Category Archives: Carey Price

Canadiens Fall To The Devils. Only A Couple Of Brain Farts Were The Difference.

At least they got a point out of it.

 

Goerges Laraque said before the game that it would be a low-scoring affair, just by the nature of the Devils’ game – tight, neutral zone trapping, few goals – and Georges was absolutely right.

 

The problem was, snakebitten Alex Kovalev, instead of breaking out of his 15 game scoreless streak, took an ill-timed penalty with 28 seconds left in the third period, and the Devils’ Zach Parise, on the power play in overtime, scored to win it 2-1.

 

And that’s that. They could’ve won but didn’t. Earlier, Tomas Plekanec took a penalty to start a Habs power play, which killed that of course, and who knows, it could’ve been the difference. 

Carey Price was solid. The grinders were good. The team had their chances and all in all, continue their good play which they started about four games ago.

 

Mostly though, I want to talk about Alex Kovalev. Everyone says he’s underachieving, he should be traded but it’s too late because the team wouldn’t get anything for him now, etc. etc.

But Kovalev is still a strong force out there. He’s not dogging it, he’s working hard. He sets up his linemates on a regular basis. He has certain leadership qualities. He does things with the puck most others can’t do. And he’s coming oh so close.

 

And it’s not like he’d done nothing. He sits third in team points with five goals and 14 assists for 19 points in 25 games, two behind Andrei Markov and three behind Saku Koivu.

 

I believe in Kovalev. I believe he’s a crucial member of the team, and I take with a grain of salt everything I read in hockey forums about what a non-factor he’s become. If I saw him dogging it, with lacklustre and uninterested play, I’d be in these forums to, calling for Gainey to trade the guy.

 

But I think he’s going to snap out of this soon. It’s not for lack of trying, and seriously, the guy must be losing sleep over what’s going on now for him.

 

Of course it’s not only Kovalev that fans have been screaming blue murder about. Guillaume Latendresse and Patrice Brisebois are favourite whipping boys. So is Sergei Kostitsyn and Mathieu Dandenault. And of course Ryan O’Byrne.

 

Maybe some of these fans can lighten up on Kovalev for awhile and concentrate on tying Plekanec to the stake instead. I think it’s his turn.

 

Game Notes.

 

Matt D’Agostini scored the lone Habs goal for his fourth in three games since being called up. I looked up the name D’Agostini in my Italian dictionary and it means “air freshener being sprayed in a drab, musty room that needed to be freshened up.”

 

Zach Parise, who scored the winner in OT for the Devils, is the son of Team Canada ’72 role player JP Parise. Parise Sr. made a name for himself when he was called for a penalty in game eight of the series in Moscow, lost his mind, and raised his stick like he was going to decapitate officials Rudy Batja and Josef Kompalla. He didn’t follow through but it was quite a sight.

Canadiens Take It to The Rangers And Play A Fine, Fine Game

 

I’d say there’s a lot of things to smile about tonight. This solid 6-2 win over the NY Rangers had to be the Canadiens’ best game of the season. Everyone contributed, and although Alex Kovalev has now gone 15 games without a goal, he was effective and creative, and at least managed an assist.

 

From the beginning, when Bobby Rousseau, Pocket Rocket, Guy Lafleur and others including old Rangers greats like Andy Bathgate and Harry Howell, were introduced, it was an outstanding night. This was the first time I’d seen Rousseau in about 35 years. Lafleur got the chant, and everyone was applauded heartily. And rightfully so, Pocket got a standing ovation. If I could’ve been there, I would have been proud to give this little big man a big thank you.

 

And the team, for a nice, delightful change, was smoking.

 

This is the Montreal Canadiens we’ve been waiting for. Andrei Kostitysn has come alive, coincidently since his brother Sergei was sat down a couple of games ago. The grinders, Maxim Lapierre and Steve Begin, continue to pick it up a notch and this is a huge turn of events. Newcomer Matt D’Agostini scored again for the second night, and added an assist. And Georges Laraque earned his first point of the season with an assist on Lapierre’s second period goal.

