Category Archives: Los Angeles Kings

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

 

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Another two points banked, to be withdrawn during desperate times.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

 

 

 

 

Byron And Price Seal Win

A young man wearing a turban with three eyes

It was one eye on the game, one eye on the U.S. election, and one eye on closing day at Classic Auctions’ fall auction, where I was selling some of my stuff.

But with the first eye I saw the Canadiens dropkick the Boston Bruins 3-2 at the Bell Centre, after Paul Byron notched the winner with just 1:02 remaining, and with Carey Price once again holding the fort and racking up first star on the night.

Better than the Habs’ showing against the Leafs eleven days ago. A slight improvement over their game against Philly four days ago. And it goes without saying, a major league improvement over the 10-0 debacle in Columbus five days ago.

But they were still outshot badly against the Bs, 41-23, but maybe it’s not even worth mentioning. They’re badly outshot every game.

The first period saw the home team with more jump than we’ve seen lately, like they were truly focused on waking from their coma. Either that or the wives kicked them into the spare room in the basement.

But even so, Boston outshot the boys 14-5, so jump or no jump, some cracks still aren’t filled.

In the second frame, Shea Weber would open the scoring on the power play with his patented blast from the blueline, but less than a minute later, Boston evened things up.

And then, just twenty seconds later, Alex Galchenyuk lit the lamp and the crowd, as they say, went wild.

In the final frame, Boston would convert on their power play with Alexei Emelin in the box, and it was finally left to Byron to come through in the end.

You have to think that 10 wins in the last 11 games isn’t all that bad, even with a 10-0 loss thrown in. Kind of what Michel Therrien was saying in his press conference earlier.

The Vancouver Canucks would kill for that record.

Random Notes:

Canadiens were 1/2 on the power play (Weber).

Weber’s goal was his fourth power play marker, and his fifth overall of this young season. Chucky’s goal was also his fifth.

Alex Radulov collected 2 assists on the night, and is tied with Weber and Galchenyuk with 11 points so far this season.

Canadiens record stands at 11-1-1.

Worth mentioning, and a play that really caught one of my eyes’ attention – Jeff Petry crushed Ryan Spooner into the boards in Emelin, Weber-type fashion. Beauty, eh?

Next up – Thursday, when the boys host the L.A. Kings.

Finally I can rest one eye. And the other two are beginning to get tired.

 

 

16 Left

KerryAbove, the Canadiens at their hotel in Winnipeg.

If there’s one thing we can say about the four-game road trip the Canadiens just completed, it’s that it was a four-game road trip they just completed.

Games in San Jose, Anaheim, Los Angeles, and finally Winnipeg.

They lost all four, of course.

But they looked good in their Montreal Canadiens uniforms, with that big CH on the front.

The same uniform, in fact, that good Montreal teams used to wear. The big difference is, it used to be six months of cheering. Now it’s two months of cheering and a four-month prostate examination given by Andre the Giant.

Nothing unusual about the final game of the trip against the Jets in Winnipeg, as they scored two, like they did in the other three games of the trip, and PK Subban only turned the puck over once that led to a goal.

And to add to the merriment, Brendan Gallagher suffered a lower body injury and didn’t return.

There’s only 16 games left. Can they make us proud and win one?

Random Notes:

I saw an interesting Fats Domino documentary on PBS the other day.

Alex Galchenyuk scored both Habs goals.

Next up – Tuesday, when the Dallas Stars visit Montreal. In this game, the Canadiens will try to win, and PK will try not to give the puck up.

Both tasks will be tough.

 

Habs Throttled By Sharks

SanJose

The Habs in San Jose may be late for those back east as the puck drops at 10:30 and the thing ends around 1 am, but it’s late for me in Powell River too, where it starts at 7:30 and finishes around 10:00.

That’s late. Because I’m a big suck.

So this recap is gonna be short and mediocre because I need to get to bed so I can get up in the morning and give my usual 165% at my part-time job.

And on Wednesday they’re in Anaheim at 10:00 ET, and Los Angeles on Thursday at 10:30 ET, so those recaps will probably stink too.

First period:

The Sharks opened the scoring when Joe Thornton, left so long at the side of the net that he had time to pick ticks and small mice from his beard, lit the lamp.

