HabsWorld.net -- 

The Habs continued their winning ways for the
most part this week, taking their last 2 of 3 games.  Hamilton followed
suit, winning their last 2 contests with their 3rd string goalie in net. 
This week’s former player looks at a former 1st rounder who just didn’t pan out,
while the Final Thought looks at the Vinny Lecavalier situation.  This,
plus the weekly 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:

The letdown late in Ottawa hurt, but they still won that game – he didn’t steal
them anything, but cost them nothing either which is fine from a backup.  (Previous:
7.75   Average:


Andrei Markov:

The only defenceman to pick up a point in every
game this week, while continuing to play major minutes.  Anyone else
concerned about him burning out?  (Previous:

Mike Komisarek:

Although still not at his form from last season, this is the closest he’s been
all year.  When should contract talks be started?  (Previous:
7.50   Average:

Josh Gorges:

His play suffered this week; I would venture to say largely in part due to the
struggles of the defender lining up alongside him.  (Previous:
7.00   Average:

Francis Bouillon:

He wasn’t making the errors this week, but this is still a shell of the Bouillon
we saw in the earlier part of the season.  (Previous:
6.75   Average:

Roman Hamrlik:

Arguably his worst defensive week of the season with several blatant defensive
errors.  Everyone has a bad week here and there, but he needs to rebound
quickly.  (Previous:
7.50   Average:

Patrice Brisebois:

I don’t mind his play in the offensive end, but there were more true screwup
defensive moves this week.  No need to ask like with Markov, he is burned
out and it shows.  (Previous: 7.25   Average:


Andrei Kostitsyn:
Over the last few weeks,
he’s been showing why he was such a high pick, you can’t teach goalscoring
abilities like he has.  (Previous: 8.00   Average:

Robert Lang:
Another solid week from
him; he and the Kostitsyn’s appear to have something good going.  With
Koivu returning in the near future, what will happen to his minutes?  (Previous:
8.25   Average:

Maxim Lapierre:
His only goal technically
doesn’t count (although it was a game winner), and he’s still doing all the
little things to be successful.  (Previous:
8.00   Average:

Sergei Kostitsyn:
Although he didn’t score
this week, he was still a significant factor in the offensive zone.  That’s
what was lacking earlier in the season and had people clamouring for a trip to
the AHL.  (Previous: 7.75   Average:

Guillaume Latendresse:
It may have been just me
noticing this, but he seemed to win a lot of footraces this week.  That’s a
big reason why his line continues to be effective without putting the numbers up
on the scoresheet.  (Previous: 7.50   Average:

Alexei Kovalev:
Too many selfish decisions
– including an OT shift that lasted over 2:30, that’s simply unacceptable. 
He needs to spend more time getting his line going than worrying about his ice
time.  (Previous: 7.50   Average:

Tom Kostopoulos:
Ugly or not, that goal
turned out to be a huge one.  The coaching staff really needs to get him
off the PP though, there are much better options than him there.  (Previous:

Matt D’Agostini:
Good to see him finally
get one, as the good habits that saw him lighting it up earlier on were there
much more often this week.  (Previous:

Max Pacioretty:
A few questionable
decisions this week, but that’s to be expected from a rookie.  Needs to
simplify his game, let the veterans make the more difficult plays.  (Previous:
7.75   Average:

Steve Begin:
His loss in his fight ran
the team’s losing streak in those to a number too high to keep track of anymore,
but otherwise, nothing to complain or get excited about.  (Previous:
6.75   Average:

Gregory Stewart:
Had more missed hits than
actual hits, but he’s certainly not the worst extra toughness option by any
stretch.  (Previous: N/A   Average:

Tomas Plekanec:
Although he wasn’t as bad
as he was not that long ago, he had a lot to do with the miniscule production
from that line this week.  (Previous: 7.75   Average:

Kyle Chipchura:
He’s not being asked to do
much, and unfortunately, he didn’t accomplish much, which ultimately led to his
benching on Saturday.  (Previous:
7.00   Average:

Week’s Average:
Season Average:

The Dog

The depleted Bulldogs took advantage of a
somewhat weak schedule this week, taking 2 of 3 games.  Even more
impressive is that they remain the highest scoring team in their conference.


January 14
2 3


Grand Rapids 0 2 1 3 2/6 38
Hamilton 0 0 1 1 0/5 33

Attendance:  2,981
3 Stars:
  1) Haydar – GR  2) Howard – GR  3) Desjardins

January 16
2 3


Lake Erie 0 0 0 0 0/5 28
Hamilton 0 3 1 4 0/4 28

Attendance:  5,035
3 Stars:
  1) Maxwell – HAM  2) Kemp – HAM  3) Lacasse

January 17
2 3


Hamilton 2 3 1 6 2/9 42
Syracuse 0 2 0 2 0/4 24

Attendance:  5,165
3 Stars:
  1) Maxwell – HAM  2) Lehoux – HAM  3) Russell – HAM


A pair of players who’ve spent time in Montreal
this year led the way for Hamilton – Ryan O’Byrne finally hit the scoresheet
this week while Ben Maxwell was the first star in both victories.


