Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Ten Games We'd Like Back

The Story of 41 to 50

[UPDATED with Fred's Power rankings from En Route Pour La Coupe]

10 games we'd have back. Possibly. But maybe not. We actually squeaked out 8 points and may have even undergone a little purge of bad habits. We certainly wouldn't ask for the first four of the ten back.

I'm a strong believer that every team (bar a very few) has a really bad stretch or two. To think that this team built on last year's rookies and propped up from injuries by this year's rookies, would be a team to rival the consistency of the Sharks was always a stretch.

If these ten games were part of our darkest stretch of the season, surely a look at what happened over the duration should be as interesting if not more so than usual.

Our top team over 10 games (Season dome)

Forward 1: Andrei Kostitsyn
5 times into the dome for Andrei, the most among forwards (which is low for a winner). Before the losing he was streaking and fully excellent, and even within the losing streak only really lost his offensive energy for a few periods. His encouraging play should allow us to absorb the loss of Lang and rebuild a line around him.

Forward 2: Alexei Kovalev
No he's not in here for his all-star MVP performance, or his breakaway trick. He squeaked out 3 domes in ten games (not great), but also wowed enough in two to get the game pucks. When he's bad we hear about it. And, sometimes when he's good, even the best, we hear about how he could be better. Case in point is that he had a good game in Tampa after the All-star game; but it is sexier to say he has been bad since the break (rather than having 3 off games).

Forward 3: Saku Koivu
There were a lot of players with 2 or 3 domes in this stretch, others could garner the mention here, But Saku stands out because he got himself into 2 domes, with 2 game pucks in only half the number of games. While it is fair to say that he is still regaining himself, it would be unfair not to mention that he's jumped right back in as the top centre on the team.

Honourable mention (forwards): Lang (4 domes). He was playing some very nice hockey and benefiting from the love that Andrei K brings to everyone's stats page this season. Unfortunately, Game 50 is where it ends for Lang – for the season, and maybe as a Canadien. He served us well and with grace in true Canadiens fashion.

Defenceman 1: Andrei Markov
A perfect 10 out of 10 domes and a game puck. The 10 games started with an impressive scoring run as well, for Markov, as he vaulted himself into the Habs scoring lead by Game 50. All the while, he has been one of the only defenders capable of putting in 60 minutes of good defensive hockey as well.

Defenceman 2: Roman Hamrlik
4 domes and a game puck for Hammer. It is a major indictment of the team that Hamrlik can have his worst stretch of the season by far and still be the second best defender after all this mess. he had some truly terrible games amongst the ten. So did likely challenger Gorges; and, as usual, Mike Komisarek.

Honourable mention (defenceman): None in this horror show.

Goaltender: Jaroslav Halak
8 domes and one game puck. Halak being here is another major disappointment. He may have started out the ten games as the starter. But he has not played since midway through game 4. Garnering 4 domes from 6 of Carey's starts is very fun for Halak, but not for the Habs. Hopefully Price's nightmare return to "Philadelphia" is over, as he's all we have – no one ever thought of putting Jaro in anyway.

En Route Pour La Coupe Power Rankings

Fred's Power Rankings came in later than I expected. here they are.

The criticisms are not different than the last times, and that's because the players didn't move much over this pretty bad stretch of games.

Ironically, Tanguay looks better near the top of the list just at the moment because he's been absent for the collapse. You all know I think Sergei has been better than Guillaume for the most part. But now, I look at the two of them and wonder how they can both be so high. Certainly if I'm looking at this list and everyone is available, we're a goal down with a minute to go; I'd sooner choose Higgins or Plekanec. I think they're both being judged harshly based on unrealistic expectations.

Three star selectors

When the stars aren't falling for us, then we get a bit of an eclectic list. Especially since there were a lot of road games here too, so the gratuitous extra Canadiens star didn't often make the sheet. Once again the list is funny, but worth a look. Mike Komisarek's star selection, by the way, in that Boston loss is under huge dispute here at LIW. No goalies amongst the few tells a story in itself.

Based on 5 points for first star, 3 for second and 1 for third. here's their dome:

Forward 1: Tomas Plekanec (1, 0, 0)
Forward 2: Alexei Kovalev (1, 0, 0)
Forward 3: Chris Higgins(1, 0, 0)

Defenceman 1: Andrei Markov (2, 0, 0)
Defenceman 2: Mike Komisarek (0, 0, 1)

Goaltender: None selected

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