Brendan Gallagher would even things when his harmless shot from the side got caught up in Sharks netminder Martin Jones’ skates and in it went.

But the Sharks would take the lead once again when Joe Pavelski blasted one home.

Shots on goal this period were Sharks 13, Habs 7.

Second period:

Brent Burns, who takes a back seat to no one when it comes to beards, made it 3-1 after converting a pass from Thornton. The two of them look like they should be in ZZ Top.

The Canadiens would close the gap when Torrey Mitchell batted home Paul Byron’s short Texas leaguer, and came close to tying it with 30 seconds left when Tomas Plekanec was stoned by Jones point blank.

Canadiens outshot the Sharks 10-9 in this period.

Third period:

4-2. Then 5-2. Then 6-2.

Habs were lousy. Outshot 14-6 in the third period and 36-23 overall.

Mike Condon has seen better days.

Thus ends February, with the team giving us six wins and seven losses.

Next up – Wednesday in Anaheim.

 

 

Not As Much Fun In ’80-81

The late 1970s were fine years for Habs fans of course, as the Canadiens chalked up four straight Stanley Cup wins and all was well in this crazy, mixed up world.

Even after the run finished, the 1979-80 campaign saw the boys finish first in the Norris Division with 107 points, but cracks and unrest had begun to show.

Unhappy coach Scotty Bowman had left town for Buffalo after the 1978-79 season , where he assumed the role of coach and general manager after being denied GM duties in Montreal.

And as Bowman bolted, aging stars Jacques Lemaire, Ken Dryden, and Yvon Cournoyer retired.

In 1980-81, any semblance of a powerhouse team was gone and it was very sad. We were used to much better.

Difficult to stomach was the gang being swept in ’80-81 by the upstart Edmonton Oilers, with a skinny kid named Wayne Gretzky emerging as a freak of nature in the Oiler’s lineup.

Shortly after the disappointing sweep, Montreal coach Claude Ruel resigned and was replaced by the unsuccessful Bob Berry (14 different coaches have followed since).

Berry, between his three years as coach of the L.A. Kings and almost three in Montreal, would never get his teams past the first round of the playoffs, and 63 games into year three, Jacques Lemaire took over the helm.

It just wasn’t a rosy time for all concerned.

These were the days that saw a New York Islanders dynasty rise, with Denis Potvin, Mike Bossy, Brian Trottier, Billy Smith and company winning their own four straight.

By then, the idea of the Habs winning four in a row as they once had was only laughable. It had become painfully obvious that the dynasty wasn’t just on life support, it was officially over.

The Flower’s greatest years were behind him, his 50-goal seasons would come no more. Goaltending was shaky, and Patrick Roy was still several years away.

Steve Shutt was the team’s leading point-getter in the 1980-81 season, recording 35 goals and 38 assists for 73 points. Mark Napier was next with 71 points, while Lafleur was third with 70 points.

The goaltending duties were shared by four guys that season – Richard Sevigny, Michel Larocque, Denis Herron, and Rick Wamsley.

Doug Wickenheiser, the Habs first-overall pick, chosen over fan favourite Denis Savard, suited up in this 1980-81 season and turned out to be not quite the player the organization and fans thought they were getting.

The much maligned (and initially much heralded) centreman recorded just 7 goals and 8 assists, and often found himself a healthy scratch.

Wickenheiser had been a huge star in junior with the Regina Pats and his big body at centre ice had folks wondering if they might have a new Jean Beliveau on their hands. But he never managed to become a major impact player (115 points in 202 games in Montreal), and was finally dealt to St. Louis.

And to add salt to everyone’s wounds, including Wickenheiser’s, the shifty and bilingual Quebecer from Pointe Gatineau, Denis Savard, had become the toast of the town in Chicago.

Rough times after those glorious late-1970s, and it would be five more years after ’80-81 before the Canadiens would become champs once again.

At that time, a handful of years in Montreal without Lord Stanley was unacceptable.

Now of course, it’s a bit more than a handful.

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

 

Eaten By Sharks

shark

For those of you who find a whack of Habs game blacked out in your area over the course of the season, I can only offer one suggestion. Move to Powell River.

Yes, Powell River, where all 82 games, whether they’re on RDS or Sportsnet or whatever, are shown. I don’t know why. It’s good, though.

