HabsWorld.net -- 

The week started off well for the Habs, but
injuries and an overall lack of offence led to a sour ending.  The Bulldogs
were affected heavily by the same issues, but they still managed to split a
pair.  We look back at a former Montreal defender who a lot of people had
hopes for in our history section, while the Final Thought looks at a positive
side of the high expectations this season brings.  This, plus the grades,
in the Recap.


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


Jaroslav Halak:

He was the victim of lousy offence in the last 2 games; will conditioning become
a factor if he has to start a few more games in a row?  (Previous:
N/A   Average:


Patrice Brisebois:

What can I say, he was the team’s offence for the last 2 games and even had some
strong moments defensively…coupled in with some bad ones still.  (Previous:
6.25   Average:

Roman Hamrlik:

Missing the tip in vs Washington hurt, but his
defensive play was solid this week.   (Previous:
7.50   Average:

Josh Gorges:

As was the case with his defensive partner, there
were some lapses that we saw last year but not so far this season.  (Previous:
7.00   Average:

Mathieu Dandenault:

Just when he was settling in (and we saw more of the same steady play this
week), the bad luck happens.  (Previous:
7.00   Average:

Francis Bouillon:

Held his own despite seeing lots of time with O’Byrne, that’s worth something.  (Previous:
7.00   Average:

Andrei Markov:

One of the few weeks where his defensive play was
suspect on multiple occasions and there were even some struggles on the PP.  (Previous:
8.00   Average:

Ryan O’Byrne:

There’s letting a young kid try and play his way through a slump and then
there’s just destroying a player’s confidence.  I’m sure you can tell which
category O’Byrne’s in.  (Previous: N/A   Average:


Maxim Lapierre:
He may not have had any
points, but there’s no denying how effective he was this week, and really over
the last month.  (Previous: 8.25   Average:

Matt D’Agostini:
One of the few forwards to
have any consistent energy in the offensive end; the only issue I had with him
is shot selection.  (Previous: 9.00   Average:

Steve Begin:
Besides being completely
out of his element on the PP, another strong week from the grinder.  (Previous:
8.25   Average:

Tom Kostopoulos:
Another of the few
forwards who had consistent effort; if only he had better touch around the net.  (Previous: 7.25   Average:

Robert Lang:
The leading point getter this
week, but you can’t help but wonder how many points he’d have had if he hit the
wide open nets.  (Previous: 7.50   Average:

Andrei Kostitsyn:
The drive was there, but
the execution was reminiscent of what we’ve seen in the past few weeks.  (Previous:
8.50   Average:

Saku Koivu:
As much as I hate to
criticize the captain, he was struggling before the injury; hopefully a little
time off will get him going again.  (Previous:
7.50   Average:

Alexei Kovalev:
There were some really
nice plays, but others where I think I heard fans worldwide yelling
simultaneously in frustration.  More on him shortly.  (Previous:
6.25   Average:

Alex Tanguay:
He had 3 assists this
week, yet he seemed to be almost a non-factor in the offensive end.  (Previous:
7.25   Average:

Guillaume Latendresse:
I saw some good moments
out there and some bad ones; with all the pressure on him, he better improve
quickly for his own sake.  (Previous: N/A   Average:

Chris Higgins:
Like Koivu, he’s been
struggling, the time off will do him some good.  What will it do for trade
speculation though?  (Previous: 7.00   Average:

Ben Maxwell:
Held his own out there,
but being 2/9 on faceoffs really set the team back at times.  When this
improves, he should be a good contributor.  (Previous: N/A   Average:

Tomas Plekanec:
This is the Plekanec of
years ago, back to the days where he was just trying to make the team, let alone
have an impact on it.  (Previous: 7.25   Average:

Sergei Kostitsyn:
I really was hoping he’d
come back to form, but like O’Byrne, I think he’s losing a lot of confidence and
fast.  (Previous: N/A   Average:

Note:  A couple of people have dropped me a line questioning the
grades of Kovalev over the past few weeks and interpreting the low grade as
solely a slight on his play.  This isn’t entirely true.  The grades
this year are not only based on the play on the ice, but also how it relates to
the player’s expectations and salary.  Kovalev hasn’t scored in what seems
like an eternity – it’s the goalless drought that will keep his grade low (and
anyone else if they go on that long a drought.)

Week’s Average:
Season Average:

The Dog

An injury and call up ravaged Bulldogs squad
limped through a pair of games this week.  Unlike the last few weeks, the
goaltending kept them in games and even stole one, despite the fact that the
team combined for just 3 goals in 2 games.


