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In this week’s HW Recap, was the fact that
Scott Gomez earned a point in each game enough to keep him atop the player
rankings?  Hits are the focus of this segment of Inside the Numbers, while
my Final Thought wonders why is there all this negativity for a 1st place team?


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) Scott Gomez: Once again, Gomez
showed us what he can do best, pass the puck.  Of the 7 goals the Habs
scored, he had the primary assist on 3 of them, plus a goal of his own.
1  Average:

2) Mike Cammalleri: He was one of the few offensive threats in Dallas
while picking up a point in each of the other games.  Most weeks, that
wouldn’t get him top-5 but when the team struggled, that’s good enough for 2nd
this time.
3  Average:

3) Brian Gionta: Like I noted last week, he’s getting the shots, they’re
just not going in…yet.  Once they do with more regularity, look out.
4  Average:

4) Max Pacioretty: He didn’t pick up a single point in the 3 games
but again played a key role.  He drove (and stood in front of) the net and
was strong along the boards.  Given the relative lack of success wingers
have had with Gomez/Gionta this year, that’s a big step in the right direction.
2  Average:

5) Tomas Plekanec: I thought he was absolutely invisible for the first
two games.  However, in Carolina, he was arguably the best player on either
side.  We need to see more of the latter here over the former.
6  Average:

6) Carey Price: He didn’t play poorly in Colorado or Dallas but he didn’t
make the big saves either.  On Thursday against the Canes, he did just
that, especially in the late stages of the game.
5  Average:

7) Alexandre Picard: This pains me as I thought his only decent game was
against Carolina.  However, unlike the other d-men, he made up for his
mistakes by scoring a pair of PPG’s.
19  Average:

8) Jaroslav Spacek: I thought he was the better d-man on his pairing and
much like Picard, he helped make up for his mistakes with his offensive
contributions (3 assists).
16  Average:

9) Lars Eller: He looked out of place on the Plekanec line but when moved
back into a bottom-6 role, he went back to his steady play.  Still, an
opportunity squandered for sure.
13  Average:

10) Jeff Halpern: At the very least, he remains Mr. Reliable on the draw,
look no further than the last minute in Colorado (3/3 on the draw in the
offensive zone) for proof.
11  Average:

11) Andrei Kostitsyn: He bounced back from his benching in the best way
possible, scoring a goal to end a month long drought.  That should count
for something at least.

17  Average:

12) Mathieu Darche: He does well driving to the net but couldn’t the
broad side of the barn with his stick when he got there.  With his skate,
that was another story…
15  Average:

13) Roman Hamrlik: He was decent the first couple of games but to put it
lightly, really struggled in Carolina.  It’ll only be so long before he
wears down with the extra minutes.
7  Average:

14) Tom Pyatt: You don’t really notice him when he’s in the lineup but
(on the PK at least), you notice when he isn’t there.  That’s the perfect
mantra for a depth 4th liner.
N/A  Average:

15) Hal Gill: By far the quietest d-man amongst the bunch this week,
which is certainly a good thing, although he too had his struggles.
14  Average:

16) Maxim Lapierre: He continues to play a physical game but he’s not
bringing much else to the table.  Even in years past he’d at least pop a
goal here and there.
10  Average:

17) Travis Moen: The highlight of his week was a 10-15 foot pass that led
to a goal.  When you’re supposed to be a hitter, something isn’t right
18  Average:

18) Yannick Weber: When you’re a PP specialist, you can’t be caught
making a lazy mistake that helps contribute to a SHG against your team.  He
was decent otherwise but that mistake bugged me.
N/A  Average:

19) Josh Gorges: His effort in Dallas was so bad, it was almost comical,
a culmination of anything that could go wrong did go wrong.  His other
games weren’t too bad at least.
12  Average:

20) P.K. Subban: If you make a costly mistake each game and you’re a
rookie, you’re not going to be given a long leash.  Doesn’t matter who that
rookie is, he isn’t going to play every game.  Such is life here.
8  Average:

21) Benoit Pouliot: After being demoted in practice, I was curious to see
how he’d react the next night.  That effort in Dallas couldn’t have been
much worse, the worst reaction possible.
9  Average:

The Dog

The Bulldogs finished the Western portion of
their road trip with an offensive flurry but still it was only enough to split
their pair of games.


December 19






Hamilton 1 1 2 4 0/4 23
San Antonio 0 3 2 5 2/6 38

Attendance:  4,364
3 Stars:
  1) Picard – SA  2) Kearns – SA  3) Dumont – HAM

December 21






Hamilton 3 2 0 5 1/4 29
Houston 0 0 0 0 0/5 38

Attendance:  5,582
3 Stars:
  1) Desharnais – HAM  2) Nash – HAM  3) Sanford –


Though he may not have been producing much
offence with the Habs, Dustin Boyd has done a terrific job picking up where Max
Pacioretty left off before his recall.









