Category Archives: Colorado Avalanche

Louis Leblanc Picked By His Hometown Team. But It’s Harvard For Now

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First, the second-most important thing. As expected, John Tavares is now a New York Islander, Victor Hedman becomes a Tampa Bay Lightning, and Matt Duchene is off to Colorado. That’s how the first three picks in the 2009 entry draft were supposed to go, and that’s how it played out.

And talk about a raise! These guys, and the rest of the crop, go from borrowing money from their billets so they can go to the movies, to being able to buy the whole movie theatre. Am I jealous? No. I’ll just keep on slaving away until I’m 69 so I can pay the bills because that’s what I want to do.

Now, the most important thing. The Canadiens selected hometown boy Louis Leblanc who played for the Omaha Lancers of the US Hockey League, where he scored 28 goals and had 39 assists. He’s a little too slight at the moment, just 178 pounds for being a six footer, but young guys always fill out. The way they eat, how can he not? And he’ll do that while attending Harvard, which, for those in Slobovia, is an elite school where students have to be smart.

Imagine how it would be if the young fellow blossoms into a star in Montreal. A French-Canadian Montrealer wearing the bleu, blanc, rouge. It’d be magic. He’d be a hero. Just what the doctor ordered. C’mon Louis, hurry up and do your Harvard thing, put some beef on, and get up here and be the star we need you to be.

Of course, we don’t want to put any pressure on you.

Montreal got a good young French-Canadian forward who’s going to become a Harvard guy. A guy with athletic prowess and a good head on his shoulders. The girls are going to love him.

Le Colisee Wasn’t Big Enough. And It Wasn’t About To Get Bigger

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If you’ve ever wondered why such a hockey-mad city and area like Quebec City lost their NHL franchise, Les Nordiques,  and moved to Colorado in 1995, this might answer a few questions. Passion for the sport is one thing. Dollars and cents and a new building the fans didn’t want is another. nords

A 1994 survey published in the Quebec newspaper Le Soleil prior to the franchise relocating to Colorado showed that 78% of the population of Quebec City was against the construction of a new Colisee, which was crucial if the team would survive and stay successful. I should say it again – 78%. No one wanted it. And when analysts looked into it, the reason the locals didn’t want a new building was because the NHL was going through a lengthy 104 day work stoppage at that time and they didn’t feel comfortable.

Nordique president Marcel Aubut wanted a building with a least 19,000 seats. The existing Colisee only housed just over 15,000 seats. And Aubut wanted to add corporate boxes and all the nice stuff other new state-of-the-art rinks were doing.

The whole cost would have been $110 million, which is chump change compared to today’s figures.

And surprisingly enough, fans didn’t even think the Government should throw in much. Only 15% thought the different levels of government should finance the whole project, and only one in four thought the government should pay about a quarter of the project and not more. Sixteen per cent thought the government should pay half, three per cent said the feds should pay three quarters, and another three per cent thought the project should be fully funded by the government.

So, as nice as it was to have the Nordiques in the league, especially with that great Habs-Nordiques rivalry that had grown into legendary status, it was obvious that fans in Quebec just weren’t quite as passionate about having a team as we thought.

I wonder how this compares to the Winnipeg situation.

Is Patrick Roy Hoping To Coach The Habs?

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“There’s two very special organizations for me – Montreal and Colorado,” said Patrick Roy as he finally turned down the Avalanche’s offer to coach and possibly be general manager. So for now, Patrick will return to the Quebec Remparts.

Did he turn down Colorado’s offer because in his heart he wants to coach the Canadiens at some point? And would you like to see Patrick coach the Canadiens?

I’m not sure I would. I’m also not sure I wouldn’t.

If I look at Patrick’s inexperience at coaching at the NHL level, I could pooh pooh it. Then I could look at what Dan Bylsma is doing in Pittsburgh and what Cory Clouston in Ottawa did this past season, and I see that men with no previous NHL experience can actually guide a team and command respect. So the inexperience thing, although not a perfect scenario, doesn’t always have to spell failure. And Patrick has won a Memorial Cup with Quebec in 2006.

The biggest problem I have is that Patrick sometimes loses his mind. He’s had domestic problems, blow outs with other coaches, and both his sons, especially Jonathan, have shown they’re a chip off the old block by also losing their minds at the rink, which in turn reflected back on papa. I don’t think being a loose cannon is the greatest recipe for success in the modern NHL.

Patrick Roy isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. There were a lot of opponents to the idea of having his sweater raised to the rafters in Montreal. When he quit the Habs after his Mario Tremblay dust up , many never forgave him, and thus believed he didn’t deserve the sweater treatment. So he’d go in to Montreal with a built-in group of non-fans.

