Category Archives: Calgary Flames

Alex Tanguay Shines And Big Georges Flexes His Muscles Against The Not-So-Nice Phoenix Coyotes

It was so much more than just a nice 4-1 win for the Habs over the Phoenix Coyotes. It was good, it was bad, it was ugly. And because of the bad and the ugly, big Georges Laraque saw more ice time than he probably expected.

 

Andre Kostitsyn was leveled in the second period by someone named Kurt Sauer, and lay on the ice in obvious bad shape for an uncomfortable length of time. But in the end, he refused a stretcher and skated off with the help of his teammates. It wasn’t a nice situation, and younger brother Sergei was surely the most unhappy and concerned person in the rink. So far there’s been no word on how Andrei is, at least that I’m aware of.

 

That was the bad and ugly part.

 

The good parts were many. Tom Kostopoulos tangled with the bigger Sauer because Tom Kostopoulos does this. He sticks up for his teammates. And that’s why I think he’s one of the most important guys on the team.

 

And Georges Laraque was sent on, on an almost regular basis after the Kostitsyn incident, and after Alex Kovalev took a stick in the face, and big Georges did was he was brought to the Canadiens to do. He showed these goons that if you mess around with the stars, you have to fight him.

 

And who wants to fight Georges Laraque?

 

Teams will learn this quickly, starting tonight. Screw around and meet Georges.

 

Oh, the good stuff doesn’t end here. There was a goal and two assists for an apparently rejuvenated Saku Koivu. Carey Price was once again great. Guillaume Latendresse continues his good play and had an assist.

 

And last, but not least, there’s Alex Tanguay. This guy was born to play for the Habs. He scored two goals, this after scoring the shootout winner against Boston on Wednesday. He looks happy. He plays a good two-way game with the accent on finesse. It’s hard to imagine that he was such an non-entity in Calgary.

 

And not only that, but Tanguay is what Daniel Briere could have been in Montreal. He’s fast becoming the toast of the town, a good Quebec boy who’s fit in in Montreal like we’d hoped he would. He’s going to be a huge name as the season goes on, and he’s got a big smile on his face.

 

Briere wanted no part of this special limelight and chose Philadelphia. But that’s good. Because we’ve got Tanguay now.

 

And one last thing about Tanguay that I found really funny. He said the other day that he had no idea of the history of the Montreal Canadiens, except what went on in the last ten or fifteen years or so.

 

I suppose many players nowadays have no idea about the great past of the Habs, but when I think about it, I shouldn’t be surprised. These guys are young. Tanguay was born in November, 1979, so even when the Habs won the Cup in 1986, he was only six years old. (Is my math right?)

 

And I think he paid more attention to the Quebec Nordiques when he was a kid.

 

GAME NOTES:

 

I’m still having a little trouble getting used to not seeing the two big CH’s at centre ice at the Bell Centre. The big 100’s painted there are fine, but the CH’s are being missed by me.

 

The other new addition to the club, Robert Lang, has also fit in really well and notched an unassisted goal tonight. Bob Gainey made some nice decisions by bringing in Lang, Tanguay, and Laraque.

 

NEXT UP:

 

The Florida Panthers are in town Monday. This is another team I would move to Canada if I was the Supreme Ruler.

 

Do You Think The Boston Bruins Will Appreciate The Moment?

When I decided to move out west in 1990, one of the things I thought about was that I may never see the Habs play live again. I was used to seeing them several times a year, as I lived in Ottawa and various other places within driving distance of Montreal, and the Forum was only a couple of hours or so away.

 

I saw them play a few times in Calgary, and once each in Edmonton and Vancouver, but I’ve never been back to Montreal, where the atmosphere and magic of watching hockey certainly must be in a league of its own.

 

I was at a playoff game at the Forum once when the boys stormed back from being behind and beat Boston. The crowd was in a frenzy, the noise was deafening, and it felt like the roof was going to blow off the Forum and scatter pieces down Ste. Catherines Street.

 

I miss this type of thing so much.

 

And Wednesday night, with the Bruins in town, the Bell Centre will have it’s own electricity, as the Habs open the season with a team that could win it all, and I feel that diehard fans haven’t been this excited in years.

 

I know I haven’t been.

 

I wish I could be there, to soak it all up, to watch my team, and to relive old and glorious memories.

 

And to see the Canadiens beat the shit out of the Boston Bruins. 

My Evil Thoughts About Detroit, Which I Feel Bad About…Plus…What It’s Going To Take For The Habs To Do It.

Pittsburgh doesn’t worry me. Either does Boston, or Buffalo, or Tampa Bay, or the Rangers. Calgary doesn’t worry me, or Dallas, Anaheim, Vancouver, and Colorado.

