HabsWorld.net -- 

This past week for the Habs could simply be
summed up in song, "Where has all the offence gone?" (you can figure out the
tune yourself).  Fortunately, the same can’t be said for Hamilton, as they
had plenty of firepower en route to a 4-game winning streak.  We go 3 Up, 3
Down in assessing whether it’s time to consider moving Andrei Markov, while the
Final Thought tries to examine why almost every callup from Hamilton has
struggled.  This, plus the power rankings, in the Recap.

 Power
Rankings

The PPR’s are on a cumulative basis with
some bias towards the current week.  The prev. column represents the last
ranking for the player; players not on last week’s list will be slotted back
where they were when returning from injury/benching/recall (italicized numbers). 
Thus, multiple players may have the same previous ranking.


Rk

Player

Prev.

Comments

1

Mike Cammalleri

1 His injury may wind up being
the straw that broke the camel’s back.
2 Tomas Plekanec 3 Had a hand
in all 3 goals this week, scoring 1 with a pair of helpers.

3
Brian Gionta 2 Scored a key goal in Ottawa
but was surprisingly quiet otherwise.
4 Jaroslav Halak 4 He certainly
isn’t to blame for either of his losses with so little support.

5
Benoit Pouliot 6 His slowest week as a Hab and
he still scored 33% of the team’s goals.
6 Carey Price 7 Unlike Halak,
he had no support at all, can’t blame him for his loss either.

7
Scott Gomez 5 The hustle wasn’t there like
it has been recently, needs to be better.
8 Josh Gorges 9 Easily the
best bargain of the team’s current defence corps.

9
Roman Hamrlik 8 A couple of iffy decisions but
all in all, not a terrible week by any stretch.
10 Andrei Markov 10 Earned 2 PP
helpers but is a shadow of the player he was 2 months back.

11
Marc-Andre Bergeron 11 The PP was the only thing
going this week, he had a large part in that.
12 Jaroslav Spacek 13 Was playing
his best hockey of the season before he went down.

13
Glen Metropolit 12 It’d really help if he could
provide some sort of secondary scoring.
14 Mathieu Darche 14 Production
tailed off but he wasn’t particularly bad out there.

15
Sergei Kostitsyn 17 Brought a spark to the
Plekanec line but sadly little production resulted.
16 Travis Moen 15 Playing well
on the PK but bringing little else to the table right now.

17
Hal Gill 16 Bad reads and costly penalties
are what his week is remembered for.
18 Ryan O’Byrne 20 A very
strong week gets him moving out of the cellar somewhat.
19 Maxim Lapierre 18 Not doing
enough to justify not being shuffled around so much.
20 Yannick Weber 19 He had his
good and bad moments in Saturday’s game in Ottawa.
21 Ben Maxwell Not being
used in a role where he can succeed, but needs to bring more.

Dropped from the rankings: Max Pacioretty
(19 – minors), Paul Mara (21 – injured), and Matt D’Agostini (22 – minors)

 The Dog
Pound

Who says you can’t win on the road?  On
their longest road trip of the season, the Bulldogs won all 4 of their games
this week.

 Results:

January 27
1
2 3
Tot

PP

SOG
Hamilton 1 2 2 5 0/0 31
Rockford 0 0 0 0 0/3 25

Attendance:  2,055
3 Stars:
  1) Sanford – HAM  2) Trotter – HAM  3) Subban – HAM

January 28
1
2 3
Tot

PP

SOG
Hamilton 2 2 0 4 2/4 39
Milwaukee 0 1 0 1 0/2 22

Attendance:  3,085
3 Stars:
  1) St. Denis – HAM  2) Benoit – HAM  3) Sanford – HAM

January 30
1
2 3 OT SO
Tot

PP

SOG
Hamilton 1 1 0 0 1 3 1/4 27
Chicago 0 0 2 0 0 2 1/5 36

Attendance:  15,532
3 Stars:
  1) Desjardins – HAM  2) Oystrick – CHI  3) Sterling –
CHI

January 31
1
2 3
Tot

PP

SOG
Hamilton 1 1 1 3 2/7 25
Milwaukee 0 0 2 2 1/4 25

Attendance:  5,288
3 Stars:
  1) Trotter – HAM  2) Wilson – MIL  3) Pyatt – HAM

Stats:

A pair of not-so-new faces made their season
debuts with the Bulldogs this week as Matt D’Agostini and Max Pacioretty joined
the team after being sent down late last week.

