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In this week’s HW Recap: The Mike Cammalleri
deal is still getting all the attention but there were still some standout
efforts despite a losing week for the Habs.  The Bulldogs weren’t able to
carry last week’s momentum over as they just managed one win.  Plus, my
Final Thought looks at the feeling most fans felt after Thursday’s trade and why
it will be a familiar one in the coming weeks.

Player
Rankings

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) Max Pacioretty: He looked a little
off at the beginning of the week before knocking off three straight goals over
the weekend (spanning both games).  It appears that for now he has found
his second wind. (Prev:
5  Avg: 5.15)

2) David Desharnais: Every strong goal
scorer needs a good setup guy and Desharnais was that last week.  Of the
seven goals the Habs scored, he had a hand in five of them. (Prev:
8  Avg: 8.07)

3) Erik Cole: He was the ‘weakest
link’ on the line but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have a good week.  I
suspect some tougher days will be ahead as other teams start to game plan around
him more often. (Prev: 6  Avg:
4.64)

4) Peter Budaj: To come in after
sitting for numerous weeks and shut down the league leading team is quite the
accomplishment.  He made a strong case to see a little more crease time. (Prev:
N/A  Avg: 8.00)

5) Tomas Plekanec: The last two games
were his best in a long time.  He played with confidence and aggression
while being dominant in the faceoff circle. (Prev:
15  Avg: 6.79)

6) Carey Price: When you look at his
games individually, he didn’t really stand out in any of them.  But
cumulatively, it was an efficient week for Price, lack of goal support is what
basically did him in. (Prev: 7  Avg:
5.00)

7) P.K. Subban: His defensive decision
making was improved which was nice to see.  I wish he’d stop just trying to
shoot everything as hard as he could though, mix it up a little, try a wrist
shot. (Prev: 12  Avg:
9.07)

8) Josh Gorges: He had more of an edge
to his game which helped and hurt him.  It seemed to take him out of
position at times; he’s better when he just focuses on being in the shooting
lanes and angling the forwards. (Prev: 9  Avg:
7.93)

9) Michael Blunden: He’s playing more
than he should right now (I’m not sure he played 17 minutes in any Hamilton game
this yet) but he’s showing flashes of why he was a second round pick a few years
ago. (Prev: 11  Avg:
15.00)

10) Scott Gomez: Fortunately, he has
come back playing the way he was prior to his groin injury.  If Cunneyworth
eases him in gradually, I think he can have a positive impact on the rest of
this season. (Prev:
N/A  Avg:
14.33
)

11) Hal Gill: Another player who got
better as the week went on.  He seems to have more life in him now, I
suspect that’s due to having his minutes reduced.  That can only help his
trade value if he keeps this up. (Prev: 18
 Avg: 13.77)

12) Rene Bourque: There were some good
and bad moments with him but the former outweighed the latter.  If he can
produce comparable numbers to those in Calgary in a 2nd/3rd line role, he’ll be
a very useful piece. (Prev: N/A  Avg:
12.00)

13) Lars Eller: His line was good to
start the week but was the weakest of the three main trios by the end. 
Defensive lapses aren’t going to stand as on the whole, he isn’t bringing enough
to the table offensively to justify playing him big minutes regardless of his
defensive effort. (Prev: 1  Avg:
7.71)

14) Travis Moen: Based on his play all
year, I have at least some sort of offensive expectation for him, especially
since he’s playing more minutes.  But the highlight of his week was a
meaningless fight. (Prev:
4  Avg: 11.57)

15) Tomas Kaberle: The momentum that
came just after the trade seems to be fading but Kaberle is still producing some
offence at times.  He needs to be better on the PP though as that’s his
primary role right now. (Prev: 13  Avg:
11.50)

16) Yannick Weber: I gave him credit
earlier in the week for coming in and scoring after complaining about not
playing.  In his other two games, he went back to showing why he was in the
press box. (Prev: N/A  Avg:
15.15)

17) Andrei Kostitsyn: After looking
like the dynamic player we all know he can be a couple weeks back, we saw the
largely disinterested version of the enigmatic Belarusian. (Prev:
2  Avg: 7.75)

18) Raphael Diaz: There really isn’t a
whole lot to comment on from him this week, he was rarely noticeable in any of
the games.  Given the flux of the defence corps, that’s not necessarily too
much of a bad thing. (Prev: 16  Avg:
12.21)

19) Chris Campoli: His game against
the Blues was a struggle but he was better against Ottawa.  Right now, it’s
all about building his value up which means he needs to start playing more even
if it is as a 7th D. (Prev: 19  Avg:
19.25)

20) Brian Gionta: That was about as
underwhelming return to the lineup as you’ll ever see.  The stick throw was
his highlight and lowlight all in one. (Prev: 14
 Avg: 10.82)

