Category Archives: Columbus Blue Jackets

Canadiens Wear Out Jackets

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For a team that has had trouble scoring a lot of goals, 10 in the last two games is a beautiful thing.

The Canadiens, like they did on Tuesday in St. Louis, win another 5-2 game, and their two-game road trip comes to a successful close with the gang playing solid if not spectacular hockey. For example, their power play continues to fire blanks and….well….continues to suck.

Now it’s a rumble with the Leafs on Saturday at the Bell to close out February. The March schedule is a bit of a bitch but that’s for another time.

P.K. Subban opened the scoring just 1:49 into the game with a big blast after Manny Malhotra won the faceoff cleanly and got it back to our man. One slightly disturbing thing to note – Manny doesn’t seem to be winning just about every faceoff like he did up until recently. If he’s not doing that, should he be in the lineup?

And without mentioning Columbus goals because it’s not important, the scoring continued with a Markov shot from the top of the circle, Max would notch his 30th, and in the third frame, Jacob De La Rose bagged his first NHL goal and then added another with the net empty.

P.K. would collect a couple of assists to go with his goal, and his 47 points is good for second best behind Max’s 53.  Max needs 10 more goals in 21 games to hit 40. Can he do it?

Devante Smith-Pelly had a couple of decent shots on goal, and although he didn’t overwhelm, he’s probably still in a bit of a stunned mode considering he was an Anaheim Duck just a few days ago and has had just one practice with his new team. I was hoping we’d see more physical play from him, but I’m a patient man.

Smith-Pelly worked the right side, usually with De La Rose and Brandon Prust, but at times things were juggled around because he has a coach named Michel Therrien, and he also saw a small amount of time on the power play.

The new guy wore number 21, and I don’t know if you’ll find this interesting or not, but Toe Blake, in his first season with the Canadiens in 1935-36 after coming over from the Maroons, wore number 21. But from 1937 until the end of his career in 1948, number 6 was Toe’s.

One question lingered as I watched the game unfold. How did that whole row of fans wearing Habs jerseys get tickets right behind the Canadiens bench?

Random Notes:

Shots on goal were 27 apiece.

The photo at the top is one of my vintage popcorn boxes. Here’s some more. Very proud of my mint boxes, which date back to the early and mid-20th century.

Just what you wanted to see on a hockey blog, right?

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Zinging The Blues

The Canadiens played a solid game in St. Louis on Tuesday, whipping the home team 5-2, with the deal capped off by Carey Price setting a new team record with nine consecutive road wins.

A fine win against a fine team, showing that there’s absolutely no reason why the boys can’t beat any elite Western club when they reach the Stanley Cup Finals.

They also scored five times, something that hadn’t happened since nine games ago when they pasted New Jersey 6-2. It’s been seven times this season when they’ve scored five or more goals, which sounds sort of respectable but it’s not really.

Simply a fine effort by the road warriors, led by Galchenyuk and Gally each with a pair, plus a great goal from Michael Bournival after he stepped out of the penalty box and was sprung free with a dandy pass from Galchenyuk.

Galchenyuk had just returned to action after missing the last two games because of the flu, and thanks should probably go to me after I sent him my flu and cold-killing recipe that involves a precise mixture of Newfie Screetch and  several illegal lab drugs.

The win keeps the boys nicely perched on top looking down, and improves their February record to 7 wins and 4 losses, although they got points in a couple of overtime and shootout losses.

Now it’s on to Columbus for a Thursday night close encounter with the Blue Jackets. It’d be nice if they can score a bunch like they did on this night. Hey, they even buried one on the power play!

Feelin’ good about this win in St. Louis. So good in fact, that I’ve started my playoff beard.

Max & Co. Come Through

I was delayed getting to the computer. I saw that Toronto and Winnipeg were tied 3-3 with seven minutes left, and I wanted to see how the Leafs would lose.

But they won in overtime, and that’s quite a few minutes that I just wasted if you don’t mind me saying.

The Canadiens, led by Max Pacioretty with two goals, got the job done by taking out the decent-looking Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1 at the Bell, with Tomas Plekanec getting the insurance marker by notching a shorthanded empty net goal.

Two big points for the team, a win that halted that little two-game losing streak they found themselves in, and a win which allows them to sit in their rightful place in the universe – on top, a point ahead of the New York Islanders.

In the background, the outdoor game in California is being played, but I have the sound down. Sometimes I forget it’s on, look up, and there again are the LA Kings wearing some sort of grey and white ensemble, highlighted by white pants and huge numbers on the sleeves. The luckiest fans are the ones at the top of this massive football stadium that can’t see these uniforms.

Carey Price was, of course, solid once again in the Montreal net. It goes without saying. I said it but it goes without saying.

Nathan Beaulieu was truly impressive. The young defenceman is getting better and better every game now, he’s won himself a job, he’s a great skater and puckhandler, and as the confidence grows, so does his time spent doing all the right things.