SKATERS

# Player GP G A +/- SH PIMS
5 Alex Henry 4 0 0 +3 0 13
6 Chad Anderson 2 0 0 E 1 0
7 Yannick Weber 2 0 0 +2 4 4
10 J.T. Wyman 4 0 1 +2 7 0
12 Andrew Conboy 4 1 0 +2 9 2
15 Mike Glumac 4 0 2 +2 7 4
16 Gregory Stewart 4 1 0 E 6 4
18 Dany Masse 1 0 0 -1 1 0
19 Brock Trotter 4 4 0 +1 9 2
20 Ryan Russell 4 1 1 +2 4 0
22 Matt D’Agostini 3 0 1 -1 10 2
23 Max Pacioretty 4 1 1 +4 15 0
25 Ryan White 4 0 1 +2 3 2
26 Grant Stevenson 4 1 0 +1 5 0
27 Tom Pyatt 4 0 4 +3 8 2
32 Frederic St. Denis 4 2 1 +2 5 2
44 Shawn Belle 4 0 3 +6 4 2
51 David Desharnais 4 0 3 +1 9 0
61 Andre Benoit 4 2 1 -3 6 2
76 P.K. Subban 4 1 3 +2 8 0

GOALIES

# Player Record SV% GAA
1 Curtis Sanford 3-0-0 .958 1.00
30 Cedrick Desjardins 1-0-0 .921 1.85

SHOOTOUT
– SKATERS

# Player G/ATT
19 Brock Trotter 0/1
23 Max Pacioretty 0/1
27 Tom Pyatt 0/1
44 Shawn Belle 1/1
76 P.K. Subban 1/1

SHOOTOUT
– GOALIES

# Player SVS/ATT
30 Cedrick Desjardins 4/5

Leaders:

Goals: Brock Trotter (24)
Assists: David Desharnais (29)
Points: Brock Trotter (50)
+/-: P.K. Subban (+25)
PIMS: Ryan White (93)
Shots: Mathieu Darche (127)

This Week:

February 3:
San Antonio vs Hamilton
February 5: Hamilton vs Rochester
February 6: Hamilton vs Toronto

3 Up, 3
Down

With a lot of talk surrounding ‘tank nation’,
talk has inevitably shifted to discussion about whether or not to move Andrei
Markov.  At first it may sound absurd, but if you’re going to rebuild, it
certainly should at least be taken into consideration.  With that in mind,
here’s a look at 3 reasons for and against trading the All-Star defender:

3 Up:

1) Market value – Simply put, if his name hits the market, there will be
numerous teams interested as All-Star defencemen aren’t traded very often. 
With Dion Phaneuf now moved, there really aren’t any prominent defenders
available which would make him worth that much more.

2) Youngsters – We’ve been hearing for a while now how well the young defencemen
have been playing in Hamilton.  Making a move like this might give the Habs
a chance to bring one of them up for more of an extended look rather than the 2
or 3 game stints we’ve mostly seen so far this year.

3) Left side/right side – Moving Markov would in theory allow one of the team’s
other defencemen to shift back to their natural side.  I suggest ‘in
theory’ as one would suspect any hypothetical deal would likely involve a d-man
coming back the other way which admittedly may throw this idea right out the
window.

3 Down:

1) Leadership – He may be quiet, but there’s no denying that this season,
Markov has stepped up his presence in the locker room.  Most of the players
seem to like him and considering all of the alleged goings-on of the locker room
in recent years, that hasn’t been said very often which would make losing him
even tougher.

2) All-Time Hab – It’s so rare these days to see a player play out his full
career with the same team.  The Habs lost that chance this year after
deciding to let Saku Koivu go; with Markov saying in the past he’d like to stay
in Montreal for his whole career, it’d be tough to see a second "lifer" go
essentially in the same season.

3) Message – We sit at the end of January with 2.5 months left in the season. 
If you move a player of Markov’s calibre this early, the team may not be sending
the best message to the players.  As much as we can say as fans that it’s
time to rebuild, as management, you never want to instill that philosophy in the
players.

Final
Thought

I was tempted to write a piece describing why
Bob Gainey didn’t really miss out on an opportunity to move Scott Gomez had he
jumped into the Dion Phaneuf sweepstakes, but instead I’d focus on something
that’s been bugging me all season long.  Unfortunately, it crept up this
week as well.

The current trend in the NHL is to instill in your farm system whatever the NHL
team is doing.  Essentially, it’s designed so that players have some
familiarity with things when they’re called up.  This year for the Habs,
it’s the exact opposite – the Habs essentially play the trap while the Bulldogs
play an up tempo, in your face aggressive style.  I think this goes a long
way in explaining why all of the Hamilton callups have combined for a whopping 2
goals in 78 games so far this season (only 7 assists total in case anyone’s
wondering).  Simply put, they’re not really put in a situation they can be
comfortable in and succeed. 

Case in point is this week’s callup, Ben Maxwell.  He was on a roll
offensively with the Bulldogs, picking up 21 points in his last 22 games. 
Despite this success and with injuries to scoring forwards, he was used merely
sparingly on the 4th line, an energy role to which he’s not accustomed to
playing.  Early on in the season, this was being addressed when we saw
players like Shawn Belle and J.T. Wyman earn surprising recalls but it appears
to be ignored now.  Unfortunately, this situation is likely to remain as
the coaching situation isn’t likely to change any time soon; all we can hope for
really is that when it comes time to making future callups, both teams sit down
and consider bringing up the player who best fits the vacant role.

As always, if you have a question regarding this article or the
capsheet
(next scheduled update is Monday)
,
please feel free to drop me a line at
b.lar[email protected]
.