 

In fact, no team worries me about getting in the way of Montreal’s big season. Except Detroit. They worry me. Not a lot, mind you. Montreal will take out any team. This is the year.

 

But Detroit is a concern.

 

It isn’t even so much that the Wings landed Marion Hossa. And I’m not at all concerned about Kris Draper and Tomas Holmstrom or most of this team for that matter, including Johan Franzen, who is probably just a one-hit wonder like Iron Butterfly was with In-A-Gadda-Da-Vita.

 

 It’s three other guys in the Motor City I’m not crazy about.

 

I’m hoping Nick Lidstrom pulls a hamstring. Maybe a couple of times. And maybe Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg could break a finger or two. Nothing serious, just a finger. Even a pinky finger. They can still make whoopee with their wives. They just can’t shoot the puck.

 

But regardless.

 

This is the Year of the Habs. And all that needs to happen is this:

 

Carey Price, with a year under his belt, can’t be tired at the end of the regular season, and his confidence can’t take a nap at any stage in the year.

 

The defence, led by Mike Komisarek and Andrei Markov, has to play mean and ugly and dangerous. And this also means Ryan O’Byrne. He in particular has to play with an edge that scares the bejeesus out of opposing players. 

 

Up front, Saku Koivu needs to have one of his best years ever. Alex Kovalev has to take his magic into the playoffs. And Tomas Plekanec needs to become a household name throughout the league.

 

Alex Tanguay has to play like he’s been a Hab for years.

 

It’s time for Chris Higgins to become a real star this year. A big star. A huge star.

 

The Kostitsyn boys have to continue to blossom, as they’re expected to do.

 

Robert Lang has to make us all forget what Mats Sundin might have done in Montreal and be the final piece of the puzzle that’s been missing.

 

Guillaume Latendresse has to finally become a player. It’s time. We’ve been waiting patiently. 

 

Tom Kostopoulos, Steve Begin, Josh Gorges, Francis Bouillon and the rest just need to keep doing what they did last year because they were great.

 

Georges Laraque has to become the new John Ferguson.

 

The team needs to have a very fine power play again, like last year. And they have to score a lot of goals, like last year.

 

And they have to be stingy with goals against.

 

Youppi has to relive past glory and become the mascot he was with the Expos.

 

The Ole song must only be sung when the team’s about to win, not when it’s close.

 

And everyone, please stay healthy. (I’ve noticed that Koivu and Laraque are already nursing minor injuries.)

 

And that’s it. It’s simple!

 

Pre-season update:

The boys lose big to Boston 8-3, but take out Buffalo in Roberval, 3-2.

And with those cameras so low at the Roberval arena, it felt like we were there, in about the fourth row. It reminded me of the outdoor game in Edmonton a few years back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If The Canucks And Leafs Went Head To Head, Would You Stay Awake?

Every good Habs fan hates the Leafs. It’s normal, like breathing, or liking Playboy magazine. The Leafs smell. They damaged the lining of our noses last year and the year before and the years before that. And nothing’s going to change this year or the next. Because they’re the Leafs.

 

Unfortunately, they often play well against Montreal, for whatever reason. Probably the only time they look like a team is when they play the Canadiens.

 

Maybe Charles Darwin, if alive, could explain it.

 

Then there’s the Vancouver Canucks. I live up the coast from Vancouver, in the heart of Canucks fanland, and the Canucks are another team that disappoints their fans most years. Lately they’ve been non-factors in any playoffs they’re involved in. They go through coaches, there’s been infighting with past and present ownership, and there’s the lingering odour of the Bertuzzi incident. The hockey has been boring for the faithful. Heck, even Mark Messier playing there was a non-event.

 

And I know from growing up back east that the Vancouver Canucks mean very little to many easterners. The games are usually on too late. Canucks players are generally not on the minds of eastern hockey fans. And people are busy hating the Leafs.

 

Other western teams have fared better with eastern fans. Edmonton had the Gretzky and Messier years, and Calgary had a couple of Stanley Cup finals with Montreal, losing to Patrick Roy and the boys in 1986, but winning in 1989. And so we came to know Calgary players a little more, like Al McInnes, Mike Vernon, Jim Peplinski, Tim Hunter, Theoren Fleury et al.

 

And they had that ‘Red Mile’ thing going when they made it to the finals again in 2004.

 

The Canucks have had none of the kinds of things Edmonton and Calgary have had, although they did make it interesting in 1994 when they came within a goal of winning the Cup that year against the Rangers.

 

So my question is; If the Leafs and the Canucks somehow by magic ended up in the Stanley Cup final, who would you cheer for? One team is despised, the other means very little to you. 

 

I say you have to go for the Canucks, only because they’re not the Leafs.  

 

Or you could go camping instead.