Category Archives: Boston Bruins

Pat’s Time

I worked in Hull, Quebec at the E.B. Eddy paper mill in the mid to late-1970s when Pat Burns was a local cop there.

I never met him. I just thought it was a good opening paragraph.

I’ll bet as a cop, Burns was a beauty. Tough as nails. No nonsense.  We saw how ferocious he was as a coach. Smart-ass punks would have stood no chance.

The ex-cop has now been chosen as part of the 2014 Hall of Fame gang, along with Dominik Hasek, Mike Modano, Rob Blake, Peter Forsberg, and referee Bill McCreary.

Who knows why Burns wasn’t picked five or ten years ago? Maybe he’d ruffled some feathers before he passed away in 2010 from cancer.

This was a tough hombre who wouldn’t have stood for any guff from legends in their own minds who run various branches of hockey, including members of the HOF selection committee.

The bottom line is, he was a strong and successful coach who deserved to be placed in the Hall. There are plenty in there who are debatable choices, but not Pat Burns.

It was Wayne Gretzky, who owned the Hull Olympiques from 1985 to 1992, who convinced Pat to quit the beat and coach the Quebec Junior team full time. It worked out beautifully.

Of course it did. Because everything Gretzky touched back then seemed to turn to gold.

As a coach, when Pat Burns wasn’t raging, he seemed as likeable as can be in interviews, and by many accounts was popular and personable to everyone he wasn’t collaring or coaching or happened to be near when he was in a foul mood.

He admitted it was tough in Montreal with the pressure from media and fans, he didn’t always handle things in a cool and calm manner, and I’m sure at times, reporters would tread lightly after a tough loss. Would you want a pissed off Pat Burns glaring at you?

He was behind the Habs bench for just four years, his learning years as an NHL coach from 1988 to 1992, and was awarded the Jack Adams Award in 1989 for top coach in the league after taking the boys to the Cup finals before falling to the Terry Crisp-coached Calgary Flames.

(I wrote a letter to my sister in Calgary before that ’89 series had started, giving my prediction along with a little made-up series review which I titled “Pat Burns Terry to a Crisp”)

Next stop was Toronto, where he led the Buds from 1992 to ’96, and where he’d win the Adams in 1993. And from there it was four years with the Bruins (1997 to 2001),  where he’d earn a third Jack Adams Award, this one in 1998.

It sucked to see Pat Burns running the bench in Toronto and Boston. It always sucks to see a beloved Hab in those enemy uniforms.

Following Boston it was the New Jersey Devils in 2002-03 for Burns where he’d win the Stanley Cup, and then one final year after that with the Devils before being diagnosed with colon cancer.

A great career, successful almost everywhere he coached. And on Monday, November 17, 2014, eleven years after his final line change, we’ll see Pat inducted.

Late, but better late than never.

 

Weise Inked

Louis Leblanc is traded to Anaheim for a conditional 5th round pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Michel Therrien earns himself a four-year contract extension, and now Dale Weise has a two-year extension in his back pocket.

That’s the easy stuff for Marc Bergevin, and I’m tremendously happy about Weise being rewarded. He’s gritty, tough, and full of character. And unlike the majority of NHLers, he loves the whole idea about being a Montreal Canadien.

He’s like me, only instead of gritty, tough, and full of character, I’m gritty, weak, and full of shit.

For Therrien, what happens if he loses the room or gets into a major blowout with Bergevin early into his four years?

Now it’s getting P.K. to sign on the dotted line and deciding what to do about Andrei Markov, who apparently has his heart set on a three-year deal. After a few more years, Markov will be almost as fast as Hal Gill at his slowest.

And no, now that Shawn Thornton is being set free in Boston, he’s not welcome in Montreal and the idea of him wearing the CH should never be considered. So stop considering it or I’ll spray you with water.

Cal And Company

This Orillia Terriers were household names, almost like NHL players for young Orillia kids like me. All larger than life big shots in my eyes and with other little hockey fans.

I wonder if they realized that.

The team was packed with great players playing in a great Ontario Senior League in a time when clubs weren’t far off from pro calibre. Almost a minor pro team except no money was involved.

I was just a kid, and they were grown men, really old guys who shaved. They drove trucks and worked in local factories and delivered milk and some dated older sisters of girls I knew. And when they played they burned up the ice surface.

