Report card

Journal de Montréal hockey writer Marc de Foy has issued his first-half grades for the Canadiens.

A+ : Alex Kovalev, Andrei Markov, Roman Hamrlik, Tomas Plekanec, Mike Komisarek

A : Cristobal Huet, Christopher Higgins, Mark Streit, Andrei Kostitsyn

A- : Saku Koivu, Guillaume Latendresse

B+ : Francis Bouillon, Carey Price, Maxim Lapierre

B : Mathieu Dandenault, Patrice Brisbois, Ryan O’Byrne, Sergei Kostitsyn

B- : Tom Kostopoulos, Josh Gorges

C : Kyle Chipchura, Steve Bégin, Bryan Smolinski, Michael Ryder



  1. Ed says:

    I think most people agree with you on the ice time allocations.

  2. grrrreg says:

    yep, I agree I probably wouldn’t have had the same kind of success in Montreal. I’m glad it turned out well for him in Dallas. Too bad we could’nt get something really valuable in return, but I guess it was a case of addition by substraction.

  3. Topham says:

    I think DeFoy’s analysis puts all the players in the right relative positions, except for Koivu who should be one line higher up. But like a teacher trying to encourage a class of 6-year olds, the marks are wildly inflated.

    From what I can see most are in agreement that an A+ should be somthing quite special, and though perhaps Kovalev has earned one, it’s a bit of a stretch to say we have 5 A+ performers. What’s more the average mark on this team would be in the B+/A- neighbourhood, which I don’t think reflects how those forst 41 games went on the whole. I can see how the past little streak of success has played into the good feeling in the grades.

    I had a feeling everyone would be giving grades retrospectively for what has been accomplished so far, so I decided to defer to greater minds in that department. In trying to put something out for the mid-term, I decided to try and predict how the players would do from here on from a statistical point of view on my blog (you can find it here).

    I’d like to know what any of you think about the upcoming 41… I think we all hope it will be just as successful as the first half. I’m sure it will be much more fun.

  4. howtathor says:

    Who would’ve known! Good for him! We should have been more patient but I think a lot of it had to do with the Three Amigos. At the same time it opened the door for Pleks and that’s worked out well.

  5. sidhu says:

    My picks:

    A+: Alex Kovalev, Tomas Plekanec, Mike Komisarek
    A: Andrei Markov, Roman Hamrlik, Cristobal Huet, Christopher Higgins
    A-: Kyle Chipchura, Andrei Kostitsyn
    B+: Mark Streit, Sergei Kostitsyn, Saku Koivu, Carey Price, Maxim Lapierre, Guillaume Latendresse
    B: Steve Bégin, Francis Bouillon, Josh Gorges, Ryan O’Byrne
    B-: Mathieu Dandenault, Michael Ryder
    C-F: Patrice Brisebois, Bryan Smolinski, Tom Kostopoulos

  6. sidhu says:

    FYI, from TSN: The Dallas Stars signed center Mike Ribeiro to a five-year, $25 million contract extension on Monday.

  7. 24 Cups says:

    I guess I inadvertently showed a bias of mine. Fourth line players shouldn’t get equal ice time (under normal game circumstances) and they shouldn’t eat up a lot of cap space. Most teams play their best players a ton. A lot of times we just keep rolling four lines. I feel there are times in a game when a guy like Kovalev should get more ice time. Obviously, Bouillon shouldn’t come under the same timelines. I grouped him in there based on his play (as a foot soldier) and the fact that he’s signed for next year like the other three guys. I really don’t have a problem with any of those four except that Begin seems to be injury prone, which I guess is a reflection of his style of play.

    The Original 24 Cups

  8. gmd says:

    C for Chips??? Did this guy only watch the games that Chips sat out??? I think he’s at least a B, if not B+.

  9. mbplekfan says:

    A C for Chipper? Thats retarded. He’s a raw rookie who has been asked to check and work on the pk sometimes. I give him a B+ for being a most pleasant surprise and a more than capable shut down center.

    He’s going to make mistakes but his upside is tremendous. If he played with more grit and nastiness he’d be even more effective.

    The occasional fight is also a must. For a player like Chipchura if you arent getting into the odd fight you arent playing rough enough.

