It was a week that started off with all kinds
of anticipation but ended in sheer panic. The good news is that the Habs
actually won both their games but lost a trio of players in the process.
In Hamilton, the injury-riddled Bulldogs kicked off their campaign against their
arch-rival Toronto Marlies. With Andrei Markov out, we look at some of the
UFA options available while the Final Thought finds a positive out of the Sergei
Kostitsyn situation. This, plus a brand new segment, in the Recap.
I always try to bring in a new feature to the
HW Recap on an annual basis; this year, the weekly grades have been replaced by
the Player Power Rankings (or PPR’s for short). The PPR’s will be on a
cumulative basis with some bias towards the current week. For example, if
say Scott Gomez has an awful week, he won’t drop 15 spots in the rankings, but
he will drop 3 or 4. On to the Week 1 rankings!
|Carey Price||–||Stole both games silencing the
critics…for now at least.
|2||Brian Gionta||–||You can
really notice when he’s out there, isn’t afraid to shoot.
|Mike Cammalleri||–||Has found chemistry on 2
different lines, a threat each time out.
|4||Travis Moen||–||He did this
last year, scoring out of the gate – can he continue?
|Tomas Plekanec||–||For the first time in ages, he
was aggressive out there.
|6||Jaroslav Spacek||–||1 really
good game, 1 so-so game. Need more of the former.
|Glen Metropolit||–||A difference maker from the
4th line, held his own on the PP too.
|8||Josh Gorges||–||"Gorges with
the winner," who saw that one coming?
|Scott Gomez||–||Was very quiet considering the
success of his linemates.
he wasn’t 100%, a solid season debut.
|Maxim Lapierre||–||If nothing else, he’s been
solid on the draw unlike some others.
|12||Paul Mara||–||One costly
mistake but otherwise a solid week, did okay on the PP.
|Ryan O’Byrne||–||Steady and reliable, 2
adjectives we wouldn’t have used last year.
effective on the PK, a little suspect 5-on-5 though.
|Guillaume Latendresse||–||After yapping about PP time, I
was expecting more from him.
|16||Georges Laraque||–||Effective in
limited ice time and even picked up an assist.
|Andrei Kostitsyn||–||Just how badly does he miss
his brother? Mostly invisible.
|18||Max Pacioretty||–||It may be
only 2 games, but I can proclaim he’s not ready.
|Matt D’Agostini||–||Lesson learned – he can’t play
on the checking line.
|20||Gregory Stewart||–||Played less
than 4 minutes and for good reason too.
Since Andrei Markov is out for 4 months and
didn’t complete a full game, I find it unnecessary to put him on here at this
time as he’ll drop off the rankings next week anyways.
The Bulldogs were looking to parlay their
preseason success (4-0) into a positive regular season debut.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be as they fell in a shootout to kick off
their 09-10 campaign.
3 Stars: Not available
With all of the injuries, someone needed to
step up and fill the scoring void. Perhaps next week someone will do it.
|32||Frederic St. Denis||1||0||0||E||0||0|
Since there’s no real point in
listing the scoring leaders, let’s look at the Bulldogs infirmary instead:
David Desharnais – 4-6 weeks
Olivier Fortier – 4 months (counting against the Habs’ cap along the way)
Alex Henry – 4-6 weeks (also counting against the Habs’ cap)
Mikael Johansson – 2 weeks reportedly
Dany Massé – 2 months
As a result of the injuries, the Bulldogs weren’t able to dress a full
complement of players for Sunday’s game in Toronto.
October 9: Rockford vs Hamilton
Late Sunday afternoon, the Habs
recalled Yannick Weber from the Bulldogs. Is he the long-term solution
while Markov sits on IR for 4 months? Most people don’t think so and
anticipate that the team will be going after someone on the free agent market.
Let’s look at some of the names currently out there.
Christian Backman: Has bounced around in recent years (3 teams in 3 years
prior to this). Not overly offensively gifted nor physical, he’s
essentially a minute muncher and nothing more. On the plus side, he’s
pretty much in game shape having spent the preseason with Florida.
Marc-André Bergeron: Several reports have noted the Habs have contacted his
agent. The offensive minded d-man picked up 32 points (14-18-32) with the
Wild last year while coming in at a respectable +5. I wonder if he’ll be
willing to accept the bargain basement deal the Habs will be seeking though.
Mathieu Dandenault: I said it 2 months ago and I’ll say it again –
there’s a role on this team that he can fill. With the Habs quickly
approaching dire cap straits, having someone on the roster that can play both
forward and wing with a low cap hit would be a huge bonus.
Greg de Vries: Brings no discernible offensive game to the table but is
strong in his own end. With Montreal’s early defensive struggles, bringing
in someone to shore up that element wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
Denis Gauthier: I only list him as it was noted earlier in the summer
that he wanted to play in Montreal. There are better options out there
Marek Malik: Was brought in early last season to stabilize Tampa Bay’s
atrocious defence but didn’t exactly do that, though he had the best +/- of any
Lightning defender who played at least half the season.
Of course, there are a few other names on the market, but this is essentially
the best of what’s left. If you’re now hoping the Habs opt for the trade
route, I certainly don’t blame you.
Starting next week, there will be a new segment in this section replacing
last year’s ‘Remember Him?’ section – barring more injuries of course.
Is it too much to ask to go a full
month without a controversy in Montreal? Evidently not, as the current one
is the ongoing Sergei Kostitsyn drama with no immediate end in sight.
Rather than dwell on the obvious negatives here (such as where does a 7th
rounder get off demanding a trade when he’s played more NHL games than AHL ones
as it is) and look at a positive here.
For the last few years, we’ve been fortunate (or unfortunate depending on how
you look at it) enough to have a coach who had no problems speaking his mind to
the media. As much as it was nice to have refreshing candor instead of the
standard clichés, I’ve certainly been happy over the last 2 weeks to hear
Jacques Martin refuse to divulge detailed reasoning for Kostitsyn’s demotion as
well as Martin’s outburst in practice. For so long now, we’ve heard
everything and then some coming from now former coach Guy Carbonneau and the
media; it’s actually refreshing to hear essentially, "No comment." Let the
in-house stuff get taken care of in-house without everything being dragged
through the media. It may make for a boring 20 second interview, but it’s
certainly best for the team.
During the offseason, HabsWorld started using its own
page – join us if you haven’t already. This past week, I also started
tracking the Habs’ already messy cap situation (which is about to get a whole
lot worse), the spreadsheet can be found
If you have any questions regarding the spreadsheet or this article, feel free
to drop me a line at