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A lack of defence proved to be the downfall
this week for the Canadiens organization.  It cost the Habs a game against
the Ducks in which they outplayed them badly, and it hurt the Bulldogs, who
couldn’t get a W this week in 3 games.  A Spengler Cup veteran is the focus
of the former Hab section, while the Final Thought looks at Montreal’s biggest
issue in the early part of the season.  This, plus the weekly grades, in
the Recap.


8.00 to 10.00:
I) Stars/Superstars playing at or above performance and role expectations.
II) Above average players producing beyond performance and role expectations.
III) Average/Role players delivering well beyond performance and role

7.00 to 7.75:
I) Stars/Superstars playing below performance and role expectations.
II) Above average players producing at performance and role expectations.
III) Average/Role players delivering beyond performance and role expectations.

to 6.75:
I) Stars/Superstars playing far below performance and role expectations.
II) Above average players producing below performance and role expectations.
III) Average/Role players delivering at performance and role expectations.

Under 6.00:
I) Stars/Superstars playing outrageously below performance and role
II) Above average players producing far below performance and role expectations.
III) Average/Role players delivering below performance and role expectations.


Jaroslav Halak:

The defence let him down vs Anaheim, but don’t
forget the 35 save performance vs the Panthers earlier in the week.  (Previous:
N/A   Average:

Carey Price:

Coming in not being 100% and hardly being tested
makes it hard to give him a fair assessment, but he did make a couple of big
saves.  (Previous: 8.50   Average:


Andrei Markov:

The point streak continues, but there were some
critical defensive errors (not that he wasn’t the only one mind you.)  (Previous:
9.25   Average:

Roman Hamrlik:

I’ll give him a sympathy grade considering he
played with what could easily be called the goats of the week.   (Previous:
7.50   Average:

Francis Bouillon:

Got the game winner vs Florida in his season
debut, but wasn’t much of a defensive presence (when he was on D.)  (Previous:
N/A   Average:

Mike Komisarek:

Something’s missing this year (and this week), he
just doesn’t seem to read the play like we’ve come to see from him.  (Previous:
7.50   Average:

Josh Gorges:

Being over aggressive hurt him, but at least his
head was in the vicinity of the right place, unlike the players below.  (Previous:
7.00   Average:

Ryan O’Byrne:

Got caught flatfooted much too often, and that was only in 2 periods! 
(Previous: 7.25   Average:

Patrice Brisebois:

He showed this week why the team’s expectations of
him were to be a #7 and nothing higher.  (Previous:
6.75   Average:


Alex Tanguay:
We’re starting to see that
he can be a shooter in the right situation, still needs lots of work manning the
PP point though.  (Previous: 8.75   Average:

Saku Koivu:
I never thought 2 pure
playmakers could play together and lead the team in scoring, but that’s the
situation for Koivu.  (Previous: 9.00   Average:

Chris Higgins:
Solid debut at both ends,
a very welcome return to the lineup.  He may not want to be dealt, but
other teams certainly will want him.  (Previous:
N/A   Average:

Robert Lang:
Adapted well to playing a
more defensive strategy vs Florida and then switching back into an offensive one
for the Anaheim contest.  (Previous:
7.50   Average:

Tomas Plekanec:
If at first you don’t
succeed, shoot, shoot again.  The buzz around the net was nice to see if
nothing else.  (Previous:
7.00   Average:

Tom Kostopoulos:
Good to see arguably the
hardest working forward so far this year finally bag one.  When everyone’s
healthy, it’ll be hard to pull him from the lineup.  (Previous:
7.75   Average:

Guillaume Latendresse:
His line was scoring, but
he always seemed to be away from the play, which explains the o-fer on the
scoresheet.  (Previous: 8.50   Average:

Kyle Chipchura:
Played well in both ends
despite playing a different position (LW instead of C), it’s too bad there’s no
room for him on the roster currently.  (Previous:
N/A   Average:

Alexei Kovalev:
Offensively, an
improvement from previous weeks, but defensively, not so much.  The goals
will come though.  (Previous:
7.25   Average:

Sergei Kostitsyn:
Was virtually a non-factor
in both games, not a good thing when you’re playing on what’s supposed to be the
#1 line.  (Previous: 7.50   Average:

Steve Begin:
30 foot slappers that
aren’t screened aren’t going to generate much offence, one of his linemates
already does that too often.  (Previous: 7.00   Average:

Maxim Lapierre:
For a supposed energy
player, I didn’t see much energy – defensive play was solid though.  (Previous:
7.00   Average:

Georges Laraque:
He’s hard to knock off the
puck along the boards if nothing else, but can’t do anything with it otherwise.  (Previous:
7.00   Average:

Mathieu Dandenault:
Adequate performance, nothing
more, nothing less.  Given the struggles of Brisebois and O’Byrne, will he
get a shot playing defence in the not-too-distant future?  (Previous:

Week’s Average:
Season Average:

The Dog

The Bulldogs came back to earth this week,
dropping all 3 of their contests, falling to 3rd in the North Division.  A
quartet of Dogs made their season debuts this week, Cedrick Desjardins, Tyler
Shelast, Frederic St. Denis, and Mathieu Aubin.


