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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: The player rankings assess the few positives of an otherwise terrible week for the Habs. At the holiday break, which Habs have contributed most to the teams' point total? In lieu of a Bulldogs report, let's look at the early season point shares, while my Final Thought discusses one trait that hasn't been discussed yet that should be at the top of any list for potential hires.
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) Carey Price: He kept his two games close and at least somewhat respectable. Even allowing four in the Winnipeg game can't be considered too bad, it could've been much worse. (Prev: 11 Avg: 4.36)
2) Peter Budaj: The score may have been 5-1 but it was a one-goal game for the longest time and the Habs directed as many into their own net as the Hawks put past Budaj. (Prev: N/A Avg: 8.80)
3) Tomas Plekanec: Did he play well? Nope. However, in a week where the team scored a whopping three goals, having a hand in two of them is still somewhat of an accomplishment. (Prev: 13 Avg: 5.45)
4) Raphael Diaz: In a week where the team was outscored 12-3, having an even rating for the week suggests he had to be doing at least something right out there. (Prev: 19 Avg: 12.36)
5) Erik Cole: He had a rough game against Chicago but was one of the few somewhat consistent threats in the other two contests. (Prev: 1 Avg: 4.91)
6) Andrei Kostitsyn: His ice time was cut down but he still managed to hit the scoresheet. This 'less is more' philosophy really does seem to work with him. (Prev: 7 Avg: 6.33)
7) Michael Blunden: When he saw the team was struggling, he tried to provide some sort of a boost with the physical game. It didn't work but good on him for trying. (Prev: 18 Avg: 16.80)
8) Max Pacioretty: He had no reservations about shooting the puck. With there being little offence to speak of, that wasn't the worst idea even if some were from bad angles. (Prev: 8 Avg: 4.70)
9) Hal Gill: Like Diaz, he had a respectable +/- rating despite the lopsided difference in scoring. In a week like this, that's not bad although the one goal he was a minus on in Winnipeg was a bad mistake by him. (Prev: 5 Avg: 13.20)
10) Josh Gorges: It wasn't his best week out there but he was one of the few who wasn't consistently making mistakes. He was down a bit in the shot block department though. (Prev: 9 Avg: 7.45)
11) Travis Moen: I was hoping for a bit more of an offensive presence with him playing alongside Plekanec but he did have some decent moments defensively at the very least. (Prev: 21 Avg: 12.45)
12) Mike Cammalleri: There were still too many shifts where he seemed to be dogging it but there were more than in previous weeks where he battled. Not good enough, but progress. (Prev: 15 Avg: 12.00)
13) Mathieu Darche: Like Blunden, he at least tried to get things going physically. Let's leave it at that with him. (Prev: 10 Avg: 15.55)
14) Lars Eller: I'm sure he did something to warrant getting benched but I'm not quite sure what it was. However, he didn't do much to force the coach to keep him in either. (Prev: 6 Avg: 8.09)
15) P.K. Subban: His week reminded me a lot of ex-Hab Patrice Brisebois. It wasn't the quantity of bad decisions made, they just were costly and at really bad times. (Prev: 2 Avg: 9.27)
16) Louis Leblanc: He was on the line that seemed to get benched a fair bit. He didn't hurt his cause at all but he didn't do anything to help it either. (Prev: 12 Avg: 15.25)
17) David Desharnais: There are weeks where he looks great with the power forwards and others where he looks lost. This was one of the latter. (Prev: 3 Avg: 9.00)
18) Tomas Kaberle: This week we saw some of the defensive deficiencies that Carolina fans were concerned with. Sadly, his offence didn't offset any of it. (Prev: 4 Avg: 10.00)
19) Alexei Emelin: His effort in Winnipeg showed the coaching staff may be onto something by making him work on his game in practice before playing regularly again. (Prev: 20 Avg: 13.67)
20) Yannick Weber: He didn't do anything to send a message to the coach that he should be playing more. An opportunity wasted for sure. (Prev: 14 Avg: 14.73)
21) Petteri Nokelainen: Right now, he's more or less just killing time when he's on the ice. He's not taking enough draws to be a factor while he rarely is in the play. (Prev: 16 Avg: 17.44)
22) Chris Campoli: He needs to play himself into game shape, I get that. Sooner or later, that rust needs to come off as he is really struggling right now. (Prev: 17 Avg: 19.50)
The Dog Pound
The Bulldogs had the week off for the holiday break but will have a busy set of games upcoming as they kick off a 4-in-6 stretch on Monday.
