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In this week’s HW Recap: The Habs picked up
points in every game with some strong performances from those not on the top
line while in Hamilton, the Bulldogs’ playoff hopes were all but crushed. 
Although either squad won’t be seeing playoff games, there still will be a shot
to see several Habs in postseason action, that’s the focus of my Final Thought.


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) David Desharnais: I’m not sure
what’s more impressive for his week, the fact he led the club in points or that
he scored on a pair of impressive shootout moves.  On a team bereft of any
consistent scorers in the post-game skills contest, I’m inclined to think the
latter is more significant. (Prev: 8  Avg:

2) Erik Cole: After his linemate (Pacioretty)
started to pull away in the goal scoring race, Cole decided it was his turn to
light the lamp a couple of times to close the gap.  Getting 30 is certainly
doable for him. (Prev: 3  Avg:

3) Tomas Plekanec: His efforts on the
penalty kill alone place him among the Hab stars of the week.  Thanks in
large parts to his efforts in Ottawa, the Habs once again sit atop the PK
percentage standings with a season mark above the modern day record. (Prev:
5  Avg: 6.68)

4) Josh Gorges: Like Plekanec, his PK
work puts him here.  The season is all but lost and he’s blocking more
shots now than he was earlier on.  I have a lot of respect for someone who
plays that role no matter how insignificant the game. (Prev:
9  Avg: 8.86)

5) Carey Price: He played quite well in
both Ottawa games, giving them a chance to win on the road when the Habs, aside
from the PK, played possibly their worst game of the year.  Going 3/3 in
the shootout was also good for his confidence. (Prev:
 Avg: 5.27)

6) P.K. Subban: He could still stand
to cut down on some of the ‘extras’ but he continued his strong 5-on-5 play from
recent weeks, even though the offence wasn’t there this time. (Prev:
2  Avg: 9.18)

7) Max Pacioretty: Although he didn’t
tickle the twine (a rarity this last little while), he helped set up a couple of
goals.  For an ‘off week,’ there’s nothing wrong with that. (Prev:
1  Avg: 4.19)

8) Peter Budaj: He put up a pair of
solid starts.  That’s good on a couple of levels, one for his own
confidence going into next season but this should give Randy Cunneyworth some
extra confidence to use him more down the stretch. (Prev:
16  Avg: 9.40)

9) Alexei Emelin: He is being counted
on to play even more with the frequent injuries and is looking more comfortable
with Markov playing alongside him most of the time.  This could be the
start of next year’s second pairing. (Prev: 10
 Avg: 11.20)

10) Andrei Markov: The defensive zone
breakout just looks so much better with him in the lineup.  Defensively he
is still making some mistakes as he is slow to react but so far so good on his
return. (Prev: 11  Avg:

11) Louis Leblanc: He seemed to be on
a few different lines throughout the week and scored a nice goal against the
Islanders.  I’d still like to see him in Hamilton before the end of the
year, they have more games to play and he’ll get more ice time which is what he
needs. (Prev: 17  Avg:

12) Petteri Nokelainen: I didn’t like
the penalties he took, but I did like the production.  A pair of assists
from a fourth liner getting sparing minutes is nice…I just want to know where
that offence was the last three months. (Prev: 22
 Avg: 18.56)

13) Tomas Kaberle: The powerplay
looked worse without him in the lineup.  That’s the good news although bad
is that defensively the team looked better.  He’ll need to shore up his
play in his own zone to see more than sparing minutes the rest of the way. (Prev:
7  Avg: 10.93)

14) Lars Eller: The game in Buffalo
was a prime candidate for his worst of the season.  He played a bit better
as the week went on but this was not his best week to say the least. (Prev:
4  Avg: 7.68)

15) Aaron Palushaj: I’m not sure that
was how he wanted to get his first NHL goal (banking one from behind the goal
line) but the fact it went in was all that matters.  Now, he needs to start
putting a few more in to help his cause for next year. (Prev:
18  Avg: 18.08)

16) Ryan White: There’s no doubt he’s
trying his best out there but until last game, he was being grossly miscast as a
winger on what should have been a scoring line.  He has demonstrated his
future is as a 4th liner, it would be nice to see him used there. (Prev:
14  Avg: 12.00)

17) Frederic St. Denis: He gave the
Habs what they needed, a steady sixth defenceman.  He was quietly sent down
prior to Saturday’s game but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him again before
the end of the season. (Prev: N/A  Avg:

18) Michael Blunden: He looked a step
slower than usual but that can probably be attributed to his injury.  He
too will be one to follow as he fights for a roster spot next year. (Prev:
N/A  Avg:

19) Rene Bourque: On the plus side he
played well shorthanded and scored a shootout goal.  That clearly isn’t
enough and he’s heard it from just about everyone now, it’s up to him to shut up
the critics. (Prev: 15  Avg:

20) Chris Campoli: His game against
the Senators at home was terrific, likely his best of the year.  Beyond
that though, he wasn’t particularly strong.  He’s not helping his case of
catching on somewhere next year. (Prev: 20
 Avg: 18.64)

21) Yannick Weber: I’m not placing him
here for his defensive play, he looked okay in that regard.  But with
Markov, Kaberle, and Diaz ailing, he did not step up offensively when needed,
that element is what is most important for his future chances. (Prev:
19  Avg: 15.86)

22) Blake Geoffrion: The momentum
after scoring his first goal…well, it simply wasn’t there.  I think he
too should be seeing some fourth line ice time though as it appears that’s the
role he’ll be heading for next season. (Prev: 13
 Avg: 16.33)

23) Brad Staubitz: His highlight of
the week was losing a fight that gave Ottawa some momentum on home ice. 
Why is that his highlight?  It’s the only time he did anything to remotely
get noticed. (Prev: 21  Avg:

The Dog

If anyone thought the Bulldogs had any playoff
hopes before this week, they surely are gone now despite an impressive win to
start things off.


March 13:

Hamilton 4, St. John’s 2

March 14:

St. John’s 6, Hamilton 0

March 17:

Grand Rapids 5, Hamilton 3


There wasn’t a ton of scoring to
get excited about but a pair of players picked up their first as Bulldogs this









3 Robert Slaney 3 1 0 E 4 0
5 Alex Henry 3 0 0 -1 2 2
6 Joe Stejskal 3 0 0 E 2 4
10 Philip DeSimone 3 0 2 +1 5 4
11 Alain Berger 3 0 2 E 5 0
13 Zack FitzGerald 3 0 0 -1 2 15
14 Trevor Hendrixx 1 0 0 E 0 5
15 Phillipe Lefebvre 3 0 0 E 1 0
17 Mark Mitera 3 0 0 -2 2 6
21 Ian Schultz 3 1 2 -1 6 0
22 Andreas Engqvist 2 1 0 E 5 0
23 Joonas Nattinen 3 1 0 E 5 2
24 Brian Willsie 3 0 1 -2 7 12
26 Eric Lampe 3 0 0 -3 5 0
27 Joey Haddad 3 1 0 E 4 0
32 Frederic St. Denis 1 0 2 +2 2 0
40 Gabriel Dumont 3 2 2 E 9 2
44 Olivier Dame-Malka 3 0 1 -2 6 0
53 T.J. Fast 2 0 0 -2 1 0
67 Alexander Avtsin 3 0 0 -2 5 0






29 Robert Mayer 0-1-0 .889 4.72
52 Nathan Lawson 1-1-0 .906 2.63

Active Leaders:

Goals: Andreas Engqvist (19)
Assists: Frederic St. Denis (25)
Points: Andreas Engqvist (35)
+/-: Robert Slaney (+2)
PIMS: Zack FitzGerald (227)
Shots: Brian Willsie (195)


March 20:
Hamilton vs Rockford
March 23: Hamilton vs Milwaukee
March 24: Hamilton vs Chicago
March 25: Hamilton vs Peoria


Habs hockey in May.  At first glance,
surely an insane thought but with the World Championships looming, it’s a
distinct possibility that somewhere between a third and half of the Habs will be
suiting up.  Here’s a quick overview of the potentials that could be
invited in my opinion.

Surefire Invitees: Carey Price, P.K. Subban
In the mix: David Desharnais, Josh Gorges (Desharnais isn’t a top 4 C
among non-playoff teams but some will say no while he could get a look on the

Surefire Invitees: Max Pacioretty, Erik Cole
Longshot: Blake Geoffrion (lately a couple of non-NHL’ers have been
invited, he could be considered if they do that again based on last year’s

Surefire Invitee: Alexei Emelin
In the mix: Andrei Markov (if healthy)

Czech Republic
Surefire Invitees: Tomas Plekanec, Tomas Kaberle (highest scoring
Czech d-man this year)

Surefire Invitee: Raphael Diaz
In the mix: Yannick Weber (something doesn’t smell right about the last
second reversal on joining the team last year)

Surefire Invitee: Peter Budaj

Surefire Invitee: Lars Eller

In the mix: Andreas Engqvist

In the mix: Petteri Nokelainen

Now obviously not all of the surefire invitees
will accept their invites, injuries that we don’t know about will stop some as
will potential contract issues with those on expiring deals (which could come
into play for Price and Subban).  But it’s safe to say that quite a few of
the above list will off to Finland or Sweden (depending on where their
preliminary games will be played) giving us at least for a couple of weeks the
chance to see some Habs in ‘postseason action.’

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