21) Mathieu Darche: He continues to be
effective on the penalty kill which really is the only thing keeping him in the
lineup at the moment as the rest of his game is non-existent. (Prev:
17  Avg: 15.64)

22) Alexei Emelin: The insane hysteria
aside, he deserved to be sat down after a bad game in Boston. 
Unfortunately, he wasn’t any better when he came back.  In his defence, he
seemed to play with nearly everyone which is not going to help his development
any. (Prev: 3  Avg:
13.00)

23) Mike Cammalleri: I was hoping that
after his comments there would have been a change in his game.  Alas, it
wasn’t to be.  His Calgary debut wasn’t overly impressive either; yes he
scored but he looked very much like the same player he was in his final days
with the Habs. (Prev: 10  Avg:
11.23)

24) Petteri Nokelainen: With Gomez
back giving the team four centres beyond Nokelainen, his usefulness is dwindling
quickly. (Prev: 20  Avg:
18.42)

The Dog
Pound

Unfortunately, the Bulldogs weren’t able to
carry forth their momentum from their last 3-in-3 stretch but were at least able
to pick up a win to hold onto 3rd in their division.

Results:

January
13:


Adirondack 5, Hamilton 4

January 14:


Rochester 3, Hamilton 1

January 15:

Hamilton 2, Toronto
1

StatPack:

Hamilton’s top players carried the
offensive load, however, the supporting cast was largely ineffective.

SKATERS


#

Player

GP

G

A

+/-

SH

PIMS
5 Alex Henry 3 0 2 +2 2 2
6 Joe Stejskal 2 0 0 E 0 2
7 Joe Callahan 3 0 2 +2 3 0
10 Philip DeSimone 3 1 2 +1 7 0
11 Alain Berger 1 0 0 E 1 2
13 Zack FitzGerald 3 0 0 -2 0 7
15 Phillipe Lefebvre 3 0 0 E 3 2
17 Mark Mitera 3 0 0 -1 5 0
18 Dany Masse 3 0 0 -1 4 2
20 Louis Leblanc 3 2 1 -1 13 2
21 Ian Schultz 3 0 0 E 8 0
22 Andreas Engqvist 3 1 2 E 5 0
24 Brian Willsie 2 0 1 E 6 0
28 Aaron Palushaj 3 2 0 +1 12 2
32 Frederic St. Denis 3 0 0 +1 9 2
40 Gabriel Dumont 3 0 0 E 6 0
51 Mitch Wahl 3 0 0 E 2 0
53 T.J. Fast 1 0 0 E 0 0
55 Garrett Stafford 3 0 3 -2 5 0
67 Alexander Avtsin 3 1 0 -1 5 2

GOALIES


#

Player

Record

SV%

GAA
29 Robert Mayer 0-2-0 .896 3.55
39 Peter Delmas 1-0-0 .963 1.00

Active Leaders:

Goals: Andreas Engqvist (13)
Assists: Stafford/Willsie (15)
Points: Aaron Palushaj (25)
+/-: Andreas Engqvist (+11)
PIMS: Zack FitzGerald (141)
Shots: Brian Willsie (143)

Schedule:

January 18: Milwaukee vs Hamilton
January 21: Toronto vs Hamilton (at Ivor Wynne Stadium)

Final
Thought

We sit now six weeks before the NHL’s Trade
Deadline with the Habs very much looking like they’re going to be on the outside
looking in and selling as we saw with the Mike Cammalleri trade.  In that
deal, we saw an awful lot of comments along the lines of, "That’s it?" with
regards to the return Montreal received.  As fans, we better get used to
that over the coming weeks.  That’s by no means an indictment on GM Pierre
Gauthier either, just that the majority of pieces that the Habs will be selling
aren’t exactly the most exciting to other GM’s.

Beyond possibly Andrei Kostitsyn (if he’s not
extended), most of the players that will be available are quality depth pieces
such as Hal Gill and Travis Moen.  There will be no shortage of suitors but
almost every offer will be a draft pick/comparable prospect and if necessary (depending on the
acquiring teams’ cap situation), a salary dump.  From what I’ve been
reading, I get the sense that fans are expecting overly high value for a
lot of the players the Habs will be selling.  Teams are willing to
overpay in the waning days and hours, but not excessively unless they’re getting
a core piece in return.  That’s just not players the Habs are likely to
sell.

Montreal, should they choose to go this route,
has an opportunity here to help replenish a prospect base that in recent years
is starting to look a little thin.  There’s certainly nothing wrong with
that either.  There looks to be more sellers than in recent years though so if the
Habs are asking too much, teams will go elsewhere.  There are good deals to
be had but don’t expect Gauthier to spin any miracles and pry a key young asset
or a 1st round pick away.  Expectations should be kept in check; otherwise
you’re going to be in for a long six weeks.

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