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To say that this past week was one to forget
would be too great of an understatement.  The Habs were terrible, and the
Bulldogs weren’t any better.  The Alexei Kovalev saga continues to evolve,
and that’s the topic for this week’s Final Thought.  We look back at
another former late bloomer in our ex-player segment, plus as always 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


Carey Price:

For those who are saying he needed to steal one of the games where the Habs
scored just once, that’s a little unreasonable.  But he definitely
struggled this week.  (Previous:
7.25   Average:


Ryan O’Byrne:

Very impressed with his return this week – had patience with the puck and for
the most part made the right decisions.  With these injuries, he’ll need to
keep it up.  (Previous: N/A   Average:

Andrei Markov:

He was the only defenceman who at least made up
for some of his blunders by picking up a couple of points.  (Previous:

Alex Henry:

We all knew he was going to fight and he did.  Aside from that, nothing
special, but as a callup defenceman, that’s not half bad.  (Previous:
N/A   Average:

Roman Hamrlik:

Had the less blatantly obvious errors this week; if only that was actually a
positive.  (Previous: 6.75   Average:

Josh Gorges:

A lot of bad luck for him, with the mistakes and injuries.  As much as I
like him, I don’t quite feel as confident in saying he’s a legit top-4 anymore,
not with the way he’s been worn out over the last few weeks.  (Previous:
7.00   Average:

Patrice Brisebois:

He slides ahead of a couple of defenders because everyone actually expects him
to mess up – this is far from an endorsement.  (Previous:
6.25   Average:

Francis Bouillon:

With Gorges and Brisebois currently hurt, he has a chance to solidify his spot
in the lineup going forward.  If this past week was any indication, don’t
get your hopes up.  (Previous: 6.75   Average:

Mike Komisarek:

I don’t know what happened with him this week – did contract talks go bad or
something?  Hard to find a way to justify that many mistakes.  (Previous:
7.25   Average:


Maxim Lapierre:
He was their best and most
consistent player this week.  This is a large reason why they went 1-3, he
can’t be counted on to carry the offensive load.  (Previous:
7.50   Average:

Saku Koivu:
The effort was there
consistently (unlike many), but the production wasn’t.  The grace period is
up now (justified or not) and he will have to become a threat once more in the
offensive zone.  (Previous: 7.25   Average:

Guillaume Latendresse:
I liked the hustle, now we
can only hope he can return to his strong form after he returns from injury.  (Previous:

Robert Lang:
Some very good and very
bad this week.  His injury is going to have a bigger impact than most
realize, as the 3 offensive line setup may be permanently laid to rest now.  (Previous:
7.00   Average:

Tomas Plekanec:
The production was still
non-existent, but I will give credit where it is due – he hustled and generated
some changes which is a step in the right direction.  (Previous:
6.75   Average:

Chris Higgins:
People are jumping on him a
little quick as he regains his playing shape.  Like Koivu, the expectations
are legit now with the injury woes.  (Previous:
N/A   Average:

Max Pacioretty:
I thought his scratching
was unwarranted, as he’s been doing the little things.  Considering his
linemates at the time, that’s all that could be asked.  (Previous:
7.50   Average:

Steve Begin:
Once again, the timing of
his benching is more than curious.  He’s not the best player on the team,
but he usually is a positive in the lineup.  (Previous:
7.50   Average:

Matt D’Agostini:
Failed to build on his
solid play which coincided with Koivu’s return last week.  With the
injuries, he is going to have to become a lot more consistent.  (Previous:

Andrei Kostitsyn:
Some critical mistakes,
but he was one of the few players who was actually a threat offensively, even if
the production went by the wayside.  (Previous:
7.00   Average:

Sergei Kostitsyn:
A confidence building trip
to Hamilton really would do him some good, but unfortunately it won’t be
happening unless there’s some moves made.  (Previous:
6.75   Average:

Tom Kostopoulos:
The good news is that he
has a willingness to crash the net if nothing else.  The bad news is that
he keeps going long after he makes initial contact, and that has been costly.  (Previous:
6.75   Average:

Alexei Kovalev:
A positive was the fact he played so poorly and still had 2 points.  As
for the negatives, read the Final Thought.  (Previous:
6.50   Average:

Week’s Average:
Season Average:

The Dog

Like the Habs, it’s hard to spin too many
positives out of the Bulldogs’ performance this past week.


