Category Archives: Alex Ovechkin

Russians Dismissed

Kolyma_road00

Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Evgeny Malkin and other Russian players are seen here in northern Siberia after losing to the Finns 3-1 in Olympic quarterfinals action today in Sochi.

What a disappointment this must be to the Russian nation and Prez Putin.

In fact, Putin is probably more than mildly upset and I’d advise Pussy Riot to stay out of his way for a day or two.

Mercury Rising

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It was the Edmonton Mercurys representing Canada in the 1952 Olympics in Oslo, Norway, and they got it done.

Billy Dawe and the boys won their first seven contests and sealed a gold medal for Canada with a 3-3 tie against the U.S., and why they could only tie the Americans I’ve no idea.

And incredibly, the 1952 gold medal would be Canada’s last for the next 50 years as the Soviets in particular got better and better, winning eight of the next twelve Olympic golds until Canada finally reclaimed it in 2002 at Salt Lake City.

The. U.S. and Sweden would win two golds along the way, with the Czech Republic capturing one. But none for good old Canada, left in the dust.

The Russians especially were a powerhouse and that had to change. It was our game. They were good at soccer, ballet, and circuses, but we were great at hockey, even though we couldn’t beat them..

And thus begat the 1972 Summit Series. Bring in the big boys.

Now it’s 2014 and the Sochi Olympics and we’re bringing in the big boys again, although everyone else has their own big boys too.

Especially the Russians, and they’re going to be as tough now as they’ve always been.

Only instead of Bobrov and Kharlamov and Makarov and all the others over the years, now it’s Malkin and Ovechkin and Kovalchuk and the gang.

But regardless, I’m predicting Canada to bring home gold. Both men and women. It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t.

Go Canada!

 

Ready For Tonight

All set to go with no lingering beer effects, the TV will be nicely warmed-up, and I’m ready to say all kinds of nice things about the Canadiens after they wallop the Florida Panthers tonight at the Bell Centre.

It might prove tough for the gang though, considering they flew back from New York in a snowstorm in the wee hours of Sunday, with the Panthers not having played in a few days and winning their last two games in shootouts against good teams – the Caps on Friday and Wings last Tuesday.

With the Canadiens, all we’re asking for is a win and more scoring from different guys. Two goals in three games isn’t exactly fire-wagon hockey.

But they’ll turn it around because that’s what they do.

The question on everyone’s lips – Will Scott Gomez be in the Florida lineup? It’s a concern. The sniper, who has scored one goal this year and was on track for possibly a two-goal season, hasn’t dressed since Nov. 30 when he was a minus-2.

Fans pay big money for tickets and when Pittsburgh comes to town, they want to see Sidney Crosby. Same with Washington and Ovechkin.

Same with Florida and Gomez.

 

 

Streak Stopped

The Canadiens fall to the Washingon Capitals 3-2 in a shootout at the Verizon corral, and thus, visions of five straight are down the proverbial toilet because the Habs couldn’t bury the home team when they were leading 2-1 going into the third period.

Damn.

But it’s a road point, we put it behind us, and focus on the rotten bastard Buds Saturday night at the Bell Centre.

Some of you know about my complicated Habs scientific tracking system whereas yellow means a win and no yellow means a loss.

But I’ve added another dimension, although it’s not on the actual scientific tracking system piece of paper.

I gave each player a tick whenever they made a nice play. I know, there’s flaws. Are small nice plays worthy of a tick or only big nice plays? And then there’s those times I was at the fridge and missed a few seconds.

Regardless, the scientific ticking system shows Markov with five ticks, PK, Eller, Desharnais and Plekanec with four, Gionta with three, Gallagher, Briere, Emelin and Prust with two, and everyone else with one except Bouillon and Moen, who managed none.

The Canadiens outshot the Caps 13-4 in the first period, killed off four minutes of penalties, and led 1-0 after Daniel Briere snuck one in.

In the second period, Washington tied it after Peter Budaj decided to be way too slow and loosey-goosey with the puck behind the net, the puck was stripped and ended up in the net, and maybe that was the game-changer. Even though Tomas Plekanec put the gang in front later on after a nice exchange with Brian Gionta.

