Category Archives: Alexei Emelin

The Dismal Beat Goes On

Late-’80s Claude Julien.

The wild and crazy Montreal Canadiens were rusty and sloppy in Claude Julien’s 2017 coaching debut, and their 3-1 loss to the visiting Winnipeg Jets ruined what could have been a fun breakout party for the new Blind River bench boss.

Probably rusty because they had five days off. And sloppy, regardless of who’s behind the bench. Nothing new about their sloppiness. They’d probably be a mess if Toe Blake was behind them.

Was any part of this loss Julien’s fault?

If he was Kreskin, he might have plunked Nathan Beaulieu into the press box pre-game, before this mediocre defenceman could think he was Bobby Orr during a second period power play, and which quickly showed he’s no Bobby Orr.

Or Gaston Gingras for that matter.

Beaulieu decided to do some fancy stickhanding and was promptly stripped of the puck by Joel Armia, who walked in and tied it.

And because Julien didn’t have his skates on, he couldn’t be on the ice at 1:16 of the third when Emelin, Weber, Plekanec, Danault and Max decided to show their soft and tender side as Big Buff muscled his way in from the right side and found Mathieu Perreault, who notched the winner easy as pie.

Winnipeg’s third goal was an empty-netter, so I guess Julien can’t be blamed for that one either.

Wasn’t Carey Price’s fault either, as the big fellow snagged shots left and right, including lightning-quick glove hand robbery on rookie star Patrick Laine’s laser in the first period and then again in the third, plus coming up big a plethora of other times throughout.

Price was his old self, which is a good thing. So were his teammates, which is a bad thing.

Gump Worsley, manning the pipes for the New York Rangers in the late-’50s, was asked what team gave him the most trouble. Gump answered, “the Rangers”.

Price can say exactly the same thing about his teammates. Coverage means more than just car and house insurance, boys.

Random Notes:

Jets outshot the Habs 33-20.

Either the Sens or Leafs will win tonight, considering they play each other. Which means if the Sens win they’ll be within two points of Montreal, and if the Leafs pull it out, they’ll be just five back. Both teams also have games in hand on the Canadiens.

 

Therrien Gets Boot

I know that my friend Mike Williamson, for more than six decades a Habs fan, is pissed about the Therrien firing.

Not because Therrien was fired, that’s a great thing! But because he feels Claude Julien is just another old retread, as Therrien was. Both with two kicks at the can, and it should’ve been time for fresh blood.

Kirk Muller should’ve gotten the chance, says Mike. He liked the idea of Gerard Gallant coming back too.

I’m fine with having Julien on board. Or pretty well anybody else for that matter. Not Patrick Roy, but pretty well anybody. I’m a wait and see guy with Julien, and maybe he’ll help jumpstart a team that needs to send the wives to Powell River, put their heads down, look within themselves and not like what they see, and climb out of this freefall with whatever inner and outer strength it takes.

The fact is, even with a healthy Carey Price, the team now looks almost as bad as last year’s. And if they’re even close to last year’s futility after the dust settles, I know my soul will go dead and I’ll spend my remaining years drooling and maybe trying to understand cricket.

Even Danno, a fellow who was a regular and enthusiastic commentor on here for years, told me recently that because of last year, he barely pays attention now.

It hit us hard, that pathetic display by the Montreal Canadiens last year, and now WTF? Younger fans with favourite players might stay true and sort of excited, but guys like me are getting the shit pounded out of our hearts and the times they are a changin.

Danny Gallivan, where are you? Come down and help make hockey magical again.

Michel Therrien needed to go. Something that Dra58 (Dan in Malone NY) has been saying all along, year after year. He recognized the ‘boring, dump and chase, don’t take chances’ Therrien style, and hated it. Echoed by Peter Rherbergen in Chesley, Ontario who nicknamed Therrien ‘Thornbush’ and who has called for the coach’s head for several years.

Peter says today: “It’s Valentine’s Day, and Bergevin showed us some love. The boys can be creative again. Emelin will horizontalize folks again, Weber may return to being a force, Galchenyuk will gain confidence, Shaw will learn grit within the rules.

Peter has always complained that Therrien has stifled certain players’ creativity, including PK Subban’s. And the way the benchboss gave Desharnais such major minutes is a big head scratcher.

Dishonest John in Kenora, Ont is another one. “Yup, as each day went by in this break I was thinking there was less and less of a chance this could happen. Now I’m over the moon.”

I’ll bet it’s the first time his high school students heard the old man yelp during math class.

We needed Michel Therrien gone for the sake of our health. Much of our mental stability was at stake. Although some of it was our own fault.

