Category Archives: Detroit Red Wings

Once Again – Big Game, Big Win!

Wins on Saturday in Ottawa and Sunday in Montreal, and the Canadiens sizzle while the Senators fizzle.

Sunday it was 4-1 Canadiens, with the boys dominating often throughout, forcing turnovers that led to several partial breakaways, playing tough along the boards and in the crease, taking no shit in scrums late in the game, and making Sens goalie Craig Anderson look ordinary while Carey Price looked his brilliant self.

Price, with an amazing toe save on Kyle Turris in the second period when it was still a 2-1 game, demonstrated exactly how unreal goaltending can win games or change momentum.

A key stop at a key time. Just another day at the office for our main man.

Ten games left for the bleu, blanc et rouge before the real stuff begins. And to me at least, they’re rounding into form at the perfect time.

I’m feeling sad for Ottawa fans. They were pumped for the back-to-back series that would see their team catapult over Montreal and into first place in the Atlantic Division.

But it didn’t happen. And how sad do I feel?

To see the Canadiens win both, the second one handily, makes my heart soar like a bird flying high in the Chinese sky!

But I’m not one to gloat or be biased.  No way. It’s not polite and I don’t want that reputation. It’s not my fault that the Sens suck.

Random Notes:

Tomas Plekanec, scoreless in twenty games or so, got his team rolling at the 28-second mark of the first period, and after Ottawa evened things, Jordie Benn put the gang in front after his long shot deflected off a Senator D-man’s stick.

No lamps lit through the second, but the Canadiens broke it open in the third when Paul Byron, with his 20th, and Nathan Beaulieu on the power play, put the game out of reach.

Ain’t hockey great when your favourite team deflates a rival that’s trying to catch them? It’s good for the soul. It makes hockey fun again. It makes me forget the negatives, like another possible lockout down the road for example.

It makes it all good. At the expense of the Ottawa Senators and their fans!

Random Notes:

Montreal outshot Ottawa 37-30.

Montreal sits at 6 wins and 2 losses so far in March. Or if you want to go back further, they’ve lost just three times in their last thirteen games.

Next up – Tuesday, when it’s Detroit paying a visit.

Thursday they host Carolina, and then it’s the Ottawa Senators once again. But I shouldn’t get ahead of myself. For now, I’m just going to sit here and feel bad for Sens fans.

 

 

Another Friggin’ Nosedive?

I’m trying to make this interesting but it’s tough. It’s about numbers for goodness sake. Basic numbers, because I’m not smart enough for anything more.

In a nutshell, it seems the Habs could pretty well repeat their crappiness of a year ago if they don’t soon get their shit together.

Of course we remember last year. The year the Canadiens completed their worst season in history, finishing a pathetic 22nd of 30 teams after rolling over just about everyone in October and November.

But things would be different this year, we said! Again they dominated in October and we loved that. Dominating, with a healthy Carey Price! My spot on Ste. Catherine for the parade was already figured out.

Then, slowly but surely, teams started dominating them and it hasn’t seemed to stop. Colorado, a truly pathetic team, the worst in the league, kicked their ass last night. The Habs have sucked for weeks and weeks now. And Carey Price is looking mighty ordinary.

Last year, the year from hell, the Habs collected a feeble 82 points, not even close to going to the dance. Detroit needed 93 points to nail down the final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.

Montreal has 68 points so far this year, meaning they’ll need at least 25 points in their remaining 27 games to reach 93 points.

No problem, you say? Great! I love your outlook. It’s basically .500 hockey needed, which they’ve barely managed to do lately, but which is lousy at the best of times and completely unacceptable for demanding Habs fans.

Last season, after 82 games, the Canadiens scored 221 goals and had 236 scored against them.

This year, after 63 games, the boys have scored 158 times, and allowed 138.

So after bringing up the trusty calculator, I see that they’ll need 2.33 goals a game for the rest of the season, and also allow 3.5 goals, to match the output from the season from hell.

2.33 goals a game might be asking a lot. And they definitely could allow 3.5. The clouds are getting darker.

During the last four games, which they lost of course,  the boys scored a total of 3 goals.

The seven games before that, they scored 17 times, which works out to 2.42 goals per game, almost identical (2.69) to last year’s pathetic display.

I could go back further in the season because I have the good old S.H.I.T.S. (Scientific Habs Information Tracking System) in front of me, but the heck with it. Your eyes are closing and so are mine.

They’re falling apart again after a great start. Just like last year. With a healthy Carey Price this time around.

 

 

 

Habs Rock Rangers

The Canadiens rebound from a 7-1 trouncing on Thursday in Minnesota to edge the visiting New York Rangers 5-4 at the Bell on Saturday night, and church bells ring throughout the land.

So if you hear church bells on Saturday night or Sunday morning, it’s because the Habs won. What else could it be?

