Category Archives: Boston Bruins

Game Two Is In The Books. Kovalev Gets It Done In Overtime

  GAME 2

Regular reader and commentor-extrordinaire, Der Habinator, checked in today before the big game got underway, and what he said was dead-on. Knute Rockne or Dick Irvin Sr. couldn’t have said it any better. And although der Habinator may have done just a little too much acid when he was younger, he’s a good, solid Habs fan.

So today, we’re starting off with der Habinator’s words. This is what all Habs fans should want for today’s game. Take it away, der Habinator.

“Big game tonight.  Why?  Because the intensity level must not only be raised it must also crucially be maintained. We absolutely must come out and play the entire game with unrelenting intensity.  No physical let-up. No mental let-down.  No Mr. Nice Guy.  Now is the time when we must become more, not less, critical of our performance.  The momentum is ours, keeping it means working harder, playing smarter, refining refining refining. Away les gars! Foncez!!”

Montreal didn’t come storming out like der Habinator and myself and the rest of Habs universe would’ve liked. Boston had a brand new, and more effective game plan which involved more physical play and close checking, but Roman Hamrlik scored late in the first to make it 1-0 for Montreal. 

Did this deflate the Bruins?

Not really. Montreal’s power play, with no goals in the two games, is stuck in neutral. Plekanec and Higgins’s names are rarely mentioned by Father Time, Bob Cole. So all the stars aren’t quite aligned right now.

But the team got it done, in overtime, with their first powerplay goal of the series, scored by Alex Kovalev, who had several great chances throughout the game, and had taken a bad penalty to allow the Bruins to tie it up. However, the guy who sideswiped and lay on top of Kovalev prior to Kovy’s slash should have been called too.

So Boston can whine and complain and feel they got the shaft, but all things being equal, the good guys won, as they should have.

Best of all, aside from the fact that Montreal won the game, was that Don Cherry was proved wrong and full of shit by the instant replay. He went on and on about the high stick to the Bruin player’s face just before the guy took a penalty which led to the winning goal. But the camera showed that it was only a follow through from Markov’s shot, which Ron McLean, who is a referee, firmly stated SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN A PENALTY. 

Montreal didn’t play as well as game one, and Boston played better than game one, but the only thing I see is a win that makes it two games up for the Habs.

It’s two down and fourteen to go.

Game Note:

Good camera shots at the Bell Centre as they scan the crowd. Quite a few lovely ladies wearing skin-tight Habs t-shirts.

 

Other Thoughts Because Everything’s Already Been Written

It’s Friday, the day before the big game at the Bell Centre, and for now, all’s quiet on the eastern front. There’s nothing I can say about this series that hasn’t already been said.

But I have to keep things interesting, so I’ll talk about………

I live in an area jam-packed with Vancouver Canucks fans. But I’ve noticed lately that not person  brings up the subject. It’s like the Canucks don’t exist.

At this very moment, Ottawa is losing 2-0 to Pittsburgh in game 2. My only suggestion to Ottawa fans is that cricket might be a fun sport to switch to.

Pittsburgh is now leading 3-0. Ottawa fans might consider moving to Sri Lanka where the cricket is top notch.

The mayor of Montreal doesn’t want Montreal firefighters to display any kind of support for the Habs outside on the station walls. This mayor is either a commy bastard traitor, or a relative of Powell River’s mayor, who wants to sue three Powell River citizens, including one who’s 86 years old, because they criticized him in some letters to the editor.

It’s now 3-1 Pittsburgh. Ottawa fans are holding off packing for Sri Lanka in case a comeback is in the works.

I phoned in sick for today and tomorrow.

It’s 4-2 Philadelphia over Washington. Pretty well the entire hockey world is picking Washington because they can’t stop salivating over Alex Ovechkin. But one man does not make a team.

Can you imagine what Ovenchkin’s two-week paycheque would be? I’m no mathematician so I’m not even going to try, but he probably brings home a couple of hundred grand every two weeks. If anyone’s figured it out, please let me know.  Isn’t it something like 140 million over 13 years? 