It was fast, rough, tough hockey, and sometimes retired NHLers would show up in various lineups, including Harry Lumley between the pipes in Collingwood, and rugged forward Cal Gardner in Orillia. (top left corner in photo).

I remember watching Gardner play like it was yesterday. I can even visualize now where I was sitting during one game when he was on the ice, which is weird because I’ve often forgotten why I’ve walked from the living room to the kitchen.

But it’s vivid, and it was fun to see a guy in the flesh who had actually played in the NHL against the Rocket and Howe and others but was now an Orillia Terrier, only a few feet away, and who used the same dressing room as I did when I would lace up my little blades.

Gardner played for the Rangers, Toronto, Chicago and Boston before retiring in 1957, was twice an all-star, and joined Orillia after being with the Cleveland Barons of the American Hockey League. His two sons, Dave and Paul both became NHLers too.

He also also had a couple of big connections with the Habs in different ways.

Gardner was on the ice for Toronto when Bill Barilko scored his legendary goal to win the Cup for the Leafs in 1951, and had set up Howie Meeker who missed the net, just before Barilko didn’t miss the net.

And he and Montreal’s Ken Reardon enjoyed a bitter and dangerous feud that lasted years. It began when Gardner was with New York and got his stick up after a shot from the point and clipped Reardon on the lip. Gardner said his stick was up a little. Reardon said it was a blatant cross check to the face.

Whatever it was, it started a bench-clearing brawl and Reardon promised revenge on Gardner, pretty well every time the two met after that.

In 1949, when Gardner was a Leaf, Reardon finally got that revenge at the Forum, when he “accidentally” ran into Gardner and broke his jaw on both sides, causing league prez Clarence Campbell to force Reardon to post a $1000 good behaviour bond. But they continued to rough each other up even after that and the ill-will apparently continued long after both had retired.

Too bad Reardon didn’t latch on to an Ontario Senior team and they could have kept it going, maybe at the good old Orillia Community Centre, with me there to see it. I never minded seeing a little blood and intestines splattered on the ice, as long as it wasn’t mine.

Guy Should Have A Blog

Guy Lafleur should have a blog. Imagine the insights we’d get!

Guy could tell us all about his troubles with Jacques Lemaire, about why the team hasn’t won the Cup since 1993, why Rejean Houle didn’t get enough in return for Patrick Roy, why Steve Shutt was hard on rookies, what he thinks Michel Therrien is doing wrong, why sometimes there’s not enough foam on the Bell Centre beer. All kinds of stuff.

Imagine the readership he’d get. We’d rush to open his blog to see what he says. It might be the most fascinating blog in the history of blogs.

“You can’t keep guys like Vanek and Pacioretty on the team,” Lafleur now says. “They should stay home if they’re not willing to pay the price. Your team won’t win with players like that who disappear under adversity.”

Guy would get a million hits for that story alone. Advertisers would flock to him. He’d be the king of bloggers.

Lafleur was basically talking about game six of the Rangers series that ended the Habs year. New York threw a blanket over the Canadiens and that was that.

The problem, I think, is that some of the true greats like Lafleur sometimes expect others to step it up in superstar fashion, and I guess lately he’s been stewing about the team, Max and Vanek in particular, not pulling out all the stops in that final game.

Max, however, had scored the winning goal in both the Tampa and Boston series which eliminated those teams, so it wasn’t like he was going through the motions. He’s enjoyed some fine moments. But Guy was focused mostly on game six of the Rangers series when all the boys, not just Max, were stuck in mud.

Vanek, I still don’t know. Guy might have a point there. The guy had helped kickstart the team into another level when he joined them, but was definitely a disappointment in the postseason, not just game six but throughout.

But he’s probably gone anyway so it doesn’t matter what Guy says about it.

Some guys think out loud like Guy, others don’t. Bobby Orr’s teammates in Boston said that if they weren’t playing well in big games, they’d look over at Orr in the dressing room and he’d be glaring at certain guys. No words, just two eyes. If Orr was glaring at you, it wasn’t good.

Lafleur’s very much like Maurice Richard in some ways. Rocket sometimes couldn’t contain himself either, and after too much criticism in his ghost-written newspaper column, sometimes about other players and teams but particularly about league prez Clarence Campbell, Rocket was told to forget the column or else.

