Category Archives: Guy Lafleur

Free Stuff For A Guy Who Doesn’t Need Free Stuff

Business people in Vancouver have decided to sweeten the pot for Mats Sundin, as if twenty million just might not be enough for this aging star.

 

People who make in a year what Sundin tips at his favourite restaurant are offering, among other things, free luxury cars from two different dealers, and a lifetime of free dental work, including all the fancy stuff like bridgework and dental surgery. Another has offered a lifetime of cosmetic work for His Worship’s girlfriend, like facials, nails, and whatever else it is that women get done. Then there’s the usual free meals, free drinks, free clothes, free this, free that.

 

In fact, it looks like an absolute free ride for Sundin if he chooses the Canucks.

 

Montreal, on the other hand, has offered seven million dollars a year, but their extra enticements seem a little more tempting. There’s that chance for Sundin to finally win a Stanley Cup. There’s the opportunity to wear the fabled Montreal Canadiens sweater. He can hang around with Jean Beliveau and Dickie Moore. If he did excel, he’d join the list of great Habs like Richard, Beliveau, Harvey, Moore, Lafleur, and Mahovlich, instead of a list that includes Smyl, Linden, Rota, and Kurtenbach. He’d play in the most exciting rink in the best hockey city in the world. And he’s three thousand miles closer to Sweden than Vancouver is.

 

Surely that should be more than enough.

 

But if he decides to play, wherever he goes, he’d better be good. It’s getting a little silly.   

Sidney Crosby Takes The Bull By The Horns And Wakes His Penguins Up

The good news for the Pittsburgh Penguins is their three big guys, Crosby, Malkin, and Hossa, played well. The even better news for the Penguins is that they won game three, and are now pretty well back in the series. But not quite.

Sidney Crosby did what all great stars throughout the years have done. Stepped forward and scored huge goals in big games. Like Orr did, And Richard, Howe, Messier, Lemieux, Gretzky, and all the great ones over the years did.

Tonight, he netted the first two of the game, which broke the team goal drought, and which got the Penguins going.

That’s why he’s a star. He acts like one.

The Penguins barely won game three, though, hanging on for dear life through the third period. And all they have to do is win the next three out of four games.

So I’m not going to predict anything. I’m not Kreskin. It’s sort of possible that Pittsburgh could come all the way back and win this series. I doubt it, but it’s possible.

And like Toe Blake said, “predictions are for gypsys.”

One thing I feel though. Penguins defenceman Hal Gill should be read the riot act. What guys like Gill are known for are silly physical penalties that happen because the skill level isn’t quite up there. He can cost his team the game, which almost happened tonight.

One other note regarding tonight’s game on CBC. Pittsburgh cameras are placed alnost as high up as they are in Tampa. These cameras should be down at least fifteen feet. Detroit’s are. Lots of teams are. Although lots aren’t. I don’t know why. 

In Montreal news.

Guy Lafleur has apparently said that when Saku Koivu and Alex Kovalev become free agents in 2009, the Habs should concentrate more on signing Kovalev. He said Koivu is too serious and business-like in the dressing room, too demanding of his teammates.

What the hell is wrong with that? That just tells me that Koivu is about winning, is about making sure he and his teammates give their all. This is the way Mark Messier was, and Ted Lindsay years ago, and so many other great leaders. These guys have all summer to relax, joke around, have a good time. During the season, they’d better perform, better take it seriously. They’re being paid enough money.

If Koivu’s teammates, and there’s probably only a couple if any, don’t like his hard-core expectations, they should take up ballet instead.

Of course, this could be just one more case of Lafleur saying things that maybe he shouldn’t be saying. He’s been doing this for more than thirty years.

I say the team should concentrate on signing both. They’re equally important in the scheme of things in Montreal.

But I honestly do like the tough approach from the captain.

Fascinating Facts Are Back! Will Your Heart Handle It?

Fascinating Fact #1  I saw Bobby Orr twice in my home town of Orillia. Once, when I was sitting in the park down by the lake, he and his wife strolled by. He had a hockey school with Mike Walton in Orillia at this time.  The other was out at one of the local beverage rooms, and he and a bunch of people I knew a lttle, sat near us. There’s a strong chance my table drank more beer than their table.

Fascinating Fact #2  Gary Lupul, a great ex-Canuck and a good friend of mine who passed away last year, introduced me once to goaltender Richard Brodeur. Gary told Brodeur I was a Habs fan, and Brodeur said “Oh, I don’t want to talk to you.”

Fascinating Fact #3  I was once introduced to the Hanson Brothers’ manager. I held out my hand and he asked “Do you wash your hands when you take a crap?” I said of course, and it was only then that he shook my hand.