How great it is to see a young d-man coming into his own, and at the same time two blueliners are on the shelf. God is a Habs fan.

I thought Jiri Sekac and Jacob de la Rose had some nice moments too. Two very fine young players with very fine futures. Is it de la Rose, or De La Rose?

And good old Max, notching a pair which gives him 29 on the season, and he rolls along, enjoying a fine and fruitful campaign. Of course he and P.K. Subban were left off the All-Star team, because the league is run by a bunch of morons.

Other things to note – Jarred Tinordi had his second fight in the last two games, coming out second best against Jared Boll, but not getting massacred. And Christian Thomas and Matt Calvert squared off, and when all was said and done, both looked like they’d walked into a telephone pole.

Columbus outshot the Canadiens 32-24, but again, it’s the Carey Price factor.

The team now heads out on a two-game road trip, first to St. Louis for a Tuesday night battle (8:00 ET), and then it’s Thursday in Columbus to face these Blue Jackets once again.

And to get way ahead of myself, next Saturday the Leafs sneak into Montreal.

In the background, John Fogarty is singing Proud Mary between periods at the outdoor game. John looks and sounds pretty well like he did in the 1960s with Creedence. This is obviously not a Keith Richards type of rock star.

Me and my buddies Mike Williamson and Hobo saw Creedence Clearwater at the Atlantic City Pop Festival in 1969.

Max’s Non-Blast Wins It

It warms my heart like a made-for-humans block heater. The big guns for the Rangers – St. Louis, Nash, Brossard etc, had all kinds of chances to score, all sorts of close calls left and right, and didn’t get the job done.

But Max Pacioretty did at the other end, with just over four minutes to play in a 0-0 game, with a long wrist shot that Harry Lumley would stop. And Harry’s dead.

Max’s less-than-hard shot somehow eluded Henrik Lundqvist and the Canadiens skate off with a lovely 1-0 win over a Rangers team that was not only feisty but also world-class whiny. Especially a guy named Kreider.

Highlights? Subban pissing off Kreider. Several times. Prust getting the slight edge in a fight with Glass. Eller and Stepan not being nice to each other. Lundqvist shooting his glove out to stop Max (something he wouldn’t do later :-) ). Price coming up with an amazing game saver on St. Louis in the 3rd.

And Dale Weise scoring or not scoring in the first period. The puck seemed to cross the line, but like Gally’s none-goal back on January 14 against Columbus, it was ruled inconclusive and once again I’ll mention that in a business that earns quite a few gazillions, they still haven’t figured out how to know 100% whether a puck crosses the line completely or not.

Regardless, the boys win their 4th straight, continue to roll along in fine fashion, and now it’s Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals at the Bell on Saturday (1:00 ET) to try and stop them.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot the Rangers 26-24.

Price’s shutout was his 3rd of the season, blanking Winnipeg 3-0 back on November 11th, and Boston 2-0 on November 22nd.

 

PP Springs Into Action

Down 2-0 in the third period and 0 for 5 on the power play. But that was then.

The Canadiens’ tremendously lousy power play (28th overall) finally came to life in the final frame and not once, not twice, but three times the boys on the man-advantage got the job done and ended up sinking the home town Blue Jackets with a deserving come-from-behind 3-2 win.

Deserving because they outplayed Columbus throughout, with the final shots-on-goal tally reading Habs 31, Jackets 16. Tons of Habs chances but great goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky. Often frustrating, and the Canadiens were almost shut out.

But they weren’t shut out, and they also didn’t lose. An excellent example of how important the power play is, and how the Canadiens would kick it up a huge notch if they could get the thing under control. Three straight PP goals is a fine step in the right direction.

A decent road win and two big points. But I don’t understand Michel Therrien’s newest pre-game decisions/stategy.

Prior to this contest, Montreal had lost their last two games, but before that had posted a very fine 9 wins in 10 games. So was a complete juggling of lines called for?

Two losses wasn’t a freefall into the depths of hell. Why break up linemates accustomed to each other? Lines that had posted that incredible run.

Why would Galchenyuk find himself centering Prust and Parenteau and then Sekac and Bournival, instead of being between Max and Gally where he’s found a nice home? Why demote Sekac to the fourth line when he’s slowly but surely becoming one of the team’s most dangerous forwards?

Two losses shouldn’t bring about a complete shakeup. Of course, those with advanced stats might hang me out to dry with clear and reasonable answers that had never occurred to me, but I couldn’t care less. In my eyes, it was an unnecessary pulling of strings that reeked of desperation.

Random Notes:

Two of the Canadiens’ power play goals came from Max, with the other a blast from PK.

Speaking of PK, several turnovers and a penalty which led to a Jackets goal didn’t exactly make for a stellar game from our man who should be on the All-Star team but isn’t because the NHL continues their long-existing habit of being supremely stupid.

