Category Archives: Guy Lafleur

Old And New Quebec Barns

We’re back from Quebec City where we had such a fine and outstanding time. A trip we’ll remember with great fondness.

Although when we were leaving Quebec it was minus-1 with snow and two hours south in Montreal it was plus-12 and sunny.

Below, the Colisee, scene of many a Jean Beliveau triumph with the Aces and Guy Lafleur with the Remparts, and the annual International Peewee Tournament held each February where 11 and 12-year olds sometimes play in front of more than 10,000 fans.

And of course the intense and often vicious Habs-Nordiques rivalry that existed from 1979 to ’95.

The unfinished building next door is the New Colisee, or Quebecor Arena, or whatever it’s going to be called, being built for a possible NHL team coming back in the near future. This place will hold 18,482 while the Colisee seats 15,176.

Coliseeue

Habs Spank Sens

It seems there are no normal games when the Canadiens and Senators play each other.

Friday night  in Kanata saw a wild 7-4 win by the Habs over the sinking Sens after spotting Ottawa an early 3-0 lead.

It had been a dismal beginning for the Canadiens to be sure, shockingly finding themselves in a deep hole in under six minutes of play, but soon enough, pucks started finding their way behind a shaky Craig Anderson.

And when the dust had settled, the Canadiens had scored seven straight goals before Ottawa would notch a late one.

This was the same Craig Anderson who stoned the Habs last year in the playoffs. On this night, the Sens might have had better luck with Pamela Anderson.

The DDs burned it up again, with Max getting three plus two assists. Thomas Vanek had three assists and DD two.

I heard recently that some who study advanced stats have decided that because the DD line isn’t great defensively, they could hurt the team and should be broken up.

Talk about throwing water on a beautiful thing.

Guy Lafleur and Steve Shutt weren’t exactly defensive specialists either, but no one was complaining when they were popping 50 or 60 goals a season.

The way this game started, with three goals in under six minutes by Ottawa, it was certainly cause to be concerned. Was it one of those nights for Peter Budaj?

Were the Senators determined to pay back in a big way for being embarrassed at the Bell on March 15th?

Instead, Budaj was great. Tremendously sharp. The DD line would soon catch fire. And it all started when Andrei Markov bounced one in off Anderson from behind the line, near the side of the net.

Then it was off to the races, although the Sens would hit some posts and Budaj had to be sharp as a razor from time to time.

After Markov, the goals just kept coming, almost every second shot went in, and it became Weaver, then Max, Eller, Max, Max and DD, and it’s two big points and the Sens are basically screwed.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – Ottawa 43, Montreal 23.

P.K. Subban rode the bench for most the first period after not being harder on checks during a couple of Sens goals. PK would see a very low 13:39 of ice time.

I truly disagree with Michel Therrien’s methods regarding P.K. A Norris trophy winner being treated like a raw rookie.

There were several scuffles throughout, including Galchenyuk and Karlsson, Tinordi and Gryba, and Gally and Neil, with a player scrum developing from it. But all in all, it could’ve been worse. It could’ve been a Canadiens-Nordiques type of affair.

George Parros played while Rene Bourque watched from the press box, and George not only almost had an assist on the night, but was also sent out to cool things down when characters like Zach Smith and Chris Neil were getting overly obnoxious.

Max scored his 36, 37th, and 38 goals of the season and when one looks at the top four goal scorers in the league, it’s Corey Perry with 41, Joe Pavelski with 39, Max with 38, and Sidney Crosby with 36.

How great is that?

Next up – Detroit at the Bell Saturday night. Should be a beauty, but more about that later.

 

 

 

Leo The Really Good

The little boy you see in these two videos scoring all these goals is Leo, the son of a co-worker of mine.

Every time I ask how Leo did in any of his games, it’s always that he scored seven or ten etc.

Leo only just recently turned 5, and in the first video, you see him get twelve points in a game, and in the second, he notches his 100th goal of the season. He reached 103 that game.

This kid is going to be the new Gretzky or Lafleur or  Crosby.

Keep the video and check it out again in about fifteen years, when Leo Brodeur is in the NHL

Good Read In The Star

Interesting piece in the Toronto Star that my boss sent me, regarding the costs of playing midget hockey in Toronto, the small percentage of kids who go anywhere, concussions suffered, the effect of global warming on rinks, and a whole whack of stuff.

Here’s the link – Is minor hockey worth it?

And here’s an excerpt:

The annual cost for a (midget) AAA player is between $10,000 and $15,000, not much less than the tuition for the University of Toronto medical school ($19,546).

The parents of Patrick Kane, the Chicago Blackhawks star, estimated their investment in his minor-league career, which he spent in the U.S., to be $250,000. Given his current salary of $6.3 million per year, it was a good investment. But the cost is high for all elite minor league players, while the odds of playing four seasons in the NHL are roughly 1 in 6,000.

Here’s another:

It is the lament of one Triple-A coach — the players are all skilled, he says, but they lacked creativity. Unlike Guy Lafleur or Wayne Gretzky, they hadn’t logged thousands of hours playing shinny. Instead they log thousands of hours in minivans; a game can be a three-hour commitment when factoring in commute times and dressing time, but it only yields 10-17 minutes of ice time for the player.

In 1972 we accused the Soviets of being skilled but mechanical. The Canadians, by contrast, had flair, we had heart. Now we are in danger of losing both.