Not only did they win but they did it by scoring three unanswered goals in the third period to do it. It’s almost religious.

The first period saw Andrew Shaw, returning from concussion, interfere in the crease which caused Phillip Danault’s goal to be called back,  the team was scored upon with Shaw in the box, and to cap off the night for the returning not-so-bright forward, he blindsided Jesper Fast and received a five minute major and game misconduct.

Too much energy and adrenaline for Shaw, and not enough brain cells turned on. But whatever. The team won. And regardless of the lack of brain cells, at least Shaw plays with an edge.

I’ve been whining that the Canadiens have been too full of peace and love for a decade. Time to be mean assholes. But probably a bit smarter than Shaw on this night.

Alex Galchenyuk, back from sick bay after more than a month, tied the game with a deflection, but quickly the visitors went ahead after Alexei Emelin took the man but forgot the puck, and Rick Nash banged it home.

But….I don’t understand.

Kevin Hayes barged in, wrapped his skate behind Carey Price’s pad, and dragged the poor bastard out of the crease, thereby giving Nash the open net. The play was reviewed and the goal stood.

How come? Please tell me. Maybe Kerry Fraser can explain. I’ll watch for it.

Things were heating up, and the Bell Centre patrons sat up. Brian Flynn would shove it home to tie the game at 2-2, but tragically, our man Chucky would lose the puck along the boards, reliable old Shea Weber was beaten cleanly, it was 3-2 Rangers, and life wasn’t worth living.

Until it was.

The third frame saw Alexei Emelin fire a wrist shot home from the blueline to put things at 3-3, then Max would outrace two d-men to put the boys ahead 4-3, and Paul Byron would give them a beauty of two goal, 5-3 lead.

The Rangers would make it 5-4 with 5:07 left, but that was the best the Broadway Blueshirts could do.

Habs win 5-4. And please don’t fret about Carey Price’s mediocre play lately, or cracks in defence, or this or that. This is the regular season, where we only have to be concerned about them making the playoffs, which they will.

The regular season is only a rehearsal, a fine-tuning, a time to get the gang ready for opening night – the playoffs. I’m sure Marlon Brando was an asshole sometimes before the cameras rolled, and then rallied to give the performance of his life.

That’s the Habs. Ups, downs, fine tuning, readying for the curtain to rise.

Random Notes:

The Rangers outshot Montreal 33-32. Price came up big a bunch of times.

Next up – two tough games on the horizon. Detroit on Monday, and at home to greet Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

Radulov To Galchenyuk

joe

Above, the Joe Louis Arena (the white building) in Detroit, taken a few months ago when I was visiting my old friends Mike and Diana Williamson in the Windsor area.

Yes, the Joe Louis Arena. Where on a Saturday night in late November, Alexander Radulov fed Alex Galchenyuk in overtime, the net bulged, and the Canadiens begin their five-game road trip with a 2-1 win over the Red Wings.

I might as well save the next sentence and just copy and paste it after every Habs win…….. Carey Price saved the day once again.

The Wings opened the scoring in the third period of a slightly dull game, but Brendan Gallagher would soon even things up, and for Habs fans, it wasn’t as dull anymore.

Gally, who hadn’t scored since Oct. 24th when he deflected a Radulov shot on the power play for the game winner against Philadelphia, hopefully now has that great big mother of a piano lifted from his back.

Random Notes:

Shea Weber was penalized in overtime for slashing but Price and the boys held the fort. Soon after, Weber came out of the box and rang one off the post. One of the more exciting moments of the night.

Charles Hudon was out, due to a fractured sternum (breastplate). These young guys. Can’t even play with a lousy fractured sternum. Hell, in my day………..

Replacing Hudon was Arturri Lehtonen, who was absolutely robbed by Wings netminder Petr Mrazek with a glove save that you’ll see for the next several weeks or months on TV.

Detroit outshot Montreal 33-24.

Next up – Tuesday in Anaheim, which means a late night for eastern time zone fans.

The Captain Came To Play

hooray

Captain Max put his team ahead just 14 seconds into the third period, and the Canadiens snag a big 2-1 win over their ungrateful guests, the Carolina Hurricanes.

Not a great game by the Canadiens, they were dominated by the Canes at times, particularly in the second frame when Carolina owned the puck and Montreal managed just 4 feeble shots.

But whatever. Carolina still lost. Ain’t life grand?

The boys were also outshot by the visitors 32-22 overall, and a hearty thanks it is to Carey Price, who shut the door when called upon, even though it is slightly disturbing to see once again that it was him to the rescue.

Maybe we just have to get used it. Maybe our man Price will take us to the promised land.

Thursday night was a night when silent guns suddenly became a bit louder, with Max chosen first star, and his linemates Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher collecting assists on the game winner.

