Category Archives: Montreal Canadiens

Habs Hold On Against Stars

The Canadiens found themselves in a couple of 5 on 3 pickles, saw Alexei Emelin get the boot for pounding Jason Spezza into the boards (which led to one of those 5 on 3s), but with some big time help from Carey Price, skated away with a 3-2 win over the visiting Dallas Stars.

A fine yet fortunate outcome for the boys, after being outshot 42-26 and for much of the night outskated, but with Price doing his thing we know any night can mean two points. It warms the innards. We just don’t need any Krieder-like crease bulldozing from now to late spring.

That’s three straight, four of their last five, and the Canadiens continue to roll along, mostly because the aforementioned guy between the pipes is the best in the business. And once again he had the job of handing out pucks to lucky fans after being chosen first star.

This guy has given away a lot of pucks this year.

Alexei Emelin early on gave his team the lead when he shot into a herd of players down low near the boards, the puck somehow skirted to the front, caromed off a Stars d-man, and into the net it went.

The Canadiens then made it 2-0 when Alex Galchenyuk dashed in from the left side, moved nicely around the lone defenceman, and backhanded it past goalie Kari Lehtonen. They were off to the races. Going good. The Ole singers were clearing their throats.

Until Manny Malhotra, for some inexplicable reason, was tossed from the faceoff circle with 3 seconds left in the first and was replaced by Brendan Gallagher, who was outmatched on the draw and Jamie Benn blasted it home with only a second left to make it a 2-1 game.

Speaking of Gally, he’d give his team a two-goal lead on the power play in the second period, and I don’t really have to describe Gally’s goal. He did the old Gally three step – fought like a demon in the crease, didn’t give up, and ended up pounding it home.

Throughout the second and third periods the game became a tense deal, especially after Dallas scored to make it 3-2 in the second when Emelin’s major had just 17 seconds still left on it.

But they hung on throughout, mostly because of Price. Thank you Price.

Now it’s a short hop to New York to tackle the Rangers on Thursday. I’m betting Price will be chosen first star.

A View From Above

Here it is, the latest look at the Scientific Habs Information Tracking System, showing nice amounts of yellow spread out over what amounts to more than half the season completed (45 games played, eighth best overall).

As you can see, the only real slump was back in the latter part of November and into early December when the boys lost six of seven games. And January shows a bit of a dip but nothing serious.

All in all, a fine season so far, with a big test coming up in early March when they hit the big three in California and shortly after tackle the Lightning, Sens, Islanders, and then Lightning again.

Isn’t this more fun than watching the All-Star Game?

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I Don’t Care

Ed's RCA

I’ll say again that I’m not a fan of the All-Star Game. I don’t like the on-ice smiling, the lack of hitting, the who cares who’ll win atmosphere, and especially the mutual admiration society.

I also don’t appreciate the fact that P.K. and Max aren’t on the team, which is ridiculous, and the idea that the NHL has decided to have a representative from every team instead of rosters consisting of the very best players in the league.

But that’s just me. You might like it.

Thanks to my friend Ed in Ottawa for sending me the test pattern. It’s a fine time to use it.

Moves Like The Missile

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I don’t remember that two goals, one assist game. I can only assume what happened.

Dozens of fans, some even whoopin’ and hollerin’. We were probably down by a goal with just under a minute to go, and I had decided that enough was enough.

I’m thinking that I took the puck behind our goal, did a fancy little how do you do past the first forechecker, outskated the second guy like he’d just seen a ghost, did a slick loop de loop around the next guy, split the defence like nobody’s business, and after freezing the goalie with my patented Harlem shuffle, found the top corner to tie the game.

Then I guess I did it again.

I seem to recall that these were moves only The Missile in Montreal and Gordie Whye in Detroit could come close to, and of course what players in Toronto could only dream of doing.

Afterwards, I can sort of recall quite a few gorgeous female models waiting for me in the lobby, but being a shy and dedicated hockey player, I probably just went home and worked on my stick instead.

 

 

 

Soup Riot

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When Clarence Campbell suspended Maurice Richard for the remaining three games of the season and all of the playoffs in March of 1955, he was not a popular man. To say the least.

Of course Clarence wasn’t popular. His suspension of the Rocket was incredibly harsh, although Maurice did whack Bruins d-man Hal Laycoe a bunch of times with his stick after Laycoe had high-sticked him (which called for five stitches), and there was that coldcocking of linesman Cliff Thompson with a punch or two. But I digress.

Richard fans took to the streets, and as we all know, trashed several blocks of Rue Ste. Catherine, which forever after became known as the Richard Riot, or the St. Patrick’s Day Riot.

But there was more than just smashing and looting. Only ordinary greaseballs simply smash and loot. One disgruntled Habs fan came up with a much more creative protest – design, print and cover Campbell’s soup cans, which was no relation to Clarence, with Maurice Richard labels, and for a short time after the incident, various stores sold their tomato soup this way.