On the other hand, maybe a loose cannon behind the Habs’ bench would be just what the doctor ordered. Something to stimulate a comatose team. And the media would probably love him because, as we all know, Patrick’s never been a shrinking violet.

But is he a smart, cunning strategist who could lead the Montreal Canadiens to the promised land? At this point, my feeling is no. He’s too new to the coaching game. Maybe in a few years he’ll smooth out the edges and be a truly classy and winning coach in Junior who needs to move up to the show because it’s time. And then maybe the Habs can come calling.

You Wanna Hear Some Jonathan Roy Tunes?

Jonathan Roy, son of Patrick and ex-junior goalie who made headlines by pummelling the opposing goalie, makes music now and I know you’re itching to hear it if you haven’t already. Here’s his stuff, on his own website. It’s all love now instead of pucks. And maybe he’ll become a big star, who knows? You be the judge. I played it for two women and one liked it and the other didn’t.

http://jonathanroymusic.com/en

Twelve Habs Cups and Ingrid Bergman

I bought this nice cup display in a second-hand store in Las Vegas for twenty-two bucks. It’s all the Stanley Cup winners from 1963 to 2002, and the breakdown, (if you don’t have a stats book handy, and you don’t want to be bothered typing “Stanley Cup winners” on your keyboard), is this; 40 years of winners – Montreal has 12, Edmonton -5, Islanders-4, Toronto-3, Detroit-3, Colorado-2, New Jersey-2, Pittsburgh-2, Boston-2, Philadelphia-2, Calgary-1, Dallas-1, and the Rangers-1.

  

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I also bought this in the same store, 1940’s sheet music from Casablanca starring a chain-smoking Humphrey Bogart and the va va va voom Ingrid Bergman.

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This Blog Has All The News That’s Fit To Print. (At Least I’m Pretty Sure This Is Fit To Print)

I found an old Maclean’s magazine from 2006 the other day at work, and this little blurb was in it.

“A Week In The Life Of Jose Theodore”

A few days before the Colorado Avalanche goalie was to pick up his three-month-old daughter, Romi, who had been in the hospital since birth, he popped up in Toronto, where he was photographed at the MuchMusic Video Awards with Paris Hilton. Afterward, according to witnesses, he was seen at several nightspots, holding hands with the heiress. The news didn’t sit well with Romi’s mother, Stephanie Clouthier, who promptly threw Theodore out of their Montreal home. images3

Another Important Standings Synopsis

Just a little re-examining of the standings.

Boston lost 4-3 to Tampa Bay today. This doesn’t mean anything as far as the Habs and the standings go. It just feels good to say that Boston lost. Hah! Boston lost. LOSERS!

But back to business. Carolina beat Colorado today 5-2. Colorado, you pathetic bunch of mountain dwellers. Can’t even beat Carolina? Don’t you understand what this means in the eastern standings? Did you lose on purpose?

Carolina now has 67 points. Which means they’re one point out of a playoff spot, with Florida, Buffalo, and the Rangers all at 68 points. It also means they’re only two behind Montreal, who have 69 points.

Montreal plays Vancouver on Tuesday, are in Philadelphia Friday, and then meet and greet the San Jose Sharks on Saturday. All these teams are definitely beatable, although San Jose has been on a roll lately, like, since the beginning of the season. But it doesn’t mean they don’t lose. Heck, they’ve already lost, gulp, eight times this year. Philadelphia sits two points ahead of the Canadiens with 71 points, so naturally that’s a huge game too. And Vancouver? They broke out of their slump like the Habs are hopefully in the process of doing, but if I listed all the reasons why Montreal needs to win this particular game, it could take hours and you need to eat and sleep and do various other things. Yes, they need to beat Vancouver.

So it’s three big games, and after that it’s trade deadline day on March 4th. A really big ten days coming up for the Montreal Canadiens. And you and I.

And the way I see it unfolding is this; Alex Kovalev will be the new Alex Kovalev. Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak will be the new Price and Halak. Mathieu Schneider will hit the net. And Andrei Kostitsyn, and his brother if he comes back, will find new friends. Preferably from a church group.

Habs Didn’t Look Great. But The Woman In The Black Dress Did!

Three good things came from the Canadiens 4-2 loss Sunday night In Vancouver.

Although they weren’t anything to write home about, they played probably their best game of their western swing. But then again, I suppose that’s not saying much. Also, Jordy, who comments often on this site and usually makes great sense, came over to watch it with me and behaved nicely even though his team won. And there was a lovely woman in a low-cut black dress sitting right behind Canucks coach Alain Vigneault that the cameraman paid attention to in the late goings. He was smart, this cameraman. He made it look like he was focussing on Vigneault, the crafty bugger. 

