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- January hasn't been a kind month for Lars Eller. He has just 12 points in 44 games, his lowest PPG average of any month.
It was a week where the Habs held the fort defensively, allowing just 7 goals in 4 games but the team simply couldn't score. A total of 5 goals were scored; as a result, the Habs dropped 3 of 4 which made the Power Rankings an interesting task to compile. There's no lack of offense in Hamilton though as the Bulldogs won all 4 of their games this week. Speaking of the Bulldogs, 3 Up, 3 Down looks at some players who've seen their stock rise or fall while the Final Thought discusses why it's time to send Max Pacioretty to Hamilton.
The PPR's are on a cumulative basis with some bias towards the current week. The prev. column represents the last ranking for the player; players not on last week's list will be slotted back where they were when returning from injury/benching/recall (italicized numbers). Thus, multiple players may have the same previous ranking.
|1||1||0 points for his efforts, but was solid defensively at the very least.|
|2||Carey Price||3||Wasn't able to steal either game he played but did play well in both.|
|3||Brian Gionta||4||Reuniting with Gomez has both of them playing very well right now.|
|4||Jaroslav Halak||6||Strong rebound effort vs Florida and had a strong game against the Devils.|
|5||Andrei Markov||5||Not producing offensively but he continues to improve since his injury.|
|6||Mike Cammalleri||2||The slump continues as he was largely invisible this week.|
|7||Scott Gomez||7||If it wasn't for the fact these rankings are cumulative, he'd be #1.|
|8||Benoit Pouliot||11||Struggled on Saturday but had a very strong week otherwise with 2 goals.|
|9||Roman Hamrlik||10||Appears to have bounced back fully from his injury, led all D in assists.|
|10||Josh Gorges||13||Another D who had a bounce back week and even managed to score.|
|11||Glen Metropolit||9||Didn't find his way on the scoresheet but had some quality chances.|
|12||Marc-Andre Bergeron||14||Never thought I'd say it, but he needs to be more selfish on the PP.|
|13||Hal Gill||12||The PK only allowed 1 goal this week, his performance was a big reason.|
|14||Travis Moen||17||Brought the energy we'd come to expect on Saturday night at least.|
|15||Paul Mara||16||Still playing through the wrist problem but doing fairly well in the process.|
|16||Jaroslav Spacek||18||Another mostly quiet week but he did make one game saving play.|
|17||Matt D'Agostini||16||Had a chance to make an impact and didn't take advantage of it.|
|18||Max Pacioretty||19||Basic fundamentals such as keeping your head up seem to escape him.|
|19||Maxim Lapierre||20||Seemed to wake up when promoted up to Moen's line for a little bit.|
|20||Ryan White||18||Wasn't able to score like he had been in the AHL but played well.|
|21||Georges Laraque||20||Whines about ice time, then allegedly gets hurt after playing a little more.|
The Dog Pound
The Bulldogs continue to rack up the scoring numbers and have increased their division lead to 9 points and the conference lead to 7. They're now just 3 points out of the league lead.
3 Stars: 1) White - HAM 2) Wilson - MIL 3) Stewart - HAM
3 Stars: 1) Desjardins - HAM 2) Desharnais - HAM 3) Krog - CHI
3 Stars: 1) Maxwell - HAM 2) Desjardins - HAM 3) Stoa - LE
3 Stars: 1) Trotter - HAM 2) Glumac - HAM 3) Ritola - GR
|32||Frederic St. Denis||3||0||2||+3||1||0|
Assists: Brock Trotter (21)
Points: Brock Trotter (36)
+/-: P.K. Subban (+22)
PIMS: Eric Neilson (85)
Shots: Mike Glumac (111)
January 11: Lake Erie vs Hamilton
January 13: Lake Erie vs Hamilton
January 15: Rochester vs Hamilton
January 16: Hamilton vs Grand Rapids
3 Up, 3 Down
Continuing with the halfway theme of last week where the UFA acquisitions, here's a listing of some Bulldogs who've seen their stock go up and down so far this season.
1) Brock Trotter - Mostly forgotten about
before the season began, but he's been leading Hamilton in scoring virtually all
season long. I must say I'm surprised that he hasn't been called up at
some point with all of the injuries in Montreal.
2) P.K. Subban - A lot of people (myself included) were skeptical that he'd be able to dominate in his AHL rookie campaign. Though he struggled at the beginning, he has really picked it up as of late and continues to get more ice time as he gains the confidence of Guy Boucher.
3) Cedrick Desjardins - For a couple of years now, Habs management has opted to sign a veteran starter due to a lack of confidence in the undrafted netminder. It's safe to say that they have confidence in him now as he is second in the league in GAA.
1) Yannick Weber - With the emergence of Subban
and the resurgence of Mathieu Carle, Weber appears to have taken a step back
this season. Though he hasn't played poorly, he has appeared to hit the
sophomore slump that so many seem to go through.
2) Andrew Conboy - Many figured he'd step in as the regular enforcer this season after getting a taste of the AHL late last year. However, he's been surpassed by Eric Neilson (who's only on an AHL deal) and is only seeing limited games.
3) Mikael Johansson - Injuries derailed his start to the season and he simply hasn't been able to get on track consistently since then. Rather than being a potential NHL callup, he's now fighting for minutes in Hamilton and may be on the Janne Lahti path for next season.
I know injuries have made doing this difficult
but the time has come for Max Pacioretty to join the surging Bulldogs for a
little while. Granted, there are benefits to practicing and playing at the
NHL level but also some drawbacks, the salary cap notwithstanding (I'm not going
to bore everyone with the details there). Several of the team's top
prospects are in Hamilton at the moment, these players should be part of the
core in the future. By pretty much skipping the AHL (save for a small
stint last season), he's losing the chance to develop chemistry with these
players. Consider Subban for a moment, arguably the team's top prospect -
he and Pacioretty have played 0 games together (aside from possibly an
exhibition game). That doesn't bode well for the future.
It must also be considered that Pacioretty was intended to be a 2nd line winger in an ideal world. Playing on a defensive minded line with limited powerplay time does nothing to work on developing his raw offensive skills. Look at the now traded Guillaume Latendresse, the goal was that he'd be a 2nd liner but 3 years and 200+ games later (most of which on the bottom 2 lines), he was dealt and didn't reach his potential with the club. Put Pacioretty on a scoring line in Hamilton and let him develop that side of his game while he still has minor league eligibility. If he's unable to score down there, then focus on the checking side of things. With Sergei Kostitsyn set to return sometime this week, he can slide into Pacioretty's spot and give the former 1st rounder a chance to hone his skills before the trade deadline in March.