The Habs learned a valuable lesson this week –
trapping only works when you can actually play defence. Sadly, it took a
trio of awful road games to prove this. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, the
road was a little kinder to them, as they took 2 of 3. A Montreal native
is the focus of our former player segment, while the Final Thought takes a quick
look at the cap situation heading forward. 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.
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.
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
Despite there being no Recap last week,
grades were still recorded and are shown in the ‘previous’ column. This
week, the grades section has been cut down due to time restraints. They
will be back to their normal form next week.
The road woes weren’t as existent for Hamilton,
who got a pair of stellar outings from G Marc Denis and with that, a a pair of
3 Stars: 1) Denis – HAM 2) Lehoux – HAM 3) Aucoin – HER
3 Stars: 1) Denis – HAM 2) Gainey – HAM 3) Desharnais –
3 Stars: 1) Cote – WBS 2) Wallace – WBS 3) Kemp – HAM
A pair of players made their Hamilton debuts
this week as the team continues their adventure to ice a full roster on a
nightly basis. Lately, they’ve had some difficulties doing so with all of
|32||Frederic St. Denis||1||0||0||-1||2||4|
Goals: Glumac (21)
Assists: Lehoux (31)
Points: Lehoux (47)
+/-: Chipchura (+18) (Active leader: Russell (+17))
PIMS: Stewart (153)
February 16: Hamilton vs
February 20: Hamilton vs Toronto
February 21: Wilkes-Barre vs Hamilton
February 22: Syracuse vs Hamilton
Earlier this week when I saw Chris Gratton’s
name back on waivers, a thought popped in my head. Strangely enough, it
wasn’t with regards to whether the team should have picked him up or not, but
rather about a former Hab with that same last name.
Benoit Gratton was a 5th rounder of the Capitals back in 1995. Although
undersized, he always played on the edge, totaling at least 135 PIMS in his 3
seasons in the Washington organization. He joined the Flames in 1999 where
he saw the bulk of his NHL games, playing 24 in a 2-year span. He finished
the 2000-01 season in Calgary, and was placed on waivers so he could join their
AHL squad. It was here the Habs picked him up, ultimately denying him the
opportunity to play for the eventual Calder Cup champions. He spent a trio
of seasons in the Canadiens organization, earning a pair of brief unsuccessful
callups while being a core player for both Quebec and Hamilton. As has
been the case with many of the players featured here this year, the time spent
with the Habs was the end of his North American playing days.
He signed with Lugano of the Swiss league prior to the 2004-05 season, spending
just that one season there before heading off to Germany. He spent a trio
of seasons with Hamburg of the DEL, playing alongside a pair of players who
spent a brief period of time with Montreal’s AHL affiliates in Francois Fortier
and Marc Beaucage. This year, he’s skating with Vienna in Austria, where
he is second in scoring to another former Montreal prospect, Patrick Lebeau.
Over the last few weeks, everyone seems to be
pointing the finger of blame at 3 people in particular, Guy Carbonneau, Bob
Gainey, and Alexei Kovalev. To a degree, some of these are justifiable, as
no one knows what Carbonneau’s thinking when he puts his lines together, and we
all know that Kovalev’s head is on its bi-annual tour of "anywhere but
Montreal." I’m not sure the high criticism levels of Gainey are as
warranted though. The Habs aren’t in a desirable cap situation, as the
team has just over $700,000 in current cap space as of the time of writing and
at least a pair of holes to fill with that money. Yes, Robert Lang is
eligible to be placed on LTIR, but that can only be done when the team goes over
the cap, which they aren’t just yet. Also, Kyle Chipchura likely will be
demoted later this week, so the cap space will approach roughly $1 million.
This is about the equivalent of a $3.3 million dollar player, not exactly a
superstar we’re talking about. Yes, there’s potential with Lang if need
be, but even with him, this doesn’t open up millions upon millions in space to
work with. They’ll have enough to add one core piece, or a couple of
supplementary players. Why exactly does this need to be done now, with so
few genuine sellers on the market? Some of the best guys that’ll be moved
on D-day aren’t even available now. I get that if the guy you want is
there, make a deal to ensure you get him, but otherwise, why deal for the sake
of change, limiting what you can do later on with guys you may have more
Gainey continues to be chastised for not making a move when there really isn’t
anything too exciting to make a move for, regardless of what certain rumour
mongers might claim. As a fan, I’d love to see him make a move, but only
if it’s the right situation. The silence coming out of Montreal suggests
that said situation doesn’t exist and if that’s the case, good on you Gainey for
holding tight. Just don’t let the right situation pass you by…
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