HabsWorld.net -- 

It may not be the perfect time to have a shaky
stretch, but the Habs managed to survive a first round scare vs Boston, and
split a pair with their second round opponent in Philadelphia.  We’ll have
the Weekly Grades, as well as unearthing a CBC curse, plus a final thought on
why the Habs should stay away from highly-touted free agent forward Fabian
Brunnstrom, 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, 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.


#31 – Carey Price:  7.5 
Has he been shaky vs Philly?  Yes, but he also had a shutout in Game 7 vs
Boston, when it was all on the line. (Playoff Average:
Season Average:


#44 – Roman Hamrlik:  7.0  Looked
a little uncomfortable after switching defence partners, I’m a little concerned
that he’s not jumping into the play as much as Round 1. 
(Playoff Average:
Season Average: 7.35)

#79 – Andrei Markov:  7.0 
His best week of the postseason, but still not the All-Star type play we saw
most of the season. (Playoff

Season Average:

#51 – Francis Bouillon:  7.0 
An offensive weapon he is not, but defensively, he has been solid along with his
(Playoff Average: 7.5  Season Average:

#26 – Josh Gorges:  7.0 
One of these games, he’ll finally pot his first as a Hab (in non-exhibition
play), I get the sense it’s coming soon. 
(Playoff Average:
Season Average: 7.04)

#8 – Mike Komisarek:  7.0  Game 2
was one of the rare moments where he actually spent a lot of the 3rd on the
(Playoff Average:
Season Average: 7.48)

#71 – Patrice Brisebois:  6.5 
Finally, a costly blunder, but it took him longer than normal to do. 
Otherwise, nothing overly great or bad about his game. 
(Playoff Average:
Season Average: 6.65)

#3 – Ryan O’Byrne:  6.0 
Contrary to some people’s thoughts, he did get some extended shifts…when he
iced the puck, which ultimately glued him to the bench. 
(Playoff Average: 6.50  Season Average:


#6 – Tom Kostopoulos:  9.0 
Huge game winner in OT, and he certainly doesn’t look like he’ll be backing down
in the physical department anytime soon. 
(Playoff Average: 8.67  Season Average: 6.85)

#11 – Saku Koivu:  8.5 
Has points in every game he’s played so far, and his intensity is more like the
Koivu we’ve come to love over the years. 
(Playoff Average: 8.25  Season Average:

#27 – Alexei Kovalev:  8.5 
This is more of the Kovalev we saw earlier in the season, I’m very interested to
see how he does when Philly gets their shutdown guys out regularly against him.  (Playoff Average:
Season Average:

#46 – Andrei Kostitsyn:  8.0 
He picked a great time to get his game going again, now let’s hope it doesn’t
tail off mid-round again.  (Playoff Average:
Season Average:

#74 – Sergei Kostitsyn:  7.5 
I still think he’s flopping too much out there, but it was nice to see his
offensive game resurrected.  (Playoff Average:
Season Average:

#22 – Steve Begin:  7.5  His
physical style of play will really start to take its toll the longer this series
(Playoff Average: 7.83  Season Average: 7.18)

#20 – Bryan Smolinski:  7.5 
I’m running out of good things to say about this line in general, which buys me
more time to think of some for next week if this continues. 
(Playoff Average:
Season Average: 6.93)

#32 – Mark Streit:  7.0 
Big goal vs Boston (although a train could have went through Thomas’ five hole),
seemed more energized when he played back on D with Markov 5-on-5. 
(Playoff Average:
Season Average: 7.13)

#40 – Maxim Lapierre:  7.0  Strong in
the faceoff department if nothing else, looks like he could use something (or
someone) to get him going.  (Playoff Average:
 Season Average:

#14 – Tomas Plekanec:  7.0 
He may as well have held up a sign saying "I’m going backhand" on that breakaway
chance in Game 2. 
(Playoff Average:
Season Average: 7.70)

#21 – Chris Higgins:  7.0 
I don’t have a problem with his play overall, but he needs to be producing more,
fewer points despite playing more games than Brisebois just does not seem right.  (Playoff Average:
Season Average:

#25 – Mathieu Dandenault:  6.0 
It’s nice to have a veteran presence in the lineup, but it’s also nice to have
production from time to time.  (Playoff Average:
Season Average:

Week’s Average:
Season Average:
Playoff Average:

In other

– A pair of Montreal prospects are heading to
the Memorial Cup this year, P.K. Subban and Yannick Weber.  But before
that, they’ll go head-to-head in the OHL finals, which start this week.

– Many people call Brisebois or Smolinski the most disappointing free agent
signing this year.  I’d like to nominate Janne Lahti, who came over from
Finland with much fanfare to make an impact on the Habs.  Instead, he was a
frequent healthy scratch in Hamilton, and not surprisingly, didn’t even wait to
see what the Habs wanted to do with him before he skipped town – he’s headed
back overseas to Jokerit on a 2-year deal.   


– Let’s not kid ourselves, Carey Price is
tired.  Aside from last year’s playoff run (where he showed signs of
fatigue at times), there weren’t too many instances where he was playing double
digit consecutive games.  I expect the shakiness to continue for a few more
games myself, the offence will need to pick him up for at least one more game
before this series ends.

– This is going to be a series where the depth of the Habs could really come in
handy.  It won’t be long now (if not already) where a lot of players have
some minor injuries, Montreal’s depth far trumps that of Philly’s, and if it
goes deep, this could be a serious advantage.

– For those of you who are watching the games on CBC, anyone else notice the
"bio jinx"?  Montreal’s record when the bio is a Hab: 0-4, but the record
when the bio is an opponent: 5-0. 

– I like to hear "Go Habs Go" as much as the next fan, but during the anthems
(either one) is over the top.  People wonder why Montreal fans have a bad
reputation, this, despite the fact it’s not booing, has a lot to do with it; I
won’t even get into the vandalism part of things.


Earlier in the article, the name Janne Lahti
came up, a somewhat highly touted and sought after late-blossoming European that
the Habs signed.  We all know how that turned out.  Now, rumblings are
that the team is in the running for Fabian Brunnstrom, a "can’t miss top-6
forward" who at times this year, wasn’t even that on his Elitserien team. 
I’m not going to suggest that the two are similar players, as from what I’ve
heard they’re not.  But getting into a bidding war for a prospect is
usually not a great idea, especially when you’ve already been in and won one
this year.  Brock Trotter, signed a couple of months ago, has a base salary
for next year higher than that of Mathieu Carle, Pavel Valentenko, and Sergei
Kostitsyn, and a potential cap hit higher than Guillaume Latendresse. 
These contracts have two things in common, they’re all 6-figures, something that
Brunnstrom’s likely will not be once A and B-level bonuses come into play. 
And when you consider the bidding war that’s in place, his contract will be a
1-way deal unlike the others. 

Looking at the potential holes to be filled after next season, I’m not too sure
I’d like a decent chunk of cap space for a player who could be a top-6 player,
or could be another Janne Lahti.  I know you can send 1-way players down
and get them off the cap, but I really can’t see the Habs wanting to take the
risk here.  And if the team makes a good run this season, there should be
some established players looking to come to the city, I’d much rather those than
a risk like Brunnstrom, who failed to crack double digits in goals this year.