Max even rang one off the post late in the third, so maybe the slump gods have found some peace and love up there.

Even DD got into the act when he (and Charles Hudon) assisted on Andrew Shaw’s goal in the first period that tied it at one apiece after Carolina had opened the scoring.

Spread the wealth, boys. It’s as basic a game plan as there is.

It reminds me of when I was a smallish yet shifty right winger for Orillia’s Byers Bantam Bulldozers and………

Never mind.

Random Notes:

The team now meets the Red Wings in Detroit on Saturday night, and then it’s off to California for a Tuesday lace-up in Anaheim, then Friday in San Jose and Sunday in Los Angeles before ending the journey in St. Louis the following Tuesday.

Long road trips can be good and bad. Just stay away from Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip, boys. And don’t worry about your wives. I’ll see to it that they’re in good hands.

Bonus Random Note:

I mentioned the other day that on November 22, 1968 my buddy and I sailed to England on an ocean liner, and here’s the ship’s weather log for each day of the journey.

ship-log

empress

 

Habs Whup Wings

win-hand

Carey Price stopped pucks when he had to, nailed down his second shutout of the year, and gave his team the confidence needed to blast the visiting Detroit Red Wings 5-0 into kingdom come.

Two straight games where the Canadiens have been full measure for their wins, making November a four straight, five of six wins month, and bringing the overall record to a lofty, thirst-quenching  13-1-1.

The boys even peppered the Wings net with 37 shots to Detroit’s 25, and were 2/3 on the power play (Weber and Shaw).

How sweet it is.

Scorers were Phillip Danault, Paul Byron, Shea Weber, Andrew Shaw, and Max Pacioretty. And a big shoutout to Alex Radulov, who was simply great.

This is all I can muster. I was talking to a guy in the bar who said he was a doctor and I believed him because I have faith in humanity and aside from the smell, he really knew a lot about prescriptions and needles, and well, he just seemed like a doctor who could use a shave and a bath, but that’s to be expected because these fellows often work round the clock. So when he said he needed another double rye and ginger because saving lives was hard but he had no money because it had all gone into research and could I buy him a drink because he could really use it, I did of course.

I did because doctors are healers and I appreciate that. He appreciated the double rye and ginger too, and was so thankful he gave me a pill to calm my crazy nerves that I’d been telling him about, and now I’m back home having watched the game and the walls are melting and giant tigers are on the roof and I don’t know what to do.

The Habs are in Chicago tomorrow to continue their stunning success. I should be alive to see it.

acid

 

Canadiens Conquer Kings

habs-girl

They’ve been mediocre at best lately, but they’ve still been winning just about every night.

We’ll take that, I guess.

Tonight they not only won again, but they were also quite excellent, at least in my tired, old eyes, as the Habs proved too much for the great big L.A. Kings and their familiar goaltender, Peter Budai.

Another two points banked, to be withdrawn during desperate times.

A convincing 4-1 over the Californians, and the Montreal Canadiens roll along, even though we get mad at them.

We get mad at them and they’ve won their first nine games at home, four of five games in November, and sit 12-1-1 overall.

We’re a tough bunch. Hard to please. Harsh critics. Possibly a bit silly about the whole state of affairs. But we need that Cup contender. It’s only natural.

The Kings did try and make a game of it in the third period, beginning with an Anze Kopitar shot that Carey Price miraculously gloved, and what left the captain shaking his head. But it’s not the first time Price has left a shooter shaking his head, and it won’t be the last.

With Brendan Gallagher serving four minutes in the box for high sticking, the Kings narrowed things to 3-1, and we were mad at Gallagher.

But after Montreal’s penalty killers held on after Andrei Markov was sent to the sinbin for high sticking (which we were mad at him about), Alex Galchenyuk found the empty net and we were happy about that.

We were happy, except for hearing the news that Leonard Cohen had died during the evening.

Probably every time I’ve ever heard a Leonard Cohen song, I’ve wished I could put words together like that.

Random Notes:

The Canadiens were outshot 24-23, which is way better than having 40 shots sent their way, which has been the pattern lately.

Scoring for Montreal were Paul Byron, Daniel Carr, Phillip Danault (who was great on this night centering Max and Andrew Shaw), and Galchenyuk with his empty netter.

Chucky leads the team with 6 goals and 8 assists.

Next up – The Detroit Red Wings hit town.

 

 

 

 

R.I.P. Gordie

Howe and Rocket

When I was a kid in the schoolyard, the conversation with my buddies would go something like this:

Rocket’s better.
Nope, Howe’s better.
No way. Rocket’s better.
Howe’s better.
Take off, hoser.
No you take off.
Shut up and your mother wears army boots. (Or words to that effect).

