Category Archives: Florida Panthers

Killed By Kings

Things were going swimmingly for the boys on Thursday evening at the old Bell barn. They were displaying some mighty fine vim and vigour, outskating and outplaying the visiting L.A. Kings, and if the hockey gods had any decency at all, the light would be lit soon.

The light would be lit all right. Twice, within 11 seconds. By the other team.

Another loss was on the books. A 4-0 drubbing by the L.A. Kings.

Possibly due to the implosion near the end of the first frame, when the Kings beat Carey Price twice, first at the 18.59 mark, and then again seconds later.

For a team that has trouble scoring at the best of times (except when they put five past Panthers backup James Reimer on Tuesday), having two goals scored against them in 11 seconds, with a minute left to play in the opening period, and trying to come back after such a frustrating turn of events, is asking the impossible.

It’s a fragile group, these Montreal Canadiens. Maybe they need more money. C’mon people, line up for an hour to buy a couple of autographs at their next signing appearance. Tell them how great they are while you’re at it.

I feel bad for their wives and girlfriends. What can I do to cheer them up?

In the second period, the Canadiens again looked hungry, but Anze Kopitar blew a wrister past Carey Price, it was 3-0, and I was ready to turn the channel to CNN to see what kind of an ass Donald Trump made of himself in the last few hours.

In the third, it became a 4-0 rout. Time for fans to head to the exits, even though just four minutes had been played. Maybe head to the exits if the ticket was free, otherwise, suck it up and have another $12 beer.

Random Notes:

Habs outshot LA 40-27 and were 0/5 on the pp.

The Kings beat the CH 5-1 in L.A. last Wednesday.

Fans booed the team and Price was jeered whenever he made an easy save. The world is not unfolding as it should.

I pray I never see a sweater hit the ice. The crest is the crest.

Habs GM Marc Bergevin said at his recent press conference that there are elite teams, and then a bunch of good ones, which he included his team in. You’ve had five years to make it an elite team, Marc. Just being good is loser talk.

Next up – Saturday, when the Rangers pay a visit.

Habs Continue To Rock

The Tampa Bay Lightning have been fighting for their playoff lives, trying to catch Toronto for the final wildcard spot, and were winners of their last four games.

Then they met the Montreal Canadiens.

Unfortunately for the Lightning, they ran into a team that’s looking mighty fine these days, and for the Florida-based team, their plans of postseason action just took a major hit after Alexander Radulov bulged the twine in overtime, and the Canadiens skated away with a 2-1 win, their fourth straight.

Rock and rolling at the exact time we want them to be. My chest swells with pride.

Montreal has done serious damage to Tampa’s hopes of catching Toronto (who edged Detroit on this night), but that’s what happens when the Lightning come up against a team now firing on all cylinders, with Carey Price doing his thing and the boys as a whole looking sharp.

Like a playoff team ready to make a large dent.

It’s a fine feeling to see the team play well when it counts. They give us hope, something that was lacking when MT was behind the bench. And after last season in particular, we deserve it.

Four more games for the Canadiens, and then the real fun begins. We’ll be looking for them to shoot down postseason enemies the way scary warriors shoot down monkeys on giraffes.

Just a tight, goaltender’s duel in Tampa, with Price at one end and Andrei Vasilevskiy at the other coming up big time after time. A sensational back and forth game, with wondrous play in overtime that finally saw Max find Radu, and Lightning fans filed out of the rink, got in their cars, and drove palm tree-lined streets to get home and drown their sorrows.

At least I’m assuming that’s what they did.

Random Notes:

The game was scoreless in the first, but the middle frame saw Phillip Danault stuff it home to make it 1-0 Habs. Tampa would tie it in the third by someone named Yanni Gourde, but then Max and Radu went to work in the three-on-three overtime.

Shots on goal – Canadiens 36, Lightning 22.

