Category Archives: Alex Galchenyuk

Game Night Eyelids

This

Habs in Edmonton, the coffee’s brewed, the puck is about to be dropped, and already it’s my bedtime. That’s why the coffee’s brewed.

How long can I go?  And to make matters worse, it’ll be the same on Tuesday night when the boys are in Calgary. Time zones should be the same across the continent, with all games starting at 6:30.

Period One:

Dustin Tokarski is between the pipes for the Canadiens, and on the home front, the big pot of coffee won’t stop bubbling. I knew I shouldn’t have poured Lucy’s homemade sugar whiskey-based arthritis cure into it.

A Max goal called back, confusion at the blueline, the loathsome Benoit Pouliot scores with 19 seconds left, and it’s 1-0 Oilers.

That, combined with too many Habs penalties (4), and I’ve decided to make a double Harvey Wallbanger.

Period Two:

I just looked in the mirror and I look like shit. Maybe I’ll dig out the bennies and peyote buttons. It’s only period two, there’s lots of hockey left, and peyote makes me look better.

Unchecked and wide open, Yakupov makes it 2-0. So depressing, and the coffee and sugar whiskey aren’t working out. I keep missing my mouth.

Galchenyuk and Yakupov had dinner today at Yak’s house? John Ferguson would hate that. I’d better eat some buttons and drink some toasts to Fergie.

Period Three:

Just heard a noise. After asking the cat, it turns out it was my nostrils. Shut the %$&# up, nostrils.

Even though the walls are slanted and the floor feels foamy, the pills and peyote aren’t working.

The game’s not gone well. Lousy power play.  And there seems to be too many players on the ice. About 37 on each side. And one of the linesmen has snakes wiggling out from the holes in his helmets.

Oilers’ empty-netter. 3-0. I stayed up and partied for this?

I’ve got the munchies, and if you want my advice, don’t snort Friskies. It doesn’t inhale well and it’s not fair to the cat.

Shut out by the shitty Oilers and their insane coach Dallas Eakins. Good night.

 

More Magic!

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Habsville 20 that day,
The score stood Wings 1-0, with just 4 minutes left to play.
But Chucky tied the contest, with 3:09 to go.
And DD won it for his team, their last loss 4 games ago.

Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard was stopping everything. The Wings were moving, their game in control, and the clock wound down.

But once again the Canadiens would come from behind, pull another rabbit out of the hat, and they skated away with an unreal 2-1 win in overtime to the roar of a ecstatic Bell Centre crowd.

Six wins and a loss to start the 2014-15 season. Red hot. White hot. Blue hot. I’d almost given up on them as the clock wound down, but not quite.

There is always hope, except when it’s a blowout like the Tampa debacle, and when Chucky scrambled to retrieve the puck behind the net and lit the lamp on a wraparound, the game was suddenly not lost. It could be won afterall, and just 56 seconds into overtime, David Desharnais did just that for them and us.

Very proud right now. I had been slowly sinking into the couch, and now I’m alive and ready to rock for at least another hour.

Random Notes:

I think every time I focused on Manny Malhotra in the faceoff circle, he won the draw. This is a guy who’s going to make a huge impact in key moments over the next eight months.

Montreal had outshot Detroit 34-28 after three periods.

It wasn’t like the Canadiens didn’t make Howard work. They had bundles of chances – Parenteau, Malhotra, Galchenyuk, Desharnais, and on and on. But like the announcer said, some nights the puck looks like a beach ball, and  for Howard, it appeared this night was one of those.

Next up – it’s the Rangers on Saturday.

 

Price And Subban Come Up Big

Carey Price was often sensational and P.K. Subban scored a couple of beauties as the Canadiens edged the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 Saturday night at the Bell Centre.

Five wins and just one loss, but without getting carried away, it was Colorado’s third-string goaltender Calvin Pickard between the pipes, and we still had to hold our breath as the clock wound down.

It truly would’ve sucked if a third-stringer shut the door. But he didn’t, so maybe I’ll just quit talking about it.

The Canadiens once again were forced to play catch up, with the Avs leading 1-0 after the first frame. Max would fall short on a clear cut breakaway, and we moaned and groaned. (I’m assuming you moaned and groaned).

