Category Archives: Minnesota Wild

Habs Win In Buffalo

buffaloCan the Canadiens win against Josh Gorges, Brian Gionta, and the lowly Buffalonians? My confidence is shattered.

Jiri Sekac and Jarred Tinordi are in, Rene Bourque’s a healthy scratch, and Mike Weaver has come down with the flu.

Is it only a coincidence that both Weaver and Lucy are sick at the same time? Is Weaver having an affair with my wife?

Dustin Tokarski is starting in nets for the Canadiens, and I want to get this out right now. Tokarski’s teammates call him Ticker and not Toker, probably because word has come down from above that there will be no marijuana connotation.

The Canadiens organization is all about image and I’m guessing they aren’t crazy about the nickname Toker. But it’s what I prefer, so here at least, it’s Toker.

The boys have also been playing like they’ve been toking between periods.

First Period:

0-0.

Habs – slightly boring. Period in general – more than slightly boring.

Michael Bournival got crunched and it looks like a shoulder problem.

Neat play of the period – Sekac showed some fine moves when he did some dangling on one particular shift.

On the plus side, Toker’s working on a shutout. On the minus side, so’s the Buffalo goalie.

Second Period:

0-0. The shutout is still in effect. Boring is also still in effect.

Neat play of the period – um….Pleky and Max coming close when shorthanded?

Disappointing play of the period – Canadiens came in on a 3 on 1 and Manny Malhotra shot it over the net.

Third Period:

ET LE BUT!!! 1-0 Habs when P.A. Parenteau converts a P.K. rebound. It’s hard to believe and I don’t know what to say.

But…hold on. After Jiri Sekac crushed Zadorov into the end boards, the Sabres tied it up on the power play.

1-1.

Better period but it still sucked.

Neat play of the period – I forgot to write it down if there was one.

Overtime:

Two great chances by Max, both foiled by Neuvirth.

Shootout:

Them – yep
Galchenyuk – yep
Them – nope
DD – nope
Them – nope
Parenteau – yep

Canadiens win 2-1. Not great by a long shot, but it’s two points and maybe they can become motivated by this.

Next up – Saturday, when gambling kingpin Thomas Vanek and the Minnesota Wild visit the Bell.

Summer Notes From Habsville

A number of things happened Habs-wise this summer, the most surprising being I was able to decipher the notes I’d made regarding the things that happened Habs-wise this summer.

Gone are Daniel Briere, Josh Gorges, Brian Gionta, Tomas Vanek, Ryan White, Douglas Murray, George Parros, and anthem singer Charles Prevost Linton.

Francis Bouillon, at this writing, remains stranded on the desert island named Limbo. Douglas Murray’s island is slowly sinking. George Parros’ island is somewhere near the lost continent of  Atlantis.

White now finds himself in Philadelphia where one of his jobs will be to protect captain Claude Giroux from grabbing police officers’ buttocks, and Bouillon’s future seems secure. If he doesn’t find a hockey job, the City of Montreal is ready to step in and make him a fire hydrant.

Auditions are now in process for the anthem singing gig. Unfortunately, management, with a somewhat prickly attitude, has informed me that I’m not allowed to be singer AND stick boy.

Forward P.A. Parenteau, from Colorado in exchange for Briere, is now part of the family, and Gorges and Gionta aren’t, as the two UFAs were picked up by Buffalo, a place Gionta is probably happy about being. Gorges, maybe not as much, considering it’s Buffalo.

Parenteau is 31 and hopefully more effective than Briere, who is on the verge (Oct. 7th) of becoming 37. Gorges’ passion and shot blocking will be missed. Gionta’s captaincy will be replaced in a year or two, and until then, Max, Markov, Pleks and P.K. will serve as assistant captains.

In the spirit of fairness, Markov, with the most seniority, should be the one to accept the Stanley Cup from Mr. Bettman next spring.

Signings this summer involved free  agents Manny Malhotra (1-year, from Carolina), Tom Gilbert (2-years, from Florida), and goaltender Joey MacDonald (1-year, from Calgary). And Jiri Sekac from the KHL Lev Praha squad signed a two-year entry level deal.

Those with new contracts include P.K. Subban, at 9 million a year for 8 years. Apparently there is no truth to the rumour that P.K. has bought the Sun Life Building in downtown Montreal to use as his winter residence, so you can stop thinking about that.