  10. mbplekfan says:

    Give Gui a break, he’s still very young. It takes a while for the fear of getting hurt in a fight to die down.

    He’ll be ok once he gets a taste of a fair fight.

    Gui was confused as to what type of player he was going to be. Coming out of the Q he thought he was going to be playmaking showboat. Now he knows that he isnt that good and that to stick he has to become a power forward. Give him time.

  11. von says:

    “Agreed he had a slow start, but guillaume brings toughness to the board that we have been sorely lacking.”

    Really? A guy thats scared to drop the gloves? He lays out the occasional nice body check, but I don’t know if I’d go as far as calling him “tough.”

    And the word is around the league. Seems like theres a player on every team that wants a chance to clean his clock, but Gui! Gui! Gui! won’t drop ’em.

  12. P St. Pierre says:


  13. Chuck says:

    Even if there was a trade to be had, you can’t just package up who you think is your “dead wood” and expect something worthwhile in return. You have to give in order to get. I’m not to sure there are a whole lot of GM’s out there right now calling Gainey and enquiring about the players that you’ve mentioned.

    “Vote Saku for All-Star… or little Timmy gets it!!!”

  14. likehoy says:

    I don’t think people should be taking lightly to guillaume latendresse. Agreed he had a slow start, but guillaume brings toughness to the board that we have been sorely lacking. I guess cause he can’t skate…but I’ve always been a firm believer that Guillaume is the type of player that excels while playing with skilled linemates. Evidence of this was his early stint last year with Koivu, his stint with Kovy and Plekanec before Kostitsyn turned it up, and now with Koivu again. Lay off the 20 year old. He’s doing better than most 20 year olds out there. A- is a little bit of a stretch to be honest, but B+ is not too far off.

    What I like is that Gui gives Koivu a big winger, therefore Koivu gets slightly more room.

    Koivu deserves the A- because he is still producing (points-wise) more than Higgins (who’s an A)…and leads the team in assists. He’s not the focal point to our offense anymore and has seemed disgruntled at times and takes bad penalties…but we have to look at his +/- being a hell lot better than his -20 last year…and he had to put up with Ryder as his winger for the start of the season. The start of the season, Koivu was on fire, he hit a slump but he’s doing ok now….

  15. Ed says:

    See your C – I don’t know if you are serious about the 8 minutes per game, but every regular on the team is averaging 11:21 or more. This has been a sore point with some posters.

  16. mjames says:

    Based on Red’s recent post game columns I assume he thinks the team is an AHL team and would trash the entire team.


  17. Guy21 says:

    Koivu and Latendresse the same grade-obviously he is not a Habs fan.They are on the same line for some unknown reason on the ice but to say they are equally important to the team…probably the most insane observation I have ever seen..

  18. likehoy says:

    B+: Coach Carbonneau

  19. Guy21 says:

    How is Dandenault better than Chipchura other than skating?????

  20. howtathor says:

    I feel that the only A+ should be Kovalev. His play has been the only one that stands out in the crowd.
    Markov is close and has been integral to maintaining the top power play status in the league. He’s earned every dime of his new contract.

    I would give Komi an A if only because he is still learning his position. Same with Hammer, there are a few giveaways which stand out but for the minutes played probably the best FA signing.
    Pleks should get better on the faceoffs and should be more selfless in throwing the body either in the forecheck or on the PK blocking shots.

    I agree with the A’s although I would put A. Kostitsyn at B+ if only that his success was recent.

    Saku is good at A- only because he takes dumb penalties sometimes. but I would put Lats at B+ as well (see comment on A. Kostitsyn).

    The others are ok except for Chipchura who I don’t think deserves a C status. I would rate him at B+ with Lats and AK46. He has to get better at faceoffs but his defensive play has been magic at times.