The Canadiens’ final four games will be within the next week, with the boys bombing over to Sunrise on Monday to throttle the Panthers, then to Buffalo on Wednesday to embarrass the Sabres, then home on Friday to meet these same downcast Lightning, and end it all in Detroit next Saturday.

Canadiens Smoke Stars

Ready? Take a deep breath:

The Dallas Stars scored just 1:47 into the game, but that was it for the visitors as Max Pacioretty’s 34th of the season tied it in the second, while in the third, Gally, Lehkonen, and Radulov broke it open and the big win gives the team 95 points on the season, four better than Ottawa which got a loser point in their SO loss to Philly, and now the Canadiens hope to make it three straight on Thursday when the Florida Panthers, another team like Dallas that has no hope for the postseason, pay a visit to the Bell Centre, home of $12 beer even though the team is owned by Molsons, which I don’t think is right but I can’t buy beer at the Bell anyway because I’m 5000 km. from there and I can drink pints right here in Powell River for $4.50, and if you’re still with me, the Canadiens outshot Dallas 36-28 and Carey Price was as solid as can be throughout.

Whew, a one sentence recap. Maybe I’ll just move on to something less tiring now.

I wish I had one of these early-1960s bobbleheads.

Oh wait. I do!

Habs Win A Big One

It could’ve been as bad as can be. A loss against the Florida kmPanthers would’ve meant a four-game losing streak. A loss with Al Montoya in nets would’ve meant just three wins in ten games for the poor bugger, along with an extra loss when he replaced Carey Price in the third period of the San Jose game on December 16th.

And a four-game loss with Pittsburgh up next could’ve meant a five-game losing streak, and Habs fans from Timbuktu to Tahsis would begin making plans to jump off the Tallahatchie Bridge.

But they won 3-2 in overtime, so forget about the first two paragraphs. And they did it when Brendan Gallagher, in the midst of a horrendous dry spell, converted Phillip Danault’s sweet feed with just 2:37 remaining in the third to tie it, and in the extra minutes, Max sent Danault in alone, the game was won by the good guys, and plans for the bridge are put on hold for another day or week.

One other thing before I sign off. For months I’ve been racking my brain about how to change this blog a bit, to keep it fresh and original, and to allow me to not have to write the usual 600-word recap after games, which I’ve been doing for nearly ten years and which I’m growing a bit tired of and you’re probably tired of reading too.

But today on my walk, I thought of something. Maybe it’ll be good!

Go Habs in Pittsburgh. Slaughter those bastards.

Random Notes:

After a first-period fluke goal by Florida when the puck changed direction off Shea Weber, Max would tie it in the second on the power play, compliments of a great screen by Gallagher, Florida would go ahead again, and Gally would produce his magic as the clock wore down.

How nice would it be to live in the Miami area. Forget about the drugs and murders and kidnappings and alligators and famous wacko Floridians. You can go to a Habs game and sit anywhere you want!

Next up – in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Nashville on Tuesday, Dallas on Wednesday, and Toronto on Saturday. Bring ’em all on. We’ll see what this team is made of. And the Leafs suck of course.

 

 

Not Tonight – In A Couple Of Ways

There can be no recap of the Habs-Panthers game at the Bell Centre Tuesday night, where the Canadiens dropped a 4-3 overtime decision to the visiting Floridians.

Instead, it’s a day to reflect.

Today, November 15, is the one-year anniversary of Cynthia Payne, England’s brothel madam-extraordinaire, passing away.

Cynthia is missed by many, many people. Mostly men.

cynthia-payne

Hawks Handle Habs

damn

They had no real flow and weren’t much of a threat at the best of time, except for some flurries in the last minute with Al Montoya pulled, and all in all, the Canadiens were stifled throughout by a good Hawks team and lose 3-2.

Montoya played great. His teammates didn’t. But don’t get me wrong, they didn’t stink like they did several times earlier on in this young season. They just ran in to a fine team with a system that never allowed our guys to get any rhythm going.

They had about as much rhythm as me. Well, maybe not that bad, but there wasn’t much. And they played the night before, so maybe they were a bit tired.

