Category Archives: Don Cherry

A Brief Habs-Sens Recap

The Canadiens and Senators clashed three times before tonight, and how did things go?

On Nov. 7th in Ottawa, Montreal dropped a 4-1 decision , their fourth straight loss in November, because for some reason they had stopped scoring  – just seven goals scored in four games.

Sound familiar? Currently they’ve scored seven goals in their last five games.

On January 4th at the Bell, two goals from Daniel Briere and one from Brian Gionta wasn’t enough because with the the game tied and just 19 seconds remaining in the third period, P.K. Subban took a hooking penalty and Ottawa ended it on the power play in overtime.

On January 16th in Ottawa, the Canadiens finally solved the Sens, although it took overtime to do it. And the fact was, the boys were terrible on this night. They had jumped into a 3-0 lead in the first but by the time this period would draw to a close, Ottawa had replied twice and it was a 3-2 game.

For the rest of the night, it was all Ottawa and only Carey Price standing on his head kept his team in it. Finally in overtime, P.K. scored the winner and celebrated like crazy, making the talking heads at CBC and Habs-haters everywhere aghast at PK’s enthusiastic celebration.

I thought it was a justified celebration on PK’s part. After what had happened twelve days before when he was in the box and the Sens won it, and the way they had played so well in the first period of this game and then completely fell apart, it was only right that P.K. was joyful.

Cherry, Stock, Habs haters and Sens fans etc. didn’t get it, naturally.

Tonight is the fourth meeting between these two and it’s time for the Canadiens to start scoring. And it’s time to show some superiority over a team nine points behind them in the standings.

 

 

 

 

Canada 6 Austria 0

“Whatcha think of the game, Elmer?”
“Best game I’ve ever seen, Red.”
“You gotta stay away from that homemade corn whiskey, Elmer.”

Press box

Just a couple of things to mention:

You could see the guys a bit more in sync in game two than in game one.

And speaking of game one, they showed a Canadian fan in the stands wearing one of those red and white “Cat in the Hat-type” hats. Do you think the person behind him who couldn’t see appreciated it?

For the second straight game, Shea Weber fired a laser from well out that bulged the twine, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that this guy’s shot might be in the top one or two hardest in the history of the game.

Don Cherry did his Coach’s Corner with some kind of dog hat on his head.

Announcers Jim Hughson, Craig Simpson, and Glenn Healy were really on top of things when they told us that the Sochi time-out snow shovelers aren’t as good as NHL snow shovelers.

PK Subban had a solid night. Hopefully Babcock and company thought so too.

It’s been said often that if Luongo played well in this game, it should be enough to use him from here on in, which is just silly. What about a bad game from him on Sunday, or the next game?

Carey Price still has a chance to be the guy, regardless of what they say. Luongo had an easier night, but he recorded a shutout. Price allowed one goal, which apparently was too many.

Sunday against Finland. It’ll be good to finally see a real challenge. And Saturday’s U.S.-Russia tilt should be a beauty.

Live From Toronto, It’s Saturday Night

It’s nothing new to see and hear Hockey Night in Canada announcers pronounce their undying love for the Maple Leafs. It’s a bit sickening but it’s nothing new.

In fact, it’s been going on since Don Cherry was young and possibly humble.

On Saturday night, broadcasters Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson, whom I thought were generally fair-minded up until then, might as well have waved Leafs flags as they called the action below.

Throughout the night they praised the Leafs so much, I started wondering how far up Yonge Street the Stanley Cup parade will go.

One of the two said something about how Brandon Prust must be afraid of Dion Phaneuf, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. It had to be a joke. Everyone knows Phaneuf fights like Ron Maclean.

And I’ve been sick so maybe I was hallucinating and just thought I heard it.

Glenn Healy down at ice level mentioned that the Leafs can’t let Montreal get a point so it better not go to overtime. But I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt too and say he was just stating a fact. But it sounded terrible.

There were lots of examples. Unfortunately, I didn’t write them down.

How about P.J Stock, the Einstein of the airwaves. Carey Price was fantastic in Ottawa, it was said to him. But he did let in four goals, squawked P.J., and which is nonsensical.

The guy can barely talk, and yet he’s a HNIC analyst.

I checked Wikipedia and this was said about P.J. when he was on CHOM FM’s morning show in 2010. “He brought a comedic element to the show by attempting to interview his family’s hamster, Richard Gere.”

