CFN – It’s time to review the Habs 2011/12 season. 21 games out the squad is 9-9-3. It’s an interesting record and has them sitting in 11th spot in the Eastern Conference. 53 goals for and 50 against.
It’s been a roller coaster ride with fans and scribblers calling for both Coach Jacques Martin and GM Pierre Gauthier’s jobs at times.
So here is our report card based on player salary.
Scott Gomez. Well it’s not been his best season. So far it’s his worst; yet there’s hope and after returning from injury what should be the number one centre on this team has notched 3 assists. Grade C-
Mike Cammalleri, my favorite Hab. Injury has slowed down the prolific scorer. In his third season in Montreal Cammy is not racking up points the way it was hoped or at at $6M clip. Grade C
Tomas Plekanec has come a long way from the days of calling his play akin to that of a “little girl”. He’s the number one star on this squad and his point per game clip so far is leading the team. He’s done everything you could hope he’d do. He’s even hitting people more than the last few years. Grade A
Captain Brian Gionta. He’s the heart and soul of the team, but his point count isn’t there. Grade B-
Erik Cole. After getting some odd early treatment from Coach Martin the high priced free agent acquisition has lit up the team. Hitting, scoring, and teamed up with Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais he’s given the team what they expected. Grade B+
Andrei Kostitsyn. Off to one of his best seasons he’s been sidelined by injury and it’s shown in some of the team results. Still an enigma, but one that probably will be a huge player on another team. It’s time for Coach Martin to figure out how to use the large forward with the sweet shot. He still needs to shoot more, but it’s progress. Grade B
Max Pacioretty. Power forward. Has shown no signs from last years injuries and is playing with a wrist injury incurred this year. Some in the media have labelled him the future captain of the squad. Grade A+
Travis Moen. Great start for this gritty veteran who’s really a great bottom eight forward. Not as young as he used to be, but certainly not done yet. B
Lars Eller. I’ve never been a fan of this not so Great Dane. The key element in the Halak trade he’s still a work in progress. Injuries have slowed him down this year as well. C
David Desharnais. Wee David has been slaying the NHL Lions. In between the two power forwards on the team has allowed him to weave his magic. Could be better if he shoots more, but still has managed to take over for Scott Gomez. Now to see if he can keep the spot? Grade B+
Matt Darche. Solid plugger. Great guy. Took flak for getting more PP time than Erik Cole early in the year. Not sure if media attention has hurt his season, but only 1 point in 21 games doesn’t cut it. Grade D
Petteri Nokelainen. An emergency pick up. Former first rounder only has 1 assist on the season. Not enough even if he’s a right handed face off centre for the squad. When you miss Jeff Halpern that says huge volumes. Grade D-
Andrei Markov. Still hasn’t played a game. Due to return soon. Grade N/A
Jaroslav Spacek. Injured early, but his return helped stabilize the defense and get some wins on the board. 3 points and + 2 in 12 games. Grade C+
Josh Gorges. A complete warrior. After his knee injury he’s playing better than ever and filling the void with all of the veteran injuries. He’s the glue to the entire D corps. Fellow BC native Carey Price would probably freak if Habs let him go which could happen as he’s UFA after this season. Grade A+
Hal Gill. What you see is what you get with Gill. Vet presence. Big Body. The play offs are when Prince Hal shines. Grade C+
Chris Campoli. 1 game and he was injured. Ugh. Grade N/A
Alexei Emelin. I like this guy. Could be paired with Markov when he returns or could be traded. Those Russian Sonic Booms he delivers are much needed on this team. Never an offensive threat, Montreal needs his toughness. Was scratched several games. C+
Raphael Diaz. Makes a good 5-7 d man. No acquisition cost, but not a lot of upside. Considering is lack of North American experience he’s done well. Grade C
PK Subban. Is this guy going to get a raise or what? While points haven’t been as much as expected he’s had to fill some big shoes and play bigger than he should. 23 minutes per night. His number should jump up if Markov returns and takes some of the pressure off of him. Other teams are keying on PK. Grade B.
Yannick Weber. Another Swiss connection for the Habs. Now that Martin isn’t forcing him to play wing he’s blossoming on Defense. Grittier than his size and can help offensively. Putting together a good NHL season with his opportunity. B+
Carey Price. I’ve never been a big Price fan, but he’s showing that last year was no fluke and earning his next big pay cheque! Montreal is going to have quite an issue with what to do with Mr. Price… Grade A+
Peter Budaj. Subbing for Price isn’t an easy gig, but kudo’s for Mr. Budaj in not being as freaking scary as Alex Auld! Grade B+
Coach Jacques Martin. Martin just hasn’t got that play offs pedigree. He’s battled back, but at the end of the day is it enough to get this team to the next level? He and Gauthier have been together long enough for the GM not to be an excuse. His line shuffling and early handling of star free agent acquisition still has many fans upset. Grade D+
Pierre Gauthier. I still don’t know why Bob Gainey loves this guy as much as he does? Trades, nope; nothing great there. Scouting? No, nothing that profound either. Letting Hamrlik go to the Caps for $3.5 million after the job he did when Markov was down the last few years? I don’t think he’s addressed the real needs of the team. I’m sure he has some vision for this squad. I’m not sure what it is,but as the roster remains it’s not a top contender for Lord Stanley’s Cup unless Carey Price pulls off a Halak type run and that’s not something you plan for.
If Markov and Gomez turn in good half seasons this squad will be in the play offs and probably even make it past the first round, but it still is missing a few elements….
Gauthier’s Grade D.
Next up, the Leafs!
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