Eller’s Penalty Didn’t Help

Lars

Lars Eller got his stick up into the face of Drew Doughty with just 1:35 left in the third period, with his team winning 3-2 after being down 2-0 to the hometown L.A. Kings, and having stormed back from the dead.

The Kings, of course, with just 45 seconds left in the game, would tie it with Lars in the sinbin, and ultimately take it to a shootout where the Canadiens didn’t get the job done and lose 4-3.

I wish I’d kept track of all the ill-timed, momentum-killing, game-ruining penalties Eller has managed over the past few years. Penalties late in periods, penalties that cancel out power plays, penalties when it’s definitely time to not get penalties. It seems like he’s the king of this &$%#@% category.

I know what the Maharishi would tell me (if I knew him and he was still alive). Take deep breaths. Concentrate on trees and streams. Focus on the good that happened before Lars slipped up.

It’s a shootout loss that yes, gets the team a point, but it should’ve been two, and it should’ve been a cool halt to the California creamin’.

It stings, Maharishi. Just like it probably did when the Beatles dumped you. Eller owes us all a dinner.

The first period was as dreadful as the showings in San Jose and Anaheim. Outshot 13-2 and outscored 2-0. Heck, it was only a few games ago when the boys had shutout the Leafs and won their fourth straight, and we were feeling high and mighty and thinking magnificent thoughts.

But seven periods in California changed all that.

The second frame saw the Canadiens come to life though, and Tom Gilbert, looking like a forward, closed the gap to 2-1 when he swooped in and around Jonathan Quick and lit the lamp. And it became a tie game not long after when Gally took a nice pass from Plekanec and backhanded it home.

In the third frame, Max would notch his 31st on a nice pass from DD, and all was swell in Habsville until Eller’s brain froze like a tray of ice cubes, and with the clock winding down and the Kings on the power play, along with Quick on the bench and the extra man out, the bullet was fired to tie it.

Overtime would solve nothing, and in the shootout, the Canadiens shooters were Chucky (nope), DD and Max (yes), and Eller (post), while Kings skaters buried 3 of 4 on Dustin Tokarski, who overall played a decent game between the pipes.

This mostly lousy four-game road trip comes to an end on Saturday in Phoenix, but things don’t exactly let up. The following four games see the boys tackle the Lightning and Sens at home, and the Islanders and Lightning on the road.

Upcoming strategy? Keep Eller on the bench in crucial situations.

 

 

 

Outmatched In Anaheim

It was just the other day, while sitting in Buffy’s Pub in Sooke, that I pointed to the TV and said to Lucy, “Look, the Leafs lost 4-0 again. Two games without a goal. Are they ever lousy. Hah!”

Then the Montreal Canadiens went out and dropped a 4-0 stinker in San Jose, and two nights later are smothered and outplayed as they lose 3-1 in Anaheim. I should never have been smug about the Leafs. Because sometimes the Habs can suck too.

It  also took until the 18:19 mark of the third period before Alex Galchenyuk scored with a Duck in the box, making it one of those rare and unusual sightings, a….how do you say it……successful power play? Thus keeping the team from being shutout two straight nights which would have made the Leafs comparison even more sickening .

Now it’s a short freeway ride to downtown Los Angeles to meet the Kings in a few hours. No predictions, no thoughts. No idea. Only that they have to start playing better than they have these past two games.

Karma, you got me good with the Leafs smugness. Now, enough’s enough.

Random Notes:

Props to the Ducks, who basically smothered, bottled up, outchecked and outskated Montreal for most of the night.

It was 2-0 in the second period when Max burst in alone while his team was shorthanded. Imagine how the momentum could have shifted. Maybe.

Canadiens outshot the Ducks 38-33, which for all intents and purposes looks like they played well. But they didn’t.

Ex-Hab Jiri Sekac took Subban out of the play, allowing new teammate Rickard Rakell the chance to score, which he did.

The guy we got in the Sekac trade, Devante Smith-Pelly, was again underwhelming and it blows my mind to hear reports that he’s out of shape. What the hell is that? It’s March. How can a player not be in shape at this time?

 

 

Found Photos From Summer of ’69

As we await the Canadiens-Ducks close encounter of the second time (Habs lost 2-1 in Montreal on Dec. 18th), I thought I’d show some photos of the Atlantic City Pop Festival, the amazing 3-day event I was at in the summer of 1969, just a couple of weeks before Woodstock.

They were sent to me by another Orillian who was there, and until I saw these, I had no idea there were any personal pictures from that mighty festival that featured some of the world’s greatest rock acts, with about 150,000 people in attendance.

That’s me standing on the far left, and the fellow sitting next to me with the black and yellow shirt is Mike Williamson, whose comments you see here often.

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Below, taken from behind the stage, B.B. King doing his thing,

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No idea who the band is.

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Again, no idea.

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And the lineup, as good as it gets.

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Blasé in San Jose

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To the person or persons who slipped sedatives into the coffee of Canadiens players before the start of their game in San Jose last night, you should be rounded up and made to do a stretch of hard time. That or attend a Leafs practice.