But imagine now if the thing continues to slide with Julien behind the bench. What a mess it would become. Another chapter of the big time soap opera called the Montreal Canadiens.  Equal parts sad and interesting soap opera.

Most of Montreal, plus fans everywhere else like you and me and Dan and Danno and Mike and Peter and Dishonest John, would need some serious drinks and drugs if the mess gets messier.

No way can we have a repeat of last year. So Therrien had to go.

Habs Rock Rangers

The Canadiens rebound from a 7-1 trouncing on Thursday in Minnesota to edge the visiting New York Rangers 5-4 at the Bell on Saturday night, and church bells ring throughout the land.

So if you hear church bells on Saturday night or Sunday morning, it’s because the Habs won. What else could it be?

Not only did they win but they did it by scoring three unanswered goals in the third period to do it. It’s almost religious.

The first period saw Andrew Shaw, returning from concussion, interfere in the crease which caused Phillip Danault’s goal to be called back,  the team was scored upon with Shaw in the box, and to cap off the night for the returning not-so-bright forward, he blindsided Jesper Fast and received a five minute major and game misconduct.

Too much energy and adrenaline for Shaw, and not enough brain cells turned on. But whatever. The team won. And regardless of the lack of brain cells, at least Shaw plays with an edge.

I’ve been whining that the Canadiens have been too full of peace and love for a decade. Time to be mean assholes. But probably a bit smarter than Shaw on this night.

Alex Galchenyuk, back from sick bay after more than a month, tied the game with a deflection, but quickly the visitors went ahead after Alexei Emelin took the man but forgot the puck, and Rick Nash banged it home.

But….I don’t understand.

Kevin Hayes barged in, wrapped his skate behind Carey Price’s pad, and dragged the poor bastard out of the crease, thereby giving Nash the open net. The play was reviewed and the goal stood.

How come? Please tell me. Maybe Kerry Fraser can explain. I’ll watch for it.

Things were heating up, and the Bell Centre patrons sat up. Brian Flynn would shove it home to tie the game at 2-2, but tragically, our man Chucky would lose the puck along the boards, reliable old Shea Weber was beaten cleanly, it was 3-2 Rangers, and life wasn’t worth living.

Until it was.

The third frame saw Alexei Emelin fire a wrist shot home from the blueline to put things at 3-3, then Max would outrace two d-men to put the boys ahead 4-3, and Paul Byron would give them a beauty of two goal, 5-3 lead.

The Rangers would make it 5-4 with 5:07 left, but that was the best the Broadway Blueshirts could do.

Habs win 5-4. And please don’t fret about Carey Price’s mediocre play lately, or cracks in defence, or this or that. This is the regular season, where we only have to be concerned about them making the playoffs, which they will.

The regular season is only a rehearsal, a fine-tuning, a time to get the gang ready for opening night – the playoffs. I’m sure Marlon Brando was an asshole sometimes before the cameras rolled, and then rallied to give the performance of his life.

That’s the Habs. Ups, downs, fine tuning, readying for the curtain to rise.

Random Notes:

The Rangers outshot Montreal 33-32. Price came up big a bunch of times.

Next up – two tough games on the horizon. Detroit on Monday, and at home to greet Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

Explosion At The Bell

I’ll take a nice, tidy 10-1 thumping any time. Too bad it wasn’t against Ottawa, Boston, or Toronto, and so what that the cellar-dwelling Avs were truly lousy on this night. It’s still good. Great even.

It’s also too bad it wasn’t against the Columbus Blue Jackets, who demolished the Canadiens 10-0 back on November 4th.

I wouldn’t have minded 12 or 15 goals, because I’m a greedy bastard. But when you see your team rack up six goals in the first period alone, heady thoughts creep in. Like 12 or 15 goals when all is said and done.

Oh, they’re not suppose to rack up the score? Hey, what’s a dozen or so goals among friends?

It was a fine night at the old (opened in 1996) Bell Centre, with Max Pacioretty scoring four times and adding an assist, Tomas Plekanec racking up four helpers, and a whack of others lighting the lamp or helping to light the lamp.

Just too bad Shea Weber didn’t get on the score sheet. He leads that fellow in Nashville by just 1 point (at this writing), and I’d prefer that our guy had a way better year than that guy. Twice as good, Three times even.

It was just one of those nights. The Canadiens were clicking. Max was flying. Alexander Radulov, with a goal and an assist, was inspiring. The fourth line, led by Brian Flynn was two goals, were demons.

It was time for early Ole Ole’s and a late Na Na Na Goodbye. Time for stress-free watching, some chuckles, some completely relaxed viewing of the boys blitzing the Avs.

