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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.
The Habs showed no fatigue coming off their Western road trip, winning all three of their home contests this week, giving them a tiny bit of breathing room in the Eastern playoff race. For Hamilton, no longer is there simply a race to make the postseason, as they clinched a spot on Friday night. This week, the final instalment of the Decade's Biggest Deals, while the Final Thought looks at the current goalie situation. This plus the Power Rankings, in the Recap.
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||2||Still producing despite having a checker on his wing (Pyatt).|
|2||Brian Gionta||1||Despite that line being dangerous, only 1 point to show for it this week.|
|3||Jaroslav Halak||3||Had a rough outing vs Edmonton but to his credit, did well enough to win.|
|4||Benoit Pouliot||5||The only forward to record a point in every game this week.|
|5||Scott Gomez||6||Had a huge game vs the Lightning and was a big threat in the other 2.|
|6||Andrei Markov||8||A pair of points in each game as fans breathe a collective sigh of relief.|
|7||Roman Hamrlik||9||Didn't show as many signs of fatigue as he had in previous weeks.|
|8||Josh Gorges||7||We've seen enough of him on the PP, time to try 4 forwards instead.|
|9||Dominic Moore||12||He brings something that the 3rd line has lacked all year - offensive upside.|
|10||Andrei Kostitsyn||10||The offence is slowly coming back and he did get the shootout winner.|
|11||Sergei Kostitsyn||15||A couple of strong games gives him the biggest jump in the rankings.|
|12||Mathieu Darche||13||Continues to earn the confidence of the coaches with each passing game.|
|13||Glen Metropolit||11||As much as we gripe about him playing the PP, he does score on it.|
|14||Jaroslav Spacek||14||He looked much more at ease this week, not sure what changed.|
|15||Ryan O'Byrne||15||His minutes are slowly starting to increase and for good reason.|
|16||Travis Moen||18||His goal vs Edmonton turned out to be big (and was a long time coming).|
|17||Tom Pyatt||17||Simply cannot be counted on for offence in the NHL, at least not yet.|
|18||Hal Gill||19||Had his best pass of the season this week...too bad it was to Stamkos.|
|19||Ben Maxwell||21||Plays it a little too safe out there, reminds me of Pyatt earlier on.|
|20||Maxim Lapierre||20||An unsurprising, underwhelming return to the lineup save for a few hits.|
Dropped from the rankings: Carey Price (4 - DNP).
The Dog Pound
The good news is that the Bulldogs clinched a berth in the playoffs this week, the bad news is that they lost the 9th game of their homestand. The odd thing? They clinched on the night they lost, thanks to ex-Hab Garth Murray (who scored a shootout winner over 5th place Lake Erie).
3 Stars: 1) White - HAM 2) Foster - TOR 3) Weber - HAM
3 Stars: 1) Rissmiller - GR 2) Russell - HAM 3) Emmerton - GR
3 Stars: 1) Desharnais - HAM 2) Rissmiller - GR 3) Maxwell - HAM
The AHL's trade deadline came and went this week. Unlike most years, the Bulldogs actually made a deal of sorts, loaning Greg Stewart to Chicago in exchange for d-man Mike Vernace. The loan expires at the end of the playoffs and has no effect on their NHL status.
|32||Frederic St. Denis||3||0||3||+1||2||2|
SHOOTOUT - SKATERS
SHOOTOUT - GOALIES
Goals: Brock Trotter (28)
Assists: David Desharnais (38)
Points: Brock Trotter (64)
+/-: P.K. Subban (+37)
PIMS: Ryan White (120)
Shots: Mike Glumac (172)
March 17: Hamilton
March 19: Hamilton vs Lake Erie
March 20: Hamilton vs Toronto
The Bulldogs released their Clear Day Roster this week which sets a player's eligibility to play in the postseason. For the full roster details, click here.
A Decade of Deals
Each month so far this season, we've looked
back at the biggest deals of the last decade on a month-by-month basis.
Now, the final instalment (until the offseason at least); here are the 3 biggest
1) March 2, 2004: Montreal acquires Alexei Kovalev from New York (R) in exchange for Jozef Balej and a 2nd round pick (Bruce Graham).
At the time, many saw this as a rental deal for Montreal although as we all know Kovalev signed a 4 year extension and had an up and down tenure with the Habs. The Rangers certainly didn't benefit all that much from this deal though. Balej only played 13 games with the Rangers before being dealt away for Fedor Fedorov (who played just 3 games for New York) while Graham never played in the NHL and is now fighting to get a callup...to the ECHL.
2) March 8, 2006: Montreal acquires David Aebischer from Colorado in exchange for G Jose Theodore.
Aebischer may have only spent a short period of time in Montreal (39 total games) but the effects of the deal are still being felt today. Theodore's departure not only unloaded a rough contract off the books but opened the door for Cristobal Huet to take over as #1 and give Jaroslav Halak his first real taste of NHL action which is coming in handy right about now.
3) March 1, 2000: Montreal acquires Sheldon Souray, Josh DeWolf, and a 2nd round pick (Andreas Holmqvist) from New Jersey in exchange for Vladimir Malakhov.
This is one of those deals where having patience really paid off for the Habs. Souray struggled through injuries early on with Montreal but was an absolute force offensively for 2 years after the lockout, earning a big deal with Edmonton. DeWolf never panned out into anything, retiring in 2004 while the 2nd rounder came in handy later on. As for Malakhov, he spent all of 40 games (including 23 playoff contests) before heading to the Rangers. He returned to New Jersey later on where he was famously dealt with a 1st round pick merely to dump his contract.
HM) March 13, 2001: Montreal acquires Richard Zednik, Jan Bulis, and a 1st round pick (Alexander Perezhogin) from Washington in exchange for Trevor Linden, Dainius Zubrus, and a 2nd round pick (Andreas Holmqvist).
Sitting back and looking at this deal today, this wound up being a big deal of secondary parts and not much more. Linden's days were pretty much numbered by now while Zubrus was an annual underachiever for the Caps. Washington wound up trading the 2nd rounder they acquired in that deal; Holmqvist played a grand total of 0 NHL games himself. As for the Habs, Zednik looked to be a budding goal scorer before the Kyle McLaren incident derailed his career. Bulis, like Zubrus, left fans wanting more almost all the time; he now plays in Russia, as does Alexander Perezhogin after playing with the Habs for 2 seasons.
There's good debate and then there's beating a
dead horse. When it comes to the Halak/Price debate, one could argue that
the horse has been beat into oblivion here. To all the fans who are
standing behind only one and taking a polarized viewpoint, let me ask you this:
Does it really matter which one plays, as long as they win? You may be
thinking this is a dumb question to ask, but when people say that they'd rather
be losing with one than win with the other, things are getting a little out of
hand, wouldn't you say?
Both goalies are young and relatively unproven at this level (in terms of NHL experience). Both goalies are going to falter at some point and have several times already. Each time, the other has stepped in and done well. Despite there being just a handful of games left in the season, it wouldn't surprise me to see this happen once more. That's not a knock on Halak, just an observation that history has a tendency to repeat itself. Is this an ideal situation going forward beyond this season? Not really, but it's a pretty good one to have now as neither seems to establish themselves for more than a couple weeks at a time. The motto of the Habs between now and the end of the season is this: Long live the hot hand, whoever it may be.
If you have a question regarding this article or the capsheet, please feel free to drop me a line at [email protected].