All posts by Dennis Kane

I Can’t Believe I Missed The Olympics

It’s been such a disappointment for me. I had fully intended to be in the Beijing Olympics, probably as a gymnast, but 2008 just crept up on me and before you know it, the Olympics are in full swing and I never got a chance to practice or anything.

But I’ve decided to change gears and concentrate on the London Olympics four years from now. This will give me time to train, and find a new sport because my wife and friends finally convinced me that overweight people over fifty aren’t usually gymnasts.

But Archery, now that’s sport! And I noticed in the paper a little story about Canadian archer Jay Lyon, who says, “I’m not much of an athlete. I eat a lot of McDonald’s, and I’m probably overweight.”

But I’m an athlete. I was a smallish yet shifty right winger for Byer’s Bulldozers Bantam hockey team, for goodness sakes. And I don’t care much for McDonald’s.

However, I like beer and sitting in a chair.

Watch for me in London four years from now. I’ll be the one with the bow and arrow and several beer in the quiver.

The World, I’m Pretty Sure, Needs der Habinator

I have to admit it. I miss der Habinator.  We hit the wall not long ago, and an era ended. Not a long era, but a colourful one.


Der Habinator was a regular reader and commentor to this site, and I’m hoping that soon, I’ll look and there will be his name, and under his name a rambling, abstract commentary that veers off into different spheres, from hard-core Habs talk to pretty well every subject in the history of the world, from Mongolia to Montreal.


He reminded me, and I told him this, of some of the 1950’s beat writers, with long essays, often one- sentence paragraphs, that went from here to there and made you wonder what he was on about. But also, if you read, sometimes more than once, what he was saying, he made unusual and strong sense. He forced you to read carefully.


He was aggressive, funny, maddening, smart, outrageous, strange, controversial, confrontational, and complicated, sometimes all in one sentence. But I always knew he was someone who deserved his dues. He wasn’t just whistling Dixie, he had valid opinions, but you had to sort it out from his sometimes head-scratching meanderings.


I’m really hoping he comes back. I was only mad at him. I didn’t want him to leave home.


The Habs’ big  year is coming up, and der Habinator knows his Habs. I’m gonna want his thoughts as the season unfolds.


It took me all of a couple of days to figure out that I need to say this. I hope the difficult and frustrating son of a bitch comes back.



Big Answer To A Small Question

This is, of course, a Habs site but the following is a football thing. But there is a Habs connection at the end of the story.

Several days ago I posed three questions, one of which was, “could a good US college team beat a Canadian Football League team?”

I got some mixed answers, and so I phoned a friend of mine, Al Ruckaber, who’s now retired and living in Powell River, but was a long time sports editor for the Calgary Sun. Al covered the CFL for years, and is now a member of the media section of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. He also lived in the US for many years, and football, whether it’s Canadian or American, is his passion.

His answer is this:

Forget about the hundreds of US colleges with football programs down there, just think about the big ones, like Ohio State, Southern California, Miami, etc.

If one of these top US college teams came up here and played on a Canadian field, which is much wider and even slightly longer, and played Canadian rules, which is three downs instead of four, then a CFL team would win.

The American players would spend the whole game doing a lot of chasing. The Canadian game is more open, the American game more defensive.

If a CFL team went down there and played on the US field, with four downs and the smaller field, with much more of a running game, plus the tight defensive game, the CFL team would lose.

But, Al added, it would never happen. The NCAA would never allow their players to play professionals.

And because this is a Habs site, I thought I’d throw in that Al spoke to Red Fisher many times over the years.



Another Brief Bee Hive Moment. We’re All Related To Jacques Plante.

Another Bee Hive from group 2 (1944 to 1964). I have 55 of these from group 2, all Habs. There’s 77 Montreal players in total from this group.


One of my sisters lives in Ottawa and works at Chapters book store downtown. In her letter the other day, she wrote, “I had a customer one day…his name is Jacques Plante. I asked him if he’s related to THE Jacques Plante. He smiled and said, “We’re ALL related to him.”

