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In this week’s HW Recap: A new frontrunner in
the Habs’ Player Rankings, while the weekly Bulldogs’ StatPack as they surged to
the division lead.  Breaking down some notes in TOI is the focus in Inside
the Numbers, while the Final Thought discusses why people need to calm down
about rushing to get Carey Price voted into the All Star Game.


Players are rated from 1 to however many
players play on a weekly (non-cumulative) basis.  Rankings will be tracked
weekly and averages provided. 

1) Brian Gionta: A 3-point effort on
Saturday night gave him the team lead in points for the week.  In a rare
week where Price didn’t play every game, someone else can have the top ranking.
2  Average:

2) Carey Price: The loss against Philly certainly wasn’t his fault, the
team just basically fell asleep in front of him for about 35 minutes.  He
allowed only one goal in each of his other two starts, basically status quo for
him now.
1  Average:

3) Andrei Kostitsyn: A telling sign for his performance this week: He
the Habs’ PP, scoring both of their powerplay tallies (in 15
7  Average:

4) Tomas Plekanec: Same old, same old for him, decent offensive
production with good defensive play.  My only concern is his faceoff
percentage, now worst on the team amongst regular centres.  As the team’s
top pivot, that needs to be better.
4  Average:

5) Roman Hamrlik: When he keeps it simple (as he did for most of the
week), he was the team’s most consistent d-man out there.  I just wish he’d
stop thinking he can lead the rush on the powerplay.
8  Average:

6) Alex Auld: Yes, he was rusty but he did keep the Atlanta game much
closer than it should have been.  On the plus side, the team let him face
enough shots to basically cover two games of action in one.
N/A  Average:

7) Lars Eller: Yes, he only had one goal (finally his first) but he was
better than the numbers suggested.  Despite 4th line ice time, he generated
scoring chances, made good reads, and for the first time in a while, played like
an impact player which is a great sign moving forward.
17  Average:

8) Jaroslav Spacek: The hair pulling giveaways are still there but there
are a lot fewer of them now.  Since Markov’s injury, he in particular has
raised the level of his game.
9  Average:

9) Mike Cammalleri: There was something off in his game this week and it
showed with just a single point (although it was a GWG against LA). 
Everybody deserves a mulligan here and there though.
3  Average:

10) Maxim Lapierre: I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of him overall
this week.  But he did score the only two (albeit ugly) goals against the
Flyers which alone merits a top-10 ranking.
15  Average:

11) P.K. Subban: All rookies will go through high and low points and this
was one of the latter, as there were numerous defensive mis-reads.  On the
plus side, none of them led directly to goals at least.
5  Average:

12) Benoit Pouliot: I must admit, I’m a bit perplexed as to why he
was benched despite actually producing against the Flyers.  He continues to
play well, hopefully the coaching staff will see that sooner than later.
10  Average:

13) Tom Pyatt: If only he could ever get a goal.  You have to love
the hustle and intensity, especially in the defensive zone though. 
12  Average:

14) Josh Gorges: I thought he struggled significantly for most of the
week but made up for that somewhat with one of his best defensive efforts of the
season against the Sabres.
11  Average:

15) Jeff Halpern: A pretty quiet week for him overall, though I’m
willing to attribute a lot of that to the fact his linemates (Pouliot/Darche)
were curiously demoted.
6  Average:

16) Travis Moen: I have no issues with his defensive play but when
you’re on a supposed scoring line, you need to at least help the offense
somewhat.  Clearly, he hasn’t been doing that.
13  Average:

17) Alexandre Picard: Frankly, he’s not bringing much to the table but
has shown that he can at least eat some minutes.  For now, that’s good
enough for this team.
14  Average:

18) Scott Gomez: Like Picard above, he too can eat minutes but unlike
Picard, he’s actually expected to produce some positives.  He’s still much
too inconsistent, there are good shifts but they are too few and far between
right now.
16  Average:

19) Mathieu Darche: I thought he was completely invisible in his first
two games (LA and Atlanta) but to his credit put forth a solid outing against
the Sabres.
20  Average:

20) Hal Gill: He and his defence partner (Gorges) really had some off
moments.  Unlike Gorges though, Gill didn’t get much better as the games
went on.  A night off for rest for him may be quite beneficial, he just
looks gassed out there.
18  Average:

21) Yannick Weber: I’ll give him this much, he played better in his
second game than he did in the first.  That said, it still doesn’t justify
him being kept around, especially if the plan is to use him as a forward and
only sparingly.  If that’s his role, there are better and cheaper options
in Hamilton, he needs to be playing every night.
19  Average:

 The Dog

The Bulldogs capped off their 6 game road trip
in winning fashion…sort of.  They were able to take the first two games
of the week but dropped the final contest in Syracuse.


