Category Archives: Montreal Canadiens

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.

 

Habs Fall To Leafs In OT

The Canadiens fell 4-3 in overtime to the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs, and the hockey world is in utter disbelief that Montreal would give…

…a run for their money.

Yes, Montreal would take the lead just 2:19 into the first period when Jeff Petry blasted one from the point after a nice set up by Jonathan Drouin, they were outplaying the blue and white by a nice margin, the Bell crowd was happy, life was as it should be, but two goals in 44 seconds by the Leafs, who are…

in the history of the world…and the Habs looked to be in big trouble because the Torontonians can score and the Montrealers can’t, so we waited for the Bell Centre roof to cave in. But lo and behold, Alex Galchenyuk, with his first goal (and point) of the season while on the power play, the team’s first PP goal of the season, and it was hard to believe for all concerned.

How could the lowly Montreal Canadiens hang tough like this? Against a team that Central Canada hockey broadcasters, writers, analysts, hanger-ons, groupies, Don Cherry, Richard Simmons, Kim Jong-un, 5000 Syrian refugees, and many more, all consider to be…

Donald Trump can’t wait to invite them to Washington where he’ll have blue trim painted around the White House windows in honour of this juggernaut. Although he’s undecided about Nazem Kadri.

Montreal took the lead in the second period when Jonathan Drouin redirected a Karl Alzner hard pass from the blueline, but just 1:10 later, Patrick Marleau inched the puck just over the line, the teams were tied at three, and would remain so for the rest of the middle frame and all of the third.

Sadly in overtime, Auston Mathews notched the winner, Leaf fans rejoiced, and Sportsnet’s Daren Millard, who compares the Leafs to  Gretzky’s Oilers, had to be excused to go to the bathroom.

All in all, it was Montreal’s best outing of this young season, and now have 1 win, 3 losses, and 1 overtime loss/point racked up. Most importantly, three guys who had yet to score – Petry, Galchenyuk, and Drouin, did so, and maybe it’ll get them rolling. Rome wasn’t built in a day, a few others need to step up, and Max needs to stop shooting from far out at goalies who stop these type of shots while gawking at lovely ladies in the stands.

Another concern lingers, the sometimes mediocre backstopping of Carey Price. With this lineup we need Price at his best most of the time, but it hasn’t happened yet. We’ve seen some sensational stops from the guy, but because he’s Price, we need more than just some.

They fought valiantly but couldn’t get it done against the…

Random Notes:

The Canadiens now jet to California for games in San Jose on Tuesday, L.A. Wednesday, and Anaheim on Friday.  What a shitty October schedule for this team. Not that there should be any excuses I suppose.

Time now for…

 

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.

 

Dumped In D.C.

Who is this fellow? Find out after I babble a bit about tonight’s bummer.

Three goals in the first 2:51 of the game while the Canadiens were still waking up from their afternoon naps, and 4-0 Caps after one period, with Alex Ovechkin scoring three of them.

In the second frame, with Al Montoya in net to replace Carey Price, the Canadiens dominated in fine fashion, with Brendan Gallagher notching a shorthanded marker to narrow it slightly to 4-1 and give us a speck of hope. But Ovechkin, with his fourth of the night, and a goal by Aussie rookie Nathan Walker to make it 6-1 before the period ended, and it was all down the drain like overpoured $12 beer at the Capital One Arena.

The third frame was a lost cause, completely out of reach for the visitors, and all that was left to ponder was whether Ovy would score five. He didn’t.

Just one of those nights. Buried less than three minutes in. Caps goaltender Braden Holtby was terrific, and the Canadiens were demolished even though outshooting Washington 39-23 overall.

Now it’s on to New York for a Sunday game at MSG (7 pm ET), and it’s exciting to think of the possibility of Al Montoya showing up at the Copacabana to sing his massive hit ‘Volare’.

Oh. That’s Al Martino. And he’s dead.

Never mind.

Post-game show:

The cute baby below is Samuel Daigneault from Montreal, and back in June 2013 I posted a small story after seeing him in a 1991 Canadiens magazine that I have. (There’s also a story in the same issue about me and some Russian Habs fans friends, but I digress).

You can see my post about Sam right here – Samuel

002

Guess what? Samuel is all grown up now, he saw my post a while back, and here he is!

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.

 

Your Basic Rocket Contract

Below, the Rocket’s contract for the 1956-57 season, drawn up on a 1954 Northern Electric calendar page, for the sum of $12,000, plus a $2,000 signing bonus.

$12,000 is basically the equivalent of $108,000 in 2017 dollars.

Thanks to Bernie Beland in Sudbury for sending me a photo of this great piece.

Interestingly enough, Rocket’s brother Henri’s rookie contract was drawn up on the very same type of calendar page, but from the year before, 1953, even though Henri’s rookie year was 1955-56.

GM Frank Selke must have held on to his old, out-of-date Northern Electric calendar pages because he was a cheap bastard.

Those Great Old Habs Jacket Crests

From my collection, three examples of Habs team jacket crests from days gone by, and all made with that cool chenille fabric. Although chenille is notorious for the colour running if washed or in heavy rain.

From the 1950s:

The early 1960s:

And unsure exactly about the era, but it’s a 1940s design with the top right coming up so high:

From Wikipedia:

The chenille yarn is manufactured by placing short lengths of yarn, called the “pile”, between two “core yarns” and then twisting the yarn together. The edges of these piles then stand at right angles to the yarn’s core, giving chenille both its softness and its characteristic look. Chenille will look different in one direction compared to another, as the fibers catch the light differently. Chenille can appear iridescent without actually using iridescent fibers. The yarn is commonly manufactured from cotton, but can also be made using acrylic, rayon and olefin.

 

Bob’s Rocket Record. Just Got One!

A couple of years ago I wrote about a 1955 recording (on 78 RPM) by Bob Hill and his Canadian Country Boys called ‘Saga of Rocket Richard’, which was about the infamous Richard Riot on St. Patrick’s Day of that year.

My story is here if you want – Bob Hill’s Rocket Riot Tune

It’s hard to find, this old disc, but I got one just the other day! First an old pedal car, and then the record, all within a week. I’m on a roll.

Here’s my new/old record!