Fascinating Fact #4  A kid I played minor hockey with for four or five years, John French, ended up getting drafted by the Montreal Canadiens and played a couple of years with the club’s farm team, the Nova Scotia Voyageurs. But it was the early 1970’s and to crack the Habs line up, you pretty well had to be a Guy Lafleur, so French decided to sign with the New England Whalers of the newly-formed World Hockey Association instead. He played with Gordie Howe and another good Orillia boy, his old friend Rick Ley, who had played for the Leafs before jumping to the WHA.

Fascinating Fact #5  Rick Ley lived around the corner from me growing up. We sometimes skated on the big outdoor rink near us, before school. Ley also pitched a ball to me one summer which the batter fouled off into my mouth and knocked my front tooth out. 

Fascinating Fact #6  The best seat I ever had at a game was in the first row at the Montreal Forum, behind the net, just to the right of the goal judge. This was in the late 1970’s.

The worst seat I ever had was at Edmonton’s Northland Coliseum for a game between the Habs and Oilers, and we were in the very first row behind the Oilers bench. John Muckler and his two assistant coaches stood right in front of us, so the only time we could see was when the play was down at one end. 

Most games I’ve gone to, however, were usually way, way up. 

Fascinating Fact #7  Canada’s greatest pool player, Cliff Thorburn, is a long-time Habs fan.

Fascinating Fact #8  Gary Lupul told me once that the guy he made sure he didn’t piss off on the ice because the guy was simply too big and scary,  was Clark Gillies of the Islanders.

 

 

I Was Only $28,500 Short Of Getting The Sweater

Johnny ‘Black Cat’ Gagnon played for the Montreal Canadiens, (and also the NY Americans and Boston Bruins) from 1930 to 1940. He wasn’t a big star (120 goals, 141 assists in 451 games) but enjoyed success playing alongside Howie Morenz and Aurele Joliat.

Just a few days ago, Classic Auctions in Montreal, which is the foremost hockey auction house on the planet, sold Gagnon’s Montreal sweater #14 for $28,551. I really wanted this sweater, and I thought I had a chance. But then it went past fifty bucks so I had to bow out.

Here’a few other Habs items that sold in the auction. It must be nice to be a collector who happens to be a rich bastard. Must be lawyers snapping these things up.

Here’s what I mean:

Carol Vadnais’ 1993 Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup Championship ring – $23,102.

Jean Beliveau’s 1969 Montreal Canadiens game-worn sweater – $22,013.

Beliveau’s 1972-73 Stanley Cup ring – $32,211.

Henri Richard’s ’73-74 jersey – $13,500

Original 1978-79 Stanley Cup banner which hung from the Forum – $6000.

Player’s sweater worn during the 1937 Howie Morenz Memorial game – $7,150

Guy Lafleur’s 1981-82 game-worn sweater – $11,000

None of Dennis Kane’s Byer’s Bulldozers Orillia Midget team items were available, but I’m sure they’re worth quite a bit. 

Classic Auctions is unbelievable. Two or three times a year they hold these amazing auctions that always include things like letters from Lord Stanley, important sticks that belonged to Morenz and the Rocket, for example, and just about anything else you can think of that is worth more than what you and I can afford.  Classic is the Sotheby’s or Christies of the hockey world. I wouldn’t mind getting a job there.

Pre-Game Rituals Before The Big Game in Buffalo. And Then The Big Win Happens

It’s 2:20 pm Pacific time and the boys are in Buffalo sharpening their skates, blow-torching sticks and drinking umpteen cups of coffee and a Red Bull or two, while ticket takers and ushers and hot dog vendors slowly drift in to ready themselves for when the Habs trounce the Sabres.slum.jpg         more-slum.jpg

                                            (Here’s a couple of pictures of some of the nicer parts of Buffalo.)

I’ve got my pre-game ritual in motion too. Head over to TC’s pub for some drafts, eat lasagna for energy, and today, as an extra little ritual, laugh my head off because rental Marian Hossa got injured in his first game with the Penguins and will be out a week or longer!

Pittsburgh gave up some crazy talent (Christensen, Armstrong, and Angelo Esposito, AND A FIRST-ROUND DRAFT PICK!) for Hossa, who may be gone again in a couple of months because unlike Toe Blake and the boys, it’s all about money. This deal might come back and bite Pittsburgh in the ass.

4:30 Pacific time  – Game time. If all reports are correct, not one Montreal player got mugged on his way to the Buffalo rink.

5:00 Pacific time – Montreal jumps out to 2-0 on goals by Pekanec and Streit. Not sure if Montreal fans who made the trek to Buffalo have started to sing the ‘olay’ song just yet. Many though, are having a riot and drinking lots of beer. 

