HabsWorld.net -- 

In this week’s HW Recap: The Habs bounced back
with a perfect week, which player took home top spot in the Player Rankings? 
In Hamilton, life isn’t quite as good as three losses have all but killed their
playoff hopes although one player had a strong week.  Plus, with the
deadline just a couple weeks away, my Final Thought discusses a possible trend
to keep an eye on with any deals involving contending teams.


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) Max Pacioretty: It’s times like
this (4 goals in 3 games) where I’m glad he signed a 2 year extension last
offseason.  He was in his own league out there at times. (Prev:
1  Avg: 4.47)

2) Carey Price: If it wasn’t for a
rough 90 second stretch on Long Island, he could’ve been looking at back to back
shutouts.  He also had a strong shootout performance, a rarity this year. (Prev:
7  Avg: 5.06)

3) Tomas Plekanec: He didn’t have a
huge week offensively (still posted 3 assists) but his defensive efforts were
stellar.  He seems to enjoy playing the checking role. (Prev:
2  Avg: 7.00)

4) Lars Eller: He may not be scoring a
ton of goals but quite a few of the ones he has potted have been ones for the
highlight reel. (Prev: 9  Avg:

5) David Desharnais: After a bit of a
rough week last week, this was a good bounce back for him.  He had a big
part in Pacioretty’s success. (Prev: 10  Avg:

6) Erik Cole: He had a slow start but
played better each game.  Him driving the night is still a sight to behold
as rarely does anyone else seem to do it. (Prev: 11
 Avg: 4.72)

7) Mathieu Darche: He is playing not
only his best hockey of the season but his best as a Hab over these last few
weeks.  He is handling playing a shutdown role quite well. (Prev:
3  Avg: 14.72)

8) P.K. Subban: His decision making
with the puck was much, much better.  He is settling down which is what he
needs to do to get back on track. (Prev: 15
 Avg: 10.22)

9) Rene Bourque: He had a strong game
against the Leafs and scored a key shootout goal.  The rest of the time he
was quiet which is something we’re going to have to get used to as that seems to
be his style. (Prev: 18  Avg:

10) Scott Gomez: Whether fans hate him
or not, I think pretty much everyone felt great for him when he scored. 
That’s a big monkey off his back, I’ll be anxious to see if that sparks a
short-term offensive burst. (Prev: 19  Avg:

11) Louis Leblanc: He seems a little
more ready for the quicker pace on this, his second stint with the team. 
He and Eller are developing some decent chemistry. (Prev:
16  Avg: 14.43)

12) Alexei Emelin: Don’t look now but
he’s on the verge of cracking the NHL top-10 in hits despite sitting a dozen
games this year. (Prev: 4  Avg:

13) Josh Gorges: He had another same
old, same old week.  I’d like to see a little more offensive from him but
with Subban alongside him, simplicity is the most important. (Prev:
12  Avg: 9.06)

14) Chris Campoli: Now that he’s
playing a little more, his game is starting to come around.  A couple of
assists might help his trade value a little. (Prev:
 Avg: 19.00)

15) Hal Gill: I know he’s at his best
when he really isn’t noticeable out there but I thought he could have been a
little more of a presence.  That said, he did have a decent week. (Prev:
17  Avg: 13.82)

16) Raphael Diaz: He still looks a
little slow out there which I suspect may have to do with a long season starting
to wear on him and his illness that kept him out of the lineup. (Prev:
20  Avg: 12.78)

17) Andrei Kostitsyn: He looked
completely disinterested for long stretches.  I know he’s disappointed
about being demoted in the lineup but that’s not the way to get moved back up. (Prev:
13  Avg: 8.75)

18) Tomas Kaberle: In a week where the
offence was strong (a big reason why most D are bunched near the bottom in the
rankings), he had no part in it at all.  He’ll need to pick it up. (Prev:
14  Avg: 11.80)

19) Yannick Weber: He wasn’t having
the best of games before he went down, this will only set him back further in
the lineup with Campoli getting better. (Prev: 5
 Avg: 15.06)

20) Aaron Palushaj: Sadly, we saw the
early season Palushaj instead of the one who last week was driving the net with
confidence. (Prev: 8  Avg:

The Dog

Although the week ended on a good note for
Hamilton, it was a costly week for them.  Their victory was good enough to
pull them out of the conference cellar, the playoff hopes are all but
non-existent at this point.


