Category Archives: Nashville Predators

A Win Over The Flames Would Be A Big Flaming Deal

It’s a big game for the Habs when the Calgary Flames visit Tuesday, if only for the fact that Calgary is sporting an excellent 10-4-1 record so far and is a fine test for the sometimes good, sometimes bad Canadiens.

Montreal has hovered around the .500 mark ever since game 1 when Andrei Markov went down, and they can bring it back to that, as they’re now sitting at 8 wins and 9 losses. So it’s time to pound the Flames and pay them back for handing the good guys their first loss of the year in game 3 of the season, a game Montreal could have won with a few extra bounces.

In fact, the loss was the beginning of a horrendous west coast swing that saw them destroyed 7-1 in Vancouver the following night. I’m still considering therapy for that one. And as bad as Habs fans felt that night, don’t forget those images of Carey Price’s dad and mom in the stands. 

After that, they capped it off with a 3-2 loss in Edmonton.

All in all, it was a really lousy road trip.

A big night by the Montreal Canadiens would go a long way in instilling a good, winning spirit before they take to the road to meet the Phoenix Coyotes and Nashville Predators on Thursday and Saturday respectively.

And I suppose we can’t really complain about .500 hockey, considering the absence of Markov and Ryan O’Byrne, and the implosion of Andrei Kostitsyn. And half the team was replaced and it takes time to gel with new teammates, not to mention new coaches and new system. 

Many of us have said it would take until the new year to see the real Montreal Canadiens, so if they can maintain a solid win-loss record until then, then I’m reasonably happy. Although a .750 record would work better, but I’m trying not to be greedy.

We Are The Champions Of The World

Forget for awhile about signings and non-signings and Saku Koivu and Alex Kovalev. It’s all too much on this lovely weekend. Now is the time to celebrate. Because in one area of Habsdom, we are champions of the world!

Okay, so it’s not the Montreal Canadiens winning the Stanley Cup, or any of the Habs players winning an award, or even the AHL affiliate Hamilton Bulldogs winning something. But a good, solid Montreal Canadiens fan should celebrate that at least the Cincinnati Cyclones, who are a joint affiliate of Montreal and Nashville, won something. They won TICKET DEPARTMENT OF THE YEAR!!!!

Congratulations to the Cincinnati Cyclones ticket department.

 

June 27, 2009PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced that the Cincinnati Cyclones are the 2008-09 recipient of the Ticket Department of the Year award.The Cyclones raised their attendance by 44 percent which was the second-highest in professional hockey in 2008-09 after ranking first in 2008-09 with an increase of 36.8 percent. Since returning to the ice in 2006-07, Cincinnati has increased its attendance 68 percent and had the largest crowd in ECHL playoff history with 12,722 for its Kelly Cup clinching game against Las Vegas on June 5, 2008. The Cyclones had four of their Top 10 crowds in 2008-09 including 11,417 on Apr. 4 to eclipse the club record of 9,615 on Mar. 28, 2008 and the third-largest regular season crowd ever with 8,508 on Jan. 24.Led by director of game and ticket operations Joe Stills, the staff is comprised of Josh Burdine, Michael Cox, Drew Curtis, Matt Piening and Andrew Rowland.ECHL Ticket Department of the YearYear Team
2008-09 Cincinnati Cyclones
2007-08 Reading Royals and Victoria Salmon Kings
2006-07 Florida Everblades and Alaska Aces
2005-06 Las Vegas Wranglers and Stockton Thunder
2004-05 Bakersfield Condors and Long Beach Ice Dogs
2003-04 Alaska Aces
2002-03 Reading Royals

The Continuing Saga: Bettman Prefers Winnipeg

The following CBC story is very intriguing. It turns out that previously, instead of selling the Nashville Predators to Jim Balsillie, the league allowed the team to be sold to another for a much lower price. How come? And it sure looks like the Toronto gang has put the hammer down on the commissioner. It’s going to be very interesting to see how this whole thing plays out.