A Brief Bee Hive Moment: Hal Laycoe’s Big Night With The Rocket

 From 1934 to 1967, if you mailed in a Bee Hive Corn Syrup coupon, they would send you a free photo of most any player you requested. They were divided into three groups over the years, and this photo of Hal Laycoe comes from Group 2, which covered the years between 1944 to 1964.  Bee Hive photos were fun to collect and because everyone asked for the Rocket or Beliveau or Horton  or Armstrong etc, the lesser players like the Habs’ Tod Campeau and Vern Kaiser and others are extremely rare and valuable.

Hal Laycoe had been a friend of Rocket Richard’s when both played for Montreal, but after Laycoe was traded to Boston, he and the Rocket took centre stage one night in what led to a big-time piece of hockey history.

It happened like this. Laycoe had highsticked Richard one night in Boston, but play continued with no penalty called. This upset the Rocket very much. He skated up to Laycoe, smashed him in the face and upper body with his stick, and was soon subdued by the officials. But this didn’t stop Richard. He kept breaking away from the linesmen to get at this former friend, Laycoe, and he even broke his stick over the Bruin player’s back.

Linesman Cliff Thompson got hold of Richard again, but the Rocket broke loose and punched Thompson twice, which wasn’t the greatest idea. It simply wasn’t a good situation all round.

All of this led to Richard’s suspension of the remaining games in the season, plus the entire playoffs, and you know the rest of the story.

Of course it was the 1955 Richard Riot on St. Patrick’s Night In Montreal.




You Didn’t Think It Would Happen. Fascinating Facts Are Back!

Fascinating Fact #1…..Kyla Bremner, a woman wrestler competing for Australia in this year’s Beijing Olympics, is a native of my town, Powell River, BC. She’s on the Australian team because her mother is Australian. But make no mistake, she’s a Powell Riverite.

Fascinating Fact #2……I recently saw a documentary on Russian Czar Peter the Great. Peter would often go incognito to Europe, with a shaved mustache and old hat, and the documentary showed a painting of him in this mode. And lo and behold, he looks a dead ringer for deceased Russian hockey star Valeri Kharlamov.


Fascinating Fact #3….Maurice Richard wore number 15 before he changed to number 9, which was the weight of his daughter Hugette when she was born. (9 pounds). (I think you already know this, though.)


Fascinating Fact #4……When the Rocket was playing for the Verdun juniors in 1939, he took boxing lessons in the off-season. He became so good at it that he was entered into a Golden Gloves competition, but a damaging punch in the nose by his coach prevented him from participating.


Fascinating Fact #5…..New York Astrologer and psychic Monte Farber, bragging about the accuracy of his predictions, claims to have predicted that the New York Giants would beat the Green Bay Packers and win the Super Bowl. I’ve saved the clipping about his other prediction, which I’ve kept on my fridge since the spring, because I’m curious if he’s going to be right or not. He predicts the New York Yankees will face the San Francisco Giants in the 2008 World Series. Right now the Yankees are about five games back, and the Giants ten.

Fascinating Fact #6…..Leaf star Darryl Sittler and his wife Wendy were staying at Paul Henderson’s house and looking after their three daughters when Henderson scored those big goals during the 1972 Canada-Russia Summit Series.

The Best Jobs In The World. Yes – Better Than Your Job.

1. Retired Famous Race Horse. You were Northern Dancer and Secretariat, and you were the toast of the town. You retired on top of the world and were given a fancy stable and told to get out into the field and make love to the finest fillies out there. Whenever you feel like it. Every day.

2. Guy Who Crashes Cymbals In A Symphony Orchestra. You’re in Carnegie Hall, and the horns and violins are working their way up to big crescendo. The crowd is enthralled, and then, at the precise moment, you crash your cymbals.
That’s it! And for this you get to wear an expensive tuxedo, make lots of money, and probably even sign a few programs!

3. Red Fisher. Play poker with the Rocket, Beliveau, Harvey, and Geoffrion on trains to Chicago, Boston, and the rest. Go for a cold one after the game with Lafleur, Savard, and Robinson, and talk shop. Cover the Montreal Canadiens and become just one of the boys for nearly fifty years. HE MAKES ME SICK.

4. George Martin. He’d put on his cardigan sweater, jump into a limo to take him to studios like Abbey Road, and help the Beatles weave their magic on their recordings. He was there almost from the start, and he also made zillions doing it.