Dec. 26: Bulldogs vs Marlies
Dec. 28: IceCaps vs Bulldogs
Dec. 30: Bulldogs vs Americans
Dec. 31: Monsters vs Bulldogs
Inside the Numbers
One of the newer stats out there that interests me is point shares. Basically, it's a series of equations that equate a players' offensive and defensive performance into a calculation of how many points he has contributed to the teams' total so far. That's the simplified version. For more information about the history and the formulas, please use this link, courtesy of hockey-reference.com where these stats come from.
Here are the numbers for the Habs so far:
|Frederic St. Denis||0.1||0.3||0.4|
- Abbreviations: OPS: Offensive Point Shares, DPS: Defensive Point Shares, TPS: Total Point Shares
- Numbers are rounded to the nearest tenth so there are some instances where the TPS is +/- one tenth.
- Stats for players acquired during the season only show their contributions to Montreal.
- Goalies have their own calculations and are not a part of either OPS or DPS.
Not surprisingly, Carey Price leads the team by a healthy margin. However, despite leading the team pretty much all season in points, Tomas Plekanec sits 6th in total TPS, suggesting a lot of of his production hasn't attributed to too many extra team points in the standings. Raphael Diaz being in the top-10 also caught my eye as he has had a quiet year for the most part, I didn't think his defensive contributions had been that significant (3rd best DPS on the team). Also, for those arguing that Mathieu Darche has no place in the lineup, a team worse OPS certainly only adds to the argument.
In the discussion of the potential new coach (and GM perhaps) next season, talk has immediately sprung to the language debate. Can he speak French? Of course, the more important language issue to me is how he can communicate with the players but let's stay away from that argument. There is another characteristic that needs to be taken into account by Geoff Molson or whoever ultimately will make the decision for the coach and/or GM.
For years, Montreal has had the reputation around the league of being a class organization, doing the right thing and doing it respectfully. The events of the first eleven or so weeks of the season have really changed that in the wrong direction. Say what you will about the decision to fire both Perry Pearn and Jacques Martin as there were valid hockey-related arguments for each but the way they went about it wasn't particularly pretty. Perception around the league is very important too, it reflects on how other players (potential Habs down the road) and staff (coaches, GM's, etc) view the organization. In a time where change is all but certainly on the way, this isn't good.
This is why whoever gets the open vacancies needs to command respect, not only from the players but also from ownership; be above reproach. The hirings need to send a message to the rest of the league that the conduct taken by the organization will not happen again. This means hiring someone known for lots of antics, no matter how good the sound bytes may be, might not be the best idea for this team, nor would a move solely intended to serve a particular faction of the media/fan base (either side of the language debate). Instead, find a no-nonsense guy or two that can start to spin this whirling cycle back in the right direction. Sadly, those aren't always the easiest to find.
Geoff Molson, all eyes are on you. Not just from the fans or the Montreal media, but the media and players all around the NHL. Be aware that your decisions will impact not just the present team but future editions as well. Perception is reality so take the time to make sure the perception your hirings bring forth is the one this organization truly needs, that winning above all else is the most important. Anything beyond that (languages spoken, coaching style, etc), is just icing on the cake.
On behalf of everyone here at HabsWorld, I'd like to wish all of our readers a safe and happy holiday season.
If you have any questions/comments, please feel free to drop me a line at [email protected]