But the second period took a definite turn, beginning with a P.K. blast from just inside the blueline on a power play.

Finally this guy was solved, and nightmares regarding a rawer than raw goaltender beating our team were put to rest. If someone’s gonna have a storybook night, let it be against another team.

Shortly after, cooler than cool stuff happened, if you’re a Habs fan of course, which, according to the organization, approximately 10 million around the world are. (How do they count something like that?)

Alex Galchenyuk jumped out of the penalty box, took a nice feed from Brandon Prust, and gave the guys a 2-1 lead. More and more, we’re seeing fine hints of soon-to-be superstardom from Galchenyuk. Just like we knew we would.

Jarred Tinordi, showing again that he’s the team’s tough guy, got his licks in on Avs’ tough guy Cody McLeod, and ain’t it grand when our tough guy can also play, unlike George Parros and Georges Laracque.

Speaking of Georges Laraque, I’m reading his autobiography that Danno sent me, and Georges, according to himself, is the world’s greatest person. He won every fight, he’s a saint in many, many ways, he was underappreciated and never used properly as a hockey player, and the only reason he decided to play for the Habs was because his mother lived in Montreal.

Maybe I’ll talk more about Georges another time. But back to things that matter – the game. Not that I don’t appreciate Danno’s gift. Thanks again Danno.

The highlight of the night? P.K. Subban, out of the penalty box, chased down the puck, swooped in behind the Avs net with a defenceman losing his footing, found himself with the puck in front of Pickard, moved to the right and beat the young fellow with all the swagger P.K. could muster.

If you missed it, it’s at the bottom.

A goal that put smiles on 20,000 folks at the Bell, and a big slice of the 10 million Habs fans around the world who saw it. If they have Rogers of course.

In the third period, Price came up big several times, but the game was narrowed to 3-2 when, with Pickard pulled for an extra attacker, a deflection fooled our guy, making P.K’s second goal even more heroic.

But that was it. The team held the fort, it ended 3-2, and we exhaled.

Five wins and one loss to start the 2014-15 season. If you’re wondering, the boys were 4-2 last year after six games.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot the Avs 36-34.

Overall a fine win, with Price, P.K., and Chucky sparkling, Manny Malhotra winning draws and playing like the mature player he is, and I thought Eller skated well and at least he finally has a point now in his six games, collecting an assist on P.K’s winner.

Next up, Tuesday when Detroit visits. The Canadiens’ only game until next Saturday.

 

 

Wicked Late-Game Magic

Whew! I needed to go outside and feel some cool air. I overheated during the last hour of the Flyers-Canada’s Team showdown.

Habs sadly behind 3-0 in the third to the always tough Flyers, and then suddenly, like magic, the jets got turned on, the game became tied, and it was won in overtime when P.A. Parenteau capped off the sensational comeback.

Now that’s hockey.

I wonder what was said in the dressing room between the second and third period. Whatever it was, it worked. Who needs a captain anyway?

Through two frames the Canadiens were outshot 27-18. They seemed to be going nowhere. The Flyers were skating and it was one of those games where we tell ourselves that they can’t win every night.

Trying to be realistic. Hate that but sometimes it has to be.

But in the final frame, the “can’t win every night” theory got thrown out the window once again. The Flying Third Period Men flew like the wind, played like they knew it wasn’t over by a long shot, dominated those orange eyesores, chipped away, and it went like this:

Markov from the blueline at 7.05 and it was 3-1. Plekanec bulged the top of the twine at 9.12 and became 3-2. And at 14.40, Galchenyuk converted Pleks’ pass and the game was tied.

It was amazing. The never-say-die kids were back on even terms, the Flyers’ heads must’ve been spinning, and the final salt was added to the wound in the shootout when, after Chucky, DD, and Gally couldn’t solve Ray Emery and no Flyer at the other end could slip one by Price,  Parenteau finally ended it and the team skated off with an incredible 4-3 win.

Three straight wins for the Canadiens to start the season. Late game heroics. And in the end, after being outshot in the first two frames, the team managed 38 shots to the Flyers’ 32.

It’s a beautiful thing if you’re a Habs fan, but now we need to see a game where they outplay the opposition for three periods. This kind of magic can’t go on forever.