But they couldn’t bury them, the Caps hung in, tied it in the third, and won it in the shootout.

I guess we can’t expect two points every night. Okay, we can expect it. Nothing wrong with that.

Random notes:

Eller and DD scored in the shootout but Galchenyuk and Plekanec didn’t.

Next up – the Laffs on Samedi soir. Should be a beauty.

Luci, who’s Russian, informed me that Ovechkin means “from the lamb family” in Russian.

Markov means “belonging to the stamp family”.

 

Holdin’ On In Washington

As mentioned previously, I wasn’t exactly in front of the TV last night when the Habs faced off against the Caps, but from time to time I’d check how things were, and I managed to see the final three heart-stopping minutes.

Apparently there were a lot of heart-stopping minutes. Two thirds of the game in fact.

The gang jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first, but Alex Ovechkin scored with seconds to go in that first frame and whatever that did to the Canadiens, like put the brakes to their momentum maybe, they didn’t score again, Ovechkin would, and Canadiens would hold on for dear life after that.

But they won the game 3-2. A huge one to win, and three guys on the hotseat found the back of the net – Travis Moen, David Desharnais, and Daniel Briere, which is a fine thing to have happen.

I saw Michael Bournival helped off the ice after taking a puck to the foot or ankle (I think), and I heard that P.K. was in a scrap, which I would’ve loved to have seen.

Two huge points, on the road, against a decent team. And Peter Budaj earns his keep.

Tonight – Sidney and the flightless birds wobble into the Bell.

On a personal note, Luci and I are at my brother’s house in Ottawa, another brother came from Orillia, and when you put the three of us together, it’s uncanny how we look like Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Cary Grant side by side.

I look like Cary Grant, who’s been dead for some time now, so it’s not a good thing.

Also, it was grade seven when my teacher was called out of our classroom by the principal, and a few minutes later she came back in crying. “Class dismissed” I remember her saying. “President Kennedy has just been shot.”

November 22 (from a few years later) also marked the day my friend and I hopped on a ship bound for England after I had assembled toilet doors in a factory in Orillia for six months. I had just turned 18, and we were in England for a good part of the winter. The Beatles played on the rooftop of their Apple offices on Saville Row when we were in London, but we had no idea and only found out about it after coming home. I still curse about this.

 

 

Friday’s Washington Game

Couldn’t see all of the Friday night Habs-Washington tilt, I’m in Ottawa at a family reunion,, and all I know from glancing back and forth from time to time was that Alex Galchenyuk looked good playing on the right side with Morenz at centre and Joliat on left wing.

I also thought the pairing of P.K. Subban and Doug Harvey on the blueline was a good fit, especially on the power play when Harvey outsmarted three Capitals, sent it over, and PK blasted one home.

Max Pacioretty, playing on a line with Jean Beliveau and Maurice Richard, dinged more than one biscuit off the post and apparently enjoyed a fine night all round. Playing with Le Gros Bill and Rocket seems to really agree with Patches, and I hope Toe Therrien keeps them together.

I also hope Toe sticks with the Lach, Bournival, and Lafleur line as well. I see good chemistry there. And anytime now I’m expecting the Steve Shutt, Lars Eller, and Brendan Gallagher triumvirate to finally break out of the doldrums.

The problem is, neither Peter Budaj in the first two periods and Jacques Plante, who replaced Budaj in the third, could handle Alex Ovechkin, who had the two netminders’ numbers in a big way. And it certainly didn’t help when John Ferguson was sent to the box for goalie mugging and shortly after, Brandon Prust for tripping, and it was left to Claude Provost and Tomas Plekanec to kill unnecessary and ill-timed penalties.

Although I must admit, I enjoyed seeing Sprague Cleghorn coldcock the obnoxious Mikhail Grabovski, even though it put us behind the eight-ball once again.

