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The Habs lived and died by the shutout this
week, winning a pair and dropping one.  In Hamilton, the Bulldogs got back
to their winning ways, winning 3 of 4.  As always, the Recap has the Habs’
Player Rankings and Bulldogs StatPack, plus my take on the Subban/Richards issue
and whether the time has come to send Lars Eller down to Hamilton.


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) Carey Price: He struggled a bit vs
Nashville but 2 shutouts are 2 shutouts.  I think he has a legitimate shot
at being one of the NHL’s 3-Stars again this week.
1  Average:

2) Brian Gionta: Though the captain lost his point streak on
Thursday, he clearly was one of the biggest offensive threats overall.  He
seems to be comfortable playing alongside Plekanec.
4  Average:

3) Mike Cammalleri: He single handedly accounted for 40% of the
team’s goals this week.  Little known fact: The Habs are 5-0 when he scores
a goal.
3  Average:

4) Tomas Plekanec: Although his offensive game wasn’t as dynamic as
in recent weeks, he did all of the little things (especially back check and play
aggressive on the PK) while still picking up a couple of points.
2  Average:

5) P.K. Subban: At the beginning of the year, he was playing like a
4th or 5th d-man.  Now, even with Markov out, his play recently has been
that of a top pairing blueliner.
9  Average:

6) Jeff Halpern: We’re in November and I’m already running out of ways to
talk about what a good signing he turned out to be.  His SHG vs Toronto was
huge, no question.
14  Average:

7) Andrei Kostitsyn: Like Cammalleri/Gionta in their slumps, he hasn’t
shied away from shooting the puck.  Also like those two, the shots will go
in soon enough, no qualms with his play otherwise.
10  Average:

8) Roman Hamrlik: As he has done since he arrived in Montreal, his
game seems to vastly improve as soon as Andrei Markov goes down. 
(Unfortunately, it always dies off but we’re not there yet.)
5  Average:

9) Jaroslav Spacek: Though his play wasn’t as strong as last week, it
was still certainly a step up from his efforts earlier in the season.
6  Average:

10) Benoit Pouliot: A relatively quiet week compared to when his line
was producing regularly but he was still effective.  He’s at his best when
he drives the net aggressively, we saw a couple of glimpses of that against the
12  Average:

11) Josh Gorges: I won’t say he has taken a step back lately but he
has been a lot less noticeable out there recently.  This is more the
calibre of play that is sustainable over the long haul which isn’t a bad thing.
13  Average:

12) Tom Pyatt: On Halpern’s goal, my first immediate instinct upon
watching the replay was hoping to see Pyatt get an assist which he did. 
It’s hard to root against him, that’s for sure.
11  Average:

13) Travis Moen: The aggressive penalty kill the Habs are using seems
to have really benefited him.  He actually generates more scoring chances
down a skater than when he plays 5-on-5.
16  Average:

14) Alexandre Picard: He’s starting to assert himself more and more
out there.  Frankly, I’m not sure that’s a good thing, I actually enjoyed
going periods without hearing his name – if the other team isn’t scoring when
he’s out there (which they haven’t), why mess with a good thing?
N/A  Average:

15) Maxim Lapierre: I honestly can’t recall instances where he’s been
hitting often but alas, they’re up there on the scoresheet.  Better than
nothing I suppose.
17  Average:

16) Scott Gomez: I thought he had turned the corner after some good
efforts the week before but he reverted back to his early season play.  I
still think he’ll turn it around though.
7  Average:

17) Lars Eller: He showed some signs of playing with confidence in
the Nashville game…at a time where hardly anyone else was it seemed.
19  Average:

18) Hal Gill: I watched every game and I can only remember seeing him
on the ice maybe a combined 8-10 times.  He could stand to be more of a
presence at times.
18  Average:

19) Yannick Weber: I honestly didn’t see the need to keep him around
beyond him being the emergency call up for Thursday (with Gorges being
questionable).  Having watched him play Saturday, I still don’t see the
N/A  Average:

20) Mathieu Darche: He just didn’t have ‘it’ in either game this
week.  It’s not the end of the world though, he’ll get another look soon
15  Average:

 The Dog

The Bulldogs may be sick of their division
rival, the Toronto Marlies.  They played a total of 3 games this week
alone, with Hamilton winning a pair. 


November 16









0 0 1 0 0 1 0/2 24
Hamilton 0 0 1 0 1 2 1/4 44

Attendance:  2,497
3 Stars:
  1) Rynnas – TOR  2) Desharnais – HAM  3) Sanford – HAM

November 19






Hamilton 1 4 0 5 3/6 29
Rochester 1 0 2 3 0/4 25

Attendance:  4,111
3 Stars:
  1) Desharnais – HAM  2) Carle – HAM  3) Pacioretty –

November 20








Hamilton 0 2 1 0 0 3 1/5 36
Toronto 1 1 1 0 1 4 0/6 33

Attendance:  4,457
3 Stars:
  1) Pacioretty – HAM  2) Scott – TOR  3) Engel – TOR

November 21






Hamilton 0 1 2 3 0/5 24
Toronto 0 0 1 1 0/6 29

Attendance:  5,624
3 Stars:
  1) Dumont – HAM  2) Scott – TOR  3) Pacioretty –


The Bulldogs’ depth was tested without Yannick
Weber (recall), Andrew Conboy (injury), and Ryan White (injury on Friday night);
they acquitted themselves well for the
most part.









