Category Archives: Max Pacioretty

The Max and Chara Incident

It happened on March 8, 2011.

A 6’9″ locomotive smashed a player into a partition with the puck nowhere near, a blatant infraction, and the player went down, out cold, with doctors and trainers scrambling to hold his head steady as he was strapped to a stretcher. The locomotive was thrown out of the game, and it was soon discovered that the receiver of the attack suffered a fractured vertebra in the neck and a severe concussion.

Would you think the 6’9″ locomotive might receive at least some kind of discipline because of this?

Big Zdeno Charo played the next game and the game after that, was never suspended, while Max Pacioretty was in a Montreal hospital bed with a broken neck and the possibility that his playing days were in the distant future only if he was lucky.

What did Pacioretty’s coach, Jacques Martin, say about all this?

“It is not our role to accuse. There was an incident that occurred and there have been other incidences. The league has to look at all those incidents that have had serious repercussions to certain players and I think at some point address it.”

Have we ever seen a less demonstrative coach in the NHL? Think of others, and go back as far as you want. Think of what Toe Blake would have said, and Scotty Bowman, and John Tortorella, and even Bruins’ coach Claude Julien. Any coach would have been outraged, with fire in their eyes and expletives spewing from their mouths. Only Martin would come up with a calm, monotone answer such as “I think at some point address it.”

Mike Murphy, doing the disciplinary duties for Colin Campbell because Campbell had a son on the Bruins, didn’t feel Chara did anything worthy of a suspension. Then why was Max in a hospital bed after such an assault when the puck was thirty or forty feet from him, and why was Chara even thrown out in the first place if the play was so innocent?

Chara was upset by the push Max gave him after Max scored the Habs winner previously?  Max had fired it home and Chara, just in front of him, was pushed ever so slightly out of the way. Chara was supposed to apply payback for such an evil wrongdoing?

Did Chara bide his time and finally pay back for such small thing in the first place? Did Chara, with his size, almost kill Max because Max gave him a little push that would barely move a small child?

Below, in the following video, Bruins’ Mark Recchi, forever after labeled as ‘Dr. Recchi’ weighs in, along with Geoff Molson.

From Recchi –

“He does obviously have a fractured vertebrae, but the concussion was obviously really a non-factor, maybe a day or two, maybe a day he felt it then he was fine a couple of days later,” Recchi told WBZ on Wednesday, noting Pacioretty was tweeting at the movies less than a week after the injury.

“I believe, yeah, they were trying to get Zdeno suspended and they embellished it a little bit. You have to look at it, I guess they were trying to do whatever they could to get him suspended. And I think the league sent the message that it was a hockey play, and that’s the important thing that people have to understand.”

And from Molson –

Letter from Geoff Molson to Canadiens fans

Thursday, 10.03.2011
Montreal Canadiens
Dear Fans,

I would like to thank you all for your comments and support as the Pacioretty family, and our entire organization, deal with this difficult situation. I share your frustration, disappointment and shock. I feel for Max, the team and you, our fans.

Max, on behalf of my family, fans and all who are associated with this great organization, rest assured that we are all behind you and hope for a full recovery.

The Montreal Canadiens is an institution that has played a leadership role in this League and in our community for over 100 years, and you can count on us to continue to do so in the future. The news of the NHL decision yesterday was a hard blow for both the players and fans of the Montreal Canadiens. It was one which shook the faith that we, as a community, have in this sport that we hold in such high regard.

The Montreal Canadiens organization does not agree with the decision taken yesterday by the National Hockey League. We can assure you that we have made our position clear to Commissioner Gary Bettman, and that he has agreed to make this issue a priority at the next General Manager’s meeting, which will be held in Florida on March 14-16. Pierre Gauthier, our General Manager, will be present at this meeting and has already expressed his wish to carry out, clearly, our message to his 29 counterparts and to the League.

Our organization believes that the players’ safety in hockey has become a major concern, and that this situation has reached a point of urgency. At risk are some of the greatest professional athletes in the world, our fan base and the health of our sport at all levels. Players’ safety in hockey must become the ultimate priority and the situation must be addressed immediately. As a proud father of three hockey players, I want to help create a healthy and safe experience for them, and I certainly never want any family to go through what the Pacioretty’s are experiencing at this moment.

We understand and appreciate hockey being a physical sport, but we do not accept any violent behavior that will put the players’ health and safety at risk. On this specific issue, I am asking for the support of the 29 other NHL owners, to address urgently this safety issue. And I am willing to play a leadership role in coordinating this group effort.

You are the best fans in the league, and I am proud to have you behind us. Both the team and Max need your support now more than ever. A solid playoff run is just around the corner and we are counting on you to carry us deep into the spring!

GO HABS GO!

