Talk about a roller coaster ride. This team went from terrible to excellent and then squeaked in a period and a half of decent hockey before the wheels came completely off. They reached a new low in this game against Ottawa. Outplayed, outshot and outscored, they came out in the third period looking extremely tired, then all but gave up with about ten minutes to go. With the score 7-2 and only a few minutes remaining, I can’t recall ever watching a team wanting to playout the clock the way these guys did. They iced the puck at every opportunity, and stayed almost completely out of Ottawa’s zone. I guess you could blame it on exhaustion as the team played with a short bench most of the game. Gordie Dwyer didn’t play due to an injury, Alexander Buturlin left the game mid way through the second with a knee injury and Aaron Asham didn’t play in the third after he had two fights in the second period. Konstantin Sidulov was inserted in the lineup in place of Dan Watson on defense and Sebastien Thinel played for the injured Dwyer. Once again, Jason Lehoux and Olivier Morin did not dress for the game nor did goaltender Dan Murphy. Three games in three days with practices every morning is tough, but I didn’t notice the Ottawa team slowing down.
Montreal will play Florida in the consolation game on Saturday as the Panthers lost to Tampa Bay 4-3 in a shootout. Matt Elich, Chris Gignac and Sheldon Keefe scored for Tampa with Dimitri Afanasenkov getting the winner past Florida’s Alexander Auld in the shootout. Curtis Huppe scored twice and Brett Gibson added the other goal for Florida. Tampa’s Jason Flick didn’t allow any goals in the shootout. Tampa and Ottawa will tangle Saturday afternoon for the championship.
Here’s a quick scouting report on how each Montreal prospect performed in the game.
Keep in mind that for the last ten minutes of the third period, most of the players pretty much quit.
I also ranked them on a 1 to 5 scale for the whole camp.
5 being outstanding and 1 being terrible.
Konstantin Sidulov – Just like he did in the first game of the series, Sidulov didn’t impress, nor did he standout in any way. I don’t see him making big strides to the NHL in the near future..
Francois Beauchemin – Made bad passes all night, looked extremely out of place. Overall I believe the Canadiens will give him a shot at camp, just because they know he can play better then he did for this tournament.
Matt Carkner – Didn’t get to fight this game as his sparing partners were fewer than on the previous nights. He does play a mean, physical game which is something the Habs will need shortly (if not now) in the lineup. He played his worst game of the series, but so did everyone else.
Benoit Cotnoir – Improved from a decent performance the night before. He looks comfortable with the puck and may have impressed enough people to warrant a shot in Quebec.
Eric Chouinard – Eric is three for three with his poor performances. I’ve said enough about this guy. If the Canadiens hadn’t picked him in the first round, he’d be back on a bus to junior. However, I’m sure he’ll get an invite to camp.
Sean Dixon – Dixon is the kind of player that grows on you the more you see him play. I think he has a future based on his performance tonight and throughout the whole tournament. He played exceptionally well the whole game and was the best defenseman on the team.
Micheal Ryder – He played with Ribiero all night and therefore had a few scoring opportunities but didn’t capitalize. He connected on one in the second period after he picked up a loose puck at the side of the net. He needs another full season or two in junior to develop. His numbers should increase this year.
Alexander Buturlin – More of the same from this crafty player. He hurt his knee in the second after colliding with an Ottawa player and never returned. Hopefully it wasn’t a serious injury and he doesn’t miss anytime in Sarnia.
Jerome Marois – Speedy center, skates well, tries to be physical but with his size he hardly causes much harm. Needs to bulk up.
Daniel Tessier – Very impressive versus Ottawa. He made things happen on every shift and next to Ribiero was the best player out there for Montreal. Hopefully he has earned an invite to camp, if he didn’t then there’s more to earning an invite than playing well. I don’t know his exact size but I’m guessing he’s about 5’8” 180lbs. He played like he was much bigger, delivered a few big hits and created scoring chances all night. Will be a fan favorite in Quebec if he makes it.
Darcy Harris – Slowed down quite a bit from his torrid pace in game one. He might be playing injured. He still managed to win a fight with Phillipe Plante although he was used sparingly and did little when he did play. Hopefully he gets a second chance at camp with his play from game one.
Marc-Andre Thinel – Played his best game of the tournament. I doubt he’ll be in camp with the big club but he should be better next season.
