The second half of Montreal’s longest road trip
of the season wound up this week, with the team picking up a well deserved 5 of
6 points in the process. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the
Bulldogs, as they dropped 2 of 3 this week. We look at some of the New
Year’s Wishes the readers have submitted, plus the weekly grades, while the
Final Thought discusses the fall out a year after the Mike Ribeiro deal, in the
8.5 – 10: Player has exceeded
expectations for the week, very strong contributions.
6.5 – 8: Player has met expectations
for the week, play has helped or at worse, not hurt the lineup.
5 – 6: Player has performed below
expectations for the week, play has at best not hurt the team, but likely has
had a negative affect.
Under 4.5: Player has had a week to
forget, questions should soon be arising about his future with the organization.
#39 – Cristobal Huet: 8.0
Looked solid in the first 2 games, didn’t come up with the key save in New York
though. (Season Average:
#26 – Josh Gorges: 7.5
Finally, a week that he showed his full level of potential, and his ice time
soared at the same time; this is not exactly a coincidence.
(Season Average: 6.86)
#51 – Francis Bouillon: 7.5
His best week of the season, hands down – I was very impressed when he jumped in
(Season Average: 6.88)
#79 – Andrei Markov: 7.5
He’s recaptured his offensive form from before he was hurt, however, the
defensive side still needs some work. (Season Average:
#8 – Mike Komisarek: 7.5
I’m worried that he’s become the team’s "enforcer," his overall play is too good
for that to happen. (Season Average:
#44 – Roman Hamrlik: 7.0 For the
season straight week, a Sunday night gaffe overshadows an otherwise quality week.
(Season Average: 7.38)
#3 – Ryan O’Byrne: 7.0 Steady,
if not a quiet week aside from the fights; hopefully the injury won’t keep him
out too long, as he needs to be playing to develop.
(Season Average: 6.75)
#14 – Tomas Plekanec: 8.0 Led
the team offensively this week, and was a key player on the PK, which also
thrived on this trip.
(Season Average: 7.54)
#40 – Maxim Lapierre: 8.0 Much,
much better in all facets (aside from passing), looked very comfortable with
Higgins and it showed. (Season Average:
#21 – Chris Higgins: 8.0
The biggest threat offensively this week, his mark would’ve been much higher had
he scored on more of his scoring chances though. (Season Average:
#46 – Andrei Kostitsyn: 7.5
The Jekyll and Hyde streak continues, this week, we saw the good – offensive
intensity, and production. (Season Average:
#27 – Alexei Kovalev: 7.5 Put forth
a yeoman’s effort in New York, lately has been handling the puck much more than
normal (and has coughed it up more too.)
(Season Average: 7.65)
#11 – Saku Koivu: 7.5 Considering
he wasn’t 100% when he played this week, he still looked pretty strong in
limited minutes. (Season Average:
#84 – Guillaume Latendresse: 7.0
As much as his goals haven’t been high quality, he deserves credit for getting
to the right place at the right time. (Season Average:
#74 – Sergei Kostitsyn: 7.0
There were some cracks in his game this week, but still, a solid effort
regardless. (Season Average:
#6 – Tom Kostopoulos: 7.0
Fluky goal or not, it’s always a plus when your grinders pop one home; here’s
hoping it’s not another 6 weeks before we see another one.
(Season Average: 6.85)
#32 – Mark Streit: 7.0 1
strong game, and pair of so-so ones, I expect to see more of the latter if he’s
back full time on defence.
(Season Average: 6.96)
#28 – Kyle Chipchura: 6.5 I was
surprised to see him scratched twice, and when he came back, he didn’t exactly
blow anyone away with his play. (Season
#25 – Mathieu Dandenault: 6.5 It’s
time for him to sit a game, the energy and the spark haven’t been there lately.
(Season Average: 7.04)
#73 – Michael Ryder: 6.5
He may have scored, but he’s still showing very little confidence with the puck. (Season
The Bulldogs continue to struggle without
several of their key players, they’ve won just 2 of their last 10 games
Games 28-30 of the season.
3 Stars: 1) Halak – HAM 2) Russell – HAM 3) Keane
3 Stars: 1) Zagrapan – ROC 2) Gragnani – ROC 3) Plante
3 Stars: 1) Locke – HAM 2) Muir – TOR 3) Foster
Marvin Degon continues to carry the load
offensively on the blue line for Hamilton, but sadly, he carried the load for
the entire team this week.
Goals: Ferland/Locke (8)
Assists: Kostitsyn (16) (Active roster leader: D’Agostini – 12)
Points: Locke (23) (Active roster leaders: D’Agostini/Milroy
+/-: Milroy/ (+5)
PIMS: Lapierre (63) (Active roster leader: Stewart – 61)
December 31: Hamilton vs
January 2: Hamilton vs Rockford
January 4: Grand Rapids vs Hamilton
January 5: Hamilton vs Toronto
January 6: Hamilton vs Lake Erie
Last week, we invited readers to submit their
wishes for the Habs for the New Year. These are some of the more popular
wishes (aside from of course making the playoffs and winning the Stanley Cup:)
– Win the Division
– Trade Ryder
– Price becomes the uncontested #1 goalie
– Huet signs a contract extension
– Koivu finally gets a quality veteran winger
Which one of these would you most like to see happen? Vote on the HW Poll
and have your say.
Boy, how memories are short. After seeing
Mike Ribeiro and his Dallas Stars skate all over a listless Habs squad back on
the 23rd, so many comments surfaced about how the trade last season was a
disaster, and how someone needs to pay for it. Did Montreal lose on the
deal? It certainly looks like it, but how many GM’s win every time?
Back heading into last season, the Habs were faced with a dilemma at centre,
with Koivu, Ribeiro, Plekanec, Bonk, and Begin already there, with Garth Murray
and Maxim Lapierre pushing for spots – something had to give and everyone knew
it. Ribeiro looked like he’d gotten as good as he had with the Habs and
his trade value was marginal at best. GM Bob Gainey took his best shot at
making a move with him and picked up what a lot of people felt was a decent
defender in Janne Ninnimaa. Did it work out? No, and it’s not like
the extra cap space from his contract is working a whole lot at the moment
either. I’m not trying to be an apologist for Gainey, but these things
happen. Without this deal, it’s safe to say Tomas Plekanec is nowhere near
the player he is today, and you could very easily make a legitimate argument to
suggest that he’s on another team now if this deal isn’t made. The Ribeiro
we saw last week was not the same player that was with the Habs, and one more
season in Montreal would not have made him the player he is now. You win
some, you lose some, such is life in professional sports. You can argue
that Gainey’s lost more than he won, but in this case, hindsight is not 20/20.