HabsWorld.net -- 

In this week’s HW Recap: There were some strong
efforts despite the Habs’ struggles this week that are highlighted in the weekly
player rankings.  The Bulldogs continued their strong play, finally getting
out of the basement in the West while my Final Thought takes a final look at
2011 with my top-3 storylines of the year.


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) Raphael Diaz: Five assists in a
week for any defenceman is impressive, even more so for a rookie who saw his
minutes decrease overall.  Defensively he continued to be decent as well. (Prev:
4  Avg: 11.42)

2) Erik Cole: Ho hum, he just scored
in every game.  A power forward who is a threat to score on pretty much
every shift, so nice to have that on this team finally. (Prev:
5  Avg: 4.67)

3) Mike Cammalleri: Though there are
still some issues with his compete level shift to shift, he finally started
producing at the very least.  As a streaky player, this could be the start
of a good run for him. (Prev: 12  Avg:

4) David Desharnais: Despite getting
what essentially amounted to a demotion (no matter how some spun it), he and his
linemates (Cammalleri/Leblanc) made good things happen in a hurry. (Prev:
17  Avg: 8.58)

5) Lars Eller: He was shaky on the
second Florida goal but beyond that he had a very strong week.  Most
impressive is his continued improvement on the penalty kill, providing an
offensive threat beyond the struggling Plekanec in those times. (Prev:
14  Avg: 7.83)

6) P.K. Subban: He really likes to
wander out there, he’s more of a rover than anything.  When he focused on
positioning, he was quite effective particularly in sparking a transition game. 
We need to see more of that. (Prev: 15  Avg:

7) Travis Moen: He had a really bad
game against the Lightning but was good against Ottawa and one of if not the
best forward the Habs had in Florida. (Prev: 11
 Avg: 12.00)

8) Alexei Emelin: He showed this week
why having some extra practice time can be beneficial.  He was more
comfortable out there and threw some strong hits as usual. (Prev:
19  Avg: 13.10)

9) Carey Price: He was strong against
the Sens and for the most part against Florida (aside from that bad second goal)
but his effort against Tampa was a rare stinker. (Prev:
 Avg: 4.75)

10) Mathieu Darche: Despite playing a
lot under Martin, he seems to have found his form from last season that made him
a useful piece to have in the lineup most nights. (Prev:
13  Avg: 15.08)

11) Tomas Kaberle: The powerplay
continues its slow ascension towards just below mediocre in large part due to
Kaberle who quietly had a pair of points again this week. (Prev:
18  Avg: 10.25)

12) Josh Gorges: Defensively it wasn’t
one of his finer weeks although I’m willing to chalk up some of the positional
issues with having to cover for Subban who played like an old time rover at
times. (Prev: 10  Avg:

13) Louis Leblanc: He had a very
impressive game against the Sens, likely his best of the season.  The
momentum died there though as he was very quiet in Tampa Bay. (Prev:
16  Avg: 14.80)

14) Max Pacioretty: While Eller and
Cole found success on the line, Pacioretty struggled.  He wasn’t shooting
much and seemed content to defer most of the time to his linemates. (Prev:
8  Avg: 5.55)

15) Tomas Plekanec: He’s in quite the
funk at the moment and even when he tried to elevate his physical play as he did
in Tampa, he still struggled, that time with penalty issues. (Prev:
3  Avg: 6.25)

16) Michael Blunden: He was out of his
element on a scoring line which dropped him down a bit.  He has been quite
useful since the coaching change and is making it hard to send him down once the
injured forwards return. (Prev: 7  Avg:

17) Andrei Kostitsyn: He was all but
invisible all week long.  I think he needs to be moved away from Plekanec
right now to see if he can’t get going as this team needs him to provide that
secondary scoring. (Prev: 6  Avg:

18) Hal Gill: His 5-on-5 play was a
real concern, to the point where he was simply benched in Florida.  A night
or two off would do him a world of good. (Prev: 9
 Avg: 13.64)

19) Yannick Weber: Reports suggest he
actually played in the Florida game.  Sarcasm aside, he didn’t do a whole
lot to justify being in on a more regular basis. (Prev:
 Avg: 15.08)

20) Petteri Nokelainen: I’m now
starting to see why Phoenix accepted a 7th rounder for him.  He appears to
have lost the confidence of the coaches. (Prev: 21
 Avg: 17.70)

The Dog

Although their point streak was snapped during
the week, it was still a productive week for the Bulldogs who have at least
propelled themselves out of the conference cellar.  They still sit last in
the division but are only a handful of points out of second.


