Category Archives: Montreal Canadiens

Habs Wax Leafs

iron 1

Two huge goals in the third period by the captain, and great work throughout by the new guy and the big young guy, and the Canadiens top the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1.

This gives the boys two straight wins, or three of their last four, and although their season still sucks, they’ve played better lately. It kind of makes my heart soar like a kite with holes in it.

And no, the team’s not tanking, it’s not the proud or right way of doing things. It’s management who would do the tanking anyway, not the players, and the Montreal Canadiens aren’t the 1919 Chicago White Sox.

The first period saw the Leafs strike first, but a great wrist shot from Alex Galchenyuk would even things, while the second period featured a couple of noteworthy events:

Brendan Gallagher batted the puck in, but it was decided his stick was too high, although maybe by just a whisker. Personally, I thought it was legal but I’m biased.

The goal that did count soon after was one that began with 6’6″ Michael McCarron ramming an enemy body into the end boards, with the puck nicely kept in for Devante Smith-Pelly to get his stick on.

This would mark big McCarron’s first point in his three games with the club, and with his size, if the veterans try to make this rookie buy the dinners, all he has to do is look down at them and say no.

In the third frame, when the score was tense at 2-1, Max Pacioretty finally came alive, scoring his 22nd of the year after taking a great cross-ice pass from Andrei Markov, and then notching his 23rd from a rebound off the back boards.

Maybe this will light a fire under Max’s arse. There’s 20 games left, and the team is clinging to life. If Max hasn’t exactly been great leadership material in the past, maybe as the season winds down he can show us some. A slew of goals would help.

Michael McCarron needs to win a regular spot in a big way. Imagine people calling the Habs a big team instead of what we’ve heard for years now?

A hulking forward like him, crashing the net, having his way with smaller opponents, contributing on the scoresheet, maybe winning most of his fights. Damn.

Twenty-three year old Quebecer Phillip Danault, over from Chicago in the Weise-Fleischmann trade, looked completely at home, winning his share of faceoffs, in on several scoring chances, and doing some bumping.

He might not a big point-getter, at least not yet, but Danault was impressive. And set to become UFAs anyway, Weise had come back to earth after his early season Dutch Gretzky act, and Fleischmann may have started the year in fine style, but sure wasn’t ending it like that.

Random Notes:

Habs outshot the Leafs 36-32.

Mike Condon, in his fourth straight start, once again played well.

That’s twelve games played in February, with one remaining, and the team has won 6 of these 12. Not fantastic, but better.

Next up – Canadiens begin their three-game series in California, beginning with the Sharks in San Jose on Monday night. (10:30 ET).

 

 

 

 

Hi Normand, You Don’t Know Me But…

JIM WITHERS: FOR USE WITH STUBBS COLUMN IN EDITIONS OF MONDAY, MARCH 15, 2010: Canadiens legend Maurice (Rocket) Richard tapes a stick in the Canadiens dressing room during the 1959-60 season, the final season for the Habs great, watched by sons Normand (centre) and Maurice Jr. A new bilingual, two-DVD set featuring the Rocket is being released now, shortly before the 10th anniversary of his death, and Maurice Jr. says he's amazed at the enduring popularity of his late father. CREDIT: DAVID BIER STUDIOS, GAZETTE FILES

The Rocket tapes his stick during the 1959-60 season, while sons Normand and Maurice Jr. watch carefully.

Normand is the same age as me, and when I was living in Montreal a couple of years ago, I phoned him. Twice.

The first time I called, I opened with “Hi Normand, your dad was my hero!”, or something like that. The second time was more along the lines of, “Hi, it’s that guy again who called that other time.”

Normand was very nice and seemed just fine with the fact that some stranger was calling. I appreciated that.

Both times I called we talked for about 20 minutes or so, and during the second chat he agreed to meet me for coffee, although he said he was driving a friend’s car to Florida the next day and we’d have to wait until he got back.

I was very excited. I wanted to tell him that when I was a kid, I often wondered what it would be like to be the Rocket’s son. And I wondered if we’d need menus.

I wanted to be Normand’s friend back then, and I wanted to be his friend now.

But it wasn’t to be. Mainly because when he got back from Florida, I was back in Powell River.

Habs Win In Washington

rocky

Alex Galchenyuk’s two goals and Mike Condon’s often great and sometimes lucky netminding helped the Canadiens edge the uppity Washington Capitals 4-3 in D.C. Wednesday night.

Although they barely held on in the final few minutes after blowing a 4-1 lead in the third.

But it was mostly an impressive outing by the boys, and as Dale Weise said between periods, before they almost blew it, “This is the kind of hockey we knew we could play.”

Sportsnet announcer Dave Randorf babbled on early about how great the Caps were and how they were too much for the struggling Canadiens. But he’d soon do an about-face.