Pittsburgh is now only winning 3-2 over Ottawa. Can Ottawa complete a comeback? Can they get their shit together, win this game, wake up the city, make it a series, and even win this series?

Let me think. Stranger things have happened. A 135 pound Japanese guy can eat about 50 hot dogs in an hour, for example.

We’ll know soon whether Pittsburgh made a big mistake by giving up on three good young players for notorious lousy playoff performer Marian Hossa.

Boston coach Claude Julien says that for some reason, Boston doesn’t play their best games against Montreal, and for some reason, Montreal plays their best games against Boston. Hey, whatever works.

It’s now Ottawa 3, Pittsburgh 3. Ottawa fans are scampering back in from outside and turning their TV’s back on.

Philly and Washington are tied 4-4, and the Rangers are beating the Devils again, 2-0.

Oh, the game’s over in Washington. Ovechkin scored with a little over four minutes left to win the game, 5-4. The guy’s got the world by the tail, that’s for sure. See what happens when you get a little nooky?

Pittsburgh just scored with a only a minute left, and with an empty netter, beat Ottawa 5-3. It’s karma, you know, for Senators fans, that they’re going through such misery. Many of these fans used to be good, faithful Habs fans. See what happens?

I barbequed some steaks and burned them because I was writing all this interesting information.

 

 

It’s Game One, And I’m Growing My Playoff Beard

  Opening round GAME 1

The idea is to get rid of Boston as quickly as possible. Smash them, dazzle them, and confuse them. Overpower them, upset them, anger them, and frustrate them. Kick them, bite them, gouge them, and stick your fingers in their eyes. (just make sure the ref’s not watching.)

Take them out in four games. Stay healthy, and get Koivu back.  Mike Komisarek, an extremely important piece of the pie, is ready to go. Not sure about Ryder and Bouillin. But these are Montreal Canadiens players, not Buffalo Sabres or Pittsburgh Penguins or Toronto Maple Leafs players. These are Habs. They wear the CH. They’ll be back, stronger than ever.

It’s three hours until game time. I’ve been growing my playoff whiskers since last night, and I won’t be shaving until….sometime tomorrow!

LIKE SOME SORT OF TIME-TRAVEL MACHINE, IT’S NOW 3 HOURS LATER, AND THE GAME HAS BEGUN. Another in a long line of Boston-Montreal matchups. Boston has the freak of nature, the behemoth Zdeno Chara. I say grab a chain saw and cut him down to a more normal size.

The dramatic beginning of the telecast, when the teams were waiting in the corridor to go out on the ice, was spine-tingling.

You don’t need me to go over the game. You saw it, or watched Sportscentre or something. The Habs got it done. They dominated.

Montreal 4, Boston, 1. Only fifteen more wins to hoist the Cup.

 Game notes: 

Bob Cole needs to be placed in an old folks home. 

 

Hold On To Your Hats. Habs Fans Are In For A Joyous Ride

Most of the hockey world has weighed in on the state of the Montreal Canadiens and how they’ll do in the playoffs. And frankly, most of them are wrong, most of them are overpaid, and most of their mothers wear army boots. And some TSN computer-generated program picked the Habs to go to the finals but lose to San Jose.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Milt Dunnell, Elmer Ferguson, and Jim Proudfoot rose from the ashes to offer their opinions too.

And the common consensus, the recurring theme is this – If you stay out of the penalty box so the Habs don’t get to unleash their fierce power play, and if Carey Price folds because of no playoff experience, then Montreal can be beaten.

Montreal is so much more than what people, other than Habs fans, are giving them credit for. It’s a young team, faster than lightening, with a system that allows for quick breakouts, and with a steady defence that includes the duo that some oppposing players have said recently is the best defence partnership in the league – Andrei Markov and Mike Komisarek.

The team has depth, youth, speed, experience, leadership, closeness, passion, a spirited fourth line, a coach-of-the-year candidate, great fans, spiritual guru Jean Beliveau, and a city of hockey ghosts who have been waiting for years for something like this to happen. The team led the league in goals scored, had the best power play, and got stingier as the season wound down when shorthanded. And if something happened to Carey Price, the team can call on Jaroslav Halak, who was the American Hockey League’s top goaltender three years straight before being called up to the big club.

