Category Archives: Montreal Canadiens

New Guy Semin

Right winger Alexander Semin, recently bought out by the Carolina Hurricanes, has been picked up by the Habs for one year and 1.1 million. Cheap like borscht, unless you live in the real world of course.

With Semin, we’re just gonna have to wait and see. The former first-rounder scored forty goals once upon a time, while last year he managed just six. He’s known as a talented enigma, somewhat polarizing like many of his fellow hockey-playing countrymen, and when you read fans’ comments throughout the web, you see that a bunch think it’s a fine deal with nothing to lose, while plenty of others feel he’s a bum who might be better off selling vodka in Vladivostok.

Semin is 31 years old, has nice size at 6’2″, 209 pounds, and over the course of 635 NHL games played with Washington and Carolina, notched 238 goals and 275 assists for 513 points. Definitely decent numbers, aside from last year’s miserable showing, and now it’s time to pull up his socks once again and help our boys. He joins Gally, Dale Weise, Devante Smith-Pelly, and fellow new guy Zack Kassian on the right side.

It’s all fine and dandy because he’s cheap, but it’s still tough for me to shake the image of his fight with Marc Staal back in 2009 when he slapped away like Liberace on the ivories. Look it up. I can’t bear to, now that he’s a Hab.

It was pathetic and I never wanted this guy on my team because of it. And now he is.

I’m working on this issue though. I was never a great fighter either, and if I was a lousy fighter, who am I to criticize another lousy fighter?

And maybe, aside from fighting, he’ll help.

 

Power Struggles

On Tuesday, July 21, much of Powell River will be experiencing a scheduled BC Hydro power outage from 8 a.m to 6 p.m.

This is the notice we all got, and which has sent ripples of fear throughout.

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An apocalypse. Total darkness, except that it’ll be during the day. Warm beer kegs, closed bars, thawed TV dinners, dripping ice cube trays, melted popsicles. No internet or television. For ten full hours we won’t even know what Donald Trump has said next.

But don’t worry about me. Unless you want to, of course.

Because of this power outage, I’d like to direct this to the Montreal Canadiens front office. If you try to email me about the stick boy job during these blacked-out hours on the 21st, I won’t get it because I’ll be cut off from the rest of civilization. The way pioneers were back in the 1980s, except they had TV then.

The best thing to do is phone. Or email me the next day. Or write me a letter like Sam did (except for the saying no part).

Kassian East, Prust West

Kassian

As you probably know, the Canadiens have sent Brandon Prust to the Vancouver Canucks for big and tough right winger Zack Kassian and a 2016 fifth-round round draft pick.

The 24-year old Kassian not only has good size (6’3, 214 lbs), he’s also tough as nails, although Prust, 31, is no slouch himself when it comes to providing heart, soul, and knuckle sandwiches.

I also temper my feelings by remembering how I thought George Parros would add an important dimension, although Kassian does have some offensive skills to go with his muscle.

Good luck and thanks to Brandon Prust. He was a fine player for the Canadiens and in many ways a leader. And welcome, Zack.

What concerns me is how Prust’s girlfriend Maripier Morin is coping, as her home and career is solidly entrenched in Quebec, and she did mention on Hockey Wives how she dreaded the day Brandon is traded.

It has to be tough for all concerned, and if you don’t mind, I’d like to say a few private words to Maripier. So please don’t read.

“Maripier, I’m only a few hours north of Vancouver. Call me if the move becomes overwhelming. Maybe when Brandon is on a long road trip.”

 

Price – Like We Knew He Would

A sharp looking, bow tied Carey Price took the stage at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to collect three biggies at the 2015 NHL Awards, and only one question remains unanswered. Why didn’t wife Angela smile more?

Price collected the Ted Lindsay Award for outstanding player as voted on by other players, the Vezina as league’s best goalie, decided by the 30 GMs, and the Hart Memorial Trophy for league MVP, voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

Serious awards indeed. And now we wait to see if Pricer rides a horse into the lobby of Caesars Palace later on tonight after getting down at Bill’s Saloon where Big Elvis sings nightly. At least I think the big guy is still going strong. He looked slightly out of shape when I was there five or six years ago.

Price also shared the William M. Jennings Trophy with Chicago’s Corey Crawford for fewest goals allowed during the regular season (189).

Way to go, Carey. How come Angela didn’t smile more?

If I could produce the NHL Awards, I’d change two little things. The  laugh attempts and the music. Show clips of Stanley Cup wins and throw in some Slapshot, and most of the room, and us at home, are happy.

Instead of cue cards and awkward silliness, go for the important stuff, like the Jonathan Pitre segment. The young fellow suffers from a rare and painful skin disease called Epidermolysis Bullosa, and members of the Ottawa Senators, including Bryan Murray, came on stage and gave him gifts like a trip to next year’s All Star Game in Nashville.

Memories to last his lifetime, which, like Jonathan said on stage, could last until he’s 100.

Every year I hate this awards show. The entertainment sucks. Forget the laughs. Forget the music. Am I dead inside?

