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This was a very busy week for the Hamilton Bulldogs, but not necessarily in the way you’d expect.  Yes, they did have a pair of games in St. John’s, but there was a lot of off-ice activity as well, with the Trade Deadline, Clear Day rosters, and the always popular Skills Competition.  But first, the games.  On Friday, Hamilton took on the Baby Leafs in the first of a back-to-back, and used a 3rd period goal by Steve Begin to force OT, where they wound up losing 4-3.  The next night, in their final regular season trip to the Rock, an early goal by Ron Hainsey was the difference, as the Bulldogs got the split, defeating the Leafs 2-0 (after an empty netter).

Skills Competition:

On March 14th, the Hamilton Bulldogs participated in their annual Skills Competition.  A complete recap and all of the results can be found at the bottom of this article (after the Player of the Week).

Staying the Course:

Over the past couple of weeks, a lot has been made of a “deal” that sent Florida prospects Jay Bouwmeester and Stephen Weiss to Chicago (Atlanta’s farm team) for nothing.  The deadline for loans such as these or actual trades was this past Thursday, which would have corresponded with the NHL trade deadline.  Several other loans were made, but Hamilton stayed pat on this day.

Playoff Roster Set:

After the trade deadline, teams were told to submit their 22-man “Clear Day” roster.  According to AHL rules, only players listed on a team’s Clear Day roster are eligible to compete in the remaining 4 weeks of the regular season and in the playoffs, unless emergency conditions arise as a result of injury or suspension, but not re-assignment (to the ECHL). Teams may also add signed junior players or players on amateur tryout contracts (ATO’s), but only after their junior or college seasons are complete.

Here is the Hamilton Clear Day Roster, comprised of 22 players:

Goaltenders (2): Yann Danis, Dan Ellis

Defencemen (7): Andrew Archer, J-P Cote, Trevor Daley, Ron Hainsey, Dan Jancevski, Mike Komisarek, Phillipe Plante

Forwards (13): Steve Begin, Benjamin Carpentier, Jonathan Ferland, Chris Higgins, Raitis Ivanans, Andrei Kostitsyn, Corey Locke, Antti Miettinen, Duncan Milroy, Gavin Morgan, Steve Ott, Tomas Plekanec, Jason Ward

In Residence: D James Sanford*, W Marc-Andre Thinel

Notable Omissions: D Dan Focht (injury), all Canadiens prospects currently in the ECHL.

*Currently, with Phillipe Plante injured, James Sanford remains eligible to play until his return.  Since M-A Thinel is also on the residency list, he too is eligible to play in the event of an injury.

By the Numbers:

Ron Hainsey continues to impress since the arrival of Mike Komisarek, notching another 2 points this week, giving him 7 in that span.  Chris Higgins has 14 points in his last 11 games, 9 of them goals, enabling him to surpass Tomas Plekanec for the team lead with 25.  Antti Miettinen, despite getting just 1 point this week, is still averaging almost a point-per-game in the last month, compiling 16 points in 17 games.  In one of those stranger stats, Corey Locke is averaging an assist-per-week over the last month, well down from his season average.

Goalie Zone:

This week, and likely in weeks to come as well, it was all Yann Danis, as he played every minute of every game…all 2 of them.  He allowed 4 goals on 49 shots, and also notched a shutout on Saturday  Weekly Stats: 2 GP, 1-1 record, 1.97 GAA, .918 SV%, 1 SO.  Below are the goaltending season statistics:



35 Yann Danis 43 21 15 5 4 2.47 .921
30 Dan Ellis 28 8 18 0 1 2.82 .907

The Infirmary:

D Dan Focht (shoulder), out indefinitely, likely for the season
D Phillipe Plante (knee), out 2 more weeks

Spotlight Stat:  Schedule analysis, Part 2 (Opponent Records, Inter-Conference Games)

Last week, we took a look at Hamilton’s home and away status, with 15 games left to go.  Now there’s just 13, and this week, we’ll examine how many remaining opponents have +.500 records, and how many are inter-divisional, inter-conference, or in the other conference period.

