Category Archives: Nashville Predators

Habs TCM (Taking Care Of Mike)

Got this great email from our friend Mike McKim in Louisiana the other day.

Dennis,

Over the years you have posted about what a class organization the Habs are. Little ol me, a fan in my 50s, have a tale of exactly how classy Canadien de Montreal actually works.

OK, brief background: Last September my wife allowed me to spend $30 to join the Canadiens fan club, Club 1909, in exchange for buying her the ugly Canadiens Christmas sweater.

During the season, special codes were announced thru various means to member of Club1909. Think Orphan Annie secret decoder ring from the movie A Christmas Story. I acquired a few points, and successfully bid on the opportunity to have my name embedded in Carey Price’s crease during the playoff games in Montreal. I was thrilled.

A few days later, we take in Habs game in Nashville. My wife is wearing the Christmas sweater to the game and as we were about to enter, three gentlemen tap us and give us an autographed Tokarski tee-shirt. They’re from the Canadiens office and they run the twitter feeds.

At that time I mentioned I had an account and follow them. They asked my user name and, without so much as looking down, they proceed to tell me who I am and how much they like the posts I make. Imagine my surprise!

It gets better! After the game I decide to enter another contest for a pair of tickets to see the Habs at the ACC. I win. I’m to pick up my tickets, along with the other 18 winners, before the game. The Habs are also tossing in tee-shirts, face paint, and other stuff!

This afternoon I receive an e-mail stating the names in the crease will be a distraction, as per the NHL. The Habs are refunding the bid points, but… my name will now somehow be placed in the net behind Carey (something the Senators will not be able to say) for the playoffs AND it will be embedded in the ice for the ENTIRE 2015-16 season!

This is the Montreal Canadiens I am talking about. The greatest hockey franchise of all-time and only behind the Yankees in Championships. Do you actually think the Yankees would do something like this for their fans?

Some may consider this little kids folly, but this is something the Habs did not have to ever do. They’d have their fans regardless. In Louisiana, lagniappe, creates blood bonds and blind loyalty. This is how championship organization treats everyone, from the smallest of small to biggest of big!

The Montreal Canadiens are champions!

 

Not Quite For Canadiens

It was 30 seconds of classic P.K. Subban in overtime as he swooped in with the puck and circled back and and fooled oncoming Nashville checkers.

But shortly after, our man would whiff on the puck at the blueline, trip Preds forward Filip Forsberg as he dashed through, and with PK paying for his sins in the box, this same Forsberg would bulge the twine, giving the hometown Nashville Predators a 3-2 win over the Canadiens.

It’s a point, though. And the team played reasonably well, particularly Alex Galchenyuk, P.A. Parenteau, DD, and of course Carey Price.

So all’s well,  and the team now sits with 100 points, which is what the previous year’s team collected after the full 82-game season,  with this these guys still having 8 games left to play.

Nashville scored the lone goal of the first period when Mattias Ekhorn outraced not one, not two, but three Habs in the process (Markov, Pleks, and PK). But early in the second, at 2:28, Brendan Gallagher would fire one home to tie things.

Later on, nice work from P.A. Parenteau to DD put the team ahead and things were looking just fine.

But a bad bounce in the third period that went offJeff Petry tied the game at two, and then in overtime, P.K. did his brilliant to not-so-brilliant flurry that finished with Nashville sealing it.

Random Notes:

The Preds outshot Montreal 31-29.

Alex Galchenyuk had a great chance to score his 20th and ice it with just over two minutes remaining, but couldn’t bury the old biscuit.

Nice to see two elite goaltenders going head to head – Pekka Rinne and our man Price. Both were solid, as expected.

Has there ever been a time this year when the puck went from PK to DD to PA to DLR to DSP?

Next up – the boys head to Manitoba to tackle the Jets on Thursday night.

Tonight In Nashville

The Canadiens are in Nashville on this late March day, hoping to keep the ball rolling with a fourth straight win.

They also want to stay firmly planted at the top, as opposed to the Boston Bruins, who have fallen out of a playoff spot and which makes Habs fans everywhere feel tremendous sympathy for bummed-out Bruins supporters.

As a side note, isn’t it funny how Max Pacioretty put Ex-Lax in those “Max 67″ burgers he fed Bruins fans the other day in Boston. What a crazy jokester Max is.

The Canadiens and Preds clashed just one other time this season, on January 20th when a PK Subban blast in overtime gave the good guys a 2-1 win.

In reading my notes on this game, it seems that Carey Price was responsible for the Canadiens win, as the boys were thoroughly outplayed for two periods.

Imagine that. Price saving the day. Has this ever happened before?

Our man Price will be working on a third straight shutout tonight in Music City, which is a long way from the NHL record held by Ottawa’s Alex Connell back in 1927-28 when the Sens goaltender shut the door for 461:29 minutes, adding up to six shutouts in all.

But that was then and this is now. In 1928-29, players’ shots were far from the 90 mph missiles let loose now. No curves, sticks that didn’t bend, pucks shot by men standing 5’6″ and weighing 150 pounds.

Of course, equipment worn by goaltenders back then didn’t come close to what Price and the rest wear now, but no matter. Different worlds. And 6 blankings is certainly nothing to sneeze at. It’s a tremendous feat accomplished by Mr. Connell, who was ultimately inducted into the HHOF in 1958.

I’ve got nothing against the old Ottawa Senators. It’s the new version I can’t stomach.

With nine games remaining for the Habs, Max needs 5 goals to hit 40, so we’re hoping he’ll pop at least one tonight. Alex Galchenyuk has 19 and looking to reach 20. Manny Malhotra, if he plays, will continue to win faceoffs and remain at 1 goal.