But then there was the Alexei Emelin low hit on Joe Colborne late in the game that had commentator Gary Galley seething. Galley said there was no need for it. I say hit ’em for 60 minutes, 10 goals or not.

I think Don Cherry pooh-poohed it too. I’m not sure, I wasn’t really paying attention to the old fellow.

And why won’t Emelin fight when the shit hit the fan, asked Galley? Probably because he has metal plates under his left eye, Gary. The guy’s on the team because he’s a bone bruiser, he hits harder than most. It’s his job. What if Colborne had danced around Emelin and caused a crease-crashing that injured Carey Price?

Nope. Stop ’em in his tracks. Old time hockey. Montreal has seven forwards under 6 feet. A little meanness shown by anyone is a welcomed sight in this corner.

Colborne might have his head up next time he waltzes down the right side. And most players from other teams will see it on the news and possibly be a bit more tentative when they come up against Emelin.

Oh, and maybe it was slightly dirty. I don’t give a shit.

A beauty shellacking on home ice. Fifteen goals scored in two games. What a machine!

Bring on the Bruins (Monday).

Random Notes:

Habs scoring went like this:

1st period – Flynn, Pacioretty, Lehkonen, Pacioretty, Byron, Flynn.

2nd period – Radulov, Pacioretty, Petry.

3rd period – Pacioretty

 

Canadiens Conquer Kings

habs-girl

They’ve been mediocre at best lately, but they’ve still been winning just about every night.

We’ll take that, I guess.

Tonight they not only won again, but they were also quite excellent, at least in my tired, old eyes, as the Habs proved too much for the great big L.A. Kings and their familiar goaltender, Peter Budai.

Another two points banked, to be withdrawn during desperate times.

A convincing 4-1 over the Californians, and the Montreal Canadiens roll along, even though we get mad at them.

We get mad at them and they’ve won their first nine games at home, four of five games in November, and sit 12-1-1 overall.

We’re a tough bunch. Hard to please. Harsh critics. Possibly a bit silly about the whole state of affairs. But we need that Cup contender. It’s only natural.

The Kings did try and make a game of it in the third period, beginning with an Anze Kopitar shot that Carey Price miraculously gloved, and what left the captain shaking his head. But it’s not the first time Price has left a shooter shaking his head, and it won’t be the last.

With Brendan Gallagher serving four minutes in the box for high sticking, the Kings narrowed things to 3-1, and we were mad at Gallagher.

But after Montreal’s penalty killers held on after Andrei Markov was sent to the sinbin for high sticking (which we were mad at him about), Alex Galchenyuk found the empty net and we were happy about that.

We were happy, except for hearing the news that Leonard Cohen had died during the evening.

Probably every time I’ve ever heard a Leonard Cohen song, I’ve wished I could put words together like that.

Random Notes:

The Canadiens were outshot 24-23, which is way better than having 40 shots sent their way, which has been the pattern lately.

Scoring for Montreal were Paul Byron, Daniel Carr, Phillip Danault (who was great on this night centering Max and Andrew Shaw), and Galchenyuk with his empty netter.

Chucky leads the team with 6 goals and 8 assists.

Next up – The Detroit Red Wings hit town.

 

 

 

 

Byron And Price Seal Win

A young man wearing a turban with three eyes

It was one eye on the game, one eye on the U.S. election, and one eye on closing day at Classic Auctions’ fall auction, where I was selling some of my stuff.

But with the first eye I saw the Canadiens dropkick the Boston Bruins 3-2 at the Bell Centre, after Paul Byron notched the winner with just 1:02 remaining, and with Carey Price once again holding the fort and racking up first star on the night.

Better than the Habs’ showing against the Leafs eleven days ago. A slight improvement over their game against Philly four days ago. And it goes without saying, a major league improvement over the 10-0 debacle in Columbus five days ago.

But they were still outshot badly against the Bs, 41-23, but maybe it’s not even worth mentioning. They’re badly outshot every game.

The first period saw the home team with more jump than we’ve seen lately, like they were truly focused on waking from their coma. Either that or the wives kicked them into the spare room in the basement.

But even so, Boston outshot the boys 14-5, so jump or no jump, some cracks still aren’t filled.

In the second frame, Shea Weber would open the scoring on the power play with his patented blast from the blueline, but less than a minute later, Boston evened things up.

And then, just twenty seconds later, Alex Galchenyuk lit the lamp and the crowd, as they say, went wild.

In the final frame, Boston would convert on their power play with Alexei Emelin in the box, and it was finally left to Byron to come through in the end.