 

There were no dumb penalties, no serious turnovers, no blunders whatsoever. It looks like a team coming together, and D’Agostini has produced while underachievers Guillaume Latendresse, Sergei Kostitsyn, and Ryan O’Byrne sit in the press box and think that maybe they should have done a bit better job.

 

The team seems to have tightened up, turned a corner, stepped it up, and maybe, just maybe, are fed up with their lacklustre start to the season and have decided to do something about it.

 

Let’s see a continuation of this Saturday when the New Jersey Devils are in town. I don’t even mind that I have to go to work tonight for a graveyard shift. This game has made my day.   

 

Game Notes:

 

The Canadiens wore the uniform of the 1915-1916 Habs, the team that won the first of 24 Stanley Cups. And Carey Price wore pads and gloves resembling the old leather ones, although these are state of the art, unlike the ones worn by Georges Vezina who was the goalie back then.

 

TSN’s Sportcentre listed their top ten Montreal Canadiens and I have no qualms with these choices.

 

1.  Maurice Richard

2. Jean Beliveau

3. Doug Harvey

4. Guy Lafleur

5. Howie Morenz

6. Jacques Plante

7. Patrick Roy

8. Larry Robinson

9. Henri Richard

10. Ken Dryden

 

 

 

Carey Price And The Grinders Come Up Big

Bell Centre

Montreal

November 29, 2008

Montreal vs. Buffalo

 

First period:

 

Good, spirited, fast-skating, lively first period. The Canadiens look good. And of course, they’re doing all the things they’re really good at – turning the puck over and the other team scores (Higgins this time), and not scoring themselves. They’re really good at both of these things.

Alex Kovalev, Saku Koivu, Tomas Plekanec, Higgins, the Kostitsyn’s etc. etc, – they’re really, really good at not scoring. Especially on the power play and even strength. 

 

But I’ve got faith.

 

Second period:

 

Andrei Kostitsyn’s backhander finds the twine, so I take back anything bad I said about him.

 

Like I said in the first period, one of the things we’re really good at is giving the puck away, and this time it’s Josh Gorges, which leads to a Tomas Vanek goal. It’s kind of funny in a morbid sort of way. Every game it’s a different player.

 

Steve Begin scores on a beauty play with Maxim Lapierre. That’s what I like. Grinders producing when the big guns are silent.

 

Andrei Markov, on a snappy set-up by Saku Koivu, gives the Habs a 3-2 lead. I’m on the verge of taking back every bad thing I’ve ever said about everybody.

 

Third period:

 

I take back every bad thing I ever said. The boys played good tonight and won 3-2. Oh, of course there were the bad moments – Sergei Kostitsyn taking a foolish penalty (several, in fact), and the team had real trouble getting the puck out of their end late in the game, but they played well and they won.

 

I’m proud of them.

 

 

Game Notes:

 

Maxim Lapierre played a great game tonight, probably his best of the year. We saw several flashes of this last year, and finally the guy shows us again.

 

This Sabres game marks the beginning of ten home games out of eleven. The boys play seven straight, starting with the Buffalo game, and continue with Atlanta, the Rangers, Devils, Flames, Lightning, and Caps all visitng the Bell centre.

The team plays one road game, in Carolina, and then comes back home again to greet the Flyers, Sabres, and Hurricanes.

 

In other words, they’re going to drive their wives and kids crazy for awhile, with the naps and pre-game meals and all that. Not to mention the other stuff.

And hopefully, a long home stand means a long winning streak.

 

Habs Stop The Skid By Beating Detroit. And My Theory Of Why.

A giant piano has been lifted ever-so-slightly off the backs of the Canadiens after a reasonably solid 3-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings, of all people. Can’t beat the Islanders and the Hurricanes, but of course the Wings.

 

That’s the Montreal Canadiens. Full of surprises.

 

But I think it’s not a surprise. I think the team banded together after the Ryan O’Byrne goal-on-his-own-net nightmare, and they saw the media and bloggers giving it to their teammate, and whether they knew it or not, it took their chemistry to a whole new level. It’s like they feel it’s them against the world now.

 

This is my theory. We’ll see how they play Friday in Washington, and then against the Sabres back home on Saturday. If they don’t play great, then please disregard the theory.

