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11-02-2008, 07:54 PM
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Can we include the November 1 game? I think I'll take it into consideration anyway. Overall, this team gets an A. I'd give an A+ if we didn't require a few comebacks and some shaky wins. But 8-1-1 is great any way you slice it. We've beaten good teams and bad teams. Here are my individual assessments for everyone. BTW, I don't go into E's as grades and D- is the worst you can get without an F (F would be a guy like Samsonov so far, but he's in Carolina now). Here's the legend for everyone so you understand what my grades mean-
A+: Sensational
A: Great
A-: Very good
B+: Good
B: Okay
B-: Alright but not too reliable
C+: Average
C: Mediocre
C-: Very ineffective
D+: Bad but not totally useless
D: Useless
D-: Really bad
F: Terrible, needs some serious time in the AHL or press box (a grade for most of our spare parts from 1999-2001 really)

Coaching staff: A-
PK has been alright, PP not as dangerous as expected and Carbonneau hasn't quite matched the strategies of other teams. He's been letting us get sloppy and meek when other teams plan an aggressive style of offense. He'll need to pick it up when the going gets tough, but alas its early.

As for players, let's rank them by best performers to worst (and a category for those with too few games to judge- that being Chipchura actually).

1. Markov: A+
Playing Norris calibre hockey. If he's only pace for 8 goals, who cares? Lidstrom won it with just 9 a year ago! 1 goal yes, but 12 assists is among league leaders. A sweet +7 rating too (hey, +57 is what he's on pace for!)

2. Koivu: A
Turned back the clock... to 2007! Saku last year seemed a little lost and we all thought he was no longer a top flight centre but he has had a sizzling start. Saku's problem is he always hits a wall and plays a mediocre part of the year. I wonder if this barrier comes from having beaten cancer years ago, leaving him unable to play 82 games without real ebbs. Most surprising stat of all: a team-high +9 (he can compete for the Selke!)

3. Tanguay: A-
Has been the team sniper, leading us with 7 goals but hasn't been as big a gamebreaker as Kovy is. He's mainly been doing it on the PP and hasn't looked exceptionally dangerous at even strength though a +6 shows he hasn't been weak on defense at all. Still, he has very good chemistry with Saku. He sometimes disappears however, it's not a slam against Tanguay. He's come in and fulfilled expectations so far and looks to be a great asset. He has earned his status as our #3 scorer.

4. Kovalev: A-
Yes a minus, but only because we haven't seen his best yet. And still, he is on a 40-goal, 82 point pace. With this arsenal of weapons around him, Kovy could possible top last year's numbers and if he doesn't, it's mostly due to the ice time and offense being spread around. He looks more determined to get some scoring done 5-on-5 too. Slotted below Tanguay since 4 of his points came in one game and his contributions aren't as consistent so far.

5. Price: A-
Some weak goals, some trouble with the glove hand. But he has been so solid the rest of the time that we hardly notice just how good he is for a 21-year old goalie. Even after last night he's got a sparkling 2.17 GAA and a .928 sv%.

6. Hamrlik: A-
Solid defense, unexpected offense. Hammer has been our most reliable defender, outside of Markov which just shows you how great Marky has been going both ways. Whenever Hamrlik is hurt it's a huge loss in the defense. Best Hab stay at home guy going at the moment.

7. Lang: B+
At times, he's seemed lacklustre and has missed quite a few golden chances recently. But with his 2nd/3rd line ice time, his production has been satisfactory and his performance hasn't been disappointing at all.

8. Halak: B+
Played very well against Toronto and Florida and only gets docked for the troubles he had with Anaheim. A worthy back-up to Price too. It's nice to know we have a standout goalie on the bench for whenever Price has struggles in his growth.

9. Komisarek: B+
People have been saying he's horrible so far but he's still blocking shots and has a tremendous +7 rating too. Really, he has just seen his struggles concentrated to the PK. He still has a bit to learn even though he's 26. Remember, Markov didn't really round into elite form until after the lockout either. By then, Markov was 26, Komi's age.