That’s what it was. Always the same thing. Rocket and Howe. Two completely different players, but Howe was the enemy and Rocket was my hero, so I won. And I’ve  known now for years that Howe was the better all-round player, but I didn’t then and I wouldn’t have admitted it even if I did.

In the 1990s I had breakfast with the legendary goalie Glenn Hall, who was in Powell River for the Allan Cup. Glenn was a teammate of Gordie’s in the 1950s with Detroit, and played against him while with Chicago and St. Louis.

Glenn had also faced the Rocket and Orr during his Hall of Fame career, and because he lived near Edmonton and still involved in hockey in various ways, was as familiar with Wayne Gretzky as practically anyone.

I asked who he thought was the greatest ever and he didn’t hesitate. Howe, he answered, because he could do it all, and the others couldn’t.

I didn’t tell Glenn his mother wore army boots.

But Howe could do it all. His wrist shot was something to behold, his passes pinpoint, his deft scoring touch like few others, his unequaled on-ice intelligence, the unparalleled respect he rightfully earned from other players.

And tough? You want tough?

My friend and former co-worker Gilles Gratton was a backup goalie during the 1974 WHA Canada-Russia Summit Series, and he told me about the time Gordie’s son Mark was leveled by a Soviet defenceman in dastardly fashion, so much so that an unsteady Mark initially skated to the wrong bench and had to be steered to the right one by Soviet players.

Not long after, Gordie just happened to skate by the player who nailed Mark, and the guy just happened to end up with a broken arm and was gone for the series.

You didn’t mess with Gordie or his kin.

Players in the NHL, WHA, or Russia didn’t go in the corners with Gordie. They timidly poked their sticks at the puck and then got the hell out of there before one of those famous elbows crushed their faces.

He did it all, legally or not. There was absolutely no one like him.

Several years ago Howe came to Powell River for an autograph signing and the prices charged for his signature were incredibly outlandish. Way higher than normal, maybe because Powell River is fairly isolated.

I was astonished at these abnormal prices and I wrote a column about it for the local newspaper in which I wasn’t very nice, coming down hard on him and the grocery store where the signing was held.

I regret that I did that. Extraordinary prices or not (and they were), this was a fine and friendly fellow, a legendary man, possibly the greatest hockey player to ever play the game,  and he was there trying to make a buck. What an asshole I can be sometimes.

Now he’s gone and it’s a sad day for me and you and millions of others. I can almost hear angels in heaven’s schoolyard: “Rocket’s better”. “No, Howe’s better.” “Take off, hoser”.

Gordie & Rocket

I Think It’s Good Anyway

Once again, for your possible reading enjoyment, some drawings from my grade two exercise book done at West Ward Public School in Orillia, and which I’ve managed to hold on to all these years.

Yes, some of you have seen some of this before, but I’ve added more this time, so that’s good right?

And as another added bonus, I include a photo of West Ward school in the process of burning to the ground in 1968.

But first things first, my art from grade two, lots of it, and which includes some Habs, a portrait of my teacher Mrs. Williams, along with Elvis Presley, which I spelled ‘Elive Prisie’.

If all this isn’t enticing, I don’t know what is.

1

15

16

2

3

4

5

6

7

19

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

17

18

 

West Ward

 

 

Habs Lose Another

triple Crown

The Canadiens fired a season-high 45 shots at Kings’ goaltender Jonathan Quick, and not one of the little rubber bastards found the back of the net.

L.A. blanked the boys 3-0 at the Bell Centre, home of the first period Olé Olé song, which used to be sung near the end of things, when the team had the game under control

Now it’s sung near the start of things, when the guys hadn’t even scored a goal yet.

Why can’t a new song be found. What about Roy Orbison’s ‘It’s Over’? Or Nancy Sinatra’s (and Cher’s) ‘Bang Bang (you shot me down)’, with the lyrics changed to “we shot you down”.

Anything, actually. Anything but the tired old Olé.

Forty-five shots usually means a red light or two, but the Canadiens, now losers of seven of the last nine games, just couldn’t solve a tremendously quick Quick, although, without taking anything away from this fine Kings’ netminder, the Habs haven’t solved many goalies lately.

Eleven goals scored in seven games. Even the Canadian Armed Forces has more firepower.

Random Notes:

Maybe Steven Stamkos or Ryan Johansen will come riding in on a big white horse.

The boys now embark on a big honkin’ eight-game road trip that spans almost three weeks, although interrupted for Christmas in the middle of it.

This seriously difficult stretch against some mighty fine teams begins in Dallas on Saturday and Nashville Monday. I just don’t have the heart to list them all.

Aside from Thursday 45 shots, other big shot nights included 42 against Ottawa last Saturday, along with 40 against Colorado in November and 41 when Detroit visited back in October.

Also in October, Toronto peppered 52 at Carey Price, but the Habs beat the Buds 5-3 anyway.

lakings