5. Playboy photographer. Do I really need to explain this one?

6. Phil Pritchard. Phil’s job is to babysit the Stanley Cup, 12 months a year. He takes it all over North America and Europe so players from the winning team can show it off where they live. He brings it out onto the ice with his white gloves on when a team wins it in the final game. He’s practically married to it, and it never talks back.

It’s A Big Year For The Habs And Their Fans. And I’m Counting Down. How Many Days To Go?

Only 62 days until the Montreal Canadiens, chomping at the bit, suit up in Buffalo for their opening game of the 2008-2009 season. They’ll look splendid, these men in their red, white, and blue uniforms, the same kind as worn before by Howie and Maurice and Jean and Guy. They’ll be fast. Their passes will be perfect. Their shots will find the back of the Sabres’ net. It’ll be their first win in a long line of wins in the season.

The second win will come the next night when they take the short hop into Toronto, where a third of the crowd will cheer for them, and where again, they’ll be fast, their passes will be perfect, and their shots will find the back of the net.

62 days to go. We’ll go through the Beijing Oympics. The mosquito bites will heal. The evenings will become shorter. Kids will have new lunchpails and school clothes. A few more weeks and cottages will be boarded up for another year. Baseball will wind down. Football will be in full swing. There’ll be a chill in the early morning.

The boys are golfing now. They’re barbequing. They’re sitting in their back yards and having the neighbours over. Ryan O’Byrne is behaving like a saint.

Every day they work out. They practice on ice and on floors. They lift heavy things, and they run. They do all the things players of yesteryear rarely did.

They’ll be ready when they go to Buffalo.

This is the year they can win the Stanley Cup. They know it, I know, and most Habs fans know it.

And Buffalo fans will know it when the game is over, 62 days from now.

Are You Sure You Want Your Daughter To Be In The Olympics?

I don’t care if my daughter was faster than Speedy Gonzales. I don’t care if she was 35 years old. I wouldn’t let her compete in the Olympics. There’s too many male athletes there with raging inner-guy things going on, and they’re only a thin wall or two from lovely lady athletes.


The IOC issues more than 50 condoms to every male athlete, which means that’s about three a day for sixteen days. Sure these athletes should be working out, but I was thinking more along the lines of athletics.


Fifty condoms in the wallets of muscle-bound male volleyball players and kayakers and marathon swimmers. There’s no way I’d let my daughter go.


In many instances, the athletes arrive several days before his event, perform (I guess in more ways than one), and then head home. So if he’s there for only eight days, that’s more than six condoms a day.


And what would he do if didn’t use all fifty condoms? Put them on his mantel back home, of course. Then he could proudly show friends and family his bronze metal, his Chinese bathrobe, and his 37 condoms he didn’t get to use because he wasn’t there long enough.


“The Olympics were a wonderful time for me,” he’d say dreamily.


I wouldn’t let my daughter within 100 miles of an Olympic Village. 

Powell Riverite Comes Up With Cool ‘Hockey Night In Canada’ Theme

Okay, so it’s the only one I’ve heard. But I like it. And it’s from a former Powell Riverite, Tobin Stokes, now living in Victoria. Don’t forget, we get to decide on the new ‘Hockey Night In Canada’ theme for CBC. The old one went away because business is business, and that’s fine. We’ll just find a nice, happy, new song, like this one.

Just click on the link, enjoy the song, and vote by logging in, then clicking on the fifth circle of five circles. But only if you like it.

Hey, it’s better than any of the others I’ve heard! Hope you like it. I don’t know the guy, but I’m sure he’s a fine fellow.

Oh, and let me know in the comments what you think about it.

And, here’s what Tobin Stokes has to say…

Hey Canada! Here’s my demo – try to imagine it with all real instruments and professionally produced. CBC could keep the soloist at the beginning or surprise us each week with the intro sung (yelled?) by a minor hockey team , a mob of fans, a choir, the Governor General, etc. If you like it, please vote. It just takes a minute to invent your own user name and password if you haven’t already, then click on button number FIVE and then (of course) copy and email the link to everyone you’ve ever met! I’d like to thank Ildiko for singing a great solo and then inviting me to her 10th birthday party! And I’d like to thank my son Vaughn for his great guitar work, as always. Darn fine for 16, sonny boy. OK CBC and fellow hocky fans, here you go – it is catchy, easy to arrange, shorten or lengthen, great for visuals, versatile, fun, and IT ROCKS!
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