We’re going to take it one series at a time, beginning with Boston. And if Montreal can go all the way this year, I believe this would be the most special Habs team since the 1970’s. More magical than both 1986 and 1993.

Hold on. It’s going to be great!

In games played tonight, Wednesday night:

Pittsburgh shut out Ottawa 4-0, which is really no surprise since Ottawa’s been in a nosedive for awhile now.

The Rangers went to New Jersey and went away with a 4-1 win which is a bit of a surprise because the Devils are usually pretty stingy (and boring) at home. I’m hoping for the Devils. I don’t want to see Sean Avery any more.

Colorado and Minnesota are tied 2-2 late in the third, and Calgary’s beating San Jose 3-1 early in the third.

But I’ve got to get to bed. Sorry.

 

 

 

 

 

Who Should Win. And The Best Things Boston Has Going For Them

    Wednesday it starts, the quest for the Cup, with Ottawa visiting Pittsburgh, the Rangers are in New Jersey, Colorado goes to Minnesota, and Calgary takes on San Jose.

On Thursday, the other four series begin, with Nashville travelling to Detroit, Dallas goes to Anaheim, Philadelphia is in Washington, and, last, but not least, the best of them all, the only one that matters, the beginning of the saga – those dastardly Boston Bruins, right now shaking in their boots, jet to Montreal whether they want to or not.

And although Toe Blake said predictions are for gypsies, I’m going to have my say about who I think will win each series. And this isn’t rocket science.

It’s not going out on a limb to say Pittsburgh will beat Ottawa.

The Devils very possibly could be taken out by the Rangers.

Minnesota should beat Colorado because I don’t trust Jose Theodore.

San Jose should wipe the floor with Calgary.

Detroit will have no problem with Nashville.

I’ve no idea who will win the Dallas-Anaheim series, but probably Anaheim will.

Washington, because they’re on such a roll, should beat Philadelphia.

And Montreal will ice an almost healthy team and spank the Bruins like they’ve never been spanked before.

The best thing’s Boston has going for them is:

Don Cherry doesn’t coach them anymore. They’re in big enough trouble already without having any ‘too many men on the ice’ penalties called against them.

Boston goalie Dave Reese no longer plays, so there probably won’t be any Montreal players getting a ten point night like Darryl Sittler did.

Fans at the Bell Centre won’t be in danger because Mike Milbury, who liked to fight up in the crowd, is only a lousy hockey anaylst now.

Eddie Shore is long gone, so Montreal players are safe from getting clubbed over the head.

And Phil Esposito’s retired, so there’ll be no trails of brylcreem all over the ice.

 

 

Dazed And Confused. And Another Classic Montreal-Boston Playoff Series

Okay, so I’m confused. But it’s the not the first time, and won’t be the last. And I’ve got the best excuse I can think of. I went through the sixties.

Here’s my confusion, and maybe I’ve missed something, and maybe you can clear it up for me.

Pat Hickey in the Montreal Gazette wrote that if Montreal won the eastern conference, which they did when Pittsburgh fell 2-0 to to Philadelphia today, it would be the first time since the 1977-78 season that the Habs did this. So just for fun, I got out my handy, dandy numbers book and saw that, yes indeed, Montreal won the east in ’77-’78 with a whopping 129 points. Boston was second with 113.

But then I noticed something else. The book says the Habs also won the conference in 78-79, when they had 115 points, with Boston again coming in second with 100 points.

And then I noticed that they also won the eastern conference in 1980-81, with 103 points. Then again in ’87-88 with 103 points, then again in 88-89 when they tallied 115 points.

So am I nuts or what. Why am I reading something different than Pat Hickey? Can you help?

Thursday, the show begins. Boston’s packing their spare sticks and jockstraps right now, and probably aren’t feeling real good about the propects of taking on our Habs, considering that Montreal has beaten them eleven straight times dating back to last year.

But I’ve seen before how anything can happen in the playoffs, so there’s no over-confidence here, or smugness, or looking ahead to the second round. No way. The Bruins are a proud bunch, I’m sure, and has tons to prove.