Must have been fine and outstanding humour.

Ron Maclean in Lloydminster for Hockey Day in Canada was his usual hokey self. Maclean became a HNIC star years ago because he was able to come up with quick thinking little puns on a regular basis when he and Don Cherry would sign off Coach’s Corner.

He’s rode the coattails of that one particular talent for years.

Cherry, also in Lloydminster, arrived at the rink in a chauffeur-driven car with a slew of mounties waiting to escort him into the arena. Like a king. King of the world.

Announced by Maclean as “Coach of the Year in the American Hockey League. Coach of the Year in the NHL. Seventh all-time most popular Canadian.”

And then Cherry kind of elbowed aside a woman when he was about to walk the red carpet, where he strolled along blessing the faithful.

Cherry, during Coach’s Corner, talked about P.K. Subban’s celebration after scoring the game-winner in overtime in Ottawa, and how P.K. shouldn’t do that. Others, including Sens goaltender Craig Anderson, have whined about the same thing.

They’re all put out about this. But there was certainly a good reason for P.K’s exuberance, which doesn’t seem to be mentioned.

The Canadiens were badly outplayed in Ottawa. They’d blown a 3-0 lead. It was only Carey Price keeping them in it, and in the third period, they tied the game on a flukey goal. A flukey goal that kept them in it even though they should’ve been losing by a country mile.

And then P.K. won it in overtime. A most unlikely win if there ever was one.

That wasn’t a goal to be cool and calm about. It was a huge mother of a goal, he saved the day for his team in dramatic fashion, and the celebration was justified.

Personally, though, I want to thank the original HNIC crew for being so pro-Leafs. Because of that reason, they made me what I am today – a Habs fan. I think I owe Foster Hewit and his cronies a sincere debt of gratitude.

Growing up in Orillia, an hour and a half north of Toronto, it was only Leafs games we would get on TV. My dad would constantly moan and groan about the biased announcing of Hewitt and about the men in the Hot Stove Lounge who would go on and on about the Leafs and barely mention other teams.

We were bombarded by all things Leafs. Way too much to take.

Meanwhile in Montreal, the team was winning five straight Stanley Cups with larger than life names like Richard, Beliveau, Plante, Harvey et al. The Leafs just didn’t seem to have the class and aura the Canadiens did. They weren’t in the same league.

My dad hated the HNIC Leafs love-fest in Toronto (you see, nothing’s changed) and turned up his cheering for the Canadiens by several notches.

And of course I did too. Stupid Leafs, we’d both say. It became easy to hate them, and so easy to love the Habs.

So thanks HNIC. You helped make me a Habs fan. If you weren’t such ridiculous homers, I might have been a Leafs fan.

Geez what a thought.

 

 

 

 

Only 5.2 Billion

The big news of course is Rogers (Sportsnet) buying the TV rights for hockey games across Canada for the next twelve years, including four years and beyond of Hockey Night in Canada. For 5.2 billion dollars.

CBC will still do the games, but Rogers collects money other ways. Whether or not Don Cherry and Ron MacLean continue remains to be seen. It’ll be up to the Rogers people but I’m guessing they will be. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, people still watch.

If Cherry stays, I’m hoping Hazel Mae replaces MacLean.

As they were saying on Prime Time Sports, this is a great thing, this massive deal. Hockey Night in Canada could have died if Rogers didn’t do this. CBC’s taxpayer dollars can’t handle 5.2 billion.

The big question is, will Habs fans see every Habs game like now? What about RDS? Can I get TVA? Where will certain broadcasters go? Will PJ Stock and Glenn Healy have to send their wives back to work?

I grew up with Hockey Night in Canada. It’s important to me.

 

 

 

 

 

Who’s The Young Fellow?

None other than Fred Stanley in 1879, when he was a mere 36 years old and the Conservative MP for Lancashire.

Fred would donate a hockey mug 13 years later, in 1892 when he was 49 and the Governor General of Canada.

A year later he would head back to England.

“I just wanted to get out of there before Don Cherry was born,’ said Fred to King Fisher of the Kingston Whig-Standard.

Stanley

THN Rates ’76-’77 Habs The Best

For the last eight Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup wins, from 1971 to 1993, I managed to save the front pages and laminate them. (Although one, from 1977, is an inner page), and I did a little write up about each of those years.