Against Toronto, Pleks scored the winner with just 43 seconds remaining. In Washington, Pleks in the third and then Gally in the shootout gave them a 2-1 win.

Saturday night, Pleks scored his team’s second goal to keep things rolling. Fellow countryman, rookie Jiri Sekac, must be in awe.

Other than the six points in three games and the sheer pleasure involved, the power play now needs to get in gear. It was 0-2 against Toronto, 0-5 against Washington, and against Philly – 0-3.

The Canadiens have won three straight without a single power play goal. But we know it’s coming. Yes we do.

Random Notes:

Galchenyuk burst in on a clear cut breakaway in overtime but was stopped cold by Emery, and in the preceding shootout, Chucky tried the exact same move – a little move to his right, again foiled by Emery.

Next up – in Tampa on Monday. Grab a nice win there boys, then come home for some home cooking, a familiar bed, and some very pleased fans.

Toker Comes Up Big

Not a great start for the Montreal Canadiens in Washington, outshot in the first period 15-2, and maybe looking only slightly less lethargic in the second.

But with Dustin Tokarski holding the fort and the team playing slightly better as the night wore on, all it took was one goal in regulation and several in the shootout and the first two games are in the bag with four points collected.

Flat they were, for the first half at least. They played like Monica Lewinsky had woke them up from their afternoon naps at the hotel. But you could see their legs moving well in the third while down just a goal, and soon enough, Canada’s team, those Montreal Canadiens, found a way to get it done.

Did the Brandon Prust fight with Liam O’Brien in the second period liven up the bench? Was it the no-goal by P.A. Parenteau, called back because of Rene Bourque clipping Braden Holtby’s pad, that got them thinking they should probably pull up their socks?

Maybe a small bush fire got lit, because soon after, Tomas Plekanec took a great pass from Alex Galchenyuk and wired it, and game was even at one after three periods.

All the way through, Toker came up big and gave his team a fine chance to win, and when the game went to a shootout, he finally got some help from Chucky, Desharnais, and in the end, Gallagher, and the team skated off with a win that had to have the Caps and their fans shaking their heads at the unfairness of the universe.

Now it’s onwards to Philadelphia to meet the Flyers on Saturday night. It’s a tough early part of the schedule for Montreal. After Philly it’s the Lightning on Monday, then home to face the Bruins on Thursday.

But the 2014-15 Montreal Canadiens can do it, because they’re the 2014-15 Montreal Canadiens.

Random Notes:

Total shots on goal after that dismal 15-2 first period – Washington 30, Montreal 24.

Alexei Emelin went to the room in the third and if he returned I didn’t notice. Hopefully all’s well.

I watched the game on Sportsnet 360 and I have to say what a breath of fresh air it was listening to John Bartlett, Jason York, and from time to time Chantal Desjardins, after the three hour announcer/Leafs love-in on Wednesday.

Bartlett and York actually discussed the merits of the Habs often. How unique is that? And Chantal Desjardins has such a classy and professional delivery, just a wonderful way of speaking. I have a crush on Chantal’s voice.

Tonight!!! Go Habs Go

May you play like the wind is at your back, your skates have wings, your shots have eyes, and from time to time, your punches hit faces and your pucks sometimes land extremely close to opposing goalies’ nether regions.

It could be a sensational season for the Montreal Canadiens and of course their fans, without question the smartest and best looking fans in hockey.

Start if off right boys, tonight against those wild and crazy Laffs.

Artwork from the young and talented Wade (Darth) Alexander (Twitter @DarthAlexander9).

TheHabs

Habs/Leafs Set To Blast Off

Leafs001

Gally and Chucky are a tad older now (although, on the downside, Andrei Markov and Mike Weaver are too), the Canadiens are coming off some postseason deepness and liking it, and sixteen skaters (counting newcomer Eric Tangradi), are at least six feet tall.

The size factor has zoomed up considerably with Brian Gionta, Daniel Briere, and most recently Francis Bouillon, no longer in the picture. In fact, the roster, as it stands now, lists 11 guys all at 6’2″, which in my eyes is darn close to the perfect hockey player size.