    My picks:

    A+ : Alex Kovalev, Andrei Markov
    A : Cristobal Huet, Christopher Higgins, Mark Streit, Roman Hamrlik, Tomas Plekanec, Mike Komisarek
    A- : Saku Koivu, Guillaume Latendresse
    B+ : Francis Bouillon, Carey Price, Maxim Lapierre, Andrei Kostitsyn, Kyle Chipchura
    B : Mathieu Dandenault, Patrice Brisbois, Ryan O’Byrne, Sergei Kostitsyn
    B- : Tom Kostopoulos, Josh Gorges
    C : Steve Bégin, Bryan Smolinski, Michael Ryder

  21. Bouleau noir says:

    The surprises :


    The disapointements :


    The others : Forwards

    Koivu : fine but a little bellow expectation.
    Higgins : fine and still a work in progress.
    A.Kostsitsyn : unimpressive start but picking-up steam big time.
    Latendresse : slow start but lookink pretty good since the new lines.
    S.Kostsitsyn : as made 3 offensive lines possible… welcome Sergei.
    Chipchura : good fit in our 4th line with nice upsides for our futur.
    Lapierre : a reasonable fit to give the CH a 3 offensive line profile.
    Dandenault : has helped the team in many ways.
    Kostopoulos : better than Murray but…..
    Begin : have been playing bellow expectation.

    Defense players :

    Markov and Hamrlik have been extremelly good at what they are.
    Komisarek hits, blocks and played very well, Harmlik will be good for him.
    Streit : progress are obvious, is versatility and PP point shots helped.
    Bouillon : very good at time, not consistent tought.
    Gorges : work in progress
    Brisebois : helpfull in the early going, less so otherwise.
    O’Byrne : to bad he got injured,… looking forward to see him back.

    Goaly :

    Both did well within expectations and status.

  22. coutNY says:

    Lats isn’t not a great Passer or Skater. It seems he finally realized this and stopped trying to be a play-marker as he did earlier in the year. I think being in the spot light coming off a good year gave him an inflated ego…

    If you read or listen to early interviews he was talk about how he needs to fill voids in leadership left by Souray. He started to emulate that of his mentors without actually getting the experience. Granted, he worked his ass off in the off-season and came in to camp 20 lbs lighter. I expect he thought this would automatically translate into instant success and would find himself a pivital part of the Habs team. When it did not work out that way because being lighter and stronger doesn’t necessarily translate to the ability to handle the coordination aspect, he found himself in the Pressbox.

    After this humbling realization, he came back to find strengths of what had brought him the most success last year. His interviews changed from being a leader or the hero, to more of a supporting and protective in tone.

    I am happy with Latendresse’s transformation… I too would not have him -A in my mid season ranking, but if continues to play to his strengths as he has done during the latter months of the half, I would move him to an -A by the end of the year.

    I don’t want him to try to become a play maker. He tried that with dismal results. We have those qualities others like Koivu, Kovalev, Higgins, Pleks, and Kostisyns(s)… We need a garbage collector with size to play in front of the Net!

  23. nightmare_49 says:

    Saku must be impressed that his season so far is at the same level as leadfoot Lats but he must take french lessions to stay at that level. Being rated with an AHL player is an insult.

  24. 24 Cups says:

    I was thinking about a mid term report card before this one was posted today. I don’t know who this writer is but he sure marks high! Could have used him in university. If everybody is an A or a B we would be the Red Wings. Anyway, here goes. In the school system they always say you should list an area for improvement so I’ll try and do that. I’m a harsh marker so be prepared.

    A+ = We’re talking about a player who truly excels in his field and plays above the rest of the crowd (Vinny, Crosby, Iginla). Sorry, we don’t have any of those right now.

    A = Kovalev – love the fancy stick handling but please shoot the puck more often.
    Markov – try not to do it all, the other guys have to earn their pay too.
    Hamrlik – super start, please try to keep it up for the next three years of your contract. That’s a lot of coin.

    B+ = Plekanec – would be an A if you won more faceoffs.
    Komisarek – play tough and hit hard, stay clear of fighting the other team’s goons.
    Huet – you know what’s coming! Durability and improved play in shootouts and odd man rushes

    B = Higgins – still waiting for that breakthrough year.
    Andrei K – you are now on the #1 line, the sky’s the limit.
    Koivu – great leadership and determination, stay away from the cheap penalities. Do more by doing less.
    Price – Winning the Calder Cup with Hamilton was a big mistake:-) Be patient, embrace the learning curve, don’t listen to the fans and media.

    C+ = Streit – you’ve worn a lot of hats this year so maybe I’m a little harsh with this mark. I expected more.
    Latendresse – you know why you’re here, never forget it.
    Lapierre & Chipchura – great start, can’t wait to see you next year. Watch videos of Jarvis and Skrudland.

