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.
Wow, what a difference 24 hours make. Either the Panther prospects are really bad, or this group of Montreal prospects really turned things around after Wednesday’s debacle versus Tampa. No significant roster changes except for the addition of Aaron Asham. The other changes were Konstantin Sidulov, Jason Lehoux, and Sebastien Thinel who did not play. Benoit Cotnoir, Jerome Marois were inserted in the lineup. Mathieu Garon also replaced Evan Lindsay in goal.
For those of you keeping track, Montreal lost the opener on Wednesday to Tampa Bay by a score of 4-3 but were totally outplayed and outshot. In the night cap game, Florida beat the Ottawa prospects by a score of 4-3 as well.
In yesterday’s early game, Ottawa beat Tampa 3-2 in a shootout. After a 5 min overtime period didn’t settle matters, Petr Schastlivy beat Robert Holsinger with the only shootout goal for the win. Mathieu Chouinard was outstanding as he stopped all five Tampa shooters. Simon Lajeunesse let in two Tampa goals by Chris Gignac and Sergei Kuznetsov earlier in the game. The other goal scorers for Ottawa were British import Jonathan Weaver and Chris Neil.
So with Montreal’s decisive 5-2 victory over Florida each team has won and lost a game which should make Friday’s matches very interesting.
Here’s a quick rundown of what I thought of each of the Montreal Prospect’s performance in this game:
The Prospects Tournament was held in Hull last night. It was also a good opportunity to check out the up and coming stars for Florida, Tampa and Ottawa. Ottawa seemed to have the best prospects, followed by Tampa, then Florida. Montreal gets 4th by default.
There’s no knight in shiny armor in the crew of Montreal prospects. Below is how each player did. Keep in mind this is only one game and they’ve probably never played together before so they did look out of place.
Gordie Dwyer-Excellent fore checker, solid body checks, 1 assist, 2 fights (one win, one draw) will play in Quebec (AHL) but zero chance of any NHL time in my opinion.
Konstantin Sidulov-Didn’t impress, didn’t disappoint, was pretty much invisible. He was a little on the small side.
Francois Beauchemin-Brisebois, Robidas…you get the picture. May make it to NHL just because the Habs always give these guys a shot. Kind of reminds me of Brian Campbell, smallish and non-physical but a strong skater and nice passer.
Matt Carkner-Raw, good size, no offensive skills, weak skater but could be the next Brad Brown which isn’t too bad really. He could play for another team down the road.
Jason Lehoux- 2 fighting majors, lost one badly to Kyle Freadrich of Tampa, drew on the second. Didn’t look terribly out of place on a terrible looking team.
If you tuned in to the first round of this year’s entry draft on television, you wouldn’t even think Montreal had a franchise in the NHL. Without a first round pick (traded to the Islanders for Trevor Linden) the Habs were all but invisible during this year’s draft coverage.
The Habs concentrated on drafting skilled forwards and big defenseman, while throwing two goaltenders into the mix. The loss of a first round pick was partially made up for by 2 picks in the second round, 2 picks in the fourth round, 3 picks in the fifth round and one pick in each of the final 4 rounds. The following is a list of the Habs’ draft picks in the order in which they were picked.
POS HT/WT DOB DRAFTED
Alexander Buturlin (rw) 6’0″/182 Lbs. Sep.3/81 D-Mtl99 (2-39)
GP G A PTS +/- PIM PP SH
98-99 Stats 16 1 0 1 – 6 – –
#1 Strength- Speed and Skill
#1 Weakness- Size.
Buturlin has tremendous skill and can play at any forward position. This versatility is one of his many up-sides. He is aggressive even though his lack of size is a concern. He was ranked 4th among Europeans by the CSB.
POS HT/WT DOB DRAFTED
Matt Carkner (d) 6’4″/215 Lbs. Nov.3/80 D-Mtl99 (2-58)
GP G A PTS +/- PIM PP SH
98-99 Stats 60 2 16 18 +15 173 – -