HabsWorld.net -- 

This past week, the Habs got the short end
of the stick in the luck department, but still managed to garner 3 of a possible
6 points.  Meanwhile, the Bulldogs struggled in a 3 games in 3 nights
weekend, only managing 1 victory, slipping to 3rd in the division.  The
Burning Issue segment discusses the excessive hype around who’s a healthy
scratch, while the Final Thought looks at the unfortunate scapegoats of this
season, plus a new interactive feature with the fans, in the Recap.


The ratings:
8.5 – 10:  Player has exceeded
expectations for the week, very strong contributions.
6.5 – 8:  Player has met expectations
for the week, is not hurting the lineup.
5 – 6:  Player has performed below
expectations for the week, play has negatively affected the team.
Under 4.5:  Player has had a week to
forget, questions should soon be arising about his future with the organization.


#39 – Cristobal Huet: 
  Deserved a much better result vs
Florida, and if not for an unfortunate 9 seconds vs Buffalo, could’ve had a
shutout there too.  (Season Average: 8.17)

#31 – Carey Price:  7.5  A couple
of shaky goals, but he held the team in the game vs the Sens and handled the
puck quite well. (Season Average: 8.0)


#44 – Roman Hamrlik:  8.0  The
offensive production appeared for the first time this week, to go along with a
mostly strong defensive effort. 
(Season Average: 7.5)

#8 – Mike Komisarek:  7.0  Still
not the same player as last season, but did improve a fair ways over last week. 
Nice to see him contending for the league lead in blocks.  (Season Average:

#71 – Patrice Brisebois:  7.0 
I was extremely impressed with his passing this week, mostly unenthused
otherwise.  (Season Average:

#79 – Andrei Markov:  7.0 
Made some strong plays, and some others that make me wonder where his head is. 
As a #1 defenseman, this is not a good sign, especially when the offence has
dried up.  (Season Average: 7.17

#51 – Francis Bouillon:  7.0 
I was surprised when I checked the ice time for the games this week, I hardly
saw him for lengthy stretches, could be much worse for a depth defender. 
(Season Average: 7.0)

#32 – Mark Streit:  6.5 
Another sub-par week, not getting the job done on the PP, and only adequate at
even strength.  Could a candidate for the pressbox soon. 
(Season Average: 7.17)


#21 – Chris Higgins: 
  I’m starting to see why he was never
pegged as an elite goal scorer, but he did make some very good things happen.  (Season Average: 8.5)

#11 – Saku Koivu:  8.0  Wasn’t as
aggressive as last week, his production slipped as a result; how much did the
flu have to do with it?  (Season Average: 8.33)

#73 – Michael Ryder:  8.0 
Finally scored, but I was most impressed with the way he went to the net, needs
to get the deadly wrister off much more though.  (Season
Average: 7.33)

#27 – Alexei Kovalev:  8.0  The
post-game comments notwithstanding, he did score more than anyone else did this
(Season Average: 7.83)

#28 – Kyle Chipchura:  7.5  Very
impressed this week, he’s making it hard for Carbonneau to pull him out of the
lineup, as he gets all the little things done and done well. (Season
Average: 7.25)

#14 – Tomas Plekanec:  7.5  At
times, he looks great with Kovalev, and others, not so much.  His defensive
awareness has improved in the early stages of the season. 
(Season Average: 7.33)

#22 – Steve Begin:  7.0  Didn’t
see anything different from him after being scratched, but he played his typical
(Season Average: 7.17)

#20 – Bryan Smolinski:  7.0  Some
good stretches to go along with some poor ones.  For a veteran, I was
hoping for more consistency, hopefully not of the bad variety mind you.  (Season Average:

#25 – Mathieu Dandenault:  7.0  
Not as strong as earlier in the season, but he’s certainly not hurting the team
in his new role. 
(Season Average: 7.17)

#6 – Tom Kostopoulos:  7.0 
Aside from the ugly blunder, a fairly strong week, hard on the forecheck,
it’d really help if he could score on some of his chances. 
(Season Average: 6.5)

#57 – Garth Murray:  7.0 
Considering he sat almost 2 full weeks before getting into the lineup, did not
show much rust. 
(Season Average: N/A, first rating)

#84 – Guillaume Latendresse:  7.0 
His best week of the season, which sadly says very little, as does the fluky
goal.  His skating is making me remember the days of Pierre Dagenais.  (Season Average:

#46 – Andrei Kostitsyn:  6.5 
I felt he wasn’t the top candidate to be scratched for Saturday, but there’s a
reason he was benched in both games this week.  (Season Average:

 The Dog

The Bulldogs are showing themselves to be a
mirror image of the Habs, decent defensively, but can’t buy a goal to save their


Games 4-6 of the season.

