HabsWorld.net -- 

Despite numerous injuries, the Habs managed to
pull off a trio of victories this week, moving them to 6th in the Eastern
Conference.  Losing so many players didn’t deter the Hamilton Bulldogs any,
as they just continue to steamroll the AHL.  It’s never too early to start
scoreboard watching which means the Schedule Synopsis makes an early return this
year, while the Final Thought looks at a new consideration in the Price/Halak
debate.  This plus the weekly power ranks, 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

Tomas Plekanec

2 The points continue despite
being paired with a couple of Bulldogs.
2 Jaroslav Halak 4 Let’s not
mince words, he stole 2 more game for the Habs this week.

3
Brian Gionta 3 A key reason that the team
beat Boston and upset Pittsburgh.
4 Scott Gomez 7 A big week
for him as well as he and Gionta led the way offensively.

5
Benoit Pouliot 5 He may not be able to shoot
but he showed he could set up some goals.
6 Roman Hamrlik 9 His little
dance moves make him scoring that much more exciting.

7
Andrei Markov 10 Took some positive strides
after struggling for several weeks.
8 Josh Gorges 8 Got shuffled
around a bit this week and struggled somewhat as a result.

9
Jaroslav Spacek 12 Picked up where he left off
before going down, best hockey of the year.
10 Mathieu Darche 14 Quickly
earning the confidence of the coaches, nearly 20 mins vs Boston.

11
Sergei Kostitsyn 15 Playing with more energy,
though I’m not a fan of him whining about PT.
12 Marc-Andre Bergeron 11 Has been
quieter since moving up front, not nearly enough production.

13
Glen Metropolit 13 Nice to see him finally get
one, he’s surely worked hard enough lately.
14 David Desharnais 19 Didn’t look
out of place, even when he saw time on the powerplay.

15
Ryan O’Byrne 18 Now this is what we all hoped
to see after such a strong training camp.
16 Travis Moen 16 Liked the
physical play, but needs to do more with Gomez/Gionta.

17
Brock Trotter Played with lots of aggression
which is exactly what this team needs.
18 Ryan White
20
Played with
a lot more poise in this stint with the big club.
19 Hal Gill 17 A couple of
uncharacteristic giveaways proved costly.
20 Maxim Lapierre 19 Rebounded
well on Sunday after being sat late in the Pittsburgh game.
21 Ben Maxwell 21 Looking more
comfortable but was overshadowed by the recent callups.
22 Yannick Weber 20 Showed signs
that he’s further along compared to his last recall.
23 Matt D’Agostini 22 Played a
little better, but questions about his future are rampant.

Dropped from the rankings: Mike Cammalleri
(1 – injury) and Carey Price (6 – DNP).

 The Dog
Pound

The winning streak is up to 7 straight now as
the Bulldogs won all 3 of their games this week.

 Results:

February 3
1
2 3
Tot

PP

SOG
San Antonio 0 0 0 0 0/4 22
Hamilton 1 2 1 4 3/9 26

Attendance:  3,228
3 Stars:
  1) Trotter – HAM  2) Desharnais – HAM  3) Sanford – HAM

February 5
1
2 3
Tot

PP

SOG
Hamilton 2 2 1 5 2/5 28
Rochester 0 0 0 2 1/5 24

Attendance:  4,425
3 Stars:
  1) Pyatt – HAM  2) Glumac – HAM  3) Taylor – ROC

February 6
1
2 3
Tot

PP

SOG
Hamilton 0 2 0 2 1/6 43
Toronto 1 0 0 1 1/5 12

Attendance:  5,868
3 Stars:
  1) Glumac – HAM  2) Subban – HAM  3) MacDonald –
TOR

The 12 shots allowed set a franchise record for fewest shots allowed in a
game.

Stats:

Despite being without 2 full lines of forwards
(all with the Habs), Hamilton didn’t skip a beat this week in large part due to
the stellar play of G Curtis Sanford who is making a huge push to reclaim the #1
role.