February 7:

San Antonio 4, Hamilton 2

February 10:

Albany 4, Hamilton 2

February 11:

Toronto 5, Hamilton 1

February 12:

Hamilton 2, Texas 0


One player made their season debut
for the Bulldogs, the long layoff didn’t seem to slow him down any.









5 Alex Henry 4 0 1 E 6 6
6 Joe Stejskal 3 0 0 E 5 2
7 Joe Callahan 4 1 0 -1 8 14
10 Philip DeSimone 4 0 0 -4 9 2
11 Alain Berger 4 0 1 +1 4 0
13 Zack FitzGerald 4 0 0 -1 2 7
15 Phillipe Lefebvre 4 1 0 -1 11 2
16 Olivier Fortier 4 0 1 +1 7 18
17 Mark Mitera 4 0 0 -3 5 0
18 Dany Masse 4 0 1 E 1 0
21 Ian Schultz 4 0 1 E 9 27
22 Andreas Engqvist 4 0 0 -6 5 2
23 Joonas Nattinen 3 0 0 +3 4 6
24 Brian Willsie 2 0 0 +2 3 0
25 Ryan White 4 4 1 +2 10 26
28 Aaron Palushaj 1 0 0 -2 6 0
32 Frederic St. Denis 4 0 0 -3 11 0
40 Gabriel Dumont 4 1 0 -1 13 4
53 T.J. Fast 4 0 0 +3 1 12
55 Garrett Stafford 3 0 0 -1 4 2






29 Robert Mayer 0-2-0 .872 5.92
52 Nathan Lawson 1-1-0 .945 1.54

Active Leaders:

Goals: Andreas Engqvist (15)
Assists: Garrett Stafford (18)
Points: Andreas Engqvist (27)
+/-: Alex Henry (+6)
PIMS: Zack FitzGerald (170)
Shots: Brian Willsie (165)


February 17: St. John’s vs Hamilton
February 18: Rockford vs Hamilton
February 19: Hamilton vs Rochester


In the next little while, I’ll be assembling my
annual trade rankings articles that look at the likelihood of each player being
moved.  In those deals, I don’t get to speculate much about any trends I
see happening so I’ll use this space to look at a trend I do expect to see this
deadline.  I expect that in several trades, we’ll see a player going back
that will lead to a quick gasp of, "Who?"  The reason is due to the 50-man
reserve list, one that the Habs as well as most contending teams are up close to
the limit against.  Here’s a listing as to how the top 5 teams point wise
in each conference sit at that limit:

NYR 48
BOS 48
PHI 49
PIT 47
NJ 50
DET 49
VAN 49
STL 48
NSH 47
SJ 48

If you figure that most of these teams will do
the standard depth guy for a pick deal at least one, there will come a time
where if they look to make another trade, they’ll have to flip someone under
contract even if they’re not really part of the deal (such as Rob Bordson being
part of the Mike Richards trade).  As a few of Montreal’s potential deals
(Gill, Moen, and Kostitsyn particularly) are likely more important than the
extra depth guy, this will probably be the deal where we see that type of player
being added in to balance.  The Habs will be pushing against adding too
many of those guys as they may want a spot or two on the list open for possible
collegiate free agent signings next month.  If we do see a deal with a
player like that in the next couple of weeks, don’t be fooled thinking
management sees something in the player.  In all likelihood, it’ll just be
a necessary evil to completing the deal and isn’t worth thinking about. 
The only thing really worth looking at will be the length of the contract – as
long as it’s an expiring deal, it’s all good.

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