Fucale And Company Stop Yanks

Fucale

My site was down for a bit (something about the server), but it’s back and at least now I can say what a great game the Canada-US tilt was, with the Americans starting strong but Canada, with Habs prospect Zach Fucale coming up with big saves and looking more than steady, would pick it up several notches and skate away with a 3-2 win which gives them first place in their division.

Fucale, from Rosemere, Quebec, (where Guy Lafleur lives), was picked by the Canadiens at number 36 in the 2013 draft.

Nothing like a good old Canada-US nail biter on New Year’s Eve. It was edge-of-the-seat action. Worlds apart from what we’ve seen from Zach’s future team lately.

Maybe tonight will be different.

 

Cam Laces ‘Em Up In Nelson!

Please indulge me here.

My 5-year old grandson Cameron is well on his way to the bigs! Only 15 more years or so!

This swift-skating, right-handed shooter is now a key member of the Nelson, B.C. Leafs.

They haven’t played any real games yet, but I’m pretty sure that once they do, Cam’s gonna get some big goals! And insiders say this Leafs team is already better than the one in Toronto.

Cameron

This, from September 10, 2008, when he was born.

Montreal Canadiens 2027 First Round Draft Pick Is Born!

Next week I’ll be in Calgary to scout and assess the brand new 2027 Montreal Canadiens draft pick.

My daughter just had a little baby boy, named Cameron Ryan, and he joins the world at a nice nine pounds (almost), and is also quite long.

He could be a big boy, which means he may either play defence for the Habs, or become a valued power forward.

I’m going to teach him about the Rocket and Beliveau and the Flower and all those Stanley Cups and the Forum and how I wanted to play for the Habs but became only a smallish yet shifty right winger for Orillia Byers Bulldozers instead.

I think I’m going to call him Rocket when my daughter and son-in-law aren’t around.

 

Friday’s Washington Game

Couldn’t see all of the Friday night Habs-Washington tilt, I’m in Ottawa at a family reunion,, and all I know from glancing back and forth from time to time was that Alex Galchenyuk looked good playing on the right side with Morenz at centre and Joliat on left wing.

I also thought the pairing of P.K. Subban and Doug Harvey on the blueline was a good fit, especially on the power play when Harvey outsmarted three Capitals, sent it over, and PK blasted one home.

Max Pacioretty, playing on a line with Jean Beliveau and Maurice Richard, dinged more than one biscuit off the post and apparently enjoyed a fine night all round. Playing with Le Gros Bill and Rocket seems to really agree with Patches, and I hope Toe Therrien keeps them together.

I also hope Toe sticks with the Lach, Bournival, and Lafleur line as well. I see good chemistry there. And anytime now I’m expecting the Steve Shutt, Lars Eller, and Brendan Gallagher triumvirate to finally break out of the doldrums.

The problem is, neither Peter Budaj in the first two periods and Jacques Plante, who replaced Budaj in the third, could handle Alex Ovechkin, who had the two netminders’ numbers in a big way. And it certainly didn’t help when John Ferguson was sent to the box for goalie mugging and shortly after, Brandon Prust for tripping, and it was left to Claude Provost and Tomas Plekanec to kill unnecessary and ill-timed penalties.

Although I must admit, I enjoyed seeing Sprague Cleghorn coldcock the obnoxious Mikhail Grabovski, even though it put us behind the eight-ball once again.

The team really has to get it together. Bobby Orr and the big, bad Bruins are well ahead in first place, and Tampa Bay continues to play well. And if Phil Kessel and Dave Keon continue their torrid goal scoring pace, Toronto’s going to be tough.

Habs get it done/not done in Washington Friday night. And they’ll have their hands full when the Penguins come to town on Saturday.

It’ll be nice when Cournoyer finally gets back.

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.”

Ottawa Ouch

Canadiens get smoked 5-2 in the nation’s capital and it only means two things: It’s time to ship most of the prospects out, and there were some fine signs that these two teams could get involved in some nasty business this winter.

If the Habs are to have any success against Ottawa, Boston and Toronto, they’re going to have to flex a few more muscles than we’ve been used to. Whether or not they can remains to be seen. But all signs point to a whack of gloves being dropped in the real season.

And I love that. As long as it’s the Habs flattening noses and not vice versa. George Parros is almost ready, which should help. Unless he decides to imitate the Right Honourable Georges Laraque.

The Canadiens actually led the game at one point when Magnus Nygren bulged the twine. But of course that was it for the boys making it any kind of a game. There was a big lack of anything resembling much of anything, but it’s also understandable considering it was only a couple of weeks ago that half the team was skating at the prospects camp in Brossard.

Nick Tarnasky, who’s seen NHL action in the past with Tampa Bay, Nashville, and Florida, scrapped with Biff Neil. Then Ryan White got into it with Biff a few feet from where Travis Moen and somebody named Fredrik Claesson exchanged email addresses, and Moen was tossed for instigating.

I thought this was fine. At least Moen was somewhat involved. He’s there to be a tougher type role player, not Guy Lafleur.

It’s never good when the boys get shellacked. It’s just time for so many of these guys who don’t stand a chance of cracking the lineup to head out to their new rinks and come back next year and go for it again. Meanwhile, let’s get down to business with the real club and be done with it.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – Ottawa 32, Habs 26.

Peter Budaj played the full game and wasn’t terrible. It was just too many inexperienced teammates in front of him.

Thursday, the two teams go at it again, this time at the Bell. It’s a brand new day. Some tweaking, more veterans, play tough, and pay them back any which way they can. As long as its not Phil Kessel-type leg chopping