Category Archives: Andrei Markov

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

Habs Wax Leafs

iron 1

Two huge goals in the third period by the captain, and great work throughout by the new guy and the big young guy, and the Canadiens top the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1.

This gives the boys two straight wins, or three of their last four, and although their season still sucks, they’ve played better lately. It kind of makes my heart soar like a kite with holes in it.

And no, the team’s not tanking, it’s not the proud or right way of doing things. It’s management who would do the tanking anyway, not the players, and the Montreal Canadiens aren’t the 1919 Chicago White Sox.

The first period saw the Leafs strike first, but a great wrist shot from Alex Galchenyuk would even things, while the second period featured a couple of noteworthy events:

Brendan Gallagher batted the puck in, but it was decided his stick was too high, although maybe by just a whisker. Personally, I thought it was legal but I’m biased.

The goal that did count soon after was one that began with 6’6″ Michael McCarron ramming an enemy body into the end boards, with the puck nicely kept in for Devante Smith-Pelly to get his stick on.

This would mark big McCarron’s first point in his three games with the club, and with his size, if the veterans try to make this rookie buy the dinners, all he has to do is look down at them and say no.

In the third frame, when the score was tense at 2-1, Max Pacioretty finally came alive, scoring his 22nd of the year after taking a great cross-ice pass from Andrei Markov, and then notching his 23rd from a rebound off the back boards.

Maybe this will light a fire under Max’s arse. There’s 20 games left, and the team is clinging to life. If Max hasn’t exactly been great leadership material in the past, maybe as the season winds down he can show us some. A slew of goals would help.

Michael McCarron needs to win a regular spot in a big way. Imagine people calling the Habs a big team instead of what we’ve heard for years now?

A hulking forward like him, crashing the net, having his way with smaller opponents, contributing on the scoresheet, maybe winning most of his fights. Damn.

Twenty-three year old Quebecer Phillip Danault, over from Chicago in the Weise-Fleischmann trade, looked completely at home, winning his share of faceoffs, in on several scoring chances, and doing some bumping.

He might not a big point-getter, at least not yet, but Danault was impressive. And set to become UFAs anyway, Weise had come back to earth after his early season Dutch Gretzky act, and Fleischmann may have started the year in fine style, but sure wasn’t ending it like that.

Random Notes:

Habs outshot the Leafs 36-32.

Mike Condon, in his fourth straight start, once again played well.

That’s twelve games played in February, with one remaining, and the team has won 6 of these 12. Not fantastic, but better.

Next up – Canadiens begin their three-game series in California, beginning with the Sharks in San Jose on Monday night. (10:30 ET).

 

 

 

 

Habs Win In Washington

rocky

Alex Galchenyuk’s two goals and Mike Condon’s often great and sometimes lucky netminding helped the Canadiens edge the uppity Washington Capitals 4-3 in D.C. Wednesday night.

Although they barely held on in the final few minutes after blowing a 4-1 lead in the third.

But it was mostly an impressive outing by the boys, and as Dale Weise said between periods, before they almost blew it, “This is the kind of hockey we knew we could play.”

Sportsnet announcer Dave Randorf babbled on early about how great the Caps were and how they were too much for the struggling Canadiens. But he’d soon do an about-face.

Galchenyuk banged in a rebound to open the scoring, Brendan Gallagher fired home an Andrei Markov rebound, and the score was a shocking 2-0 Canadiens to end the first period. And Randorf quit the gushing and began to give the Habs their due.

The Canadiens deserved praise too. They skated well, looked sharp, scored a power play goal (Gally), and Ovechkin and company for the most part didn’t know what hit them.

To add to the first period shock, Tomas Fleischmann would make it 3-0 just two minutes into the second frame, which chased hotshot goaltender Braden Holtby, and after Jason Chimera solved Condon to make it 3-1, Galchenyuk would notch his second of the night and it was a magnificent 4-1 lead.

Maybe you saw Chimera in the series Road to the Winter Classic, when he was chirping PK Subban and saying, “You guys won nine straight but that’s it. Who do you think you are?”

The excellent second period also saw Brendan Gallagher on a penalty shot and Lars Eller on a clear-cut breakaway, with neither scoring. But they could have, and 5-1 or 6-1  would have been mighty fine.

But that’s not the way the Montreal Canadiens do things.

In the third period, after Jacob de la Rose was foiled on a breakaway, the Caps suddenly came to life, scored two and stormed the Montreal net, and almost came all the way back to win the friggin’ thing.

But the boys hung on and skated away with a fine 4-3 win.

They beat the penthouse dwellers. That’s good, right?

Random Notes:

Washington outshot Montreal 35-34.

Great stop by Condon on Mike Richards with his back turned.

Next up – Leafs at the Bell Centre on Saturday.

