Habs Taste Their Own Medicine

I suppose Devils players thought if Montreal could come back from a 2-0 deficit on Friday and win, why couldn’t they on Saturday?

And so they did, skating away with a 3-2 overtime win over the Canadiens in Montreal, ending a perfectly good Habs winning streak (4 games), and ruining Alex Galchenyuk’s excellent two-goal night that pointed to yet another example of Galchenyuk’s sudden jump into a new and bright stage of his career.

But in true party-killing fashion, the visitors scored two third period goals, the last with just 28 seconds left and Cory Schneider pulled for the extra guy, and the game was tied.

In overtime, the final wall came tumbling down. But the home team got a point and remain in the penthouse, and things are good in general. Really would’ve like a five-game win streak though.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – Habs 32, Devils 31.

Next up – Tuesday, when the Columbus Blue Jackets come a buzzin’.

The Leafs lost.

I’m truly sorry I have to cut this short, but I have to leave soon. Homer’s saving me a seat at the nearby watering hole.

In the meantime, maybe you’re not aware of this but not long ago, the NHL Board of Governors decided that if any NHL referee is deemed truly horrible and far from being up to scratch, they’re sent to London where they’re sliced up and made into zebra burgers.

I had the ‘Chris Lee’ when I was at a London market last week, and it tasted like shit.

Zebra burger



Habs Claw Back In Jersey

Just when we thought they wouldn’t, they did. Habs grab a couple of points in New Jersey after clawing their way back from a 2-0 deficit in the second period to win 3-2 in the shootout.

What a team.

A character win, Mike Condon held the fort, it’s now four straight wins, the gang sits at the top of the heap, and life is good if you cheer for the Habs.

If you don’t cheer for the Habs, you might be here by accident and may want to get out the barf bag.

The Canadiens were in tough through the first two frames, with New Jersey looking more than decent for a team stuck in 20th place, and were aided by sometimes good, sometimes lucky Cory Schneider between the pipes.

Particularly late in the first when the ex-Canuck backstopper robbed Max Pacioretty and shortly after, David Desharnais. Important stops late in the first period. Those pucks go in and the boys have the Devils by the private and sensitive areas.

They’re big catching gloves these goalies wear now. And Schneider’s save on Max showed just that, although to be fair, the goalie also had to stretch across, making it sort of a bonafide good save. And he got his pad on DD’s attempt, so full marks I suppose.

This guy was good in Vancouver but was basically shafted by the ongoing Luongo/contract/backup/starter confusion.

At the other end, Mike Condon got only part of his glove on a shot, it would have been almost a carbon copy of Schneider’s save if he had grabbed it, but he didn’t, the Devils took a 1-0 lead, and soon after went up 2-0 when they dominated on the power play.

Condon didn’t waver, though. And with less than five minutes remaining in the second, Sven Andrighetto narrowed the gap with his second in two nights, and we knew then that this thing might not be over because we’re Habs fans and we can sniff these things like rats at the local dump.

Over it wasn’t. Midway through the third, Alex Galchenyuk burst through two d-men, flew in on Schneider like Howie Morenz, and buried it to tie the game and send it first to overtime and then the shootout where Andrighetto would score the marker that solved things after Galchenyuk’s backhand on his attempt got the thing rolling.

A fine comeback win, their fourth straight, and now it’s these same Devils on Saturday night, only in Montreal this time.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal were 27 apiece.

Canadiens call-up Bud Holloway got his feet more than wet with 7:19 minutes of ice time.

Holloway, 27, is a Saskatchewan boy, hailing from Wapella (pop. 408), and home of Brett Clark, who played one season for the Habs back in 1997-98.

Below, one of the many interesting things to see and do while in Wapella.




Doing The Abbey Rd Shuffle

Abbey Road Studios, which opened in 1931 and where the Beatles recorded the majority of their work throughout the ’60s, is just a couple of dozen feet from the crosswalk at the corner where they walked across for their Abbey Road album cover.

You can see how it’s all laid out in the photos below.

Drivers have to stop for pedestrians here, which must be a pain in the keister for them. It’s a fairly busy street, and when I was there, there were plenty of Beatles fans strolling across as cars waited.

When the Beatles did their walk, police had traffic blocked off from either end, and the photographer was perched on a ladder in the middle of the street.

Anyway, I did it, it was terrific, and it’s now crossed off the bucket list.

