HabsWorld.net -- 

In this week’s HW Recap: Find out who
supplanted James Wisniewski atop the Habs Player Rankings plus which Hamilton
Bulldog lit up the scoresheet.  Plus, thoughts on how each Montreal
prospect fared at the WJC’s, while the Final Thought looks at what the best
course of action may be to replace Josh Gorges.


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: It’s one thing to
score goals and another to score clutch ones.  Gionta had just 2 points,
but both were game tying goals with less than 5 minutes remaining in regulation
8  Average:

2) James Wisniewski: We saw why he doesn’t have the reputation of a
shutdown defender, but his offensive play is more than sufficient right now. 
He had 3 assists, including ones on both of Gionta’s GTG’s.
1  Average:

3) Carey Price: Yes, he struggled against Atlanta but was very sharp
against Pittsburgh and Boston, playing a key role as the Habs picked up 4 points
against those two squads.
3  Average:

4) P.K. Subban: With Gorges now out for the year, a lot of his
responsibility and ice time will fall to the rookie.  So far, he has more
than held his own with the higher expectations.
4  Average:

5) Max Pacioretty: Heading into Saturday’s game, he was having a quiet
week.  By the end of the Boston game, he was averaging a point per game for
the week with a clutch game winning OT goal.
6  Average:

6) Scott Gomez: As he goes, so goes the Montreal transition game. 
When he’s on, he can dominate that aspect and for the most part, he has been on
his game lately.
2  Average:

7) Benoit Pouliot: He seems to have found some chemistry with recently
recalled Desharnais and his shootout move, though certainly not original, still
was a dandy.
15  Average:

8) Mathieu Darche: Yes, his touch around the net makes Pyatt look like a
20-goal man sometimes but he is doing the right things out there and is picking
up a few points along the way.
14  Average:

9) Tomas Plekanec: Worked hard all week but had barely anything to show
for it.  He needs to put the points up at home, especially given his
struggles this year on the road.
7  Average:

10) Roman Hamrlik: Struggled somewhat vs Atlanta but that was largely due
to the injury he was playing through.  He was mostly healthy against the
Bruins and it showed.
11  Average:

11) David Desharnais: He looked out of place early on but got better as
the week progressed.  If his unit can provide some offence (from the 3rd
line), he’ll have a shot at sticking with the Habs.
N/A  Average:

12) Jaroslav Spacek: It seemed he was playing with someone else on a
period to period basis.  Despite that, he was decent in both ends.
8  Average:

13) Mike Cammalleri: I think it’s now safe to say he’s in a slump. 
Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t bring much else to the table aside from his
offensive skill set so he needs to get going quickly.
9  Average:

14) Hal Gill: I like him with Subban, the Habs may be on to something
there.  I also found it comforting when he didn’t back down from Zdeno
Chara, Gill is one of the few NHL’ers who can actually look him in the eye.
16  Average:

15) Yannick Weber: Looked a little out of sorts offensively which is
certainly unexpected for a player basically heralded as an offensive blueliner. 
No issues with his defensive play though; frankly, I was stunned to see him
scratched (and I know I wasn’t the only one).
10  Average:

16) Andrei Kostitsyn: At times, he was great, driving the net, getting
chances.  At others, he was listless out there.  Sadly, there were
more of the latter than the former. 
19  Average:

17) Jeff Halpern: In his defence, most people couldn’t put up offence
with his linemates.  That said, I wish he could be doing a little more,
though I have no complaints about his defensive game.
18  Average:

18) Travis Moen: The highlight of the week was a fight which stemmed from
the rare occasion he drove the net.  Defensively he has been fine but
players like that should be getting Halpern money, not 2.5 times that.
21  Average:

19) Tom Pyatt: I’m a big fan of his, I think he’s great as a young,
cheap, defensive specialist.  Unfortunately, when the offence is
struggling, he starts to hurt the lineup more.
16  Average:

20) Alexandre Picard: His presence against Boston was surprising and
after seeing him struggle through that (and the Pittsburgh) game, he should be
in the press box for the next little while.
23  Average:

The Dog

With both David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty
in Montreal likely for the long-term, some players who were previously
afterthoughts got their chance to step up.


January 5






Hamilton 1 0 1 2 0/3 21
Grand Rapids 1 1 1 3 0/4 48

Attendance:  6,809
3 Stars:
  1) Rankin – GR  2) Sanford – HAM  3) Amadio – GR

December 28






Chicago 2 1 2 5 3/10 28
Hamilton 2 1 0 3 2/6 26

Attendance:  5,101
3 Stars:
  1) Boyd – HAM  2) Davies – CHI  3) Postma – CHI

January 8






Hamilton 1 2 1 4 1/3 36
Chicago 0 0 1 1 0/5 16

Attendance:  15,654
3 Stars:
  1) Wyman – HAM  2) Boyd – HAM  3) Dawes – CHI

January 9






Hamilton 1 1 0 2 1/4 30
Milwaukee 2 1 0 3 0/5 24

Attendance:  3,737
3 Stars:
  1) Klasen – MIL  2) Wyman – HAM  3) Johnson – MIL


It hasn’t been a month since he joined the
Bulldogs, but Dustin Boyd is averaging a goal per game with the team. 
However, he is still looking for his first assist.









3 Brett Festerling 3 0 0 -2 4 4
4 Brendon Nash 3 0 2 +2 2 2
5 Alex Henry 3 0 1 -2 1 2
10 J.T. Wyman 3 5 0 +4 13 2
12 Andrew Conboy 3 0 1 +1 3 7
14 Olivier Fortier 3 0 2 E 2 0
15 Kyle Klubertanz 3 1 0 -3 7 0
17 Dustin Boyd 3 1 0 -1 13 2
19 Ben Maxwell 3 0 1 -2 9 4
20 Ryan Russell 3 0 2 +2 5 0
24 Ian Schultz 3 0 0 -1 3 0
25 Ryan White 3 0 1 +1 3 17
26 Alexander Avtsin 2 0 1 -1 1 2
28 Aaron Palushaj 3 0 1 -1 7 2
32 Frederic St. Denis 3 0 1 E 0 0
40 Gabriel Dumont 3 0 0 -4 8 0
44 Jimmy Bonneau 3 0 0 -1 2 10
61 Hunter Bishop 1 0 0 -1 0 0
72 Mathieu Carle 3 1 1 +3 4 2






1 Curtis Sanford 1-2-0 .920 2.36


Goals: Max Pacioretty (17)
(Active leader: Dustin Boyd – 11)
Assists: David Desharnais (35)
(Active leader: Ben Maxwell – 18)
Points: David Desharnais (45)
(Active leader: Ben Maxwell – 24)
+/-: David Desharnais (+14)
(Active leader: Mathieu Carle – +13)
PIMS: Jimmy Bonneau (99)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (132)
(Active leader: Ben Maxwell – 86)


January 12: Lake Erie vs Hamilton
January 14: Syracuse vs Hamilton

up the WJC’s

The 2011 World Juniors wrapped up this past
week with Russia completing a shocking comeback to knock off Louis Leblanc and
Team Canada for the Gold Medal.  As we all know by now, Leblanc was one of
two Montreal prospects in the tournament.  Here is my quick take on each

Louis Leblanc: His offensive numbers are impressive, more so when you
consider he didn’t pile on the points vs Norway, saw little PP time, and wound
up playing on every line at some point.  At this point, he doesn’t look
like that game breaker the team covets up front but he remains a solid
all-around player that every good team has. 

Joonas Nattinen: He got off to a strong start offensively but tailed off
as the medal round came and went.  He has most of the tools to be a solid
bottom 6 NHL’er (size, faceoff prowess, attention to detail defensively) but his
skating is becoming a major red flag.  He looked slow out there, it can’t
be sugarcoated.  He reminds me a lot of Ryan White, with White being the
better physical player and Nattinen a little more advanced offensively.  He
has done enough to merit signing an entry-level deal this offseason.

For their game-by-game stats, plus how each current Hab fared when they were at
the tournament, be sure to check our


With Josh Gorges joining Andrei Markov on the
shelf for the remainder of the season, my immediate thought was, "Now what?" 
Even with James Wisniewski joining the team, the defence as it stood with Gorges
didn’t exactly look too intimidating, but without him?  Oh boy.  So of
course, I started to speculate, who might they try and bring in now? 
However, 2 warning flags came to mind before I could find a suitable name.

First off, Gorges isn’t exactly making a whole lot of money.  Since the
Habs are heading into LTIR territory early next month (once they use up their
accrued cap space), all they’ll be able to spend on top of what’s left of
Markov’s remaining salary (as Wisniewski will eat a chunk of that) is what’s
left of his deal, a pro-rated $1.1 million.  That in itself limits the
options.  Also, the Habs have dealt away a lot of picks recently, the
cupboard isn’t as strong now as it was a couple years back, especially with
players like Subban and Pacioretty recently making it full time in the NHL. 
So the question is, even if they can find a defenceman cheap enough that can
help the team, is it worth moving another future asset or two to get said

Frankly, at this point, I’m not sure they’re willing to.  Right now, the
Habs, like it or not, are a borderline playoff team, and with Markov and Gorges
both out, that’s not likely to change for the better, at least significantly. 
Thus, I think that if they do opt to look beyond Carle and Festerling and go for
an option from another organization, it will be through the waiver wire, as an
upgrade over Alexandre Picard who is in the midst of his worst stretch of the
year.  Montreal went this route briefly with Jay Leach last year and I
don’t think there are too many that would argue that it wasn’t a beneficial

Every team has a Leach or two in the system and there’s usually a semi-decent
young(ish) cheap d-man that hits the waiver wire each week or so.  That’s
the type of small move that can help boost depth, help the team a bit, and
allow GM Pierre Gauthier to bide his time and see how things play out
over the next few weeks as we head towards next month’s trade deadline.  It
may not be a flashy move or a big name, but it should be effective.  In
this instance, that may be the best way to go.

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