But no one could tell Guy to forget his blog. He could carry about things and Gary Bettman or Geoff Molson couldn’t say a thing.

C’mon Guy, start your blog. Get it all out, right or wrong, and make some serious coin doing it.

 

 

When I Grow Up

009

When I grow up I’m going to be a high school dropout, do a lot of nasty drugs, turn my parents into nervous wrecks, drink too much, move all over the place, work a lot of different jobs, get married a couple of times, and wonder why my kids never call me.

I’m going to meet Toe Blake and the Rocket, see the Beatles at Maple Leaf Gardens, end up working to retirement on the West Coast, and instead of retiring, move to Montreal to do a job I’d really wanted to try for years.

And in the same year I move to Montreal, my Canadiens battle in the third round of the Stanley Cups playoffs against the Rangers after taking out the Lightning and Bruins.

But until then, I think I’ll just play a little hockey.

Habs Trounced In Opener

It’s not surprising that after such an emotional Boston series, against a team that played such a drastically different style, the Canadiens might look slightly out of sorts in game one of the Eastern Conference Final against the Rangers.

Just didn’t think it would be that much out of sorts.

It was all Rangers, all the time. So much so that our esteemed backstopper Carey Price was relieved of his duties after two frames, with Peter Budaj getting his first shot at the 2014 playoffs.

The Canadiens need to seriously readjust. The Rangers can absolutely fly, but the saving grace is that the Canadiens can too, and once they truly become accustomed to this non-Bruins style of play, they should be fine.

Talk about a wake-up call, a stick to the groin, a water bottle spray to the faces, including ours. Just a dismal start for the team and to disappointed Habs fans who have been so excited and hopeful.

7-2. What the $%#% is that?

Ill-timed penalties. A collapse in the second period when it was just a 2-1 lead for the Blueshirts and the Habs playing much better than in the first.

But with 61 seconds left in the middle frame it was 3-1, and then with 12 seconds left, 4-1.

The third? Three goals in 3:08. All power play goals, the first with Max in for roughing, the other two because of several Prust  transgressions.

One of those games where I had contemplated paying several extra bucks and springing for a scalpers ticket, to soak in the atmosphere. To say I was there in the moment.

I didn’t, and I’m very happy about that. Now I have more money for food.

It was one of the more miserable nights in recent memory, except of course the beginning when the torch kid did his thing and then Ginette did hers. And maybe not quite as bad as game two of the Bruins series when the Canadiens led 3-1 with nine minutes left and lost 5-3.

One thing to keep in mind. It’s a seven-game series. We’ll see a different Habs team on Monday. They’ll have lots to ponder.

They’ll regroup, adjust, and come out a different team. No problem. And I think I’m going to stay away from TV sports highlights for a couple of days.

Random Notes:

Canadiens were undisciplined, including Rene Bourque in the sinbin for three separate minors and Brandon Prust given two separate minors and a 10 minute misconduct, and when the final dust had settled, the Habs had spent 24 minutes in the box and the Rangers just four.

And as far as undisciplined goes, it was the complete opposite of the Bruins series when they stayed cool, calm, and collected.

If you’re curious, Rene Bourque slipped the puck across the line behind Henrik Lundqvist for the Canadiens’ first goal, which was assisted by linemates Brian Gionta and Lars Eller. And late in the third, Eller scored an unassisted shorthanded marker.

Shots on goal, 28 for the Rangers and 22 for Montreal, including just six for the Habs in the first and six in the third. They need to make Lundqvist work much harder than that.

 

 

Cover Boys

Thursday’s Le Journal de Montreal, with a front page photo of some of the guys when the clock hit zero.

Rene Bourque is thinking “Oh man, I’m a part of this, I’ve helped, and I’m lovin’ it!” Dale Weise is going “whoooo!” because he truly loves the CH, and he knows how proud his dad is right now . Thomas Vanek is thinking “I’m on a team I really love”. Max is saying “She’s done, we did it. Sweet!!”

And the two kids, Michael Bournival and Nathan Beaulieu are saying “Wow, probably the best I’ve ever felt!”

journal

The Ineffective Man-Thing

Man-thing

I work with a fellow who knows a Bruins Hall of Famer (I shouldn’t give the player’s name), and my coworker told me they were talking  awhile back and he asked the ex-Bruin about Milan Lucic.