Brendan Gallagher might have put the puck behind the line, although it was called back because there was no clear closeup of whether it did or not. So in 2015, with all the money spent to have a plethora of cameras from different angles, the technology still isn’t perfect. Several years of future GM winter meetings should fix that. Possibly.

Next up – Thursday night in Ottawa.

 

Buffaloed

It was a game the Canadiens should’ve won. But they didn’t

One of those bad bounces off the glass that we see from time to time killed the mood, the tie, and the legs Montreal had finally found after being off all week. Halted quicker than a Brian Gionta head into an Alexei Emelin shoulder pad.

There was just 1:18 left in the third period, with the score tied 1-1, when a puck shot in from outside the blueline took one of those crazy caroms off the glass and headed out front where Matt Moulson was.

That was it. Buffaloed by a bad bounce. All Carey Price could do was look from afar, having left the premises to corral what should’ve been a puck around the back.

The breaks of the game, a game which had come alive only in the third, and which ended 2-1 for a team fighting it out with Edmonton and Columbus for best basement dweller.

Random Notes:

Buffalo’s Tyler Ennis opened the scoring with a beauty of a goal, a second effort that he’d eventually backhand behind Price, and which you’ll probably see on the highlights any second now.

I thought Eric Tangradi, playing his first game as a Hab, was impressive. He’s a huge 6’4″, 221 lb. left winger with 136 previous games in the NHL with Pittsburgh and Winnipeg, is a good skater for a big man, seems like he could create serious havoc when riled, and he seemed to fit in nicely on the fourth line.

Love the big guys who can play. Love the idea of what he might add as a bonafide power forward. But we’ll see. It’s just one game. I thought Rene Bourque was going to be a good power forward too.

Emelin clocked Gionta near the boards with a shoulder to the head and was given two minutes for it, at which time shortly after, Moulson scored the winner.

Gionta was pissed, but if he was a few inches taller, it would’ve been a great check. Gionta’s just a tiny bugger who collided with a hard shoulder pad. All’s fair in love and war.

Brandon Prust said something out there that got him a minor, a misconduct, and a game. We may or may not hear what he said, and if it comes out, I hope his mother doesn’t see it.

Jiri Sekac continues to look great.

P.A. Parenteau scored his team’s lone goal from a mad scramble in the crease.

Shots on goal – Montreal 31, Buffalo 25.

Next up – Buffalo at the Bell in a few hours.

 

John Moore – Who Is He Again?

Ain’t it strange how things go. Some guy named John Moore gets two games for giving Dale Weise what looks to be a concussion, and very soon Moore will have to have his brain analyzed by doctors as they study why some people are more stupid than others.

The Rangers become  short a defenceman going into a crucial game 6. Some of their toughness, for lack of a better word, is now on the sidelines. The Canadiens, seeing their fallen comrade Weise take an illegal blow in the heat of the action, dig down and find the wherewithal in hurting the Rangers where it hurts the most.

Not the gonads. The series.

Full disclosure here. I’d never heard of John Moore until the series began. Am I bad?

But here’s some of his numbers:

2 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2010-11.

67 games with the Jackets in 2011-12

17 games with the Jackets in 2012-13 and13 games with the Rangers in the same year.

74 games this season with the Rangers.

173 NHL games and I had never heard of him. I gotta start paying more attention. But I see in looking at his scoring  and penalty numbers during his time in the league, he’s a bum with 7 goals, 22 assists, and 40 PIM in those 173 games.

And in this postseason he’s also a bum, with 1 assist and 16 penalty minutes in 17 games.

So what if they lose this guy? He’s a non-entity. A bum. Why couldn’t it be Ryan McDonagh. This guy Moore? He’s nothing. He’s like an extra in the Ten Commandants.

Do I think two games is enough? Sure, why not?

It takes it to the end of the series. Any more than that wouldn’t affect me if the Habs aren’t involved. If it had occurred earlier in the series, like the start, I’d say give him seven games. If the series was midway through, give him four games.

But now going into game six, give him two, he’s gone, and we don’t have to figure out who he is and why he isn’t selling vacuum cleaners door to door.

And hopefully Dale Weise  is okay and ready to go when the boys tackle the Western Conference champs. Because when Dale is going, the team seems to be going. A character player deluxe.

 

The Violence Post

Enjoyed very much seeing Pens backstopper Marc-Andre Fleury blow it last night and allow the Columbus Blue Jackets to even the series. Fleury fumbled the puck at the boards near his net, the Jackets grabbed it and tied the game with 22.5 seconds left, and then in overtime Fleury fluffed a long shot from Nick Foligno.