    C = Bouillon, Dandenault, Kostopoulos, Begin – you all know your role, please keep playing with pride and passion in the second year of your contracts next year. Your eight minutes a game is so vital to winning. It’s all about the small things, game after game.
    Georges – well done. Keep improving because there are a lot of new guys on the way. The window of opportunity is small.

    D = Smolinski – this could be your swan song, win faceoffs and use every bit of your experience when things get tight.
    Brisebois – I appreciate you coming back. Keep your chin up because you never know when we might need you. Play conservatively, avoid the breakdowns and giveaways if possible.

    E = Ryder – I’m sorry about your mark but the gap between the expectations and your performance is enormous. Try to build on what you’ve done over the last few games. It’s not too late to turn it around.

    N/A = O’Byrne – You’re here to hit and clear the front of the net. The new NHL is all about speed, try to keep up.
    Sergei K – so far so good, especially seeing how young you are. Never let your head be bigger than your game.

    The Original 24 Cups

  25. coutNY says:

    Wow… You would give up a guy that even in his worst days playing injured could produce as much as most of our current team? The guys a career +87. 40 + goal scorer the last 2 years?

    Not to bash Chipchura… I hope he has a long career in Montreal but he’ll need to develop A LOT more before he considered more valuable in my book than a Selanne.

    Maybe your point might be that we shouldn’t give up a young talent for a player with only a couple of years left in his career or RENT-O-Player which Selanne might be now??? Or do you really think Chipchura is a more well rounded player that will have as much as success as Selanne experienced? I am a bit confused…

  26. HabsProf says:

    Not that great a season – he may wind up with 20 goals, but I don’t think he will have 10 assists. A 20 goal man with less than 30 points. Wow!

    Don’t say his lack of assists is because his linemates aren’t scoring – last game against Tampa shows what I am talking about. Breaking in 3 on 2 on the Tampa zone, Lats passed to a streaking winger – waaaay behind him, putting the play offside. It wasn’t even close. He has good shooting hands, but is not a skilled passer.

    Lats has good potential, and I like him, but he has not been an A-.

    By the way, at the risk of upsetting you, I’m not sure the picture is appropriate. I appreciate a nice pair of legs and a well shaped behind as much as the next man, but I’m not sure this is the right site for it.

    Just my two-cents worth. Not trying to start a war or anything.

  27. RetroMikey says:

    The report Card is just an opinion by a sportswriter, what else is new! You know that sportswriters (not all of them), in general, no squat about our team and we should not agree with their decisions on what the team needs are.

    My honest opinion? Let’s go for a trade and put a package such as Begin, Dandeneault, Ryder and Bouillion to some team for a strong skilled centreman we are in dire need and throw in a late round pick. Any takers out there? Smolinski and Brisebois are gonna help us down the stretch, mark my word!

    By the way, even though he is weak in his skating, I’ll take a Kyle Chipchura on my team than a Teemu Selanne any day!

    “We will win the Cup only with Carey Price in the nets”

  28. TradeRyder says:

    I can’t believe I’m going to defend Lats but I am.

    He started out slow but he’s improved a lot which by itself is a positive (being coachable is a very good thing). He uses his size really well on the boards and in front of the net, scores goals 5-on-5, is on pace for a very good season.

    Let the kids play… let the non-performers watch or walk.

  29. TradeRyder says:

    Pretty good. For me, you’re closer to the mark. I would move Chips up still, and Streit down. He makes me nervous on D. And I’d move O’Byrne up since he’s improving at least…. but overall we seem to be watching the same team.
    Let the kids play… let the non-performers watch or walk.

  30. T-Bone says:

    Latendresse A-
    What for?
    scoring a goal in the last 10 games?

  31. krob1000 says:

    I was just joking anyway. I can’t count the number of times I have quickly scanned over things on here only to be quickly corrected. It happens. I just didn’t feel like responding to anything written by anyone at le Journal. Overall I thought it was pretty positive coming from them as they are usually doom and gloom but to get into individual report cards assessed byt hem after seeing their grades is obviously futile.

  32. coutNY says:

    I am more in-line with EBK post….