So I’m going to think and talk about this series in a quiet, sombre, respectful, and mature way, and in the end…………………………………….THE HABS ARE GONNA KICK THEIR ASS!

 

Montreal Ends It Off In Style. Now Bring On The Playoffs And Prove The Experts Wrong

Don Cherry thinks the Ottawa Senators will do well in the playoffs but the Habs won’t. Broadcaster Bob Cole threw water on the fire every time sidekick Greg Millen started to say great things about the Habs. “Watch their power play,” Millen would say. “Watch how they never stop moving, how unpredictable they are, how hard they are to stop.”

And Bob Cole would chime in, “yeah, but they haven’t scored yet.” And throughout the game, you could feel him cheering for the Leafs. Cole needs to retire. We’ll keep Cherry around for a chuckle here and there. But he loves the Leafs too.

It’s been like this all year. The so-called elite of the hockey media, Cole, Cherry, McKenzie, McGuire, Hodge et al, just can’t bring themselves to concede that maybe, just maybe, Montreal is a serious contender.

It’s the junior members like Millen and Glen Healy who are the ones who don’t mind offering up superlatives. The old guard won’t do it.

I guess, if the television screen’s right, Montreal meets Boston in the first round after taking out Toronto tonight (April 5) 3-1 in yet another impressive performance by all concerned, including a young buck in his first game, Gregory Stewart, who nearly scored a couple of times, and got the edge in a fight with Brian McCabe at the final siren.

Stewart skated off the ice to the cheers of the faithful and the pats from his new teammates, with this amazingly proud look on his face.

But back to Cherry and Cole and the like. I suppose by the third round, these guys might concede that the Habs look good. But you can be sure that they’ll say Montreal doesn’t stand a chance against the contender from the west.

It’s going to take a Stanley Cup to shut these guys up. Bring on Boston.

Game Day Routine. Getting Ready For The Sabres

GAME DAY and I need to be sure I don’t stray from my regular routine that involves strict discipline as far as getting a good nap in before I eat some high carb concoction like a fettuccine dish with a baked potato. I don’t know about your habits and routines on game day, but I’m sure your way is excellent, albeit slightly different than mine.

Because the game’s on early here on the west coast, at 4:30 pm, I know I need to get my nap in early too. So I’ll head to bed about 11am and sleep until 1:00. This gives me time to have my carbs and several coffees for a quick boost and not feel too bloated by the time the puck drops.

I like to arrive at the couch early, say about 3:30, so I can fiddle with things on the coffee table, give the TV a good warm up, go over game notes such as what good shows I can flick to during commercials, and plan my strategy about how I’m going to get all the household things discussed early with my wife so she won’t be talking too much during the big game. I learned this early in my career with previous females -(mother, first-wife, daughter, sisters, etc.)

All of this takes some serious concentration and is a good example of why I’m such a good team player, and why experience is invaluable.

FINALLY, GAME TIME. It’s what I’ve been preparing myself for all day, as you can see from the routine. Montreal needs this. It’s all about first over-all and the chance to play the eighth place team, which could be Boston, Ottawa, Washington, Philadelphia, and even Buffalo, who the Habs are playing tonight.

This is why it’s a big game. This is an example of why every game for the last two months has been big. And this is why it’s necessary to have a proper pre-game routine.

Me and the boys will take care of business tonight against the Sabres, the ones with the George Jetson/Los Angeles Rams uniforms, then a couple more days and we’ll be going through the same old routines once again as we prepare for the Leafs.

It’s all part of the strict discipline and commitment that goes into being a professional Habs watcher. 

Almost Good News On The Habs Hurting Front. And Tom Kostopoulos Knows What It Takes

Now that the dust has settled on just how healthy the Montreal Canadiens are, it seems  possible that only Saku Koivu might be out for awhile. But even that’s unclear.

What’s clear is that five Habs are hobbling and grimacing. Guillaume Latendresse has neck spasms and although he didn’t play in Toronto, he should play in Ottawa.

Mark Streit took a puck off the foot in Buffalo, didn’t play in Toronto, and although the team’s a bit vague, it seems he won’t be out long either.