5:07 Pacific time – Just thinking that Buffalo used to have some good teams in the days of the French Connection line with Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin, and Rene Robert. You know, it’s sad that Perreault didn’t play for the Habs. With him and Lafleur together, it would have been historic. People would still be talking about them. It could have been Morenz, Richard, Beliveau, Harvey, Lafleur, and Perreault.

6:08 Pacific time – Tomas Plekanac just scored for the third time tonight as the good guys are beating the bad guys 4-1. The ‘experts’ say there’s too many small guys on Montreal for them to be dangerous. But Plekanek, who’s only 5’10, one of those small guys, looks pretty dangerous to me.

Do you know that TSN guy Pierre McGuire picked the Rangers and Minnesota as two of the five teams he thinks will win the Cup. Montreal didn’t even get a sneeze. But McGuire and his fellow ‘experts’ like Bob McKenzie and Dave Hodge all picked Montreal to finish 14th and so far out of the playoffs you’d need a telescope to see them.

7:01 Pacific time – Holy smokes. 6-2 Montreal over Buffalo. What a big win. It was 5-1 over Atlanta, and now 6-2 in Buffalo since the Habs made Carey Price their number one goalie. And this win catapults them over Ottawa for top spot in the north-east!

I’m sure the team flies back tonight, so guys, get home, have a midnight sandwich, relax, and get ready for another big game Saturday night against the Devils. But leave your wives alone. Eddie Shore, Victor Tikhonov, Punch Imlach and Toe Blake all believed there should be no sex the night before the game. So it’s good enough for them, it should be good enough for you.

A Blown Opportunity, And A Big Night Coming Up

It could’ve been a beautiful thing, a Hollywood sequel, where the good guy in the white hat wins, grabs the girl, and rides off in to the sunset.

But it wasn’t to be. Montreal battled back against Pittsburgh, down 3-1 to grab the lead 4-3. But late in the game, the bad guys, the men with black hats, the Pittsburgh Penguins, scored twice quickly and got two big points.

So I’ve got nothing to say about this, except that Pittsburgh star Evgeny Malkin had a goal and two assists, and Montreal’s Michael Ryder scored again to make it four goals in three games, and is now either a little safer in his job with the Habs, or is much better trade bait for the team if they want to try and get someone like Alex Tanguay.

So enough about this blown opportunity. It’s time now to focus on Saturday night when Columbus comes to town. Montreal must win this game or they’re only another loss or two away from another slump, which can’t happen at this stage of the game.

And also on this same night, prior to the game, Montreal GM Bob Gainey gets his old number 23 retired to the rafters.

Gainey will join a nice long list of players to receive such an honour in Montreal. And because I want to take my mind off the loss tonight, instead I’m going to focus on giving you a list of the Habs stars who have their numbers retired.

They are:morenz.jpg

1. Jacques Plante

2. Doug Harvey

4. Jean Beliveau

5. Bernie Geoffrion

7. Howie Morenz

9. Maurice Richard

10. Guy Lafleur

12. Dickie Moore and Yvon Cournoyer

16. Henri Richard

18. Serge Savard

19. Larry Robinson

29. Ken Dryden

And this Saturday Night. No 23. Bob Gaineygainey.jpg

To Ottawa Senators Fans, Do You Really Mean Those Boos?

That sound you hear tomorrow night in Ottawa is the sound of people cheering the Senators and booing the Habs? And that sound is the sound of long-time Montreal Canadiens fans who’ve become Senators fans.

I know, I know. The unwritten book of civic pride says you should always support your home team. But picture this. You grew up in east Ottawa making childhood scrapbooks of your team, Les Canadiens. You wrote fan letters to the Rocket and Beliveau, or Cournoyer and Lafleur. And you showed your son how to do the same with Patrick Roy and Vincent Damphousse.

From time to time you bought a bus/Forum ticket package and went down the 417 to see a game in your magical Forum. Then you took the bus back to Ottawa that same night, but still going to work the next morning.

You wore the Montreal sweater when the games were on TV. Pictures of Habs graced your rec room, to your wife’s dismay. You got into arguments with Leaf fans. Your eyes went moist when the Habs hoisted the Cup.

You were the staunchest, most die-hard, most loyal Montreal Canadiens fan you knew.

Then, in 1992, the Ottawa Senators started playing again after 60 years of being away. Suddenly you stopped going to games in Montreal. You bought a Sens jersey and put your Habs one in a trunk. You convinced your son of the magic of Heatley and Spezza instead of Kovalev and Koivu. Your pictures came down and the old scrapbooks somehow got misplaced. You still argued with Leaf fans, but for different reasons.

It’s all very sad. But I suppose it’s noble to back the home team. It’s good and proper community spirit. I just wonder if somewhere deep inside, deep in the crevices of your heart, sitting like cobwebs on your soul, lies a little bit of love for your old passion, your old team, the Montreal Canadiens.