You have to think that 10 wins in the last 11 games isn’t all that bad, even with a 10-0 loss thrown in. Kind of what Michel Therrien was saying in his press conference earlier.

The Vancouver Canucks would kill for that record.

Random Notes:

Canadiens were 1/2 on the power play (Weber).

Weber’s goal was his fourth power play marker, and his fifth overall of this young season. Chucky’s goal was also his fifth.

Alex Radulov collected 2 assists on the night, and is tied with Weber and Galchenyuk with 11 points so far this season.

Canadiens record stands at 11-1-1.

Worth mentioning, and a play that really caught one of my eyes’ attention – Jeff Petry crushed Ryan Spooner into the boards in Emelin, Weber-type fashion. Beauty, eh?

Next up – Thursday, when the boys host the L.A. Kings.

Finally I can rest one eye. And the other two are beginning to get tired.

 

 

Habs Muzzle Coyotes

muzzle

Beautiful. Tremendous. Hardworking. Almost flawless.

But enough about me. We’re talkin’ Habs here.

The Canadiens, with Carey Price finally back in the nets after 11 long months, took out the visiting Arizona Coyotes with a convincing 5-2 win at the Bell Centre.

Price faced 29 shots while his buddies fired 43 at Arizona’s net, and with the win the boys now see themselves with a mighty fine three wins and a shootout/point in their first four starts.

Who could ask for more? Especially when the entire team put together a rockin’, sockin’, red light-lighting night that will see the bars in Montreal being some of the happiest places on earth this Thursday night.

Maybe because of his World Cup experience, but Alexei Emelin seems a confident and improved player this year, and the hardrock d-man even bulged the twine with a massive blast from the blueline to open the scoring.

Emelin also crushed several unfortunate Coyotes who crossed his path, he hurts when he hits, always has, and this year with Shea Weber on board, he’s not the only one anymore who can turn bones into powder.

Torrey Mitchell in the second period gave his team a nice 2-0 lead after converting a great pass from Nathan Beaulieu, and at this point I thought to myself how cool it would be if Price could shut the door for the entire night.

But I never said it out loud so don’t blame me that it didn’t happen.

Shea Weber scored his first goal in a Montreal uniform, a missile from the blueline on the power play, and also smashed guys on several occasions, especially in the first two frames. A perfect example of why Jonathan Toews said after The Big Trade that it was great that Shea wasn’t in his Conference anymore.

Alex Galchenyuk finally scored his first of the season to make it 4-0, and which sent Coyotes’ goalie Louis Domingue to the bench and replaced by Justin Peters. Peters would see his team begin to fight back and narrow things to 4-2, but in the third, Artturi Lehkonen’s wrist shot lit the lamp, the score became a tidy 5-2, and the clock struck midnight for the visitors.

Random Notes:

We can complain about the weather and high taxes and hospital food and the price of cheese, but we can’t complain about the number of goals allowed by the Habs. Al Montoya and now Price, along with the boys out front, have allowed just seven goals in the four games to start the season.

And the gang has scored 16 in these four games to boot.

Alexander Radulov continues to be a major threat and is a great addition.

David Desharnais assisted on Emelin’s goal and is one of six guys who now have four points in four games (DD, Weber, Petry, Pacioretty, Gallagher, and Galchenyuk).

Next up – Saturday in Boston. Hopefully they can keep this going.

 

 

 

Habs Handle Sabres In Opener

opening_night_logo

It was slightly sloppy and reasonably boring, but it’s October hockey, which is a far cry from deep winter hockey. They’re rusty, like me.

Heck, I quit doing recaps last season with more than a month left to go. But you understand. After the pathetic nosedive by the boys, you’d quit writing recaps too.

They owe us a big turnaround campaign, and it began Thursday night when the Canadiens skated off Buffalo ice with a 4-1 win under their belts.

It’s hard to be overly excited when it’s (a) October hockey, and (b) they won their first nine last year before free falling into the depths of hell, but it’s a new season with a roster makeover, and the new guys in the lineup showed grit and spark and became major factors in this bombing of the Buffalonians.

Al Montoya, in goal for the ailing Carey Price, was as solid as can be and stopped 30 of 31 shots fired at him.

Shea Weber thumped bodies and blasted missiles like we knew he would, although he missed the net several times in dramatic fashion. The big fellow was solid, tough, and imposing, and notched an assist when his wrist shot was deflected by Brendan Gallagher for the all-important third goal of the night for the good guys.

Alex Radulov showed plenty of smarts and composure, something another newcomer, Andrew Shaw, might want to consider.