Below, Alex Connell. And below Alex are the ingredients for the Max 67, minus the Ex-Lax of course.

Ottawa Senators Goalie Alex Connell in Uniform --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Max

 

 

 

 

Another Fine Blanking!

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The Canadiens looked like they were coming off a Demerol party when they lost 4-0 to the Sharks on March 2nd in San Jose, and which kicked off the 3-game hard-to-swallow California crushing.

It had us all in a dither.

But Saturday at the Bell, the boys played hard-hitting, slick passing big time hockey as they slayed the Sharks 2-0, making it three straight wins, four of their last five, coming not long after the aforementioned California slide had us searching for the key to the liquor cabinet.

Great game by the Habs, regardless of the fact the shirtless Joe Thornton told Sportsnet’s Christine Simpson between periods that his line had been in Montreal’s end all game.

Not what I saw, Joe. And really, for the sake of us guys watching, could you please put a shirt on.

Carey Price saved the day when called upon, which could be said for just about every time he’s manned the nets this season, with this being his 9th shutout (tying M.A. Fleury for the lead), and second in a row after beating Carolina 4-0 on Thursday.

The win is also Price 40th of the season, just two back of the Habs all-time leaders Jacques Plante and Ken Dryden, which is absolutely exciting. Price has entered the Land of the Giants.

Tomas Plekanec got his team on the board in the first period, his 22nd of the year, on a great play that gave him most of a wide-open net to shoot at. The goal also came at a great time, with just 1:14 remaining in the period, and we could see that with the way they were playing, taking the lead late like that could very well spell serious trouble for The Shirtless One and his fish.

Brendan Gallagher would notch the insurance marker, his 21st, in the third with the Sharks’ net empty, and with just seconds left and the boys up 2-0, the Ole, Ole song began, with props to the singers. You sang it at the proper time for a change. When the game wasn’t in doubt.

And man, were the last few minutes tense with the goalie pulled and the score still 1-0, and with the game, and a shutout, on the line.

But the Canadiens came through, as they did all night, standing their ground, checking hard, passing well, and all in all, unless you’re a Sharks fan, a mighty fine night at the not-so-old Bell Centre.

A nice, impressive hometown win by the gang, and a tremendous thing to see, considering there’s only nine games to go and maybe, just maybe, they’re rounding into playoff form.

Random Notes:

Tom Gilbert took a puck in the mouth area during the second period and was gone for the night. Hopefully it’s only a chiclet or two and nothing more.

Props to Brandon Prust for playing a fine game, including a nice piece of business on the penalty kill late in the game.

The Canadiens have reached 99 points, tied with Anaheim for top of the heap.

Alex Galchenyuk needs just one more to reach 20 goals.

Next up – Tuesday, when the team hits Music City, U.S.A. to shut out the Predators.

 

Blasé in San Jose

smelly skunk

To the person or persons who slipped sedatives into the coffee of Canadiens players before the start of their game in San Jose last night, you should be rounded up and made to do a stretch of hard time. That or attend a Leafs practice.

The Canadiens were asleep at the wheel for most of two periods, came alive ever so slightly in the third, but when the ice chips had settled, the score was 4-0 Sharks, thus ending Montreal’s four-game winning streak and Carey Price’s consecutive roads wins at eleven.

They’ve probably played worse than this. The 7-1 shellacking at the hands of Tampa Bay on October 13th was as dismal as it gets (Price was chased after four goals in two periods, and Toker allowed three more.

But Monday night’s affair was such a disappointing affair. Things had been going so swimmingly. Price had been practically unbeatable, the team was rolling and could have caught Nashville overall, and then it’s into Northern California where they stink out the joint.

Maybe guys had the pedal to the metal prior to trade deadline in the hopes of not being dealt, and when they escaped unscathed, they breathed a sigh of relief and gave a good and dishonest 50%.

Random Notes:

The Sharks outshot the Canadiens 37-20.

One of the team’s better players in this 4-0 bummer was newcomer Jeff Petry, who had met up with the team in California after making his way from Edmonton and was probably having a more hectic and confusing day than you and I. But his poise and playmaking were terrific, if somewhat conservative, and he seems a terrific addition.

The boys actually came close to scoring, when the puck did or didn’t fully cross the goal line, as has happened a few other times this season. Millions of dollars in cameras placed throughout NHL rinks, but they can’t find one that shows beyong a shadow of a doubt that the puck is in or not.

Next up – Wednesday in Anaheim to face Jiri Sekac and his Ducks. I’m betting the mortgage that the Canadiens play better than they did in San Jose. Could they play worse?

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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.

 

A Screeching Halt

canadiangeeelanding

Maybe playing seven games in fourteen days doesn’t help. But the party line is there’s no excuses, so Canadiens lose 4-0 to the Pittsburgh Penguins, plain and simple, curtain closed.

They had lots of chances but no red light. Jiri Sekac barged in with the puck several times and came close. Lots of guys came close. But the six game streak couldn’t become seven, and now it’s the St. Louis Blues on Thursday to think about.

I don’t mind a loss here and there. They have to play 82 games and losses happen. But I know you know that, and I don’t know why I’m babbling.

Last year, top dogs Boston and Anaheim each won 54 games, not 82. The Stanley Cup-winning L.A. Kings won 46. These teams lost sometimes. Just like the Habs did tonight against Pittsburgh.

My main concern is that a loss could become two. And then three becomes a possibility. Four even. Other than that, everything’s cool and it could be much worse. We could be Leaf fans and have to compute a 9-2 demolishing by the Nashville Predators tonight.

Time to turn the TV off. Time to get back to my Johnny Cash biography now.

 

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.