Maybe it never completely went away.

Why I Still Back Guy Lafleur

It’s like TSN’s ‘Off The Record’ with the fallout from my post, “I’m With Guy Lafleur All The Way.” The debate rages on.

Of course I don’t agree with a 22 year old having sex with a 16 year, with his dad driving him to motels. But there’s a real reason why I sympathize with Guy Lafleur, and why I support him.

My stepdaughter has basically the same problems as Mark Lafleur, and I’ve seen first-hand the heartbreaking effect it’s had on her mother, my wife, much like Guy and Lise Lafleur, who have certainly been ripped apart inside. She’s been in trouble with the law, mostly for theft, has been dating a man much, much older than her, has major bouts of crying and uncontrollable anger, has a serious drug addiction, and is on more medication than Timothy Leary.

It’s no one’s fault because it’s a mental disorder, and there’s no real way to know how to react, thus mistakes by both her mother and myself, and the Lafleur’s, are made. I thought I’d pretty well seen everything in this crazy world, until this came along, and I was completely unprepared. 

The main thing is, my wife has loved her daughter no less all along the way, through the absolutely terrible times, because it’s an unconditional love. This is what the Lafleur’s surely have for their son.

Lately my stepdaughter, because of her heavy medication which constantly is being juggled to find the best fit, has calmed down considerably, and it’s magical to see. The Lafleur’s will never stop hoping to see magic with their son too. Ever.

Of course there is no excuse for Guy driving Mark to the motels. But all I understand is from what I’ve seen through my own experience, that it’s an incredibly confusing and scary time, with way too many mistakes made along the way.

I also back Lafleur about the way the police handled it. I disagree, as do many, on how the police announced to the media about the upcoming arrest warrant. Sometimes delicate situations could be handled delicately, which wasn’t the case here.

Thoughts From A Trucker Between Ottawa And Montreal: What’s Going On With The Sens, The Habs, And The Flower

I just got an email from my old pal Rick in Ottawa. Rick’s a semi driver, been doing it for 35 years or so, and often he runs his 18 wheeler from Ottawa, where he lives, down into Montreal. Here’s what he had to say.

“I sometimes think I’m lost when I’m trucking down the 417. At the beginning of the season, when I’d leave Ottawa, sports radio was all good time and happy people because the Sens had this great winning record. Then, as I neared Montreal, the radio talk was all doom and gloom with fans constantly whining. Funny how that goes where the situation is reversed now. If I was driving in a heavy fog listening to the radio now I would think I was driving in the wrong direction as the tables have turned. FOR NOW. 

“I didn’t hear any of the Ottawa game last night against Boston, but it sounds like they didn’t wake up until the third period. As I listened to the Habs game down there, it sounded from their announcers that they weren’t on their A game either but Huet kept them in it. There was talk yesterday that Carey Price might be coming back soon.

“English radio (in Montreal) were quite respectful to The Flower yesterday, keeping it low profile, but they were outraged by the way the cops handled it. I’m not saying that what Lafleur did was right but do the cops have to tell the media two days in advance that they were gonna pick him up? Maybe they were afraid that he was going to flee to Thurso and go into hiding.

That stunt was all politics by the cops to show they were doing their job.”

I’m With Guy Lafleur All The Way

It’s very disturbing that a warrant for the arrest of Guy Lafleur has been issued. It’s also wrong. First, the situation.

Guy’s 22 year old son Mark has had a history of trouble, due to the fact he has medical issues deriving from drug addiction, depression and bipolar complications. Mark was on strict bail conditions that he broke when he left his home and spent time in motels where he hooked up with his younger girlfriend.

Guy’s problem is that he drove Mark to the motels, and then wasn’t clear in court about telling authorities how he had helped his son violate the bail conditions.

Enter the arrest warrant.

But what is unsettling is how this is being handled. Like Guy’s lawyer says, his client (Guy) is so well known, and so is his address, and so is where Guy is at all times, that there was no need for an arrest warrant. If the police wanted Guy, all they had to do was knock on his door and say hello.

So now, it’s in all the news, including US-wide CNN, and Guy, if one doesn’t know the story, is made to look like a criminal in hiding, another athlete gone bad, etc. Why would the police decide to create such an embarrassing situation for this Canadian icon when they didn’t have to?

Lots of people have the unfortunate situation of having a child with mental problems, who have had run-ins with the law, and it tears moms and dads apart. All parents can do is continue to love their child, try to get the best help for them, and through the whole process, of course mistakes will be made from time to time.

It looks like this is the case for the Lafleur family, and my heart goes out to Guy and his wife Lise.

To Montreal Canadien fans, and hockey fans in general, please get behind Guy Lafleur in this difficult time.