4 Brendon Nash 2 0 1 +4 1 6
5 Alex Henry 2 0 1 +1 1 7
10 J.T. Wyman 2 0 0 +1 5 0
12 Andrew Conboy 2 2 0 +2 4 0
14 Olivier Fortier 2 1 0 E 2 0
15 Kyle Klubertanz 2 0 0 +2 1 2
16 David Urquhart 2 0 0 +1 0 0
17 Dustin Boyd 2 2 0 +2 6 0
19 Ben Maxwell 2 0 2 +2 7 2
20 Ryan Russell 2 1 1 +1 2 0
22 Andreas Engqvist 2 1 0 +1 3 0
24 Ian Schultz 1 0 0 E 1 0
25 Ryan White 2 0 0 E 1 12
28 Aaron Palushaj 1 0 0 -1 2 0
32 Frederic St. Denis 2 0 0 +2 5 0
40 Gabriel Dumont 2 0 4 +1 7 2
44 Jimmy Bonneau 2 0 0 E 0 20
51 David Desharnais 2 2 3 +3 3 2
85 Neil Petruic 2 0 0 +1 0 11






1 Curtis Sanford 1-0-0 1.000 0.00
35 Robert Mayer 0-1-0 .868 5.12


Goals: Max Pacioretty (17)
(Tied for league lead)
Assists: David Desharnais (30) (League leader)
Points: David Desharnais (40) (League leader)
+/-: David Desharnais (+14)
PIMS: Jimmy Bonneau (89)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (132)


December 26: Hamilton vs Toronto
December 28: Chicago vs Hamilton
December 30: Lake Erie vs Hamilton
January 1: Hamilton vs Lake Erie

the Numbers

It’s one of the most subjective and
controversial stats in all of hockey and yet it’s one of the most popular: hits. 
Everyone loves a good hitter, Montreal fans included…though unfortunately all
the good hitters seem to be on other teams.  But simply looking at hits
alone doesn’t tell the whole story as since it is termed a ‘real-time stat,’
there is a level of subjectivity to it; when there’s subjectivity, there’s bias
too (and when bias exists, surely fun conspiracy theories are sure to follow). 

I will admit, the decision to take a closer look at hits mostly stemmed from the
fact Maxim Lapierre has been in the top-25 in that department all season. 
Going in, I thought the majority of those would be home hits, as the home
statistician in the past has loved awarding Montreal players extra hits. 
The comparison is a simple one, looking at road hits per game and home hits per
game, with the difference being my point of interest.  Anything over 0.5
HPG (about 16 hits over the course of the season) would be notable.  So, is
Lapierre’s presence in the top-25 (currently 20th) justified or is there a
severe case of bias going on here?

Player Road HPG Home HPG Difference
Dustin Boyd 1.83 0.25 1.58
P.K. Subban 2.21 1.06 1.16
Brian Gionta 1.50 1.11 0.39
Benoit Pouliot 1.93 1.58 0.35
Josh Gorges 1.63 1.32 0.31
Travis Moen 1.63 1.37 0.26
Maxim Lapierre 2.81 2.63 0.18
Mike Cammalleri 0.40 0.26 0.14
Roman Hamrlik 1.07 0.95 0.12
Andrei Markov 0.33 0.25 0.08
Scott Gomez 0.43 0.37 0.06
Tom Pyatt 0.57 0.56 0.01
Hal Gill 0.94 0.95 -0.01
Jaroslav Spacek 0.94 0.95 -0.01
Alexandre Picard 1.15 1.21 -0.06
Jeff Halpern 0.31 0.42 -0.11
Lars Eller 0.75 0.94 -0.19
Tomas Plekanec 0.73 0.95 -0.21
Mathieu Darche 0.85 1.69 -0.84
Yannick Weber 0.75 1.67 -0.92
Andrei Kostitsyn 0.93 2.79 -1.86
Max Pacioretty 1.67 4.00 -2.33

Looking at the results, two things jump out at
me.  The first is that Lapierre earns more hits per game on the road than
at home, proving that I can be wrong with the best of them.  The second is
that only 6 players scored over the 0.5 per game difference, two of those (Weber
and Pacioretty) really should be discounted due to too small of a sample size to
work with.  Of the remaining four, two (Boyd and Subban) average over one
hit per game more on the road, while Darche and Kostitsyn hit substantially more
at home. 

Of the four over the 0.5 threshold, Kostitsyn’s results set off alarm bells for
me.  Bias can play a role, but not to the extent of nearly two hits per
game…and considering Kostitsyn’s general popularity, I’m not sure I’m willing
to concede any sort of positive bias with him.  To me, this is evidence
that his game on the road involves less effort than he gives at home, which
obviously isn’t good.  Scoring will come and go but physical play should be
pretty stable over the year; the fact that most are within 0.4 HPG either way
suggests most players on the Habs are like this.  As for why Kostitsyn was
scratched the other night in Dallas?  I wonder if this stat may have played
a role in the decision…


As we sit here approaching the final week of
2010, with the Habs still in 1st in the division as they’ve been for most of the
year, one would think fans might be happy.  With what was a relatively
quiet offseason in terms of bringing new talent in and the question marks
surrounding the goaltending, the fact that the team is in 1st should be a
positive, at least I think so.  Yet what have we seen over the last several
weeks?  Negativity, negativity, and more negativity. 

Instead of being pessimistic (and I admit I can be like that too) and griping
about the benching of Subban (and to a lesser extent, Kostitsyn), the struggles
of certain veterans, Andrei Markov’s injury, and the boring (to most) style of
play, why not look at the good things?  Carey Price is having an All-Star
calibre season, Tomas Plekanec is living up to his new contract, and all of a
sudden Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez have rediscovered their chemistry.  Oh
yeah, and the Habs are still in 1st.  Save the negativity for when times
actually get rough (how ugly will it be then?) but for now, this is one writer
who is choosing to look at the positive side of things.

If you have any questions regarding
this article or the

please feel free to drop me a line at
[email protected].  On
behalf of the entire staff at HabsWorld, I’d like to wish everyone and their
families a safe and happy holiday season.

Note: With the Habs off for yet another Saturday (Jan. 1st) while playing
the next day, the HW Recap will once again appear on Saturdays until Sunday,
January 9th.