Category Archives: Carolina Hurricanes

Habs In Shootout

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It was a win, and wins are good I suppose.

The Canadiens edged Carolina 2-1, but it took a shootout to do it, and without Ben Scrivens flapping around like a fish on a line, it would’ve been just another loss in this long, heartbreaking season.

Because the team in front of him, as usual, lacked fire.

I suppose I shouldn’t complain. It’s two straight for the boys, which is something we haven’t seen since late November when they put together four in a row, and which seems as miraculous as can be now.

But two wins still doesn’t sit right. Not for me, anyway. Not the way they won today.

I’ve tried to stay upbeat and as positive as possible throughout this ridiculous campaign. But this is a team that on most nights disappoints, even with a rare win, and I’m tired of being disappointed.

Real life can be disappointing enough. I don’t need more from my friggin’ hockey team. But maybe I’m selfish. I’ve been alive for 18 Montreal Canadien Stanley Cup wins, so I shouldn’t be greedy.

And reality tells me I probably won’t see 19.

And this year, not even playoff action.

Although the 3-on-3 overtime gave us good old fire wagon hockey that had fans oohing and aahing, we saw the Canadiens be the second best team for the three regular periods. Like they’ve been so often.

It’s a win, but whatever. They didn’t play well.

Random Notes:

Carolina outshot Montreal 35-34.

Max, with his 20th, tied thing at one apiece in the second period.

Galchenyuk, Flynn, Max, and Eller failed miserably in the shootout, but Andrighetto came through.

Next up – Tuesday, when it’s the Tampa Bay Lightning in town.

 

 

Canadiens Come Up Big

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I’ll try to contain myself. But it was the Habs’ finest game since they pasted the Boston Bruins 5-1 at the Winter Classic on January 1st.

On this day, it was a 5-1 blasting of the Edmonton Oilers at the Bell Centre!I almost felt like singing the obnoxious Olé song, but not quite.

The win gives me quivers down my backbone. I’m not shakin’ all over, but I feel faint hope. I feel like deep in the innards of the slump beast sits a good team.

And all we can do is wait until tomorrow (2:30 ET) to see if the boys can keep it going, or if they come up flat once again like they’ve been so good at doing. But for now, Go Habs Go!

Their losing has always been a matter of players relied upon not being relied upon. If key guys were on their game more often, they wouldn’t be in this pickle.

Today, Tomas Plekanec stepped out of his season-long slumber (although he does have the team’s second highest point tally – 39, which isn’t saying much), and supplied a goal and three assists.

The Czech enigma displayed some serious life, and maybe the rust and dust has been shaken free and we’ll see more from this key guy.

The team has needed Pleks during dark days and he hasn’t been there, but today he was the Plekanec of old. Maybe he remembered the tips I gave him last year in Montreal at an autograph signing.

Now it’s time for Max Pacioretty to shake his hangover and come through for us on more of a regular basis. And Galchenyuk and Weise and DD and on and on.

Guys need to show up like Pleks did today. Four-point nights might be asking too much, but regardless.

Fine goaltending from Ben Scrivens, who recorded his first win as a Hab in five starts, and goals from Gallagher, Eller, Pleks, PK, and Tom Gilbert of all people (his first of the season), and the boys were too much for Connor McDavid and the Oilers.

A beautiful sight. A clobbering of the team that had rolled over Ottawa 7-2 the night before, by a team in the midst of a struggle to recover from the most gruesome of slumps.

Today, it was the team we’ve been looking for after two months of pure mediocrity. They showed fire, but like I said, I need to contain myself. Tomorrow’s another day, but if they look good against Carolina, I just might be whoopin’ and hollerin’.

Random Notes:

Montreal outshot Edmonton 35-24.

It’ll be interesting to see if Scrivens plays on Sunday after his fine showing today.

Connor McDavid is some kind of young player. Imagine if he wore the CH?

Below –  Prust, me, and Plekanec, last year in Montreal. Gallagher and Max were there too. Sadly, their wives and girlfriends weren’t.

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Habs Drenched By Hurricanes

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I think it takes a special talent for a team sitting at the top of the heap to lose to a team at the very bottom and look tremendously mediocre while doing so.

Yes, those wild and crazy Montreal Canadiens, bowing to the lowly Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in Raleigh, a team 20-some points behind them.