November 24






Hamilton 1 1 1 3 0/1 33
Adirondack 0 1 1 2 1/7 41

Attendance:  2,764
3 Stars:
  1) Pacioretty – HAM  2) Sanford – HAM  3) Pither –

November 26






Hamilton 0 0 1 1 0/4 18
Binghamton 0 0 0 0 0/4 33

Attendance:  14,873 (at Scotiabank
Place in Ottawa)
3 Stars:
  1) Avtsin – HAM  2) Mayer – HAM  3) Lehner – BNG

November 28






Hamilton 0 2 0 2 1/5 45
Syracuse 1 1 1 3 3/4 21

Attendance:  3,483
3 Stars:
  1) Pielmeier – SYR  2) Beleskey – SYR  3) Lupul –


The injury/illness bug struck the Bulldogs even
harder this week as Aaron Palushaj, Curtis Sanford, and Ben Maxwell all missed
time due to this, while Ian Schultz was suspended in the Adirondack game. 
However, Hamilton managed to dress a full roster each game at least.









4 Brendon Nash 3 0 1 +3 3 2
5 Alex Henry 3 0 0 +2 3 2
10 J.T. Wyman 3 0 2 +3 9 2
12 Andrew Conboy 3 1 0 +1 4 4
14 Olivier Fortier 3 0 1 +1 7 0
15 Kyle Klubertanz 3 0 0 +1 5 2
19 Ben Maxwell 1 0 0 E 2 0
20 Ryan Russell 3 0 0 E 3 7
22 Andreas Engqvist 3 0 1 +1 2 0
23 Max Pacioretty 3 3 1 +2 14 2
24 Ian Schultz 1 0 0 E 1 7
25 Ryan White 2 1 0 E 5 2
26 Alexander Avtsin 3 1 0 E 7 2
28 Aaron Palushaj 2 0 1 +1 5 0
32 Frederic St. Denis 3 0 1 -1 3 0
40 Gabriel Dumont 3 0 1 +1 7 7
44 Jimmy Bonneau 3 0 0 E 0 17
51 David Desharnais 3 1 2 +2 6 2
61 Hunter Bishop 2 0 0 E 3 2
72 Mathieu Carle 3 0 0 +3 9 0
85 Neil Petruic 3 0 0 E 3 2






1 Curtis Sanford 1-0-0 .959 1.50
35 Robert Mayer 1-1-0 .935 1.81


Goals: Max Pacioretty (11)
Assists: David Desharnais (18)
Points: Pacioretty/Desharnais (25)
+/-: David Desharnais (+10)
PIMS: Jimmy Bonneau (60)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (98)


December 1: Abbotsford vs
December 3: Peoria vs Hamilton
December 4: Chicago vs Hamilton

the Numbers

When I look at the stat sheet for each game,
one of the things I always try and make a note of is ice time.  Those who
have read this weekly column over the years know I’m a big proponent of getting
the 4th line enough ice time to keep the top players fresh as the year
progresses.  Sadly, this hasn’t happened a whole lot this year. 
However, there are some interesting notes regardless, here’s what caught my eye
through the first 24 games of the season:

– Only two players have average shift lengths lasting 50 seconds or longer,
Scott Gomez (50) and Mike Cammalleri (51).  Despite being the team’s top
point getter, Tomas Plekanec (47) ranks 7th in this category.

– Tom Pyatt (41 seconds) has actually played more than Travis Moen (35 seconds)
on the PP.  This, despite the fact Moen often plays on a scoring line.

– Speaking of Pyatt, he has played the 2nd most time shorthanded amongst
Canadiens forwards this year (65:04), only 1:25 behind Jeff Halpern.

– Josh Gorges not surprisingly has been the season long minute muncher, leading
all Habs in even strength TOI (407:12) and shorthanded TOI (93:43).


for all of the TOI stats.


Ever since the surprising exclusion of Carey
Price from the NHL’s All Star ballot, there have been outcries to rally the
troops and vote him in as a starter.  My question is, why?  What is so
important about being voted into what most call a meaningless event?  The
NHL (and any other league that has All Star voting) would like to have you
believe that it actually means something to be voted in by the fans.  Guess
what, it doesn’t, at least not anymore.

Being voted into the game isn’t necessarily a reflection of fan support, but
rather who can come up with a script to bypass the voting system.  We saw
that two years ago when Montreal and Pittsburgh fans squared off in a battle
just like that.  For the sake of the league’s dignity, here’s hoping they
closed off that loophole, but you’ll have to pardon my skepticism on that one.

So back to Price for a minute.  Is there any doubt that if he keeps up this
level of play that he’s not going to make it into the game?  Of course not,
so why the fuss to make him a starter?  It’s supposed to mean something to
be voted in but I personally feel the opposite.  If you are named to the
game, that means you at least earned it, that isn’t necessarily the case
by being voted in as we’ve seen time and time again when it comes to fan voting
and sports in general. 

I realize this is largely moot since Price, barring injury or him forgetting how
to skate, is basically a lock to play at the All Star game in Carolina in
January.  (Speaking of the game being considered meaningless, here’s an
idea: Put it where someone may actually care, but I digress.)  His omission
wasn’t a shot at the organization and it doesn’t justify an "us against the
world mentality" like some suggest.  He’ll be in the game, and if people
really are so worked up about him not being included, isn’t that all that

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