HabsWorld.net -- 

In this week’s HW Recap: The Habs squandered
some precious chances to really get back into the playoff race but the
Player Rankings highlight some of the good performances mixed in with the bad. 
In Hamilton, the depleted Bulldogs had a terrific week to give themselves an
outside shot at a playoff spot while my Final Thought looks at something fans
can look forward to, a rarity in this disappointing season.

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) David Desharnais: There wasn’t
anything flashy to his game, he just produced game in and game out, picking up
an assist in each of the four games while picking up a goal against the ‘Canes. 
I’m not one to argue much with production. (Prev: 5
 Avg: 7.00)

2) Max Pacioretty: Like Desharnais, he
collected at least a point in each game.  He seemed to be flustered a few
times, I wonder how much of that is from increased checking or his own
increasing expectations. (Prev: 5  Avg:
7.00)

3) Erik Cole: You have to love his
determination, he was battered and bruised numerous times against the Devils and
just kept going out there.  His production wasn’t as good as his linemates
but it was still a solid week. (Prev: 6  Avg:
4.63)

4) Tomas Plekanec: He isn’t here
solely for his offensive contributions but rather the fact he was really the
only one on his line that really accomplished much of anything in that end of
the ice.  He’s slowly coming back around. (Prev:
3
 Avg: 6.84)

5) P.K. Subban: For the most part his
decision making was much, much better.  Some of the other smaller issues
(such as shot predictability) remain but being defensively sound is the most
important thing for him right now. (Prev: 8
 Avg: 9.95)

6) Ryan White: For someone making his
season debut, he looked as if he was in midseason form.  I’m not even too
interested with the fight he had but the energy he brought to his line helped
rejuvenate it. (Prev: N/A  Avg:
6.00)

7) Tomas Kaberle: Unlike last week,
the production was there with a timely goal and a couple of helpers. 
Defensively he’s still his usual self but he was brought in to put points up and
he did just that. (Prev: 18  Avg:
11.36)

8) Scott Gomez: He responded well to his
mini-benching from earlier in the week.  His skating is still something to
admire when he’s going full speed while he managed to pop home another goal. 
Still not good enough but he’s starting to become at least a positive
contributor. (Prev: 10  Avg:
12.73)

9) Josh Gorges: With Subban being more
on track in the defensive zone, it seemed to put Gorges more at ease.  He
really seemed to be focused on his own end, he didn’t pinch much at all (usually
we see a few per game from him). (Prev: 13
 Avg: 9.05)

10) Carey Price: He had some good
moments but some shaky ones as well.  I can’t help but wonder if he’s
beginning to become a little too overworked considering he’s playing more than
last year. (Prev: 2  Avg:
5.32)

11) Mathieu Darche: He played well in
his own end but was a non-factor offensively for the most part.  If he’s
getting that many minutes, he needs to produce with some sort of regularity. (Prev:
7  Avg: 14.53)

12) Raphael Diaz: His poise with the
puck in the offensive zone really impressed me.  He made the right calls on
when to shoot fast or to wait for the screen to develop.  That’s a big part
of offensive zone success. (Prev: 16  Avg:
12.74)

13) Alexei Emelin: He took a step back
with his defensive zone reads, frequently losing his check or mis-reading the
play.  Those types of ups-and-downs are a bit understandable though given
his different partners. (Prev: 12  Avg:
11.71)

14) Lars Eller: Welcome back to the
doghouse.  Plekanec’s resurgence has coincided with a drop in his play when
it really should be more complementary. (Prev: 4
 Avg: 7.58)

15) Andrei Kostitsyn: He’s doing well
to hurt his trade value right now, getting benched didn’t elicit the expected
and required response from him.  The only question now is whether he’ll get
that 100th goal as a Hab. (Prev: 17  Avg:
9.12)

16) Chris Campoli: No problems with
the production which was decent but it came at an expense of defensive
responsibility.  It is clear he is trying to showcase himself, he is trying
to do way too much on his own. (Prev: 14  Avg:
18.63)

17) Rene Bourque: He is making his
numerical predecessor look like the model of consistency, something I thought to
be impossible.  Like Darche, if he’s playing a top-6 role, he has to bring
something offensively to the table. (Prev: 9
 Avg: 11.67)

18) Hal Gill: It was a pretty quiet
ending to his tenure as a Hab which isn’t necessarily bad.  His success was
playing that style of game and he did that fairly well, I for one will certainly
miss him. (Prev: 18  Avg:
14.06)