Regulars Andrei Markov (3 years), Dale Weise (2-year extension), Mike Weaver (1 year), Lars Eller (4 years), and coach Michel Therrien (4-year extension), also penned their names on paper.

Chosen in the 2014 Entry draft, 26th overall, was Moscow-born Nikita Scherbak, who looks, speaks, and plays like a young Alex Galchenyuk, who’s a grizzled old guy now.

Assistant coach Gerard Gallant is now the head guy in Florida and replaced by Montreal native Dan Lacroix.

Lacroix helped out behind the Rangers bench last year, and if it was he who advised the despicable Chris Kreider to run Carey Price and then Dustin Tokarski, he should be hung by the thumbs outside a Bell Centre window for several hours, and then be forced to teach our guys (aside from Brendan Gallagher) how to run goalies too.

Player Development guru Patrice Brisebois leaves and replaced by former NHLer Rob Ramage. And Trevor Timmins has had the title “Vice President of Player Personnel” added to his “Director of Amateur Scouting” handle.

Timmins is widely respected, particularly in Northern Ontario where they named a small city after him.

Former Canadiens captain Saku Koivu, an ultra-talented battler if there ever was one, retired after 1124 regular season games played, with his last 5 seasons in Anaheim and 13 years and one lockout season with Montreal before that. Thank you Saku, for all you did for the Montreal Canadiens and the city. Which was plenty.

And finally, Mensa member Brad Marchand mentioned that he dislikes Tomas Plekanec quite a bit. “Anybody who spells “Thomas” without  an “H” is a rotten bastard”, said Brad.

Other things could happen in the days and weeks too. If so, just mentally paste them to this.

Bell Number Eight?

Hard to believe that seeing a game at the Bell Centre only ranks number 8 behind Minnesota, Washington, Winnipeg, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and New York, but that’s what the Stadium Journey people have decided in their new 2014 rankings.

I was sure there was no better experience than being at the Bell. In fact I’m still sure, regardless of what they say. Number 8 definitely beats Ottawa though, which comes in at a dismal 29th.

Here’s the link with new ratings for all the barns – Stadium Journey Arena Rankings.

Let’s Go Habs!

The Rangers have their share of guns. Brad Richards (4 goals, 5 assists), Martin St. Louis (3 goals, 5 assists), and yes indeed, Benoit Pouliot with 3 goals and 5 assists.

There are others as well, including a quiet Rick Nash who has no goals and 5 assists and seems to be one of these guys, like Joe Thornton, who oozes talent but doesn’t have what it takes when things get truly serious.

We need Nash to continue his sleepy ways.

Benoit Pouliot played for the Canadiens in 2009-10 and 2010-11, coming over from Minnesota in a swap for Guillaume Latendresse, and we were excited because he’d been the 4th pick overall in the 2005 Entry Draft. We thought we were getting a big, long-legged, smooth and budding superstar.

Kind of like Max.

Instead he was a huge disappointment who often seemed lazy, often gave the puck away, never seemed to like the rough going, often took truly stupid penalties, and soon he was gone to Boston, then Tampa Bay, and this season New York where, weirdly enough, he’s emerged as one of the Rangers’ big guns.

Pouliot’s going to want to make a big impression in this series. He’s got things to prove. Which makes it all the more beautiful when we shut him down completely.

We also need big Rick Nash to stay quiet. He’s a big talent who’s been snoring while St. Louis, Richards, Pouliot, Brassard, Hagland and others go about their business.

Let’s go Habs. It’s a beautiful time right now. The streets of St. Hubert are alive!

 

The Violence Post

Enjoyed very much seeing Pens backstopper Marc-Andre Fleury blow it last night and allow the Columbus Blue Jackets to even the series. Fleury fumbled the puck at the boards near his net, the Jackets grabbed it and tied the game with 22.5 seconds left, and then in overtime Fleury fluffed a long shot from Nick Foligno.

Remember when Fleury and Peter Budaj almost came to blows back on January 22nd? Fleury had this huge grin on his face that cried out to be shut tight with a solid right into grinning mouth, stopping just short of his tonsils and causing him to pick pieces of teeth and throat mucus out of his mashed potatoes for the following month.

Zdeno Chara laughed in the face of Detroit’s Brendan Smith when the two stood toe to toe Sunday night, and how great it would’ve been to see Smith throw a punch and flatten Chara’s nose. Chara is 6’9″, but his nose is only four feet long and possibly made of the same stuff as humans. So it could be breakable.