    Here’s my report card~

    A+ (Kovalev) = far out-performed expectations
    A (Plekanec, Hamrlik, Komisarek)= Playing above expectations. Hamrlik is in this category because he came into a difficult situation and has had numeruos D partners.
    A- (Markov, Higgins , Huet, Koivu) = Playing great with minor bumps and bruizes along the road.

    B+ (Streit, Price, Lapierre,S. Kostitsyn)= playing slightly above expectations. Show signs of improving their game, gaining experience, and show consistancy to be able to take it to the next level. Streit deserves a nod because of his seemless transition from D to Off capabilities and PP play.
    B (Latendresse, Chipchura, Bouillon) = Learning to understand their strenghts and how to capitalize on them.
    B- (Gorges, Dandenault, Ryan O’Byrne, Kostopolus, Begin) They have all good games and have contributed, but they have also had games to forget, invisible periods, or outright cost the team in some way.

    C- (Ryder, Smolinski, Breezer) Below expections in their given roles. Ryder goal scorer not scoring goals. Smolinski Shut-down forward not filing to void left by Bonk, and Breezer I feel was given too much of a role in terms of minutes on the 2nd pairing and early success dwindled as the season wore on… Also in Breezers case, it was trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. We needed a bigger body (ie O’Bryne)for clearing bodies and standing peolpe up on rushes.

  33. Mattee. says:

    Moved these thoughts to the other thread.

  34. T-roy West says:

    My bad, I jumped the gun and all I saw was Mike’s name. I already replied to my post with an apology to Mr. Boone.

  35. Rugby says:

    By the way: There´s a clear indicator that Mike Boone hasn´t created this report card: Josh Gorges with a B-. 😉

  36. nightmare_49 says:

    Red Fisher always had a non bias analysis at the half way point of the team that wasn’t based mostly on points and stats. He was normally spot on , as he used consistancy and all around play in his judgement. I never got off on his writing but always waited for his team analysis in segments of the season as management did also i’m sure as low ratings for a player usually meant changes. IMO that was Red’s strong point and he must shake his head when he hears the three stars these days which seldom see a “D”man mentioned only if he has two points and more. Marc de Foy’s analysis doesn’t even come close.

  37. TradeRyder says:

    Good one.

    Let the kids play… let the non-performers watch or walk.

  38. krob1000 says:

    I give all of the posters who didn’t read who wrote the article a D.

  39. Habs Suck... Less says:

    Not a bad assessment, but I have some exceptions to Mr. de Foy’s grading (apologies to you for originally assuming it was yours):

    1. Markov: should be lowered to A-. He’s had his share of less than stellar games and hasn’t played to his full potential overall in the 1st half despite his points totals.

    2. Higgins: should be lowered to A-. His play has picked up lately, but for the overall 1st half he’s had many many good scoring opps and has not finished. Had he cashed in on more of his scoring chances, he’d be higher on my ratings.

    3. Brisebois: no higher than a B-. Too many blunders and poor passing executions for a veteran with a cup ring on his finger. He can’t take a lot of pressure in his own zone.

    4. Kostopoulos: bump up to a B+. while he’s not endowed with great skills, he’s proven night after night he’s a workhorse who’s doing his job of wearing down the opposition and creating turnovers via hitting and forechecking.

    5. Latendresse: B+. He had a slow start(and I mean more than his speed on the ice) but has been playing much better lately partly because he’s been matched with more talented linemates.

    6. Chipchura: at least a B+. The kid has made some rookie mistakes, but he’s played well overall and is turning into the ‘D’ specialist well ahead of his time. Let’s not forget he’s also able to make very intelligent plays and can put the puck in the net. I’d say he’s having a very good rookie season.

    The rest of the marking I agree with. Here’s hoping the grades are on an upward slope through the final 41 games. This team has exceeded my expectations, so how can I not be pleasantly surprised and happy. Now is when the rubber meets the road!

    Question: How would you rate the coaching staff’s performance through the first 41?

  40. JF says:

    I think Josh Gorges deserves more than a B-. At the beginning of the season he was shaky and not very effective in his occasional starts, but since he has been playing regularly he’s been very good. He doesn’t have great size, but he protects the puck very well and makes good decisions with it and good outlet passes.

    I’m also surprised to see Price get the grade he got. After his good start, he’s been average at best. I can’t help thinking he needs some time in Hamilton where he’ll play regularly.

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