Abbey Rd 4

Abbey Rd 6

Abbey Rd 2

Abbey Rd 3

Below, the studio.

Abbey Rd 8

Abbey Rd 9


What goes across must come back.


Abbey R

Canadiens Crush Rangers


No problem for the Habs in New York as they made mincemeat of the home town Rangers with a fine 5-1 win that sent Henrik Lundqvist packing, and which hurdles the good guys over the Blueshirts for best in the east.

A fine win, although Carey Price left after two periods and replaced by Mike Condon, and now we wait and see if it’s minor or major damage to our number one guy.

I’m not even sure what happened. It was vague. And Chris Kreider might have had nothing to do with it, he probably wasn’t even on the ice, but I’m blaming him anyway.

That’s all we need – a nagging injury to Price that has him play only here and there throughout the remainder of the season. But Mike Condon, who replaced him at the start of the third period, didn’t allow a goal and had won five of his previous nine starts, so I’m going with positives instead of getting all in a dither.

Otherwise, I might start smoking again after 15 years.

Although asking Condon to start another nine probably isn’t a good thing.

Gallagher out, Mitchell, maybe Price again. But the boys are gonna suck it up, roll along, and make our hearts soar like a flock of Great Speckled Birds.

Canadiens got the lone goal of the first period, a backhand by Sven Andrighetto, while in the second, Devante Smith-Pelly notched his first of two on the night after banging home a Max Pacioretty pass.

New York would close the gap in the second with Alex Galchenyuk in the box, but the third period saw Smith-Pelly, Galchenyuk, and Max light the lamp, which ended Lundqvist’s night, and the boys get ‘er done in fine fashion.

Random Notes:

Multi-point getters include Smith-Pelly with a pair, Plekanec with two assists, and Max and Chucky with a goal and an assist each.

Shots on goal – Rangers 34, Habs 25. But the Canadiens were the more dangerous team regardless.

Montreal’s power play – 1/4.

Next up – Canadiens head over to Newark for a Friday meeting with the Devils, and the following night, it’s those Devils again, only at the Bell Centre. Hopefully our man Price is between the pipes.




London Calling!

LondonA couple of months ago my brother called and asked if I had any plans from the 15th to the 24th of November. Then he left it like that for me to scratch my head and wonder.

A few days later he  told me what he was up to, which was an offer to buy me a plane ticket to London, England as a late birthday present. Now that’s a brother. And today’s the day we leave.

I’m gonna walk across Abbey Rd. Then there’s those great seats at the hit musical Sunny Afternoon, which is about one of my all-time favourite bands the Kinks. The massive flea market on Portobello Road is gonna be explored I hope.  And of course the pubs, because we’ll be thirsty from crossing streets and stuff.

And another thing while I’m on about London – I’ve always felt that the Queen’s chest size has been underrated for years.

I’m going to miss four Habs games though – Monday, when the Canucks visit and take a severe pounding; Thursday, when the Coyotes show up to be slaughtered; Friday, when the Canadiens clobber the Islanders in Brooklyn; and Sunday when those same Islanders come to the Bell for more punishment.

I’ll have my iPad and will see the scores and scorers, but I’ll be so busy there’s no time to talk about these four games. Lots to do in just a week.

Please feel free to mention anything about these games here if you so desire. And when I get back, I’ll show some photos of this short but sweet visit to Swinging London.

One last thing – my thoughts are with Paris. It’s difficult to understand such evil in our world, and although the timing of our trip could be better, I’m traveling without fear. No way are these sorts of threats keeping me from walking across Abbey Rd.

Bye for now. Back soon.



Bell Smell


Mike Condon has had a lot of great nights lately. Saturday wasn’t one of them.

Against the visiting Colorado Avalanche, Condon allowed four goals on eleven shots during his two periods of work before being yanked for Dustin Tokarski in the third, who himself let in two more in this 6-1 debacle at the Bell.

And to make matters worse, the Canadiens had plenty of chances and fired 40 shots at Swedish goaltender Reto Berra. But when all was said and done, the Swede was sharp and the Montreal backups played like backups.

It just wasn’t Condon’s night, his first true bummer of an outing, and it began early, after both Jeff Petry and Max Pacioretty blew glorious chances, when Mikhail Grigorenko sneaked one through Condon’s legs just 3:26 into the contest.

With 1:22 left in the first, Petry turned the puck over to Nathan Mackinnon, who fired past Condon, and just 13 seconds later, it was MacKinnon once again, with a backhand that Condon probably should’ve stopped because it seemed he wasn’t set properly.

There we go again. Early and late period goals. It just seems so Wednesday-like, when they lost to Pittsburgh after being scored on 13 seconds into the first period and again with just 44 seconds remaining.

Their opening and closing habits might need a few tweaks.

In the second period, Brendan Gallagher chipped in a Tomas Plekanec pass from behind the net, and hope reigned supreme. For a few minutes at least.

A game to be had, until Andrei Markov, on a Habs power play, told P.K. Subban to grab the puck at the blueline, and P.K. told Markov to grab the puck at the blueline, which led to no one grabbing the puck at the blueline.

Except Blake Comeau, who took advantage of the black comedy and sent the puck through the backstopper’s legs after skating in home free.

This embarrassing and momentum-killing shorthanded goal would see a 4-1 game at that point and spell the end of Condon’s night and his incredible run as saviour while Carey Price is on the mend.

The Markov/Subban lack of communication sequence is not something we want Habs haters to take and run with and plaster all over Facebook pages.  Not something we ever want to see again. So let’s never mention it.

At the other end of the rink, Avs goaltender Berra thwarted plenty of splendid home team chances, and good for him I guess. It’ll be something he can tell his grandchildren someday when back in the old country. How, when he was playing overseas in Canada, he stoned the team that seven months later would win the Stanley Cup.

All in all, the Habs should’ve beaten this guy several times. They also shouldn’t have been scored on shorthanded, shouldn’t have had a blueline brain fart, and shouldn’t have had their backup goalie come crashing back to earth after being the talk of the hockey world, and the league’s third star last week.

Condon might have been fine if the boys would’ve cashed in early once or twice. But they didn’t and he wasn’t.

If a backup played like a first stringer all the time, he wouldn’t be a backup. Poor play once in a while is to be expected. Poor play too often means you’re Peter Budaj or Dustin Tokarski or Alex Auld and you don’t have the job anymore.

Now Condon needs to regroup and hang in there just a little bit longer, as Price seems closer to being up and at ’em.

We need a serious regrouping on Monday when the Vancouver Canucks stop by to say hello. And keep in mind, not only is this loss the team’s second straight, but they’ve dropped five of their last nine.

Those nine straight wins were so nice. I miss that.





A Shootout Loss In Pittsburgh

The Canadiens fall 4-3 in the shootout against the Penguins in Pittsburgh, but that’s fine. They were skating and had their chances, they got a point out of the deal, and their dads, on the father/son road trip, probably still love them anyway.

It was just 13 seconds into the first period when Pittsburgh’s Pascal Dupuis beat Mike Condon, and it goes without saying that a goal right off the bat like that isn’t a good thing. Especially for Condon’s dad, who was seeing his son in the bigs for the very first time.

But Andrei Markov would even things up with blast while on the power play (ranked third overall), and hopefully Markov’s dad was there too to see it.

Sadly though, the Pens would bulge the twine with just 44 seconds left to play in the frame, and the Canadiens went to the room a goal behind.

Tough when you’re scored against in the first and last minutes of the period.

In the second, Max Pacioretty sent Brendan Gallagher into the clear and Gally’s great shot evened things, while later on Brian Flynn fired the puck through Marc-Andre Fleury’s armpits to put the team in front.

Montreal owned things in that middle frame. They had it going, they were skating like the wind, passing the puck around like a first-place team would, and they outshot the home team 13-1 as proof.

All they needed was another goal. But it never came.

Pittsburgh would find their game in the third, eventually tie it, and after no scoring in the 3-on-3 overtime, the Pens, with the help of Sidney Crosby, wrapped it up in the shootout after Galchenyuk and DD didn’t come through.

Looking back, the Canadiens were going good in overtime. They came close several times, and they circled with confidence and moved the puck around in fine style, especially when Galchenyuk, Gallagher, and Markov were on the ice..

Then Tom Gilbert stepped on the ice too soon and the team was called for too many men. Which of course killed any built momentum, and any chance to nail it shut.

Gilbert was also called for holding with 2:17 left in the third period, which wasn’t good either.

An inexcusable penalty to take on a 3-on-3. But like I said, the dads probably still love all of them anyway. Possibly even Gilbert’s dad.