 

GAME NOTES:

 

Not to pour cold water on this big night, but when is Alex Kovalev going to score? It’s eleven games now without a goal. I don’t want to see this guy traded. I want him to create some magic like he did last year. And on his DVD.

If this enigma ever gets going, then just watch the Habs take off.

 

The Kostitsyn boys, especially Sergei, are also stuck in neutral. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sergei is being considered for demotion to Hamilton.

 

Ryan O’Byrne gave the puck up to Johan Franzen, then let the guy do a little dipsy-doodle on the big defenceman for Detroit’s only goal, which, of course, ruined Carey Price’s shutout bid. 

I wonder if O’Bryne is thinking he should’ve stayed in school and got a job where ten million people don’t watch you screw up when you’re working.

 

Anybody Feel Like Getting Drunk?

I guess I’m just going to laugh for a couple of hours. Laugh at the cat, laugh at Vanna White doing her big job on Wheel of Fortune that my wife changed the channel to. Laugh at the close-up stomach operations on CSI Miami that she switched over to after that.

 

I have to laugh. It’s either that or throw my nice, new TV out the window.

 

The fact is, Ryan O’Byrne must have wanted to crawl into a hole. Probably still does. And for anyone (although I doubt it) who doesn’t know what happened, O’Byrne fired a perfect shot, dead centre into his own net after Carey Price had skated off on a delayed penalty. And not only was it a perfect shot, but it tied the score 3-3 with less than five minutes to go in the game.

 

And of course, to cap it off, the Islanders won in the shootout.

 

That’s it. Rock bottom. The boys have plunged into the depths of despair. It can’t get any worse. Oh, it can be extended by losing several more, but it can’t get any worse than tonight.

 

Rock bottom. They’ve hit it in the year we thought they’d be the second coming of the 1975-76 team.

 

Nothing’s gone right. Everyone’s stopped scoring.  Everyone.  And now our defence is scoring for the other team.

 

I’m expecting to wake up any day now and read that Bob Gainey has done what he has to do. I believe in Gainey. I trust he’ll do the right thing and shake this thing up.

 

Now we’re going to have to see film clips of O’Byrne’s blunder for the next six months. TSN and Sportsnet and every media outlet in Canada is going to have a field day with this one.

 

I feel sorry for O’Byrne. But let’s face it, the only time he’s been in the news is when he’s getting his mug shot taken by the cops after a team dinner in Tampa, and now this goal. This is a guy, with his massive size, who should be rattlin and rollin everyone who comes on his side of the ice. He should be a force. He’s young so the skills will eventually come with added experience. But he could be slamming the heck out of guys right now.

I’ve said this since before the season even got under way. But little Frankie Bouillon plays tougher than him.

 

GAME NOTES:

 

Big Georges Laraque was scratched due to a groin problem. How did he get a groin problem? It can’t be from playing any kind of hockey lately. (no goals, no assists, hardly any fighting.) Chasing number 17 of the Bruins might have done it. And if so, the young guy with the big nose has now put out Mike Komisarek in a fight, and Big Georges without even trying.

 

Oh, I remember number 17’s name now. Susan Lucci. 

 

Shortly after I wrote this and said Laraque has a groin problem, Pierre McGuire on TV says Georges is a healthy scratch. If that’s so, it kills my whole shtick about number 17.

 

And frankly speaking, number 17, who I won’t name because it contributes to his growing cult status, can play on my team anytime.

Breaking Down The Habs’ Remaining November Games

It’ll be a very interesting remainder of November for the Montreal Canadiens. The boys are in Ottawa now, (Kanata, way to the west of the city, where the rink is), getting ready to take on the dysfunctional Senators.

Then they’re at home Saturday to beat the Bruins, and we all know what this game means. It’s Patrick Roy Sweater To The Rafters Night.

Then the boys sleep in their own beds and wait for the Islanders on Monday.

After that, it’s a two game road trip, when they travel to Detroit next Wednesday, and then swing over to Washington for a Friday game against the Caps.

They then close out the month the following Saturday when the Sabres visit.

