Sunday, May 2, 2010

The urgency of Hamrlik in the Habs playoff drive


Having already been missing Jaroslav Spacek for most of the playoffs thus far, the Montreal Canadiens blueline corps finds itself deeper in the hole with the loss of Andrei Markov.

Markov is out indefinitely with a knee injury,suffered in Game One of their second round match with the Pittsburgh Penguins, leaving the lead on the Montreal defense on the shoulders of Roman Hamrlik.

The veteran rearguard played some big minutes early in the regular season, leading the Canadiens defencemen in minutes played.

“In Markov's absence a guy like Roman Hamrlik raised his game,” said Canadiens coach Jacques Martin on Saturday, who also encouraged a team effort on defence. “We expect the same thing now.

Roman Hamrlik Stats 2009-10 Regular Season

75 6 20 26 56 -2













By game three of the first round against the Washington Capitals, Hamrlik seemed to lose focus and was the goat on two short-handed Capitals goals.

His ice time slowly decreased to a season low 12:10 by Game Five, notably in even strength time. There was no confirmation of any injury or exhaustion, but Martin said he would deal with his player in a one-on-one situation.

Roman Hamrlik TOI 2009-10 Playoffs (through 04/30)








04/15 WASH 32 20:27 0:28 2:24 23:19
04/17 WASH 29 17:32 1:39 2:28 21:39
04/19 WASH 27 10:20 2:26 5:35 18:21
04/21 WASH 24 11:04 1:39 2:44 15:27
04/23 WASH 16 5:43 3:10 3:12 12:10
04/26 WASH 20 8:45 2:59 2:41 14:25
04/28 WASH 21 9:42 1:51 1:56 13:29
04/30 PITT 26 14:44 3:25 1:23 19:32

“I talked to the coaches, and we got some good results,” Hamrlik said I just had to go out there and do a better job.”

His ice time has gradually bounced back up and can be expected to increase as the series progresses.

The question does he have the energy left to do it? In his entire NHL career, this is just the third time that Hamrlik has played into the second round of the playoffs. It will be interesting to see if the 36-year-old has enough left to take on this enormous task.

On thing he can offer is leadership to a young corps of players like P.K. Subban, Ryan O’Byrne and Josh Gorges. If the youngsters can contribute as one knows they can and Hamrlik to lead them, the Canadiens have a good chance in this round.

“It’s a big loss, no one can replace Markov,” Hamrlik said. “It happened in the beginning of the season and I got the trust from the coaches.

“I feel quite comfortable with P.K. (Subban) or whoever I play with and I can focus for the next game.”

Coach Martin backed his veteran, stating that a team functionality is key from here on in.

“He played some big minutes in the first half of the season, but our six defencemen and our forwards will have to fill that void.”

No comments: