All posts by Dennis Kane

We Just Have To Relax, Wait, See What Happens, And Think Bad Thoughts About The Vancouver Canucks

It’s 4:33 PM on Canada Day, and aside from the Habs signing Andrei Kostitsyn to a three year deal worth 3.25  season, (but we already knew he was going to re-sign), nothing has happened to put Montreal over the top.

 

Stay tuned.

 

But aside from that, I’d like to say this to the Vancouver Canucks, who have made an offer to Mats Sundin for two years, 20 million: You are in my bad books. I was slowly begin to tolerate you, but now, you are so much in my bad books that you can’t get any further in there. I hope you sign him, you miss the playoffs, and then he retires.

 

My posting on all of this is being delayed until I find out who’s going to Montreal.

 

 HELLO, FREE AGENTS GOING TO MONTREAL!  ANYBODY HOME?  WHERE ARE YOU?  

Goldie And Kurt Were Almost In Hell. But They Got Out

It’s a shame what happened to Goldie Studlendgehawn. She caught up on her reading, she said, because there was just nothing to do while she was in Vancouver. Except maybe listen to the pitter-patter of raindrops on her roof.  It must have been horrible.

 

Goldie Studlendgehawn, who shortened her name to Hawn and became what she became, told Jay Leno on the Tonight Show a few years back that her and love-of-her-life Kurt Russell lived off and on in Vancouver because their son Wyatt Russell was honing his craft as a goaltender in the Junior ranks there.

 

But they were bored. They had to whittle their days away in their rented three million dollar, 7000 square foot, five bedroom, eleven fireplace igloo in some backwater part of “The City That Fun Forgot.”

 

Nothing to do in Vancouver? There’s more than 2000 restaurants and almost as many bars. And what about the traffic jams? Surely, Vancouver’s traffic jams are almost as good as Los Angeles’.

 

There must be lots to do in Los Angeles. Marvel at gangs as they fight over drug territory. Spend hours looking for the sun through the smog. Enjoy lovely beaches provided you don’t get shot at on the freeway on the way there.

 

And it’s fun to think if young Wyatt would have gotten traded to the the Powell River Kings. After all, the young fellow was stopping pucks for the Coquitlam Express, a junior stepping stone, just like, gulp, the Kings.

 

It’s something Kurt and Goldie probably didn’t want to think about. Although if it had happened, they may have thought about disowning their young Jacques Plante.

 

But the glamorous couple might have liked Powell River. They could’ve joined the Moose or Legion, made new friends, played darts, and quickly forgot about the nightmare they went through in Vancouver. They could’ve dined on those wicked fish and chips at the bowling alley, eaten prawns, lawn bowled, and danced the night away at the raunchy Westview Hotel.

 

It would’ve been great if Wyatt had been traded to the Powell River Kings. It would’ve been so much fun to hear a couple of Hollywood stars screaming at the top of their lungs all up and down the Sunshine Coast.

 

And Goldie Studlendgehawn could’ve sat in Powell River and watched reruns of herself on the Tonight Show, as rain pitter-pattered on her new Powell River roof.

Get Off The Beach And Get Back To Hockey – Where You Belong

Is it a good thing or a bad thing that Mats Sundin remains quiet? Is he ready to join the Habs, or is he taking his time waiting to get a better offer from the Rangers or Wings or such? How much money does a person need, I ask?

 

Foxsports’ Spector says Montreal is also interested in Brian Campbell, the fine defenceman who played for the Sharks last year, and also Marian Hossa, if the Sundin thing falls through.

The Montreal Gazette says that free agent forward Brian Rolston would be the best fit of all for the Habs.

 

My take on all of this waiting, all these rumours, all the guessing, is that I feel Montreal is just one player away, whether it’s a quality defenceman  or a quality forward, to be a huge contender for all the marbles next year.

But none of this is nothing new to you. Everything’s in the news daily, and you’re as smart as me, probably smarter. I’m just mentioning it because it’s a holiday weekend, (in Canada), it’s sweltering hot here on the west coast, and most of you are holed up in tents and campers and peeing in lakes, and not reading this anyway.

 

But to those of you who are reading this blog quite regularly, (and surprisingly, there’s a healthy bunch who seem to be sticking with me through thick and thin), I say to you – you’re excellent and your mother did a fine job in raising you.

 

I would also like to put this out to you. If you know of any retired Montreal Canadien living somewhere and maybe know a little about what he’s doing nowadays, please tell me. I’d like to start listing a “Where are they now” section. You can email me at dlkane@shaw.ca or just add a comment about it to any posting.

I’m off the beaten track on this northern part of the Sunshine Coast, and so I know very little about the going-ons of ex-players. Charlie Hodge lives near Vancouver, Gilles Lupien is a successful players agent, Guy Lafleur spends a lot time in court, etc. etc.

So if you can help, I feel your mother did an even better job of raising you than most.

Darcy Tucker Or Todd Bertuzzi?

Both Darcy Tucker and Todd Bertuzzi are free to go to any team who might want them. And so I ask, if you were a General Manager looking for an aggressive forward, and you had to choose one, which one would it be?

Both are 33 years old and both are right wingers.

Bertuzzi is bigger at 6’3″ 245 pounds, while Tucker is 5’10 and 178 pounds.

Tucker has 197 goals, 239 assists in 813 games, along with 1296 penalty minutes.

Bertuzzi has 240 goals, 340 assists in 793 games, with 1147 penalty minutes.

Both have a sordid history of nastiness on the ice. Tucker, for example, in the 2002 playoffs, blew out the Islander’s Mike Peca’s knee with a questionable check, and has played with an edge all of his career.

And then there’s Bertuzzi.

If you haven’t heard because you’ve been living in the jungles of Brazil for several years, it happened like this. In 2004, while Bertuzzi and his Vancouver Canucks were in Colorado for a game against the Avalanche, young Steve Moore sort of, questionably, went after Canucks captain Markus Naslund’s head, causing a slight concussion and three games missed for Naslund.

The Canucks were quite choked about this incident by this young nobody, so a while later, when the Avalanche came to Vancouver, the sucker punch heard round the world happened. Bertuzzi, Naslund’s best friend on the team, was out on the ice, as was Moore, with only a few minutes left in the game. As Moore was skating up the ice, Bertuzzi quickly caught up to him from behind and blindsided the surprised kid with a shot to the side of the head which caused Moore, Bertuzzi, and several players from both teams to fall to the ice.

Moore not only ended up with everyone on top of him, but also with a broken neck and a pro career finished.

After that came a suspension, court, cops, lawsuits, bad words, bad blood, the blaming of others, tears, apologies, bitterness, and Bertuzzi has never been the same player since. He was traded by the Canucks to the Florida Panthers for star goalie Roberto Luongo, but that was a bust because he was either hurt or non-productive. Bertuzzi was then was given a chance by his friend, GM Brian Burke in Anaheim, but that obviously fell flat too because old friend Burke said goodbye and don’t come back.

Now he’s a free agent. Just like Tucker.

So who would you choose – Tucker or Bertuzzi?

Either could be revitalized in new surroundings and help your team. Or they could be absolute duds, destroy any cherished chemistry your team has built, and be a big waste of money and a serious negative.

Frankly, I wouldn’t take either.

And I hope Montreal doesn’t also.

 

(But if I had to choose, I think it would be Tucker.)

It’s A Waiting Game With Mats, So The Tour Continues

I don’t see what the problem is. Is this a dilemma for Mats Sundin? All Bob Gainey is asking the guy is to move a couple of hundred miles down the road, accept about eight million dollars, be on an exciting, vibrant team that has a real shot at winning the Stanley Cup, be wined and dined, be the new poster boy for a storied franchise, and extend his career instead of playing another dismal year in Toronto, or moving back to Sweden to spend long days in the kitchen rolling swedish meatballs.

 

But instead, HE NEEDS TO THINK ABOUT THIS?

 While the rest of us wait.

 

I don’t see the problem.

 

Gaston noticed I’m irritable about all this waiting, so suggested we do another Powell River tour. He’s right when he says that readers still haven’t seen the inner workings and beauty of the town, so off we went. “Don’t worry about Sundin,” he said to me gently. “If he doesn’t sign, we can always go after Sean Avery.”

 

I’m sorry but Gaston almost became a ten year supply of toothpicks after that remark.

 

But Gaston is right about showing some inner Powell River, and because I thought I’d be nice after nearly murdering the little bugger, I let him decide on just what photos would be used. So don’t blame me if you’re disappointed, it wasn’t my idea.

 

 

Maybe you noticed in a previous picture that Gaston has a little ’56 Chevy. That Chevy used to be a mailbox. Now his idea is to buy this old pickup truck and turn it into his own RV camper.

But forget about the old stuff, I told him. Let’s show that Powell River is a modern, exciting place, and has everything that other places have. But I let Gaston decide on the next two photos and I have to tell you, he’s starting to piss me off again.

 

 

 

Those Montreal Expos: It Was Fun While It Lasted

I miss the Expos.

 

I miss Warren Cromartie and Tim Raines and Tim Wallach and Steve Rogers.

 

During the 198o’s, I almost followed every pitch. The Expos were one of baseball’s best teams, and for a nice stretch during these times, they were always in the thick of it come September.

 

I listened to Dave Van Horne and Duke Snider on my truck radio as I drove here and there out of Ottawa. And I watched as Rick Monday’s home run spoiled the Expos chances of advancing to the World Series that September of 1981 which became known as Blue Monday. 

 

There was Andre Dawson, Ellis Valentine, Chris Speier, Scott Sanderson. And of course a great catcher and a man who loved the limelight, Gary Carter.

 

I miss Rodney Scott, Larry Parrish, Dick Williams, Woody Fryman, Bill (Spaceman) Lee.

 

But the Expos are now the Washington Nationals, and I pay absolutely no attention to them at all. The Expos are gone. End of story.

 

And or me, the real reason the Expos aren’t in Montreal anymore is because the Big O was a ghastly place, a giant orange cave that echoed and swallowed you up. The seats were set in on a gradual slope, so even though you might be only 20 rows up, it seemed like you were a mile away.

The track that was used in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal surrounded the playing field, so it created not only a lousy un-baseball-like atmosphere, but also made it that many more feet from the stands, even, I think, from the dugouts.

So no one went. Most games were far from sellouts because the atmosphere wasn’t worth the hassle of driving there and parking. Attendance was dismal in Montreal, and Expos owners lobbied the city to build a nice baseball stadium downtown, (Olympic Stadium was way out in the east end), but were denied, and the next thing you know, they were gone.

 

I suppose Montreal will never see another major league team because usually, once you lose it, your chances are gone.

 

But we had them for awhile, and they sure were good. 

All George Had To Do Was Use His Don Head

George Stephen figured he should probably just forget about it. No one had heard about it, and most didn’t believe him. I figured he had probably inhaled too many fumes from the Powell River mill. But George insisted he’d seen it, only now he was thinking he might be the only one on the planet who had.

 George would say often that one night, more than 40 years ago on Hockey Night in Canada, the Boston Bruins, in Toronto for a game against the Leafs, were issued a delayed penalty, and something odd happened. As soon as the referee raised his arm, Bruin goaltender Don Head, instead of skating to the bench for an extra attacker, smartly skated to the blueline, goalie pads and all, and played a short shift as a defenceman until a Leaf finally touched the puck, and back to his net Mr. Head went.

 Hmmm. Sure, George. The goalie played out on the powerplay? Maybe Foster Hewitt sang the national anthem. Maybe Conn Smythe took on Whipper Billy Watson in a pre-game wrestling match. What, the Bruins didn’t have a defenceman who could go out instead? C’mon!

 George insisted, though. When Chicago goalie great Glenn Hall came to Powell River, George asked him, but Hall had no idea what our man was talking about. A letter to the Hockey Hall of Fame garnered a reply. All they could say was they had no idea, but if it were true, it would make a great story. George even asked Powell River resident Andy McCallum, who had played with Head for the Ontario Senior Windsor Bulldogs, but all Andy could say was he wouldn’t be surprised because Head was such a good skater, even with goalie pads on.

 There was only one last thing George could do. Ask the man himself, Don Head. If he could find him.

 Through sleuthing that would do Dick Tracy proud, George discovered that Head was alive and well and living in Portland, Oregon, and on the phone he got. After mistakenly getting a few others of the same name in Portland first, the goalie was finally tracked down, and George asked that big nagging question. Did he leave his net and become a defenceman with his goalie equipment on?

 Head thought for a second, and gave an answer George wasn’t really hoping for. “I don’t remember ever doing that,” he said, and after a few more pleasantries, George politely said goodbye. He was even more convinced to just forget the whole thing.

 And that should be the end of the story.

 But the phone rang the very next night at George’s house, and sure enough, Don Head was on the line from Portland. “Hello George,” he said. “If I’m ever in a trivia game and need an answer, I’m phoning you.” George asked why, and Head continued. “You were absolutely right. My daughter and I went through my scrapbooks and found the write-up of me skating up the ice and playing the point on the power play. It was a Saturday night, Hockey night in Canada, and we beat Toronto 4-3. I’d forgotten all about that.”