December 26:

Hamilton 6, Toronto 3

December 28:

St. John’s 3, Hamilton 1

December 30:

Hamilton 5, Rochester 4

December 31:

Lake Erie 3, Hamilton 2


For those hoping that the Habs’
shootout woes could be helped by the odd Bulldog on a callup, you will be
disappointed.  Hamilton’s results in that are even worse than Montreal’s.









5 Alex Henry 4 0 0 +2 3 0
6 Joe Stejskal 4 0 0 -1 3 2
7 Joe Callahan 4 0 0 -1 5 9
10 Philip DeSimone 4 0 1 -3 5 2
13 Zack FitzGerald 4 0 0 E 2 9
15 Phillipe Lefebvre 2 1 0 E 2 0
16 Olivier Fortier 4 3 2 +3 8 0
17 Mark Mitera 4 0 3 +1 6 2
18 Dany Masse 4 0 1 E 0 2
21 Ian Schultz 4 1 2 +1 4 4
22 Andreas Engqvist 4 3 2 +3 15 4
23 Joonas Nattinen 3 0 1 E 4 0
24 Brian Willsie 4 0 2 -1 23 4
28 Aaron Palushaj 4 2 2 +1 15 2
32 Frederic St. Denis 4 0 3 E 9 0
40 Gabriel Dumont 4 2 1 -2 11 4
51 Mitch Wahl 3 2 2 +2 5 2
53 T.J. Fast 1 0 0 E 0 0
55 Garrett Stafford 4 0 1 +2 5 0
67 Alexander Avtsin 4 0 0 E 6 0






29 Robert Mayer 2-0-1 .933 2.01
52 Nathan Lawson 0-1-0 .806 5.61


# Player G/ATT
22 Andreas Engqvist 1/1
28 Aaron Palushaj 0/1
40 Gabriel Dumont 0/1
51 Mitch Wahl 0/1
67 Alexander Avtsin 0/1


# Player SVS/ATT
29 Robert Mayer 2/4

Active Leaders:

Goals: Andreas Engqvist (9)
Assists: St. Denis/Willsie (13)
Points: Palushaj/St.Denis/Willsie (16)
+/-: Andreas Engqvist (+6)
PIMS: Zack FitzGerald (122) (tied for the league lead)
Shots: Brian Willsie (125)


January 6: Syracuse vs Hamilton
January 7: Hamilton vs Toronto
January 8: Oklahoma City vs Hamilton


As 2011 has come to an end, it’s time to
reflect on the year that was and look at what made the biggest headlines. 
Here are my top-3 storylines.

1) Pacioretty vs Chara: This would have
made the list regardless of the silliness that occurred after with the 911 calls
and the police investigation.  The hit derailed an extremely promising
season and seemed to leave the Habs in a lull for a few weeks.  The fact
the NHL changed a rule to make the stanchions safer signifies how important a
story this was not only in Montreal but the league as well.

2) Martin fired, Cunneyworth hired:
Although I suspect we haven’t seen the last of this story yet, the immediate
aftermath with regards to Cunneyworth’s promotion once again was heard and
discussed throughout the league.  The fact that the team has regressed in
the standings since then is another sub-plot that will surely be worth following
in the early weeks and months of 2012.

3) Youth infusion: Although most are
struggling at the moment, we saw numerous young players step up and become
important pieces of this squad.  Subban, Pacioretty, Eller, and Desharnais
all came up full time last year while Emelin and Diaz are becoming important
cogs with Leblanc impressing as well.  There is a promising young core
being formed with this team in large part due to their respective successes in

If you have any questions/comments, please feel free to drop me a line at [email protected].