Sebastien Thinel – Back to junior for this guy if he qualifies, if not he might be able to hookup with a team in Europe.
Dusty Jamieson – Showed more of his impressive speed. Scored a nice goal after Tessier did all the work. Was used often to kill penalties. If he puts some meat on his 6’2” frame and maintains his skating abilities he should have no problem making it to the NHL in a few years.
Gennady Razin – All good things must come to an end. All the icetime in the previous two games finally caught up to him. He made mistake after mistake as the game wore on. I still think he’s good enough to get callup duty in Montreal this season.
Aaron Asham – The fearless warrior. The more I see of him the less I miss Darcy Tucker. He may never put up Tucker type numbers but his style of play is a replica. I see good things from him in the future with the big club. Fought twice and didn’t lose, once against Kevin Grimes and one highlight reel scrap with Chris Neil.
Jason Ward – Scored a beauty of early in the third and pulled the Canadiens to within a one goal before all hell broke loose. He looked exhausted by the end of the game and played terribly on his last few shifts. I don’t think he’s ready for the NHL just yet. He needs at least a year in the AHL.
Mike Ribiero – He put together two solid, back to back performances and was relentless out there all night. His linemates do not possess nearly enough talent required to keep up with him. Ribiero controlled the offense for the second straight game and looked alone on his offensive rushes. He set up a few teamates beautifully only to have them miss the puck or fire wide. Hopefully he will continue to grow and improve. He needs to put on about 20 lbs and maintain his skill level to be successful in the NHL. Being a local talent the Canadiens will give him every opportunity to make it.
Mathieu Garon – Kept the game close in the first with several spectacular saves. Strangely enough, he was replaced in the second by Evan Lindsay who gave up six of Ottawa’s seven goals. He has nothing to prove in this mini-camp. His real test is next week when he goes toe-to-toe with Theodore.
Evan Lindsay – Saw a lot of rubber but hardly made any great saves. The Sens scored on every good opportunity. He fought the puck all night and even had trouble stopping long icing shots that hit the net. He pulled the “check behind you” routine made famous by Andre Racicot which shows me a lack of confidence in his game. May improve but will not play in Montreal.
As for the Sens. Few of them stuck out as superstars but the entire team played well as a unit, which is the way the game should be played. They are a well disciplined bunch who have bought into whatever system the coaches have instilled in such a short period of time, which says a lot about the coaching. I didn’t see Michel Therrien make any adjustments as Ottawa quickly took control of the game. Several players showed signs of better things to come. Many of these guys are clones. They are all roughly the same size (6’0 190lbs), all are natural scorers and all play a well rounded game. In fact most times, I had trouble telling them apart. Ottawa looks to be in great shape for years to come with this crop of prospects waiting in the wings. Alexei who?
Konstantin Gorovikov – had an outstanding game, was on the ice for at least three of Ottawa’s goals. At 23, could be this year’s Alfredsson, Dackell or Arvedson
Chris Neil – Plays a tough physical game and can still leave room for some good hockey.
Chris Kelly – He impressed me with his strong skating and offensive abilities.
Buddy Wallace – Much like Chris Kelly in style.
Layne Ulmer – Fourth liner who had the best hit of the night on Benoit Cotnoir.
Bob Prier – Scored a couple of goals, wasn’t overly impressive.
Karel Rachunek – Was the best defenseman on the ice for both teams. He contributed offensively and was rarely beaten in the defensive zone.
Mathieu Chouinard – Didn’t get a lot of shots but he played well all night and didn’t give the Montreal shooters much room to score. If he’s given a real shot at camp for the number two spot in Ottawa, I don’t see how Hurme, Lalime or Fountain will outplay him.
Again, not one guy on this team played poorly. From the first line to the fourth and even the defense, all played sound hockey.
1-Ottawa Wallace (Kenny)
2-Ottawa Prier (Rachunek)
3-Montreal Ryder (Beauchemin, Cotnoir)
4-Ottawa Kenny (Plante)
5-Montreal Ward (unassisted)
6-Ottawa Neil (Gorovikov)
7-Ottawa Prier (Schastlivy)
8-Ottawa Binette (Ulmer, Ianiero)
9-Ottawa Fisher (Rachunek)
10-Monreal Jamieson (Tessier)
Shots on Goal
Ottawa Mathieu Chouinard
Montreal Mathieu Garon
Evan Lindsay replaced Garon at the beginning of the second period.