Galchenyuk banged in a rebound to open the scoring, Brendan Gallagher fired home an Andrei Markov rebound, and the score was a shocking 2-0 Canadiens to end the first period. And Randorf quit the gushing and began to give the Habs their due.

The Canadiens deserved praise too. They skated well, looked sharp, scored a power play goal (Gally), and Ovechkin and company for the most part didn’t know what hit them.

To add to the first period shock, Tomas Fleischmann would make it 3-0 just two minutes into the second frame, which chased hotshot goaltender Braden Holtby, and after Jason Chimera solved Condon to make it 3-1, Galchenyuk would notch his second of the night and it was a magnificent 4-1 lead.

Maybe you saw Chimera in the series Road to the Winter Classic, when he was chirping PK Subban and saying, “You guys won nine straight but that’s it. Who do you think you are?”

The excellent second period also saw Brendan Gallagher on a penalty shot and Lars Eller on a clear-cut breakaway, with neither scoring. But they could have, and 5-1 or 6-1  would have been mighty fine.

But that’s not the way the Montreal Canadiens do things.

In the third period, after Jacob de la Rose was foiled on a breakaway, the Caps suddenly came to life, scored two and stormed the Montreal net, and almost came all the way back to win the friggin’ thing.

But the boys hung on and skated away with a fine 4-3 win.

They beat the penthouse dwellers. That’s good, right?

Random Notes:

Washington outshot Montreal 35-34.

Great stop by Condon on Mike Richards with his back turned.

Next up – Leafs at the Bell Centre on Saturday.

 

Tight Loss To Preds

sign

It was tight and it could’ve been. But in the end it wasn’t.

Canadiens lose 2-1 to the Nashville Predators, with the game going to a shootout before being decided, and although the Habs grab a point, it’s just another big nail in the Molson wallet.

Nashville scored 3:16 into the first, while Brendan Gallagher replied late in the same frame, at 18:43, and that was it until the shootout.

Tighter than my great-grandmother’s corset. Tighter than a camel’s arse in a sandstorm, as the lamps remained unlit until Nashville’s Craig Smith did his job in the shootout after Montreal’s Sven Andrighetto, Alex Galchenyuk, and Max Pacioretty didn’t.

And thus, the win streak stops at one game. And it’s only the number one team in the league, the Washington Capitals, sitting high and mighty with 92 points, (11 ahead of 2nd place Chicago), on deck Wednesday.

Canadiens have 61 points, so you see the problem.

Random Notes:

Canadiens were outshot 30-29 by the Preds, but midway through the first they were down 6-1 in shots, so they did manage to regroup and make a game of it. Which is better than being comatose throughout.

Dale Weise, who might be changing his address soon, was listed as having the flu.

Mike Condon was in nets again, after backstopping his team to a win on Friday against Philly.

After Wednesday in Washington, the team then plays host to those nutty Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

Two big games. Sort of.

 

 

 

Habs Do It!

kiss

The Canadiens came through in the shootout to edge the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 at the Bell Centre, and after the way things ended in Colorado on Wednesday, this two-pointer should have fans kissing strangers in the streets.

It’s always a fine thing when the Habs win a game of course, although it’s too late. But after what we’ve been through, we deserve a win.

It’s like the hockey gods got together and said “They deserve a win.”

And the heart-stopping overtime kind of made up for some of the Dead Men Skating we’ve seen too much of lately. Frantic three-on-three, and those who paid scalpers’ prices at least got a  nice five-minute return on their money.

PK turned the puck over a couple of times, but because of the sensitivity carried over from Wednesday, I don’t dare mention it.

I’d also like to apologize for not talking about Max Pacioretty’s role in my recap after the Wednesday debacle.

I was so blinded by PK losing the puck and the Avs scoring the go-ahead goal with two minutes left, that I didn’t notice how dazed and confused Max was at the other end when he went one way and the player he was covering went the other.

I was also writing the recap, with the TV turned off, when Michel Therrien threw PK under the bus.

Sorry for missing these key events. You can throw me under the bus if you want.

Tonight, Friday, everything’s good. It’s Good Friday! And I have no idea what the coach or players are saying, because my two fingers are tapping away as I bathe in the glory of this big win.

Which is too late. Unless the hockey gods say we deserve the playoffs.

Random Notes:

PK collected two assists.

Dale Weise opened the scoring when he banked the puck off a Flyers rearguard. Unfortunately,  just ten seconds later the Flyers tied it up when a long shot flew past Mike Condon, who must’ve been eyeing female ushers in the corridor at the time.

A Tomas Plekanec turnover in the third period gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead, and although I don’t know for sure, I’m thinking that Michel Therrien will probably tread lightly when asked about this.