January 30
2 3


Hamilton 0 1 1 2 2/4 20
Toronto 1 2 1 4 1/3 39

Attendance:  3,921
3 Stars:
  1) Stapleton – TOR  2) Rogers – TOR  3) Boyce – TOR

January 31
2 3


Hamilton 1 0 0 1 0/2 23
Lake Erie 1 0 2 3 2/5 35

Attendance:  12,389
3 Stars:
  1) Dupuis – LE  2) Hendricks – LE  3) Weiman – LE


Mike Glumac continues to work at earning a
callup (although his waiver status could be a concern), as he was the only
bright spot for the Bulldogs this week.


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


# Player Record SV% GAA
30 Cedrick Desjardins 0-1-0 .897 4.18
38 Marc Denis 0-1-0 .941 2.01


Goals:  Glumac (21)
  Lehoux (29)
  Lehoux (44)
  Jancevski/Russell (+17)
  Stewart (133)

This Week:

February 4:  Syracuse vs Hamilton
February 6:
  Binghamton vs Hamilton
February 8:  Lake Erie vs Hamilton


People often talk about Mark Streit as really the only player who was drafted as
a pure overager (over 25) and then played for Montreal the following season. 
There are others, and this week’s feature player is one of those.

Andrei Bashkirov was bouncing around the lower levels of the minors in North
America before having a breakout season with Fort Wayne of the International
League in 97-98.  His play impressed the Montreal scouts, as they selected
the then 28-year old forward in the 1998 Draft (132nd overall). 
Unfortunately, he didn’t have a significant impact on the Habs lineup, going
pointless in 10 games, and wound up back in Fort Wayne for the majority of the
season.  The following year (99-00) saw him earn a fulltime promotion to
the AHL, save for a 2 game callup to the Habs (also pointless).  His final
season in North America turned out to be the 2000-01 campaign, one where he
earned his only NHL points, a trio of assists in an 18-game callup.  He
spent the rest of the year in Quebec, before calling it a career on that side of
the continent.

Bashkirov spent the next 5 seasons playing in the Swiss league in Lausanne
and Fribourg, with a small stop in Russia where he suited up for Cherepovets for
22 games.  Since then, he has applied his trade in Russia, playing for 3
different teams over the last season in the RSL/KHL. 


Much has been made lately over the
most recent lousy play of the enigmatic Russian Alexei Kovalev.  His
supporters maintain that this slump directly coincides with the return of Saku
Koivu (although this isn’t entirely true as his stats over that time aren’t
really any better).  There have even been proponents that suggest that
Kovalev should be captain, as that could motivate him to produce better. 
If you’re going to suggest that, why not the same for the other A’s in Higgins,
Komisarek, and Markov?  It’s the exact same argument, and a terrible one at

A player’s success shouldn’t be determined by a letter – coach Guy Carbonneau
said as much after Sunday’s loss when he unequivocally stated that there will
not be a captaincy change (and that’s about the only decision he made that I
agreed with this week, but I digress).  If Kovalev doesn’t feel he should
wear the ‘A’, that’s fine.  Give it to somebody else – one who will
actually be proud to have the honour and wear it with pride, instead of the
sulking and subtle smirks when the Habs are scored on that we’re seeing now. 
The fact that there is a letter on that jersey should be enough of an honour,
regardless of how far along the alphabet it actually is.

You know, I do tend to agree with the people who say Kovalev is leading this
team.  The problem is, he’s leading them right out of the race for 1st in
the East and into the race to just make the playoffs.  To borrow a
frequently overused line from the U.S. Election campaign and tweak it ever so
slightly, "Now that’s leadership?"

Our comment feature still isn’t
fully functioning, so to anyone who’s
sent comments through the box recently and hasn’t gotten anything back, I apologize – I simply
didn’t receive them.  If you’d like to drop me a line, please do so by
e-mailing me. 
On behalf of everyone at HW, I do apologize for the inconvenience. 

The Recap will be on hiatus next week, but will be back for the week
ending February 16th.  Grades will still be recorded for this week, just
not published immediately.