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In this week’s HW Recap: For the second
straight week, a player who started with the Bulldogs sits atop the Player
Rankings.  On the farm, the Bulldogs got back on track with a pair of wins. 
On the trade front, is there a curse on those acquired on deadline day, plus
ranking the Habs’ greatest needs as we sit just a week from the trade deadline.


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) Yannick Weber: I’m almost
surprising myself putting him here but I was hard pressed to think of a time
where he made a costly defensive mistake.  Of all the negatives this week
brought on the team, he was a lone bright spot.
11  Average:

2) Roman Hamrlik: Yes, he was overwhelmed at times with the extra ice
time but he was still fairly strong defensively while managing to play a role in
2 of the 3 goals the Habs scored.
4  Average:

3) Carey Price: He certainly wasn’t to blame for any of the losses, he
kept his team in every game, but the offence couldn’t get going.  The one
small blemish I would say was the shootout vs Buffalo where he was beat about
half the time…just some either missed the net or hit the pipe.
5  Average:

4) Scott Gomez: Yes, he didn’t put up any points (nor did more than
half the team) but it’s hard to argue that his line wasn’t the best out there
each game.  Considering who his linemates are, some of the credit has to go
to him.  Baby steps, but positive ones.
22  Average:

5) Max Pacioretty: His hot streak continued against the Sabres with
regulation and shootout goals.  However, he tailed off afterwards, as did
his whole line.
1  Average:

6) Travis Moen: Like Gomez, nothing on the scoresheet but he at least
had some quality scoring chances in every game.  I still don’t like him on
a scoring line though.
12  Average:

7) P.K. Subban: All in all, a decent week overall, especially
considering the extra ice time.  However, with so many regulars out, he
took too many offensive risks leading to way too many odd-man rushes heading
the other way (including some that went in).  Needs to keep it more simple
but it was good to see he could handle the extra time.
6  Average:

8) David Desharnais: Like Pacioretty, he tailed off quite a bit after
the Buffalo game, being benched at times.  He also lost his 8-game 50+%
faceoff streak, as he lost more than he won in 2 of the 3 games.
2  Average:

9) Tomas Plekanec: His road woes seem to be continuing.  He
played well at home but really struggled on the road, despite getting a team
high 8 shots in the Heritage Classic.  He needs to be more consistent in
terms of playing the same way on the road that he does at the Bell Centre.
8  Average:

10) Alexandre Picard: All in all, he acquitted himself well despite
nearly doubling the ice time he was getting just a couple of weeks ago.  In
limited doses, he can be an effective depth defenceman.
18  Average:

11) Brian Gionta: He played better when he moved to Gomez’s line in
both Western games but he still appears to have tailed off into another slump. 
3  Average:

12) James Wisniewski: He has slowed down production wise offensively
which limits his overall effectiveness.  At least his defensive game has
improved in that same time span.
9  Average:

13) Mike Cammalleri: He was decent against the Flames but obviously
isn’t quite 100% yet.  His return should provide a big spark to the lineup
when he’s back to full health.
N/A  Average:

14) Paul Mara: For a player who had only played once in the last two
months, the Calgary game was a decent outing for him.  He’s nothing but a
depth defenceman for sure but at least he’ll be able to log a few minutes here
and there.
N/A  Average:

15) Benoit Pouliot: He played well against Buffalo and then simply
disappeared out West.  So much for that scoring run he was on.
7  Average:

16) Lars Eller: His one game sabbatical seemed to do him some good as
he was decent in both games after.  That said, clawing to get 10 minutes a
game isn’t helping him right now.
21  Average:

17) Jeff Halpern: He got the lone goal in Edmonton (after Eller did
most of the work) but that was about the only positive peep from him.  His
struggles offensively also carried over into his own end, a rarity for him.
16  Average:

18) Tom Pyatt: The biggest shocker of the week wasn’t that he was
scratched to make room for Eller but rather his presence in the shootout. 
He got a decent shot off at least.
17  Average:

19) Andrei Kostitsyn: When Travis Moen is getting more chances
playing alongside Gomez than you are, something is wrong here.  Something
has to give soon. (Previous: 20  Average:

20) Hal Gill: Looked a little sluggish in his first game back,
particularly on the penalty kill.  I’ll give him a pass since he’s just
coming back from injury, although his absence was brief.
19  Average:

21) Mathieu Darche: Was invisible in both games he played, I can’t
help but wonder if this injury stemmed from a couple weeks ago.
15  Average:

22) Ryan White: After a strong week upon being called up, he reverted
to the choppy skating, complete non-factor he has been most of the season in
Hamilton.  Potentially an opportunity squandered.
10  Average:

23) Brendon Nash: He was decent against Buffalo in his NHL debut. 
As for the game in Edmonton, he looked nervous, out of place, and made countless
mistakes.  More seasoning is needed.
N/A  Average:

The Dog

The Bulldogs were able to snap their losing
ways after dropping a season high 5 games by winning their last two games of the


February 16th –

Grand Rapids 5, Hamilton 3

February 18th –

Hamilton 4, Toronto 3

February 19th –

Hamilton 3, San Antonio 1


It was the defence who got hit
with the latest injury/call up bug as Brett Festerling missed the whole week
with a back injury, while Brendon Nash was up with the Habs.









