There weren’t many games played but it was a
winning week for both the Habs and the Bulldogs. The Canadiens had a
comeback victory in their lone game against Nashville while Hamilton won a pair
of important games against the Marlies. The All-Star break is here and has
been subject to lots of criticism; my Final Thought looks at a few ways to help
improve the festivities.
With only one game to write about, I’m cutting down the Cheers and Jeers
to just two each for this week.
1) The powerplay which actually won the Habs
their game against Nashville. It looks like those tweaks that were made a
couple of weeks ago have paid some early dividends. As a result, the
special teams situation for the Canadiens is now even for the season; they have
the same number of powerplay goals scored and allowed. Even reaching that
point looked like a lofty goal a short while ago.
2) Carey Price, who showed that he’s healthy by
playing a huge role in their win over the Predators. Montreal came out
lifeless (more on that shortly) and had it not been for Price, there would have
been a deficit too great to come back from, even with the PP clicking.
Although it would have been nice for Price to have an extended rest (which could
have happened had he sat this game), it’s hard to be too upset with the two
1) Coming out of the gate with minimal effort.
While the Habs have done better lately at scoring in the first period, their
game-to-game effort level still varies widely leaving much to be desired.
It’s not just the fault of the coaches, nor is it just the fault of the players.
Somehow, someway, they need to figure out how to play with much more consistent
intensity in the opening period. Doing so would make this team a whole lot
2) Overusing top forwards, something that
Michel Therrien has done a lot lately. There are only eight forwards who
average 20+ minutes per game (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins leads that pack) but lately,
Max Pacioretty (six times in the past nine games) and Tomas Plekanec (five times
in the last six games) find themselves equalling or exceeding that mark.
Yes, both players are doing quite well lately but overusing them will only tire
them out. With a tough schedule in terms of volume coming up, more balance
in the ice time will be required.
Goals: Max Pacioretty (21)
Assists: Andrei Markov (21)
Points: Max Pacioretty (38)
+/-: Max Pacioretty (+22)
PIMS: Brandon Prust (83)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (164)
The Bulldogs now find themselves in a tie for
eighth in the Western Conference after a pair of crucial victories against
– Jarred Tinordi
missed both games with what they’re calling the flu. It should be noted
that Magnus Nygren had the ‘flu’ two months ago when it was actually a
concussion so it’s okay to be a bit skeptical about this diagnosis given
Tinordi’s recent injuries from a fight.
– It’s the All-Star weekend in the AHL as well
with the Skills Competition going Sunday night and the game on Monday.
Charles Hudon will be the lone representative from the Bulldogs.
Andrighetto’s overtime winner on Saturday was his first point in January,
including his time with the Canadiens.
– Lines from the most recent game:
Carr – Hensick – Andrighetto
de la Rose – Hudon – Dumont
Bowman – Gill – Thomas
Macenauer – Dowell – Fournier
Allen – Pateryn
Finley – Drewiske
Bennett – Dietz
|Jacob de la
Goals: Gabriel Dumont (12)
Assists: Charles Hudon (25)
Points: Charles Hudon (36)
+/-: Davis Drewiske (+9)
PIMS: Joe Finley (101)
Shots: Gabriel Dumont (111)
January 30: Hamilton vs Iowa
January 31: Hamilton vs Iowa
It’s All-Star weekend in the NHL
and as is often the case at this time of the season, talk often shifts to how to
make the event better. Personally, scrapping it and having meaningful
regular season games instead sounds wonderful but that wouldn’t make for an
interesting read. So, here are a few ideas on how to make the weekend at
least a little better:
1) Change the voting to the AHL
rules. What are those, you ask? The starters get voted in by the
fans but only after the teams are selected. No more write-in
campaigns or ballot stuffing to get as many players from one team into the game.
That way, there are more deserving participants and less players getting
2) Make the skills competition the
best of the best, not the best of those who got named to the game. Take
the fastest skaters, hardest shooters, and the most accurate shooters from team
skills contests and send them to participate in the competition. Not only
would that reinstate team competitions for teams (like Montreal) who scrapped it
but also would give more meaning to the winner. Jonathan Drouin won the
fastest skater contest on Saturday but is he really the fastest skater in the
league? We’ll never know unless something like this suggestion were to
ever come to fruition.
3) More neutral site venues.
The NHL is talking about growing the game outside of North America, perhaps this
game is something that could be moved around. Many players want to have
the break to spend time with or vacation with friends and family. Put the
game in a new location and perhaps you can give the player the best of both
worlds, a chance to travel and spend time with the family while still
participating in the festivities.