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Despite a not so happy ending, the week that
was for the Habs can be called a major improvement over what we’ve seen
recently.  The same can’t be said for the Bulldogs, as goaltending cost
them a pair of games.  This week’s ex-Hab feature looks back at the other
centre the Habs drafted in 1993 that made the NHL, while Matt D’Agostini’s
success is discussed in the Final Thought.  This, plus the grades, in the


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

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

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

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


Carey Price:

Certainly not the reason the team lost on Saturday, but was shaky in the 5-4 win
over the Thrashers.  (Previous: 8.75   Average:


Andrei Markov:

A very solid week at both ends of the ice; his
value to the team was shown pretty quickly when he went down in the 3rd.  (Previous:
7.75   Average:

Josh Gorges:

Continues to hold his own while being on the top
defensive pairing, and is even starting to pinch with more regularity.  (Previous:
7.25   Average:

Roman Hamrlik:

Another steady week despite seeing time with
Brisebois regularly.  I can’t help but wonder if he shouldn’t be playing a
little more than the 18-19 minutes a game he’s been getting lately.   (Previous:
7.50   Average:

Mathieu Dandenault:

There’s one new element to his game that we didn’t see much of when he was a
defencemen earlier, and that’s the aggression.  It’s really nice to see.  (Previous:
7.50   Average:

Francis Bouillon:

Had some struggles early in the week adjusting to yet another different d-man to
play with, but still played well.  (Previous:

Patrice Brisebois:

Could really use a night off, as he does not have the stamina to be a full time
defender in this league anymore.  (Previous:
5.75   Average:


Matt D’Agostini:
It was nice to see him get
the chance to play on an offensive line, and he made the most of it, that’s for
sure.  (Previous: 7.00   Average:

Andrei Kostitsyn:
Really looks much more
comfortable since being moved to this new trio, as now he’s the primary
offensive option.  (Previous:
7.25   Average:

Maxim Lapierre:
The only qualm I have with
him is that at times he was trying to do too much.  When he kept it simple,
he was a force.  (Previous: 8.50   Average:

Steve Begin:
Good things happen when
you go to the net – we need to see that more out of him now.  (Previous:
8.25   Average:

Robert Lang:
A couple of goals from
being in the right spot at the right time, it’s merely status quo for the
veteran.  (Previous: 6.75   Average:

Saku Koivu:
Still searching for some
goals, but as long as he’s setting others up, it’s not too big of a concern.  (Previous:
7.00   Average:

Tomas Plekanec:
He was taken away from
Kovalev, and now he’s playing better than he did earlier in the season.  (Previous:
   Average: 7.00)

Tom Kostopoulos:
He’s trying as hard as he
can, but he is out of his element trying to play regularly on an offensive line.  (Previous: 7.25   Average:

Alex Tanguay:
He’s scoring on over 23%
of his shots, and isn’t even getting 2 shots a game.  He needs to get back
to his style of play from earlier in the season.  (Previous:
6.75   Average:

Chris Higgins:
A non-factor offensively,
and as much as his defensive play is solid, I wonder if he’ll be the next to see
the pressbox.  (Previous: 7.00   Average:

Georges Laraque:
Fit in well with the 4th
line, and even looked quicker out there.  The time off appears to have done
him some good.  (Previous: N/A   Average:

Alexei Kovalev:
You can debate whether it
should’ve been a penalty or not (vs NJ), but it was purely a lazy play one way
or the other, something I find myself saying time and time again.  There
are some good signs, but some real bad ones too.  (Previous:
6.25   Average:

Week’s Average:
Season Average:

The Dog

The strength of the Bulldogs at the beginning
of the season is now its biggest weakness, as the goaltending blew a pair of
3-goal leads this week.  Unlike the Habs though, the Dogs couldn’t rebound,
as they lost both of those games.


December 4
2 3


Milwaukee 3 1 1 5 2/3 31
Hamilton 3 1 0 4 1/5 29

Attendance:  2,938
3 Stars:
  1) Jones – MIL  2) Santorelli – MIL  3) Glumac –

December 6
2 3


Hamilton 2 2 1 5 2/3 33
Grand Rapids 1 1 0 2 1/7 25

Attendance:  9,628
3 Stars:
  1) Chipchura – HAM  2) Desharnais – HAM  3)
– GR

December 7
2 3 OT


Toronto 1 1 3 1 6 4/5 20
Hamilton 2 2 1 0 5 2/6 32

Attendance:  5,741
3 Stars:
  1) Stapleton – TOR  2) Belle – HAM  3) Boyce – TOR


Kyle Chipchura, despite getting injured in the
final contest of the week, was the offensive catalyst this week for the