Above .500: 13/13 (100%)
At, or below .500: 0/13 (0%)
Inter-Divisional: 9/13 (69%)
Inter-Conference: 3/13 (23%) (excluding inter-divisional games)
Out of Conference: 1/13 (8%) (Hamilton’s next game to be played)

Playoff Push:

From here on in until the playoffs, we’ll look at the division standings to see how close Hamilton is to making the postseason.  The new playoff format allows just the top-4 teams per division to qualify for the playoffs.  Currently, the Bulldogs are in a 3-way tie for 4th, tied with the Syracuse Crunch and the Edmonton Roadrunners.  Syracuse takes 4th based on wins, and also has a game in hand.  Now, the standings:

X-Rochester 68 47 11 4 6 104
Manitoba 66 37 19 3 7 84
St. John’s 68 39 25 1 3 82
Syracuse 66 30 26 6 4 70
Hamilton 67 29 26 7 5 70
Edmonton 67 28 25 4 10 70
Cleveland 67 30 29 2 6 68

Teams highlighted in blue are in the playoffs, teams in grey are out as of March 20th, 2005.  Teams indicated by ‘X‘ have clinched a playoff berth.

The Weekly Bulldogs Stat Pack:

Game Results:

March 18: St. John’s 4 Hamilton 3 (OT)
March 19: Hamilton 2 St. John’s 0

Week Record: 1-0-1-0
Season Record: 29-26-7-5, 70 points (tied for 4th in division, tied for 8th in conference, out of playoffs)

Team Scoring Leaders:

Weekly Scoring Leaders Season Scoring Leaders

Chris Higgins (2)
Steve Begin (1)
Ron Hainsey (1)
1 other with 1

Gavin Morgan (2)
Jason Ward (2)
Corey Locke (1)
4 others with 1

Chris Higgins (2)
Gavin Morgan (2)
Ron Hainsey (2)
1 other with 2

Chris Higgins (25)
Tomas Plekanec (23)
Steve Ott (17)

Tomas Plekanec (29)
Jason Ward (25)
Corey Locke (21)
1 other with 21

Tomas Plekanec (52)
Chris Higgins (45)
Jason Ward (40)

Weekly Scoring Summary:

1) Higgins (Plekanec)
2) Daley (Ward, Morgan)
3) Begin (Morgan, Milroy)
4) Hainsey (Locke, Ward) PP, GWG
5) Higgins (Hainsey, Miettinen)

Special Teams:

This Week:
Powerplay: 1/9 (11.1%)
Penalty Kill: 8/8 (100%)

This Season:
Powerplay: 54/364 (14.8%)
Penalty Kill: 273/323 (84.5%)

Upcoming Schedule:

March 23: Wilkes-Barre Scranton vs Hamilton
March 25: Hamilton vs Edmonton
March 26: Hamilton vs Edmonton

Long Beach Ice Dogs  ECHL Report:

Week’s Long Beach Transactions:
Mar. 18: Rights to G Chris Madden and future considerations traded to Las Vegas for the rights to G Sebastian Centomo.
Mar. 18: G Sebastian Centomo assigned from Lowell (AHL).

This week, the Long Beach Ice Dogs got some things they desperately needed.  First, they won, crushing the San Diego Gulls 8-1, led by Canadiens’ prospect Christian Larrivee, who had 2 goals and 3 assists.  They also received some much needed help in goal, acquiring G Sebastian Centomo from Lowell (AHL) via a trade that sent G Chris Madden and futures to Las Vegas.  Madden, currently in Providence (AHL), is not expected to return to the ‘E’ this season.  Centomo played in the San Diego game.

Player Reports:

C-Christian Larrivee (Long Beach) This Week:  1 GP, 2 G, 3 A, +4  Season:  43 GP, 8-15-23, +4, 14 PIMS
C-Cory Urquhart (Long Beach) This Week:  1 GP, 1 A, +1 Season:  53 GP, 14-10-24, +2, 12 PIMS
G-Olivier Michaud (Long Beach) This Week:  DNP  Season:  16-13-4-2 record, 2.61 GAA, .916 SV%
D-James Sanford (Peoria) This Week:  DNP  Season:  17 GP, 2-7-9, -7, 14 PIMS
D-Matt Shasby (Long Beach) This Week:  1 GP, 2 A, +3  Season: 30 GP, 2-12-14, +15, 32 PIMS
W-Michael Lambert (Long Beach) This Week:  1 GP, 0 pts  Season: 10 GP, 3-1-4, -3, 6 PIMS

Upcoming Schedule:

March 22: Long Beach vs Bakersfield
March 23: Gwinnett vs Long Beach
March 25: Long Beach vs San Diego
March 26: San Diego vs Long Beach
March 27: Bakersfield vs Long Beach

Bulldogs Player of the Week:

Each week, one Hamilton player will be selected as the HabsWorld Player of the Week.  At the end of each month, you the fans will be able to vote on the Player of the Month.  A different player will be nominated each week.