Random Notes:

Montreal outshot Pittsburgh 38-34 and went 1/4 on the power play.

P.K. Subban recorded two assists, which hurdles him past John Klingberg of the Dallas Stars for most points (16) by a d-man.

Next up – Saturday, when Patrick Roy and his Colorado Avalanche visit the Bell Centre.

And finally, this great artwork done by Wade Alexander (Darth), of Brendan Gallagher. Gally played a fine game and also took a shot in the foot which saw him leave the game, only to return. (Dale Weise also left after being hit by Ben Lovejoy, but also returned.)

Whew, on both counts.






The Tracker Rises

I don’t have the energy, or interest, to be an advanced stats type of guy.

Or maybe I’m just not smart enough. You should’ve seen my math marks in high school.

But I’ve got the S.H.I.T.S., with an added bonus this year – shots on goal!

As you can see, it’s been a dandy start to the 2015-16 season for Les Canadiens. Although you already know that.


And, as an added bonus…..last year to compare! Wow!


And, as another added bonus…..2013-14, when Peter Budaj was helping out!


Habs Surprise Bruins

There were times throughout when they were far from sharp. Dozey in fact.  Definitely brain-dead in places.

But enough about the referees.

Canadiens double up the visiting Bruins 4-2 in a game that should turn more than a few Bruins fans into babbling glue sniffers. Their team had the Habs on the ropes. And then they didn’t.

Funny how that happens sometimes.

Somehow, although outplayed for much of the game, this first place team hung in against a surprisingly tough Boston squad. Tougher than I thought, considering the Bs sit in 19th spot overall with just 13 points, while the Canadiens, from the highest perch, can barely see them with binoculars.

But in the end, when the score was tied and just over a minute left in the third period, David Krejci decided to crosscheck Tomas Plekanec, several times in fact, and while he was cooling his blades in the sinbin after his numbing stupidity, David Desharnais buried the puck and the knife.

Soon after, Max found the empty net, and fans exhaled.

A fine ending to a tense game, and Bruins fans scurry to the local Army Surplus to buy knives to slit their throats.

Boston jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first period after the Canadiens were called for a tremendously dubious ‘too many men’ infraction, which was one of several weird refereeing decisions. But because of the final score, I won’t bitch. Except for the first paragraph of course.

The team was stifled constantly. They were bottled up, scrambling, all out of whack. I couldn’t wait for the period to end.

The only fun I had in this 20 minutes was seeing Andrei Markov blast a slapshot into the Bruins bench after taking a tripping call when Colin Miller embellished in fine Brad Marchand style.

No one was hurt on the Bruins bench, which is good I suppose. But it was a great moment. An excellent Markov moment.

Just as the Bruins had scored early in the first on the power play, the Canadiens did the same in the second, when Tomas Plekanec finished off a feed from Brendan Gallagher at 1:09 into the frame.

The Canadiens power play is clicking now. They promised, and I believed.

The Bruins took the lead in the second when Frank Vatrano, from the legendary Vatrano/Gambino mob family and playing in just his first NHL game after the family made the Bruins an offer they couldn’t refuse, notched his first big league goal.

Now we wait for news of a horse’s head found in David Krejci’s hotel bed after he gets home from Crescent St.

A Bruins lead going into the third period, with Boston stifling the boys and simply being the better team, ready to collect two big road points.

The Canadiens were in trouble, and possibly let down emotionally  after a Plekanec goal in the the third, which would have tied things up, was ruled no goal because of Gally causing havoc in the crease.

It was a sad time at the old Bell barn. The team getting whupped by the rival Bostonians. Things just weren’t going the right way on this Saturday night.

And then………

At 8:58, Lars Eller slipped one through Jonas Gustavsson’s legs and the score was tied in dramatic and surprising fashion.

At 17:57, David Kejci lost his mind and not quite a minute later, DD put his team in front.

And with 17 seconds left, Max found the empty net.

The Bruins and their fans once again hate the Habs more than anyone they’ve ever hated.

Random Notes:

Montreal outshot Boston 33-31.

Canadiens went 2/3 on the power play, while Boston was 1/5.

Too many turnovers, loose play, a plethora of icings, too many penalties, and the boys still won.

Next up – Canadiens take on the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

A little humour to close with. The Leafs allowed a goal with just a second left in Washington, and then lost in the shootout.





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