HabsWorld.net -- 

The Montreal Canadiens this past week won 2 of
3 games for the second straight week, including a last-second OT thriller in
Buffalo on Friday night.  Meanwhile, the Bulldogs did the exact same thing,
also winning 2 of 3, for the second straight week as well.  We’ll look at
those, plus the weekly and first quarter grades for the Canadiens, as well as a
look at Mathieu Carle, and a final thought on the status of the 7-D system, in
this week’s edition of the recap.


This week, the comments will be based on first
quarter performance, rather than the weekly ones as normal.  Weekly grades
will appear in parentheses and italics at the end of each player’s report.


Cristobal Huet:  B+ 
Shaky start, picked it up as of late, currently is the number one, but will need
to keep up stellar play to maintain it for the rest of the season.  (A-)

David Aebischer:  B-  The exact opposite of Huet,
started strong, faltering in the last few weeks, although his last 3 losses were
not entirely his fault.  (C-)


Mike Komisarek:  A-  Arguably the steadiest defenceman
all season long, starting to really blossom, and is even putting points up this
year.  (B)

Mark Streit:  B+  Much improved over last year, found
his niche with the extra PT when Bouillon and Dandenault were out.  (B-)

Sheldon Souray:  B  Getting the job done and then some
offensively, responsible for too many goals in his own end still.  (B+)

Craig Rivet:  B 
Started weak defensively, but becoming more and more reliable as the weeks pass. 
May be the first to sign an extension, if any of them sign one.  (B)

Andrei Markov:  B-  The numbers are there, but
something’s lacking from him, lots of poor passes and slow thinking, especially
recently. (C+)

Mathieu Dandenault:  C+  Hard to evaluate fully given
his injury, but he’s filled his role at the very least. (B-)

Janne Ninnimaa:  C-  Play very comparable to last
season, and unfortunately, that’s not good at all.  (B-)

Exempt:  Francis Bouillon, not enough
games played.  Weekly grade: (C+)


Chris Higgins:  A  What can you say, far surpassing
expectations in all regards.  Fans can’t wait to have him back in the
lineup in the coming weeks.  (N/A)

Saku Koivu:  A-  Goalless slumps a little worrisome, but
when he’s not scoring, he’s setting the others up, as well as filling his other
duties well. (A)

Mike Johnson:  B+  Has taken Zednik’s vacated spot from
last year and ran with it, with a solid two-way game.

Radek Bonk:  B  After failing to meet reasonable
expectations last season, he is far exceeding the low(er) ones on him this year. (B)

Alexander Perezhogin:  B  Although the offensive numbers
haven’t improved, he seems more comfortable this year, and has surprised many
with his defensive game so far. (B-)

Guillaume Latendresse:  B-  Quality play as of late
balances out the horrid start to the season. (C+)

Steve Begin:  C+  Another slow starter, really picked it
up lately, the momentum shifts are appearing more and more often when he’s on
the ice. (B-)

Michael Ryder:  C+  Strong start, gone invisible lately,
could be facing a line demotion when Higgins returns. (C-)

Alexei Kovalev:  C  Still much too streaky for anyone’s
liking.  How significant his injury is also cause for concern. (B)

Tomas Plekanec:  C  His stone hands remind me of Chad
Kilger, when that happens, something is wrong.  Defensive play steady
though. (C-)

Aaron Downey:  C  Filling his limited role fine, nothing
else relevant to say here. (N/A)

Sergei Samsonov:  C-  I can’t question his effort, but 4
goals a quarter for a 3.5+ player is unacceptable. (C)

Garth Murray:  D  Hasn’t fulfilled expectations, appears
to be on the precipice of demotion. (C-)

Exempt:  Andrei Kostitsyn, not enough
games played.


For the second straight week, the Bulldogs went
2-1, and remain 2nd in the division, despite still having a point total that
wouldn’t make the playoffs in any other division.


Tuesday, November
Manitoba 5, Hamilton 4
Hamilton Goals: Chipchura (3), Milroy 3
30-28 Manitoba
  1/6  PK: 

Saturday, November
25, 2006
Hamilton 6, Rochester 0
Hamilton Goals: D’Agostini (5), Locke (6),
Grabovski (4), Ferland (5), Kostitsyn (2), Stortini (7)
30-28 Hamilton
  3/7  PK: 

Sunday, November
26, 2006
Hamilton 6, Milwaukee 1
Hamilton Goals: Lapierre 3 (6,7,8), Ferland
(6), Kostitsyn (3), Milroy (10)
32-19 Milwaukee
  3/9  PK: 

3 Key Notes:

1)  The Bulldogs have allowed the
2nd fewest goals in the AHL with 48, just 2 more than division and league leader

2)  Jaroslav Halak now leads the AHL in goals against average, save
percentage, and shutouts, hopefully Don Lever can read numbers and play him more

3)  Only 3 Bulldogs have minus ratings, Lambert (-4), Manlow (-2),
and Benoit (-2). 

In the
System – NEW

By: Jason Brisebois

This week’s feature prospect is Mathieu
Carle. Carle is a native of Gatineau, Quebec and was drafted by the Canadiens in
the 2nd round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, 53rd overall. He currently plays for
the Acadie-Bathurst Titan of the QMJHL. This 6’0, 206lb defensemen is an
offensive dynamo. Carle is one of the premier offensive defensemen in the QMJHL,
and his stats prove it. In 219 games, he has collected 40 goals, 121 assists for
a total of161 points. He is a good skater and a solid puck handler. He needs to
put more emphasis on his defensive coverage however. He occasionally neglects
his defensive duty as he becomes too involved in the offensive play. He also
needs to use his size more effectively. Carle certainly has NHL potential, and
can be a solid offensive threat. He will first need to improve his defensive
play though.

Stats – Regular Season






2006-07 24 7 29 36 36
2005-06 67 18 51 69 122
2004-05 69 4 29 33 53
2003-04 59 11
23 57
Totals 219 40 121 161 268

Next week’s feature: Carey Price


For the first time all season, the Canadiens
have all of their defencemen healthy.  For most teams, this would that
there are 7 on the roster, and all is well with the world.  However, this
isn’t the case in Montreal, where the team now finds themselves with 8 on the
active roster, and all are on 1-way contracts to boot.  To try and
alleviate some of the problems, the team is currently playing Mathieu Dandenault
on the wing where he has played before.  But in a cap world, is playing a
defenceman who costs over $1.7 M per season as an 8 minute per game forward
justifiable on a long-term basis?  But then again, is keeping 8 active
defencemen on the roster justifiable in a cap-world?  "So waive one then,"
you say.  But, then what do you do if Souray’s shoulder problems become too
much for him and now he has to sit long-term?  Ah, ’tis a dilly of a
pickle, that’s for sure, one that has no real solution, at least one to satisfy
the team.  The only thing that is reasonably certain is that the team must
now scour the trade market in the hopes of finding a taker for one of their
surplus defenders, since waiving one fills no void, nor does keeping 8 around
help the situation out long-term either.  This is something to keep an eye
on in the coming weeks folks.