With half the season played already, it’s time to hand out report cards to the players, coaches and DG of the Montreal Canadiens.
#11 – Scott Gomez: C
Very slow start to the season for Gomez. Although he’s picked up his game since December, he may not reach the 50 points plateau this season. Whether we take his salary into consideration or not, it’s just not enough. Second worse +/- on the team at -7.
#13 – Michael Cammalleri: B-
Twelve goals for him aren’t enough and he needs no one to remind him. We feel him tensed and he’s gripping the stick very tight. But he can have a couple of multi-goals games to get him back on track.
#14 – Tomas Plekanec: A
In spite of slowing down a bit lately, Plekanec has been, with Price, the Habs’ best player in the first half of the season. Let’s just hope that Jacques Martin doesn’t exhaust him, especially in defensive roles, and that Plekanec still has enough energy for when it really counts.
#15 – Jeff Halpern: B-
After an excellent start to the season (making me regret my words), Halpern has come back down to earth for a couple of months now. However, still a good grade mostly due to his faceoff percentage.
#21 – Brian Gionta: B
Fourteen goals so far, so on pace for 25-30 goals for the season, is excellent especially considering that he couldn’t buy a goal for the longest time in the first part of the season.
#32 – Travis Moen: C
I thought about giving him an even worse grade, but his defensive play saves him here. I’m a big fan of Moen but he simply doesn’t hit, doesn’t score and seem disinterested this season. I would have liked for our GM to get him some help instead of trading away Lapierre, the only other one that hits. I’m convinced that he’d be more physical if he had a few more players doing it.
#46 – Andrei Kostitsyn: C+
In the first part of the season, I would have given him an A but he since has returned to hibernation unfortunately. I have a feeling that his days are numbered in Montreal. It sure isn’t the talent that’s lacking!
#52 – Mathieu Darche: B+
What else can we ask of Darche, really? Six goals, a +6 rating, a player who leaves it all on the ice every game he plays. He’s fulfilling his role.
#57 – Benoit Pouliot: C
I’m disappointed. When I learned that he worked on gaining weight and getting his legs stronger this summer, I was expecting him to have a breakthrough season. He did show what he can do. Is it because of the way he’s being utilised? I think that it’s part of it for sure.
#58 – David Desharnais: –
Way too soon to evaluate him at the big league level.
#67 – Max Pacioretty: B-
After a good start, he has slowed down quite a bit. I would love for him to be able to finish the season in Hamilton, for his own development in a bigger role. He has what it takes to succeed.
#81 – Lars Eller: C
He did show some good aptitudes, but he’s also inconsistent, which comes with his inexperience and his young age. I’m seriously asking myself if he will get wasted by Jacques Martin over time.
#94 – Tom Pyatt: D
Sorry but he doesn’t have his place there. Good speed and that’s all. To think that Lapierre is gone.
#6 – Jaroslav Spacek: C+
It would have been worse had he not picked up his game lately! What a rough start to the season. But he’s coming around slowly. He’s aging and it’s starting to show a lot.
#20 – James Wisniewski: A
It’s early but I like what he brings to the table, in hope that he can keep it up. I’ve read that Pierre Gauthier wants to sign him to an extension. With Hamrlik and Gill becoming UFA, I second that motion.
#26 – Josh Gorges: A
Is there a player in the NHL tougher than him? The guy is so good defensively and to do it on one knee for all those years? Wow! Come back healthy Josh!
#44 – Roman Hamrlik: B+
With Markov’s injury, Hamrlik was arguably the best defenseman in the first half of the season. He did fill in well last year as well during Markov’s injury but ran out of juice in the second half. Here’s hoping that the coach doesn’t make the same mistake this time around.
#45 – Alexandre Picard: B
In order to better rate him, one must look at the expectations. I wasn’t expecting him to make the team, so to see him with 3 goals and a +3 rating on a team struggling to score goals is quite respectable and that, in spite of his play not being as good lately.
#68 – Yannick Weber: C+
After two good games when Martin decided to punish Subban, Weber is showing that it’s a big step between the AHL and the NHL. He has a lot to learn and with Gorges out for the season, I’m hoping that the Habs get a veteran defenseman so that Weber can finish the season in Hamilton.
#75 – Hal Gill: C+
We know that Gill isn’t known for his regular season, but for his playoffs’ performances. We must however worry a bit about his team worst -8 rating, but taking into consideration that the team simply doesn’t score.
#76 – PK Subban: B-
Like Price, Subban had a difficult month of December. He’s young however and he’s in a learning stage. I really like his style, his arrogance and his swagger. He will have to cut back on stupid penalties though.
#79 – Andrei Markov: –
I didn’t rate him out of respect. Coming back from yet another injury, I found him to be slow and not very reliable defensively. I’m very worried that his (legs) injuries will contribute to the fact that we may never see the old Markov again. I’m worried about the contract that the team will offer him, a contract that could come back to haunt the team.
#31 – Carey Price: A
The Halak trade has put a whole lot of pressure on our young goalie and up until now, we can say that Gauthier made the right decision. A more ordinary December but in general, Carey made his coach look good just like Halak did in the playoffs.
#35 – Alex Auld: B
He didn’t play much but when he did, he didn’t cost the team precious points. He knows his role and doesn’t complain about it. What more can we ask for, really?
Pierre Gauthier: B-
Halpern and Picard leave me lukewarm, while the Ryan O’Byrne and Maxim Lapierre trades don’t impress me one bit. But how much of the blame and/or responsibilities are his and how much is Jacques Martin’s? On the other hand, the James Wisniewski trade seems excellent.
Jacques Martin: C-
The young players aren’t developing under his mentorship. His decisions are just as questionable as Guy Carbonneau’s decisions were. His system seems to smother any creativity on offense, the Canadiens being 26th in the NHL in goals for per game. Having said that, they are 4th in goals against per game, which saves him a bit.
Kirk Muller and Perry Pearn: B
I put them together as I’m uncertain of their specific role, with the exception that they’re responsible for special teams. After a rough start to the season, the Canadiens are now a respectable 11th in the league on the PP. They are also 2nd on the PK, which contributed to the team’s success in the first half.
Pierre Groulx: A
When he was hired to replace Roland Melanson, his role was to bring Carey Price back to his old style which saw him have success at every level that he had played. While Price is still young and still has some learning to do, we can definitely say that their work is paying dividends.
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