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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 playoff 'dream' is over but a handful of Habs still put up some decent performances over their three games. It was a better week for the Bulldogs who won three of four but sadly for them they failed to make up much ground in their faint playoff push. Patrick Roy as coach was a popular topic of discussion, my Final Thought examines why it may be best to pass on him for now.
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) Erik Cole: His hat trick against the Sens was impressive, particularly with a pair of goals being scored from in close. Interestingly enough, if not for some big saves or missed opportunities, he could have had another two or three that game. (Prev: 2 Avg: 4.22)
2) David Desharnais: Someone needed to set Cole up for his goals and he did just that on a couple of them. One small concern is his recent drop on the draw lately, it has been four games since he was on the good side of 50%. (Prev: 1 Avg: 6.30)
3) Carey Price: He had a solid game against the Senators and it certainly wasn't his fault they lost in Buffalo (no goal support). With Budaj playing a little more lately, he has looked more fresh out there which has been good for him. (Prev: 5 Avg: 5.17)
4) P.K. Subban: Not having all of the teams' offensive responsibilities on his shoulders has given him some more confidence, he seems to be rediscovering the proper balance between playing it safe and aggressively. (Prev: 6 Avg: 8.96)
5) Josh Gorges: I think it's safe to say he'll be battling until the very end of the season...and probably a bit more after. He's still doing all the little things he has all year long even though the Habs are long out of it, a sign of a good leader. (Prev: 4 Avg: 8.70)
6) Tomas Plekanec: I think the coaching staff needs to highlight how he plays when shorthanded and encourage him to play that way at all times. 4-on-5 is when he's at his best and that was the case against this week. (Prev: 3 Avg: 6.65)
7) Lars Eller: After a week where he looked completely disinterested, this was a much better effort from him both on the ice and on the scoresheet. If nothing else, he is getting a lot more experience on the wing which could come in handy. (Prev: 14 Avg: 7.65)
8) Max Pacioretty: He had a few shifts where he was dominant but a lot more where he wasn't as noticeable as usual. Oh well, he's allowed to have an off week. (Prev: 7 Avg: 4.36)
9) Andrei Markov: Although he failed to hit the scoresheet, his overall game improved considerably. His head wasn't always thinking quicker than his feet as he is starting to get closer to being in actual game shape. (Prev: 10 Avg: 10.00)
10) Aaron Palushaj: He is making a case to stick around past this year. I still would like to see him moved up in the lineup to see how he fares in a role that he played in Hamilton (a top-6 forward). (Prev: 15 Avg: 17.46)
11) Petteri Nokelainen: He scored for the second straight week and when the team is struggling to score most nights, any sort of production from the fourth line is nice to see. (Prev: 12 Avg: 18.12)
12) Alexei Emelin: It was a quieter week for him which isn't necessarily a bad thing. With Markov alongside him, he is playing a steadier game although he still managed to get some decent hits in. (Prev: 9 Avg: 11.24)
13) Peter Budaj: His game in Philly was simply okay, I'm most disappointed that three of his goals were allowed with the Flyers on the PP, putting Montreal's chances of setting the league PK record in jeopardy. (Prev: 8 Avg: 9.73)
14) Ryan White: He demonstrated that he knows how to get himself mixed up in every scuffle after the whistle but his performance while the play is actually on continues to underwhelm. (Prev: 16 Avg: 12.40)
15) Chris Campoli: He quietly is picking up a few assists here and there and is starting to make his previously low scoring numbers a bit more respectable. His defensive game is another story though. (Prev: 20 Avg: 18.33)
16) Frederic St. Denis: His footing was a little shaky at times but other than that he had a pretty good game against the Flyers. He has done enough to earn another game before the end of the year (it's all dependent on injuries right now). (Prev: 17 Avg: 16.67)
17) Brad Staubitz: He fared better in the fisticuff department than last week but if he wants to prove he's worthy of a spot next year, doing a little something more during the play would likely go a long way. (Prev: 23 Avg: 19.00)
18) Louis Leblanc: I know they burned one of their callups on him but if he's going to be invisible most shifts, send him back down already; that's probably where he should be anyway. (Prev: 11 Avg: 15.42)
19) Yannick Weber: I was thinking to myself during the Ottawa game that he needed to do something soon to get noticed. He got hurt two shifts later, not exactly what I had in mind. (Prev: 21 Avg: 16.00)
20) Rene Bourque: Leaving him in the top-6 doesn't seem to be working, a drop to the 4th line might be useful to try and give him some sort of positive momentum heading into these final weeks of the year. (Prev: 19 Avg: 13.70)
21) Michael Blunden: Timid is not a characteristic I'd use to describe his play most weeks. It's appropriate for this one though, as the going got tough, he backed off to the perimeter (though he still managed to get a misconduct). (Prev: 18 Avg: 16.54)
The Dog Pound
Although they made up little ground in their late push for the playoffs, it was a good week for the Bulldogs in the middle stage of their never ending road trip as they won three of four.
The Bulldogs added a trio of college players on tryouts and all three stepped into the lineup right away as more players got bit by the injury bug.
|32||Frederic St. Denis||2||0||0||+1||4||0|
Goals: Andreas Engqvist (19)
Assists: Brian Willsie (23)
Points: Andreas Engqvist (37)
+/-: Flanigan/Slaney/Todd (+2)
PIMS: Zack FitzGerald (229)
Shots: Brian Willsie (211)
Hamilton vs San Antonio
March 29: Hamilton vs Texas
March 31: Hamilton vs Houston
The Patrick Roy talks hit a whole new peak this week as rumours swirled that he had signed a letter of intent to coach the Habs next year (which considering his QMJHL team is still playing, that's a little hard to believe). Accordingly talks have started as to whether or not he'd be a good fit to take over as coach. I'm on the no side of the fence and here's why:
- Experience: I personally don't want the Habs to hire a coach without NHL experience this offseason, the marketplace is hard enough to deal with without factoring in one of their worst seasons in ages and the general angst of the fans; tossing a rookie coach to that is asking for trouble. If I had to pick someone without NHL experience, I'd still be insisting on some sort of professional experience which Roy currently lacks both as a head coach or as an assistant.
- Language: I'm sorry but it needs to be said. There's a debate on whether or not the coach should speak French but it's an absolute must that the coach should speak English. Roy's English is weak at the best of times. In an age where communication is paramount, this has the potential to really be problematic in a locker room where the primary language is English.
- Temperament: There's nothing wrong with having a lot of passion and Roy certainly has that. However, at least once or twice a year he has said or done something that gets him in the leagues' bad graces. With the pressure of the NHL and the market, it's safe to expect he'll make these mistakes here. As we've seen with previous coaches and with coaches on other teams, showing up the officials or venting to the media doesn't accomplish much, it's almost always detrimental to the team.
I have no problems with bringing Roy into the organization if they feel he could be the coach of the future. I think he'd be the perfect fit to take over in Hamilton, let him transition to the pro game while getting to work with the bumper crop of prospects. It would also introduce him to the concept of working under someone (management), a dynamic he has yet to face with the Remparts while allowing him to make some of the inevitable mistakes and to hopefully learn from them. I truly believe Roy will one day coach the Habs but that time doesn't have to be next season. I've often criticized the team for rushing their player prospects to the NHL too early, here's hoping they don't make the same mistakes with their potential coaching prospects.
If you have any questions/comments, please feel free to drop me a line at [email protected]