December 11
2 3


Peoria 1 1 0 2 1/3 29
Hamilton 0 0 1 1 0/3 25

Attendance:  2,718
3 Stars:
  1) Soares – PEO  2) Stewart – HAM  3) Talbot – PEO

December 14
2 3


Hamilton 1 0 1 2 1/3 16
Toronto 0 0 1 1 0/3 36

Attendance:  4,327
3 Stars:
  1) Desharnais – HAM  2) Desjardins – HAM  3)


It was a week where the offence was all but
non-existent (now where have I heard that before…), but David Desharnais
managed to lead the way for the Bulldogs, buoyed by the injury/recall of
practically everyone ahead of him on the depth chart.


# Player GP G A +/- SH PIMS
5 Alex Henry 2 0 1 +1 1 7
6 Chad Anderson 2 0 1 -1 3 0
7 Yannick Weber 2 0 1 E 4 0
10 J.T. Wyman 2 0 0 E 1 2
15 Mike Glumac 2 1 0 -1 5 0
16 Greg Stewart 2 1 0 E 3 0
18 Tyler Shelast 2 0 0 E 2 2
19 Brock Trotter 2 0 0 E 0 0
20 Ryan Russell 2 0 0 E 1 0
23 Max Pacioretty 2 0 1 +2 5 0
28 Ryan White 2 0 0 E 0 0
32 Frederic St. Denis 1 0 0 E 1 0
36 David Desharnais 2 1 1 +2 3 0
42 Olivier Latendresse 2 0 0 -1 1 0
44 Shawn Belle 2 0 1 E 3 2
49 Ryan Flinn 2 0 0 E 1 14
72 Mathieu Carle 2 0 0 E 3 0
85 Yanick Lehoux 2 0 0 -2 3 0
91 Ben Maxwell 1 0 0 E 1 0


# Player Record SV% GAA
30 Cedrick Desjardins 1-0-0 .972 1.00
38 Marc Denis 0-1-0 .931 2.05


Goals:  D’Agostini (14) (Active
leader: Glumac (11))

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

This Week:

December 19: 

Hamilton vs Rochester
December 20:  Hamilton vs Hartford


After last week’s look at a successful NHL
player, let’s go back to the relatively obscure and look at yet another player
whose career started and ended in Montreal.

Selected in the 3rd round (60th overall) in 1995, D Miroslav Guren stayed one
year in the Czech Republic before coming over to pursue his NHL career for the
96-97 season.  He spent 2 full seasons in the minors before getting a shot
in the 98-99 season, where he picked up an assist in 12 games.  The next
year, it was back off to the minors to start (although this time in Quebec
rather than Fredericton), but again he was called up partway through the season. 
He lasted a little longer this time, playing twice as many games (24) picking up
a goal and two assists.  Once again, he started the next season in the AHL,
but this time, he didn’t get called back up, nor would he ever, as he left the
organization prior to the 2001-02 season.

He spent that year playing back home in the Czech Republic before making his way
over to Russia.  He spent one season playing for CSKA Moscow, before
joining his 5th team in as many years, Novosibirsk.  He spent 5 seasons
there (and played with another player whose journey is long enough that it could
be featured in this section in Eric Charron) where injuries became an issue on
more than one occasion.  Before this season started, he went back home
again, this time to play for Trinec, where he’s playing with another former Habs
prospect who’ll be featured in this space next week.

With the World Juniors soon upon us, we’ll look at some former prospects (some
highly touted, others not) in this section starting next week.  If you have
a player you’d like to request, drop me a line in the comment box below.


After watching Saturday’s loss vs Washington,
an interesting thought came to me, and despite the loss, it was actually a
positive one.  Over the past several seasons, the Habs have been mired in
mediocrity and had low expectations.  If the team lost to a better team, it
was simply shaken off as that – the Habs just lost to a better team, nothing
more needs to be made of it.  This was even the case for the majority of
last year’s first place team.

But this year is different.  No longer do I as a fan go into games merely
hoping the team will win, but expecting one.  From reading comments
from other fans over the weeks so far this season, I know I’m not the only one
who can say that.  Obviously this leads to a lot more frustration when the
team loses (or just plays lousy regardless of the outcome), but that’s okay. 
Of course, the wins still feel just as good too.  It didn’t take too long
after this for my thoughts to go from frustration after a loss to, "Bring on the
next game, we’ll get them then."  It just feels nice to have the mindset of
a winner (or a winning fan at least.)