It would be cool to see an accidental stick land hard between Milan Lucic’s legs tonight. Strictly accidental because I don’t condone violence. But enough to cause Lucic to squeal like a pig for the next three weeks and speak like Cindy Lauper forever after.

A seven-game suspension for Matt Cooke? When he gets back, his Wild teammates and Avs’ Tyson Barrie should meet him at the golf course and one after another practice prostate examinations with their wedge irons. Maybe use wooden-shaft Ben Hogan-endorsed models that might accidentally break halfway up.

Canadiens Bust Out

Maybe it was Brendan Prust fighting Zenon Konopka in the first period that set things in motion when the team was experiencing another tight-checking, non-scoring and frustrating game.

Or maybe it was simply a couple of great passes from David Desharnais to Max Pacioretty in the second period that set things ablaze.

Whatever it was, the Canadiens, led by Max, finally broke out of a team scoring slump and the boys found the back of the net six times in a huge 6-2 win over the visiting Minnesota Wild that put the Bell Centre folk in a partying mood, creating an atmosphere I’m sure the players wouldn’t mind being a part of again.

Hopefully the team can do something close to this on Friday on their one-game road trip to Washington. Score more than few goals from different players, different lines. If they do, credit the vibes from the Tuesday night home crowd to keeping the adrenaline going. It’s the power of the fan.

Six goals in one night. It was bound to happen at some point, but with the lack of scoring lately – four goals in their previous three games, who knew how long the futility might continue?

Just so much fun for everyone when the boys find their scoring ways. We’ve been teased, so don’t stop now. If you do, we’re pulling out the tar and feathers.

Max Pacioretty broke out in a big way, with three straight goals in the second period to set things in motion. David Desharnais, given second star on the night, fed Max in brilliant fashion, deft touches by DD we’ve seen in previous seasons, and it finally clicked after far too many games of pucks hopping over his stick, passes been deflected, and frequent boos from the not-so-cheap seats.

Brendan Gallagher, playing on the Patches/DD line, might have sparked the performance. Maybe his enthusiasm rubbed off on his linemates. But it was DD’s passes and Max’s conversions that lit the lamp. It makes my heart soar like a F-14D Super Tomcat.

Michael Bournival scored the team’s fourth goal, Daniel Briere made it 5-0 in the third, Alex Galchenyuk made it 6-1, and with just two seconds left in the game, Dany Heatley ruined things slightly with Daniel Briere in the penalty box.

All it took was Max to convert a couple of great passes from DD and the team miraculously steamrolled out of their funk. Just like that.

Next up – Friday, when the boys travel to Washington. More of the same please.

 

New Habs Job Idea

Still waiting by the phone for the stick boy thing. Have also heard nothing about keeping the players’ wives comfortable, being a flag kid, becoming owner, and riding shotgun on the zamboni.

Maybe this will work…

You might have seen the Habs dads on TV when the Canadiens travelled to Minnesota and Colorado recently, and 24CH recently showed a few minutes of them too.

The dads get to go on the road with their sons from time to time, compliments of the Canadiens organization, but alas, sometimes dads can’t go.

Thus…..

I’ll be a fill-in dad for a player whose real dad can’t make it!

I’ve got dad experience. I’ll make sure he gets to the rink on time. I’ll tie up his skates if he wants. And of course after the game I’ll head to the bar so I don’t embarrass him in front of his friends.

Why didn’t I think of this sooner?

Blueshirt Blues

The Canadiens weren’t able to beat a rookie goalie, a kid with just four games under his belt, and found themselves blanked 1-0 by the visiting New York Rangers on a mild Saturday night in Montreal.

Sadly, the beat goes on for so many guys who can’t find the back of the net.

These guys were all scoring stars in midget and junior. Now that they’re big shots, they’ve  forgotten how.

Forget trying to pick corners. Just aim for the goalie’s nuts.

It’s amazing how many lacklustre hands of stone make up this team right now. They should be ashamed of themselves. It was a team that decided to apply pressure with five minutes remaining. The rest of the time, they were practicing for their annual Christmas family skate.

How wrong it is to go through the motions, consistently miss the target, stay clear of the rough going as much as possible, stay away from any effort that involves punishing the enemy, hope someone else will do the dirty work, and also expect to get paid handsomely for it.

