What’s next pretty sums up almost everyone’s
thoughts when it comes to the Montreal Canadiens. One night, they’re on
fire, the next, looking like a lottery contender more than a playoff one.
The Bulldogs had another quality week, earning a possible 3 of 4 points.
Our prospect profile takes a look at J.T. Wyman, and a final thought on how
watching Sidney Crosby has made me appreciate Saku Koivu even more, in the
Previous week’s grades in parentheses.
This set also reflects each players’ performance in the debacle vs Toronto a
week and a bit back.
David Aebischer: B+ Played solid in all 3 games, now has
a chance to take the #1 job and run with it. (B+)
Cristobal Huet: D- Abysmal vs the Leafs, very weak
against the Islanders, unacceptable. (C)
Francis Bouillon: B Still not the agitator we’re all
used to, but has picked it up as of late. (B)
Mathieu Dandenault: B He and Bouillion were the best
pairing this week. (B-)
Craig Rivet: B- Nothing spectacular, isn’t helping his
chances of a big pay day though. (B-)
Sheldon Souray: B- Him scoring is the only saving grace
from his porous defensive efforts. (C+)
Janne Ninnimaa: C+ A steady game, rust was showing the
odd shift. (B-)
Mike Komisarek: C He was okay, but the killer instinct
and big hits that come with it were lacking.
Andrei Markov: C I wonder if he’s hit the franchise
record for shots by a defenceman that were blocked on the way to the net.
It’s okay to shoot with some force (and aim). (D+)
Tomas Plekanec: A+
Getting it done at both ends of the rink, and both sides of the special teams.
Radek Bonk: A Showing flashes of what he was like with
the Sens, Habs want to see that more often. (N/A)
Mark Streit: A His best stretch of the season, who ever
though he’d be on the top line? (B-)
Maxim Lapierre: B+ Drove Crosby bananas, and got a couple
points, good production from the 4th line. (C+)
Sergei Samsonov: B The timing of his benching astounds
me, this was one of his best set of games as a Hab. (B-)
Mike Johnson: B Strong defensively, Carbonneau needs to
realize that he cannot play on the top line, we’ve been through that already. (C+)
Alexei Kovalev: B- Wasn’t the worst forward out
there, nowhere near the best though. (B)
Saku Koivu: C Not hurting the team much, not helping it
much either unfortunately. (B-)
Chris Higgins: C This is more of what I envisioned
before the season started. (B-)
Guillaume Latendresse: C A little too invisible, even for
a rookie. (A)
Alexander Perezhogin: C He’s the Jan Bulis of last year,
too many lazy penalties, his play wasn’t terrible aside from that.
Aaron Downey: C Yapping match with Crosby the highlight
of his play. (C)
Garth Murray: C Better than what he was at the start of
the year, too bad that wasn’t hard to do.
Michael Ryder: C-
Hopefully Ryder can forget this last 5 game stretch, I know most fans would like
The Dogs had another decent week, winning one
(in a shootout), and losing one (in a shootout).
February 3, 2007 – Hamilton 2,
Philadelphia 1 (SO)
Hamilton Goal: Milroy (21)
Shootout: Kostitsyn 2/2, Biron 0/1,
Grabovski 0/1, D’Agostini 0/1, Milroy 0/1
Shots: 30-28 Philadelphia
PP: 0-6 PK:
February 4, 2007 – Wilkes-Barre 5,
Hamilton 4 (SO)
Grabovski (14), Chipchura (7), D’Agostini (10), Kostitsyn (15)
Shootout: Kostitsyn 1/2, Locke 0/2,
Milroy 1/2, D’Agostini 0/2, Manlow 0/1
Shots: 33-27 Wilkes-Barre
PP: 0-5 PK:
3 Key Notes:
Why is Eric Manlow still playing regularly? The 25-goal scorer last
season is currently on pace for: 0.
2) Kyle Chipchura’s goal vs Scranton was his first since December
3) The Bulldogs may be one of the better teams in the AHL, but
their PP is the exact opposite of Montreal’s: awful, just 13.8% (41/298).
By Jason Brisebois
This week’s feature prospect is J.T. Wyman. The native of Edina,
Minnesota was drafted in the 4th round of the 2004 entry draft, 100th overall.
Picked out of the USHS system, he was a candidate for the Mr. Hockey Award
before he moved on to Dartmouth of the NCAA program. He remains there and
is starting to put up decent numbers, while improving every year. Wyman is
described as a pure goal scorer. He has a very fast, accurate release and
soft hands. He is also said to have an explosive stride. He is
however criticized for his overall skating ability. He will need to
improve this aspect of his game if he wishes to be a more complete player and be
able to compete at a higher level.
Wyman was drafted for his solid shot. The Canadiens are hoping he can
develop into a Michael Ryder type player, who can make up for his weak skating
with that shot. He will first need to break into the AHL or ECHL if he
wishes to continue with the organization though. Look for him to join the
Bulldogs or Cyclones within several years.
Next week: To be determined.
No one in Pittsburgh is refuting the notion
that Sidney Crosby will be the next captain of the Penguins (or wherever the
team winds up), so after watching him match up twice vs the Habs, I paid
attention to how he acted in certain situations, while doing the same for the
Habs’ current captain Saku Koivu, just to compare the two. My findings are
summed up as such: As a leader, Koivu trumps Sid the Kid by a significant
margin. The first game is a great comparison of the two. Crosby,
when hit by Lapierre, rolled around on the ice, before getting up, launching
into yet another trademark profanity-laced tirade that would make anyone else
blush, before committing an obvious infraction on the ensuing faceoff (a good
non-call mind you.) Koivu meanwhile, gets blindsided by Colby Armstrong,
but instead of rolling around like a wimp, got back up to get back into the
play, and restrained himself from getting into a war of words after the play, a
sign of a player with good self-restraint.
Then comes Sunday, where Crosby once again showed his true colours. After
being hit by a Francis Bouillon high stick, he dropped instantly and began to
roll around yet again. Following that was the typical swear-fest, followed
by whining to the referees, and curiously enough, Aaron Downey. Where am I
getting at here? The true leader knows when to pick and choose his
battles, and when to keep his mouth shut. In the home-and-home series,
Koivu did just this, while Crosby went off the edge every occasion possible.
In a time where inconsistency is the only consistent part of Montreal’s
frustrating play, it’s refreshing to see that the team’s leader is doing the
right things at the appropriate time. Do I think Crosby can hit that
standard? Sure, in a few years from now, but in the interim, it makes me
appreciate Montreal’s captain just a little more.