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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.
It looked like the week was going to be a disappointment for the Habs early on but a late comeback in Boston and a good effort vs the Rangers led to a strong week overall. The Bulldogs were only able to manage a win in three games at home, ending their ever-so-slim hopes at a playoff spot. Last season, the reserve list played a big role in the Habs' deadline day activity, my Final Thought looks how Marc Bergevin can use that to his advantage this year.
Cheers and Jeers
1) Peter Budaj, who came in cold in a game where first place in the East was on the line and managed to keep the team in it long enough for Montreal to win in the shootout. Coming into any game when you're playing once every few weeks is challenging but in this situation, it was even tougher. He has done more than enough to earn another start in the near future.
2) Michael Ryder, who despite playing a position he seldom has before, has quickly become a catalyst for the offence. His hockey sense in the offensive zone is impressive, he simply seems to be in the right spot at the right time while being ready to shoot the puck. That may not seem like much but that's what the Habs needed and he's giving them exactly that.
3) Michel Therrien, for taking full advantage of what Jeff Halpern can bring to the table. His specialty is faceoffs so Therrien has been putting him out there not only with his regular line but also in late game/late period situations. It's always nice to see a specialty player being used to maximize his strengths.
1) The powerplay defence pairing of Josh Gorges and Francis Bouillon. I wouldn't mind seeing them out there on a PP late in a game protecting a lead but not regularly which, prior to the recall of Nathan Beaulieu, is what we had been subjected to in recent games. Neither of these players are comfortable in this role and it has been evident for some time. I said this a while back and I'll note it again, trying Alexei Emelin on the point with the man advantage is something that should be tested.
2) Max Pacioretty, who it appears needs another centre ice shot to go in to get him going again. He has just one goal in the last twelve games. The effort level is still there but sooner than later, the puck needs to bulge the twine.
3) The questionable decision to play Jarred Tinordi less minutes than fourth liners regularly receive prior to his demotion. I get that he isn't ready yet but did the coaching staff seriously have that little confidence in him to give him the equivalent of one shift roughly every six minutes? That I find a bit hard to believe.
SHOOTOUT - SKATERS
SHOOTOUT - GOALIES
Goals: Plekanec/Ryder (13)
Assists: Markov/Pacioretty/Subban (17)
Points: Michael Ryder (28)
+/-: Brandon Prust (+13)
PIMS: Brandon Prust (81)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (116)
April 1: Carolina vs Montreal
April 3: Montreal vs Philadelphia
April 4: Winnipeg vs Montreal
April 6: Boston vs Montreal
The Dog Pound
Third period struggles continue to be a problem for Hamilton. In their lone win of the week they allowed three goals in the final frame while in their loss to Rochester, they allowed four unanswered which proved to be the difference.
News and Notes:
- Jason DeSantis (personal) remains away from the team indefinitely.
- Matt Grassi and Dean Ouellet were both released from their respective tryouts following Saturday's loss to the Americans.
- Goaltender Jacob Gervais-Chouinard, who played with the Sherbrooke Phoenix of the QMJHL, has signed an ATO with Hamilton.
- Petteri Nokelainen is off to a rough start after joining the Bulldogs. In seven games he has yet to record a point and has a -5 rating.
- Approximate lines from the most recent game:
Belzile - Tenute - Holland
Bournival - Nokelainen - Dumont
Quailer - Vail - Leblanc
Hagel - Ouellet - Stortini
Tinordi - Pateryn
St. Denis - Grassi
Merth - Ellis
|32||Frederic St. Denis||3||1||1||E||5||6|
Goals: Gabriel Dumont (16)
Assists: Nathan Beaulieu (19) (Active Leaders: Bournival/Holland with 17)
Points: Gabriel Dumont (31)
+/-: Joonas Nattinen (+6)
PIMS: Zack Stortini (215)
Shots: Louis Leblanc (136)
April 2: Hamilton
vs Oklahoma City
April 5: Hamilton vs San Antonio
April 6: Hamilton vs Texas
April 7: Hamilton vs Houston
At this time of year, one of the lesser known parts of the CBA can often come into play, the reserve list (or 50-contract limit). Teams that are looking to make moves at the deadline can sometimes be hampered by this. Look no further than the Habs last year who were forced to take on Robert Slaney in the Hal Gill trade, or that they needed to move Andrei Kostitsyn before noon on deadline day in order to claim Brad Staubitz off waivers from the Wild. Montreal presently has 46 contracts out of 50 meaning that they shouldn't be hamstrung this time around.
In fact, they can use this to their advantage if the opportunity arose. A few times each year, a fringe minor leaguer is dealt with a late draft pick for future considerations that never amount to anything. The acquiring team gets a free late pick in essence. As it stands, there are three teams that are just one contract under the limit while quite a few others sit at 48. If I'm Marc Bergevin, unless the team is planning to add four players between now and Wednesday (which I can't see happening), I'd be calling up these teams to see if they're looking to make one of these types of trades. A 7th round pick isn't much but the Habs might as well take advantage of their space on the reserve list. I suspect Montreal will move a later round pick for a depth player anyways so this is the type of move that could replenish the loss of that draft choice. It's the type of trade that makes a minor move look huge but it's smart business which is why I hope the Habs are casually looking into this while they pursue more notable trade opportunities.
If you have any questions/comments, please feel free to drop me a line at [email protected]