Not as tired as construction labourers and factory workers and plumbers, but young, fit, millionaire athletes kind of tired.

Teams lose sometimes, and with a 13-2-1 record, the sky isn’t falling. All they have to do now is beat Florida on Tuesday. If not, the sky will sink closer.

Random Notes:

Shea Weber on the power play, and Andrei Markov, were Montreal’s lamplighters.

Chicago outshot the Habs 35-23, which is a bit depressing. I thought they were gradually moving away from these types of numbers.

Several seconds before Patrick Kane scored the winner, the puck hit the netting about thirty feet up and should’ve been blown dead. But the officials missed it, apparently because the puck was camouflaged by all the blackness.

I don’t want to sound like Don Cherry, but I’ve wondered many times, sometimes out loud, why the netting is black and not white. But I never thought about the puck blending in, I just thought that it would be nicer for fans behind it.

I Got Dem Old Habs Blues

bluesman

How come a blues playing Habs fan hasn’t written a scorching tune yet about the most wretched of all wretched Decembers?

Or maybe someone has.

If not, it’s time, bluesman. Because in the Montreal delta, folks are goin through some mighty hard times. Lord have mercy.

Surely old Sugar Kane, King of the Blues, can put something together if he’s not too busy howlin in a subway or in front of general store somewhere.

The Canadiens fell 3-1 to a big, young Florida Panthers team to end the month and the year on a downer. It’s the blues, baby.

Three wins and eleven losses in this month. A pathetic 22 goals scored in these 14 December games, which, if I did this right, amounts to 1.57 goals per game over the month.

How do you expect to win like that?

And those crazy dumb penalties. It hurts my head so much I can’t wear my fedora. And my shades are fogging up.

The sun gonna shine in the Montreal delta some day.
Sun gonna shine some day they say.
When the Habs do rise and blow my blues away.

(A wailing harmonica might be a nice touch here.)

Shor nuff, baby, I need some booze.
Cause till they rise, I got dem old Habs blues.

Random Notes:

New Hab netminder Ben Scrivens played really well and was definitely not responsible for the loss.

Florida outshot Montreal 29-28.

Max notched his second in two nights.

Next up – New Year’s Day at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass, when the Canadiens and Bruins clash in theĀ  Winter Classic. Game time is apparently 1: PM ET. For those in the first few rows at Gillette wishing to get a close look at the ice surface before and after the game, taxis will be waiting.

 

 

 

Max Gets The Job Done

sailor

In storybook fashion, Max Pacioretty, with the captain’s C meaning more than just about any game this season, buried the puck in the shootout to give the Habs a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the curtain closes, at least for one night, on a tremendously dismal time in Habsland.

But it’s the kind of thing that can right a ship, this clutch goal, and when it happened, Max’s teammates piled on him like teenagers celebrating at the World Junior Championship.

A beauty of winner it was too, with Max putting a couple of cool little dekes on netminder Ben Bishop, who’s still unraveling his jock strap from his testicles, and with that the Canadiens put an end to something called a six-game losing streak.

Max has been on the hot seat lately as folks haven`t been happy with his play. They say he looks lazy, floats, and isn’t trying like he should, which is all the same thing I guess. But as I mentioned on Twitter, it’s exactly what people said about Frank Mahovlich when he was with the Leafs.

For a few hours at least, fans can start planning the parade once again. I personally feel the Trans Canada Highway from Montreal to the West Coast would be a terrific route.

One win doesn’t guarantee anything except two points, we know that, but how it would’ve sucked to see yet another loss in this December to end all Decembers.

Now we see light, and it will shine even brighter if the boys handle the Florida Panthers in a few hours time. Big game, that one. Imagine a two-game winning streak?

The Canadiens opened the scoring in the first period when PK Subban fed Tomas Plekanec in close, and Pleks made no mistake.