# Player GP G A +/- SH PIMS
3 Ryan O’Byrne 3 0 3 +3 1 8
4 Dan Jancevski 3 0 1 +1 4 2
5 Alex Henry 3 1 0 +1 1 10
6 Chad Anderson 1 0 0 E 0 5
7 Yannick Weber 3 0 2 +1 11 0
11 Steve Gainey 3 0 0 +1 4 10
15 Mike Glumac 3 0 1 -1 5 0
16 Greg Stewart 1 0 0 E 1 0
19 Brock Trotter 3 0 2 +3 5 2
20 Ryan Russell 3 1 2 +3 13 0
24 T.J. Kemp 3 0 2 +4 4 0
28 Ryan White 3 0 3 +3 0 13
36 David Desharnais 3 0 0 -1 1 4
41 Mathieu Aubin 2 2 0 +4 9 0
42 Olivier Latendresse 3 0 1 -1 9 0
44 Shawn Belle 3 0 0 +1 7 6
49 Ryan Flinn 2 1 0 +1 3 7
72 Mathieu Carle 3 0 0 +1 3 0
85 Yanick Lehoux 3 3 0 +2 8 2
91 Ben Maxwell 3 3 1 +4 14 0


# Player Record SV% GAA
29 Loic Lacasse 2-0-0 .962 1.00
30 Cedrick Desjardins 0-1-0 .921 3.07


Goals:  Glumac (17)
  Lehoux (25)
  Lehoux (40)
  Belle (+19)
  Stewart (131)

This Week:

January 19:  Hamilton vs Syracuse
January 21:
  Manitoba vs Hamilton
January 23:  Chicago vs Hamilton
January 24:  Hamilton vs Binghamton


With the talk of the Habs needing defencemen,
let’s look at a former 1st round defencemen the Habs acquired that just didn’t
pan out as many had hoped.

A first rounder (19th overall) of the Oilers in 1996, Matthieu Descoteaux spent
3 seasons with the Bulldogs (when they were the affiliate solely of Edmonton)
before being part of the deal that brought Christian Laflamme to the Habs for
Igor Ulanov and Alain Nasreddine.  In 2000-01, his first full season with
in the Montreal organization, he made his NHL debut, scoring a goal and an
assist in just 5 games, while picking up 43 AHL points.  Surprisingly to
some, these were the only NHL games he played.  He spent one more season in
Quebec (Montreal’s AHL affiliate) before beginning his journey around the globe.

He joined the AHL’s Grizzlies in 02-03, but left North America after a subpar,
injury riddled season.  He split the next injury filled year between
Finland and Italy, before coming back to North America to play in the United
League for the 04-05 season.  After that didn’t work out, he headed out
overseas again, this time playing for Freiburg.  Since then, he’s applied
his craft in Quebec’s LNAH, where he’s already managed to switch teams.

The moral of this story?  Not every first round pick defenceman pans out –
and we all know how certain highly touted D prospects are being bandied about
for a certain Tampa Bay forward. 


With all the talk surrounding Vincent
Lecavalier this week, I’d be remiss if I didn’t weigh in here.  Although
part of me would like to see a legit superstar play for the Habs, I’m not sure
if the time is right.  This season, the Habs need a d-man, and there’s no
point in trying to sugarcoat that.  Should the Habs be focusing their
limited remaining financial resources to upgrade a strength?  (Looking down
the middle, Koivu, Lang, Lapierre, and Plekanec is far from a weakness). 
There’s pressure to get him before his NMC comes into effect, but that can be
done after this season.  As free agency looms, management will have a
better idea of which forwards are staying/going and be able to judge their
strength at the pivot position accordingly.  The clause kicks in July 1st,
so even a draft day trade, with the draft being in Montreal, is an option.

In the meantime, there will be several veteran defencemen with expiring
contracts that will soon be on the trade block, if they aren’t already now. 
With Ryan O’Byrne regressing and Patrice Brisebois playing like a player whose
best days are behind him, there’s certainly a pressing need to fill there. 
The old adage goes, "Defence wins championships," and that’s been proven in the
past.  I’m certainly not saying I don’t want Lecavalier and that I’ll be
negative if and when the trade happens, but there’s a time and place for any
move, and this may not be the best time possible.

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