A .750 winning percentage is a great way to start the season for the Canadiens. Every 10 games or so we’ll take a look at how the Canadiens are doing and what the players are doing to get them where they are.
We are doing a lot of good things right now and the focus this early on is mainly positive.
- Alex Kovalev – Lacking a little in the goal production department, but leading the Canadiens presently with 10 points. Always a threat on the ice, his skill and experience is evident putting the puck where it needs to be to get scoring chances.
Saku Koivu – Koivu has been a monster early on, after his problems with injuries and his battle with Cancer it is great to see him healthy and producing like the player he is. If he can continue this way thoughout the entire season, he can put up some major points.
Alexander Perezhogin – I don’t think many people were expecting this much from him this early in the season. He has been an explosive offensive threat and shows signs of becoming a Sergei Samsonov or Pavel Bure type forward. Lightning quick with deadly hands. Right now he is floating at the top of the rookie pool with big names like Crosby and Ovechkin.
- Steve Begin – If every player put forth the effort he does on a nightly basis, The Cup would be a lock. He plays with grit and determination and finds a way to contribute every night, no matter how much ice time he gets. His production is being noticed and he’s been awarded more ice time as of late.
- Jan Bulis – When you watch this guy it seems like he’s on the verge of breaking out in the league. He looks more confident then ever on the ice. He seems to have matured as a player and can easily play and contribute on the 1st and 2nd line as well as kill penalties.
- Depth Production – Depth has been an issue for the Habs in recent years, if the top line isn’t firing then the team isn’t. This does not appear to be the case so far this year. Guys like Chris Higgins, Tomas Plekanec are producing their share and carrying the load they are needed for. These are rookie guys and they are proving they belong on the team.
- Andrei Markov – Markov has been a tank on defense. Racking up the minutes, he plays nearly half the game.
- Francis Bouillon – Just like Begin, this guy plays way beyond his size. Can someone tell me why the only defensemen we got hittin’ guys on a regular basis is our smallest one? I can, because he has the heart and the passion for the game and you can tell that every second he is on the ice. I think this guy would still play for the Canadiens if they paid him minimum wage.
Pierre Dagenais – If his role is to score goals, he has failed miserably scoring 0 goals to date. If his role is to get penalties he has succeeded tremendously accumulating 12 PIMs and a -3. Dagenais’ weak skating and defensive ability make him a border line player in the new NHL. If he can’t improve his offensive production or stay out of the box, he may not get a chance to play for much longer.
- Jose Theodore – In some ways, winning the Hart Trophy and the Vezina trophy have been a curse for Theo. If he isn’t shutting the door every single night he is highly criticized. His play has been sub-par to date, the Canadiens need him to tighten up his game if we are going to be legitimate contenders.
- Mike Ribeiro – Everyone expected the new rules to give Ribeiro a free pass to the net. If they do, he hasn’t used it yet. Ribeiro needs to do a lot better than he is now. He is -3 and looks dazed and confused on the ice, when he manages to score he looks like the most surprised guy in the building.
- Michael Ryder – I don’t know if he should be classified in this group. I think playing with a slow starting Ribeiro and the burly lumberjack Dagenais has impeded his start. I only say that because -3 is inexcusable for Ryder. He has done his main job however, which is to light the lamp. 4 tallies ties him for the team lead, a race he should be in all season long.
- Mathieu Dandenault – There were a lot of expectations for Dandenault when he signed with the Habs. A cup winner with the ability to play offense or defense and who skates liek the wind. We expect more from him but it may just be him settling into a new team and a new system. Not to mention that Claude Julien can’t decide where to play him. Once settled in, Dandenault should find his game.
- Sheldon Souray – Souray has got to step up and be a defensive leader on this team. He’s got all the skills to do so, as well as be a big powerplay threat. He seems to be having a slow start adjusting to the new rules. Someone’s gotta step up when Markov is on the bench.