In this week’s HW Recap: A new leader sits atop
the Player Rankings as the Habs look to clinch a playoff spot, something the
Bulldogs are even closer to accomplishing. The first round is over for
Montreal’s CHL prospects, their stats are inside while the Final Thought
examines the latest so-called controversy to be sparked by a certain ex-player.
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) Mathieu Darche: It was Darche’s
turn to play along with Gomez and Gionta (as basically every other forward had a
chance) and he certainly made the most of it. His goals weren’t highlight
reel calibre but rather the example of strong hockey sense which is exactly what
that line needed.
(Previous: 11 Average:
2) Mike Cammalleri: He was the only Hab to record a point in all
three games and looked much more comfortable with the puck on his stick.
Yes, he isn’t hitting his spots when he tries to go top corner but this was a
big step in the right direction for him.
(Previous: 20 Average:
3) Tomas Plekanec: He had a lot to do with Cammalleri stepping up.
In the ugly loss to Carolina in particular, I thought he had one of his better
games as of late. With the playoffs approaching, this was a good start
towards getting back into form.
(Previous: 19 Average:
4) Carey Price: He wasn’t particularly sharp in Carolina but in the
other two contests, he was at his best. That said, this on-then-off
routine needs to stop sooner than later.
(Previous: 2 Average:
5) P.K. Subban: I had no objections to his play at either the
offensive or defensive end (he was pretty good overall) but his lack of
discipline is really becoming concerning. 10 minor penalties in the last
11 games isn’t going to cut it when you’re one of the team’s go-to guys.
(Previous: 1 Average:
6) Brian Gionta: Though he only had points in one of the three games,
I thought overall he was one of the more dangerous forwards. Not
surprisingly, he was at his best in New Jersey.
(Previous: 10 Average:
7) James Wisniewski: The full cage will come off this coming week (or
so the reports say) and hopefully with it his aggression. On the whole
though, his offensive game was strong, but his defensive one was iffy.
Same old, same old.
(Previous: 3 Average:
8) Scott Gomez: He quietly has been getting better each of the last
few weeks, picking up a pair of helpers over these last three contests.
Though he has been heavily criticized for his +/-, that too has improved
recently. If you haven’t checked out the
Stars ballot (voting ends Monday at midnight, no registration is required to
vote), be sure to note how Gomez fared in +/- in March relative to the rest of
(Previous: 14 Average:
9) Roman Hamrlik: He was the one to snap the 3+ game goal drought,
that alone merits a top-10 ranking. He still looks overworked out there,
it would be nice to see his ice time curtailed over the final three games.
(Previous: 13 Average:
10) Andrei Kostitsyn: Not quite as much of an impact player as he was
in the last few weeks but still did some good things despite only picking up
just the one point (an empty net goal).
(Previous: 7 Average:
11) David Desharnais: Largely invisible for most of the week though
I’m sure a lot of that had to do with having linemates that either can’t skate
(White) or can’t stop falling (Pouliot).
(Previous: 8 Average:
12) Hal Gill: The penalty kill had a bounce back week and whenever
that happens, a good chunk of the credit needs to go to Gill.
(Previous: 18 Average:
13) Paul Mara: There were a few kinks in his game that weren’t there
in recent weeks, particularly in the defensive end where he struggled paired up
with Sopel. His stint on the PP left a lot to be desired as well.
(Previous: 9 Average:
14) Travis Moen: Though he didn’t do much on the scoresheet, he set
up more than his usual amount of chances in the offensive zone. It’s
certainly refreshing to see him not on a top-2 line though.
(Previous: 6 Average:
15) Jeff Halpern: He didn’t quite look right out there and evidently
he wasn’t as he was only able to play the first two games. He did manage
his 200th career assist at least.
(Previous: 21 Average:
16) Benoit Pouliot: I’m not sure how sharp of an edge he likes on his
skates but it appears to be time to change it in the hopes of staying on his
feet more often. It’s hard to help your team while laying across the ice.
(Previous: 16 Average:
17) Brent Sopel: The book on him was that he’d be a steadying
influence on the bottom pairing, especially in the defensive zone. Over
these last few games, the exact opposite has happened.
(Previous: 17 Average:
18) Ryan White: After his breakout offensive game in Minnesota, he
has basically been a complete non-factor aside from the physical aspect of his
game. He simply can’t hack it on a line that is counted on to play in the
(Previous: 5 Average:
19) Tom Pyatt: Nothing special in his lone game which basically describes his play on
the season in a nutshell. Considering he had sat several games in a row,
that’s not a bad thing either.
