HabsWorld.net -- 

In this week’s HW Recap: Dissecting the good
from the bad in the Habs’ three losses this past week in the Player Rankings. 
The Bulldogs fared a little better than their NHL counterparts as they actually
at least managed to win a game.  Plus, my Final Thought discusses the
positives that came from Montreal’s peculiar preseason strategy.


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) Lars Eller: I know it’s only a few
games in but he seems to have picked up exactly where he left off in last year’s
postseason.  With Gomez out for a little bit, this is his opportunity to
shine. (Prev: 3  Avg:

2) Travis Moen: Rather than dwelling on
the negative (if he’s leading the team in scoring, no wonder they’re last), I’ll
give him props for getting off to a good start and mixing in well on a few
different lines. (Prev: 6  Avg:

3) Andrei Kostitsyn: From the line that
was the most dominant vs Buffalo (Pacioretty-Desharnais-Kostitsyn), he was the
lone player to be at least a threat in each game; he also led the Habs in points
for the week. (Prev: 7  Avg:

4) Max Pacioretty: He’s getting
chances which is more than can be said for a few of the other forwards high on
the depth chart.  At least his physical play was decent when his offensive
game was sputtering. (Prev: 1  Avg:

5) Mathieu Darche: As much as people
have been complaining about him getting too much ice time, he did play well when
he was out there.  Too bad the offensive numbers weren’t there to reward
him. (Prev: 17  Avg:

6) Raphael Diaz: One of the
interesting notes from Sunday’s trade was the addition of a defenceman.  If
there were any thoughts that Diaz was Hamilton-bound any time soon, that deal
and his play should put an end to them. (Prev: 8
 Avg: 7.00)

7) Carey Price: As much as his numbers
weren’t the greatest, he kept the team in it against Buffalo and Pittsburgh and
made a couple of big saves late against Toronto.  More is needed but he’s
not playing terrible as some suggest. (Prev: 12
 Avg: 9.50)

8) Tomas Plekanec: Like last week, I’m
not going too hard on him as he is playing in too many different roles to really
thrive.  He isn’t hurting the team much but sooner or later he will need to
start helping it. (Prev: 4  Avg:

9) Mike Cammalleri: He wasn’t all that
good in Pittsburgh but he was coming back from injury.  Against the Leafs,
he scored a key goal but was quiet otherwise. (Prev:
 Avg: 9.00)

10) P.K. Subban: Still too many
mistakes (largely from over-aggression) for my liking but he did play better
than the first week of the season.  Baby steps if nothing else for the
sophomore. (Prev: 15  Avg:

11) Alexei Emelin: He has been a
non-factor in pretty much every game so far.  On the plus side, he has
played a little better in each contest which is encouraging moving forward. (Prev:
13  Avg: 12.00)

12) Brian Gionta: Although he got a
goal to try and spark a rally against the Pens, the captain was a little too
quiet on the scoresheet this past week.  Him getting going would be a big
boost for the offence. (Prev: 2  Avg:

13) Erik Cole: His speed is nice and
he’s good with the puck along the boards but he needs to learn how to back check
consistently and fast if he wants to get a boost in ice time. (Prev:
10  Avg: 11.50)

14) David Desharnais: He was really
good against the Sabres before falling completely off the map.  Those
hoping he’ll step in for Gomez should be advised that in his last 24 games
(including playoffs), he has points in just 3 of them. (Prev:
5  Avg: 9.50)

15) Yannick Weber: With Jaroslav
Spacek down, he had a shot to show he could handle being a full time defenceman. 
I think he just wasted a pretty good opportunity. (Prev:
11  Avg: 13.00)

16) Josh Gorges: Of all the people
trying to do too much out there, I never thought it’d be him.  His success
is predicated on simplicity and he was the opposite of that most shifts. (Prev:
9  Avg: 12.50)

17) Scott Gomez: Although (in my
opinion) his play has been better than last year, the production needs to come
around at some point.  Though most will surely disagree, he will be missed,
especially in the transition game. (Prev: 14
 Avg: 15.50)

18) Hal Gill: He looks a little too
slow out there for my liking.  It seems to me I was saying this early on
last season too and he turned it around then. (Prev:
 Avg: 17.00)

19) Andreas Engqvist: Size can only
get you so far unfortunately.  His defensive play was decent but he needs
to bring more to the table the next time he’s called up. (Prev:
19  Avg: 19.00)

20) Aaron Palushaj: He just looked
overmatched in most of his shifts.  He has some potential but he needs some
more time in the minors without question. (Prev: 18
 Avg: 19.00)

The Dog

What have we learned in the early stages of the
season?  The defence needs a lot of work – Sunday’s trade should help there
at least.  Nathan Lawson more or less stole the game against Rochester,
giving the Bulldogs their only win of the week.