Geoff Molson
Chairman of the Board of Directors and Team Owner

Doing the Magazine Shuffle

I used to work for BC Ferries and every so often a tractor-trailer driver, on his way on or off the ferry, would slow down and hand me his copy of Canadiens magazine.

This trucker and I kind of bonded back then, not only because we were both Habs fans, but also because for 20 years while living in Ottawa and Calgary, I too had driven semis for a living.

From one of the magazines my friend had handed me, certain Habs, including Carey Price, Max Pacioretty, and Tomas Plekanec, who were with the team in 2011 of course,  were asked who (girlfriends and wives excluded) would they want as their arm candy on a red carpet kind of evening.

It’s also kind of fun to see the other names.

So who would they want as their dates?

Jaroslav Spacek said Britney Spears.

Mike Cammalleri said either Eva Mendes or Shakira.

Max Pacioretty, Tom Pyatt, Carey Price, and PK Subban said Megan Fox.

Yannick Weber said Charlize Theron.

Tomas Plekanec said Jennifer Aniston.

David Desharnais said Halle Berry.

And Benoit Pouliot, Hal Gill, Alexandre Picard, and Alex Auld said Mom.

When I look at these, I’m on the same page with Weber (Charlize Theron), and Desharnais (Halle Berry). Although I like the mom choice too.

Below- my choices – Charlize and Halle. When I own the team they’ll be invited to my private box so I can teach them about bodychecking.

Canadiens Hijack Jets

A gutsy comeback by the Habs in Winnipeg, capped by Max Pacioretty’s overtime winner, and the boys glided off the ice with a nice 5-4 win.

What a difference a couple of days make. Incredibly lousy in Minnesota on Thursday night, and a hard-working, solid display on Saturday.

With Al Montoya in net.

With Andrew Shaw scoring two power play goals.

And with Hometown Hockey coming from my hometown Orillia tomorrow!

It’s elation, sort of! But they’re in Chicago after the Orillia piece, so the elation might be short lived.

The game in Winnipeg was a back and forth deal, with the Jets opening the scoring in the first, followed by Shaw’s first after he redirected Jonathan Drouin’s shot.

Shaw would strike again in the second, but after that it seemed all wrapped up for the Jets as they would soon even it up, take a 4-2 lead in the third after Blake Wheeler blew by a stumbling Jeff Petry, and we waited for the inevitable.

Things looked gloomy, yes they did. But Pleks, after great work by Gally down low, narrowed it to 4-3, and then Petry atoned for his big mistake by firing home the tying goal with just 4:44 left in the period.

Overtime it became, and as the clock moved toward a shootout, Max Pacioretty suddenly bulged the twine on the power play. And just like that, the Canadiens rack up four wins in six games.

Random Notes:

Habs outshot the Jets 50-23.

Brendan Gallagher has been a bright light on most nights, and Saturday was no exception. He just kept fighting, nobody works harder, and as my buddy Mike Williamson says, he should be captain.

Once again, if you get Sportsnet, tune in a half hour before game time and check out Hometown Hockey’s feature on Orillia, where I was a smallish yet shifty right winger for Byers Bulldozers midgets and bantams. A time when I had trouble focusing I guess, as I used to sing Beatles songs under my breath as I raced down the ice.

 

 

The Start Can’t Be Much Worse

Seven games in, the Canadiens sit 30th overall with just 3 points (1-5-1). Only Arizona, with one measly point, is worse.

Montreal’s goals per game is the lousiest in the league (31st), with a 1.43 average.

They’re in 28th place for Goals Against (3.86).

27th on the power play (7.7%).

24th on the penalty kill (76.9%)

Stay-at-home defenceman Karl Alzner has 3 assists, which puts him number two on the team behind Jonathan Drouin, who has 5 points.

Alex Galchenyuk has 1 goal and 0 assists. The same goes for Max Pacioretty.

The guy with the big shot, Shea Weber, has a goal and an assist.

Carey Price, apparently the world’s greatest goalie, has a mediocre .885 save %. He’s lost his last five starts.

Tonight the Canadiens are in Anaheim. “Go Habs Go” he said weakly.

 

Early Season Habs Blues

Four measly goals (and a shootout marker) in four games. Three straight losses after falling 3-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks on opening night at the Bell Centre. Another night of the power play shooting blanks.

If this keeps up, those wild and crazy Montreal Canadiens should be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs sometime around Christmas and we can concentrate fully on the magic of winter, spring, and early summer.

But they looked great in the first period, which should give us some hope. Maybe false hope. Tomas Plekanec handed the boys a 1-0 lead just 1:15 in, after letting loose a nice wrist shot, and they even ended the frame with 16 shots to the Hawks’ 7.

Really good. I was happy. Not happy the way Hugh Hefner was probably happy, but still pretty happy.