 

What does all this mean? 

 It means every game will probably be a struggle for our struggling guys. Let’s see – Ottawa, Boston, the Islanders, Detroit, Washington, and the Sabres. How many games will they win here?

 Boston and Detroit should be tough ones. The Sabres and Washington will also be no picnic. Montreal seems to play flat in Washington. I went to a game there in the 1980’s with a bunch of guys on a beer-soaked, rented car roadtrip, and the Habs lost 5-0.  

 And opening game this year in Buffalo, the Habs lost in a shootout and were flat, a sign of things to come.

 If all the stars and planets are in alignment, Montreal should kick the Islanders ass.

 Which brings us to Thursday night’s game in Ottawa. The Senators have stunk this year. There’s no other way to say it. It’s a team in turmoil, it seems. I don’t know why. They’ve got Alfredsson, Heatley, and Spezza, for goodness sakes. That’s a lot.

But I suppose they’re missing most everything else, although journeyman goalie Alex Auld has been better than expected.

 Montreal needs to start in Ottawa, pick up steam, and make their presence felt in all these games mentioned. Their power play needs to explode. They have to quit taking ridiculous penalties, which I blame Guy Carbonneau for. A Stanley Cup contender is a disciplined team.

Alex Kovalev needs to break out. Why does he feel he needs to be pretty on the ice? Pretty doesn’t usually work. Power works. And as Kovalev goes, the team goes. We saw this last year.

 Carey Price needs to play at least five of the six remaining November games, preferably all six. The Kostitsyn boys, both of them, have to play like last year, although Andrei has been fairly good. Sergei hasn’t.

The defence has to tighten up. Price faced 48 shots in Carolina. That’s unacceptable.

 Also, they’re showing that they’re weak clearing the puck. It can’t be that difficult to shoot the puck out. But other teams have seemed to have figured out how to stop it. Why is that? Carbonneau again, I think.

 And I’ll mention it again. Quit taking stupid penalties. It kills momentum. The gunners sit on the bench while the penalty killers work. How can Carbonneau stop this insanity? Start benching those who take bad, ill-timed penaties. Do something.

In my book, the penalty-taking is the biggest killer of all.

Enough Is Enough. As Proud Habs Fans, We Demand A Winning Streak

For 379 straight days I haven’t missed one day of posting something different, and I’m not going to start now, even thought I arrived in Vancouver from Las Vegas at 5PM, drove through downtown Vancouver and way out the other side, waited for a ferry for an hour, rode the ferry for 35 minutes, drove an hour and a half to the next ferry, waited for 15 minutes, rode the ferry for 50 minutes, then drove 25 minutes after that. 

 

I’m only going to say that I heard the score on the radio, the 2-1 loss to Philadelphia, and I’m very concerned about what’s been going on lately, as I’m sure you are too.

 

Alex Tanguay has been a bright spot. Other players have been hot and cold. Some, like Alex Kovalev and Tomas Plekanec, and yes, Carey Price, have been warm at best since the beginning.

 

We’re all getting sick of this.

I’ll Take Big Elvis Over Jarkko Ruutu Anyday

Jarkko Ruutu, seen here, is as despicable as they come. He was a smirking fool in Vancouver, a grinning underhanded cheapshot artist in Pittsburgh, and he continues his sordid tradition in Ottawa. I’ve written several posts about this low life, all negative, because I’ve never liked him and I rate him right up there with Sean Avery when it comes to who I’m not inviting to my birthday.

Someday someone is going to do the deed to this grinning goof. Ottawa fans, are you embarrassed to have him on your team?

IN OTHER NEWS:

We’re on our way to the Grand Canyon tomorrow. I’m going to miss the nightlife of Vegas, but it’ll only be for 12 hours so I should get over it. I feel I should also tell you about the seven dollar nachos at The Mirage. Good for two people, and the only natchos I’ve ever had that has roast beef in them.

One of the employees at The Mirage saw me with my Habs hat on and said he’s a Habs fan, loves Carey Price, loves the team speed, and is hoping for a Montreal-Detroit Stanley Cup.

