MONTREAL - The best offense starts with solid defense. If that adage holds true, the Bulldogs and their crop of high flying blue-liners will have no problem filling nets across the AHL long into the spring. P.K. Subban
may get the lion’s share of headlines among the Hamilton rearguards thanks to his 10 goals and plus-25 differential this year, but it was fellow D-man Andre Benoit who set a new franchise record recently.
On January 20, the Bulldogs were in Chicago facing off against the Wolves and in the midst of picking up their third-straight road win. Enjoying some time with the man advantage, David Desharnais
and Subban teamed up to set the table for Benoit, who fired a blistering slapshot past Kari Lehtonen.
With the power play marker, the veteran defenseman etched his name in Bulldogs’ history, registering his 22nd career goal – an all-time high amongst Hamilton blue-liners.
After spending his last two seasons in Scandinavia playing in Finland and Sweden, Benoit made his return to Hamilton this summer where he had previously played for the Bulldogs in 2005-06 and 2006-07. The now 26-year-old defenseman played a key role for the Bulldogs during their Calder Cup run in 2007, picking up 13 points in 22 playoff games that spring.
Benoit’s 22 points rank him second among Bulldogs blue-liners behind only Subban, who leads the way with 33 points. A power play specialist by trade, Benoit has notched three of his five goals this season with the extra man. And judging from his plus-10 differential, Benoit also isn’t too shabby in his own end, either.
With a nine point cushion in the standings after 50 games, the Bulldogs seem poised to end the season atop the North Division thanks in large part to Benoit and Hamilton’s solid defensive corps. Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Shauna Denis and Manny Almela.See alsoCooling the CanucksSergei v2.0 Good news and bad news