The Hamilton Bulldogs were seeing stars when they played the first of three games on their schedule this past week.
Were they seeing stars because three of the team’s top players, David Desharnais, P.K. Subban, and Tom Pyatt had just returned after playing some hockey games in the NHL with the Montreal Canadiens? Was it because some giant boulders had dropped on their heads, just as it always happened to the poor old Coyote in the old Warner Bros. Bugs Bunny/Roadrunner cartoons?
Of course, the answer is NO, but perhaps it might have been better for the Bulldogs if in fact they HAD all been whacked on the head with large, heavy, giant boulders because it may have woken them up.
The stars that they were seeing were the Texas Stars, the AHL affiliate of the Dallas Stars, who proceeded to completely trash Hamilton by a score of 5-0 in one of the most awful Bulldogs hockey games in recent history. Texas came into this game sitting in 4th place in the Western Conference with a 29-18-3-4 record and 65 points, 11 points behind the Bulldogs.
The Baby Habs came out flat in this one, right from the game’s opening face-off. Watching paint dry would have been much more exciting than watching what took place out there on the ice at the Dog Pound on February 16th. It’s amazing that such a good team could play so badly. Although, in order to be fair, the Bulldogs cannot be expected to win each and every game that they play. It should also be noted that some of the players (Grant Stevenson, Shawn Belle, Andre Benoit, and Greg Stewart) were suffering from the flu at this time.
Three days later, on February 19th, the Hamilton Bulldogs travelled to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to take on the Griffins (affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings) in the fourth of six meetings between the North Division rivals this season. This game, which was Brock Trotter’s 150th as a Hamilton Bulldog, would quickly erase the horrible memory of the previous game as David Desharnais scored three goals in what would turn out to be a 4-3 victory over the Griffins. Tom Pyatt would record a hat-trick of his own by assisting on all three of the Desharnais goals. Also getting assists were Brock Trotter and Frederic St.Denis. Grant Stevenson would put the final nail in the coffin for Grand Rapids as he scored the 4th goal for the Bulldogs at 1:42 in the 3rd period.
Having begun their week with a 5-0 loss, it is somewhat ironic that the Dogs would end it with a 5-0 win, this coming at the expense of the Adirondack Phantoms (affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers). This afternoon game on Sunday February 21st was the second of four meetings between Hamilton and Adirondack this season and was held at the Bell Centre in Montreal, much to the delight of the 15,529 fans in attendance who showed up to watch this one.
Scoring for the Bulldogs was Tom Pyatt and Brock Trotter with two goals each. Pyatt would also pick up an assist on the 5th Hamilton goal (scored by Grant Stevenson). The additional assists were by Trotter (on Pyatt’s first goal), David Desharnais, Ryan Russell, Chad Anderson, Andre Benoit, and P.K. Subban.
Cedrick Desjardins earned the shutout, which was the 11th for the Hamilton Bulldogs so far this season, and the 6th for Desjardins this season, which now moves him into a tie for 1st place with Jaroslav Halak for the franchise record of six shutouts in a single season.
And to close out this week’s recap with the standings, the Bulldogs continue to sit in 1st place in the North Division; 1st place in the Western Conference; and 2nd place overall in the AHL with a record of 36-14-3-5 and 80 points.