SKATERS

# Player GP G A +/- SH PIMS
5 Alex Henry 3 0 2 +3 0 7
6 Chad Anderson 3 0 0 -1 3 2
7 Yannick Weber 1 0 0 +1 1 4
8 Maxime Lacroix 2 0 0 E 7 0
10 J.T. Wyman 3 1 0 +1 9 0
12 Andrew Conboy 3 0 0 E 8 2
15 Mike Glumac 3 4 1 +3 16 4
16 Gregory Stewart 3 0 1 +2 4 0
18 Dany Masse 3 0 0 E 1 0
19 Brock Trotter 1 1 2 +1 4 0
20 Ryan Russell 3 0 2 +1 3 0
23 Max Pacioretty 3 0 0 E 8 4
25 Ryan White 1 0 0 E 0 2
26 Grant Stevenson 3 0 0 E 1 4
27 Tom Pyatt 3 3 3 +3 10 0
29 Eric Neilson 2 0 0 E 2 2
32 Frederic St. Denis 3 0 1 +1 3 14
44 Shawn Belle 3 0 0 E 2 0
51 David Desharnais 1 1 2 +1 4 0
61 Andre Benoit 3 0 2 E 4 2
76 P.K. Subban 3 1 5 +4 7 4

GOALIES

# Player Record SV% GAA
1 Curtis Sanford 2-0-0 .971 0.50
30 Cedrick Desjardins 1-0-0 .917 2.00

Leaders:

Goals: Brock Trotter (25)
Assists: David Desharnais (32)
Points: Brock Trotter (53)
+/-: P.K. Subban (+29)
PIMS: Ryan White (95)
Shots: Mike Glumac (137)

This Week:

February 12: Hamilton
vs Lake Erie
February 13: Abbotsford vs Hamilton

Schedule
Synopsis

Yes, it might be a little too early to start
doing this on a weekly basis, but with 1 week before the Olympic break (and
roster freeze), it’s worth looking at the standings and who plays who this week.


Rank

Team

GP

PTS

Wins

This Week
6 Montreal 60 62 28 vs WSH, @ PHI,
vs PHI
7 Tampa Bay 57 61 25 vs VAN, vs BOS, @ NYI, @ NYR
8 Philadelphia 56 59 28 vs NJ, @ NJ, vs
MTL, @ MTL
9 Boston 57 59 24 @ BUF, @ TB, @ FLA
10 NY Rangers 59 59 26 vs NSH, @ PIT,
vs TB
11 Atlanta 57 58 25 @ COL, @ MIN, @ CHI
12 Florida 58 57 24 @ CAR, vs VAN,
vs BOS
13 NY Islanders 58 54 23 vs NSH, @ PIT, vs TB, vs OTT

Standings as of games played through Sunday,
February 7th.

Final
Thought

For weeks now, there has been a lot of debate
over who should be anointed the #1 starter for the Habs.  Currently,
Jaroslav Halak is the favourite but knowing how some people like to flip-flop,
that might change by the trade deadline.  I’ve seen tons of arguments for
and against keeping Halak as #1, but I’ve yet to see the one that might actually
have the greatest impact on the team both this and next season, the salary cap. 
And no, I don’t mean the simple fact that Price has a higher cap hit, it goes
much deeper than that.

$850,000 of Price’s bonuses are what’s considered to be "A-level" ones, payable
based on certain criteria being hit.  They go in increments of $212,500 per
option, so 4 need to be fully hit in order to maximize the bonus.  As we
sit here nearing the Olympic break, there’s no guarantees he’s going to hit them
all.  For reference purposes, here’s the listing of eligible bonuses:

1) 1,800 minutes played (he’s played more than that already, this one’s
locked in)
;

2) GAA that is less than or equal to the median (average) of all goalies with
25+ GP (Price is 25th in this category out of 38 goalies who have currently
played 25+ GP, likely below the median)
;

3) SV% greater than or equal to the median of all goalies with 25+ GP (Price
is 18th out of 38 eligible goalies, likely a bit above the median currently)
;

4) 20+ wins, averaging more than 30 minutes per game played (Price has 11, if
Halak sees the bulk of the load the rest of the way, he’ll have a hard time
getting 9 more)
;

5) Shutouts earned that is greater than or equal to the median of all goalies
with 25+ GP (Price is just one of 6 goalies with 20+ GP who’ve yet to earn a
shutout so he’s clearly below the median)
;

6) Makes the All-Rookie team (ineligible);

7) Selected to the All-Star Game (there isn’t one);

8) All-Star Game MVP (there isn’t one).

So what does that all mean?  There’s only 1 bonus that’s fully locked in
with one more that he’d be eligible for.  If he doesn’t play a lot down the
stretch, he’s not going to hit the rest of them.  That means, you guessed
it, cap savings, to the tune of give or take $425,000.  When the Habs
currently are projected to be over the cap by more than $1.6 million next season
(pending bonus adjustments), that’s pretty substantial.  And all they have
to do to save it is let Halak run with the ball for the rest of the year. 
Sounds pretty tempting if you ask me…

If you have a question regarding this article or the
capsheet
(next scheduled update is Tuesday)
,
please feel free to drop me a line at
[email protected]habsworld.net
.