10. Gorges: B+
Solid defense, very little hiccups to his game and I attribute his lower +/- (+2) to being paired with struggling players like O'Byrne or Breezy. His 0 PIM are also a great example of how he's been such a team player this year.

11. Kostopolous: B+
Our most solid PK'er and a great all-round effort guy. He's cut down on his boneheaded moves and penalties from last year too. A quality 3rd line character guy.

12. Boullion: B+
Francis has picked up where he left off from his top form last season. In fact he looks maybe better. The 2 goals are a nice surprise, already surpassing last year I think (he had 1 in the playoffs too).

13. Higgins: B
In his 4 games he has been pretty feisty and has been slowly rounding back into form. He'll get there, but I can't really complain about Higgy so far.

14. Plekanec: B
He'd be into the mediocre territory (C+ and under) if he wasn't getting chances. Despite a rather shoddy +1, he was rewarded for his efforts with that 4 pt. game against the Isles. He'll need to keep that up but I'm not horribly disappointed in Plekanec. I was just frustrated with his lack of productivity.

15. Latendresse: B-
7 pts. puts him tied with Pleks for 5th in scoring on the team, but this could be attributed to being on a hot line with Saku and Tanguay for a while. 1 goal in 10 games isn't quite what the Habs want from Gui, who was expected to challenge for 20 even with 2nd or 3rd line minutes.

16. S. Kosty: C+
He started the year with 4 pts. in 3 games but hasn't hit the score sheet since. He seems to be hitting that sophomore jinx or perhaps just his first real slump. He's had the same ice time as last season, but hasn't lived up to it. If he doesn't get it going, he could be a healthy scratch some day. He also needs work on his defensive game (his +/- is even).

17. A. Kosty: C+
Of all our big time scorers, he has been the most disappointing so far to me because at least Pleks has been noticeable even when he's not producing. But his huge hit and concussion has slowed him somewhat. Encouragingly, he showed signs of snapping that funk last night. Not terrible necessarily, just very pedestrian so far. But like I said, he has a reason.

18. Lapierre: C
Not a stellar start. Hasn't given the defensive game for a 4th liner and has squandered scoring chances by not passing. Minus-1 is second worst on the team but can be explained by his reduced ice time not making a high +/- likely to begin with.

19. Begin: C-
I'm not sure what he has left. Gives his all, but can't effectively defend or kill penalties it seems. Injuries have made Begin, only 30 years old, look like he's 40 and on his last legs. Still takes costly penalties too.

20. Dandenault: C-
Not as harmful defensively as he can be, but not as effective offensively as he used to be. He is living on borrowed time.

21. O'Byrne: D+
As bad as Breezy defensively, though his errors aren't as glaring. Still learning the NHL game though, so it's no time to give up on the guy. Maybe he'll see AHL time but his hold on an NHL spot seems a bit more stable after Valatenko up and left for playing in the KHL. Though +/- can be misleading, here it speaks the truth as he has the worst +/- of the d-men at even. Somehow though, his contributions offensively have been better than Patrice "But I'm Ok on the PP" Brisebois. Speaking of....

22. Brisebois: D
Hasn't given much offensively, but has looked just as washed up as ever on defense. If O'Byrne was playing like he should, Breezy would hardly see the lineup any more. The way things are going with the 3rd pairing and 7th d-man spots, we will see either a Weber call-up or a trade for a stay-at-home d-man from Gainey (just no cop-out trade like Todd Simpson thank you).

23. Laraque: D
Though 4 games isn't much, he only really made an impact against Phoenix. Lost his fight to Fritz last night and has otherwise been as useful as Darren Langdon and Aaron Downey on their worst days. Though it's in just 4 games, his minus-2 also proves he's more of a liability than an asset sometimes. I hope his groin problems are to explain for all this.

Not enough action to judge:
Chipchura (though in his 1 game I'd award him a B+ for his gritty work and fine faceoff skills. This guy is a born competitor and leader.On most other teams, he'd be in the NHL by now but he has had to pay his dues and wait. But with some of our 4th liners looking rather bleak, that time perhaps has come. I think he might sneak in more than the 26 games he got last year.

Last edited by Hab-a-maniac: 11-02-2008 at 08:15 PM.
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