 

Habs Lose Again

my team

All it took was for P.K. Subban to swoop across the ice inside the Colorado Avalanche blueline and turn over the puck, and the Montreal Canadiens lose again.

Another loss, this time 3-2. Maybe that’s all that needs to be mentioned.

It doesn’t matter anymore if they play well or not, if they look sharp and remind us a little of the glory days back in October and November.

They still lost, which they do on most nights in this most pathetic of seasons, and if I heard correctly earlier today, they now have to win 17 of their final 24 games.

A season to forget and I’m already working on it. If you’re interested, the Chicago Cubs are the betting favourite to win the 2016 World Series. This means a lot considering they haven’t won it all in 107 years.

If the Canadiens were to go 107 years between Stanley Cups, it would be 84 more years, in the year 2100. So we’ll probably miss it if it happens.

The boys played a decent game, though. They were more alive than they’ve been lately. Much better than in Phoenix on Monday, although that’s not saying a whole lot, I suppose. They skated well, they had their chances, they held the lead twice, and they lost.

They lost after P.K. decided to swoop when less swooping was called for, when he should’ve just got it in deep, and down the ice the enemy came, ready to stuff yet another dagger in the hearts of Habs fans.

Future HOFer Jarome Iginla, after tying the game late in the second, netted the winner with just 2:03 left in the third.

And soon after, with Ben Scrivens pulled and the Canadiens looking for the equalizer, P.K. sat on the bench.

He sat on the bench. What good was that? A key offensive threat paying for his sins while a goal was needed?

Penalize him by making him buy the beer at the golf course in a couple of months. Not when the team is desperate for a goal and he’s one of the guys who might help get it done.

Basically, Michel Therrien would rather punish PK than win the game.

Random Notes:

Andrei Markov and Lars Eller were the two Montreal marksmen.

One of Montreal’s standouts was Lucas Lessio, back from injury and in just his second game with the CH. The Ontario-born fellow was flying, and was involved in several fine chances around the Avs net.

Canadiens outshot the Avs 34-28 and were 0/3 on the power play.

Next up – Friday in Montreal, when the Philadelphia Flyers pay a visit.

 

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Beaten In Buffalo

kid smoking

The thing to do, if you’re a Habs fan, is sit back, have a smoke, pat the dog, fire up the record player, and when you’ve done all that, swallow a bunch more anti-depressants.

Habs lose 6-4 in Buffalo.

But it seemed fine in the beginning, after Max Pacioretty sent a nice pass over to Sven Andrighetto and bam, the boys had the all-important  1-0 lead.

Always good to get that first one. Except the Sabres got the next four.

David Legwand began by tying things, and soon after, Old Man Markov turned the puck over (yawn), and suddenly it was 2-1 Sabres.

Mark Barberio tried to boot the puck out of danger and couldn’t, and the Sabres finished the play to take a 3-1 lead. It also finished Ben Scrivens for the night, with Mike Condon taking over.

In horrific fashion it soon became a 4-1 game, and the Sabres rout was on.

Then it wasn’t.

Alex Galchenyuk scored on the power play, and it was 4-2.

Andrighetto, with his second of the night, narrowed things to 4-3.

Things were going good. But then Galchenyuk was called for hooking Marcus Foligno, who was promptly awarded a penalty shot, and who promptly beat Condon to make it 5-3.

But with 22 seconds left in the middle frame, Galchenyuk, who was great on this night, scored on the power play to put it at 5-4, and there was hope. Lots of hope.

Especially after the Canadiens swarmed Buffalo’s end time after time in the third period, going all out to even things.

It was tense for fans of both sides. At least I’m assuming this. It was tense for me, anyway.

Tense until the Canadiens pulled Condon, and with the puck being sent along the boards towards PK Subban, it suddenly hit the linesman, Evander Kane picked up the blocked puck, and he fired it into the empty net.

Subban was pissed.

Who knows what would have happened if the linesman wasn’t in the way? But that’s hockey. Pucks hit zebras.

The bottom line is, the CH took the early lead and then proceeded to fall behind 4-1 before playing catch up.

It’s not good to dig a hole like that. Especially when the team has a tough time scoring goals at the best of times, and especially when they’re trying to show that the slump has ended.

But at least they didn’t fold and they gave it the old college try. They came close to rebounding from being down 4-1 to actually winning. That’s good, right?

It’s tough being a Habs fan.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot the Sabres 30-22.

Montreal, sitting at 21st overall on the power play before the game, were 2/3 with the man advantage.

Next up – Monday in Arizona. Game time 9:00 pm ET.

kid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once Again, Habs……

man-slumped-in-chair

It was sure nice to have a week off during the All-Star break.