When I say the Canadiens played their best game of the western swing, I mean they didn’t completely stink out the joint like they did in Calgary, Edmonton, and Colorado. Sure they let Vancouver have too many chances. Sure they allowed a last-minute, second period goal by Henrik Sedin to fall behind 3-1 which was the back breaker. Sure many of the guys didn’t step up. But there were some fine chances to score on Roberto Luongo. But that last minute goal just killed them. That was it. Time to grab a good seat in a sports bar before the crowd gets there. For all intents and purpose, that was the game right there. Over and done with in the second period.  

So I find myself not overly upset. It was a little better effort in a losing cause. And ‘effort’ is the key word, something I haven’t been able to use a lot of lately.

I disagree with the choosing of the three stars to be all Canucks. It wasn’t all that one-sided. Not at all. Even Jaroslav Halak, who allowed four goals, played well. Andrei Kostitsyn had a goal and an assist. What about the woman in the low-cut black dress? She should’ve been at least second star.

Game Note:

Guy Carbonneau put Carey Price in with about nine minutes to go in the game, and I’m taking this as a nice move by Carbonneau. Maybe I missed something, but was the coach trying to give the youngster some playing time, and a little more confidence, particularly because so many friends and family were there? Or did Halak give Carbonneau another reason to change things up? I’d like to think it was just a nice gesture by Carbonneau at that stage in the game when it was 4-1. If I’m wrong about this, please let me know. Sometimes I miss things because I don’t understand everything that’s said on RDS.

That’s it for the west. The Habs now head back east to visit Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night. I feel like the worst is over now. It’s the power of positive thinking rearing its head again.

Jordy brought over a couple of pictures for me, one of our friend Gary Lupul fighting for the puck with Gordie Howe, and another of Gary preparing to take a faceoff against Marcel Dionne. Jordy’s father Darren was probably Gary’s oldest and best friend.

Habs Survive An Avalanche By The Avalanche. Thanks To Halak.

A couple of hours till game time and after just waking up from working all night, I had to listen to that guru-of-all-things-real-and-true, Matthew Barnaby on TSN tell us that the Habs remind him of the last year’s Ottawa Senators, who started out playing fine and then promptly fell flat on their ass for the rest of the season and beyond. And if Matthew Barnaby says it, it must be true, right? He’s right up there in the upper echelons of  brilliance with Mike Milbury, for goodness sakes. Kind of reminds you of Ken Dryden in an intellectual sort of way.

And just like players who might change their favourite shoelaces to stop the bleeding, I’ve decided to start typing after every period instead of waiting until the final whistle before I try to make sense of things. When the team and its fans are in a slump, you have to change the routine, right?

So it’s the Habs in Denver to face the Colorado Avalanche. And I’d be wasting precious computer space if I mentioned just how important this game is. (Is there such a thing as precious computer space?)

First Period:

Two seconds have gone by and Montreal’s still doing fine.

Twelve minutes in and Montreal has only given the puck away four times, once by a Komisarek-Markov combo, once by Roman Hamrlik, and twice by Alex Kovalev. That’s pretty good, right?

Three minutes left in the first, Montreal scores! I REPEAT – MONTREAL SCORES ! Frankie Bouillon on a nice set up from Max Pacioretty.

Two minutes left, Montreal scores again! I REPEAT- MONTREAL SCORES AGAIN! Patrice Brisebois on the power play. Holy Mackinaw!!!

Second Period:

Reports of several thousand people found dead in their seats at the Pepsi Center are proved to be false. They’re just asleep.

Georges Laraque loses puck. Shortly after, Avalanche score.

Darcy Tucker is mad at Guy Carbonneau for some reason. Carbonneau wishes it was only Tucker who’s mad at him.

Kovalev loses puck, Avalanche don’t score. Nice surprise.

Midway through period, and the Avalanche, and the fans who were previously thought to be dead, are now wide awake.

Pierre McGuire, near the Avalanche bench, overhears players saying that Kovalev is cruising. I thought this was already understood by players and fans in North America. Man, are Colorado players ever behind.

Things are really starting to suck as Colorado is taking it to Montreal. Hurry up and end, second period.

Period’s over. Still 2-1 Montreal. At least on paper they’re looking reasonably good.

Third Period:

All Avalanche. Pierre McGuire keeps reminding us.

Gawd.

Tie game, 2-2, as Colorado scores on the power play.

Gawd.

But then, Andre Kostitsyn finds the back of the net!  And with 25 seconds left, Tom Kostopoulos scored a short-handed empty-netter. Habs win 4-2. If you didn’t see the game, it was a solid win. However, if you saw it, it wasn’t quite so solid.

I’d like to thank the academy, my family, and Jaroslav Halak who faced 47 shots as his team sleep-walked through this game. And even though they won, for this club, all’s quiet on the western front.

Game Note;

Sunday in Vancouver. Hmmm.