Canadiens AHL update

By Dan Linn

The Hamilton Bulldogs continue to play good hockey, and the Canadiens prospects are a major part of the
team’s success. Currently Hamilton sits in first place in its division, as rookie coach Doug Jarvis juggles a
lineup of veterans and inexperienced rookies.

Tomas Plekanec, C — Plekanec has slowed down his scoring pace somewhat, but still sees a lot of
icetime in all situations, mostly on the second line. He’s been solid in his own end, while some chippy play
at times, something he didn’t show much of last season.

Josef Balej, RW — Balej has taken over the lead as the top scorer for the Habs AHL prospects. Playing
on the top line with Hossa and Gratton, Balej has racked up the points and has been a real force in both
ends of the ice. In two games, Balej was able to pick up six points as he exploded offensively, feeding off
the confidence Coach Jarvis has in him, playing him in any situation, including on the penalty kill which he
hasn’t played much of in the past.

Francois Beauchemin, LD — After a somewhat slow start to the season, perhaps due to the let down of
not getting a crack at the NHL, Beauchemin has picked it up lately in all areas of the ice. With Ron
Hainsey being switched in place of Mike Komisarek, the pair have played well together, creating offense
with good outlet passes and shots from the point. Beauchemin, who was a minus player early on this
season, has turned it around, and is one of the top plus/minus players now, while he’s also generating a lot
of shots on a consistent basis.

Chris Higgins, C/LW — Higgins has been producing on offense, while being a clutch player scoring some
big goals in the early stages of his rookie season. Both Higgins and Balej are tied for the team lead with
three game winning goals apiece, a great sign considering Higgins has played less then 25 games as a
professional hockey player. He continues to shoot the puck, and currently he sits third in scoring among
Habs AHL prospects, while also showing a great deal of discipline taking only one minor penalty so far this

Alex Perezhogin, RW — The season hasn’t gone exactly as well as Perezhogin would have liked, as he
seems to struggle with the smaller ice surface at times, but has shown flashes of great skill at others. He
plays mostly on the second
line, and has been able to show off his quick release. But the points haven’t
been there as often. The addition of fellow countryman Alex Svitov will hopefully help Perezhogin overcome
the language barrier.

Ron Hainsey, RD — After being sent down to Hamilton, Hainsey has taken the demotion in stride, playing
some very good hockey in hopes of being recalled again. He’s been paired with Beauchemin, and the two
have made an effective pairing, as Hainsey has been solid in his own end, while helping the team with his
quick passing and shooting.

Jonathan Ferland, RW — Ferland has not seen a lot of icetime, but when he does, he plays a physical
game in the corners, and drives to the net hard. Points have been hard to come by lately for him, but as
long as he continues to work hard along the boards, drive to the net, and play a physical game, he will get
on the scoresheet more often as he possesses soft hands around the net.

Duncan Milroy, RW — With the limited icetime Milroy has seen, he was still able to get his first
professional point. He’s had some chances, but hasn’t been able to bury them as he did in his junior days.

Marcel Hossa, LW — After being demoted again, Hossa took a spot on the top line, and has been able to
get some good scoring chances, as he hopefully is able to find the confidence he once had.

Josef Balej27101424+712
Tomas Plekanec2781220+736
Chris Higgins197714+52
Francois Beauchemin2721012+520
Mike Komisarek18279E47
Alex Perezhogin25268E16
Jonathan Ferland24235-116
Ron Hainsey6134+54
Marcel Hossa6123E0
Duncan Milroy12011E0
Jerome Marois2000-20
Matt Shasby23167-108
Christian Larrivee23167-1216
M-A Thinel10156-94
Jerome Marois13268-36