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Poll: Surprises


In your opinion, which Habs player has been the most pleasant surprise of this season?   

23 members have voted

  1. 1. In your opinion, which Habs player has been the most pleasant surprise of this season?

    • Alexander Radulov
    • Paul Byron
    • Phillip Danault
    • Andrei Markov
    • Al Montoya

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Radulov all the way.  Exceeded every expectation I would assume.  I'm not surprised with Byron's clutch production, and I still say Danault is Montreal's "secret weapon" who simply hasn't quite yet hit his peak.  Maybe he's one of those "playoff performers"...... 

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I'm going in a different direction with this: Andrei Markov. I don't know if I thought Radulov would be as strong on the puck as he is, but I thought he would be an offensive force and predicted before the season that he was the biggest difference from last year to this year in terms of improvement, so I'm not overly surprised by his success. Byron showed signs last year that he could score and skate, and again, while he's done better than I expected, it's not an overwhelming surprise for me. Montoya is a step up in goal and I didn't know how he would perform, but I don't think he's blown anyone's socks off. He's been solid, which is a nice change from last year's goaltending.

To me, the debate came down to Danault or Markov. I thought Danault would be a 4th liner or a 3rd line winger, but never did I think he'd be able to step into a center spot. He's really held his own. Now some can say he's stepped onto the first line, which is true, but while the eye test tells you he's playing decent hockey, the numbers show he hasn't really produced that well. In fact, his production seemed to be better when he was on the 4th line with Mitchell and Byron. So I definitely think Danault has over-achieved, but I also don't think he's a top 6 center, despite how he's being used. With Markov, you have a player who has essentially been on the decline for several years. He's been worn down and he's faded towards the end of just about every season in the past few years. But this season, we're seeing a player who has not only continued to produce points but has also cut way down on the number of miscues he's made defensively. Part of that has to do with the coaching staff not over-using him, as Therrien has done in recent years. But I honestly believe Markov is having his best season in a long time, and he's really surprised me with how effective he's been.

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You're quite right, Ted, about Markov.  So I think the main reason most of us didn't vote that way is because we've been spoiled with some of his excellent play in earlier years, and we just take it for granted when he "returns to form."  But he is certainly having a great season -- a rejuvenation, you might say.  And since he's always been one of the best passers in the game, he's setting himself up nicely for what could be an heroic playoff run.  But if not "heroic" then at least really solid.  Glad he's still a Hab, eh?  

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Went with Markov myself. I expected a steep decline this season. Happily not the case.

Radulov was my second choice. I did not expect him to even be "allowed" to play well under Therrien, who was surprisingly hands off with him. It probably helps that you can "see" Radulov playing strong and working (he passes the eye test).

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I went Radulov. There was just too much history and too much potential for baggage. Add in the recent Semin debacle and I just didn't have hope in another Russian-redemption story.

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