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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.
In this week's HW Recap: Finally, the Habs went on a winning streak which means there are lots of positives in the weekly player rankings. Hamilton sputtered this week as the goaltending let the club down, dropping them lower in the division. Plus, my Final Thought looks at the biggest news of the week, Perry Pearn being relieved of his duties.
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) Tomas Plekanec: Finally his offensive game came to life. He also has looked better on the penalty kill in recent games which is another encouraging sign for last year's leading point getter. (Prev: 8 Avg: 4.33)
2) Carey Price: The "Buckner goal" aside, he was on top of his game all week long. His confidence seems to be back and that has rubbed off on the rest of the team it seems. (Prev: 7 Avg: 7.00)
3) Erik Cole: Now this is what Pierre Gauthier expected when he signed him to that long term deal. He generated chances, played physical, and was effective in front of the net. If he keeps that up, he'll fit in just fine. (Prev: 13 Avg: 8.67)
4) David Desharnais: I was tough on him last week but he came to play for sure. The key now will be doing that consistently, something that he has struggled with in the past. (Prev: 14 Avg: 7.67)
5) Lars Eller: He is starting to blossom into the top-6 forward we all hoped he would become when he was acquired for Jaroslav Halak. Unfortunately, the points still haven't come around yet. (Prev: 1 Avg: 3.00)
6) Max Pacioretty: Yes, he had a phenomenal game against the Flyers. Aside from that, he didn't play a lot and didn't stand out any. I'm willing to attribute much of that to the fact his wrist isn't exactly 100% at the moment though. (Prev: 4 Avg: 3.67)
7) Yannick Weber: After he struggled last week, his game did pretty much a complete 180. He looked comfortable in all three zones while his powerplay work has done enough to supplant Subban on the top unit for now. (Prev: 15 Avg: 11.00)
8) Peter Budaj: The new backup finally saw his first action in nearly a month and despite the rust, he played a quietly effective game. If he can play at that level consistently, he'll do well with the Habs. (Prev: N/A Avg: 8.00)
9) Josh Gorges: He has quietly picked up enough assists to sit tied for 10th in the league in helpers by a defenceman. That alone is impressive. Defensively, he's coming along as well, highlighted by a big save against Boston on Saturday. (Prev: 16 Avg: 11.33)
10) Andrei Kostitsyn: He wasn't as noticeable out there but still had a relatively effective week. If the Habs can keep him in that tertiary scoring role, he could have another good season despite the reduced ice time. (Prev: 3 Avg: 6.67)
11) Jaroslav Spacek: He is settling in well as the #6 defenceman. He's angling opponents well, blocking shots, everything but do what he was signed for (produce offensively). Oh well, he's still helping out the team even if it is a different role than intended. (Prev: N/A Avg: 11.00)
12) P.K. Subban: His best value to the team is when he's producing offensively and right now, he simply isn't. Fortunately, he isn't the defensive liability he was early this year either. (Prev: 10 Avg: 12.33)
13) Brian Gionta: He's picking up the odd point here and there but he hasn't been any sort of notable offensive threat all season. He's running out of linemates to be experimented with too. (Prev: 12 Avg: 9.00)
14) Mike Cammalleri: Honestly, I don't think he has played all that well. But, with three points in the last two games, he's finding ways to produce at the very least. (Prev: 14 Avg: 11.50)
15) Raphael Diaz: He still is playing well for the most part but he is starting to be exposed as a bit of a weakling in his own end. Finding ways to angle off attackers better is something he could stand to work on. (Prev: 6 Avg: 9.67)
16) Travis Moen: This was more of a normal week for him, pick up the odd point, play well defensively, hit a few players, and do something to stand up for a teammate. Quiet but effective.. (Prev: 2 Avg: 8.00)
17) Petteri Nokelainen: There's nothing wrong with a good skater who can win important faceoffs. Watching him offensively is going to be painful though if early trends continue. (Prev: N/A Avg: 17.00)
18) Michael Blunden: He has certainly been efficient since coming up even if the points aren't there. He's making a case to stick around longer than intended as a result. (Prev: N/A Avg: 18.00)
19) Mathieu Darche: By no means did he play poorly. However, he was nowhere near as efficient as Blunden was on the scoresheet so Darche drops below him as a result. (Prev: 5 Avg: 13.67)
20) Hal Gill: He's still blocking shots but that's about it right now. Teams are attacking his side given his slow skating which is beginning to become a liability. (Prev: 18 Avg: 18.00)
The Dog Pound
The 'new look' Bulldogs have gotten off to a slow start. While the defence has improved, the offence sputtered despite the insertion of one of Montreal's top prospects.
A newly formed line of Conboy-Engqvist-Leblanc was the only line to produce any sort of consistent damage offensively.
|32||Frederic St. Denis||3||0||0||E||4||0|
Goals: Philip DeSimone (3)
Assists: Brian Willsie (5)
Points: Garrett Stafford (6)
+/-: Dany Masse (+2)
PIMS: Zack FitzGerald (49)
Shots: Brian Willsie (25)
(Among active players on the team)
November 1: Abbotsford vs Hamilton
November 4: Houston vs Hamilton
November 5: Lake Erie vs Hamilton
The event that saw Perry Pearn relieved of his duties has made for a lot of controversy. Though I grant that the timing was a little odd (especially just before game time) I don't think all the backlash surrounding it has been warranted. Philosophically speaking, it actually made sense to me.
Based on Pierre Gauthier's comments when it happened, he feels the roster as it is can still do some damage and that Jacques Martin can still coach this team. Usually in a slump like this, a more drastic move is made, either a big trade or the coach is fired. But if there was a way to do something in between, wouldn't that be the most ideal? Why take a key piece away from a team that three weeks ago was thought to be a relatively strong team?
Perry Pearn is that in-between move. Firing one of the new coaches (Randy Cunneyworth or Randy Ladouceur) would have little impact on anyone as they haven't been there long enough to have made a mark. Pearn has, having been there since Martin joined the club. His removal told the players the team won't sit around and wait for things to get better while it took Martin out of his comfort zone; it's a shot across the bow of the coach and the players without messing with the composition in any real significant manner.
Going this route is uncommon but not classless as some have accused the Habs of being. They're simply going outside the box in terms of dealing with the current struggles. As the saying goes, "To each their own."
If you have any questions/comments, please feel free to drop me a line at [email protected]