Geoff Molson should send them out on the trucks and deliver beer for awhile. See how the real world does things.

The kid between the pipes, Cam Talbot, playing in just his fifth game, must wish all games were like that. No pressure from the guys in red. A shot here, another a few minutes later. Shots from well out. Teammates clearing the path.

I wouldn’t blame him if he decided to phone home and tell mom and dad the NHL’s a piece of cake.

Hands of stone, these 2013-14 Montreal Canadiens. Keep the kids off the scoreboard and you keep the entire team off the scoreboard. Basic strategy for other teams.

Dismal stuff. And fans only got their money’s worth when Carey Price whipped his glove out and snagged a handful of tough shots. Price was on his game. The only one who was.

November has seen these guys win twice in eight games. I wish the World Series was still on.

Random Notes:

Rangers outshot the Canadiens 34-22.

Alexei Emelin threw his weight around a couple of times, including a solid jolt on Chris Kreider. Emelin nailed the big fellow in exactly the same place and in the same way as was his freight train collision with Milan Lucic last April. So at least we know he didn’t become gun shy, the injury didn’t change his game, and he’s fully recovered. And it shows us this rugged D-man is one tough Russian comrade.

Getting more and more tired of seeing Rene Bourque not earning his money. But why single out Bourque? He’s got a lot of company.

Next game is Tuesday when the Minnesota Wild come to town. Will the beat go on?

Friday Night Columbusing

It’s Thursday and still no game. Not until tomorrow night.

So many Friday games this month for the Canadiens. Four in fact. It’s really playing havoc with my pub schedule.

I hope the boys won’t be partying too hard in “The City That is Somewhere in the U.S.”

Canadiens are in Columbus, Ohio, home of Jack Nicklaus, Phil Ochs, and Beverly D’Angelo, located 983 kms (611 miles) southwest of Montreal, not far from Cincinnati one way and Detroit the other.

I know because I did what I had to do – I went to Wikipedia.

No offence to Columbians. Columbusites? Columbusans? Just never been there, although I’m sure it’s fantastic and probably has a river running through it and traffic jams and people who wash windshields at street corners, just like normal cities.

Canadiens need to win their game while in Columbus (pop. 809,798 – 2012). The Blue Jackets aren’t exactly setting the world on fire, sitting third worst in the east with 13 points, ahead of just Florida and Buffalo. Leading scorer Brandon Dubinsky has 5 goals and 10 assists, while Wiz, James Wisniewski (remember him?), is second with 2 goals and 12 assists.

Although they’re in Boston Thursday night so things could change slightly.

I enjoyed Wiz when he was a Hab in 2010-11. He played hard, is a good skater, got himself some points (30 in 43 games), and took a puck in the face and looked like this –

Montreal has won just once in six games in November but they’re hanging in somewhat. But it goes without saying they need to win in Columbus, and then the next night back home against the Rangers.

A couple of wins isn’t asking a lot. And then they need two more after that against the Wild and Caps. And then two more after that maybe.

 

 

 

Habs Dunk Dallas

Great way to close out the October part of the schedule as the Canadiens edge the visiting Dallas Stars 2-1 on goals by Michael Bournival in the first and Rene Bourque in the second and find themselves with a tidy eight wins and five losses, good enough to be way up near the penthouse.

Imagine that. Way up near the top. It’s just so much better than hovering around the eighth and ninth spots.

Pretty proud of the boys right now. They’re finding ways to get it done with key guys on the sidelines. And Carey Price and Peter Budaj are combining to stop ‘em when called upon. Although Price was a tad asleep on Dallas’ lone goal, a shot from far out that might have been screened or might have simply caught Price by surprise.

Whatever it was, our goalie was slow to react.

But it’s nitpicking. Our backstoppers are keeping pucks out of the net in a big way  – one tonight, none on Monday, two from the Sharks, one from Anaheim. Really impressive.

Now the Canadiens take a little trip, first to Minnesota for a Friday night tilt with the Wild, and then to Denver to meet Patrick Roy and his Avalanche on Saturday, which should be fun. The Avs are red hot and need to have cold water poured over their collective heads.

Shots on goal – Dallas 27, Montreal 24.

Great night, lively action, the boys were skating well, and it’s a big two points.

All’s well on the Eastern Conference front.