# Player GP G A +/- SH PIMS
4 Dan Jancevski 3 1 2 +4 11 2
5 Alex Henry 3 0 0 E 3 5
6 Chad Anderson 3 0 0 +2 2 12
7 Yannick Weber 3 1 1 -1 9 2
10 J.T. Wyman 3 1 0 +2 4 2
15 Mike Glumac 3 2 1 E 10 2
16 Greg Stewart 3 0 1 +3 2 4
17 Kyle Chipchura 3 3 3 +3 8 2
18 Tyler Shelast 1 0 0 -1 0 0
19 Brock Trotter 3 0 1 -1 6 0
20 Ryan Russell 3 1 2 +3 9 0
23 Max Pacioretty 3 0 2 E 6 9
28 Ryan White 3 1 2 -2 3 4
36 David Desharnais 3 1 1 E 1 0
41 Mathieu Aubin 2 1 0 +2 3 5
44 Shawn Belle 3 1 2 -1 4 4
49 Ryan Flinn 1 0 0 -1 0 0
72 Mathieu Carle 2 1 2 +2 5 4
85 Yanick Lehoux 3 0 2 -1 6 0
91 Ben Maxwell 3 0 4 +2 2 2


# Player Record SV% GAA
30 Cedrick Desjardins 1-0-1 .822 3.87
38 Marc Denis 0-1-0 .839 5.10


Goals:  D’Agostini (14) (Active
leader: Glumac/ (10))

  Lehoux (22)
  Lehoux (28)
  Chipchura (+14)
  Stewart (88)

This Week:

December 11: 
Peoria vs Hamilton
December 14:  Hamilton vs Toronto


Lately, we’ve been taking a look
at players who’ve essentially had their NHL careers end in the Canadiens
organization.  This week, let’s buck the trend and look at one whose
journey started off with the Habs.

Sebastien Bordeleau was drafted by the Canadiens 73rd overall in their Stanley
Cup year, 1993.  He joined the team for the 95-96 season, and spent some
time with the Habs as a rookie, but even more impressively, averaged over a
point per game in that rookie AHL season.  This trend followed into the
next season, as once again he spent some time the Habs (28 games vs just 4 the
year before) while picking up 38 points in 33 games in Fredericton to give him 2
straight years with a more the 1 PPG average in the minors.  Not
surprisingly, he never played with the Baby Habs again as the next season was
spent solely in Montreal.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t that successful a
season, as he had just 14 points in 53 games, and was a non-factor in the
playoffs.  In the offseason of 1998, he was moved to Nashville for the
always popular return of future considerations (which involved the Preds not
taking a particular unprotected player in the expansion draft.)

It was here that Bordeleau made his biggest impact in the NHL, as in his first
season with Nashville (98-99), he had career highs in games played (72), goals
(16), and assists (24.)  He stayed with the Preds for 2 more seasons, but
was nowhere near as successful as his 98-99 campaign.  Over the next year
and a half, he was waived, traded, and played for a trio of AHL teams. 
After seeing a few games with Phoenix in 2002, he left North America and took
his game to Switzerland, signing with SC Bern.  This year is his 7th with
the team after notching 47 points in as many games last season.


In scoring in every game this week, Matt
D’Agostini showed us something aside from the fact that he’s a fortuitous goal
scorer.  His play is living proof that playing in the AHL can be very
beneficial and that working hard for something leads to results.  Here is a
player that wasn’t drafted his first go-round in the OHL, and for the most part
was an afterthought even when the Habs drafted him 190th overall in 2005. 
He wasn’t anything special his first year in the AHL either, but has kept
working and saw his numbers improve each season to where we are today. 

Let’s look at a couple of players who currently are sitting in the press box and
compare how their journeys have been.  Guillaume Latendresse was a 2nd
rounder, and was highly touted by fans and media alike.  He had a couple of
good training camps, and earned a spot on the roster as a 19 year old. 
Since then, he’s been considered a disappointment by many (although one could
argue expectations may have been too high.)  Aside from his work to make
the team in camp, he’s essentially had a job reserved for him in the lineup
until now; quite frankly, he hasn’t had to work as some others have.  The
same can be said for Sergei Kostitsyn.  Although he was a low draft pick,
he got to play with some premium prospects in junior which got him in the
Hamilton lineup quickly.  When the team needed a shakeup last year, he got
the call, and has seemingly had a spot in Montreal’s lineup since without really
having to work at the pro level.  Neither of these players spent any
significant time in the AHL (Kostitsyn played a handful of games while
Latendresse never made it down there), and now both are being criticized for
their work ethic. 

During training camp, many were clamouring for highly touted prospect Max
Pacioretty to start with the team without a sojourn to the AHL.  For the
record, I wasn’t one of them.  I’ve always maintained that unless you’re a
can’t miss player, everyone should spent some time in the AHL, take some lumps,
and really work on their game.  We saw this week how this worked for
D’Agostini, and now seemingly everyone wishes Latendresse could go down now and
that Kostitsyn will soon go down.  Slow and steady not only wins the race,
but it also makes the player.  Time and time again we’ve seen this in the
Canadiens organization – short term pain for long term gain, here’s hoping the
trend continues.