Rob Riggle, also known as obnoxious real estate agent Gil Thorpe on Modern Family, gave his all, I suppose, and I don’t want to be critical of this fellow. It must be a helluva tough gig. You get up in front of a room full of hockey players and executives and see how you do.

It’s gotta be a tough crowd to say the least. They just don’t laugh a lot, these hockey people. Not in a place like that. Maybe at the golf course or a father-son banquet.  Maybe if Tina Fey and Amy Poehler stepped in. Or Jim Ralph or Dennis Hull.

Chris Daughtry, from American Idol a few years back, sang with his band and not one goosebump showed up on my skin. And when he ordered everyone to stand up, they did. Only they didn’t want to.

Daughtry ordered the room to “get up. I mean it, get up”, and so they did, They stood there, of course, with a serious lack of swaying or bic lighter lighting, and I think it was only Ted Lindsay and Glen Sather who shook their booties and did a couple of splits in the aisle.

I hate when bands order us to stand up. We’ll stand up if we want to. And it’s usually when we like the band. So shut the %$#& about standing up, Daughtry, you mediocre, ultra ordinary American Idol fourth place finishing arena rocker.

A serious lack of cleavage was noticed throughout the proceedings. There were glimpses of it on the red carpet, but the wives and girlfriends in their seats within camera range were all buttoned up. It was a disappointment that ranked up there with P.K. Subban not winning the Norris (Erik Karlsson did).

Speaking of Karlsson, his dark-haired girlfriend was a ravishing beauty. Va va voom! And during his speech, he mentioned that when he gets home every night, she always treats him the same. I’ve been wondering about this ever since.

All in all, a normal NHL Awards Show that featured not a whole lot, aside from Carey Price winning some monumental awards and the Jonathan part. We’re proud of our goalie, and for me I thought he was terrific when he spoke about encouraging First Nations kids to be all they can be.  Way better than Chris Daughtry singing and ordering everyone to stand up.

On a personal note, I can relate, in my humble way, to what Price experienced on this night, having also captured an MVP award and various other big time honours during my life.

I just don’t like to talk about it much, but just this once I’ll bring it up.

Robin Hood

Bartender

Oscar

My New Old Mitts

Lyla 2

I read somewhere that’s it’s a certain gene in one’s DNA that makes you want to collect things. Either you have it or you don’t. I have it.

I’m happy to have it, although I’m not interested in modern day stuff. And although I feel that collecting isn’t as important as being a doctor or Habs stick boy, it’s better than shooting crystal meth or hacking computers or any number of things that aren’t good at all and you can’t put on your shelf and look at.

The mitts above are from the 1950s, and if you have the gene you might like them. If not, your life is an empty and meaningless shell and probably isn’t worth living.

Just darn fine mitts and they look great on my shelf. But I also thought that showing a beautiful model wearing them would be good. And it was easy to find a beautiful model.

Lyla 1

 

Well I Woke Up Sunday Morning

It’s Sunday morning and although the grass needs cutting, I can’t get out there and do it because a little baby is sleeping. What a fantastic excuse!

Nathan Beaulieu has signed a two-year contact with the Habs, at a million per. Great to  have this done, it doesn’t break the bank, and it should inspire the young fellow to be all he can be and ink a whopper in a few years.

It seems like only yesterday that we debated the idea of who would win a full-time job first, Beaulieu or Jarred Tinordi, but Beaulieu came through with his skating, puckhandling and poise, while Tinordi lagged behind because of his tentativeness with the puck. But we can’t give up on the big fellow, mainly because he’s a big fellow.

And regarding Beaulieu and his dad’s assault charge in 2013, it came to light only recently that the two had heard someone at a party saying Kane’s blog sucked and they naturally took matters into their own hands. “Nobody says that and gets away with it,” said papa Jacques Beaulieu.

The Leafs have signed former Leaf Wally Stanowski to a one-year deal. Stanowski, 96, says he’s anxious to suit up as it’s been awhile, and if someone can help him onto the ice and then off again, he feels he should be at least as mobile as Dion Phaneuf, and probably a better fighter.

Below, Wally at a recent press conference. “With Montreal inking Beaulieu, we felt this signing was necessary to keep pace,” said Leafs president Brendan Shanahan. “All we ask is that he quits smoking.”

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Other tidits: The Chicago Blackhawks have taken a 3-2 series over Tampa Bay, the Arizona Coyotes are in building lease trouble, and NBC’s Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus says playoff beards should go.

It’s hard to know which is the most important of the three. Probably the Cup Final, although as a Habs fan, any playoff passion has been squeezed out like that last drop from a bottle of Four Aces. And then, of course, the Coyotes situation, which everyone should be used to by now, and which could possibly end with Quebec getting their well-deserved team.

But the beard thing is definitely important too.

“I just don’t like the beards,” said Lazarus. “You can’t see their faces. Although, for that very reason, it was good when Brad Marchand grew one.”

For me, I don’t know what to think. The Rocket and Beliveau never grew playoff beards. What about that?

