Desharnais has been a pretty consistent player since being called up to the big club…He has a total of 8 goals now. Three of those goals were scored in the 13 games he played in the month of February. Add those to the five assists he tallied last month and it brings his point total to 8 (3-5-8). He might not be the most productive forward on the roster but he doesn’t quit and gets things done. It isn’t always easy for Desharnais due to his small size. Add to this the fact the sometimes Jacques Martin will cut his ice time because of the mistakes or bad penalties taken by his line-mates. He has to work really hard to make his place in the league and I strongly believe he’s doing a great job at it. To be honest he kind of reminds me of Martin St.Louis. He’s small but boy does he play big. Desharnais played an average of 11:41 per game in February and ended the month with a plus/minus rating of 0.
With the injuries to Josh Gorges and Anrei Markov, it was clear that Montreal’s veteran defencemen would see a lot more ice time. With that most of that extra time being split between Hamrlik and Spacek, I was convinced that we would see a defensive collapse over time. With the addition of James Wisniewski and Brent Sopel, I think it’s safe to say that most of us thought they would take some of the workload from the veterans. surprisingly that wasnt the case and coach Jacques Martin continues to play his veteran defenseman for moe than 20 minutes a game. The reason I’m rating Hamrlik as HOT is that he is impressing me with his work ethic. I know he takes bad penalties at times, but he keeps working. He got 9 assists in the 13 games he played last month while playing an average of 22:46 per game, with a plus/minus differential of -2. I’m confident he can continue to play well with the ice time he’s getting, but it would be nice to see JM give him a bit of a break so that Hamrlik isn’t over exerted for the playoffs.
I have to give Pouliot some credit for being consistent with not producing much offense. He hasn’t really done much since those first 15 games after he was traded to Montreal. In the 13 games he played in February he has 3 goals and 1 assist for a total of 4 points (3-1-4). While playing an average of 12:02 per game he has managed to get 31 penalty minutes. Not only is he not helping the team with his lack of offensive production, he also puts his line-mates at a disadvantage. Like that game in Vancouver on February 22nd. After earning an assist on David Desharnais 6th goal of the season, he took a bad penalty and coach JM ended up nailing the whole line to the bench. I know Pouliot can’t be blamed for the coaches decisions, but if he were to play better every game, I don’t think JM would be taking that kind of decision. Pouliot needs to wake up and start playing harder. I know he can, we saw it last year.
I know that I’ve already spoken about Price in my first Habs Hot or Cold post but given his recent performance I felt like talking about him again. In February he played in ten games although he only started in nine of them. His record for the month was 4-5-1. Not the most impressive record I know. But you have to look at the whole picture. So far this year Carey has silenced all his critics and then some. He continues to play solid games in net and he looks calm and in control no matter the situation. Yeah, the Habs lost six games last month but if you look at the games they lost, Carey did his best to keep the team in the game (ok maybe not the Heritage Classic, but that’s just one game) Let’s not forget that he also posted two shutouts last month (2-0 vs New York Rangers February 5th & 3-1 vs Toronto Maple Leafs February 12th) At this point of the season, it is clear now to those who doubted him, that Carey Price was the right goalie to go on with the team. He is better than Halak. Many people say that the Habs will only go as far as Price will take them in the playoffs. Maybe not this year, but one day Price will be the goalie that helps bring Lord Stanley’s Cup home to Montreal.