(Previous: 12 Average:
20) Alex Auld: Evidently, coming into games when they’re out of hand
isn’t his forte. Another period played, another two goals allowed. It would
be nice to get him into one of the last three games but he’ll need to be better
than he was in Carolina.
(Previous: 4 Average:
21) Lars Eller: He just didn’t have it these last few games.
When the offence isn’t there (and it usually isn’t) he needs to be solid in his
own end and he simply wasn’t, earning a trip to the bench.
(Previous: 15 Average:
At the beginning of the week, the Bulldogs were
in a dog fight (pun intended) to stay alive in the playoff race. 4 games
and 4 wins later, they are a single point away from clinching a playoff spot.
There was one key line change this
week as Engqvist dropped from the 1st line to the 2nd while Boyd replaced him
alongside Dawes and Palushaj. As the stats will tell you, the change
|32||Frederic St. Denis||4||0||0||+3||6||4|
Goals: Nigel Dawes (40)
Assists: David Desharnais (35)
(Active leader: Aaron Palushaj – 33)
Points: Nigel Dawes (65)
+/-: Mathieu Carle/Aaron Palushaj (+19)
PIMS: Jimmy Bonneau (169)
Shots: Nigel Dawes (195)
Hamilton vs Abbotsford
Hamilton vs Abbotsford
April 8: Hamilton vs Manitoba
April 9: Hamilton vs Manitoba
We’re down to the final week and things have
not yet been settled in the East. Here is the breakdown of the remaining
schedules for the teams that are still battling with the Habs for a playoff
CHI, @ OTT, @ TOR
|79||vs TB, vs PHI, @ CBJ||0.596|
BOS, vs ATL, vs NJ
|79||vs DET, @ ATL, vs TB||0.589|
APP – Average points percentage of the teams
faced in the upcoming week. Tampa Bay and Chicago’s point percentages were
calculated prior to their Sunday night game as their game wasn’t finished at the
time of writing.
Sunday saw the completion of Round 1 for the 6
Hab prospects playing throughout the CHL leagues (OHL, WHL, and QMJHL).
Half of the prospects (Leblanc, Lefebvre, and Bournival) will be moving on while
the other half (Tinordi, Ellis, Gallagher) were eliminated. Here is how
each prospect fared in the opening round:
|Morgan Ellis||Cape Breton||4||0||0||0||-4||8|
Note: Both Gallagher and Tinordi led their
teams in PIMS while Leblanc led his team in goals.
There haven’t been a whole lot of consistencies
over the past three seasons but this past week showed that there has at least
been one over that span. Where there is controversy, Georges Laraque is
sure to follow. Fighter that doesn’t want to fight? Laraque was the
guy. Locker room dissention last season? Laraque was one of those
rumoured to be dissenting. Getting told to go home? Laraque again.
Going on Twitter and TV and claiming that players have told him (and only him,
no one else in the actual media) that Jacques Martin has lost the room?
Yeah, him yet again.
Isn’t it funny how we only see his name pop up
at the negative times? When the Habs were playing well, there was nary a
peep, just a few odd tweets from the Habs’ former enforcer. Laraque claims
to still root for Montreal, yet seems to criticize virtually anything and
everything surrounding the team so how true is that? At first, I was
inclined to claim that Laraque’s source from the room may just have been himself
from his own locker room memories, but it’s not as if he spent a whole lot of
time in the room with Martin as coach, what with the injuries, frequent
benchings and of course his unceremonious expulsion. So he’s probably not
his own source, he couldn’t have been around the room long enough to form an
I’m feeling somewhat generous, so I’ll even go
along with his claims to a point and suggest that there may have been a player
who implied that he disagreed with the direction of the coaching staff at that
point in time. As fans, it all floats through our minds at some point and
it would be naive to think that the thought doesn’t cross the mind of at least a
few players from time to time as well. But does one player, perhaps
disenchanted with his role in recent games (or months) represent the wishes of
the team? Hardly. As is often the case come election time in Canada
(Laraque as you all know by now is a member of the Green Party), the truth
happens to get stretched and exaggerated in virtually every public statement
made and there is always an agenda behind anything said. Given Laraque’s
documented criticisms and less than amicable departure (feel free to root
through his Twitter page and TV appearances for examples), it’s pretty safe to
say that there is an agenda in play here. In those situations, it’s best
to ignore what’s said; at this time of year, believing nothing may be closer to,
not further from, the truth.
If you have any questions regarding this
article or the
please feel free to drop me a line at [email protected]