Category Archives: Nashville Predators

Anybody But Radulov

Alexander Radulov scored two goals in Russia’s 4-0 win over Norway today, and it’s just too bad it’s this guy who emerges as the hero.

Radulov’s the guy who once upon a time played for the Nashville Predators but in the middle of his contract decided that he could get a sweeter deal in the KHL and went ahead and signed a three-year contract with Salavat Yulayev UFA without telling the Preds.

The Preds suspended him, but sadly, took him back a few years later for some reason.

Then, in an important playoff game against the Coyotes, Radulov and teammate Andrei Kostitysn were spotted in a Phoenix bar at 5 A.M. the morning of the big game,

He was suspended once again, his contract with the Preds wasn’t extended, and he headed back to Russia where Moscow Red Army gave him a 4-year deal at 9.2 million per.

None of it seems right.

 

Davey Saves The Day

They almost blew it. But they didn’t.

David Desharnais did some nice work in overtime and ended a game that saw the Canadiens lead 3-0 in the first period, sit back, play soft, and let the Nashville Predators take over.

But Nashville didn’t take over quite enough, because they still lost.  And now the Habs begin their week long Christmas break on a winning note instead of of a loss where they blew a three-goal lead.

Three goals in 3.07 of the first period, with P.K. firing a missile from just inside the blueline, Max Pacioretty taking a nice pass from Brendan Gallagher and converting, and Tomas Plekanec redirecting a Brian Gionta pass.

Such a great lead. Only it wasn’t.

Maybe it was the enthusiasm shown by Nashville’s Matt Hendricks after his fight with Brandon Prust. CBC’s Gary Galley seemed to think so. Or maybe it was coming anyway.

The Preds had hit a couple of posts, owned the puck for large periods of time, and the Canadiens didn’t have the wherewithal to make things treacherous.

They need to get bigger. As if you haven’t heard that before.

In the second the lead was trimmed 3-1. Then with David Desharnais in the box, it became 3-2. You could see the Preds smell it. The momentum was theirs. And in the third, with P.K. off for tripping, it was tied and it was no surprise.

A bummer, but no surprise.

There were heartstopping moments, great saves by Carey Price, disorganized play by the guys in white, a soft and confused defence corps before and after Andrei Markov was banished to the dressing room for spouting off after being hit from behind, but when all said and done…..

David Desharnais provides the heroics and now they get a week off to reflect and probably agree that they should never have blown a three-goal lead in the first place.

Random Notes:

Canadiens were outshot 20-6 in the second period and 34-23 overall.

Daniel Briere had a couple of decent moments but one play stands out for me. In the third, he took his sweet time coming back and had a coffee and a smoke in the high slot, far from the enemy. Meanwhile, the Preds stormed the net and Briere simply wasn’t there to help. So lackadaisical. Like his heart’s not in it.

Next game – Saturday, Dec. 28, in Tampa Bay. The following night it’s over to the other side to play the Panthers in Sunrise.

Now we’ve got Christmas and the World Juniors to enjoy. And although the Canadiens are off for a week, I’m still here every day. Like a bad rash.

 

 

Outmatched In Missouri

In the category of “what if”….. what if the Canadiens had scored on a first period power play instead of St. Louis scoring while shorthanded?

It became 1-0 for the home team at that point and it was an early dagger….and soon after it became 2-0, and then 3-0.

And the Canadiens were screwed.

And I couldn’t help thinking, are the St. Louis Blues ever a nice big club. Who can skate. And score. How nice it would be to see a Habs club with that kind of size and mobility. We’ve got guys so small the fans in the nosebleeds think it’s a bunch of red, white and blue pucks on the ice.

Ottawa beat this Blues club 3-2 in OT last Monday. How’d they do that?

Brendan Gallagher made it close for awhile, scoring just his second goal in 18 games, which came in the second period and which gave us hope for awhile. And although the team did begin to make a game of it, the third period saw the Blues tally twice more and the Habs fall 5-1 and basically got whupped.

If all goes as planned, Montreal will win on Saturday in Nashville, if only to keep the mediocre “lose one, win one, lose one, win one” thing going.

Random Notes:

Brandon Prust took four minutes for hooking and roughing, but the boys killed it. That sort of thing that got them going the other night against Phoenix, and they did pick things up a notch. But with a 5-1 final score, they obviously didn’t pick things up enough.

Shots on goal – St. Louis 29, Montreal 26.

Alexei Emelin might have wished he missed the plane. A stick in the mouth and on the ice for four of the Blues’ five goals.

Back to the drawing board. These thumpings probably don’t affect the players nearly as much as losing heartbreakers, but it affects lots of us.

When they get their asses kicked, the shortcomings are magnified. It makes for a dismal night all round.

 

 

 

 

Huge Tuesday Night Win

It began with the usual concerns about the team looking flat, outshot 15-3 in the first period, not being able to score, down a goal, all that jazz.

