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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 stumbled this week, winning only 1 of 3 games, while the Bulldogs kept on rolling, winning their 3 contests. As always, the Recap has your Habs' player rankings and Bulldogs statpack, plus a closer look at how the teams' CHL prospects are faring so far in their respective seasons. Lastly, the Final Thought examines how Andrei Markov's return has actually given the Habs a challenge they've yet to face in quite some time.
Players are rated from 1 to however many players play on a weekly (non-cumulative) basis. Rankings will be tracked weekly and averages provided.
1) Benoit Pouliot: He has become much
more assertive on his new line and it showed with a pair of goals and being one
of the bigger offensive threats of the week.
(Previous: 7 Average:
2) Jeff Halpern: Did anyone ever think in their wildest dreams that he'd be tied (at one point this week) for the team lead in scoring a month into the season? I know I sure didn't. (Previous: 5 Average: 5.60)
3) Carey Price: Played fine in goal once again but I'm becoming concerned with the repeated lack of communication with the D on opposition dump-ins. Sooner or later, his turnovers will lead to a goal against. (Previous: 2 Average: 2.00)
4) Mathieu Darche: You can argue that he probably shouldn't have even been on the roster based on his early season performances but he was solid to say the least this week. (Previous: 10 Average: 14.80)
5) Tomas Plekanec: When the Habs have more chances on the PK than the opposition does on their PP, he is the main reason for that. His yeoman's work shorthanded Saturday alone earns him a top-5 spot in this week's rankings. (Previous: 1 Average: 4.80)
6) Brian Gionta: I felt his game got better once Kostitsyn was moved to his line as it gave him a little more room to operate. Here's hoping his goal on Saturday gets him going again. (Previous: 14 Average: 9.80)
7) P.K. Subban: He seemed to be bailing out practically every other d-man at least once this week. That's a sad statement for the other D's but good for him. (Previous: 4 Average: 6.00)
8) Andrei Kostitsyn: Why his ice time was cut was beyond me as although he didn't score, he did everything else like he had in previous weeks (shoot, hustle, and hit). (Previous: 8 Average: 7.20)
9) Andrei Markov: Clearly not 100% in terms of conditioning but he's better now than he was last week which is a step in the right direction given the fact this is basically training camp for him. (Previous: 11 Average: 10.00)
10) Mike Cammalleri: Having different linemates each game clearly didn't help the cause but he did look better on the PP. I mentioned this last week but it applies again here - he needs to stop trying to make the pinpoint shot and just fire, his shot is good enough that it will beat goalies clean even if it isn't perfect. (Previous: 13 Average: 7.40)
11) Jaroslav Spacek: After getting that "scare" in practice, he has played better. Still not great, but any improvement is a good thing. It was also good to see him pick up a couple points vs Ottawa. (Previous: 18 Average: 14.80)
12) Scott Gomez: Aside from no production again, I didn't find him all that bad this week. Unfortunately, when you're the highest paid player in franchise history, it's hard to overlook the production part. (Previous: 12 Average: 12.20)
13) Josh Gorges: He looked more like the player that was scratched upon being acquired years ago than the player most want signed to a long-term extension. He needs to be better. (Previous: 9 Average: 8.20)
14) Travis Moen: Continues to play well on the penalty kill but also continues to be a non-factor in the offensive zone. We've seen enough to know this won't be changing anytime soon either. (Previous: 6 Average: 13.00)
15) Hal Gill: The difference between him now and earlier in the season is that now he's getting burned when he's pinching. Given his (lack of) speed, perhaps he should back off the aggression for now. (Previous: 17 Average: 12.80)
16) Lars Eller: He did not impress when given the chance to play on a scoring line. Given the fact he's been told to find a place to live in Montreal, it doesn't appear a stint in Hamilton is in his near future. (Previous: 20 Average: 14.60)
17) Roman Hamrlik: His continued presence on the PP simply astounds me - he rarely shoots and when he does, it's ineffective...that last word also describes his play as of late. (Previous: 19 Average: 14.25)
18) Tom Pyatt: Of the 4th line which was simply atrocious this week, he was the best of the bunch, largely because of his work on the penalty kill. (Previous: 21 Average: 18.40)
19) Maxim Lapierre: This is the Lapierre we saw most of last season - good at nothing, bad at nothing. Even if he just sticks to playing a physical game, he can still help the team. (Previous: 16 Average: 11.40)
20) Dustin Boyd: The Habs allowed 6 even strength goals this week - he was -4. For a player trying to get back in the lineup, can you really do much worse? (Previous: DNP Average: 15.50)
The Dog Pound
Unlike the Habs, the Bulldogs just keep on winning. Hamilton won all of their games this week, extending their winning streak to 5 games.
3 Stars: 1) Pacioretty - HAM 2) Hodgson - MTB 3) Carle - HAM
3 Stars: 1) B. Sweatt - MTB 2) Palushaj - HAM 3) Pacioretty - MTB
Attendance: 13,267 (at the Bell
3 Stars: 1) Palushaj - HAM 2) Weber - HAM 3) Benoit - BNG
Though David Desharnais saw his 10-game assist streak snap against Binghamton, he scored a SH-EN goal with just 7 seconds left to extend his point streak to 11 games.
|32||Frederic St. Denis||3||0||4||+2||5||0|
SHOOTOUT - SKATERS
SHOOTOUT - GOALIES
Goals: Yannick Weber (7)
Assists: David Desharnais (11)
Points: David Desharnais (15)
+/-: Desharnais/Carle (+8)
PIMS: Alex Henry (27)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (54)
November 10: Hamilton vs
November 13: Grand Rapids vs Hamilton
November 14: Grand Rapids vs Hamilton
Inside the Numbers
Now that the CHL seasons are well underway (into their 6th week), let's take a look at how the 5 Hab prospects are faring in their respective leagues.
|Morgan Ellis||Cape Breton||19||3||7||10||19||-7|
Though the numbers don't show it, Tinordi has been earning more ice time and is becoming better defensively while Ellis leads all Screaming Eagle d-men in points. As for the forwards? They're all top-2 in their respective teams' scoring.
The Habs have been a different team since
Andrei Markov returned to the lineup and unfortunately, the differences haven't
been for the better. After seeing the team play with all sorts of energy
early on this season, they've been largely complacent in recent games.
After Saturday's loss to Ottawa, I started to ponder the potential reasons for
this. After running a whole bunch of thoughts through my head, this was
the only one that made some sense.
Since last season, the Habs have always had someone hurt with the exception of 2 of the 3 games this week. As a result, someone has always had to step up, the team was fighting adversity with so-and-so being gone from the lineup. Montreal, as we all recall, made it to the 3rd round last year meaning they played reasonably well when facing this. Now, such a problem doesn't exist which in itself poses a challenge the Habs haven't faced since Jacques Martin was named coach.
How does the team keep up that extra effort to compensate for injuries when said injuries aren't there? The mantra of a good team is finding ways to step it up when players go down, but I can't help but wonder if the mantra of a great team is doing that and maintaining that effort level with a full complement of players? Perhaps that's the key for this team to take that next step forward - so far, the results aren't promising, but it's still early. Besides, given this team's relative lack of luck with injuries, it won't be long before that adverse situation presents itself again.