In this week’s HW Recap: Was a breakout effort
from the Habs’ lone Danish player enough to move him to the top of the Player
Rankings? In Hamilton, the freefall continues as the infirmary grows.
Looking ahead, it’s the return of the annual Schedule Synopsis, while the Final
Thought discusses why it may be time to embrace the Habs’ defensive system.
Players are rated from 1 to however many
players play on a weekly (non-cumulative) basis. Rankings will be tracked
weekly and averages provided.
1) Carey Price: A trio of very strong
games for him. Even in St. Louis where the Habs lost, he was really the
lone bright spot and made quite a few key saves. He’s on a roll for sure.
(Previous: 1 Average:
2) Lars Eller: I think it’s safe to say that there is a big (positive)
difference in his play when he plays centre over the wing. Here’s hoping
he continues to get that opportunity as he has been a difference maker lately.
(Previous: 12 Average:
3) Tomas Plekanec: Like most of the Habs, he played well in 2 of the 3
games. In the two good ones, he was his usual productive two-way self
despite his linemates being hot and cold.
(Previous: 8 Average:
4) Paul Mara: He picked up 2 points (doubling his output with Anaheim),
stood up for his teammates, dropped the gloves twice, and played well in his own
end. Where was this last season?
(Previous: 15 Average:
5) Travis Moen: It didn’t matter what line he was on, he put up the
points either way. Yes, it felt quite odd typing that, but he did
ultimately tie for the team lead in points over the week.
(Previous: 13 Average:
6) Roman Hamrlik: His minutes went back up over the season average (so
much for the ‘rest’ he was supposed to be getting) but he played solid defence
regardless. He was a little iffy offensively but his partner (Wisniewski)
covered for that part.
(Previous: 11 Average:
7) James Wisniewski: More or less, just consider the inverse of Hamrlik’s
comment. Wisniewski had the PPG that put the Boston game out of reach but
was a little more suspect defensively. Still a strong week though.
(Previous: 9 Average:
8) Brian Gionta: Though his line as a whole was a little quiet (largely
due to a certain injury), he was the lone consistent bright spot in the 3 games.
Nothing to rave about, but nothing to complain about either.
(Previous: 10 Average:
9) Mike Cammalleri: Though he tied Moen for the team lead in points over
the week, he really only made a difference in 1 of the 3 games. That’s
what drops him this low as his game in Pittsburgh was quite strong.
(Previous: 16 Average:
10) P.K. Subban: Two things crept back into his game that were
concerning, the chirping and his do-it-himself routine that leaves the opponents
and the Habs unsure of what he’s going to do. In the defensive role
he finds himself in, he needs to keep things simple.
(Previous: 7 Average:
11) Jeff Halpern: I thought he got better in each game he played.
He scored in St. Louis but did little else. In Pittsburgh, he had one
helper, but had much more of an impact overall.
(Previous: 14 Average:
12) Scott Gomez: He wasn’t as dominant as the week before, but we all
knew that’d be asking a lot considering his injury concerns. Still, though
a little quiet in St. Louis, a decent week overall.
(Previous: 6 Average:
13) Alexandre Picard: He sits for a few games, comes back and plays well.
With the Habs going into a defensive rotation, that will come in handy.
(Previous: 17 Average:
14) Ryan White: Full credit for trying to stick up for a teammate (Subban).
Beyond that physical element, he’s not bringing much else to the table; he makes
Pyatt look good offensively at times. Still, the physical play surely
(Previous: 20 Average:
15) Hal Gill: He didn’t score, he’s in a slump! Sarcasm aside, he
was back to his usual self, effective defensively and near useless offensively.
Good enough for me.
(Previous: 3 Average:
16) Max Pacioretty: I’ve always said players who only play part of 1 game
get ripped off in the rankings since there’s no real baseline comparision, he’s
no exception. As for what happened, enough has been said already.
For those wanting to read opinions on the hit, we have several passionate and
well articulated articles on HW for your reading enjoyment (links at the end of
(Previous: 2 Average:
17) David Desharnais: On the whole, I didn’t have too many qualms with
his play. However, missing an open net in two consecutive games (STL and
PIT) is a bitter pill to swallow. Fortunately, the second miss didn’t
matter in the end.