The problem was, Chicago scored twice in 19 seconds with only a couple of minutes left in the first, so all the good work that had been done was crushed like a beer can on a frat boy’s forehead.

And the main problem is, even though the boys are getting plenty of shots in each game, these are shots fired by guys not blessed with good hands, which is most of the team. Who on the Habs is blessed with good hands – Pacioretty? Sometimes he is. Drouin? Hopefully.

Who else, Galchenyuk? The guy who so far in this early season looks like he’d rather be back in his apartment with several lovely young ladies. Maybe he should be somewhere else. Maybe Marc Bergevin should’ve moved him when other GMs still thought he was good.

Chicago’s third goal was a power play marker in the second period with Philip Danault in the box for hooking. A cheap call I thought, but whatever, Montreal was toast, because they only score once a game and that had already happened back in the first.

Next up for the Habs is a Saturday night tilt at the Bell against the Leafs. The Leafs, who score more goals in one game than Montreal does in four.

This morning on Sportsnet Hockey Central, host Daren Millard blurted out like a 12-year old,”Do you think the Leafs are becoming the Oilers of the 1980s”? I almost choked on my 7 a.m Labatts Blue.

The 1980s Oilers are considered one of the NHL’s greatest-ever teams. Gretzky, Messier, Coffey, Anderson, Kurri. The Leafs, I’m pretty sure, aren’t quite the 80s Oilers.

The Leafs-media love-in is causing a whole new wave of Leafs fans. Refugees are pouring in, turning on their TVs, and hearing how fantastic the team in Toronto is from groupies like Millard.  So they become fans even though they don’t know the difference between a puck and Auston Mathews’ used jock strap.

Speaking of Mathews, here’s a photo of him and his teammates today doing some dryland exercises at their training facility.

And now – for some post game bonus coverage of action on the water. The seas were angry that day, my friends.

We were at a restaurant outside of St. Petersburg, Russia, on the banks of the Gulf of Finland, where I went fishing at a small adjacent pond and caught a large trout.

Then the folks in the kitchen cooked it up and we ate it.

 

Game One Shootout Win!

Last year the Canadiens were 9 wins and a shootout loss to start the season, and the year before it was 9 straight wins out of the gate.

But overall, they weren’t very good, you know that. They were gone after 6 playoff games last year, and were so bad without Carey Price two years ago, me and the gang playing road hockey on Elmer Ave. in Orillia (photo above), might have given them a run for their money.

This year, in Montreal’s season opener in Buffalo, it was a 3-2 shootout win for the good guys, in a game that was surprisingly entertaining for the first of the year. Sometimes a first game can be almost preseason-like, but not this one, and good for Sabres fan who paid the big bucks and kinda got their money’s worth.

Two points in the bank, to be withdrawn sometime down the road when they’re on shaky footing. Maybe they’ll start with 9 straight again this year, whatever it means.

The first period gave us a good look at new Habs rearguard Victor Mete, who won’t turn 20 until June. The young fellow, straight out of junior with the London Knights, is a terrific skater and plays with poise. Hopefully he’ll still be playing with poise when the going gets tough.

The Sabres opened the scoring on a power play, and although the Habs started well, it was the Sabres who came on strong as the period wore on. But with just over two minutes left, a bang bang play – Gally to Jonathan Drouin to Max – and the game was tied.

That was the first period, and now, during intermission, I’d like to show you the vintage pedal car I bought in Revelstoke a few months ago. It was made in the late-50s I think, but resembles a Quadricycle from the late-1890s. Henry Ford used to bomb around in a Quadricycle before he started his company in 1903.

But enough about that.

The second period saw Buffalo’s Jason Pominville notch his second of the evening just 22 seconds in to give his team a 2-1 lead, and the hosts had the edge in play to this point. But the Sabres enjoyed back- to-back power plays and couldn’t get it done, which, if they care enough, could cause a restless sleep tonight. But maybe they’ll sleep soundly. They still get paid, and they got a point.

The second period ended, and during this intermission I’d like to mention that Lucy and I spend three great weeks in St. Petersburg, Russia this summer. We just got back about a month ago.

In the third, Philip Danault shoved home a wraparound at the 8.01 mark, the game was tied, and would remain so into overtime, where no goals were scored even though it was fire-wagon, back and forth hockey.

Really exciting. Really unusual for game one, as I said.

Before the shootout, I’d like to mention that my old pal from Orillia, Kerry Baker, a guy I lost track of more than 40 years ago, came to visit with his lovely Jacquie. We had connected on Facebook about a year ago and finally met up a few weeks ago. He’s a great guy with a great woman, and we had a mighty fine couple of days eating and drinking and drinking and eating.

