The group looks at the situation.
I was in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) in 1991, at the time the Soviet Union was falling apart, a mind-blowing and historic time to be sure, and I was visiting a bunch of serious Habs fans who had their own Montreal Canadiens Fan Club. We were at the president of the fan club’s apartment and we sat around drinking tea and talking hockey.
The fellow in the black San Jose Sharks shirt was my translater, and he was a Russian scout for the San Jose Sharks and later the Anaheim Ducks.
That’s me in the middle, clean-shaven, with a serious sunburn. And unfortunately, the magazine made a few mistakes. The picture of the fellow in the Habs jacket holding the puck isn’t me, although it says it is in the caption below it. (It’s Anatoli Brel, who I went with to the meeting).
The story that accompanies the pictures says that “Dennis Kane is the only foreign member of the Canadiens Fan Club in St. Petersburg. As a boy, Dennis was always writing letters to his heros, Doug Harvey, Bernard Geoffrion and Maurice Richard; he still has their lovingly replies. (Second error – I don’t have any replies except for Rocket’s Christmas card and a couple of autographed pictures. The author took some liberties here.)
And then, one day, he came across a newspaper article about Anatoli Brel, a Russian fellow looking for a Canadiens fan with whom to correspond.
After six years of exchanging letters, Dennis decided to go visit his hockey pen pal and meet the fan club people who met once a month to talk about the Habs and bring their statistics up to date. “It was really weird,” he recalls. “There I was, thousands of miles from Canada, on a street in Leningrad (St. Petersburg), and there was this huge Canadiens logo in the window.”
Following that memorable meeting, Dennis received a letter officially confirming his membership in the Canadiens Fan Club…St. Petersburg Chapter! What more could you ask?
The Canadiens fell 4-3 in overtime to the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs, and the hockey world is in utter disbelief that Montreal would give…
…a run for their money.
Yes, Montreal would take the lead just 2:19 into the first period when Jeff Petry blasted one from the point after a nice set up by Jonathan Drouin, they were outplaying the blue and white by a nice margin, the Bell crowd was happy, life was as it should be, but two goals in 44 seconds by the Leafs, who are…
in the history of the world…and the Habs looked to be in big trouble because the Torontonians can score and the Montrealers can’t, so we waited for the Bell Centre roof to cave in. But lo and behold, Alex Galchenyuk, with his first goal (and point) of the season while on the power play, the team’s first PP goal of the season, and it was hard to believe for all concerned.
How could the lowly Montreal Canadiens hang tough like this? Against a team that Central Canada hockey broadcasters, writers, analysts, hanger-ons, groupies, Don Cherry, Richard Simmons, Kim Jong-un, 5000 Syrian refugees, and many more, all consider to be…
Donald Trump can’t wait to invite them to Washington where he’ll have blue trim painted around the White House windows in honour of this juggernaut. Although he’s undecided about Nazem Kadri.
Montreal took the lead in the second period when Jonathan Drouin redirected a Karl Alzner hard pass from the blueline, but just 1:10 later, Patrick Marleau inched the puck just over the line, the teams were tied at three, and would remain so for the rest of the middle frame and all of the third.
Sadly in overtime, Auston Mathews notched the winner, Leaf fans rejoiced, and Sportsnet’s Daren Millard, who compares the Leafs to Gretzky’s Oilers, had to be excused to go to the bathroom.
All in all, it was Montreal’s best outing of this young season, and now have 1 win, 3 losses, and 1 overtime loss/point racked up. Most importantly, three guys who had yet to score – Petry, Galchenyuk, and Drouin, did so, and maybe it’ll get them rolling. Rome wasn’t built in a day, a few others need to step up, and Max needs to stop shooting from far out at goalies who stop these type of shots while gawking at lovely ladies in the stands.
Another concern lingers, the sometimes mediocre backstopping of Carey Price. With this lineup we need Price at his best most of the time, but it hasn’t happened yet. We’ve seen some sensational stops from the guy, but because he’s Price, we need more than just some.
They fought valiantly but couldn’t get it done against the…
The Canadiens now jet to California for games in San Jose on Tuesday, L.A. Wednesday, and Anaheim on Friday. What a shitty October schedule for this team. Not that there should be any excuses I suppose.
Time now for…
Above, the Joe Louis Arena (the white building) in Detroit, taken a few months ago when I was visiting my old friends Mike and Diana Williamson in the Windsor area.
Yes, the Joe Louis Arena. Where on a Saturday night in late November, Alexander Radulov fed Alex Galchenyuk in overtime, the net bulged, and the Canadiens begin their five-game road trip with a 2-1 win over the Red Wings.
I might as well save the next sentence and just copy and paste it after every Habs win…….. Carey Price saved the day once again.
The Wings opened the scoring in the third period of a slightly dull game, but Brendan Gallagher would soon even things up, and for Habs fans, it wasn’t as dull anymore.
Gally, who hadn’t scored since Oct. 24th when he deflected a Radulov shot on the power play for the game winner against Philadelphia, hopefully now has that great big mother of a piano lifted from his back.
