HabsWorld.net -- 

In this week’s HW Recap: The infirmary grew
larger but the Habs persevered on; the players that are still healthy are
discussed in the weekly player rankings.  On the farm, a lack of depth is
really hurting the Bulldogs whose struggles continued.  Plus, my Final
Thought looks at the defence and how we shouldn’t be so eager to see a trade
when everyone gets healthy.


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: A pair of shutouts in
three starts, that usually means he’ll merit consideration for one of the NHL’s
3 Stars of the Week.  His shootout play is a little concerning but not
allowing a goal means we can overlook it for a bit. (Prev:
4  Avg: 5.00)

2) Tomas Plekanec: He wasn’t all that
noticeable out there but at the end of the week, he had three straight two point
games.  If that’s what he does when he’s not really noticeable, I hope he
stays that way. (Prev: 7  Avg:

3) Erik Cole: We all know how his
physical play and precise shot have been big components for the Habs.  I
think his speed has been just as important, he is deceptively fast for his size. (Prev:
10  Avg: 7.00)

4) Brian Gionta: He’s slowly finding
his scoring groove again and continues to score at important times.  He’s
slowly finding chemistry with his current centre in Plekanec. (Prev:
5  Avg: 7.17)

5) Max Pacioretty: One of two Habs to
record a point in every game, he and Cole have formed a power forward duo that
fans have been coveting for a long time. (Prev: 1
 Avg: 3.83)

6) P.K. Subban: He finally got the
monkey off his back by scoring his first of the year.  Since then, he has
looked more confident out there although on the downside he does remain too
predictable on the powerplay. (Prev: 6  Avg:

7) Scott Gomez: He still can’t buy a
goal to save his life but he did the next best thing which was set some up. 
There’s no denying that when he’s on that he can still help this team. (Prev:
21  Avg: 14.75)

8) Josh Gorges: With more injuries on
the blueline, he had to step up and play even more minutes.  He is quickly
showing the organization that his knee is fully recovered. (Prev:
2  Avg: 8.17)

9) Alexei Emelin: He had some real ups
and downs as he has his best and likely his worst game of the year. 
However, his other games were also decent suggesting he’s starting to get more
comfortable out there.. (Prev: 20  Avg:

10) David Desharnais: He had a quiet
week point wise but he deserves some credit for the success of his linemates. 
His wingers’ size also is helping to compensate for his lack of it. (Prev:
8  Avg: 9.00)

11) Mike Cammalleri: He had more than
enough quality chances that either hit the post or were big saves by the goalie. 
Sooner or later you have to think more will start going in. (Prev:
13  Avg: 11.00)

12) Raphael Diaz: Finally snapped a
lengthy pointless drought with a couple of helpers.  Lost in all the talk
of the now even more depleted defence corps is that he is now getting pretty
much top-4 minutes. (Prev: 19  Avg:

13) Yannick Weber: The Habs’ PP had
more success with him on the top unit this week but he struggled mightily just
getting the puck to the net.  Like Subban, he needs to learn that it’s not
necessary to try and shoot through the defender all the time. (Prev:
12  Avg: 12.00)

14) Lars Eller: Moving to the wing
clearly set his game back.  He looks fine when he has the puck but without
it he’s unsure of where he needs to be and when.  With all the time he
spent there last year, he shouldn’t need too much of a learning curve to adapt. (Prev:
9  Avg: 6.83)

15) Frederic St. Denis: As much as a
certain broadcaster may want it to happen, he hasn’t shown enough to prove he
can stick full time in the NHL.  Fortunately, he has come in and been able
to give the team decent (albeit sheltered) minutes in each game so far. (Prev:
N/A  Avg:

16) Travis Moen: His offence is
starting to dry up but he managed to pick up a goal on a ‘goal scorer’s bounce.’ 
Rarely do those bounces go the way of a plugger like Moen but whatever works. (Prev:
11  Avg: 11.00)

17) Peter Budaj: He held the Habs in
the Islanders game in the 3rd but the fact they were losing sat on him somewhat. 
He’s an up-and-down goalie and this was one of his down games. (Prev:
3  Avg: 9.33)

18) Jaroslav Spacek: He only played
part of a game but was playing relatively well against the Sabres before leaving
with an injury no one really seems to know about still. (Prev:
17  Avg: 14.25)

19) Aaron Palushaj: He’s not playing
poorly but this is clearly not a role (4th line) that is for him.  The Habs
would be well advised to try someone at least more defensive minded to go along
with what is by default considered as the ‘checking line.’ (Prev:
15  Avg: 18.00)