Francis Bouillon didn’t play in Toronto either and is suffering from a right ankle injury. He’ll be back quickly though, because he’s a tough little bugger.

Mike Komisarek injured his hip (lower body injury!) in Boston but has started skating again, so this is good.

Which leaves us to Saku Koivu. He took a puck on the foot in Buffalo (like Streit), didn’t play in Toronto, and left Toronto on crutches. His foot is swollen and they’re not sure if it’s fractured or just badly bruised.  If it’s broken, he could be out until sometime in the second round of the playoffs.

When Koivu got the stick in the eye a couple of years ago against Carolina, the team went poof, like air going out of a balloon. But Montreal’s much better now, much deeper, more talented, and much more-rounded, and so although it would hurt to lose him, the boys can still get the job done. But let’s just hope it’s just badly bruised.

I also want to mention something about Tom Kostopoulos. This is guy who was a healthy scratch many times this year. He usually plays only on the fourth line, and he doesn’t get a lot of ink in the papers. But here’s the kind of guy he is:  Mike Komisarek said that when he was being treated in Boston for his hip injury, Kostopoulos was brought in after a fight in which half his face was blackened and his one eye was closed shut. But all Kostopoulos kept saying was to get him an ice pack and hurry because he needed to get back on the ice.

Now I have new-found respect for Tom Kostopoulos. This is old school, old time hockey. This is what separates men from boys. This is a guy who wanted to help his team and his teammates. He’s bounced around the minors, never really winning a job. This is the kind of guy who’d play for free. And players like him don’t disappear in the playoffs.     

Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec Saves The Day In Buffalo

I’m so tired I feel like I’m getting sleep-deprivation torture in a Saudi prison. It’s because I’m going to bed fairly late and getting up at 3:30 am to go to work. And today, at the ticket booth, I had trouble getting a guy’s credit card to work because the system was acting up, and finally, after it did work, the guy drove away and sarcastically said, “Thanks, you’re a real pro.” So I said “You’re welcome, you’re a real asshole.”

The Montreal-Buffalo game is on and it’s the end of the first period. Nothing really has happened so there’s nothing to report. So while I’m waiting for something to happen, I might as well say what I’m gonna say, and that is, “Mike’s an elevator mechanic. There’s a job that has it’s ups and downs.” BADDA BIN, BADDA BOOM!

Sorry. (This marks the eight thousandth time Mike has heard this.)

Montreal needs this game so I hope they’re regrouping in the dressing room. They need first overall for that prime spot in the playoffs, where they’d play in the first round, hopefully, Boston.

Buffalo is scratching and clawing for the final playoff spot, and if they reach it, they could play Montreal in the first round. So this is a team that’s desperate and hungry.

It’ll be interesting how this all plays out. Right now though, I’m tired.

A couple of small observations. I like the original Buffalo Sabres’ uniforms better than the ones they wear now. The ones now look like a cross between the Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, George Jetson, and the Los Angeles Rams football team.sabres.jpg

But I really like how low the cameras are placed at the HSBC Arena. It’s just like the old days in Montreal and Toronto. And these cameras are about a mile closer than the ones in Tampa Bay.
Second period’s over. Kovalev just tied it up 1-1, finishing a nice Grabovsky play. I’m also thinking about what der Habinator said about Pete Rose should be in Cooperstown and I think so too. I also found it interesting what Mike said about how it would take an elevator mechanic 48 years to make the same money as what Patrick Roy turned down. Kinda makes you think.

Holy smokin arseholes! Tomas Plekanec scored two goals in the last two and a half minutes of the game to tie it, then Chris Higgins wins it in overtime.  They won it even though Habs fans in Buffalo sang the olay song. Maybe the song works after all.

Tomorrow night, it’s up the Queen E to Toronto. And I was thinking. If the team wants to make a side trip to Orillia before they need to play Ottawa on Tuesday, several of them could probably stay at my dad’s house on Elmer Ave. They’ll have to be quiet though. He’s 87 and goes to bed at seven. And they could go out for drinks at the Atherley Arms. I’m sure the peelers would get a charge out of it.

Montreal’s back on top in the east with 98 points. They finished with 90 points last year.