The team really has to get it together. Bobby Orr and the big, bad Bruins are well ahead in first place, and Tampa Bay continues to play well. And if Phil Kessel and Dave Keon continue their torrid goal scoring pace, Toronto’s going to be tough.

Habs get it done/not done in Washington Friday night. And they’ll have their hands full when the Penguins come to town on Saturday.

It’ll be nice when Cournoyer finally gets back.

Habs Rebound At Rexall

The Canadiens may have sucked in Calgary Wednesday night, but apparently, Thursday in Edmonton they didn’t.

A nice and tidy 4-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers. With a goal and an assist from both Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk, which catapults our young phenom Galchenyuk into the lead in team points with seven, which also ties him with Tomas Hertl and Alex Ovechkin for tops in the league.

P.K. added a couple of assists and continues to grab points. If he can just tighten a few other areas up, he’ll be a Norris candidate once again. C’mon PK, tighten up.

I didn’t see the game, only the boxscore, but it was a nice way to wake up and drink coffee with. And instead of doom and gloom in the air, Galchenyuk and Gallagher will be on everyone’s lips.

I can’t wait for Galchenyuk to become the next true Habs superstar. Clear the track, here comes Galchenyuk.

Random Notes:

Edmonton outshot the Canadiens 28-27 but Peter Budaj stopped ‘em when he had to.

Brandon Prust, and Max with an empty-netter, also tallied for Montreal.

Habs move up a couple of notches in conference standings to 9th, tied with a host of others. But of course it’s a log jam which will sort itself out as time marches on.

Next stop – Vancouver on Saturday night. How great it would be to see the boys get it done there too. And as in Calgary and Edmonton, Rogers Arena in Vancouver will be packed with Habs fans yelling and celebrating. It makes my heart soar like an Eastern Canary Islands Chiffchaff.

Addendum – It seems P.K. garnered three assists, not two.

 

 

Habs Slay Orangemen

Below, the Philadelphia Flyers congratulate the Montreal Canadiens for being so freaking fantastic.

Bell Centre

Canadiens hand the Philadelphia Flyers a 4-1 loss in game #2, with just 80 more left. The EGG line collects a bunch of points. Carey Price allows just one goal.

I think I’ll just get out the old yellow highlighter and mark a big solid win on my ultra-scientific Habs tracker.

A goal and an assist from Brian Gionta, Lars Eller, Brendan Gallagher, and Rene Bourque. Two assists from Alex Galchenyuk, and singles from Pleks and P.K.

A bunch of guys chipping in. I love that.

Eller has three goals now. Alex Ovechkin has four. Scott Gomez has one.

Carey Price played well, and if I was really picky I’d mention the couple of times he juggled easy shots but I’m not.

It’s a fine win before they climb into the big silver bird and head west for four games. A solid win. Except they went 2 for 9 on the power play.

But I’m in a forgiving mood because they earned two points, which is what it’s all about. It doesn’t have to be pretty, just successful. Like Phyllis Diller bearing a dozen cute and healthy kids.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – Montreal 34, Flyers 23.

Max Pacioretty sat it out due to the wrist injury he received while playing the Leafs. Hopefully it’s just one game for Max.

A road roller is parked near our place and I’d like to hot wire it and roll over P.J. Stock. I have such a hard time listening to this person. Tonight he said the Canadiens tried to play the Leafs tough the other night but they shouldn’t because they’re not.

The Habs won most, if not all the fights in that Leafs game, right? Or was it just an acid flashback?

Next up – Wednesday in Cowtown. 8 p.m. eastern. Hope the Saddledome’s dried out.

The Canadiens head out on a winning note. Look out Flames, the Habs are coming. And that goes for the Oilers, Canucks, and Jets too. Try valium if you’re experiencing stress and anxiety.

Luci and I were at the Bell today, but it was for a 2 o’clock game between the St. Hubert Gouverneurs and Toronto Bulldogs. The guys are eight years old, can shoot over the net from above the slot, and the Gouverneurs handled the Torontonians 4-1, just like the Habs over Philly.

Eight years old – they got to play at the Bell, they were introduced player at a time by the P.A. announcer, the game was shown live on the scoreboard, and two zambonis cleaned the ice for them.