It’s not that small guys can’t be key contributors. They certainly can be and it would be nonsense to say otherwise. But when there’s an abundance of small guys on one team, the team will often get bounced around like Brad Marchand’s three brain cells when the going gets rough.

It seems the Canadiens also have a nice balance of guys of young and not-quite-so-young. In fact, unless something changes, it’s only Gallagher, Galchenyuk, Bournival, Beaulieu, Tinordi, and Jiri Sekac under 25 years old, and it’s only Weaver, 36, Markov, 35, and Manny Malhotra, 34, as the overly-wrinkled veterans.

Tweaks have been made (- http://dennis-kane.com/summer-notes-from-habsville/), and the Canadiens should be labeled a legitimate contender, which is a sensational feeling. Unless you hate them of course.

It begins on Wednesday when they play the worst sports franchise in North America.

Yes, against those wacky Leafs.

It was ESPN who named the Leafs the worst, with the decision based on affordability, coaching, fan relations, ownership (honesty and loyalty), players (effort and likability), stadium experience, bang for the buck (wins per fan dollars) and title track (championships won or expected).

Pretty sure it costs an arm and a leg to see the Laffs at the ACC. They’ve increased their ticket prices by 53% this year, with the average price being $423.65.

But at ticket outlet “Vivid Seats”, one can grab a pair to see them and the Habs battle from down low, centre ice for slightly more. Just $1213 a seat.

However, if you want to wait until, say January, when the Columbus Blue Jackets visit the ACC, you can get a great seat through Vivid for just $385.00!

Likeable players? Probably not on this year’s team. But Johnny Bower has always seemed likeable. King Clancy. Some of the usherettes. I’m sure there’s more.

Stadium experience? I dunno. Are the hot dogs good?

Wins per fan dollar? The team hasn’t won much of anything in four and a half decades, which makes the fan dollar so low that when I do the math, the team should be paying the fans.

You can lump “wins per fan dollars and championships won or expected” together if you want. However which way you slice it, with these two categories being part of the criteria, ESPN should just hand the award to the Leafs permanently and come up with something new.

“Championships expected”? Yes, any year now, the Leafs will win the Cup. Said Don Rickles.

I don’t pay attention to the coaching and ownership so I can’t comment. I suppose they’re trying, but it’s the Maple Leafs they own or coach. How much trying can one do?

Habs and Laffs finally set to go. A big night for sure, even if one team is the worst franchise in North America.

Habs Have Avs

It’s only the second game of preseason and I don’t see a lot of passion, drive, speed, and execution just yet.

From me, not them.

Early on like this, as it is every year, I find myself daydreaming a lot during games. It takes me awhile to gear up. I guess I’m a bad Habs fan.

Here’s the half-assed skinny:

Canadiens win 3-2 in overtime on a nice goal from Alex Galchenyuk when he walked in from the right side, cut into the middle, and fired one home. A beautiful goal.

How many moves can a good Chucky chuck? Maybe plenty this year.

Max and PK scored the other goals, both on power plays.

Christian Thomas played well once again, was chosen third star, and isn’t about to get sent to Hamilton just yet. Maybe he’ll latch on and go for a big league ride.

Much better tonight as far as seeing regulars play. Only Scherbak, Hudon, Pateryn, and Thomas were the prospects on this night, with fourteen regulars if you include Malhotra, Beaulieu, and Drewiske, and why wouldn’t you?

Shots on goal, Montreal 36, Colorado 27, with Carey Price and Peter Budaj donning the pads for the good guys.

Next up, Friday night in Quebec City when the same two teams do it again. Will the passion, fire, and execution be there? I don’t know. Depends on how I feel.

 

Summer Notes From Habsville

A number of things happened Habs-wise this summer, the most surprising being I was able to decipher the notes I’d made regarding the things that happened Habs-wise this summer.

Gone are Daniel Briere, Josh Gorges, Brian Gionta, Tomas Vanek, Ryan White, Douglas Murray, George Parros, and anthem singer Charles Prevost Linton.

Francis Bouillon, at this writing, remains stranded on the desert island named Limbo. Douglas Murray’s island is slowly sinking. George Parros’ island is somewhere near the lost continent of  Atlantis.

