HabsWorld.net -- 

After watching the “New” Habs play an
absolutely amazing game on Monday, I wanted to offer up a few thoughts and
observations I made on some of the players. The ones graded below are those who
played Monday night and survived the cuts after the game.

The Good: So far, so good for the Habs revamped top line. Whether all of
the “Big Three” play together at the same time or with other players these guys
have shown so far that they can produce.

The Bad: Some of the secondary players on the team have to work harder to
complement the rest of the team and keep them winning consistently.

The Ugly: How some members of the Media can still find ways to berate the
Habs even though this new team has proven already they can excite and with
consistent effort, win. Give the some time and good things will happen.

Player Grades:

Forwards:
Brian Gionta – A+: My personal vote for the Canadiens next captain. His
performance on the ice and his demeanor off has done nothing but impressed me.
He never stops moving when he is on the ice and is constantly parking himself in
front of the other teams net doing a job that is normally reserved for players
who are over half a foot taller and 50 pounds heavier. If he gets knocked down
he bounces right back up and continues to fight for the puck and to finish the
play.

Scott Gomez – A: So far he has lived up to his big salary, so far. It’s only
been a few preseason games but Gomez has in fact been the number one centre for
this team. He has been steady in winning faceoffs, playing the puck deep into
the offensive zone, and most importantly, quickly building chemistry with his
new (and old) line mates.

Mike Cammalleri – A-: Definitely going to be one of Gainey’s best acquisitions
once he develops more chemistry with Gomez. However, until that happens he
hasn’t been as visible as Gomez and Gionta. He has brought the Montreal faithful
to their feet on several occasions so far and I for one can’t wait to see how he
will dazzle us this season.

Guillaume Latendresse – A-: Latendresse played a great physical game last night.
He delivered several solid hits and caused several turnovers as a result. A few
more games to get into top shape and he should continue to impress as the season
goes on.

Maxim Lapierre – B+: He looked to be rounding into the form he ended last season
with. This is a good thing as Lapierre was one of the better and more consistent
players for the Habs last year. He wreaked havoc on the Penguins players and
helped generate the goal from Latendresse.

Tom Pyatt – B: When he was out there he was a machine. No, maybe he wasn’t the sole
reason that the Habs won, but he definitely showed his potential to become a
solid NHL calibre checking forward in the future.

Max Pacioretty – B: Played the type of game that was expected of him, gritty,
hardnosed and rough. However, it did cost him as he got the worse end of a
collision with Brooks Orpik. Up until then he had played a solid game along the
boards and creating chances for the smaller forwards.

Ben Maxwell – B-: Maxwell appeared to be progressing nicely and with solid play
like he showed last night, should put any worries aside that he can sufficiently
fill in for Plekanec or Gomez should either be injured for a short time at any
point in the season.

Andrei Kostitsyn – C: Seems to want to hang onto the puck more than he should
instead of taking his own shot. Other than that he played a decent game and even
got physical at certain points of the game. He looked better as the game moved
on and he was put on a line with Latendresse and Lapierre.

Greg Stewart – C: Played an okay game but didn’t really wow anybody last night.
He didn’t play himself out of a roster spot last night, but didn’t exactly do
anything to keep one either.

Matt D’Agostini – C-: At times he seemed to be invisible last night and couldn’t
seem to keep control of the puck when he had it. But to his credit he did try
hard and should still be considered deserving of a roster spot at the end of
camp.

Defensemen:
Andrei Markov – A: Markov was Markov last night, great play all over the ice and
generated offence. ‘Nuff said.

Jaroslav Spacek – B+: Showed that he can potentially fix the Habs powerplay woes
of last season but needs to work just a little bit harder to keep up with other
teams forwards. The four minute double minor he took on Crosby shouldn’t have
happened.

Josh Gorges – B: Seems to be unsure of what to do at times whether it was with
the puck or without it. Could be because he was trying to cover for the lesser
experienced defensemen he was playing with. No reason to be too worried though
as he should return to his usual self once he gets comfortable playing with a
more permanent partner.

Yannick Weber – B: Played like he wants a spot on the Habs roster but may find
himself in Hamilton due to there being too many NHL level defensemen on the
roster already. Given some time blasting shots with Subban this year with the
Bulldogs should be good for both their development and make them more ready for
big league roles next year.

Mathieu Carle – C: Probably won’t be on the training camp roster much longer but
her did work hard last night. At times he seemed to be out of place but that
could be due to lack of experience. If he can stay healthy, he should have a
good year in Hamilton.

Goaltender:
Carey Price – A: Carey looked BIG last night. He was in position to take almost
every shot he faced last night and because of that he turned in a stellar
performance. He had the occasion slip up but overall Carey appears poised to
have a great year which is paramount in the Habs having a great year as well.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to email me at [email protected]