The answer? Off the ice Lucic is mostly a decent guy who does charitable work and all that. On the ice he’s an asshole.

Lucic wasn’t a factor in the series, he was a hindrance. He kept fanning on sure goals or missing the net. If I was a Bruins fan, I’d be pissed. He’s a big reason his team lost.

And because the Canadiens went about their business in a professional and business-like manner, his antics with his stick and biceps made him look like a fool. His disrespect to the Canadiens played a big part in his teammates now buying new water skis and golf bags.

His “I’m going to f*****g kill you next year” to Dale Weise and Alexei Emelin in the handshake lineup was pathetic. And then he called Weise a baby for mentioning it.

Does he think Weise and Emelin would be shaking in their boots and be worried about next year’s meeting? Hah!

Truly the mark of a still-immature, overgrown thug who’s had his way because he’s bigger than most, and it’s probably been that way since he was a kid giving smaller kids wedgies on their way home from school.

The problem is, his job involves putting the puck in the net when the opportunity arises. He’s quite feeble doing that. The muscles get in the way.

Lucic can now drink and kick the cat and pose in front of the mirror at the cottage. Meanwhile, the Canadiens carry on.

Bye Bye Bruins

Don’t poke the bear? Why, what happens?

I found that statement arrogant and I wanted to shove it down the throat of anyone who said it.

How sweet it is. How sweet that the Montreal Canadiens went into Boston and won game seven and the series. Once again the Canadiens prove to be Boston’s biggest headache.

I love that!

How sweet that with a hard-fought 3-1 win, the Habs send Boston fans home unhappy and the Bruins into summer hibernation.

How sweet that Dale Weise got the game’s first goal, that Max Pacioretty scored his second in two nights, and Daniel Briere notched an assist on Weise’s goal and banked a puck off Zdeno Chara’s skate for the insurance marker.

Thank you Zdeno. You ruined any chance of a comeback. With a little help from Johnny Boychuk, who was penalized in the last few minutes for crosschecking Michael Bournival in the face.

Self destruction, and don’t blame the zebras for ruining the party.

It wasn’t easy for the Canadiens though. Not by a country mile. The Bruins spent far too much time in Montreal’s end, pelting 30 shots at Carey Price while just 18 went Tuukka Rask’s way.

The pressure was on, but Price was once again outstanding, and when a goalie allows just one goal in two pressure-packed playoff games, you know he’s zoned in, and now even more so, the sky really is the limit.

I wonder what Don Cherry is doing, now that the bear got poked not quite the way he was thinking. Put away your Bruins cufflinks and ties, Don. And if you dig deep, maybe you can think of  a couple of nice words to say about the Montreal Canadiens next time you’re on TV. Can you bring yourself to do this, or is it simply impossible?

Brad Marchand? Such a despicable piece of work. We know he’s not exactly a Mensa candidate, but showering Price with snow was truly an idiotic move. And his punching, slashing, chopping, and hacking added up to exactly nothing.

And I don’t know yet what tasteless and classless things Milan Lucic said to Dale Weise during the handshake, but whatever it was, I suppose it’s not all that surprising.

But that’s all I want to say about that team. They’re hibernating and we’re moving on to meet the Rangers to decide best in the east. How cool is that?

This series win was all about hard work and digging deep. About plumbers becoming household names and guys believing. It was about not giving up, giving all they had, and we as fans benefit from having such a character team to cheer for.

We savour this, let it sink in for the next few days, and focus on how the boys match up against Henrik Lundqvist and Marty St. Louis and rest of the Blueshirts.

But right now, our team got it done against a very fine Bruins team, and it’s something to be very proud of.

 

 

 

 

I just can’t say enough about this team right now. Such character throughout. Digging deep, playing with heart and soul, and winning games six and seven

Tonight’s The Night

I saw this Ygreck cartoon the other day online, copied it at the time, and if I could remember where I saw it, I’d give credit where credit is due. But I don’t and I apologize.

And although I think it’s just great, I was hesitant to put it up because Bruins fans might think we’re relying on prayer to win instead of good old skill and hard work.

Regardless, I really like it, it’s up, and the boys are going to get it done tonight in Boston.

Habs and Bruins in game seven. GO HABS!!!!

Habs fans