Category Archives: Los Angeles Kings

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


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.



Eaten By Sharks


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.






Former NHLer Cal Gardner is in the Terriers lineup.


My peewee team. They spelled my name wrong.





Jr. C

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



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.







Canadiens Shut Down Coyotes

Lars Eller spun around after taking a smart back pass from Devante Smith-Pelly, fired the puck past Arizona Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith, and the goal, which would prove to be the winner, salvages the Canadiens dreadful western U.S. trip as the boys finally end up in the win column by blanking the Coyotes 2-0.

Smith-Pelly played a better all-round game than what we’ve seen, Carey Price notched his 7th shutout of the season and was his usual spectacular self, and Lars Eller was flying most of the night and redeemed himself in impressive fashion after taking a late-game penalty in L.A. that led to the tying goal by the Kings and all kinds of pain and grief for us.

Brendan Gallagher, set up by Tomas Plekanec, iced the thing with an empty netter.

It was a decent showing by the Canadiens, although the Coyotes sit 28th of 30 teams in the overall feebleness category, so maybe it wasn’t truly impressive. But it was a win that stopped the losing streak at three games, and for now we can take off our hard hats because the sky has stopped falling.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot the Coyotes 35-29, including 15-5 in the first period and 12-8 in the second, but the third frame saw Arizona post 15 shots to the Habs’ 8. But of course, our man Price was there to stop the nonsense.

Max Pacioretty had more than a few great chances to add to his 31 goals, but couldn’t beat Smith. DD, except for one blatant instance when he should have shot and didn’t, played a solid game and handled the puck in deft fashion.

Jeff Petry is showing to be a great addition to the blueline corps. He’s big, smart, a greater skater, good with the puck, and can lay out some bone crushers. Nice to see him wearing the CH.

It’s a solid group of Habs d-men, and I’d match our guys against any team’s.

Next up – Tuesday, when the talented and cocky Tampa Bay Lightning pay a visit to the Bell.

Only 16 Habs games remain in the regular season.

Eller’s Penalty Didn’t Help


Lars Eller got his stick up into the face of Drew Doughty with just 1:35 left in the third period, with his team winning 3-2 after being down 2-0 to the hometown L.A. Kings, and having stormed back from the dead.

The Kings, of course, with just 45 seconds left in the game, would tie it with Lars in the sinbin, and ultimately take it to a shootout where the Canadiens didn’t get the job done and lose 4-3.

I wish I’d kept track of all the ill-timed, momentum-killing, game-ruining penalties Eller has managed over the past few years. Penalties late in periods, penalties that cancel out power plays, penalties when it’s definitely time to not get penalties. It seems like he’s the king of this &$%#@% category.

I know what the Maharishi would tell me (if I knew him and he was still alive). Take deep breaths. Concentrate on trees and streams. Focus on the good that happened before Lars slipped up.

It’s a shootout loss that yes, gets the team a point, but it should’ve been two, and it should’ve been a cool halt to the California creamin’.

It stings, Maharishi. Just like it probably did when the Beatles dumped you. Eller owes us all a dinner.

The first period was as dreadful as the showings in San Jose and Anaheim. Outshot 13-2 and outscored 2-0. Heck, it was only a few games ago when the boys had shutout the Leafs and won their fourth straight, and we were feeling high and mighty and thinking magnificent thoughts.

But seven periods in California changed all that.

The second frame saw the Canadiens come to life though, and Tom Gilbert, looking like a forward, closed the gap to 2-1 when he swooped in and around Jonathan Quick and lit the lamp. And it became a tie game not long after when Gally took a nice pass from Plekanec and backhanded it home.

In the third frame, Max would notch his 31st on a nice pass from DD, and all was swell in Habsville until Eller’s brain froze like a tray of ice cubes, and with the clock winding down and the Kings on the power play, along with Quick on the bench and the extra man out, the bullet was fired to tie it.

Overtime would solve nothing, and in the shootout, the Canadiens shooters were Chucky (nope), DD and Max (yes), and Eller (post), while Kings skaters buried 3 of 4 on Dustin Tokarski, who overall played a decent game between the pipes.

This mostly lousy four-game road trip comes to an end on Saturday in Phoenix, but things don’t exactly let up. The following four games see the boys tackle the Lightning and Sens at home, and the Islanders and Lightning on the road.

Upcoming strategy? Keep Eller on the bench in crucial situations.




Outmatched In Anaheim

It was just the other day, while sitting in Buffy’s Pub in Sooke, that I pointed to the TV and said to Lucy, “Look, the Leafs lost 4-0 again. Two games without a goal. Are they ever lousy. Hah!”

Then the Montreal Canadiens went out and dropped a 4-0 stinker in San Jose, and two nights later are smothered and outplayed as they lose 3-1 in Anaheim. I should never have been smug about the Leafs. Because sometimes the Habs can suck too.

It  also took until the 18:19 mark of the third period before Alex Galchenyuk scored with a Duck in the box, making it one of those rare and unusual sightings, a….how do you say it……successful power play? Thus keeping the team from being shutout two straight nights which would have made the Leafs comparison even more sickening .

Now it’s a short freeway ride to downtown Los Angeles to meet the Kings in a few hours. No predictions, no thoughts. No idea. Only that they have to start playing better than they have these past two games.

Karma, you got me good with the Leafs smugness. Now, enough’s enough.

Random Notes:

Props to the Ducks, who basically smothered, bottled up, outchecked and outskated Montreal for most of the night.

It was 2-0 in the second period when Max burst in alone while his team was shorthanded. Imagine how the momentum could have shifted. Maybe.

Canadiens outshot the Ducks 38-33, which for all intents and purposes looks like they played well. But they didn’t.

Ex-Hab Jiri Sekac took Subban out of the play, allowing new teammate Rickard Rakell the chance to score, which he did.

The guy we got in the Sekac trade, Devante Smith-Pelly, was again underwhelming and it blows my mind to hear reports that he’s out of shape. What the hell is that? It’s March. How can a player not be in shape at this time?