HabsWorld.net -- 

In this week’s HW Recap: Piecing together the
power rankings despite 3 straight shutout losses while in Hamilton, despite
lacking firepower, the Bulldogs improved their playoff hopes.  Looking
ahead, the Habs have the easiest schedule for next week coming up, while the
Final Thought looks at the real reason why Andrei Markov is skating once again.


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) P.K. Subban: Lost in the
frustration of all these shutouts is the fact he recorded a hat trick in
Minnesota.  Even in the other games, he was one of the rare sources of
7  Average:

2) Carey Price: He was a bit off in Boston aside from a strong second
period but he did give the Habs a good chance to win in the blankings from
Buffalo and Washington.
3  Average:

3) James Wisniewski: In Minnesota, his offensive game was there but by
the end of the week, he had basically become the top checking defenceman.
2  Average:

4) Alex Auld: He had his second straight strong effort against the Wild
that also saw him pick up his first point as a Hab.  In Boston, he wasn’t
as sharp but the same could be said for basically every other player.
6  Average:

5) Ryan White: His game in Minnesota showed flashes of his offensive
potential, something we hadn’t seen all year from him.  In the other games,
at least the usual physical game was there.
14  Average:

6) Travis Moen: He was the lone consistent offensive threat all week,
getting at least a good chance or two in each game.  All of a sudden, the 3
game shutout streak makes a little more sense now.
9  Average:

7) Andrei Kostitsyn: Scored what ultimately was the winning goal and for
the most part, was decent in the other games, mostly hustling at both ends of
the rink.
5  Average:

8) David Desharnais: Played a terrific game in St. Paul but was a
complete non-factor at best in the other games.  Part of it may be fatigue
while the other part likely has to do with iffy offensive linemates.
4  Average:

9) Paul Mara: Though his presence alone doesn’t make the defence corps
tough, he certainly brings a lot more grit to the back end which proved useful
in each contest.
12  Average:

10) Brian Gionta: He seems to be shooting when he should be passing and
vice versa, one of the telling signs of a slump.  Even still, he still made
some good plays and was on the one line that actually generated offence the last
couple of games.
1  Average:

11) Mathieu Darche: For someone who sat over a month with an injury, he
didn’t look too rusty in his return to the lineup.  Here’s hoping his
offensive timing comes back pretty quickly.
N/A  Average:

12) Tom Pyatt: He’s the offensive catalyst, I tell you.  Kidding
aside, the Habs have a losing record without him in the lineup and it’s
technically true, they haven’t scored since he was sat down.
19  Average:

13) Roman Hamrlik: The effort is there, but he just looks completely dead
out there, even at the beginning of games.  Being moved with Sopel to cut
his minutes a bit should help a bit.
8  Average:

14) Scott Gomez: The amount of grief he’s getting right now just isn’t
right.  In the last two games, he has been on the line generating most of
the offensive chances and even more of the counter-attack.  He can’t be
sent to Hamilton this season (he’s not on the Clear Day Roster and demotion
waivers have passed) so like him or not, he’s here for the rest of the year. 
He deserves some blame for the current slump, but certainly it shouldn’t stop at
him either; he’s not the only reason this team is struggling, he’s just
the only player getting blamed which isn’t right.
13  Average:

15) Lars Eller: It was one of the more quiet weeks in recent memory for
him.  He still had a few chances, but he wasn’t as big of an impact player
as we’ve come to expect recently.
10  Average:

16) Benoit Pouliot: He had 3 assists playing in Minnesota for the
first time since the trade.  After that though, he went right back into the
funk that has plagued him for weeks now.
23  Average:

17) Brent Sopel: I thought all in all he played somewhat decent but that
giveaway late in the Washington game really stung, dropping his rating a bit.
N/A  Average:

18) Hal Gill: He was hardly noticeable out there.  In times where
only the opposition is scoring, that’s probably not a good thing most of the
18  Average:

19) Tomas Plekanec: There were more than a few who were surprised to see
him come back as early as he did vs Boston.  Given how he did, perhaps he
should’ve waited a little longer.
15  Average:

20) Mike Cammalleri: For all the grief Gomez takes, I’m surprised more
hasn’t fallen his way.  Heck, you can’t even use the ‘playing through
injury’ excuse, both can use that one.  I remain cautiously optimistic with
him though as he went through a similar spell around this time last year and we
all know how he was in the playoffs.
11  Average:

21) Jeff Halpern: When he’s not being utilized properly on the draw as
noted in Saturday’s
3 Stars,
he really isn’t particularly effective anywhere else.
20  Average:

22) Aaron Palushaj: He might very well have the best case to argue if a
forward has to be recalled from Hamilton: Since he was sent down, they haven’t
scored a goal.
16  Average:

23) Alexandre Picard: As has often plagued him this year, the more he
plays, the worse he does.  As others get healthy, he’s going to have a hard
time getting back in the lineup.
21  Average:

24) Nigel Dawes: He has an offensive touch as evidenced by his AHL
success.  However, he never seemed to be in a position where he could do
much of anything offensively while he was up, which really limited his
17  Average:

25) Andreas Engqvist: I understand why he was brought up and I thought it
made a lot of sense to do so.  However, he really didn’t get much of a
chance to play and when he did, nothing really happened which got him benched. 
The quietest recall outing in a long time. 
N/A  Average:

The Dog

With basically all hands on deck (barring
suspensions and recalls), the Bulldogs were able to muster up some crucial
points in this stage of their season long road trip.


March 25th:

Rockford 4, Hamilton 3 (OT)

March 26th:

Chicago 2, Hamilton 1 (SO)

March 27th:

Hamilton 3, Peoria 1


Fresh off their stints with the
Habs, it didn’t take too long for the usual suspects to find their way back onto
the scoresheet.









4 Brendon Nash 3 0 1 E 0 2
5 Alex Henry 3 0 1 -1 1 4
10 J.T. Wyman 3 1 0 +2 8 2
12 Andrew Conboy 1 0 0 E 2 5
14 Olivier Fortier 3 0 1 -1 4 0
15 Kyle Klubertanz 3 0 1 +2 7 0
17 Dustin Boyd 3 1 1 +3 14 4
18 Dany Masse 3 0 0 E 3 0
19 Nigel Dawes 3 1 1 -2 9 2
20 Ryan Russell 3 1 2 +3 6 0
22 Andreas Engqvist 3 2 1 -1 6 0
24 Ian Schultz 2 0 0 E 2 0
26 Alexander Avtsin 3 0 0 -2 3 0
28 Aaron Palushaj 3 0 1 -1 6 2
32 Frederic St. Denis 3 0 1 E 10 2
44 Jimmy Bonneau 3 0 0 -1 1 5
54 Joe Stejskal 2 0 0 -1 0 0
61 Hunter Bishop 1 0 0 E 2 0
72 Mathieu Carle 3 0 0 E 5 2
85 Neil Petruic 3 1 0 E 2 0






31 Drew MacIntyre 1-1-2 .932 1.98


# Player G/ATT
17 Dustin Boyd 1/1
19 Nigel Dawes 0/1
20 Ryan Russell 0/1
28 Aaron Palushaj 0/1
72 Mathieu Carle 1/1


# Player SVS/ATT
31 Drew MacIntyre 2/5


Goals: Nigel Dawes (34)
Assists: David Desharnais (35)
(Active leader: Aaron Palushaj – 28)
Points: Nigel Dawes (56)
+/-: Ryan Russell (+16)
PIMS: Jimmy Bonneau (169)
Shots: Nigel Dawes (178)


March 29: Abbotsford vs Hamilton
March 30: Abbotsford vs Hamilton
April 1: Hamilton vs Lake Erie
April 2: Manitoba vs Hamilton


As the Habs fight to stay in the 6-seed, here’s
the week ahead (March 28 – April 3) for the teams the Habs are battling with.







74 vs
CHI, vs TOR, vs ATL

5 Tampa Bay
75 vs OTT, vs PIT, vs MIN, vs CHI 0.552

76 vs
ATL, @ CAR, @ NJ

7 NY Rangers
76 @ BUF, @ NYI, @ PHI 0.568

75 @
TOR, vs NYR, @ WSH, @ CAR

9 Carolina
75 vs WSH, vs MTL, @ NYI, vs BUF 0.561

APP – Average points percentage of the teams
faced in the upcoming week.


This past week, we received word that Andrei
Markov had started skating briefly once again.  As is often the case, it
didn’t take long for speculation and reports to surface regarding a possible
return to health and contract talks that may or may not have taken place
depending on who you believe.  From the sounds of things, Markov remains on
pace to be healthy enough to return late 3rd round or early in the Finals, if he
gets the doctor’s approval which he likely won’t given that this is the second
significant knee injury in recent months.  However, this doesn’t mean that
the skating is all for naught.

Regardless of which side you believe on the contract issue, the one commonality
is that there will be a dialogue in the not-too-distant future and that there is
mutual interest to bring Markov back.  The fact that Markov is skating,
albeit lightly and briefly, is a good sign moving forward in terms of trying to
determine whether he will be able to return at a high level.  If he starts
now, where will he be in 2 weeks?  A month?  How he is improving will
play a large role in Pierre Gauthier’s willingness to offer him a new deal,
especially in terms of length.  It’s one thing to be excited about the news
that he’s skating again, just make sure to temper that excitement over the
coming months as this will be one issue that is handled later rather than

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