This week’s top player is G Yann Danis, who helped the team earn 3 of 4 points this week, including a shutout victory Saturday night in St. John’s.  His stats this week: 2 GP, 1-1 record, 1.97 GAA, .918 SV%, 1 SO.

March Weekly Winners:
February 28-March 6:
D Ron Hainsey
March 7-March 13: C/W Chris Higgins
March 14-March 20: G Yann Danis

Previous Monthly Winners (as previously selected:)
G Yann Danis
November: C Tomas Plekanec
December: C Corey Locke
January: W Jason Ward
February: G Yann Danis

Below are the final results from the 2004-05 Hamilton Bulldogs Skills Competition, held Monday, March 14th, 2005 at Copps Coliseau, starting with the rosters:

Team White

Team Red
#35-Yann Danis
#4-Dan Jancevski
#8-Mike Komisarek
#11-Gavin Morgan
#14-Tomas Plekanec
#17-Andrei Kostitsyn
#20-Antti Miettinen
#21-Jonathan Ferland
#28-James Sanford
#38-Benjamin Carpentier
#41-Steve Ott
#30-Dan Ellis
#5-Andrew Archer
#6-Trevor Daley
#16-Jason Ward
#23-Duncan Milroy
#24-Marc-Andre Thinel
#36-Raitis Ivanans
#43-Jean-Phillipe Cote
#46-Chris Higgins
#51-Corey Locke
#65-Ron Hainsey

Note: Steve Ott (White) was unable to participate in the competition; some White members had to participate in the same event twice.

The first event of the night was the Puck Control Relay.  Stage 1 sees 3 skaters compete versus 3 for 1 point, while Stage 2 is a one-on-one battle.  The results:

Stage 1:
Team White (Kostitsyn, Ferland, Miettinen) defeat Team Red (Higgins, Locke, Ward)

Stage 2:
Duncan Milroy (Red) defeats James Sanford (White).

Score after 1 event: Team Red 1, Team White 1

Up next is one of the all-time favourites, the Fastest Skater contest.  Bulldogs F Tomas Plekanec won this event earlier this season at the AHL All-Star Classic in Manchester.  1 point was awarded to the team with the fastest individual skater, and another to the team with the quickest average.  The results:

1) Jonathan Ferland (White) 13.45 seconds
2) Raitis Ivanans (Red) 13.70 seconds
T3) Andrei Kostitsyn (White) 13.90 seconds
T3) Trevor Daley (Red) 13.90 seconds
5) Tomas Plekanec (White) 13.95 seconds
6) Trevor Daley (Red) 14.40 seconds

Event Scoring
Averages: Team White: 13.77 seconds, Team Red: 14.00 seconds
Fastest individual skater: Jonathan Ferland (White) 13.45 seconds

Score for event #2: Team White 2, Team Red 0
Score after 2 events: Team White 3, Team Red 1

The next event was one that the goalies tend to, well, dread, ‘Rapid Fire.’  Here, a pair of shooters station themselves on each corner of the ice (around the faceoff circle area), and fire 5 shots each at the goalie, alternating turns.  Only 1 point is awarded, to the team that has the most saves.  Here are the results:

Team White Team Red

Shooter 1 Shooter 2 Shooter 1 Shooter 2
Jonathan Ferland Benjamin Carpentier Andrew Archer Jean-Phillipe Cote
Andrei Kostitsyn Dan Jancevski Corey Locke Duncan Milroy
Gavin Morgan Antti Miettinen Jason Ward Chris Higgins
Goaltender Total Saves/Shots Faced/% Goaltender Total Saves/Shots Faced/%
Yann Danis 22/30 (73%) Dan Ellis 25/30 (83%)

Event Scoring:
Top Goalie: Dan Ellis (Red) defeats Yann Danis (White), 25-22

Score for event #3: Team Red 1, Team White 0
Score after 3 events: Team White 3, Team Red 2