19) Louis Leblanc: He looked
overmatched too often out there although I wonder if feeling less than 100%
might have had something to do with it.  Another short stint in Hamilton
when healthy couldn’t hurt. (Prev: 11  Avg:
15.00)

20) Yannick Weber: I’m starting to think
his future is better as a RW and point shot on the PP than as a defenceman. 
Considering he’s playing D right now, that should say all you need to know. (Prev:
19  Avg: 19.33)

21) Aaron Palushaj: I’m not sure why
he was called up to begin with as it’s clear he doesn’t have the confidence of
Cunneyworth right now.  Another opportunity wasted to help his shot at
sending the right message to management. (Prev: 20
 Avg: 18.11)

The Dog
Pound

Despite missing seven forwards who are injured
and three others on recall, what’s left of the Hamilton Bulldogs put on an
impressive display of offence en route to a perfect 3-0 week, signalling that
they haven’t given up on their playoff hopes just yet.

Results:

February 17:

Hamilton 4, St. John’s 3

February 18:


Hamilton 5, Rockford 2

February 19:

Hamilton 7, Rochester 3

StatPack:

No fewer than five players made
their Bulldog debut this week, a couple of which pitched in on the scoresheet as
well.  Another tripled his goal total on the season from 2 to 6 en route to
being named the AHL’s Player of the Week.

SKATERS


#

Player

GP

G

A

+/-

SH

PIMS
3 Robert Slaney 1 0 0 E 3 0
5 Alex Henry 3 0 0 -2 2 4
7 Joe Callahan 3 0 2 +2 7 0
10 Philip DeSimone 3 3 1 +3 7 2
11 Alain Berger 3 1 0 -2 4 0
13 Zack FitzGerald 3 0 0 E 1 14
15 Phillipe Lefebvre 3 0 1 -1 4 0
17 Mark Mitera 3 1 0 +1 5 0
21 Ian Schultz 3 1 4 +3 9 7
22 Andreas Engqvist 3 1 2 +1 7 2
23 Joonas Nattinen 3 4 1 +3 10 2
26 Eric Lampe 2 1 0 E 4 0
27 Joey Haddad 3 0 0 E 5 0
28 Aaron Palushaj 1 0 3 +1 3 0
32 Frederic St. Denis 3 0 1 +3 5 2
40 Gabriel Dumont 2 1 1 +3 7 0
44 Olivier Dame-Malka 1 0 0 E 1 0
51 Blake Geoffrion 2 1 3 +1 13 0
53 T.J. Fast 3 0 2 +2 5 4
54 Peter Lenes 1 0 0 E 0 2
55 Garrett Stafford 3 2 0 -1 7 2
67 Alexander Avtsin 2 0 0 -3 3 2

GOALIES


#

Player

Record

SV%

GAA
52 Nathan Lawson 3-0-0 .906 2.67

Active Leaders:

Goals: Andreas Engqvist (16)
Assists: Frederic St. Denis (19)
Points: Andreas Engqvist (30)
+/-: Ian Schultz (+6)
PIMS: Zack FitzGerald (184)
Shots: Brian Willsie (165)

Schedule:


February 22: Hamilton vs Grand Rapids
February 24: St. John’s vs Hamilton (in Montreal)
February 26: Hamilton vs Toronto

Final
Thought

For years, there has been an aura of
expectation surrounding the Habs and the Trade Deadline.  "This is going to
be the year something happens, I just know it," is a common sentiment among fans
at this time of year.  As we all know, not a whole lot as happened. 
As the Habs are primarily going to sell, it appears that’s going to change this
year.  They have some of the better names on the market and there are lots
of buyers.  Unless they do like they did with Gill and get the right offer
early, expect the Habs to be one of the busier teams this coming Monday. 
As a team that has struggled all year, this is one of the few times of the year
to look forward to as personally, I find it more fun to sell than buy on
deadline day as for the most part, the buying team is paying a hefty price on
any sort of impact player.  It’s time for the Habs to reap those rewards. 
There hasn’t been much to enjoy this season but this should be one of the few.

Please note that with the Habs playing this
coming Sunday and the Trade Deadline being Monday, the HW Recap will take a one
week hiatus and will return in March.  If you have any questions/comments, please feel free to drop me a line at [email protected]