Category Archives: Dallas Stars

Canadiens Come Within This Much Of Winning

The puck rolled just out of Andrei Markov’s reach and slid by a sprawling Martin Brodeur and into the corner, and the crowd at the Bell Centre and in Habs fans’ living rooms throughout the land screamed and oohed and awed. And four seconds later, when we were still shaking our heads, suddenly Zach Parise found himself wide open down at the other end, and, as they say in politer circles than this…Bob’s your #%^#& uncle.

2-1 Devils in overtime and it’s a tough one because we were oh so close. Montreal could have won this game on this night. The skaters skated. The defence played hard. And Jaroslav Halak was once again fantastic and his stock continues to rise. It was a nice, solid effort from everyone. Except they lost.

I hate to say “could have” in describing this. It’s sounds like it’s almost a good thing. But when I say “could have” I mean that the Canadiens played a sharp game, outshooting New Jersey 30-28, and they had, off the top of my head, a half-dozen great chances to send everyone home giddy and lightheaded. Of course Montreal allowed the Devils to take their pot shots too, but that’s nothing new or unusual. Canadiens allow this every night. 

And it’s the same old song and dance. Martin Brodeur loves to play in his old hometown, and he shows his brilliance pretty well every time he suits up there. Maybe he thinks he’d better look good because he knows his dad Denis is hard at work just behind the glass snapping hundreds of award-winning pictures of him.

The chances were there, it didn’t happen, and Canadiens lose. Case closed. End of story. One lousy point. It could’ve been a great night.

Random Notes:

The guys get a well-deserved break before greeting the Dallas Stars on Thursday. Please, Habs wives, be gentle.

Scoot Gomez scored the lone Canadiens’ marker.


Time To Put The Brakes On Before It Gets Worse

I just couldn’t get overly-excited watching the Habs-Caps game after seeing the Canada-US gold medal dazzler only minutes before, and maybe because its 1:30 in the morning and I should be in bed might have something to do with it. But I watched it with my thumb on the fast-forward button, and I saw a disappointing 4-2 loss to Washington. And the Habs were not only badly out-shot, but they’ve managed only two goals over the last two games now, which is the part I’m least excited about.

When you don’t score and are badly outshot, it generally means you’re going to lose. It’s not the greatest recipe for winning.

It’s time to regroup. The Canadiens had a great road trip, going six and one, but the one-nothing stinker to Buffalo after that, and now this 4-2 loss has them spinning their tires. They came off that good stretch and now they’re only another loss or two from being in a slump.

Funny how that goes, eh?

And they can start their regrouping by putting together some solid wins in the four-game home stand that they’re about to enjoy. Florida, New Jersey, Dallas and Ottawa all visit the Bell Centre next, and it’s time to score some goals. Because suddenly, Tomas Plekanec has become quiet, and so has everyone else. They were exploding and firing on all cylinders only just recently and fans had big smiles on their faces. Now things have become slightly disturbing with the guns quiet, and the smiles have disappeared.

It’s a roller coaster season for the Habs and Habs fans, and now it’s time to straighten the tracks. We prefer our roller coasters at amusement parks.

Peter Zezel Loses His Battle

Peter Zezel, who had a fine 15 year NHL career with Philadelphia, St. Louis, Washington, Toronto, Dallas, New Jersey, and Vancouver, has passed away after losing his battle with a rare blood disorder called hemolytic anemia. He was only 44. This blog would like to convey to Peter’s family our sincere condolences. Peter Zezel was a great and important player for all the teams he played with.

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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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Habs Dominated But Only If You Didn’t See The Game

If you didn’t see the game and only saw the 3-1 score, you could posssibly think that Montreal waltzed into Dallas, dominated, and the score could’ve been much more if it wasn’t for Stars goaltender Marty Turco. That’s if you didn’t see the game.

It wasn’t pretty by any stretch. The Canadiens took nine of eleven penalties called in the first period, which is a bit of the same old song. And they were outshot in the game 31-19. But they won, dammit, and like the old cliche goes – a win is a win is a win. There’s nothing like a good old cliche. We’ll also insert here, it was a big two points and we’re gonna take it one game at a time.

All in all, though, they played pretty well, aside from the penalties. It’s something they can build on, which I’ve probably said half a dozen times before. Make that a dozen times.

Random Notes:

Andrei Kostitsyn, Alex Kovalev, and Chris Higgins scored for Montreal. Dallas got one but that’s not important.

The Edmonton Oilers are in Montreal to clash with the good guys on Tuesday. You remember the Oilers. Wayne Gretzky used to play for them.