Max would tie the game on the power play after letting go a great wrist shot from the right side, and in the shootout, Max, along with Paul Byron, would get it done to the cheers of the faithful.

On this night, kudos to Max. Folks have been hard on him, and he’s deserved much of the criticism, mainly because he’s been quite shitty.

But tonight Max came through and helped the cause in a big way.

The Flyers outshot Montreal 37-31.

Next up – Monday, when the Nashville Predators creep into town.

 

 

 

 

Habs Lose Again

my team

All it took was for P.K. Subban to swoop across the ice inside the Colorado Avalanche blueline and turn over the puck, and the Montreal Canadiens lose again.

Another loss, this time 3-2. Maybe that’s all that needs to be mentioned.

It doesn’t matter anymore if they play well or not, if they look sharp and remind us a little of the glory days back in October and November.

They still lost, which they do on most nights in this most pathetic of seasons, and if I heard correctly earlier today, they now have to win 17 of their final 24 games.

A season to forget and I’m already working on it. If you’re interested, the Chicago Cubs are the betting favourite to win the 2016 World Series. This means a lot considering they haven’t won it all in 107 years.

If the Canadiens were to go 107 years between Stanley Cups, it would be 84 more years, in the year 2100. So we’ll probably miss it if it happens.

The boys played a decent game, though. They were more alive than they’ve been lately. Much better than in Phoenix on Monday, although that’s not saying a whole lot, I suppose. They skated well, they had their chances, they held the lead twice, and they lost.

They lost after P.K. decided to swoop when less swooping was called for, when he should’ve just got it in deep, and down the ice the enemy came, ready to stuff yet another dagger in the hearts of Habs fans.

Future HOFer Jarome Iginla, after tying the game late in the second, netted the winner with just 2:03 left in the third.

And soon after, with Ben Scrivens pulled and the Canadiens looking for the equalizer, P.K. sat on the bench.

He sat on the bench. What good was that? A key offensive threat paying for his sins while a goal was needed?

Penalize him by making him buy the beer at the golf course in a couple of months. Not when the team is desperate for a goal and he’s one of the guys who might help get it done.

Basically, Michel Therrien would rather punish PK than win the game.

Random Notes:

Andrei Markov and Lars Eller were the two Montreal marksmen.

One of Montreal’s standouts was Lucas Lessio, back from injury and in just his second game with the CH. The Ontario-born fellow was flying, and was involved in several fine chances around the Avs net.

Canadiens outshot the Avs 34-28 and were 0/3 on the power play.

Next up – Friday in Montreal, when the Philadelphia Flyers pay a visit.

 

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Eaten By Coyotes

coyote

The Canadiens came within a whisker of handling the Arizona Coyotes in the desert. Just five more goals and the win was theirs.

It was that close. The team just isn’t getting the breaks.

A tight one. Tense like crazy. But in the end, the boys fell short.

If only they could’ve scored those five. But they didn’t and the Coyotes held on by the skin of their teeth to edge our Montrealers 6-2.

6-2. WTF is that?

So, after three wins that had Habs fans feeling sort of better, the team has now lost their last two and given up 12 goals in the process.

I guess the slump is back. Oh, it never went away, you say?

Now, onward to Denver on Wednesday for another exciting loss.

On the bright side, only six more losses this month and they’ll equal December and January for winning three games in each month. I don’t know about you but this possibility excites the heck out of me.

Such a dismal year for Habs fans young and old, from all across our great nation and beyond, down in the dumps as the team begins to think golf thoughts.

Hardened Habs fans from Dildo, Nfld, to Lower Shag Harbour, NS.

Diehards in Beersville, NB to Dixsville, PQ and Newbliss, Ont.

Fans in the west, from Jackmore, Man. and Climax, Sask., to the gang out at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump in Alberta.

And of course those poor bastards in Powell River, BC.

All resigned to the fact that the Canadiens season will draw to a close in just a couple more dozen games.

Random Notes:

The Coyotes outshot the Canadiens 28-19.

Dale Weise and Brendan Gallagher were the Habs marksmen.

It’s an 8:00 pm ET start in Denver.

 

 

I Think It’s Good Anyway

Once again, for your possible reading enjoyment, some drawings from my grade two exercise book done at West Ward Public School in Orillia, and which I’ve managed to hold on to all these years.

Yes, some of you have seen some of this before, but I’ve added more this time, so that’s good right?

And as another added bonus, I include a photo of West Ward school in the process of burning to the ground in 1968.

But first things first, my art from grade two, lots of it, and which includes some Habs, a portrait of my teacher Mrs. Williams, along with Elvis Presley, which I spelled ‘Elive Prisie’.

If all this isn’t enticing, I don’t know what is.

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West Ward