Shaw batted home his team’s fourth goal of the night, but also received a match penalty at the final buzzer for slew-footing, which is despicable at the best of times, and it’s the kind of brain-dead act we’ll see from this fellow at various times throughout the season.

Shaw can be incredibly valuable, and can also be quite an arse, as we saw when he played for the Hawks. It’s something we need to get used to. If he doesn’t wear the CH we hate his guts, right?

Artturi Lehkonen seemed to have some chemistry with Tomas Plekanec and didn’t look out of place, although having said that, my mind did tend to wander throughout the game and maybe I missed a couple of things.

And young Mikhail Sergachev, only several months removed from being a 17-year old punk kid, looked fine but also at times looked like he might need another year in junior. But he’s a beauty with a great future.

Yes I’m excited about Sergachev, but I was excited about Jacob de la Rose, Jiri Sekac, and Michael Bournival too, so I have to contain myself. But Misha was the best d-man in the Ontario Hockey League last year, so maybe it’s safe to be excited.

Misha is the everyday nickname for Russian guys named Mikhail, so if you want to call Sergachev this, it’s perfectly fine. And while I’m at it, Radulov can be called Sasha, which is the common name for Alexander.

It was the heart of the team who did the most damage, though. Brendan Gallagher would contribute a pair on this night, the opener which was a long shot from the top of the circle that rang in off the post, and his deflection of Weber’s wrist shot for the third Habs goal.

Torrey Mitchell would score his team’s second goal after Paul Byron’s speedy rush created the opportunity.

Random Notes:

The Sabres outshot the Canadiens 31-24, but Al Montoya shut the door. The name Al Montoya sounds to me like a lounge singer with connections to the mob. I’ve always thought that.

Buffalo’s Evander Kane smashed into the end boards after getting tangled up with Alexei Emelin, and was taken to the hospital. Hope he’s okay, even though he can be a bit of a dipshit off the ice.

Next for the boys – Saturday in Ottawa to clash with a natural enemy.

 

 

Reusch Checks Out The Lineup

lineup1

A big and hearty thanks to Bill for sending Ron Reusch’s look at how the Canadiens stack up this year by position.

It was something I had kinda thought about doing, but you know how lazy I am. And Mr. Reusch does a way better job anyway.

Here’s Ron’s excellent look at the 2016-17 Montreal Canadiens so far – The Reusch Blog

You be the judge on whether or not you feel this is a team that can make a serious dent.

And by the way, the much-respected Reusch, who’s been covering Montreal sports since the 1960s, somehow manages to put out smart and sharp posts on a regular basis and his blog is for sure worth a hard look.

Borrowed from his website is a little bit about this fine fellow.

“Ron Reusch covered sports both nationally and internationally over five decades. (1960s through 2010). Based in Montreal, Ron worked on the English language play-by-play broadcasts of the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens and NL’s Montreal Expos.

As a member of the CTV Television Network, Ron covered a variety of including the 1980, 1984, 1988 and 1994 Winter Olympic Games and the 1976, 1984 and 1992 Summer Olympic Games. He also did play-by-play for CTV’s coverage of the first three Canada Cup hockey tournaments (1976, 1981 and 1984) and served as color commentator to Dan Kelly’s play-by-play for the NHL’s 1984–85 and 1985–86 seasons on CTV plus the 1987 Canada Cup. Other CTV assignments included live broadcasts of the Indianapolis 500 (6 times), and the Canadian Grand Prix.

Reusch’s broadcast career started in the B.C. Interior as a broadcaster for the Kamloops Chiefs of the Okanagan Senior Hockey League and then with the Kitchener-Waterloo Beavers of the Eastern Professional Hockey League. Reusch moved to Europe in 1962, where, among other things, he covered the 1964 and 1968 Winter Olympics for American Broadcaster CBS Radio. Reusch returned to Canada and Montreal in 1969 where he began a 39 year association with the Montreal CTV affiliate CFCF. For twenty years he was CFCF Sports Director.”

Reusch

PK Carried Off

PK

The plan was to haul my ass to the computer and talk about the blistering hot Alex Galchenyuk, who tallied two more goals (for the third straight game) in the Canadiens’ 3-2 win over the visiting Buffalo Sabres.

But Chucky’s two goals (11 in the last 8 games, 25 on the season) and the Habs’ win quickly took a back seat to seeing PK Subban wrapped up in a stretcher with 2 1/2 minutes remaining, after his head and Alexei Emelin’s legs collided.

Forget the slumps and injuries and not making the playoffs and late-season Galchenyuk heroics. We wait for good news about PK.