But sometime in the second period the Canadiens began to show some life, to look more confident, to skate with just a bit more jump, and in the third, with Max Pacioretty leading the way, they earned a big 3-1 win over a solid Phoenix Coyotes team and the sky, on the verge of falling, didn’t.

It took a good effort from Carey Price to keep his team down just a goal until they found a way, and it was Max picking up the slack by first assisting on Andrei Markov’s power play goal, then scoring one himself on another power play, and finally sealing it with an empty netter.

We breathe a sigh of relief. Or at least I do. But I’m sure you do too. If you’re a Habs fan.

Four losses in five games would’ve been tragic, especially if they had been held scoreless. But the Canadiens notched three, albeit two with the man advantage and one with Coyotes goalie Mike Smith on the bench, but why quibble? They won.

They played a decent game in the second half. And Max not only racked up three points but also hit three goal posts.

But then there was that puck being brought out of the Canadiens end by P.K. with the Coyotes extra man on the ice, which P.K. proceeded to lose and which could have ended this thing much differently than it did. It should’ve been a conservative, off the boards type thing, but P.K decided to get fancy and it one of those decisions that I wish P.K. wouldn’t decide to do.

P.K., as great as he is, as flamboyant and talented and exciting as he is, still shows us sometimes that his game continues to need a bit more tightening up. But maybe he’ll never be completely tamed. Maybe this is the P.K. we’ll always see.

Pierre Houde called the names Galchenyuk, Eller, and Desharnais on a regular basis. Briere – almost never. Bourque, maybe a tad more.

But again, why quibble? That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

Yes, a Habs win in the middle of a skid is that important.

Random Notes:

After being outshot 15-3 in the first, the Canadiens outshot Phoenix 11-7 in the second and 14-5 in the third, with the total being 28-27 Habs. It was a slow start that picked up steam.

Next up – Habs travel to St. Louis for an 8 pm start on Thursday. Another tough test. Then it’s Saturday in Music City, USA.

 

Prust Joins Walking Wounded

Boy, are is the team ever going to be nice and rested come spring when the going gets tough.

Brandon Prust is gone for four weeks with a shoulder injury after slamming into the boards the other night while playing against Nashville, the same night Daniel Briere suffered a concussion.

They join Max, George Parros, Douglas Murray, Drew Drewiske, and of course Alexei Emelin on the sidelines. Anybody else I’m missing? How’s Youppi?

So what else is new?

 

Saturday Night Stinker

Daniel Briere said after the first period that the boys found themselves on their heels because of early penalties. Unfortunately, they decided to stay on their heels for the entire game.

The amazing thing is, the Canadiens had a chance to win the thing, as bad as they were and as good as Nashville was, because nearing the end of the third period, with the score tied 1-1, Nashville took a penalty for delay of the game, and the Habs power play sprung into action.

Non-action.

Not even a shot on goal, and a minute later, with just 1:27 left, the Preds made it 2-1 and as far as the Canadiens win streak goes, that’s all she wrote. The couldn’t even grab a point out of it, but they didn’t deserve to anyway.

When Nashville scored their second goal, Luci let loose with a bunch of Russian words I’ll bet Google can’t translate.

The visitors were in control for most of the night, and only Carey Price and the kids were fine for the good guys. Even P.K. was ordinary, and the Preds’ two stud D-men, Shea Weber and young Seth Jones, unfortunately outplayed our Norris candidate. Most of the team looked dazed and confused throughout, whether it was even-strength or with the man-advantage, but at least the Eller, Galchenyuk and Gallagher trio crashed the net from time to time, with Gallagher in the second period being the lone Habs marksman.

Just one of those nights. I’m thinking about driving over to Brossard to those mansions off Rome Boulevard where I think some of them live and wait till they get home so I can give them shit.

Random Notes:

Two more injuries to report – Daniel Briere taking a head shot and Brandon Prust hurting his shoulder crashing into the boards. Do you think Louis Leblanc is waiting by the phone?

Shots on goal, Nashville 37, Montreal 29.

Eller and Bournival assisted on Gallagher’s goal.

Some of the penalty calls were questionable at best, but the gang stunk regardless.

Next up – Edmonton at the Bell on Tuesday.

 

 

 

Canadiens Calm Columbus

They blew a 3-0 lead but won the game anyway. So it’s okay.

The Columbus Blue Jackets didn’t make things easy, that’s for sure. They deserve credit for the way they picked away at the Canadiens and finally tied it in the third on a power play. But Thomas Plekanec surprised Sergei Bobrovsky with a screen shot with the goalie going the other way, and all that hard work by Columbus that put a scare into most of us went down the tubes, salted away, again by Pleks, with an empty netter.

5-3 Canadiens. Four in a row. No way am I going to complain about the blown lead. In fact, I’ve forgotten already.