White now finds himself in Philadelphia where one of his jobs will be to protect captain Claude Giroux from grabbing police officers’ buttocks, and Bouillon’s future seems secure. If he doesn’t find a hockey job, the City of Montreal is ready to step in and make him a fire hydrant.

Auditions are now in process for the anthem singing gig. Unfortunately, management, with a somewhat prickly attitude, has informed me that I’m not allowed to be singer AND stick boy.

Forward P.A. Parenteau, from Colorado in exchange for Briere, is now part of the family, and Gorges and Gionta aren’t, as the two UFAs were picked up by Buffalo, a place Gionta is probably happy about being. Gorges, maybe not as much, considering it’s Buffalo.

Parenteau is 31 and hopefully more effective than Briere, who is on the verge (Oct. 7th) of becoming 37. Gorges’ passion and shot blocking will be missed. Gionta’s captaincy will be replaced in a year or two, and until then, Max, Markov, Pleks and P.K. will serve as assistant captains.

In the spirit of fairness, Markov, with the most seniority, should be the one to accept the Stanley Cup from Mr. Bettman next spring.

Signings this summer involved free  agents Manny Malhotra (1-year, from Carolina), Tom Gilbert (2-years, from Florida), and goaltender Joey MacDonald (1-year, from Calgary). And Jiri Sekac from the KHL Lev Praha squad signed a two-year entry level deal.

Those with new contracts include P.K. Subban, at 9 million a year for 8 years. Apparently there is no truth to the rumour that P.K. has bought the Sun Life Building in downtown Montreal to use as his winter residence, so you can stop thinking about that.

Regulars Andrei Markov (3 years), Dale Weise (2-year extension), Mike Weaver (1 year), Lars Eller (4 years), and coach Michel Therrien (4-year extension), also penned their names on paper.

Chosen in the 2014 Entry draft, 26th overall, was Moscow-born Nikita Scherbak, who looks, speaks, and plays like a young Alex Galchenyuk, who’s a grizzled old guy now.

Assistant coach Gerard Gallant is now the head guy in Florida and replaced by Montreal native Dan Lacroix.

Lacroix helped out behind the Rangers bench last year, and if it was he who advised the despicable Chris Kreider to run Carey Price and then Dustin Tokarski, he should be hung by the thumbs outside a Bell Centre window for several hours, and then be forced to teach our guys (aside from Brendan Gallagher) how to run goalies too.

Player Development guru Patrice Brisebois leaves and replaced by former NHLer Rob Ramage. And Trevor Timmins has had the title “Vice President of Player Personnel” added to his “Director of Amateur Scouting” handle.

Timmins is widely respected, particularly in Northern Ontario where they named a small city after him.

Former Canadiens captain Saku Koivu, an ultra-talented battler if there ever was one, retired after 1124 regular season games played, with his last 5 seasons in Anaheim and 13 years and one lockout season with Montreal before that. Thank you Saku, for all you did for the Montreal Canadiens and the city. Which was plenty.

And finally, Mensa member Brad Marchand mentioned that he dislikes Tomas Plekanec quite a bit. “Anybody who spells “Thomas” without  an “H” is a rotten bastard”, said Brad.

Other things could happen in the days and weeks too. If so, just mentally paste them to this.

Brand New Hab

A hearty welcome to Moscow-born (and Saskatoon Blades) forward Nikita Scherbak, chosen by the Canadiens with their first pick (26th), although Marc Bergevin says they had him at 15th for skaters and was surprised he was still around when it came time to choose.

From Moscow to Saskatoon, and sometime in the next few years, hopefully a full-time job in Montreal.

Time marches on. In 1972 when the Summit Series was played, Nikita’s mom and dad might not have been born yet.

Now we have Nikita, with a year in the WHL with the Blades under his belt, which not that long ago would’ve been unheard of, and speaking English, albeit with a heavy accent which is to be expected of course. You should hear my French accent.

I remember when it was truly strange to hear Valeri Kharlamov say a simple English “thank you” when interviewed with a translater in ’72. Completely unusual, although maybe you had to be there.

Now, after just a year in Canada, young Scherbak was a delight, and like Alex Galchenyuk a few years back, I liked him right away.

Again, welcome Nikita.