The John Scott Extravaganza was up and running, so the Habs’ magnificent Slide Into Hell was forced to stop for a breather. No turnovers, no missed nets, no silent guns, no night with no points.

Nice.

But I’ll admit, after a week off, it was good to see the boys up and at ’em and lose another.

This time it happened in Philadelphia, where they fell 4-2, although they came back from being down 2-0 to tie things at one point, which sort of gave us the silly notion that they could actually win.

There was a glorious chance to even things late, after big lunk Radko Gudas clipped Lucas Lessio with just over seven minutes remaining, and was given five minutes and a game misconduct for his dastardly deed.

But the five-minute power play that Montreal went on because of the clipping simply ticked away like we knew it would, with the boys of course not scoring, and in not doing so, they’ve probably blown their season in solid Linda Lovelace fashion.

On the bright side, it’s only the team’s third straight loss and not five or six like we’ve seen in previous months. Although they should reach these marks soon of course.

I don’t want to talk about what now amounts to one win in 9 games, which is their most recent pathetic contribution to join all the other pathetic contributions. The beat goes on. The longest lousy drum solo on record.

I never know what to say anymore. I dread game nights now. What am I supposed to write about when every game is just a slight variation of all the others?

I miss the ongoing circus, CNN’s Race For the White House, for this %$*&^?

Once upon a time I thought the 2015-16 Montreal Canadiens were good. What was wrong with me?

Random Notes:

Philly out the Canadiens 36-32.

The power play? 1/4.

Habs scorers were Andrei Markov, with his third of the season, and Jeff Petry with his fifth.

Quite a start for Lessio. His first game with the Habs after being called up from St. John’s, and he’s helped off the ice with what may be a serious knee injury. Fingers crossed on this one.

It’s the first time this season the Canadiens haven’t won the first game of a month, which makes it sound like they’ve been good or something. But it’s worth mentioning I suppose.

Next Up – Wednesday, with the Buffalo Sabres paying a visit to the Bell Centre. This is the first of four games at home, for what it’s worth.

 

 

 

Habs Lose Of Course

dead fish

For the second straight night, the Canadiens fall 5-2 to the powerhouse Columbus Blue Jackets.

Send this team to fight ISIS or something. They’re useless here.

Maybe there’s some fine Syrian refugee hockey players who could fill the gap.

This ends the January part of the schedule, by the way. A month when they won three times in 11 games. Good stuff. It’s almost like December, when they won three times in 14 games.

And if things work out in magical fashion, February could give us three wins in 13 games!

How neat would that be! Three wins in each month. Here’s hoping!

They went 1/6 on the power play, and for the most part, it was a mighty fine mess with guys sort of improvising in halfhearted fashion because there doesn’t seem to be any set plays.

It was fun to see them sometimes run into each other, and in general do not much of anything.

This is the power play they promised us would be good this year, one they’ve been practicing since training camp, and one that looks like five drunks screwing around on rented ice.

Once again a turnover by Andrei Markov cost a goal. Andrei likes to do this every game now if possible, it’s become his signature thing, and I for one look forward to it.

To add to the merriment, Max Pacioretty left the ice after a puck hit him in the face after deflecting off his shoulder. And it was announced that Daniel Carr, one of the few guys who’s contributed lately, is gone for three months with a knee injury.

It’s amazing stuff. Sort of funny, really.

Now they get to sit and reflect until after the All-Star break, when they kick things into motion on February 2 in Philly.

Can’t wait.

I just hope the wives are okay.

Wives, if you need to talk, just call me collect at 604-555-1515. We can chat into the wee hours, when your husbands are tossing and turning about the possibility of being sent to Iraq..

Random Notes:

Devante Smith-Pelly narrowed the gap to 2-1 in the second period, converting a nice feed from Torrey Mitchell, and Alex Galchenyuk on the power play narrowed things to 3-2. Then it collapsed.

Again, wives – 604-555-1515.

 

 

Another Night, Another….

keystone cops

The Canadiens dominated the St. Louis Blues and still lost, this time 4-3 in overtime, and we watch slightly stunned as the team that once led all teams gradually fades into oblivion.

It’s fine that they showed fire and were involved in several scrums and looked like they’re a truly fed up and pissed off group. And it’s fine that they outshot the Blues 49-22.

It’s not so fine that Mike Condon in the third period misplayed the puck behind the net and the Blues tied things up, just a few dozen seconds after Tomas Plekanec, who hadn’t scored since the invention of the turtleneck, finally found the back of the net.

And it’s not fine either that in overtime, Andrei Markov lost the puck and the Blues moved in on Condon and capitalized in gut-wrenching fashion.

The good ship Habs takes on even more water.

Random Notes:

It’s also not fine that they went 1/7 on the power play. Although it’s good that PK, with his third of the season, was the marksman with the man advantage.

