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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Quartely Grade

With the 21th games in the book, i think it's time for a Quartely Grade. The B's are 10-9-2, good for the 12th position in the conference; only 3 points shy of a playoffs spot...

Goaltending: At the beginning of the season, this position was the huge question mark. No need to say that the first 5 games made the fans expect for the very worst. Still, slowly and gradually, the goaltending situation is stabilising. Thomas's game is coming around and the goaltending was very solid in the last 5 games. If Thomas can repeat, on a daily base, his last 5 games performances; Chiarelli's work will be easier. Since i have to grade for the whole 21 games, i think a C+ is a fair grade.

Defense: The signing of Chara generate hopes among the fans. In fact, Chara did exactly what the B's expected from him: Logging lots of minutes, being the leader of the defensive squad and help the rookies to come around. Brad Stuart was the marked man in the JT trade and he's showing why. His performance is nothing but superb and the perspective to see him signed to a long term deal could make the B's very solid at the blue line; especially if you consider that Alberts, Lashoff and Mark Stuart will be the B's future. Still, this defensive corps will have to keep their game simple and avoid giveaways in their own end. Yes, the goaltender can bail you out but he cannot bail you all the time... C

Offense: The offense had a tough ride in the beginning of the season. They struggled to score and the PP was inneffective, at the very best. In fact, that PP failure cost the team a couple of points. But, this offensive squad is starting to gelled and they come around nicely in the last couple of games. The PP is good and the BBS line is starting to produce. Marc Savard, after a slow start, is looking like the Marc Savard of last year and good'ol PJ is starting a new career as an offensive forward. A very good note for the line of Kessel-Tenkrat-Chistov who give the team a 3rd scoring line. They provide dynamism and energy. For overcoming their lack of offensive punch and for turning around the PP; i give them a B-.

Coaching/GM: The decision to put PJ with Savard and Murray made Lewis looks like a genius. The line gelled to the point that they become the #1 line. Lewis is not afraid to experiment and, at this point, the result is a record over .500.Chiarelli said that he would be patient with the team and the only move he made was the acquisition of Chistov for a 3rd rounder. Still, it's too early to evaluate Chiarelli and time will tell what he's made of. C

Overall: After 21 games, the result can be rated as a C. We all knew that the new roster would take time to gelled and they did, lately. The commitment and the effort is there but the team will have to be more consistent in those two categories. The improvement is on the rise and there's a lot of place for optimism in the next 20 games.


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