This is Big Elvis. He’s been entertaining fans at Bill’s Casino on the Vegas strip for six years now. But more importantly, even though he’s still big, Big Elvis has lost 560 pounds and wants to lose another 150.

Habs take on those Boston Bruins Thursday night. I should be back from the Grand Canyon in time for the game, if I can find a TV with it on. If not, I’ll have to win money as I wait for the score.

Keep the ball rolling, Canadiens!

I’m Going To Celebrate The 4-0 Win With Some Two Dollar Beer

I know this probably sounds far-fetched, but yesterday as we were walking around the Las Vegas strip, dodging Mexicans handing out flyers for girls available in 20 minutes, I got thinking about the upcoming Ottawa game, and I thought, why can’t the boys put together a solid, 4-0 type game?

 

Then, when we were sitting in O’Shea’s casino, home of the two dollar Miller beer, of which I was drinking several, the scores came on and I saw that the Habs had indeed won 4-0.

 

Now if I can only channel these kinds of thoughts at the slot machines.

 

By all accounts, it was a solid game, the kind that teams use to break out of their doldrums. A much-needed shutout by Carey Price, a much-needed big game and hat trick by Chris Higgins, and just a much-needed win, period.

 

If it’ll help the Habs, maybe I should be in Las Vegas for every game! What do you think?

 

And because I didn’t see this game, I need to know – did Alex Kovalev play well? And were the Senators really flat, or were the Canadiens just great on this night?

 

Imagine if the Habs would’ve lost this game after the ridiculous bullshit in Toronto? But they didn’t. They won big.

 

WOW!

 

OTHER NEWS: I see Tom Kostopoulos has been suspended three games. I’m not going to defend this, but I’ve called for a suspension for Mike Commodore after he went after Andrei Kostitsyn’s head during the recent Columbus game.

The Kostopoulos thing happened during a high-speed ramming into the boards which was careless but can happen. Commodore’s was a vicious and intentional elbow to the head, just after Kostityn had returned from a concussion. I think there’s a big difference, even though Mike Van Ryn was hurt badly.

 

Regardless, it’s not good, it’s never good, and I have no problem with Kostopoulos sitting for three games even though he’s one of my favourite players. 

 

Oh darn, I have to go downstairs and gamble now, and after that head over to the House of Blues for some free music. Oh, and I suppose I have to see some more fine waitresses shuttling about. And then there’s those two dollar beers……

 

To be continued….. we’re here for a few more days.

 

 

Ilya Kovalchuk, Stan Fischler, And Your Chance To Get It Off Your Chest

Good guy Tom at The Ryan Coke Experience has gotten wind of a rumour you might want to check out on his site – that both the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens are showing interest in Atlanta Thrashers sniper Ilya Kovalchuk, a guy with almost 500 points in almost 500 games in the NHL.

 

Normally I’d want something like this to happen. A young, fifty goal guy in a Habs uniform. But, like  Marian Gaborik, I want neither player. Montreal has the team now to do the deed. There’s just no sense in shaking up the chemistry, regardless of how good these guys are.

 

And they need to first let me be flag guy at the Bell Centre before bringing in any more players. First things first.

 

Anyway, have a look at Tom’s site. He, by the way, lives in Ottawa but, unlike many of my own Ottawa friends, has stayed a Habs fan and hasn’t been swept away by Senatormania in the Senatorium.

 

And because Tom reads my blog, he’s one of the best people in the world.

 

Another one of the best in the world is Jordy, who let me know today that long-time hockey writer Stan Fischler, based in New York, says Carey Price is a stiff, cocky, mediocre goalie.

 

Stan Fischer is not one of the best people in the world. In fact, saying something like that makes him a leading candidate for worst person in the world.

 

Last, but certainly not least, I’m completely open to having people guest blog on this site. (as long as it’s good.) Anytime you want to send in a little story about anything related to hockey – yes, even the Canucks, Leafs, Sean Avery etc., you’re welcome to do this.

Maybe you’ve always wanted to write something. Well, here’s your chance. Just email me with your story at dlkane@shaw.ca and I’ll check for spelling and you’ll be in print. Please, though, not too many f bombs.