd
round choice of the Habs in the early 1990’s. In his first go-round
(94-95), he lasted just 10 games before being jettisoned on a journey that saw
him play in 3 different leagues in the next 5 years. He rejoined the Habs
prior to the 1999-2000 season and thanks to injuries, was a regular in the
lineup for 2 seasons, including a small stint as the team’s top centre when the
infirmary was at its fullest. He spent most of the 2001-02 season with
Montreal’s farm affiliate (save for a 2-game callup) before joining the Devils
organization prior to the 02-03 season. In total, Darby played 166 games
with the Habs, scoring 19 goals and adding 28 assists to go along with 30 PIMS.
Darby spent a pair of seasons with the Devils, before making a pair of AHL stops
with Springfield and Manitoba before calling it quits in North America. In
2006-07, he played in the DEL for Augsburg, before playing in Austria for
Innsbruck, his final professional season.
Unfortunately for the Habs, the focus for this
past week won’t be their success, but rather the sudden and unexpected departure
of prospect Pavel Valentenko, who left the now AHL-leading Bulldogs to play
closer to home for Dynamo Moscow of the KHL. Since then, there have been
countless reports about what on earth happened. Let’s try and make some
sense of them.
We know that he approached the Habs organization about leaving the Bulldogs to
take care of a family matter. The Habs obliged this, but the timeframe for
their permission was never divulged, and considering the lack of information
coming out of the organization, likely never will be. The fact that he was
suspended without pay by the team is largely irrelevant as he’s not coming back
this season regardless – this was just a formality required to remove him from
the Hamilton roster and take him off Montreal’s active roster (which can consist
of up to 50 players).
We know the deal is 3 years in length, and that at some point in the deal there
is an option/opt-out clause should he make an NHL team (Montreal).
According to Valentenko himself, this is at the end of year 2 – the end of next
season. The biggest question is one I’d rather not try and make something
of, and that’s the family situation – conspiracy theories now suggest that his
relatives’ illness doesn’t exist, and was merely a ploy to ambush him with this
contract (this last part is true, as it was presented to him within minutes of
arriving back home).
We all too often fail to see the human side of professional sports – loyalty is
to the team and nothing else, an expression I’ve seen uttered in many
discussions this week. I will give Valentenko the benefit of the doubt
here to a degree, and assume that his decision was made in the best interest of
his family – he needed the extra money the KHL offers to pay the medical bills.
It is always a tough situation, and I can’t fathom one where I could expect a
21-year old to tell his family that he can’t move to get more money to pay the
bills because he may get a callup to the NHL team sometime in the next 6
months (and with a full 23-man roster, it may have taken a while to happen, if
at all). In the meantime, the family is left in a far from desirable
I’m certainly disappointed with the way the Habs were kept out of the loop, as
this certainly could’ve went through much more smoothly, and that blame falls on
Valentenko. There are some positives that can be brought up here though –
he’s still going to be playing, and he’ll be available to come back after next
season. We’ve waited years for Alexei Emelin, what’s another year and a
half for Valentenko? Look, I’m not advocating what he did and more
specifically how he did it, but you certainly won’t see me pile on the kid for
what looks to be putting his family first.