October 18:

Grand Rapids 3, Hamilton 0

October 21:

Hamilton 3, Rochester 2 (SO)


Hopefully this will be the only
week where every player actually contracted to the Habs fails to score a goal. 
Good on the guys with AHL deals to help pull a win out.









5 Alex Henry 2 0 0 E 1 0
6 Joe Stejskal 1 0 0 E 0 2
7 Joe Callahan 2 0 0 -2 3 0
10 Philip DeSimone 2 1 0 -1 8 0
11 Alain Berger 2 0 0 -1 2 2
12 Andrew Conboy 2 0 0 E 2 2
13 Zack FitzGerald 2 1 0 E 1 14
14 Michael Blunden 2 0 2 +1 3 2
15 Phillipe Lefebvre 2 0 0 -1 0 0
17 Mark Mitera 2 0 0 -2 5 0
18 Dany Masse 2 0 0 +1 1 0
19 Brock Trotter 2 0 0 -3 4 0
21 Ian Schultz 2 0 0 +1 1 2
23 Joonas Nattinen 2 0 0 -3 1 0
24 Brian Willsie 2 0 1 -2 11 2
32 Frederic St. Denis 2 0 0 -1 3 0
40 Gabriel Dumont 2 0 0 -2 2 2
53 T.J. Fast 1 0 1 E 0 0
67 Alexander Avtsin 2 0 0 E 5 0






52 Nathan Lawson 1-1-0 .915 2.40


# Player G/ATT
10 Philip DeSimone 0/1
14 Michael Blunden 0/1
18 Dany Masse 1/1
19 Brock Trotter 1/1
24 Brian Willsie 0/1
32 Frederic St. Denis 1/1
40 Gabriel Dumont (GWG) 1/1
67 Alexander Avtsin 0/1


# Player SVS/ATT
52 Nathan Lawson 5/8



Goals: Philip DeSimone (3)
Assists: Stafford/Willsie (3)
Points: Garrett Stafford (4)
+/-: Dany Masse (+3)
PIMS: Zack FitzGerald (31)
Shots: Brian Willsie (18)

(Among active players on the team)


Rochester vs Hamilton
October 29:
Hamilton vs Albany
October 30: Abbotsford vs Hamilton


One of the focal points for discussion about
the current losing streak has been around the Habs’ lineup for most of the
preseason games.  While most teams were dressing regulars by the midway
point, Montreal waited until the seventh game to really play most of the
veterans together.  It’s a fair point to suggest that this lack of cohesion
could have contributed to a slow start.  However, as I’m tired of seeing
nothing but negativity from most, I’m going to turn this argument around a
little into a mini positive.  How bad could the defence be had they not
went this route?

Because the youngsters were playing, a pair of
current Montreal rookies benefited from seeing more ice time than they normally
would have.  I think most would agree that both Raphael Diaz and Alexei
Emelin are improving basically every time out; they pretty much did the same in
the preseason.  If their preseason games were limited, they wouldn’t be
where they are today in terms of their adaptation to the North American game
which would place the defence in even more tenuous shape.

We also saw in the preseason that Andreas
Engqvist was at best a short-term stop gap based on his team leading six games
played.  If he had suited up less, we’d still likely be in an evaluation
period which means the decision probably wouldn’t have been made to farm him out
by now.  Instead, we’ll see a new fourth line centre (for the second time
in three weeks if you count the brief Blair Betts era) join the organization and
suit up on Monday.  (We’ll have a Writers Weigh In segment on the trade
on Tuesday for those eagerly awaiting our trade reaction.)

Did we see too many of the surely Bulldog-bound
youngsters in the preseason?  Of course we did,; the same could be said for
most of the junior-bound ones.  But was it all bad?  As much as it
makes me shudder just typing this, no, things could very well be worse if the
acclimatization to the North American game for the pair of rookie defencemen was
slower along in the process than it stands today.  I’m also pretty sure
people wouldn’t be happy if we saw Engqvist’s ‘evaluation period’ continuing due
to a lack of information gleaned from the preseason.  Surely the decision
to go as young as they did wasn’t perfect but some good most certainly came from

If you have any questions/comments, please feel free to drop me a line at [email protected]