The Canadiens were asleep at the wheel for most of two periods, came alive ever so slightly in the third, but when the ice chips had settled, the score was 4-0 Sharks, thus ending Montreal’s four-game winning streak and Carey Price’s consecutive roads wins at eleven.

They’ve probably played worse than this. The 7-1 shellacking at the hands of Tampa Bay on October 13th was as dismal as it gets (Price was chased after four goals in two periods, and Toker allowed three more.

But Monday night’s affair was such a disappointing affair. Things had been going so swimmingly. Price had been practically unbeatable, the team was rolling and could have caught Nashville overall, and then it’s into Northern California where they stink out the joint.

Maybe guys had the pedal to the metal prior to trade deadline in the hopes of not being dealt, and when they escaped unscathed, they breathed a sigh of relief and gave a good and dishonest 50%.

Random Notes:

The Sharks outshot the Canadiens 37-20.

One of the team’s better players in this 4-0 bummer was newcomer Jeff Petry, who had met up with the team in California after making his way from Edmonton and was probably having a more hectic and confusing day than you and I. But his poise and playmaking were terrific, if somewhat conservative, and he seems a terrific addition.

The boys actually came close to scoring, when the puck did or didn’t fully cross the goal line, as has happened a few other times this season. Millions of dollars in cameras placed throughout NHL rinks, but they can’t find one that shows beyong a shadow of a doubt that the puck is in or not.

Next up – Wednesday in Anaheim to face Jiri Sekac and his Ducks. I’m betting the mortgage that the Canadiens play better than they did in San Jose. Could they play worse?

 

 

Torrey Mitchell Joins Habs

Montreal-area native Torrey Mitchell is coming to the Canadiens from Buffalo.

Mitchell, 30, is a right-handed forward weighing in at 5’11, 190 lbs, and at this point, because the news has just broke, I don’t know what the Canadiens gave up or why they took him in the first place.

And I won’t know for awhile because I need to leave. If you can add something about this, please do.

 

Canadiens Add A Couple

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The Canadiens gave up a second-round draft pick and a conditional fifth-rounder (which will become a third-rounder after the team marches toward the Finals), and pry defenceman Jeff Petry from the Edmonton Oilers.

In a blink of an eye, the 27-year old Petry goes from the basement to the penthouse. He’s gotta like that.

I’d say the Canadiens are definitely set on the blueline, but I’m not going to bullshit you here, I have no idea how good or bad this guy is. The Globe and Mail calls him a smooth-skating puck-mover who will probably pair up with Nathan Beaulieu, and apparently he was Edmonton’s best d-man, but I’m not sure that says a lot.

Petry’s a righthanded shot with nice size – 6’3″, 200 lbs or so, and giving up draft picks seems a fair enough price to pay if the blueline is now set for a long run. He also becomes an unrestricted free agent soon so he won’t be looking to buy one of those new downtown Montreal condos just yet.

The Canadiens have also grabbed centre Brian Flynn, 26, from the Buffalo Sabres for a 5th-round draft pick, but this is no high-scoring impact player to solve the team’s scoring and power play woes. It’s simply a move to add either depth or become part of something Mr. Bergevin has up his sleeve before trade deadline draws to a close.

I wish The Amazing Kreskin was my buddy. I’d have all the inside scoops before they happened. What a blog it would be.

So far so good, but we still wait for a big and skilled forward to come aboard and give up next to nothing in return. We’ll see. The TV talking heads say Bergevin’s still not done and hopefully not, as long as the team’s  great chemistry isn’t affected in a big way.

Again, A View From Above

I won’t always be near a computer in the next day or two, so if Marc Bergevin pulls off some kind of deal, I’ll get to it but it might not be immediately. Maybe several hours later.

You just have to bear with me and I know you will. Because you’re awesome. And good lookin’ too.

In the meantime, put the shades on and have a look at all the yellow.

They just keep rolling along.

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Good Team Blanks Bad Team

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With Carey Price posting his 6th shutout of the season, the Canadiens drop the visiting Toronto Maple Laffs 4-0, and all remains swell in Habs universe.

That’s four straight wins for the good guys, they remain tops of the pops, and it makes my heart soar like a Prigogine’s Double-Collared Sunbird.

Certainly a satisfying night, except for the part about going 0 for 4 on the powerplay and being outshot 30-23. It was a confident bunch, playing behind an always confident and usually perfect Price, and it culminated with a Leafs jersey being thrown on the ice.

I’d hate to see a Canadiens jersey tossed on the ice and if I was at a game when it happened, I’d hunt the person down and pour my twelve-dollar beer on his head. But somehow, seeing a Leafs jersey crumpled up like a dead blue and white varmint makes me snicker just a tad. Am I a bad person?

The boys were in fine form, except for those times when it was left to Price to come to the rescue. Several times they would pass back to the world’s greatest goalie, which is a nice enough play, as long as the puck doesn’t hop over Price’s stick.