5 Alex Henry 3 0 2 +3 2 0
10 J.T. Wyman 3 0 3 +1 5 0
12 Andrew Conboy 3 0 1 E 5 4
14 Olivier Fortier 3 0 0 E 4 7
15 Kyle Klubertanz 3 0 1 E 2 4
16 David Urquhart 3 0 0 E 1 2
17 Dustin Boyd 3 1 2 -1 8 0
18 Dany Masse 2 0 0 -2 2 2
19 Ben Maxwell 3 2 3 -2 11 2
20 Ryan Russell 2 2 0 +1 5 19
22 Andreas Engqvist 3 2 0 +1 7 2
25 Ryan White 1 0 1 E 1 2
26 Alexander Avtsin 3 0 1 +1 5 0
28 Aaron Palushaj 3 1 1 +1 10 0
32 Frederic St. Denis 3 1 1 E 6 4
40 Gabriel Dumont 3 0 0 -1 2 0
44 Jimmy Bonneau 3 0 0 E 2 17
61 Hunter Bishop 2 1 0 +1 2 4
72 Mathieu Carle 3 1 2 -2 6 2
85 Neil Petruic 3 0 0 +2 2 2






1 Curtis Sanford 2-1-0 .899 2.68


Goals: Max Pacioretty (17)
(Active leader: Dustin Boyd – 15)
Assists: David Desharnais (35)
(Active leader: Ben Maxwell – 28)
Points: David Desharnais (45)
(Active leader: Ben Maxwell – 39)
+/-: David Desharnais (+14)
(Active leader: Ryan Russell – +13)
PIMS: Jimmy Bonneau (134)
Shots: Ben Maxwell (144)


February 21: Rochester vs Hamilton
February 25: Adirondack vs Hamilton
February 26: Hamilton vs Syracuse
February 27: Grand Rapids vs Hamilton

Day Curse?

A couple of weeks ago, we took a look at the
often underwhelming deals the Habs have made on deadline day.  The main
reason for this is the players acquired had a tendency to be out of the league
shortly after their acquisition.  Let’s look back, starting in 2002:

2002 – Stephane Fiset acquired, played 3 games and then never again.
2004 – Rene Vydareny acquired, finished the season with Hamilton and left North
2006 – Todd Simpson acquired, played 6 games with the Habs then left for
2007 – Michael Leighton claimed off waivers, dressed for 1 game with the Habs. 
He has had numerous minor league stints since but at least had one successful
season with the Flyers after.
2010 – Aaron Palushaj acquired, still hasn’t played with the Habs yet (still
lots of time though). 

5 players, only Palushaj actually lasted with
the organization beyond the season they were acquired in.  Perhaps the
moral of the story is to trade for prospects on deadline day?


With the deadline a week away, our annual trade
deadline previews have begun.  Here are
Part 1
and Part
for those interested.  But what elements do the Habs need most? 
Here are my top-3:

1) Top-6 forward: Let’s face it, Andrei
Kostitsyn and Benoit Pouliot are much too inconsistent to play in the top-6 of a
good team.  Heck, asking Max Pacioretty to do so is pushing things. 
There are a handful of top-6 guys that are reportedly on the block that would
fit well alongside either Tomas Plekanec or Scott Gomez.

2) Meaningful toughness: There’s
bringing in a goon, and then there’s meaningful toughness.  We all know
Jacques Martin doesn’t like the prototypical 5 shifts per game enforcer, so
there’s little need to bring one of those in.  Finding a player who can
provide some grit and take a regular shift would be huge for this team. 
Finding one that can fill the top-6 void listed earlier would be a coup.

3) Defensive depth: I don’t think Paul
Mara is enough to hold this crew together.  Considering the heavy minutes
Hamrlik and Gill have been logging lately, there are going to be nicks and
bruises where taking nights off would be beneficial.  The same could be
argued for Spacek when healthy, as well as Subban and Wisniewski.  Having
another decent blueliner in the system who could spell these guys would go a
long way to keeping everyone healthy.  Mara is better than nothing though.

Of course, with a little under $3.4 million to
spend (the number as of today but it continues to change practically every 3rd
day if you follow the capsheet regularly), the Habs probably won’t be able to
fill all 3 of those voids.  In the end, I suspect the Habs will likely try
and address the bottom 2 as those should be cheaper to acquire.

If you have any questions regarding this
article or the

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