Awesome – and slightly different from when I was eight years old.

 

 

 

 

 

Game Day, With The Caps In Town

It’s game number 45 tonight for the Canadiens, with the Washington Capitals paying a visit to the Bell Centre, and of course the team needs to continue to build off their decent if unspectacular last-minute win over the Lightning on Thursday.

A lousy game for the Habs will mean the slump isn’t ended, and it’s imperative that it has.

The last time these two teams met, on April 9th in Montreal, the Capitals squeezed out a 3-2 win, and it was the line of Lars Eller, Alex Galchenyuk, and Brandon Prust who stood tall, with Eller scoring both Habs goals, Galchenyuk adding two assists and Prust one. It was also Rene Bourque’s first game back after his concussion situation, and he surprised all of us with his six solid hits.

It might also have been the beginning of Carey Price’s recent shakiness, as I mentioned in my game post from that night:

Maybe Carey Price wasn’t sensational. A couple of long shots with seeing eyes found their way past him. A puck in close bounced up and probably hit Andrei Markov’s stick before going in. But aside from the first period when he was getting it done in fine fashion, he wasn’t tremendously sharp, even though the goals might not have been his fault.

A netminder on top of his game will come up with the impossible in situations like these. Leave fans gasping and the other team pulling their hair out. Price fell slightly short of this on this night.

Random Notes:

Looks like Raphael Diaz is finally back, which is such great news. Now, if some slimy Caps player goes after Diaz’s head, the guy should be suspended for the entire playoffs.

The game plan is this – frustrate Alex Ovechkin, and wipe that annoying grin off Mike Ribeiro’s face.

 

A Much-Needed Win By Canadiens

It wasn’t perfect, not by any stretch, but the Canadiens right the ship slightly by edging the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2, and for now at least, thing’s are back to where we want them. In the win column. Is there any other place?

It’s a nice combination – winning with Carey Price being one of the three stars – and both of course are polar opposites of what’s gone down in the past week. So even though some luck was involved, and it was against a team 21 points behind Montreal, it was one small step for man, one giant leap for the Habs situation.

Brian Gionta broke the 2-2 deadlock with his second goal of the game with just 46 seconds remaining, and it came compliments of  former Canadien Benoit Pouliot wrestling Subban with a fine headlock when it truly wasn’t necessary. It was a serious lack of judgement on Pouliot’s part, and it seemed the type of thing he would pull on occasion when he was a Hab.

I’m just happy Pouliot came to this decision, and although the Canadiens power play was ineffective throughout, Gionta made no mistake when the final chance presented itself.

Although the first stars were Gionta, Price, and Alex Galchenyuk, I’d also like to give Pouliot honourable mention for his Subban mugging. Maybe at the end of the season, we can say the true turning point of a crucial turnaround came when Pouliot decided to give his best Hulk Hogan impression.

Carey Price was another story on this night. He was often lucky, with a couple of goalposts and a crossbar entering into things, but at times he was also excellent, much better than he has been lately, and we’ll take that thank you very much. It gives us hope.

Random Notes:

Two goals from Gionta, and Alex Galchenyuk once again bulged the twine, his fourth in five games, and has racked up nine points in the last nine games.

As a bit of an understatement, I’d say we need Andrei Markov to pick it up several notches. Hopefully he still has it in him. Markov has 27 points in 44 games, which is the team’s fourth best, but he’s also a minus-11, often unreliable, and has slowed down somewhat. But he’s still a key guy and we need him to get it together.

The Canadiens once again jump ahead of the Bruins with this win, and find themselves a comfortable six points up on the Leafs after Toronto fell 5-3 to the Islanders. It was a fine night in many ways.

Alex Ovechkin and his Washington Capitals are at the Bell on Saturday, and how great it would be if the Canadiens kicked some supreme derriere at this time. And how great would it be if Carey Price once again stood tall and continued his climb back.

It was nice to see Michel Therrien stay out and congratulate each and every player as they came off the ice. That sort of thing can go a long way.