 

Canadiens Drop Preds In OT

They were outplayed in the first period and for much of the second. But it doesn’t mean the Canadiens had to lose.

Because they didn’t.

Outshot 14-4 by the visiting Nashville Predators in the first period, with Carey Price doing what he does best – keeping his team in it.  And shots late in the second frame were in the 14-5 range for the Preds before the boys finally began to shake the cobwebs.

With Price doing his uncanny impersonation of a brick wall, the Canadiens eventually lit the lamp when Alex Galchenyuk deflected a Subbinator blast during a third period power play, and then PK would end it in overtime, again a missile from far out, and again, on the power play.

Preds’ coach Peter Laviolette wasn’t happy that his player (Craig Smith) was called for tripping Lars Eller in overtime, and had plenty to say to the referee as the teams skated off the ice. I hope his mother wasn’t watching.

Unlock a Nashville studio, a sad country song is calling. Your dog dies, your wife leaves you, and you lose in overtime with a man in the sinbin.

Did you ever notice that Laviolette looks a bit like Reggie Mantle from Archie comics? Maybe it’s just me.

Great comeback win against one of the league’s elite squads, and a big two points that gives Montreal a healthy 7 points up on 4th place Boston in the Atlantic Division. It also sees them just 3 points behind Tampa Bay for tops in the East, with the boys having three games in hand.

Great way to head into the All-Star break. Rolling along, feelin’ good, us feelin’ good, Peter Laviolette and Craig Smith feelin’ bad.

Now we wait a full week until the train fires up again, with Dallas at the Bell next Tuesday.

Shots on goal – Preds 37, Canadiens 27. But Pricer was his usual self, and PK enjoyed one of the those games that causes plenty of oohs and aahs from folks at the rink and on couches from Victoria to Vladivostok.

Reggie

 

 

 

 

Jean and His Buddies

Below, a photo that was once part of Jean Beliveau’s personal collection, and which now sits in my home in Powell River.

It’s Jean in the stands at Luzhniki in Moscow in 1972, flanked by two Soviet stars, the legendary Valeri Kharlamov and lesser-known Vladimir Vikulov.

Vikulov was no slouch, having been the leading scorer in the 1972 Soviet Championship League (34 goals), and was a pivotal guy with numerous medal-winning Russian squads back in the day.

He was the one who took the ceremonial faceoff against Phil Esposito before game one of the Summit Series in Montreal.

When I was in Russia years ago I was told that Vikulov was going through hard times after retiring from hockey, which is sad but not all that surprising.  Only a few from that legendary 1972 squad, guys like Mikhailov, Tretiak, Yakushev and a handful of others, did well over the years and enjoyed fine lifestyles, while many struggled in their personal lives in the years that followed.

This skilled right winger, who played in six of the eight Summit games, notching two goals and one assist, and who also played in the 1976 Canada Cup, died in August of 2013.

Six Big Goals Against Isles

The Canadiens would pull off a nice 6-4 win against the visiting Islanders, although they led 6-2 with just over five minutes to play.

Which brings me to this. To those at the Bell who like to sing Ole, maybe you could wait until the siren goes. Cap it all off with a nice and hearty rendition when the game is actually won. Just for a change.

I’m blaming you for making things slightly dicey as the clock wore down. I find myself thinking how Ole warblers could stick their Ole up their ole.

But all in all a fine win against a good, although obviously tired Islanders team. Six goals past Jaroslav Halak before he was finally chased, with two of the six being power play markers, which thrills me to no end.

I think I’ve discovered the true meaning of life. A good Habs power play.

PK would blast home a man-advantage marker to open the scoring in the first, and just ten seconds into the second frame, Dale Weise converted a beautiful feed from Tomas Plekanec and the boys were off and running.

Never mind that the Islanders came within one twice. A Plekanec power play blast in the second kept the team in front, and in the third period, goals from Galchenyuk (close in), DD ( a scorching shot over Halak’s shoulder), and Pleks again (after bringing the puck in from centre ice), and things looked just dandy.

Until people started singing Ole.

But all’s well that ends well. Dustin Tokarski got the win, and the number two team in the east gets whomped by the number five Canadiens.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot New York 35-31 and were 2/4 on the power play.

It was a full team effort, and along with Pleks, who tallied 2 goals and 2 assists, others like Jiri Sekac, Nathan Beaulieu, Brandon Prust, Christian Thomas, and PK all had moments that must have kept Sportsnet/HNIC announcer Paul Romanuk reaching for the Benylin with codeine so he could raise his weakened voice.

Romanuk called the game while under the weather, and although it wasn’t his fault, it sounded like the codeine was obviously working.

But I’m not one to criticize Romanuk. He got through it like a trooper, and I know from experience that when I wake up in the morning and have my vanilla extract, codeine, hashish, DK beer, banana, and orange juice shake, the only talking I do is to myself and I’m never able to translate. So good for him.

Tuesday the boys go up against the league’s number 1 team, the Nashville Predators.