Montreal’s coaching change failed to bring
about any immediate dividends, as the team went just 1-2 in their first week
under Bob Gainey. The Bulldogs, under new head coach Ron Wilson were the
opposite, as they took 2 of 3. The former player segment returns looking
at one of the larger disappointments of the early ’90’s, while the Final Thought
looks at 3 key issues to address to bring Montreal back to their winning ways.
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
He makes 45 saves, many of them of the above average variety, and still gets
saddled with the loss – I really feel for the guy. (Previous:
He’s nicely rounding back into form, although the winner vs the Islanders had a
bit of an unpleasant odour to it. (Previous:
I can’t just say everyone played poorly on D, so he gets the high grade after
managing to hold his own despite Komisarek’s struggles. (Previous:
A strong effort from the "millennium man" in his lone game – if he can do that
in spot starts the rest of the way, he can still help this team. (Previous: 6.50 Average:
Despite the team’s collective struggles, he’s managed to be on the ice for a lot
more goals scored than allowed – that’s gotta count for something. (Previous: 7.00 Average:
If he would have played this way throughout the season, he never would’ve been
in Hamilton at any point. (Previous: 7.00 Average:
I remember noting on Saturday how his play was starting to improve – he then
promptly made a giveaway that almost led to a goal. (Previous:
I like how he was starting to get a little aggressive during the Devils game,
but again, the penalties are becoming unacceptable. (Previous:
Some struggles defensively, and wasn’t able to accomplish much of anything on
his bread and butter (the PP). (Previous:
7.50 The only Hab to score in
multiple games this week, he continues to shine after his suspension. (Previous:
7.50 A great start to the week
(GTG and GWG vs Edmonton), needs to bring that level more regularly. (Previous:
7.25 He didn’t have much flash,
but he was the most consistent player on his line this week in terms of
generating chances. (Previous: 7.00 Average:
7.25 Didn’t get a single point
this week, but I was really impressed with his two-way play, particularly on the
penalty kill. (Previous: 7.00 Average:
7.25 It was nice to see him
finally crack the scoresheet, and what a key goal it turned out to be. (Previous:
6.75 I like the hustle and the
fact he sticks up for his teammates, but watching him try and play offensively
is depressing. (Previous: 7.25 Average:
6.75 Although he didn’t score,
he was much more of a threat than we’ve seen in recent weeks. (Previous:
6.75 The intangibles are there
as always, but he needs to rediscover his scoring touch. When he was
producing, the team was succeeding. (Previous:
Played extremely well vs Edmonton, but was absolutely invisible in the other
2 contests – I actually had to look to see if he even played. (Previous:
6.75 Had a strong game on Tuesday,
but he is not the player that was a thorn in Montreal’s side last postseason. (Previous:
6.50 I think I can now safely
say he’s hit the rookie wall, his days with the Habs may be over in the near
future when Latendresse returns. (Previous:
6.50 With the top 2 playmakers
on the team playing with him, he needs to produce a lot more – in fact, he flat
out needs to produce something period. (Previous:
Another game, another 2 stupid lazy headshots – the way he’s going, he’s got
a shot at 50 minor penalties this season. (Previous:
The Bulldogs continued their winning ways
despite their coaching change, taking 2 of their 3 contests, but failing to gain
any ground on division leader Manitoba.
3 Stars: 1) Grabner – MTB 2) Krog- MTB 3) Kostitsyn –
3 Stars: 1) Kostitsyn – HAM 2) Glumac- HAM 3) Denis –
3 Stars: 1) Glumac – HAM 2) Trotter – HAM 3) McArdle – ROC
Mike Glumac continued his torrid pace since his
return, scoring in all 3 contests, extending his scoring streak to 5 straight
games in the process.
Goals: Glumac (28)
Assists: Lehoux (36)
Points: Lehoux (53)
+/-: Chipchura/Jancevski (+22)
PIMS: Stewart (170) (Active leader: Flinn – 120)
March 17: Hamilton vs Iowa
March 20: Hamilton vs Quad City
March 21: Hamilton vs Chicago
March 22: Hamilton vs Milwaukee
The Bulldogs also released their Clear Day Roster this past week. These
are the players who will be eligible to play for the team in the upcoming Calder
Cup Playoffs. For more details on the roster, click
Throughout the course of the
season, the focus has primarily been on ex-players who’ve went overseas.
Listening to the Hamilton game on Sunday night though, I happened to hear the
name of a player whose biggest claim to fame is because of something off the
ice, not on it.
Rory Fitzpatrick was the Habs’ 2nd round pick back in 1993, showing lots of
promise early on as he spent the majority of his first professional season up
with the Habs. That promise didn’t last too long though, as he was shipped
to St. Louis in 1996 in what would be a top-10 candidate for worst Montreal
trade in the last 15 years (he went with Craig Conroy and Pierre Turgeon for
Murray Baron, Shayne Corson, and Gennady Razin – ouch). He played a
handful of games with the Blues over the years before joining Boston via the
waiver wire in 1998. It wasn’t long before he was mired in the Blues’
system again though, before he was dealt to Nashville where mediocrity ruled the
day once more.
Normally, after almost 10 different organizations over an 8-year span, most
players would call it quits or head overseas. This wasn’t the case here
though, as Fitzpatrick joined the Sabres, which was the beginning of his journey
back to the bigs. He spent 5 years in the Buffalo organization, playing
the bulk of his NHL games along the way, before joining Vancouver. He
spent the 06-07 season with the Canucks, almost getting voted as a starter for
the All-Star game in the only campaign actually worse than the Montreal ballot
stuffing earlier this season. He left for Philadelphia before the
beginning of last year, and split the season between the NHL and AHL (19 games
in each); the NHL contests being his last for now at least. This year,
he’s back with Rochester, but wreaking havoc for another organization, as the
Americans are the affiliate of the Panthers now.
We’re a week into the Bob Gainey (part 2) era,
and still many holes need fixing. Here’s my top-3 issues that need to be
rectified before the season ends:
1) Take the restrictions off Mike Komisarek: Early this season, Komisarek
was told to stop dropping the gloves and ever since then something hasn’t been
right. The way he’s playing now, he’s not helping the team, so why not
"let him go" and see if it helps resuscitate his game. If he gets hurt, so
be it, but it’s not like the team can’t do without the porous passing and
2) A system, any system: Remember earlier in the season when the Habs
upset Detroit? Yes, they were playing the trap, but it was a system and
everyone knew their role. Today, there’s no structure whatsoever and it
shows. The coaching staff needs to put something together and stick to it
– and considering there’s not much time left in the season, the sooner the
3) Consistency for 60 minutes: The only thing consistent this season with
the Habs has been their appalling inconsistency, be it from the goaltending, the
youngsters, and the veterans; no one is immune from blame here. Last year,
this team was the regular season champs, and the roster hasn’t changed all that
much. Get everyone going in the same direction at the same time, and
brighter days will be ahead.
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