4 Brendon Nash 4 0 1 E 4 11
5 Alex Henry 4 0 0 -1 0 2
7 Yannick Weber 1 0 0 -1 5 0
10 J.T. Wyman 4 1 1 E 10 2
14 Olivier Fortier 4 1 0 -1 5 2
15 Kyle Klubertanz 4 0 0 -1 3 2
19 Ben Maxwell 4 1 3 +1 10 0
20 Ryan Russell 4 0 0 E 10 0
22 Andreas Engqvist 4 0 0 -2 9 0
23 Max Pacioretty 4 4 3 +3 20 2
24 Ian Schultz 3 0 0 -1 3 0
25 Ryan White 2 1 0 E 5 2
26 Alexander Avtsin 4 1 2 -1 8 2
28 Aaron Palushaj 4 0 2 -2 5 4
32 Frederic St. Denis 4 0 0 -1 9 0
40 Gabriel Dumont 3 1 0 +1 7 7
44 Jimmy Bonneau 4 0 0 -1 2 12
51 David Desharnais 4 1 4 E 6 4
72 Mathieu Carle 4 1 1 E 8 8
85 Neil Petruic 3 0 1 +1 4 0






1 Curtis Sanford 2-0-0 .936 1.62
35 Robert Mayer 0-0-1 .909 2.77


# Player G/ATT
19 Ben Maxwell 0/1
20 Ryan Russell 0/2
23 Max Pacioretty 1/2
26 Alexander Avtsin 1/2
28 Aaron Palushaj 0/2
40 Gabriel Dumont 0/1
51 David Desharnais 1/2


# Player SVS/ATT
1 Curtis Sanford 4/5
35 Robert Mayer 5/7


Goals: Pacioretty/Weber (8)
Assists: David Desharnais (16)
Points: David Desharnais (22)
+/-: David Desharnais (+8)
PIMS: Jimmy Bonneau (43)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (84)


November 24: Hamilton vs
November 26: Hamilton vs Binghamton (at Scotiabank Place
in Ottawa)
November 28: Hamilton vs Syracuse

Not-so-final Thought

Having skipped my Final Thought segment last
week to provide an overview of the Habs’ LTIR situation, I’ll make up for it
this week with a pair of Final Thoughts.  First off, the Subban vs Mike
Richards debacle.

Like most Montreal fans, Richards calling out Subban rubbed me the wrong way. 
That said, he probably has a good point.  Subban does run his mouth a lot
more than the average player; doing that is bad enough but as a rookie?  I
can see his point, as a lot of his chirping is largely unnecessary.  Subban
is good enough to let his play do the talking and I suspect he’ll realize that
soon enough.  Unfortunately, this will probably come after some cheap
shots, fights, and likely an injury or two.  For his sake, hopefully he
figures out how to chirp at the right time sooner than later.

As for Richards being the one to come out and say it, isn’t it just a teensy bit
hypocritical?  Richards, as captain of the Flyers, is captain of what many
feel is the dirtiest team in the league.  Since one can equate ‘thuggery’
to a lack of respect, of all the people to call Subban out for disrespecting
other players with his yapping as a rookie, it had to be him?  There’s a
saying every one of us learned back in our early days of school, "Sticks and
stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me."  Perhaps it’s a
phrase the Flyers need a refresher on.


All season long, we’ve all been wondering if
the Habs were taking the best course of action with Lars Eller, keeping him on
the roster and easing him into things.  Of course, we’ve seen this strategy
fail before with Guillaume Latendresse and Max Pacioretty, though the latter is
picking things up in Hamilton right now.  So rather than just make a
blanket statement saying whether he should be sent down or not, it’s best to
weigh the pros and cons of a demotion.  Below are arguments for sending him
to Hamilton as well as counter arguments for why it’s best to keep him in the

Send to

  • Ice time and an offensive role – this is the
    likely role for him down the road so why not play him in those types of
  • Cap space/reduced bonuses – with Markov out,
    some extra space to avoid hitting LTIR really could come in handy.
  • Slow down the waiver clock to avoid a repeat
    of the Latendresse fiasco years ago.
  • Develop chemistry with some of the other
    prospects in the system.

Keep in

  • Morale – he was told he earned a roster spot
    and frankly hasn’t done anything to lose it.  He was also recently told
    to find a place to live, it wouldn’t make him too happy to find a place, then
    be told to leave it, even for the short-term.  A pay cut wouldn’t make
    too thrilled either.
  • Defensive development – he’s playing with
    decent linemates in terms of their defensive proficiency and is playing for a
    coach known for developing players…at least their defensive skills.
  • Practice – though it may not show in games
    right away, a player can develop simply by skating with NHL’ers on a regular
  • Develop chemistry with the current players,
    especially those that will be in Montreal long-term like Eller probably will

Both sets of arguments are compelling and there
really are benefits to keeping a player up primarily for practice purposes (just
ask the Blues and Alex Pietrangelo).  That said, I’m of the mindset that a
brief sojourn to Hamilton (think a couple of weeks) would probably be in his and
the team’s best interest.  It would free up a spot for the team to give a
look to a prospect currently doing well in Hamilton or to bring someone up who
would best fit Eller’s current role as a 4th line C…though that option just
hit the IR in Ryan White.  It would give Eller a chance to play a key role,
play in all situations, and get some confidence going, something that has been
largely inconsistent if not non-existent for most of this season.  Brief
stints like this have worked well in the past, not only for the Habs but for
other teams and Eller is a smart enough player to take it the right way and
understand the benefits that would come from such a move. 

If you have any questions regarding
this article or the

please feel free to drop me a line at
[email protected]