The Canadiens’ 49 shots is a season-high, for what it’s worth.

They hold on to the final wild card spot by the skin of their teeth, with five teams breathing down their neck and ready to pounce.

Alexei Emelin crushed Paul Stastny with a clean, bone-rattling check that made my heart soar. I’ve missed the soaring heart, so thanks Alexei.

Max, with his 18th, gave his team a brief 2-1 lead in the second before the Blues tied it a minute later.

Sunday in Chicago.

 

 

 

 

Canadiens Crush Bruins

Gally

Brendan Gallagher finally returned to the Habs lineup, notched a goal and an assist, and never missed a beat with his mind blowing work ethic while getting clobbered in and around the crease, usually by an aging skyscraper named Zdeno Chara.

Gally’s a huge difference maker, a leader by example with balls the size of a large planet, and we saw at this 2016 Winter Classic in Foxborough what we already knew. This guy has to be healthy in the playoffs.

Without Gallagher in the lineup, his coworkers lacked fire, but with him punching the clock they’re a different bunch. Today showed a team with character and confidence, as they did when they won nine straight in the beginning.

Not at all the boring and stagnant bunch we came to know and dislike in December.

The Canadiens bombed the Bruins 5-1 at Gillette Stadium with nearly 70,000 fans in the seats, and it was Gallagher leading the way after missing 17 games with a hand injury. He added passion, grit, and will, things lacking during the team’s big slump.

The rest of them should be ashamed of themselves. They can’t play well unless inspired by a smallish yet shifty and feisty right winger?

Why can’t Max or PK or anyone else pull off that sort of inspiration?

And every time he banged it out in the crease against guys like Chara, I was worried he’d get hurt again. Teams will surely go after him even more now, because it’s obvious he’s the straw that stirs the drink.

Do we have some protection for Gally? Not much at all, unfortunately. PK and Eller, both of whom dropped the gloves in the past couple of games, won’t exactly be relied upon, to say the least. And then there’s…….

And the Winter Classic? I’ve never been able to fully embrace these outdoor games. For whatever reason, it upsets me to see fans in seats so far from the ice. Even those in the first row need binoculars.

Often the games aren’t up to scratch, especially when it’s snowing or minus-30 or the ice begins to melt.

And who can be sure about anything that Gary Bettman loves?

But this game was good, the weather was fine, and the right team unleashed a throttling.

Random Notes:

Mike Condon was excellent throughout, including a lightning quick glove save on Ryan Spooner in the dying seconds of the second period.

The Canadiens jumped into the lead just 1:14 into the first period when David Desharnais scored his first in more than a month (which is what Tomas Plekanec did on Monday in Tampa Bay), while other marksmen included Paul Byron with a pair, Max, and of course Gally.

Dale Weise was injured in the third period and didn’t return.

Max’s arm hit a camera stuck through the glass, and if I had a say in things, I’d be telling camermen that when players are skating near you, pull your friggin camera in. How hard can it be?

Canadiens outshot the Bruins 30-28 overall, including a dominant 14-3 in the first period. But the Bruins would close the gap and outshoot Montreal 11-5 in the third frame.

Next up – Tuesday, the final game of this eight-game road trip, when the boys hit Philly. The Flyers know from this Habs-Bruins game  that the secret to success is to maim Brendan Gallagher. So zebras (and teammates), it’s up to you.

Gally artwork by Wade (Darth) Alexander. Thanks Wade.

Dallas Does Debbies

clobbered

The impressive Dallas Stars rolled over the Montreal Liberaces 6-2 Saturday in the Lone Star State, and it was a night when most Liberace players probably should’ve just stayed in the hotel lounge and tickled the ivories and drank Pink Ladies instead.

Eight losses in ten games. Now it’s on to Nashville, Minnesota, Washington, Tampa Bay, Florida, Boston, and Philadelphia.

All good teams.

I’m starting to bite my nails again after quitting 20 years ago.

And although Paul Byron (shorthanded) and Daniel Carr would bulge the twine, once again the big guns stayed silent. Pee Wee Herman, Richard Simmons, Don Knox, Bill Nye – none of them were noticeable in this fiasco.

Mike Condon was replaced by Dustin Tokarski early in the third after the sixth goal.

Jeff Petry was hit by Jamie Benn and left the game.

P.K. Subban shot the puck over the glass and was penalized. Twice.

Andrei Markov only did it once.

Random Notes:

For breakfast I had two poached eggs on toast, with extra toast and coffee.

At this moment, P.K. Subban is thinking a little about his two delay of games penalties, and a lot about his new suit at the tailors and his ability to get Justin Trudeau to sing a Christmas carol.

Next up – Monday in Music City.

How are things in the world of cricket?