They can’t be feeling good about this. If Jean Beliveau was captaining this team, he’d politely and respectfully give them all a mighty fine and gentlemanly dressing room tune up.

But the Canadiens have that special talent to play down, having also lost to the 28th place Oilers, the 25th place Avs, and the 22nd place Canucks (and were bombed 6-1 by the Avs and 5-1 by the Oilers in the process).

The only good that came from this night was Daniel Carr, called up from St. John’s in place of Devante Smith-Pelly, who notched a wraparound goal in his very first shift of his first NHL game. That’s the kind of thing I’ve dreamed about doing off and on for about five decades or more.

It’s with great pride to announce that Carr played the 2009-10 season here in Powell River, at the barn not far from my house. However, I didn’t go to one game in 2009-10, so that’s the end of this feel-good story.

But I would like to say one thing. The BCHL is an underrated league, with lots of talent like Carr winding up in the NHL. You’d be surprised by some of the names, like Brett Hull, Paul Kariya, and even Carey Price for a season before heading to the WHL.

There’s been a whack of them. Even Scott Gomez for those three Gomez fans out there.

Carr’s goal in the first period got things rolling, but the Canes would even it up on the power play on a smooth finish by Jeff Skinner who simply flipped it over a sprawling Mike Condon.

In the second, Sven Andrighetto would give Montreal the lead after converting a nice pass by Jeff Petry, but two minutes later Joakim Nordstrom tied things up again, and into the third we went.

Carolina would take the lead briefly, but Michel Therrien’s coach’s challenge saw the goal ruled no-goal because of goalie interference. Whew, we thought. But it made no difference, because the Canes would score another anyway.

Later on, with Tom Gilbert in the box for tripping, Skinner, with his second of the night, won it for the home team.

It’s not the first time Gilbert watched a nightmare unfold from the sinbin. There was that fathers trip recently when he did the same sort of thing. Now, whenever Gilbert goes home during the off season, he’s grounded.

The Canadiens lose their second straight, or 3 of 4 if you want to go that route. And they sleek off into the night, hoping they don’t get beer pored on them by drunken and disgruntled Habs fans because they couldn’t play well enough to beat the team tied with Calgary and Edmonton as league’s worst.

Random Notes:

Eric Staal hit several posts, missed several open nets, and scored the goal that was called back. This is the guy who’s the subject of trade rumours, with Montreal being a possible destination.

Staal would be a nice addition, although we already have plenty of guys who can’t hit wide open nets.

And speaking of Staal. he was sent to the box with just over three minutes remaining for flipping the puck over the glass, but the Canadiens, with Condon pulled and enjoying a two-man advantage, still couldn’t get it done.

And because of that very thing, they didn’t deserve to win this thing.

Shots on goal – Habs 38, Canes 29. The previous game against Washington, which was also a 3-2 loss, they had 35 shots to the Caps 19.

Next up – Wednesday, when the Bruins show up at the Bell.

 

 

 

Habs Capped By Caps

Habs girl

Due to the fact that I was in Victoria for two days to take baby Lyla to an eye specialist, this recap is not really a recap. It’s recrap. A ‘rush through with the remote’ rundown.

For those wondering, the above picture is not baby Lyla. Lyla’s more beautiful and she’s only one. And her eye is fine.

It was a dark and stormy two nights, with cancelled ferry sailings, heavy rain, and big winds to rival Don Cherry on crystal meth. But we’re home now and it’s late, and tomorrow I have to give my usual 147% for four hours. So I need some sleep.

But I know the Canadiens lost 3-2 to the visiting Washington Capitals, and with the recording on in front of me as I type away, I see the Caps jump out to 1-0 lead early in the first, but I also see the Canadiens more than holding their own.

Jeez that was a tough trip to Victoria.

Fast forward the PVR to the second frame and there’s Alex Galchenyuk dangling, with Lars Eller finally stuffing it home. More and more, Chucky’s becoming a marvel.

Back on the fast forward to a Caps goal with just 44 seconds left in the middle frame when Condon couldn’t corral his bouncing rebound. Slightly less than solid netminding, and it’s too bad.

Montreal is outshooting the visitors 27-13 at this point and I could pretend I don’t know the final outcome, but I do and it’s a shame. The team is playing well against a solid Caps club. Better than the Caps.

Fast forward to the third (because I gotta get to bed for *%$# sakes), and straight to the next goal, and I see just 2:07 in, Brian Flynn, while shorthanded, burst in and deked Holtby out of his jockstrap and it’s 2-2.