How big was this goal? The Habs took the lead, which hasn’t happened much lately, and Pleks finally scored, which hadn’t happened since that night in ’36 when he beat Montreal Maroons backstopper Alec Connell.

Maybe not 1936, but it’s been a while. Twenty-one games in fact since Plekanec lit the lamp, which is completely unacceptable and one of several huge reasons why the team has spiraled out of control.

Scorers haven’t been scoring, and tonight, the nasty little monkey was wrenched from Plekanec’s back. It has to feel good.

Tampa would even it at one apiece in the second, but four minutes later, Alex Galchenyuk would wrist a puck from 20 feet out, and the boys took the lead once again.

In the third period, after the Lightning had shocked everyone with two quick goals to jump ahead, Dale Weise sent the puck over the line, and although Tampa called a Coach’s Challenge, the goal stood and the game was tied.

The Canadiens were less than great on the 3-on-3, aside from some flurries as the clock ticked down, but held on regardless. And onto the shootout we and they went, with Max getting it done in style.

Random Notes:

A fine enough evening, and best of all, the team looked like they wanted to win. Mike Condon was sensational, especially in the middle frame when he made several sprawling saves.

The team as a whole showed more energy than lately, they were alive and gunning for a win, and although it took a shootout, the sigh of relief is one big honkin’ beautiful sigh.

Tampa outshot Montreal 39-34.

Next up – across the state to Sunrise to take on the Panthers Tuesday evening. If ever another win is needed, it’s now.

There’s only one way to drive a stake into a pathetic, unending slump, and that’s to win a handful of games in a row.

One down, a handful to go.

 

 

 

Dallas Does Debbies

clobbered

The impressive Dallas Stars rolled over the Montreal Liberaces 6-2 Saturday in the Lone Star State, and it was a night when most Liberace players probably should’ve just stayed in the hotel lounge and tickled the ivories and drank Pink Ladies instead.

Eight losses in ten games. Now it’s on to Nashville, Minnesota, Washington, Tampa Bay, Florida, Boston, and Philadelphia.

All good teams.

I’m starting to bite my nails again after quitting 20 years ago.

And although Paul Byron (shorthanded) and Daniel Carr would bulge the twine, once again the big guns stayed silent. Pee Wee Herman, Richard Simmons, Don Knox, Bill Nye – none of them were noticeable in this fiasco.

Mike Condon was replaced by Dustin Tokarski early in the third after the sixth goal.

Jeff Petry was hit by Jamie Benn and left the game.

P.K. Subban shot the puck over the glass and was penalized. Twice.

Andrei Markov only did it once.

Random Notes:

For breakfast I had two poached eggs on toast, with extra toast and coffee.

At this moment, P.K. Subban is thinking a little about his two delay of games penalties, and a lot about his new suit at the tailors and his ability to get Justin Trudeau to sing a Christmas carol.

Next up – Monday in Music City.

How are things in the world of cricket?

The Big Sports Dinner

Roger Crozier was there, and so was Andy Bathgate and hurler Sal Maglie and a host of others, including my peewee baseball team that rolled over unsuspecting teams from around Ontario.

It was the 3rd annual Sports Celebrity Dinner in Orillia, from June 1964, organized by local radio personality Ken McDonald, later known as Jiggs McDonald.

Only a few years after this fancy affair, Jiggs would find himself broadcasting NHL games in Los Angeles when the league first expanded, and then in Atlanta and Long Island (along with stints in Toronto and Florida). Jiggs ultimately wound up in the Hall of Fame as a recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award.

This is my program from that big night at Club Pavalon, a place where, on normal nights, gave us some of the best live rock bands from the province and beyond.

cover

Ken

Crozier

Bathgate

Sal

Former NHLer Cal Gardner is in the Terriers lineup.

Terriers

My peewee team. They spelled my name wrong.

peewees

Basilio

Castator

Henley

Jr. C

Below, Rick Ley, who would go on to NHL and WHA stardom, is in the front row of the midget team.

Ley

lacrosse