20) Petteri Nokelainen: He continues
to simply be mediocre at the faceoff dot.  As he was brought in to win some
important draws, it would be nice to see that turn around soon…not to mention
his point drought. (Prev: 18  Avg:

21) Mathieu Darche: He’s not playing
poorly but he has done very little to be noticed lately.  His job on this
team still isn’t a guarantee, he needs to bring more to the table soon. (Prev:
14  Avg: 15.33)

22) Andreas Engqvist: I think he
wanted to challenge Michael Blunden for the quietest exit of the season. 
On the plus side, he did win a faceoff. (Prev: N/A
 Avg: 20.00)

The Dog

Unfortunately for Hamilton, the amount of
injured players they have isn’t much smaller than Montreal’s.  As a result,
their team is outmatched talent wise nearly every game and it’s starting to


November 15:

Peoria 3, Hamilton 2 (SO)

November 18:

Binghamton 4, Hamilton 2


One of the lone bright spots was a
player who was one of the youngest in all of the AHL last season.









5 Alex Henry 2 0 0 -2 1 0
6 Joe Stejskal 2 0 0 -1 1 0
7 Joe Callahan 2 0 1 +2 1 4
10 Philip DeSimone 2 1 1 +1 3 2
11 Alain Berger 2 0 0 -2 1 2
13 Zack FitzGerald 2 0 0 -1 2 7
14 Michael Blunden 2 1 1 E 7 4
15 Phillipe Lefebvre 2 0 1 E 3 0
16 Olivier Fortier 2 0 0 +1 5 0
17 Mark Mitera 2 0 0 E 2 0
18 Dany Masse 2 1 0 -1 2 0
20 Louis Leblanc 2 0 1 -2 10 0
23 Joonas Nattinen 2 0 1 E 2 0
24 Brian Willsie 2 0 1 E 11 0
44 Olivier Dame-Malka 2 0 1 E 4 0
51 Mitch Wahl 1 0 0 E 0 0
53 T.J. Fast 2 0 0 E 0 0
67 Alexander Avtsin 2 1 0 E 9 0






52 Nathan Lawson 0-2-0 .898 2.88


# Player G/ATT
14 Michael Blunden 0/1
18 Dany Masse 1/1
20 Louis Leblanc 0/1
24 Brian Willsie 0/1
67 Alexander Avtsin 0/1


# Player SVS/ATT
52 Nathan Lawson 2/4


Goals: Philip DeSimone (4)
Assists: Brian Willsie (9)
Points: Brian Willsie (11)
+/-: Michael Blunden (+1)
PIMS: Zack FitzGerald (65)
Shots: Brian Willsie (63)


November 23: Hamilton vs Grand Rapids
November 25:
Hamilton vs Lake Erie
November 26: Hamilton vs Rochester


Before the call up of Frederic St. Denis, there
were already fans suggesting that the Habs need to make a trade involving one of
their defenceman once everyone gets healthy.  Now that St. Denis has been
decent, those seem to have intensified.  At first, I thought it made sense
to do so but now, not so much.  Here’s why:

1) With this team, injuries, especially on the
blueline, seem inevitable.  Although there could be a stretch where
everyone actually is healthy, it may not last long.  Defensive depth is
always a commodity the Habs are looking to shore up midseason.  If they
move one out soon, they could easily find themselves scrambling to acquire
another one when dealing from a position of weakness.

2) The Habs have options with how to internally
break out the ice time.  St. Denis, Diaz, and Emelin all are waiver exempt
which right then and there would leave them with 7 D.  If they’re concerned
about Emelin bolting, Yannick Weber has shown he can be decent on the wing while
being a primary specialist which would allow them to more or less carry 8
defencemen without too many problems.

3) They may have extras soon but look ahead to
next year and they likely won’t.  Josh Gorges, Chris Campoli, Hal Gill, and
Jaroslav Spacek are all unrestricted free agents, as is St. Denis who will
qualify for Group 6 status.  Some of those will be kept around but
obviously all won’t.  When the free agent dust settles, they’ll be back to
having 7 (8 at most) which is the ideal amount.

Obviously if the right move presents itself, it
would be okay to deal out a defenceman, particularly if it’s one of the ones not
expected to return next year; those make the most sense from a future planning
standpoint.  But time and time again we’ve seen situations where this team
can’t ever have enough depth.  Perhaps this time with this group will be
the end to that trend.

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