Last week got off to a terrible start for Laval but they were able to salvage it with a strong effort over the weekend to split their two games.
The Week That Was
Dec. 9: Senators 7, Rocket 2 – This one went off the rails early and stayed that way throughout the game. Through two periods, Belleville had more goals (six) than Laval’s goalies had saves (four). No team is winning games with that type of goaltending.
Dec. 10: Rocket 4, Marlies 3 (OT) – Laval was able to shrug off that tough loss fairly quickly and rebounded with a very strong effort against a stacked Marlies attack (Adam Cracknell, one of Laval’s top forwards last season, was a healthy scratch). Simon Despres took a costly high-sticking penalty with just over two minutes left in regulation that gave Toronto a late power play to tie the game but he made up for it in overtime, scoring on the power play to give the Rocket the win.
Goals: Byron Froese (9)
Assists: Alex Belzile (16)
Points: Alex Belzile (20)
+/-: Audette/Froese/Moravcik (+4)
PIMS: Michael McCarron (33)
Shots: Alex Belzile (68)
News And Notes
– The plan to give Michael McNiven more playing time in the ECHL went by the wayside quickly as Charlie Lindgren is dealing with a lower-body injury. He’s set to meet with Montreal team doctors to determine how long he’ll be out.
– Lukas Vejdemo suffered an upper-body injury in the debacle against Belleville and did not suit up against the Marlies. They subsequently recalled centre Phelix Martineau from Fort Wayne and Morgan Adams-Moisan from Maine of the ECHL.
– Defenceman Michal Moravcik has recovered from his injury and has been loaned to Brampton (ECHL). Meanwhile, Adam Plant and Ryan Culkin were assigned to Maine.
– Simon Despres’ goal against the Marlies was his first AHL tally since January 23rd, 2016.
Last Game’s Lines:
Belzile – McCarron – Alain
Jevpalovs – Evans – Froese
Shinkaruk – Vejdemo – Grenier
Pezzetta – Verbeek – Waked
Alzner – Sklenicka
Mete – Lernout
Despres – Lamarche
The Week Ahead
Dec. 12: vs Belleville – Well, after the nightmare that was their game on Friday, things can only go up from here. (Right?) The Baby Sens are still without Nick Paul for this one as he’s on recall following the injuries to Bobby Ryan and Matt Duchene while Laval gets Xavier Ouellet in uniform after he cleared waivers over the weekend. This game kicks off a five-game homestand for the Rocket.
Dec. 14/15: vs Syracuse – The Crunch are the stingiest team in the league defensively which is of particular concern since Laval struggles to score most nights. Veteran Cory Conacher is one of the top scorers in the league while rookie Alex Barre-Boulet is among the top first-year scorers league-wide.
With Karl Alzner, Simon Despres, and Xavier Ouellet all joining Laval recently, it’s a good time to take a look at the veteran rule to see where the Rocket sit. Broken down, the rule is as follows:
A maximum of five skaters with 320 career regular season professional games played (as of the start of the season) can dress per night. Teams can also dress an additional skater with between 260-319 professional GP as a sixth veteran (more than one in this group can play if there are fewer than five veterans with 320+ GP). Leagues that qualify are the NHL, AHL, NLA, Czech Extraliga, Slovak Extraliga, KHL, SHL, SM-liiga, and DEL.
With both Michael Chaput up, Laval has an extra veteran slot available to them. Here are the players currently on the roster with 320 or more professional games heading into the season:
Karl Alzner, Simon Despres, Byron Froese, Alexandre Grenier, and Xavier Ouellet
As for the 260-319 category, Kenny Agostino is in Montreal so that frees up the opening for Hunter Shinkaruk.
In other words, despite all of the veteran additions, Laval doesn’t have to bench any of their current veterans. That could change if Agostino or Chaput return but since Despres’ stay is expected to only be a couple of weeks before he goes to the Spengler Cup, they’re actually in pretty good shape at the moment. Finding playing time for all of their defencemen could be tricky but at least they won’t be restricted by the veteran rule.