October 22
2 3 OT


Hamilton 0 1 2 0 3 0/5 29
Toronto 2 0 1 1 4 3/5 30

Attendance:  10,834
3 Stars:
  1) Williams – TOR  2) Bell – TOR  3) Lehoux – HAM

October 25
2 3


Hamilton 0 2 2 4 0/6 24
Grand Rapids 4 1 1 6 2/9 27

Attendance:  10,834
3 Stars:
  1) Ritola – GR  2) D’Agostini – HAM  3) Emmerton –

October 26
2 3


Quad City 0 0 2 2 0/2 29
Hamilton 0 0 0 0 0/4 32

Attendance:  3,925
3 Stars:
  1) Keetley – QC  2) Peters – QC  3) Denis – HAM


Aside from 2 players, the offence went dry for
the Bulldogs, and for the first time this season, the goaltending was a negative
this week.


# Player GP G A +/- SH PIMS
4 Dan Jancevski 3 0 0 -3 3 4
5 Alex Henry 3 0 0 E 0 2
6 Chad Anderson 3 1 0 +2 3 2
7 Yannick Weber 3 0 0 E 3 0
10 J.T. Wyman 1 0 0 E 3 0
15 Mike Glumac 3 0 0 -2 3 21
16 Greg Stewart 3 0 1 +1 5 6
17 Kyle Chipchura 3 0 1 +2 4 0
18 Tyler Shelast 2 0 0 -1 2 0
19 Brock Trotter 2 0 0 +1 3 4
20 Ryan Russell 3 1 0 +1 3 0
22 Matt D’Agostini 3 2 3 +2 6 8
23 Max Pacioretty 3 0 0 -1 9 0
28 Ryan White 3 0 0 -1 4 12
32 Frederic St. Denis 3 0 1 E 4 0
36 David Desharnais 3 0 0 -1 6 2
41 Mathieu Aubin 1 0 0 -1 3 0
44 Shawn Belle 3 1 0 +1 4 0
85 Yanick Lehoux 3 2 2 +1 10 0
91 Ben Maxwell 3 0 0 -3 7 0


# Player Record SV% GAA
30 Cedrick Desjardins 0-1-1 .860 3.53
38 Marc Denis 0-1-0 .861 4.69


Goals:  D’Agostini, Lehoux (4)
  D’Agostini (6)
  D’Agostini (10)
  Belle/Russell (+4)
  Glumac (28)

This Week:

October 29:  Hershey vs Hamilton
October 31:
  Lake Erie vs Hamilton
November 1:
  Hamilton vs Rochester
November 2:  Hamilton vs Toronto


This week, we look back at a former Hab who fans
of the Spengler Cup have seen plenty of over the years.

Yves Sarault was a 3rd round pick of the Habs back in the 1991 draft (61st
overall.)  The LW spent nearly 200 games with Fredericton of the AHL before
getting his shot with Montreal during the 94-95 season.  He made the big
club in 1995-96, but his stay there was shortlived, as he was dealt to Calgary
in late November with Craig Ferguson in return for the premium payment of a
future 8th rounder, although that can be expected of a player who had 1 assist
in 22 career games with Montreal.  Sarault bounced around after that,
having small stints in Calgary, Colorado, Ottawa, Atlanta, and Nashville, as
well as countless minor league teams before heading overseas for the 2002-03
season.  He spent 6 seasons in the Swiss-A division (4 teams) while playing
often nationally for Team Canada in international tournaments.  This
season, he finds himself playing for Ingolstadt of the German league – the
leading point getter on that team just happens to be former Montreal prospect
Duncan Milroy.  Is there a player you’d like to see featured in this
section?  If so, drop me a line.


This week’s performances by the Habs has shown me
a couple of things.  The first and obvious one is that offence shouldn’t be
a problem, as the team is scoring over 3.5 goals a game with really only one
line producing.  This tells me that as much as it’d be nice to have another
high octane offensive player like a Marian Gaborik (and to a lesser degree,
Martin Havlat who was in a few rumours this week), the team would be better off
trying to fill a different hole.

That hole, not surprisingly, is defence.  Right now, this looks to be the
Achilles Heel of the team, and there isn’t a lot of current help in the
pipeline.  Patrice Brisebois showed this week why no one else would offer
him a contract, and quite frankly, I don’t think Ryan O’Byrne should be a
regular defenceman on any team that hopes to be a Cup contender – his
development would be best suited on a rebuilding team that would afford him the
chance to play through his mistakes.  (For the record, this isn’t just
because of O’Byrne’s awful outing this week, I’ve felt this way since last
season.)  In Hamilton, the most NHL-ready d-man is Dan Jancevski, and he’s
not even property of the Habs (loaned by Dallas).  The next is Alex Henry,
and he’s not exactly a defensive stalwart himself.  Youngsters like Yannick
Weber and Pavel Valentenko are still raw (and in the case of the latter,
injured), so there’s no help coming from Hamilton anytime soon.  Defence is
a premium in the league right now, so I think it’s safe to say there’s no deal
forthcoming anytime soon, no matter what the rumour mill may throw out there.