(Previous: 5 Average:
18) Brent Sopel: The Habs have won every game with him in the lineup,
though he hasn’t done much of anything to be noticed either good or bad.
The Habs should be able to go on without him without changing things up a lot.
(Previous: 19 Average:
19) Yannick Weber: He’s not really being used as an offensive d-man which
is limiting his overall effectiveness right now. With Sopel out though, he
should find himself with more playing time.
(Previous: 21 Average:
20) Andrei Kostitsyn: His linemates managed to generate some offence but
it wasn’t due to Kostitsyn’s presence. After a couple of up weeks, it
looks like we’re headed back into down territory for him.
(Previous: 4 Average:
21) Tom Pyatt: For whatever reason, the Habs are a better team with him
in the lineup (see the Did You Know stat on the front page) though he doesn’t
bring any notable pieces to the table other than a decent defensive presence and
(Previous: 22 Average:
22) Benoit Pouliot: I don’t want to be overdramatic and say he just
killed his last shot at being a top-6 forward but it’s probably not far from the
truth. He usually does well in a bottom 6 role (not the last few games
though); couple that with his top-6 struggles and you wonder how many more
chances he’ll get.
(Previous: 18 Average:
Injuries and the flu bug have made a depleted
team even more so, as both Dustin Boyd and Nigel Dawes are now out of the
Despite being down most of their
offence, the Bulldogs managed to put up some offence but rarely was it enough to
get the win.
|32||Frederic St. Denis||4||0||1||+2||2||0|
Goals: Nigel Dawes (33)
Assists: David Desharnais (35)
(Active leader: Aaron Palushaj – 27)
Points: Nigel Dawes (54)
+/-: Carle/Nash/Palushaj (+15)
PIMS: Jimmy Bonneau (157)
Shots: Nigel Dawes (169)
March 16: Hamilton vs Rochester
March 18: Hamilton vs Abbotsford
March 19: Hamilton vs Abbotsford
It’s time for the annual post-deadline
tradition, good old fashioned scoreboard watching. This year, the focus
isn’t so much on making the playoffs but rather jockeying for position.
Here’s the week ahead (March 14-20) for the teams the Habs are battling with.
MTL, @ DET, @ NJ
|68||@ CBJ, @ NSH, @ TOR||0.541|
OTT, vs NYR
|69||@ TOR, @ MTL, @ OTT||0.512|
WSH, vs TB, @ MIN
|69||vs CAR, vs ATL, vs NSH||0.536|
APP – Average points percentage of the teams
faced in the upcoming week.
As I noted in the player rankings, we have
lots on the Pacioretty incident already, so rather than harp on that even more,
I’ve opted to stray away from this issue.
Reading through lots of comments throughout the season on various message boards
and sites, I’ve found that when it comes to the Habs’ coaching staff, there’s
simply no winning. No matter how the Habs seem to play, it seems as if
there’s a contingent out there that simply wants to see the opposite.
Take Saturday’s win over Pittsburgh as an example. Mixed between positive
posts over winning were ones bemoaning the fact the Habs trapped and played
their defensive shell. This, despite the fact said strategy played a big
role in the team’s success last season, particularly in the playoffs in terms of
keeping most shots on the perimeter.
But, after the 8-6 loss in Boston, a rare game where the Habs played a more
attack-based game, what was the ‘opinion du jour?’ The Habs can’t play an
up-tempo offensive style, they have to sit back and attack when they get their
chances. The thing is, it’s generally the same fans making this statement
as the ones from the last paragraph. So which is it? Barring a
little bit of team-specialized game planning, it really can’t be both ways.
I recognize a lot of it has to do with Jacques Martin and that some fans simply
don’t like him and want him gone. Barring a huge collapse though, that
probably won’t be happening anytime soon. Last year, the Habs made the
conference finals, while this season they’re poised to finish a little higher in
the conference despite all the injuries, a pretty good accomplishment all things
considered. If the system’s not broke, why fix it? That’s the
attitude we’ve seen from the Habs before and will again, so as fans, we better
get used to the fact the defensive system is here to stay, like it or not.
Note: As the Habs are off this coming Saturday but play on Sunday, next
week’s HW Recap will be bumped up to Saturday night.
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