October 19
2 3


Hamilton 0 1 0 1 0/4 24
Syracuse 0 1 1 2 1/7 20

Attendance:  4,789
3 Stars:
  1) Lindstrom – SYR  2) Campbell – SYR  3) Brassard

October 20
2 3


Hartford 1 0 0 1 0/3 27
Hamilton 0 1 1 2 0/2 25

Attendance:  3,001
3 Stars:
  1) Halak – HAM  2) Korpikoski – HFD  3) Milroy –

October 21
2 3


Manitoba 2 3 0 5 2/7 29
Hamilton 0 1 0 1 1/7 34

Attendance:  3,649
3 Stars:
  1) Genoway – MTB  2) Shannon – MTB  3) MacIntyre –


Everyone came back down to earth scoring wise
this week, Maxim Lapierre was actually stripped of an assist even.


# Player GP G A +/- SH PIMS
2 Ryan O’Byrne 3 0 0 -3 3 2
4 Marvin Degon 3 0 1 +1 7 0
5 Jon Gleed 3 0 0 -2 2 0
7 Eric Manlow 3 0 1 -1 10 2
10 Cory Urquhart 3 0 0 -2 7 2
12 Jean-Phillipe Cote 3 0 0 E 1 14
16 Ryan Russell 1 0 0 -1 0 0
19 Duncan Milroy 3 1 0 E 6 2
21 Jonathan Ferland 3 1 1 E 7 9
22 Matt D’Agostini 3 0 0 -3 3 0
23 Sergei Kostitsyn 3 0 1 -2 4 0
24 Francis Lemieux 3 0 1 +2 5 4
25 Pavel Valentenko 3 0 0 E 1 8
26 Maxim Lapierre 3 0 0 -2 13 6
27 Janne Lahti 3 1 1 +3 7 4
55 Andrew Archer 3 0 0 E 0 6
76 Greg Stewart 2 0 0 E 1 0
84 Corey Locke 3 1 0 E 6 0


30 Jaroslav Halak 120 56 50 6
35 Yann Danis 60 20 18 2

Season Leaders: 

Goals:  Lapierre (4)
  Kostitsyn (4)
  Lapierre (7)
  Lapierre (+4)
  Cote (16)


October 24:  Grand Rapids vs
October 27:  Hamilton vs Toronto
October 28:  Rockford vs Hamilton


A few short seasons ago, if a player was a
healthy scratch, that was it and very little was thought of it.  This week
though, after Guillaume Latendresse and Steve Begin were sat down for *gasp*, a
whole game (the former certainly deserved it), there’s interviews and
trade speculation aplenty.  These players are bottom 6 forwards, with Begin
pretty much solely a 4th liner, how many 4th line guys play all 82 games in a
season?  When a team carries a full complement of players (23), guess what
folks, there are going to be healthy scratches, and fortunately for Josh Gorges,
it’s not going to be the same players night after night (at least it shouldn’t). 
What’s wrong with sitting people down periodically, particularly those whose ice
time is limited, or in the case of Latendresse, for poor performances (as Andrei
Kostitsyn now is)?  This should not be much of a story; in fact, I would
hope the more important story is the fact that both players played well after
being sat.  Ever since Craig Rivet was sat down for poor play (breaking his
GP streak which is a story), it seems as if any time there is a scratch aside
from the regular ones (Gorges and Murray), hysteria sets in.  Life went on
when these two were sat down, and it will the next time it happens (and trust
me, there will be a next).  Here’s hoping the next time it happens that
it’s taken for what it is, a relatively insignifcant occurrence in the early
weeks of the season.


Even though we’re less than a month into the
season, I get the sense that in the case of a few players, they can do no right,
regardless of what happens on or off the ice.  Here are my early top-3
candidates (in no particular order) for "Scapegoat of the Season:"

1)  Alexei Kovalev:  Something tells me the time-out remark is
only the start, the second he has an off-night, the fans will jump on him,
claiming he’s not trying, or trying to play his way out of town.

2)  Mathieu Dandenault:  Is he overpaid, given his current role
on the team?  Of course, but at least he’s able to contribute still, much
more than the 5th round they’d have gotten for him in a trade.  He’s eating
cap space as a 4th liner, but cap space only means anything if you’re going to
use it later on, I have a gut feeling it’s not crucial to management for the
time being. 

3)  Tom Kostopoulos:  Let’s not kid ourselves, he deserved to
be criticized for the mistake vs Ottawa, but aside from that, he hasn’t been
half-bad.  He’s not overpaid (he’s making under a million) and is bringing
some needed size and grit to the team.  And contrary to the belief of many,
he’s not taking Maxim Lapierre’s spot in the lineup (Kostopoulos is a RW, while
Lapierre is a C learning to play LW), which is the biggest reason he’s been
lauded by fans after every game.  And for those of you who want him gone,
it’s not happening, what message would be sent to future UFA’s if a recent
signing was dealt less than a month after joining the team?


We here at HabsWorld love to hear from the
fans, especially when we get some good questions to answer, and we’d like to
have an opportunity to get some of those questions up on the site. 
Starting this week, we will be introducing a new feature where you the fans will
pose a question that will then be forwarded on to several other writers here at
the site.  The best questions with our answers will then appear in an
article mid-week on the site in a mailbag feature.  For the purposes for
the questions this week, feel free to use either the comment feature below or
e-mail any of our writers.