A beautiful goal, nicely set up by Paul Byron, and now I wish I didn’t know the final score. Because it looks mighty promising for Canada’s team.

But alas, midway through the third, a long shot was tipped in  byT.J. Oshie, once again a puck that probably shouldn’t have gone in, the Caps take the lead, and once again, it’s too bad.

Random Notes:

Montreal outshot Washington 35-19, and had plenty of chances to win this thing. But they didn’t.

Next up – Saturday in Raleigh to take on the Hurricanes.

Sorry for the recrap.

 

 

New Guy Semin

Right winger Alexander Semin, recently bought out by the Carolina Hurricanes, has been picked up by the Habs for one year and 1.1 million. Cheap like borscht, unless you live in the real world of course.

With Semin, we’re just gonna have to wait and see. The former first-rounder scored forty goals once upon a time, while last year he managed just six. He’s known as a talented enigma, somewhat polarizing like many of his fellow hockey-playing countrymen, and when you read fans’ comments throughout the web, you see that a bunch think it’s a fine deal with nothing to lose, while plenty of others feel he’s a bum who might be better off selling vodka in Vladivostok.

Semin is 31 years old, has nice size at 6’2″, 209 pounds, and over the course of 635 NHL games played with Washington and Carolina, notched 238 goals and 275 assists for 513 points. Definitely decent numbers, aside from last year’s miserable showing, and now it’s time to pull up his socks once again and help our boys. He joins Gally, Dale Weise, Devante Smith-Pelly, and fellow new guy Zack Kassian on the right side.

It’s all fine and dandy because he’s cheap, but it’s still tough for me to shake the image of his fight with Marc Staal back in 2009 when he slapped away like Liberace on the ivories. Look it up. I can’t bear to, now that he’s a Hab.

It was pathetic and I never wanted this guy on my team because of it. And now he is.

I’m working on this issue though. I was never a great fighter either, and if I was a lousy fighter, who am I to criticize another lousy fighter?

And maybe, aside from fighting, he’ll help.

 

Another Fine Blanking!

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The Canadiens looked like they were coming off a Demerol party when they lost 4-0 to the Sharks on March 2nd in San Jose, and which kicked off the 3-game hard-to-swallow California crushing.

It had us all in a dither.

But Saturday at the Bell, the boys played hard-hitting, slick passing big time hockey as they slayed the Sharks 2-0, making it three straight wins, four of their last five, coming not long after the aforementioned California slide had us searching for the key to the liquor cabinet.

Great game by the Habs, regardless of the fact the shirtless Joe Thornton told Sportsnet’s Christine Simpson between periods that his line had been in Montreal’s end all game.

Not what I saw, Joe. And really, for the sake of us guys watching, could you please put a shirt on.

Carey Price saved the day when called upon, which could be said for just about every time he’s manned the nets this season, with this being his 9th shutout (tying M.A. Fleury for the lead), and second in a row after beating Carolina 4-0 on Thursday.

The win is also Price 40th of the season, just two back of the Habs all-time leaders Jacques Plante and Ken Dryden, which is absolutely exciting. Price has entered the Land of the Giants.

Tomas Plekanec got his team on the board in the first period, his 22nd of the year, on a great play that gave him most of a wide-open net to shoot at. The goal also came at a great time, with just 1:14 remaining in the period, and we could see that with the way they were playing, taking the lead late like that could very well spell serious trouble for The Shirtless One and his fish.

Brendan Gallagher would notch the insurance marker, his 21st, in the third with the Sharks’ net empty, and with just seconds left and the boys up 2-0, the Ole, Ole song began, with props to the singers. You sang it at the proper time for a change. When the game wasn’t in doubt.

And man, were the last few minutes tense with the goalie pulled and the score still 1-0, and with the game, and a shutout, on the line.

But the Canadiens came through, as they did all night, standing their ground, checking hard, passing well, and all in all, unless you’re a Sharks fan, a mighty fine night at the not-so-old Bell Centre.

A nice, impressive hometown win by the gang, and a tremendous thing to see, considering there’s only nine games to go and maybe, just maybe, they’re rounding into playoff form.

Random Notes:

Tom Gilbert took a puck in the mouth area during the second period and was gone for the night. Hopefully it’s only a chiclet or two and nothing more.

Props to Brandon Prust for playing a fine game, including a nice piece of business on the penalty kill late in the game.