Shea Weber was penalized in overtime for slashing but Price and the boys held the fort. Soon after, Weber came out of the box and rang one off the post. One of the more exciting moments of the night.
Charles Hudon was out, due to a fractured sternum (breastplate). These young guys. Can’t even play with a lousy fractured sternum. Hell, in my day………..
Replacing Hudon was Arturri Lehtonen, who was absolutely robbed by Wings netminder Petr Mrazek with a glove save that you’ll see for the next several weeks or months on TV.
Detroit outshot Montreal 33-24.
Next up – Tuesday in Anaheim, which means a late night for eastern time zone fans.
If there’s one thing we can say about the four-game road trip the Canadiens just completed, it’s that it was a four-game road trip they just completed.
Games in San Jose, Anaheim, Los Angeles, and finally Winnipeg.
They lost all four, of course.
But they looked good in their Montreal Canadiens uniforms, with that big CH on the front.
The same uniform, in fact, that good Montreal teams used to wear. The big difference is, it used to be six months of cheering. Now it’s two months of cheering and a four-month prostate examination given by Andre the Giant.
Nothing unusual about the final game of the trip against the Jets in Winnipeg, as they scored two, like they did in the other three games of the trip, and PK Subban only turned the puck over once that led to a goal.
And to add to the merriment, Brendan Gallagher suffered a lower body injury and didn’t return.
There’s only 16 games left. Can they make us proud and win one?
I saw an interesting Fats Domino documentary on PBS the other day.
Alex Galchenyuk scored both Habs goals.
Next up – Tuesday, when the Dallas Stars visit Montreal. In this game, the Canadiens will try to win, and PK will try not to give the puck up.
Both tasks will be tough.
Regardless of how the Canadiens do in Anaheim tonight, I won’t be writing about it. And I won’t be writing about the other remaining 18 games either.
I’m shutting down my recaps for the year, as this most pathetic of all seasons winds down.
I’ll still post on here from time to time, but I’ve had it with the recaps.
The Habs in San Jose may be late for those back east as the puck drops at 10:30 and the thing ends around 1 am, but it’s late for me in Powell River too, where it starts at 7:30 and finishes around 10:00.
That’s late. Because I’m a big suck.
So this recap is gonna be short and mediocre because I need to get to bed so I can get up in the morning and give my usual 165% at my part-time job.
And on Wednesday they’re in Anaheim at 10:00 ET, and Los Angeles on Thursday at 10:30 ET, so those recaps will probably stink too.
The Sharks opened the scoring when Joe Thornton, left so long at the side of the net that he had time to pick ticks and small mice from his beard, lit the lamp.
Brendan Gallagher would even things when his harmless shot from the side got caught up in Sharks netminder Martin Jones’ skates and in it went.
But the Sharks would take the lead once again when Joe Pavelski blasted one home.
Shots on goal this period were Sharks 13, Habs 7.
Brent Burns, who takes a back seat to no one when it comes to beards, made it 3-1 after converting a pass from Thornton. The two of them look like they should be in ZZ Top.
The Canadiens would close the gap when Torrey Mitchell batted home Paul Byron’s short Texas leaguer, and came close to tying it with 30 seconds left when Tomas Plekanec was stoned by Jones point blank.
Canadiens outshot the Sharks 10-9 in this period.
4-2. Then 5-2. Then 6-2.
Habs were lousy. Outshot 14-6 in the third period and 36-23 overall.
Mike Condon has seen better days.
Thus ends February, with the team giving us six wins and seven losses.
Next up – Wednesday in Anaheim.
The Canadiens looked like they were coming off a Demerol party when they lost 4-0 to the Sharks on March 2nd in San Jose, and which kicked off the 3-game hard-to-swallow California crushing.
It had us all in a dither.
But Saturday at the Bell, the boys played hard-hitting, slick passing big time hockey as they slayed the Sharks 2-0, making it three straight wins, four of their last five, coming not long after the aforementioned California slide had us searching for the key to the liquor cabinet.
Great game by the Habs, regardless of the fact the shirtless Joe Thornton told Sportsnet’s Christine Simpson between periods that his line had been in Montreal’s end all game.
Not what I saw, Joe. And really, for the sake of us guys watching, could you please put a shirt on.
Carey Price saved the day when called upon, which could be said for just about every time he’s manned the nets this season, with this being his 9th shutout (tying M.A. Fleury for the lead), and second in a row after beating Carolina 4-0 on Thursday.
The win is also Price 40th of the season, just two back of the Habs all-time leaders Jacques Plante and Ken Dryden, which is absolutely exciting. Price has entered the Land of the Giants.
Tomas Plekanec got his team on the board in the first period, his 22nd of the year, on a great play that gave him most of a wide-open net to shoot at. The goal also came at a great time, with just 1:14 remaining in the period, and we could see that with the way they were playing, taking the lead late like that could very well spell serious trouble for The Shirtless One and his fish.