And on Coach’s Corner, Don Cherry would whine and bitch that the Canadiens were seen smiling and enjoying themselves way too much. In my mind, smiling means things are going good. Which is what we want. Much better than seeing them shake their heads in disgust and smash their sticks.

I remember when Scott Gomez would smile when things were going bad.

Manny Malhotra scored his first of the season after Dale Weise stole the puck and dropped it back to him in fine style.

Tomas Plekanec bulged the twine when the team had the extra attacker on during a delayed penalty call.

And David Desharnais, targeted by far too many critics, mostly Habs fans, made it 3-0 in the third period after several players banged away (and Jonathan Bernier cried foul for goalie interference), and then scored his second of the night into an empty net after receiving a nice and generous pass from Max.

The boys are rolling, they’re a serious contender for all the marbles, and now we wait and see if Marc Bergevin deals to strengthen an already solid club.

Once again feelin’ good. It’s been a long time since we had a team that has a great chance to go all the way, and all we can do is hope no one crashes into Price the way Chris Kreider did last spring. Imagine.

Now it’s a four-game road trip to where the weather is slightly better than in Eastern Canada and the U.S. It’s Monday in San Jose, Wednesday in Anaheim, Thursday in L.A., and Saturday in Arizona.

No problem.

Random Note:

P.K. Subban’s assist on Plek’s goal ties him with Calgary’s Mark Giordano for most points (48) by a defenceman.

Sergei Gonchar was back in the lineup after missing the last six games after getting nailed by then-Leaf, now-Blue Jacket, David Clarkson.

P.A. Parenteau is healthy now but was scratched, as was Mike Weaver.

 

 

Dear George, Dear Ringo

As we wait for Marc Bergevin to work his magic, and of course the  Habs and Leafs on Saturday night……….

I was telling this story to my buddy Wayne the other day, and he said I should put it on my blog. So I said okay.

Years ago I put a picture of George Harrison, from the Beatles “White Album”, into an envelope, along with a return envelope, a pen, and two bucks, and I mailed it to George at Friar Park, Henley-On-Thames, England.

A month or two later it came back, signed with a different pen than I had sent, and with the two bucks gone.

Of course I can’t say for sure whether it was George who signed. Maybe an employee did it for him, but it looks very much like his signature and I’m inclined to believe it’s real.

I also did the same thing for Ringo, although I forget what address I used, and it came back signed too. He also kept the pen but sent the two bucks back. I ended up selling it, along with a bunch of Beatles memorabilia, a long time ago.

As for Lennon and McCartney, their mail person must’ve gotten lost.

But I’ve still got George’s, and it’s probably the best two bucks I’ve ever spent.

George would have been 72 on Feb. 25th.

George 1

George 2

 

Canadiens Wear Out Jackets

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For a team that has had trouble scoring a lot of goals, 10 in the last two games is a beautiful thing.

The Canadiens, like they did on Tuesday in St. Louis, win another 5-2 game, and their two-game road trip comes to a successful close with the gang playing solid if not spectacular hockey. For example, their power play continues to fire blanks and….well….continues to suck.

Now it’s a rumble with the Leafs on Saturday at the Bell to close out February. The March schedule is a bit of a bitch but that’s for another time.

P.K. Subban opened the scoring just 1:49 into the game with a big blast after Manny Malhotra won the faceoff cleanly and got it back to our man. One slightly disturbing thing to note – Manny doesn’t seem to be winning just about every faceoff like he did up until recently. If he’s not doing that, should he be in the lineup?

And without mentioning Columbus goals because it’s not important, the scoring continued with a Markov shot from the top of the circle, Max would notch his 30th, and in the third frame, Jacob De La Rose bagged his first NHL goal and then added another with the net empty.

P.K. would collect a couple of assists to go with his goal, and his 47 points is good for second best behind Max’s 53.  Max needs 10 more goals in 21 games to hit 40. Can he do it?

Devante Smith-Pelly had a couple of decent shots on goal, and although he didn’t overwhelm, he’s probably still in a bit of a stunned mode considering he was an Anaheim Duck just a few days ago and has had just one practice with his new team. I was hoping we’d see more physical play from him, but I’m a patient man.

Smith-Pelly worked the right side, usually with De La Rose and Brandon Prust, but at times things were juggled around because he has a coach named Michel Therrien, and he also saw a small amount of time on the power play.

The new guy wore number 21, and I don’t know if you’ll find this interesting or not, but Toe Blake, in his first season with the Canadiens in 1935-36 after coming over from the Maroons, wore number 21. But from 1937 until the end of his career in 1948, number 6 was Toe’s.

One question lingered as I watched the game unfold. How did that whole row of fans wearing Habs jerseys get tickets right behind the Canadiens bench?

Random Notes:

Shots on goal were 27 apiece.

The photo at the top is one of my vintage popcorn boxes. Here’s some more. Very proud of my mint boxes, which date back to the early and mid-20th century.

Just what you wanted to see on a hockey blog, right?

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