The Canadiens have reached 99 points, tied with Anaheim for top of the heap.

Alex Galchenyuk needs just one more to reach 20 goals.

Next up – Tuesday, when the team hits Music City, U.S.A. to shut out the Predators.

 

Habs Halt Hurricanes

Slightly condensed tonight. Sorry.

Carey Price nailed down his 8th shutout at the Bell on Thursday soir as the boys win 4-0 over the Carolina Hurricanes and look decent while doing so.

Decent except for the second period when they let Carolina have their way a bit too much, and of course had to rely on Price to come up big. (Although a couple of pucks slithered through him and across the crease).

This team is spoiled rotten, having a goalie like Price to save their bacon when they slack off.

Dale Weise opened the scoring in the first by banging home a rebound after Brandon Prust had done much of the legwork, and Brendan Gallagher increased the lead to two after Tomas Plekanec stormed in and Gally finished it off.

In the second frame DD took a nice pass from Tom Gilbert while the boys had the extra man out on a delayed penalty, and in the third, Max, while trying to set up Pleks, had the puck bounce off Hurricanes goaltender and proud Ust-Kamenogorkier (pop. 322,000), Anton Khudobin, for Max’s 35th of the season.

C’mon Max. Five more.

A fine 4-0 win over a team that’s not that great, but a not-that-great of a team that the Canadiens can beat. Unlike others.

It makes my heart soar like the Birdman of Alcatraz’s buddies.

Next up – Saturday, when the Sharks swim into town.

Shots on goal – Canes 31, Habs 22.

Canadiens Wound Panthers

Montreal survived a 21-4 shots on goal attack in the third period and 43-25 overall as they edged the Florida Panthers 3-2 in Sunrise and now head back to the friendly confines of the Bell Centre for a Thursday night battle with the Carolina Hurricanes.

All five goals in this game came in the second period, with Canadiens markers by Alexei Emelin shooting from the blueline, Jacob de la Rose converting a nice feed from Brandon Prust while killing a penalty, and a long shot from P.K. Subban, which proved to be the winner.

And best of all, aside the from the two points, was Dustin Tokarski’s work between the pipes. Toker was solid like we knew he could be but hadn’t seen much of lately. A fine night for the backup, who had lost his last four and five of six.

But tonight he was confident and steady, and his mom, who was my favourite in the 24CH segment showing the mothers on a two-city road with their sons, will be proud and happy. She was sure proud and happy (and emotional) during that trip.

We need this fellow at the top of his game with the very real possibility of Carey Price being run by some thug as the playoffs approach, or sometime during the postseason. Just like last year.

Memos should sent to all playoff-bound teams that the league knows teams are thinking about doing this, and if it happens, they’ll have the player’s balls for bookends. The coach’s too.

Tonight shows that Toker can get the job done, and that’s great, because we were starting to wonder.

The win puts the Habs at 95 points, tied with the Rangers for beasts of the East, while the Panthers’ hopes of grabbing the final wild card berth took a serious hit, especially with red-hot Ottawa, also trying to nail down a spot, sitting ahead of them.

The only complaint I can muster is seeing the boys sit back in the third, with most of the play in their end, and holding on for dear life. But they got the win so it’s forgotten already.

 

 

Pure Prairie Sailing

Canadiens won 3-1 in Carolina on Monday night, with goals from Jiri Sekac, Lars Eller, and Max Pacioretty. Max now has 14 in 36 games, which, over 82 games, would amount to……………….quite a bit. More than 30. (You thought I was going to do the math?)

A few things to note:

Lucy, Teesha, and I went from Kenora to Moose Jaw today (860 km), and it’s a tad chilly. Down around minus-25 all day, and -35 or -40 during the night. The car windows never truly cleared all day.

But the roads are dry, which is all I care about. And the price of gas is around 90 cents a litre right now, which is also cool.

I know it’s not nearly over, but so far this drive. that began in Montreal, has been, aside from the three hour snowstorm from the Soo to Wawa, dry roads and smooth sailing. But Calgary tomorrow, then through the Rockies the next day, and who knows what’s in store? Maybe we’ll see a sasquatch.

Moose Jaw TV showed the Winnipeg-Minnesota game and the Canada-Finland World Junior game, but no Habs, which brings to me to the big question. When I reach the coast and am phoning around about getting cable connected, what’s the best option for seeing the Canadiens?

