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HW Recap: One last look at '11-12
HW Recap: One last look at '11-12(2012-04-15 21:47 posted by B. La Rose)

In this week's HW Recap: It's the end of the road for all Habs-affiliated teams as the Hamilton Bulldogs ended their year, fortunately they did so on a winning note.  Although the pro teams are done, there are still several prospects playing at the moment, how are they faring in their quest for the Memorial Cup?  Plus, my Final Thought takes a look back at the season that was and highlights the biggest stories of the year.

The Dog Pound

The week got off to a familiar start for Hamilton as goalie Peter Delmas went down in the first period of the Bulldogs' first game.  Despite that, a team that had some actual firepower managed to hit the scoresheet enough to pick up a couple wins to end the year on a high note.

Results:

April 13: Lake Erie 5, Hamilton 3
April 14: Hamilton 5, Grand Rapids 2
April 15: Hamilton 3, Grand Rapids 2

StatPack:

What a difference talent makes.  The Bulldogs arguably had their deepest lineup of the year and good things happened. 

SKATERS

# Player GP G A +/- SH PIMS
5 Alex Henry 3 0 2 E 4 0
6 Joe Stejskal 2 0 0 -1 4 0
7 Joe Callahan 3 1 2 +2 4 0
10 Philip DeSimone 3 1 0 E 3 0
13 Zack FitzGerald 3 0 0 -4 1 11
15 Phillipe Lefebvre 1 0 0 -1 0 0
16 Olivier Fortier 3 1 0 -2 2 0
17 Mark Mitera 3 0 0 E 1 0
18 Dany Masse 3 0 2 E 6 2
20 Louis Leblanc 3 2 1 -1 9 4
21 Ian Schultz 3 0 1 E 4 5
22 Andreas Engqvist 3 1 3 +1 7 0
23 Joonas Nattinen 3 0 1 E 1 0
24 Brian Willsie 3 1 1 +1 13 0
28 Aaron Palushaj 3 2 2 -1 9 2
32 Frederic St. Denis 3 0 0 +2 5 2
40 Gabriel Dumont 3 0 2 -1 3 2
51 Blake Geoffrion 3 2 2 -1 12 2
53 T.J. Fast 1 0 0 -1 0 0
67 Alexander Avtsin 2 0 0 +1 0 0

GOALIES

# Player Record SV% GAA
29 Robert Mayer 2-1-0 .927 2.42
39 Peter Delmas 0-0-0 .714 15.68

Active Leaders:

Goals: Andreas Engqvist (20)
Assists: Brian Willsie (26)
Points: Brian Willsie (44)
+/-: Alex Henry (+2)
PIMS: Zack FitzGerald (268) (league leader)
Shots: Brian Willsie (252)

More Stats:

- FitzGerald won the PIM title by 1 PIM.
- DeSimone's -30 rating tied for last in the league and was last for a rookie...Alain Berger (-19) was second last for rookies while Phillipe Lefebvre (-18) was tied for third last.
- Mitera's -21 rating was last in the league for AHL d-men.
- Willsie finished 4th in the league in shots on goal.
- Palushaj, despite missing half the season, finished tied for third overall in insurance goals with 5.
- Engqvist finished tied for fifth overall in first goals of a game with 7.

In the System

There are 5 Habs remaining in the CHL playoffs as they vie for a spot in the Memorial Cup.  Here is how each has fared so far:

Nathan Beaulieu (Saint John, QMJHL): 2 goals, 6 assists, +15 rating, and 18 PIMS in 8 games
Michael Bournival (Shawinigan, QMJHL): 1 goals, 6 assists, even rating, and 10 PIMS in 13 games
Morgan Ellis (Shawinigan, QMJHL): 4 goals, 7 assists, +14 rating (team leader), and 6 PIMS in 10 games
Patrick Holland (Tri-City, WHL): 2 goals, 8 assists, even rating, and 11 PIMS in 8 games
Jarred Tinordi (London, OHL): 2 goals, 3 assists, +6 rating, and 15 PIMS in 10 games

Here is how each team stands as of the time of this article:

London: Advanced to Round 3
Saint John: Advanced to Round 3
Shawinigan*: Series tied at 3
Tri-City: Lead series 3-2

* As hosts, Shawinigan will automatically be part of next month's Memorial Cup.

Final Thought

Although it was largely a season to forget for the Habs, a lot happened throughout the course of the year.  Here are my top storylines of the year:

1) Coaching calamity - A slow start to the season had most fans (for the record I wasn't one of them) clamouring for the team to fire the coach.  At first, the coach wasn't fired but a coach was as Perry Pearn was surprisingly dismissed just prior to a game.  Eventually Jacques Martin got the axe which really started the calamity.  Randy Cunneyworth was installed as coach but with more or less an unspoken promise that it was just for the season.  A media and political firestorm ensured over the language issue while Cunneyworth is now a dead man walking, coach only in name until the new GM is hired...more on that later.

2) Cammalleri confusion - I'm sure a lot of you have seen a player go missing late in a game and say jokingly, "I wonder if they traded him?"  Of course, no team would ever do that...or not.  Yes, Cammalleri gave some legitimacy to the line as he was dealt between periods in a game in Boston.  This came mere hours after some comments went public over his criticism and frustrations with the team and their struggles. 

3) Pacioretty's presence - Pacioretty came back with a vengeance this year after the incident with Boston's Zdeno Chara last year, putting up career highs across the board and turning into the power forward the Habs thought they'd be getting when they drafted him.  Not bad for a player who some thought wouldn't ever be back shortly after the hit occurred.

4) Gauthier's gone - Just prior to the end of the year, Pierre Gauthier was relieved of his duties as GM.  There was a lot of murkiness during his tenure, with some oddly timed moves while others seemed rushed.  It only seems fitting that the timing of his removal was equally peculiar.

5) Desharnais delights - From the ECHL to contending for the scoring lead on the Montreal Canadiens, not exactly a typical career path but for David Desharnais, it's one that worked.  I had him pegged as the 4th line C on the depth chart to start the season, I didn't exactly get that one right.  The Habs haven't developed much in the way of homegrown talent in recent memory which makes this just a bit more special.

And with that, this ends 'Season 7' of the HW Recap, a lot earlier than I expected I'd be writing this at the beginning of this season.  Be sure to keep checking HW regularly as we have lots planned over the coming weeks and months. 

If you have any questions/comments, please feel free to drop me a line at b.larose@habsworld.net.



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