 Head wasn’t finished there. He sent a copy of the news story to George and enclosed a little note that said: “Maybe this will convince everyone that you didn’t really inhale those fumes at the mill after all.”

 It took more than 40 years, but George Stephen finally has proof that he saw what he saw. All it took was asking Don Head himself. It was all true. The goalie played the point, pads and all.

The Tour Continues With The Burning Question: What’s In Powell River’s Water?

 Yes, that’s right. That’s Gaston down there in the rocks.

 

 

You need to know this. Powell River is a machine. A maker of champions. A little hamlet that churns out athletes the way Toyota churns out automobiles.

Some of the country’s best come from here. Soccer’s Drew Ferguson, who captained Canada’s national team, kicked balls in the professional ranks in Canada, the United States and England, and played alongside legendary players such as Pele and George Best. Connie Polman Tuin, one of Canada’s best runners, entered the world stage in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Roy Gerela was raised in Powell River and down the road became a star with the National Football League’s Pittsburgh Steelers where he became a three-time Super Bowl champion. Brad Bombardir rose through Powell River’s minor hockey ranks and became a classy rearguard for the New Jersey Devils, where he won a Stanley Cup, and played for the Minnesota Wild.

And fans throughout BC, especially in his hometown of Powell River, fans cheered Gary Lupul as he and his Vancouver Canucks battled the New York Islanders in the Stanley Cup final of 1982. Lupul later worked with the team as the Canucks’ scout in Ontario and the northern United States college circuit, was a close friend a mine, and sadly and shockingly, died of a heart attack just last year.

Former NHLers Micah Aivazoff and Dan Lucas are Powell Riverites, as is baseball’s Bobby Cripps, who came close to playing for the Toronto Blue Jays, and Brian Clark, who was within a rotator cuff of pitching for the New York Yankees. But Brian did get to sit beside Joe Dimaggio at the Yankees spring training camp.

 

Powell River’s Ted Gerela was a star with the Canadian Football League’s BC Lions, and now our eyes are on winger Cam Cunning, who is hoping to crack the Calgary Flames line-up.

 

And of course there’s the Powell River Regals, three-time Allan Cup champs, a powerhouse in Canadian senior hockey, who have become a modern day Canadian juggernaut, with the majority of it team members being Powell River natives. When they won the Allan Cup in 1997, there were 17 players born and raised in Powell River, whereas one of their competitors, Truro, NS had just two.

 

Gaston, although not from Powell River, was once called “the best all-round hockey player in the world” by the Russians. (Or was that Bob Gainey?)

When Cliff Fletcher Says Exclusive, He Means It For Everybody

I distinctly remember hearing it only two and a half days ago. “We have given the Montreal Canadiens exclusive rights to talk to Mats Sundin,” said Leafs Sort-Of-General Manager Cliff Fletcher to the interviewer at the draft in Ottawa.

 

I remember he said “exclusive.” He said it plain as day. I heard it and remembered it. “Exclusive.” This means Montreal would be the only one, doesn’t it?

 

But when I was up at four in the morning getting ready for work, there, on my TV, were the words at the bottom of the screen, “Toronto has given the New York Rangers permission to speak to Mats Sundin.”

 

So when Cliff Fletcher gave Montreal “exclusive” rights to speak to Sundin, he meant exclusive for two and a half days. Then another team can join the elite group of exclusive teams. I’m pretty sure that’s not being exclusive.

 

So now I’m not so confident about Sundin joining the Habs. He could very easily pull a Brendan Shanahan, who came within a whisker of joining the Canadiens before he signed with those same Rangers. You know, the ones who are also exclusively talking to the Swede.

 

Pretty soon the Red Wings, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, and another 20 or so teams will also have exclusive rights to talk to Sundin. Only 29 teams will have exclusive rights to talk to the player. No one else, just 29.

 

So if I’m Bob Gainey, I’d be slightly taken aback by this new Rangers thing. And if we miss out on Sundin, do we really want Marion Hossa, who obviously plays only for the money and would disrupt the fine chemistry in Montreal right now?

 

Hossa would probably be the highest paid on the team, and would likely bolt to another club willing to pay, after only one season.

 

No, we want Mats Sundin. And we want to be exclusive. Am I wrong to think this?

 

Please note:  From time to time, and with no rhyme or reason to it, my little computer decides to change to a smaller font than normal. This isn’t me adjusting things, it’s just the computer deciding on its own that it would like something different. I don’t know why this, but it’s happened two or three times now. I’m sorry if this story was slightly hard to read. I hope I didn’t damage your eyes.