Brendan Gallagher would notch the insurance marker, his 21st, in the third with the Sharks’ net empty, and with just seconds left and the boys up 2-0, the Ole, Ole song began, with props to the singers. You sang it at the proper time for a change. When the game wasn’t in doubt.
And man, were the last few minutes tense with the goalie pulled and the score still 1-0, and with the game, and a shutout, on the line.
But the Canadiens came through, as they did all night, standing their ground, checking hard, passing well, and all in all, unless you’re a Sharks fan, a mighty fine night at the not-so-old Bell Centre.
A nice, impressive hometown win by the gang, and a tremendous thing to see, considering there’s only nine games to go and maybe, just maybe, they’re rounding into playoff form.
Tom Gilbert took a puck in the mouth area during the second period and was gone for the night. Hopefully it’s only a chiclet or two and nothing more.
Props to Brandon Prust for playing a fine game, including a nice piece of business on the penalty kill late in the game.
The Canadiens have reached 99 points, tied with Anaheim for top of the heap.
Alex Galchenyuk needs just one more to reach 20 goals.
Next up – Tuesday, when the team hits Music City, U.S.A. to shut out the Predators.
Lars Eller got his stick up into the face of Drew Doughty with just 1:35 left in the third period, with his team winning 3-2 after being down 2-0 to the hometown L.A. Kings, and having stormed back from the dead.
The Kings, of course, with just 45 seconds left in the game, would tie it with Lars in the sinbin, and ultimately take it to a shootout where the Canadiens didn’t get the job done and lose 4-3.
I wish I’d kept track of all the ill-timed, momentum-killing, game-ruining penalties Eller has managed over the past few years. Penalties late in periods, penalties that cancel out power plays, penalties when it’s definitely time to not get penalties. It seems like he’s the king of this &$%#@% category.
I know what the Maharishi would tell me (if I knew him and he was still alive). Take deep breaths. Concentrate on trees and streams. Focus on the good that happened before Lars slipped up.
It’s a shootout loss that yes, gets the team a point, but it should’ve been two, and it should’ve been a cool halt to the California creamin’.
It stings, Maharishi. Just like it probably did when the Beatles dumped you. Eller owes us all a dinner.
The first period was as dreadful as the showings in San Jose and Anaheim. Outshot 13-2 and outscored 2-0. Heck, it was only a few games ago when the boys had shutout the Leafs and won their fourth straight, and we were feeling high and mighty and thinking magnificent thoughts.
But seven periods in California changed all that.
The second frame saw the Canadiens come to life though, and Tom Gilbert, looking like a forward, closed the gap to 2-1 when he swooped in and around Jonathan Quick and lit the lamp. And it became a tie game not long after when Gally took a nice pass from Plekanec and backhanded it home.
In the third frame, Max would notch his 31st on a nice pass from DD, and all was swell in Habsville until Eller’s brain froze like a tray of ice cubes, and with the clock winding down and the Kings on the power play, along with Quick on the bench and the extra man out, the bullet was fired to tie it.
Overtime would solve nothing, and in the shootout, the Canadiens shooters were Chucky (nope), DD and Max (yes), and Eller (post), while Kings skaters buried 3 of 4 on Dustin Tokarski, who overall played a decent game between the pipes.
This mostly lousy four-game road trip comes to an end on Saturday in Phoenix, but things don’t exactly let up. The following four games see the boys tackle the Lightning and Sens at home, and the Islanders and Lightning on the road.
Upcoming strategy? Keep Eller on the bench in crucial situations.
It was just the other day, while sitting in Buffy’s Pub in Sooke, that I pointed to the TV and said to Lucy, “Look, the Leafs lost 4-0 again. Two games without a goal. Are they ever lousy. Hah!”
Then the Montreal Canadiens went out and dropped a 4-0 stinker in San Jose, and two nights later are smothered and outplayed as they lose 3-1 in Anaheim. I should never have been smug about the Leafs. Because sometimes the Habs can suck too.
It also took until the 18:19 mark of the third period before Alex Galchenyuk scored with a Duck in the box, making it one of those rare and unusual sightings, a….how do you say it……successful power play? Thus keeping the team from being shutout two straight nights which would have made the Leafs comparison even more sickening .
Now it’s a short freeway ride to downtown Los Angeles to meet the Kings in a few hours. No predictions, no thoughts. No idea. Only that they have to start playing better than they have these past two games.
Karma, you got me good with the Leafs smugness. Now, enough’s enough.
Props to the Ducks, who basically smothered, bottled up, outchecked and outskated Montreal for most of the night.
It was 2-0 in the second period when Max burst in alone while his team was shorthanded. Imagine how the momentum could have shifted. Maybe.
Canadiens outshot the Ducks 38-33, which for all intents and purposes looks like they played well. But they didn’t.
Ex-Hab Jiri Sekac took Subban out of the play, allowing new teammate Rickard Rakell the chance to score, which he did.
The guy we got in the Sekac trade, Devante Smith-Pelly, was again underwhelming and it blows my mind to hear reports that he’s out of shape. What the hell is that? It’s March. How can a player not be in shape at this time?