The West was not friendly to the Habs this past
week as Montreal struggled en route to losing three of their four games.
Things were a bit better in Hamilton as they collected five of a possible eight
points and moved into a playoff spot for the time being. Voting for the
All-Star Game is now underway, my Final Thought discusses why it may be best to
go against the grain and not vote for your favourite Habs to get in.
1) The road powerplay which is finally showing some signs of life. Over
Montreal’s past six contests away from the Bell Centre, the powerplay has
clicked at a rate of 26.6%. They haven’t skyrocketed up the rankings in
terms of overall road PP% (from 29th to 27th) but their ineptitude with the man
advantage isn’t going to be fixed overnight. Their recent play is a nice
step in the right direction.
2) Sven Andrighetto, who didn’t look out of place when he was moved to the
wing in his NHL debut on Saturday. It’s hard to believe it had been nearly
six years since a Hab scored in his first career NHL game but Andrighetto
snapped that lengthy drought. With Michael Bournival set to return,
Andrighetto’s time with the big club may be short but he has made a quality
first impression nonetheless.
3) Brendan Gallagher, who hasn’t changed a
thing since signing his long-term extension. Some players ease up a bit
now that they have some stability but Gallagher has continued to be the same old
high energy pest which is what got him the deal in the first place.
1) The complete inability to score in the first
period. Montreal has all of nine first period goals in 29 games this year.
Nine. A team on a hot streak can put up around that many in a week
and that’s all the Habs have to show for themselves in the first two months.
Whether it’s Michel Therrien’s fault, the players, whoever, it’s time this gets
turned around immediately.
2) The lack of success when it comes to drawing
penalties. Montreal hasn’t had more than three powerplays in a game since
November 16th. If you want to get out of a slump, getting more time with
the man advantage (and while they’re at it, less time shorthanded) would be a
good place to start. Teams that put forth the effort get the calls.
Right now, the effort’s not there and neither are the calls.
3) David Desharnais, who finds himself in yet
another goalless drought. Yes, he’s not a major goalscorer and he isn’t
going to be but if you’re going to play in an offensive role, asking for more
than one goal in a quarter of a season shouldn’t be asking too much.
Therrien has been plenty patient so far, I’m not sure how much longer he can
keep Desharnais in that role when the team is struggling to score.
Goals: Max Pacioretty (11)
Assists: David Desharnais (13)
Points: Max Pacioretty (20)
+/-: Max Pacioretty (+10)
PIMS: Brandon Prust (64)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (106)
The Bulldogs ticked another to-do item off
their list when they finally beat an opponent with a + .500 record. That
was the highlight of their week as they then went 1-1-1 over a 3-in-3 stretch on
– Dalton Thrower skated at practice with the
Bulldogs this week but is not yet ready to return to the lineup.
– Immediately following Sunday’s OT loss,
Michael Bournival was recalled to Montreal. The Bulldogs will, however,
have Drayson Bowman back as he was re-assigned early Sunday afternoon.
– There are 44 players in the AHL with 50 or
more PIMS. Hamilton now has four of them.
– Lines from the most recent game:
Carr – Hudon – Dumont
de la Rose – Hensick – Bournival
Sorkin – Macenauer – Thomas
Nevins – Dowell
Beaulieu – Pateryn
Tinordi – Drewiske
Finley – Dietz
|20||Jacob de la Rose||4||0||0||+1||4||0|
Goals: Sven Andrighetto (9)
Assists: Charles Hudon (18)
Points: Charles Hudon (26)
+/-: Charles Hudon (+9)
PIMS: Joe Finley (61)
Shots: Gabriel Dumont (70)
Hamilton vs Adirondack
December 12: Rochester vs Hamilton
December 13: Hamilton vs Rochester
One of the negatives from this being a
non-lockout or non-Olympic season is the return of the annual snoozefest that is
the NHL All-Star Game. And with it, the annoying push to vote all things
Montreal into this near-pointless exhibition. There are some who do so
because they think it’s best for the Hab players or the team but when you really
think about it, the opposite may be true.
Those who don’t participate in the All-Star
festivities get some R&R with their families and some rest. Those who do
get paraded out to hobnob with corporate sponsors, be around for lots of media
availability, and go through the motions on-ice for a couple of nights.
I’m pretty sure if you were to ask most players off the record, they’d rather
have the family time and rest over being trotted out for all sorts of off-ice
events and a game played with less intensity than Timbits Hockey.
So if you feel obligated to vote for who you
want to see in the All-Star Game and you want to do what’s best for the Habs,
try this novel concept – vote for someone else. If Montreal’s players
could, they’d probably thank you for it.