And seeing how The Hockey News has chosen the Habs 1976-77 team as the greatest team ever, I thought I’d re-post that part of my series.

(THN’s other top five in order are the ’83-’84 Oilers, ’82-’82 Islanders, ’55-’56 Habs, and ’51-’52 Red Wings).

In the spring of 1977, as I was on the verge of getting married for the first time, Jacques Lemaire scored the overtime goal to give his team their second straight Stanley Cup in this late 1970′s run, and it was done with a lovely four-game sweep against Don Cherry and his Boston Bruins.

Is this one of the reasons you’re not crazy about the Habs, Don?

It had been quite a year for this dominating bunch. Montreal only lost eight times in 80 games and racked up a record 132 points. Nobody was going to beat them in the playoffs. You didn’t have to be Kreskin to figure it out. In fact, the team swept the Blues, took out the Islanders 4 games to 2, and then swept the Bruins. Fourteen games in total, and very similar to the 13 it had taken them the year before.

Guy Lafleur won the Conn Smythe trophy for playoff MVP and managed nine goals and 17 assists throughout. But he had this to say: “It’s my third Cup and it’s always nice, but it’s not the same excitement. I don’t think I’m the best player. It’s just that everything went well for me.”

Jacques Lemaire was the quiet hero on this ride. His teammates had told him to shoot more, and on this night, he delivered with the overtime marker. “Why shouldn’t I be happy,” said Lemaire. “I’m on a holiday. I’m on a holiday starting now. It’s about time. It still is Lafleur and Shutt, except tonight. Tonight was a mistake. They said, shoot the puck, you look good.”

Coach Scotty Bowman talked about Lafleur and Shutt. “They play more like Europeans. I’m not knocking the NHL style of play, but the Europeans make more plays on the move. That’s what Lafleur and Shutt do.”

And last word to Don Cherry. “It’s hard to believe we kept outshooting them and still can’t win a game. I still say the whole thing boiled down to those three defensemen.”

Sittler Got Ten

My old buddy Mike Williamson was talking to Darryl Sittler for a few minutes last week when he was making his elevator maintenance rounds, and Mike mentioned to Darryl that he and his wife Diana were at the Gardens the night Sittler had six goals and four assists for an incredible ten points.

Ten points in one game. Imagine. Too bad he was a Leaf. But on the other hand, it was against Boston!

In honour of Mike chatting with Darryl, here’s Sittler getting his ten.

Against Don Cherry and the Bruins.

 

Bruins Dump Manhattanites

I haven’t been watching a lot of hockey lately. Am I bad?

I am, I guess. A lousy hockey fan.

When the Canadiens are gone, the enthusiasm for spending two and a half hours in front of the boob tube takes a major hit. Other teams don’t interest me a great deal. I hated them all during the regular season, and I’m not all that fussy about liking any of them now.

Don Cherry would probably say I’m a poor hockey fan. Don also says fans should cheer for the team nearest where they live.

I lived in Toronto once. And he expects……?

I did watch game five of the Bruins-Rangers series on Saturday night, when the Bruins eliminated New York four games to one. I would’ve liked to have seen Boston get walloped and the fans sent home sad, but now they’re happy in Beantown, and this makes me sad.

And prior to the game, TSN showed Tuukka Rask’s goal miscue from game four about twenty times. It was quite a moment. Rask has been involved in a couple of priceless video moments, including a temper tantrum after a Habs loss (below).

Wouldn’t it be funny if the overhead clock fell fifteen feet in front of Brad Marchand and it still clipped his nose?

I don’t really care about these enemy teams. I just kept thinking, while watching the Bruins, that they remind me of throwing up after eating too many orange and black jelly beans.

I also saw that Rangers’ coach John Tortorella has a decent tan, and I don’t know whether you caught it or not, but Boston’s Zdeno Chara is fairly tall. Did you notice that?

It’ll now be Pittsburgh against the Bruins in the eastern final. Go Pittsburgh, I suppose.

All I really want from here on in is to see a record-breaking overtime game. One that goes about seven or eight overtime periods. Then I’ll be interested.

Here’s Rask/Habs moment, when he wiped out after losing 6-5 in a shootout on March 27.

And here’s the goal TSN kept showing.