Now, we’re up to the mid-way event, and arguably everyone’s favourite, the hardest shooting event.  Each team has 4 shooters, and each get 4 shots.  1 point is awarded to the team with the highest average speed, and another is awarded to the team with the player who has the hardest individual shot.  The results:

Team White Team Red

Player Shot 1 Shot 2 Player Shot 1 Shot 2
Tomas Plekanec 92 mph 91 mph Andrew Archer 93 94
Andrei Kostitsyn 98 mph 100 mph Raitis Ivanans 98 98
James Sanford 92 mph 90 mph Trevor Daley DNR 94
Dan Jancevski 91 mph 86 mph Ron Hainsey 98 100

Average Speed:                  93.75 mph

Average Speed:                       96.50 mph

Event Scoring:
Individual Hardest Shot: Tie Andrei Kostitsyn (White), Ron Hainsey (Red): 100 mph
Point awarded to Team Red via tiebreaker.
Best Average Speed: Team Red: 96.5 mph

Score for event #4: Team Red 2, Team White 0
Score after 4 events: Team Red 4, Team White 3

Now, on to event #5, another popular one, the Accuracy Shooting Contest.  Players must hit targets located in all 4 corners of the net, and only have 8 shots in which to do so.  1 point is awarded to the team with the best overall result (hits vs shots), and another is awarded to the team with the player who has the best result.  And now, the results:

Team White Team Red

Player Hits/Shots/% Player Hits/Shots/%
Gavin Morgan 2/8 (25%) Chris Higgins 3/8 (38%)
James Sanford 3/8 (38%) Duncan Milroy 2/8 (25%)
Tomas Plekanec 4/7 (57%) Corey Locke 4/5 (80%)
Totals 9/23 (39%) Totals 9/21 (43%)

Event Scoring:
Best Individual Result: Corey Locke (Red): 4/5
Best Team Result: Red (9/23) defeats White (9/21)

Score for event #5: Team Red 2, Team White 0
Score after 5 events: Team Red 6, Team White 3

Event #6 is one that was recently introduced to the NHL Skills, ‘Pass and Score,’ a nightmare for goalies.  Teams send 3 skaters in (3-on-0), and have 30 seconds to get 3 shots off.  Every player must touch the puck, and all players must clear out past the blueline after each shot.  Every goal scored counts towards each team’s score.  The results:

Team White Team Red

Players Goals/Shots/% Players Goals/Shots/%
Kostitsyn/Morgan/Ferland 3/3 (100%) Milroy/Locke/Ivanans 2/3 (67%)
Carpentier/Sanford/Jancevski 0/3 (0%) Daley/Cote/Archer 2/3 (67%)
Ferland/Plekanec/Miettinen 2/3 (67%) Ward/Higgins/Hainsey 0/3 (0%)
Totals 5/9 (56%) Totals 4/9 (44%)

Event Scoring:
Each team receives a goal for each goal that they score in this event.

Score for event #6: Team White 5, Team Red 4
Score after 6 events: Team Red 10, Team White 8

The final event of the night was the Breakaway Relay.  It is what is sounds like, each player goes in on a breakaway vs the goalie, and then must clear the zone for the next player.  Every goal scored counts towards their team score.  Now, the results:

Team White Team Red

Player Result Player Result
James Sanford Miss Trevor Daley Miss
Benjamin Carpentier Miss Raitis Ivanans Miss
Dan Jancevski Miss Andrew Archer Miss
Jonathan Ferland Miss Jean-Phillipe Cote Miss
Gavin Morgan Miss Duncan Milroy Miss
James Sanford Goal Jason Ward Miss
Andrei Kostitsyn Goal Ron Hainsey Miss
Antti Miettinen Miss Corey Locke Goal
Tomas Plekanec Miss Chris Higgins Miss
Totals 2/9 (22%) Totals 1/9 (11%)

Event Scoring:
Each team receives a goal for each goal that they score in this event.

Score for event #7: Team White 2, Team Red 1
Final Score after 7 events: Team Red 11, Team White 10

The goaltenders were quite busy on this night, participating in no fewer than 3 events.  Here are their final stats:

Goalie (Team) Saves/Shots Save Percentage
Dan Ellis (Red) 36/48 .750
Yann Danis (White) 35/48 .730