Below, Lazarus at his recent press conference, explaining the beard problem.

beard

Baby Lyla

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She’s the reason Lucy and I cut short our stay in Montreal and headed back to Powell River.

It was 17 round trips between Powell River and Victoria (4 1/2 hours each way, with 34 ferry rides) to get this done, and it was just the other day she finally moved to our home.

This beautiful little girl is Lyla, who just turned seven months. She likes to eat and sleep and read about Rocket Richard.

And yes, in our mid-60s we’re slightly old to be doing this but we don’t mind. We love her with all our heart.

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Lyla

McKenzie Earns An Elmer

Congratulations to the always excellent and insightful Bob McKenzie for winning this year’s Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award, his profession’s highest honour, and which puts him Hall of Fame bound.

McKenzie is an absolutely deserving recipient, a guy at the top of his game, and the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) thinks so too.

There’s no word yet on whether P.J. Stock will take home the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for Excellence in Sports Broadcasting.

Below, a letter I have from Mr. Ferguson to Emile Dion in Quebec City, dated 1929.

 

Elmer

Elmer Ferguson, born in 1885 and deceased in 1972, was the sports editor for the now-defunct Montreal Herald, a newspaper in existence from 1811 to 1957. That’s quite a run. 146 years.

Elmer also did color commentary on radio broadcasts, first with the Montreal Maroons between 1933 and 1938, and then the Habs from 1938 to 1967. He worked alongside the late, great Danny Gallivan in later years.

Mr. Ferguson, who has signed the letter using fountain pen, was inducted into the media section of the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982, and the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award is given each year to a journalist “in recognition of distinguished members of the newspaper profession whose words have brought honour to journalists and to hockey“.

Among those honoured are the likes of Jacques Beauchamp, Red Burnett, Trent Frayne, Red Fisher, Andy O’Brien, Michael Farber, and Roy MacGregor, and now McKenzie joins the pack.

The man mentioned in the letter, Cooper Smeaton, was a referee and the NHL’s first referee-in-chief when the league was formed in 1917. He was inducted into the referee/linesmen section of the Hall of Fame in 1961.

Summer Windbag

May 20 – Mike Babcock leaves the Detroit Red Wings to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs, with the deal calling for 50 million bucks over eight years. Seriously, that’s more than I made at BC Ferries.

Last year Toronto brought in a hot shot advanced stats guy, and now it’s this coach. We’re all screwed. The Leafs will probably be fantastic from now on. Unstoppable every year until the two of them retire. Leafs fans are lucky.

May 21 – Babcock mentions at his big press conference that the Leafs are “Canada’s team”.

May 25 – Today I’ve been thinking about what Babcock said about Canada’s team. I wanted to know who Canada is, the one the team belongs to, so I typed in Canada 411 and had a look.

The problem is, there are quite a few people in Canada named Canada, and I’ve no idea which one the Leafs belong to. There’s Graham Canada in Brampton, Vicki Canada in Vancouver, Gorving Canada in Toronto, Sheldon Canada in Alberta, and a whole bunch in Manitoba, including Mervin and Terry. Others too, including Catherine Canada in Quebec. And then there’s the parents and siblings. All these Canadas, and at least one of them owns the Leafs. Right now we don’t know which one, but I’m hoping it’s Mervin.

Whichever Canada it is, maybe his or her granddad was part of the crew that helped build Maple leaf Gardens and took shares from Conn Smythe instead of money. And if it’s one of the Manitoba Canadas like Mervin, the neighbours probably had no idea. They thought the Canada clan down the road were Jets fans.

May 27 – Guy Lafleur says Brendan Gallagher should captain the Canadiens. Guy says what he thinks, and I say good for him, he doesn’t keep things bottled up inside which could lead to ulcers. Last year he put the hammer down on Max and Tomas Vanek for having lousy post seasons, before that it was Bob Gainey and Guy Carbonneau’s handling of Alex Kovalev, and in 2007 he said the Habs were a team of 4th liners. I’m sure there were more.

Management must grit their teeth when they find out that the Flower has spoken again.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter what Guy or any of us think about who should wear the C. It should be put to a dressing room vote. They know each other. They have showers together. But call the vote when no one’s expecting so there’s no time for players to do some personal brown nosing to garner votes, like buying flowers for the other guys’ wives, or babysitting their kids.

And sadly, Carey Price’s name shouldn’t be on the ballot. You know, the goalie/captain thing. But if Price was a forward or d-man, it’s the captaincy for sure.

June 2 – Jeff Petry signs a new six year, $33 million contract with the Canadiens. I like the Habs blueline. You got yer P.K. and Petry and Beaulieu and Emelin and Pateryn and Tinordi. And yes, even Old Man Markov, who will be relying on smarts only from here on in, which is still good.

June 3 – The Stanley Cup Final featuring the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks begins. Canada’s team isn’t involved. Probably next year because they have the coach and the stats guy. Mervin or Graham, or whichever Canada it is that the team belongs to, will be cheering wildly from Manitoba or wherever.

June 4 – Something slightly unusual happens to me today.