HabsWorld.net -- 

Although the Bulldogs were able to snap their
longest losing streak of the season, it wasn’t enough to keep them from dropping
into sole possession of the AHL’s basement.  Wheeling continues their slow
but steady climb from the cellar having picked up three of six points this past
week.  2012 ushered in a new era of Habs’ management, my Final Thought
looks back at Marc Bergevin’s tenure so far with Montreal as the top story of
the year.

The Dog

Despite being in dead last, there weren’t many
times where you could say the Bulldogs got fed up and let their emotions get the
best of them.  Saturday’s loss in Lake
Erie was an implosion as the defence struggled, Cedrick Desjardins got fed up
and threw a fit on the ice to get pulled, and three Hamilton players got into
‘frustration fights.’  It’s safe to say there’s only one way to go from
that type of effort, up.

News and

– Defenceman Cody Wild’s stint with Hamilton
ended in a hurry as he was released from his PTO after just two games.

– On the injury front, Mike Commodore is back
to full health.  Greg Pateryn is now skating and is likely 10-14 days away
from returning while Joonas Nattinen suffered an upper-body injury and also is a
couple weeks away from rejoining the lineup.

– Steve Quailer was a healthy scratch in
Friday’s win over the IceCaps.  This was his first time being scratched
during the season and according to him, the only time it has happened in his

– Lines from the most recent game:


Leblanc – Bournival – Gallagher
Blunden – Chaput – Dumont
Avtsin – Holland – Quailer
Hagel – Fortier – Stortini


Beaulieu – St. Denis
Tinordi – Commodore
Nash – Ellis


December 26:

Toronto 3, Hamilton 2

December 28:

Hamilton 6, St. John’s 3

December 29:

Lake Erie 4, Hamilton 0


Brendon Nash’s empty net goal vs
St. John’s snapped a personal 41-game goalless drought dating back to March of









3 Antoine Corbin 1 0 0 -1 0 4
4 Brendon Nash 3 1 0 +1 4 0
5 Jarred Tinordi 3 0 1 E 4 14
8 Nathan Beaulieu 3 1 1 -1 6 2
10 Stefan Chaput 3 0 2 -2 4 4
12 Zack Stortini 3 0 0 -1 2 15
13 Steve Quailer 2 0 0 -1 3 0
14 Michael Blunden 3 0 1 +1 2 2
15 Kyle Hagel 3 0 1 -1 4 7
16 Olivier Fortier 3 0 0 E 7 0
17 Brendan Gallagher 3 0 1 -1 5 5
18 Michael Bournival 3 0 0 E 0 0
20 Louis Leblanc 3 1 0 +3 12 2
22 Mike Commodore 2 0 0 -1 0 8
23 Joonas Nattinen 2 0 0 E 2 4
32 Frederic St-Denis 3 1 0 +1 4 0
37 Patrick Holland 3 0 1 -1 2 0
40 Gabriel Dumont 3 3 3 +3 9 4
44 Morgan Ellis 3 1 1 +2 3 2
67 Alexander Avtsin 2 0 1 E 2 2






29 Robert Mayer 1-0-0 .914 2.52
30 Cedrick Desjardins 0-2-0 .905 3.95


Goals: Dumont/Gallagher
Assists: Nathan Beaulieu (10)
Points: Dumont/Gallagher (18)
+/-: Dumont/Nattinen (+6)
PIMS: Zack Stortini (109)
Shots: Brendan Gallagher (100)


December 31:
Hamilton vs Rochester
January 2: Hamilton vs Toronto

January 4: Rockford vs Hamilton
January 5: Lake Erie vs Hamilton

Farm’s Farm

The Nailers weren’t able to keep up their six
game winning streak (highlighted by Peter Delmas winning ECHL Goalie of the Week
honours), losing a pair of games with their lone win sandwiched in between. 
However, they were able to pick up three of a possible six points.

As the Habs/Bulldogs have players affiliated
with three different teams at the moment, the table below now covers all of those players, not
just the ones with Wheeling.


Player Team





Phillipe Lefebvre Wheeling 1 0 0 E 3 0
Daultan Leveille Wheeling 3 1 1 -1 6 2
Ian Schultz Utah 2 0 1 +1 2 9
Joe Stejskal Wheeling 3 0 0 -3 7 4


Player Team



Peter Delmas


0-1-1 .857 3.36

Colby Armstrong has not yet played
since signing with Utah.  Scott Gomez did not play this past week.


December 31:
Elmira vs Wheeling
January 4: Trenton vs Wheeling

January 5:
Trenton vs Wheeling
January 6: Wheeling vs Reading


Over the past couple of weeks,
I’ve been reflecting on the top storylines of 2012.  Like last week (the
lockout), my top storyline of the year is still developing.  Of course, I’m
referring to the new culture and identity that has come about from the hiring of
new GM Marc Bergevin.  Gone is the Gainey/Gauthier era that we’ve come to
know for the better part of the last decade.  Also gone are the
perplexities in which the Habs operated over the past couple of years with
Gauthier running the ship.

Although Bergevin hasn’t had a lot
of time to change the on-ice personnel (Brandon Prust has been his biggest
player acquisition), the same can’t be said for the off-ice staff.  A total
of six new coaches were hired for either Montreal or Hamilton, led of course by
Michel Therrien, a somewhat controversial hire in itself.  A player
development department actually exists now rather than Trevor Timmins trying to
handle that job plus his scouting duties.  Speaking of scouting, half a
dozen new scouts were added as well.  Contract wise, both Carey Price and
Max Pacioretty were inked to six year extensions but P.K. Subban is one of only
a handful of RFA’s that were unsigned before September 15th, something that has
not sat well with a lot of fans.

Bergevin will have been on the job
for eight months later this week.  That’s not a long time but normally
that’s enough time to begin to form some thoughts on his ‘rookie decisions.’ 
Yet, we sit here today and we’re not in a position to really assess much of
anything.  The NHL players haven’t hit the ice and as much as the Bulldogs
are struggling, they’re in a bit of a unique situation (a team that ices 1/3
rookie skaters nightly in a boosted AHL because of the lockout) so it’s hard to
draw too many conclusions about the coaching staff.  Instead, we’re left
with all sorts of intrigue and hope, feelings that I don’t think too many had
when the buzzer sounded back on April 7th (a 4-0 win over Toronto). 
Bringing those feelings to many fans, that’s a pretty good first act for the new

On behalf of everyone here at
HabsWorld, I’d like to take a moment to wish everyone a Happy New Year. 
Here’s hoping that 2013 is a much better year for the Habs.

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