HabsWorld.net -- 

Before our readers turned their attention away from the Canadiens for the
summer, Habsworld conducted one last poll for the season to determine Montreal’s
3 Stars for the 2011-2012 season.  Though there weren’t many positive things to
take away from the season, HW’s readers managed to find some reasons for
optimism and
voted accordingly.  Without any further ado, here are the HW 3 Stars for
the year, as chosen by you:

1 – Erik Cole (82 GP – 35 G – 26 A – 61 P – +11 Rating)

When Erik Cole recorded a solitary assist in his first 7 games as a Montreal
Canadien, many fans were left wondering if Pierre Gauthier’s prized off-season
acquisition would end up being a bust.  After all, Cole’s performance had
suffered in the past when separated from Eric Staal, and without any powerplay
time, it seemed that the power forward would have difficulties justifying his
$4.5M salary.  Fortunately, a gutsy reporter saw fit to openly criticize
Jacques Martin’s powerplay usage of Cole, and when he found himself playing with
the man-advantage and with linemates, David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty, his
season took flight.  Playing in all 82 games (a rarity in his career), Cole
set a career high in goals (35) and matched his career high in points (61),
which was made all that more impressive on a low-scoring squad such as the
Canadiens.  The veteran forward’s performance, no doubt, sparked the
breakout seasons of his young linemates, and his +11 rating was the highest of
all Montreal forwards.  Even when the playoffs were out of reach, Cole
never took a shift off, and his relentless drive to the net was a sight Montreal
fans had long been missing for many years.  A leader off and on the ice,
Erik Cole is the well-deserving recipient of the Habsworld #1 star.

58% of 1st Star votes, 19% of 2nd Star votes, 8% of 3rd Star Votes


2 – Max Pacioretty (79 GP – 33 G – 32 A – 65 P – +2 Rating)

When Max Pacioretty had his neck broken by a reckless play by Zdeno Chara,
there were more than a few Montreal fans that feared that he would never play
another NHL game.  To the surprise of everyone save perhaps Max, he used
the opportunity to recuperate, pack on some muscle, and face the new year with
a renewed determination.  Publically forgiving Chara, and putting the
incident behind him, "Patches" broke out to lead the Canadiens in points,
despite serving a 3-game suspension.  In addition to being nominated for
the Bill Masterton trophy, Pacioretty’s 65 points (tied with
Alex Ovechkin) were good for 38th in the league, and a 41-point improvement
over last season’s totals.  Furthermore, his 286 shots led the Canadiens
while finishing tied for 10th overall in the league in this category.  Only
23, it is shocking that Max may very well still have a lot of room to grow, and improve
on his impressive totals from a low-scoring team.  A role model off the ice
as well, Max created his own foundation
to help the MGH raise funds for a FMRI machine for their Traumatic Brain Injury
Centre to help those who have suffered similar injuries to his own.

18% of 1st Star votes, 40% of 2nd Star votes, 21% of 3rd Star votes


3 – Carey Price (65 GP – 26 W – 28 L – 11 OTL – 2.43 GAA – 0.916 SV% 
– 4 SO)

Carey Price isn’t likely to be mistaken for a Vezina trophy candidate this
year, nor will he be considered for the Hart Memorial trophy.  After all,
Price’s numbers were average for him, and he ranked in the bottom half of the
NHL in most goaltending categories except for games played.  Nevertheless, anyone
watching Price play this season should be able to recognize what great
significance he is to the team, and how his absence would have likely made the
Canadiens finish lower than the Columbus Blue Jackets in the standings. 
Sidelined by a concussion near the end of the season, Price still managed to
play in a ridiculous amount of games (only 9 goalies played more) as he tried
his best to keep Montreal in the playoff hunt.  More impressive, Price gave
the Canadiens a legitimate chance to win most of those games, and was very
seldom the clear reason for a loss.  Many criticized Price’s performance in
shootouts this year, but with the lack of goal support in most of those
instances, Price would have had to have been perfect.  Though it had little
to no impact on the actual season, Price’s performance at the All-Star weekend
was a bright spot at the rather ho-hum skills competition, and his personable
demeanour quickly made him a fan-favourite, even with non Habs fans.  Although the year may not
have gone as planned, Carey did manage to record his 100th career win, and one
can only hope that the next 100 wins are achieved sooner rather than later.

19% of 1st Star votes, 11% of 2nd Star votes, 22% of 3rd Star votes.


Thanks to all that voted, and enjoy your off-season!