Remember when Fleury and Peter Budaj almost came to blows back on January 22nd? Fleury had this huge grin on his face that cried out to be shut tight with a solid right into grinning mouth, stopping just short of his tonsils and causing him to pick pieces of teeth and throat mucus out of his mashed potatoes for the following month.

Zdeno Chara laughed in the face of Detroit’s Brendan Smith when the two stood toe to toe Sunday night, and how great it would’ve been to see Smith throw a punch and flatten Chara’s nose. Chara is 6’9″, but his nose is only four feet long and possibly made of the same stuff as humans. So it could be breakable.

It would be cool to see an accidental stick land hard between Milan Lucic’s legs tonight. Strictly accidental because I don’t condone violence. But enough to cause Lucic to squeal like a pig for the next three weeks and speak like Cindy Lauper forever after.

A seven-game suspension for Matt Cooke? When he gets back, his Wild teammates and Avs’ Tyson Barrie should meet him at the golf course and one after another practice prostate examinations with their wedge irons. Maybe use wooden-shaft Ben Hogan-endorsed models that might accidentally break halfway up.

Sit Back And Enjoy Others Pound Away

Isn’t it nice to sit back, put the feet up, smile, light a stogie, stretch, hum a tune, clean ear wax, and watch other teams beat each other with sticks while our team has already got the job done?

At this point in time, Boston leads Detroit 2-1, Pittsburgh is winning 2 games to 1 over Columbus, the Rangers are up 2-1 on Philly, San Jose holds a huge 3-0 lead over L.A., Anaheim is leading Dallas 2-1, St. Louis has a 2-1 edge on Chicago, and Colorado leads Minnesota 2-1.

Of course by the time you might read this, it’ll have changed. But no matter. Change, don’t change. Whatever.

We’re relaxed. We watch without jitters. Our team is moving on, which is just about as good or better than anything we do with our clothes on.

And should we root for Detroit or Boston to play our Canadiens? With Detroit we’d be up against a talented, great skating team that for the most part plays it clean.

With Boston, there’s talent and a plethora of ugliness and uncouthness.

Maybe at this point I’m going with Detroit, really for no particular reason other than the Canadiens might stand less of a chance of getting injured.

And if it’s Detroit, it won’t take long for me to despise them as much as any other team playing the good guys from Montreal because that’s what we do. We hate the other team because they’re trying to get in the way of our happiness.

Montreal went 3-1 against the Bruins this year, and 2-1 against Detroit.

 

Canadiens Clip Wings

Maybe a tad too many giveaways and Carey Price has seen better nights, but no matter, the Canadiens win another, a 5-4 affair in Motown, and thus, the train keeps a rollin’.

Seven wins in eight games. Fighting it out in the standings with Tampa Bay for home ice advantage in the first round. A team more and more are thinking of as a bonafide contender in the east.

It makes my heart soar like a reawakened Avro Arrow.

They almost blew it though. Some inexcusable turnovers and some slightly off-kilter work by Price, but many of the guys showed up for work, like DD, Vanek, and Max line, and in the end, it’s two points deposited in the bank of Montreal.

Now we have a good sleep, make sure we wear our lucky socks for the next two days, and get ready for Saturday in Sunrise.

Tomas Plekanec scored two goals in the first period, his 19th and 20th, but beginning in the second and then into the third, Detroit would answer whenever the Canadiens lit the lamp, and the hometown team continued to keep it close.

The Wings made it 2-1 in the second before David Desharnais converted some nice work by Tomas Vanek in the corner and it became 3-1 for the good guys.

But in the third, P.K. Subban suddenly decided to do what no Norris Trophy winner should ever do – lob a softball up the middle, which of course was intercepted, and it became a 3-2 game at that point.

The Wings then took advantage of loose play in the corner, the puck skipped out, and the game was tied faster than you can say Alex Delvecchio.

The goal scoring onslaught didn’t finish there either. Max made it 4-3 on a slightly offside play, Thomas Vanek then deflected an Andrei Markov shot and it was 5-3, but just 21 seconds later, Detroit made it 5-4 and it was still anybody’s game.

Until it wasn’t.

The Canadiens held on and downed the Red Wings who are fighting for a wild card spot but these are the breaks. No one worries about the Habs, and we’re not about to worry about hurting others’ chances. At least I’m not. It’s dog eat dog out there.

And Detroit is still in the thick of it, although Washington, Columbus, and Toronto are really happy the Habs won and the Wings lost.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – Detroit 30, Montreal 29.

Habs multi-point getters on the night were Vanek with a goal and two assists, Pleks with two goals, DD with a goal and an assist, and PK with two assists.

Vanek has 5 goals and 4 assists in his 11 games with the Canadiens so far.

Max notched his 33rd.

Habs hit Florida for a Saturday night tilt against the Panthers. It’s always interesting to see how many down low, center ice, primo empty seats there will be at the BB&T Center. It must drive hockey fans in Quebec City crazy.