This paragraph is about Teesha the Wonder Cat. Two weeks ago she was near death. She couldn’t walk, couldn’t eat, couldn’t move. Now I feel she’s at about 70% overall. Her walking isn’t great and she won’t drink water voluntarily, but other than that, she’s doing great and we’re mighty proud of her.

Tomorrow we stay with my son Rory in Calgary. Then it’s Banff, Lake Louise, Golden, Rogers Pass, and Kamloops, but only if the weather cooperates. After that, Vancouver, then up coast.

But I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. Right now I’m only concerned about the car starting in the morning.

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Summer Notes From Habsville

A number of things happened Habs-wise this summer, the most surprising being I was able to decipher the notes I’d made regarding the things that happened Habs-wise this summer.

Gone are Daniel Briere, Josh Gorges, Brian Gionta, Tomas Vanek, Ryan White, Douglas Murray, George Parros, and anthem singer Charles Prevost Linton.

Francis Bouillon, at this writing, remains stranded on the desert island named Limbo. Douglas Murray’s island is slowly sinking. George Parros’ island is somewhere near the lost continent of  Atlantis.

White now finds himself in Philadelphia where one of his jobs will be to protect captain Claude Giroux from grabbing police officers’ buttocks, and Bouillon’s future seems secure. If he doesn’t find a hockey job, the City of Montreal is ready to step in and make him a fire hydrant.

Auditions are now in process for the anthem singing gig. Unfortunately, management, with a somewhat prickly attitude, has informed me that I’m not allowed to be singer AND stick boy.

Forward P.A. Parenteau, from Colorado in exchange for Briere, is now part of the family, and Gorges and Gionta aren’t, as the two UFAs were picked up by Buffalo, a place Gionta is probably happy about being. Gorges, maybe not as much, considering it’s Buffalo.

Parenteau is 31 and hopefully more effective than Briere, who is on the verge (Oct. 7th) of becoming 37. Gorges’ passion and shot blocking will be missed. Gionta’s captaincy will be replaced in a year or two, and until then, Max, Markov, Pleks and P.K. will serve as assistant captains.

In the spirit of fairness, Markov, with the most seniority, should be the one to accept the Stanley Cup from Mr. Bettman next spring.

Signings this summer involved free  agents Manny Malhotra (1-year, from Carolina), Tom Gilbert (2-years, from Florida), and goaltender Joey MacDonald (1-year, from Calgary). And Jiri Sekac from the KHL Lev Praha squad signed a two-year entry level deal.

Those with new contracts include P.K. Subban, at 9 million a year for 8 years. Apparently there is no truth to the rumour that P.K. has bought the Sun Life Building in downtown Montreal to use as his winter residence, so you can stop thinking about that.

Regulars Andrei Markov (3 years), Dale Weise (2-year extension), Mike Weaver (1 year), Lars Eller (4 years), and coach Michel Therrien (4-year extension), also penned their names on paper.

Chosen in the 2014 Entry draft, 26th overall, was Moscow-born Nikita Scherbak, who looks, speaks, and plays like a young Alex Galchenyuk, who’s a grizzled old guy now.

Assistant coach Gerard Gallant is now the head guy in Florida and replaced by Montreal native Dan Lacroix.

Lacroix helped out behind the Rangers bench last year, and if it was he who advised the despicable Chris Kreider to run Carey Price and then Dustin Tokarski, he should be hung by the thumbs outside a Bell Centre window for several hours, and then be forced to teach our guys (aside from Brendan Gallagher) how to run goalies too.

Player Development guru Patrice Brisebois leaves and replaced by former NHLer Rob Ramage. And Trevor Timmins has had the title “Vice President of Player Personnel” added to his “Director of Amateur Scouting” handle.

Timmins is widely respected, particularly in Northern Ontario where they named a small city after him.

Former Canadiens captain Saku Koivu, an ultra-talented battler if there ever was one, retired after 1124 regular season games played, with his last 5 seasons in Anaheim and 13 years and one lockout season with Montreal before that. Thank you Saku, for all you did for the Montreal Canadiens and the city. Which was plenty.

And finally, Mensa member Brad Marchand mentioned that he dislikes Tomas Plekanec quite a bit. “Anybody who spells “Thomas” without  an “H” is a rotten bastard”, said Brad.

Other things could happen in the days and weeks too. If so, just mentally paste them to this.