Jonathan Drouin, showing lovely hands, was the lone scorer in the shootout after parking a backhand into the top of the net past Sabres netminder Robin Lehner. Drouin’s a great player, a difference maker, and he’ll look just dandy holding the Cup high next June.

I also visited my daughter and grandkids in Nelson this summer, and here we are wondering how the team will do this year.

So far, so good.

Random Notes:

In the shootout, Paul Byron rang one off the post before Drouin made his magic.

Sabres outshot the Canadiens 45-40 during this lively affair.

Buffalo was 1-5 of the pp, while the Habs went 0-4.

Next up – Saturday in Washington at 7:00 pm ET.

My website is 10 years old now.

 

Game 5 Bummer

The Canadiens fall 3-2 to the Rangers in overtime, and now it’s gonna take them seven games to win the series instead of six.

I’m okay with that, because I have faith. But they’re testing my faith. And my patience. Bastards.

For much of the game, the Rangers were the better team, and that’s unacceptable, especially at the Bell Centre where noisy fans provided the atmosphere, but fans can’t put the puck in the net. That’s where the team is supposed to chip in.

It was a sickening sight to see the puck get past Carey Price in overtime, because as dominate as the Rangers were in OT, it was always possible that a lucky break could see the Canadiens end up winning the thing.

It never happened, and now the series resumes once again on Saturday in New York. And it’ll have to be all hands on deck for that one, because no-shows aren’t welcome. Never have been, never will. Especially no-shows that wear the CH.

I still feel that Montreal is the better team. It’s just how I feel. They weren’t tonight, and they weren’t on Tuesday. Or game 1 for that matter. So maybe they’re not.

This one hurts.

From my notes:

In the first minute of the game, Carey Price made a huge save on Mats Zuccarello, and I thought maybe Pricer was gonna be a hero on this night.

Andrew Shaw and the much bigger Brendan Smith dropped the gloves, Shaw got in several fine rights, and he looked good as he swung away. It was just the beginning of a rough and tumble, hard hitting, testy kind of a night.

Still in the first, Artturi Lehkonen fooled with Marc Staal and ended up swooping around the net and sending the puck past Henny Lunny to give the boys a 1-0 lead.

Still in the period, Jesper Fast scored a shorthanded marker after Alex Galchenyuk coughed up the puck, and the game was tied.

Galchenyuk’s been mediocre at best in this series. Maybe he doesn’t want to be a Hab anymore.

Just 25 seconds later, on the same power play, Brendan Gallagher fooled Henny from 15 feet out and the good guys took the lead again.

In the second period, Zuccarello highsticked Paul Byron, catching him in the eye area. Somebody needs to tune the Norwegian in once and for all.

With just 1:32 left in the 2nd, the Rangers tied it up, and it was after this that the strength of my ticker was firmly tested.

Sixteen seconds in, Gally took a slashing penalty when his little love tap knocked the stick out of the hands of a weak-wristed Blueshirt. A cheap call indeed, but NY failed to score.

Gally’s only 5’9″, 184 pounds, but he’s the toughest son of a gun on the ice.

Also in the third, Phillip Danault hit the post while the team was shorthanded, and Max couldn’t solve Henny on a clear-cut breakaway.

Max is in a slump at the wrong time of year. But you already know that.

In overtime it was all Rangers.

One Lousy Random Note:

Game 6 on Saturday in New York is an 8pm ET start. Or 5pm where I live.

 

 

 

Great Game 2

Above – Habs fans in Powell River watch the game on the big screen.

Finally I was able to see the game properly, after my pal Homer kidnapped me last night and I was forced to listen to him talk about how the World Cup of Hockey, the World Baseball Classic, and the Sedin twins sucked.

But we did accomplish one big thing as I tried to watch the game out of the corner of my eye. We’re gonna form a band and call ourselves Carnaby Knights. I’m the singer.

This morning I saw how a team fought, hit, worked, and didn’t give up, and the Bell Centre crowd definitely got their money’s worth. It’s like I’ve said about a dozen times over the past several months – the regular season is long gone, forgotten, never to be thought of again, because the playoffs are a whole other animal.

Weber was a beast, and when he’s pissed off, he’s the Weber we wanted. Plekanec was back to the one we knew and loved. Max, Radulov, Petry, Byron, and heck, almost everyone, played hard, smart, and desperate.

Gallagher…..I have no words. Sort of. He’s a warrior, old school yet new school. One of a kind. I thought the abuse he takes year in and year out had begun to slow him down a bit. I was wrong.

Gallagher’s taking plenty from the Rangers, and frankly, it’s up to the officials to call more. It’s ridiculous how one guy can get mugged constantly but the whistle is never blown.

The series is tied, and the hockey is great. I apologize for last night. Blame Homer.

Game three goes Sunday at the normal time.

Below, Rangers fans head back to Manhattan.

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!