Okay, it’s not always good.

Like tonight, when the Canadiens fell 3-1 to the San Jose Sharks at the Bell Centre, and which becomes six losses in the last eight games.

The slump continues, regardless of the win over the Ottawa Senators when they fired 27 shots at the enemy net in the first period alone.

I suppose I could say the obvious. We need Carey Price back.

Dustin Tokarski wasn’t good, allowing three goals on 12 shots, and replaced by Mike Condon midway through the second period.

Imagine Toker now. He’d started the previous two games, played well, including a nice job in his team’s 3-1 win over Ottawa, and could sniff a possible return to the show after almost blowing it permanently to Mike Condon.

Now he’s back to square one. Replaced by Condon again. That’s a stay awake pill if there ever was one.

It has to be a tough life being a backup. Jason LaBarbera might say so. LaBarbera, currently in the Philadelphia system, has bounced back and forth between the NHL and the minors, mostly as a backup, for sixteen years, and says he’s had 16 different goalie coaches along the way. And almost every year he packs up the wife and kids and moves to a new city and a new team.

But backup goalies are backups for a reason. They’ve got the tools but they’re inconsistent. It must be frustrating for all of them.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot San Jose 27-18.

Dale Weise, with his tenth of the season, was the Habs’ lone scorer.

Torrey Mitchell played his first game since Nov. 19th when he suffered a lower body injury against Phoenix.

Carey Price was introduced to the crowd and looked happy, healthy, and rested. Earlier today (Tuesday), Price was named winner of the Lou Marsh Award as Canada’s athlete of the year.

Next up – Thursday, when it’s the L.A. Kings in town.

 

 

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

Ready, Set, Go Habs

After what happened to the L.A. Kings, I’m worried the Habs won’t make the playoffs next year after winning the Cup a few months from now. We’re just going to have to take it one Cup at a time, I suppose.

I’ve been out of computer commission for most of the week, mainly because I was in Nelson, BC getting beat up by my grandkids, whom I hadn’t seen in two years.

When we first got there, six-year old Cameron was wearing his Habs sweater that I had sent. I call him Rocket.

I did manage to see the Habs edge both the Wings and Leafs as little kids crawled all over me, and we all saw, with our very own eyes, that DD sometimes shoots the puck. Once anyway. In the shootout.

Now it’s time to get down to the business of watching the Habs work on going deep in the postseason. First by ridding themselves of those slugs called Senators.

Erase any nervousness about facing Ottawa in the first round. Any team would be tough, and they’re just one hurdle in the race to the finish line. And because they’re also such despicable creatures, it’s good that we get to see the Habs, and not someone else, humble them.

I say bring on these bums.

We’re the guys who finished 2nd overall in the league. They’re the guys who found themselves on fire late in the season and with one last breath grabbed a playoff spot.

Yes they have a goalie who showed up in February and went on a 20-1-2 run. A definite hot streak, although he and them were probably full of shit quite often during this surprising stretch.

Hot streaks always end, often abruptly. And we have Carey Price, and that one thought alone should strike fear into Sens fans. Andrew Hammond, who had Ottawa fans throwing hamburgers on the ice, is no Carey Price. Although I’m sure there are people who might’ve breathed Parliament session fumes at some point and think that.

Just for fun, Habs fans at game three in Ottawa should throw steaks on the ice after Price and the gang get the job done. If nothing else, just to show the basic difference in the two organizations.

And yes, although Sens brass decided to try and block as many out of town Habs fans as possible from going by checking postal codes when buying tickets, there’ll be thousands of solid, salt of the earth Canadiens fans sitting in the Ottawa barn next Sunday, ready to throw steaks if they so desire.

Game one at the Bell Centre on Wednesday night, and of course we want the opener. Have folks rid themselves of some of this nervousness they feel about the team meeting the Sens. Make Sens fans nervous instead. They’ve been grateful that their team made the playoffs. That should be enough to last them several more years.

The Canadiens are a fine team who sat in or near the penthouse all year. Win the first game and then whittle away at these overachievers from up the road.

Wednesday and Friday in Montreal, then Sunday and next Wednesday in Ottawa. Maybe that’ll end the Sens’  so-called Cinderella year while Price and the boys move on. With no injuries.