Another fine night for Carey Price, who was chosen first star and deservedly so. P.K. was amazing in the first half of the game, handling the puck like a Norris Trophy winner, springing Rene Bourque free with a beauty of a long pass, and dipsy-doodling to feed Markov who set up Michael Bournival for the kid’s first NHL goal.

But P.K. and his teammates calmed down, unfortunately, and the boys almost blew it.

But they didn’t. And P.K. now has ten points and showing every night that he’s the finest D-man on the planet.

Random Notes:

Andrei Markov notched a shorthanded marker to make it 3-0, which was good while it lasted.

Brendan Gallagher took a beating, even a stick in the mouth, but he carried on because he wouldn’t be Brendan Gallagher if he didn’t. If that’s the game plan for opposing teams, to go hard on Gallagher as much as possible, then we need George Parros to get back out there sooner than later.

This is a good example of why Parros was signed by the Habs in the first place. Gallagher will be completely beaten up come playoff time if something doesn’t change.

Daniel Briere was as invisible as can be and I guess we wait for Saturday when Nashville comes to town to see him break out. He has to soon. I used up all my good jokes on Scott Gomez.

 

 

Sidney Says……..

ESPN asked 11 players which goalie they thought was the best in the NHL. Here’s what they said:

(Sidney’s answer is the the last.)

Thanks to Affairs de Gars.com for the link.

Mike Smith ( Phoenix Coyotes)  said Henrik Lundqvist – N.Y

Shea Weber (Nashville Predators)  Henrik Lundqvist
 
Patrick Sharp (Chicago Blackhawks) Henrik Lundqvist
 
Steve Ott (Buffalo Sabres) Henrik Lundqvist
 
David Backes (St. Louis Blues) Pekka Rinne – Nashville
 
Eric Staal (Carolina Hurricanes) Pekka Rinne
 
Matt Duchene (Colorado Avalanche) Jonathan Quick – L.A.
 
Matt Moulson (New York Islanders) Jonathan Quick
 
Tyler Seguin ( Dallas Stars) Tuukka Rask – Boston
Jonathan Toews ( Chicago Blackhawks) Roberto Luongo – Vancouver
 
Sidney Crosby (Penguins Pittsburgh)  Carey Price – Montreal

One Writer’s Trophy Candidates

Because there’s been talk of certain Canadiens possibly grabbing hardware at season’s end, I’ve wondered who else around the league might be in the thick of things in different categories, and how professional writers might view some of the Habs who have a shot.

So it was interesting to see how Jim Jamieson of the Vancouver Province rates players he says are in the running, with him, and maybe some cohorts at the Province, coming up with some personal picks.

The Hart Trophy (MVP)

Jamieson’s three finalists are Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh), Alex Ovechkin (Washington), and Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim), and he decides on Crosby, although he mentions that Ovechkin is pushing hard.

James Norris Memorial Trophy (top defenceman)

Shea Weber (Nashville), Ryan Suter Minnesota, and P.K. Subban and Jamieson chooses Suter. About Subban, he says P.K. has finally decided to let his play do the talking, and the results confirm he’ll win this trophy soon enough. (just not this year). I disagree. Subban has been brilliant and deserves to win.

Vezina Trophy (top goaltender)

Tuukka Rask (Boston), Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus), and Cory Schneider (Vancouver), and Jamieson apologizes to Canucks fans because he chooses Rask.

Calder Memorial Trophy (top rookie)

Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher, Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida), and Jonas Brodin (Minnesota) are the three finalists, and although Huberdeau leads rookies in scoring, the writer picks Gallagher, which of course I agree with.

Frank J. Selke (best defensive forward)

Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit), Jonathan Toews (Chicago), David Backes (St. Louis).  The choice is Toews, with his league leading plus-33.

Lady Byng – (sportsmanship/high standard of play)

Datsyuk, Jordan Eberle (Edmonton), and Loui Eriksson (Dallas).  Who wins? Flip a coin, says Jamieson. He then chooses Eberle.

Jack Adams Award (coach of the year)

Joel Quenneville (Chicago), Bruce Boudreau (Anaheim), and Michel Therrien, and Jamieson picks Therrien. He says Anaheim and Montreal have been the season’s surprise teams, and he gives the nod to Therrien for a better storyline – about a guy who’s been frozen out by the NHL since his firing from Pittsburgh in 2009.

Blake Retires

Geoffrion

Montreal’s Blake Geoffrion has announced his retirement after suffering a fractured skull last November in a game against the Syracuse Crunch when he was with the Hamilton Bulldogs.

Blake had come to the Canadiens in a deal that sent Hal Gill to the Nashville Predators.

It’s very sad, and hopefully he’ll will have a wonderful life from here on in. We wish him all the best.

Luci and I were at the Habs-Canucks game in Vancouver last year and were only about twenty feet from him when he netted his very first goal for the Canadiens.