It’s a bit weird that the Canadiens continue to take so many penalties most every game. I’m sure there’s a very good reason why. 

Montreal holds on to their precious playoff spot.

Nice to see Carey Price get the win. If he keeps that up, a few good head doctors might lose a patient after all.

I Asked The Swami About The Game

I consulted my swami today about tonight’s game in Dallas, a game we all know is bigger than big, considering the Habs are teetering on the edge of the Grand Canyon with only a slight breeze away from hurtling over.

“Swami.” I asked. “How will the boys perform tonight?”

“Carey Price will be magnificent,” answered the great swami. “The team will win. They will be strong. They will look good. These are questions I can answer with the greatest of ease.”

“But,” continued the swami,” there is one question that is impossible to answer. There is no swami the world who will know this. It’s too difficult, so please don’t ask. I have no idea how Alex Kovalev will do.”

Steve Begin Begins A New Life In Dallas

For five years we watched Steve Begin report to work with steel toes and a lunchpail. We watched a guy who earned his money, who toiled as a grinder with the Montreal Canadiens, a plumber, a fourth-liner. But being a plumber and a fourth-liner didn’t mean he wasn’t an important player, although lately he’s been a healthy scratch. The Canadiens simply have too many good young players vying for jobs with the big team. Gregory Stewart, Matt D’Agostini, Kyle Chipchura, and expecially Max Pacioretty have all shown they belong, and unfortunately, Begin’s days became numbered.

Steve Begin gave everything he had with the team. He fought bigger foes, often in a losing cause, went into the corners, crashed nets, and would even score a big goal now and then. He was, and is, a player most teams and coaches would like to have. The only complaint I have is that he would sometimes take poorly-timed penalties. But I appreciate the kind of player Steve Begin is, and I hope he has a long career in the NHL, starting with his brand new team, the Dallas Stars.

The player coming Montreal’s way is 28 year old defenceman Doug Janik, Defencemen are valuable commodities, and even though Janik may play mostly in Hamilton for now, the old adage that you can’t have enough good defencemen holds true. Maybe down the road he’ll become a solid blueliner in Montreal.

What else does Bob Gainey have up his sleeve? Between now and next Wednesday, I’m sure there will be more movement from Montreal. The team needs to get stronger. Have you looked at the standings lately?

If Sean Avery Wants To Play, Maybe It Could Be In Siberia.

We’re hearing more and more now about Sean Avery and his upcoming return to the NHL. New York is mentioned the most, with coach Tom Renney saying Avery is wonderful with his teammates. Sure didn’t seem that way in Dallas. Mike Modano and Marty Turco might have a little to say about that. And sure doesn’t seem that way when you hear that he has a nasty habit of picking on rookies and making fun of teammates who stutter. And when asked by George S. awhile back on The Hour to describe most NHL players, Avery replied, “dumb.” Is this being wonderful with your teammates, as Renney described?

From time to time I see the Habs mentioned as a possible team for this nut. I can’t think of anything worse. Let the Canadiens slump. Let them lose to Boston. Let Mike Komisarek make more bad passes. But don’t let Sean Avery wear the CH.

Please.

Number Nine Is Too Sacred For Just Anybody

  When Wayne Gretzky retired, the entire league, every team, agreed the proper thing to do was to retire jersey no. 99 permanently so no other player would ever wear it.

 

This is absolutely reasonable. Gretzky deserves this honour. He was Gretzky, for goodness sakes.

 

But there’s another number out there that deserves the same royal treatment. Number nine.

 

Number nine was the number of Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, and of course, Maurice Richard.

 

How can you argue with that? Number nine shouldn’t be worn by Steve Downie or Oscar Moller. Number nine was worn by Mr. Hockey, the Golden Jet, and the Rocket, three of the greatest ever, right up there at the top of the mountain. It’s a sacred number.

 

Currently there are 15 teams of the 30 with a player wearing number nine. It doesn’t seem right.

 

I think all but two of these players should surrender their number nine, choose another one, and carry on. The two players, Mike Modano in Dallas and Paul Kariya in St. Louis, have had too good a career to not wear these sweaters. But when they retire, so goes the number.

 

Here are the other 13 players currently wearing number nine.

 

Eric Christensen – Atlanta

Derek Roy – Buffalo

Steven Weiss – Florida

Oscar Moller – LA

Mikko Koivu – Minnesota

Zach Parise – New Jersey

Brendan Bell – Ottawa

Scottie Upshall – Philadelphia

Pascal Dupuis – Pittsburgh

Milan Michalek – San Jose

Steve Downie – Tampa Bay

Niklas Hagman – Toronto

Taylor Pyatt – Vancouver

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