 

Bettman would rather see Coyotes in Winnipeg

CBC Sports

Gary Bettman has allegedly said he would rather see the Phoenix Coyotes move to Winnipeg than Hamilton, according to documents filed in the team’s bankruptcy court case.

Earl Scudder, a lawyer who works for Coyotes majority owner Jerry Moyes, filed an affidavit Friday that said the NHL commissioner told him this when he contacted Bettman last month to make him aware there was a buyer interested in purchasing the team and moving it to southern Ontario.

According to The Canadian Press news agency, Bettman allegedly told Scudder that Hamilton’s Copps Coliseum isn’t an ideal destination because it’s over 30 years old, saying “if the team did return to Canada, it would be Winnipeg,” according to the document filed.

The statement went on to say the only way Bettman would allow a second NHL team in southern Ontario was through expansion.
The Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix and became the Coyotes in 1996.

Among the items in Jim Balsillie’s court filings Friday was the suggestion that the NHL is preventing a move to Hamilton in part because of pressure from the Toronto Maple Leafs, who allegedly want to keep the hockey-rich market solely in their possession.
Though the NHL rules on territorial rights remain murky at best, Hamilton’s Copps Coliseum is technically outside the 80-km boundary imposed by the league.
But any franchise that moves into southern Ontario will almost certainly cut into the Leafs’ profits.
The organization is staying mum on the subject.

When CBCSports.ca contacted the team for a response to Balsillie’s comments and what the organization thought its territorial rights were, a Leaf representative said he had no comment on the matter and didn’t expect to have one until at least Tuesday when the bankruptcy case wraps up.

The news came one day after billionaire Jim Balsillie said he is willing to keep the Phoenix Coyotes in Arizona for an extra season as long as his eventual relocation plans are approved, according to other documents filed Friday by Balsillie’s group.
But that was one item in a long list of complaints on how the league is mishandling the matter.
“We are willing to pay the full purchase price,” the filing said. “And we are willing to have the team remain in Glendale for a further year if the NHL is prepared to fund the losses for the year and respect the decision of this court by foregoing any rights of appeal as long as we know we will be permitted to move the team to Hamilton, Ont. for the following season.”

The same documents, filed by Balsillie-owned PSE Sports & Entertainment, fired back at the NHL in response to the league’s attacks on the Canadian billionaire during his attempt to buy the bankrupt franchise, saying that any NHL decision to block or stall Balsillie’s plans is not based on sound business practices.
“If the decision is to deny the relocation application or stall the consideration of it, we believe that would likely be on account of an effort to block competition in the Toronto area or a dislike of Mr. Balsillie and would be unreasonable, illegal and an abuse of discretion, in violation of antitrust laws,” the filing said.

The documents argued that relocating the team to southern Ontario is the best move to make from a business standpoint, because the franchise would be better served in a hockey-mad market like Hamilton.
“Children in Canada often strap on hockey skates before they start school and grow up in an atmosphere of intense hockey enthusiasm,” the filing said.
“Children in Arizona do not, and most never step on an ice rink. PSE believes that the Coyotes simply do not have a sufficiently large base of paying fans in the Glendale area to ever generate enough money to repay the Coyotes’ existing debts, let alone turn a profit, and certainly do not have sufficient support to justify a purchase price of $212.5 million if forced to remain in Glendale.”

A rally to help keep the Coyotes in Phoenix was held by local fans Saturday morning at a sports bar near Glendale called Native New Yorker. It drew about 100 people, according to a Phoenix CBS television station contacted by CBCSports.ca.

The filing also questioned the motives of the NHL during the failed Balsillie attempt to buy the Nashville Predators nearly two years ago.
“Instead of selling the Nashville Predators to [Balsillie], the team was sold to William (Boots) Del Biaggio and other local owners at a considerably lower price,” the filing said.
“Apparently because the then-owner believed the NHL would not approve Mr. Balsillie as the new owner of the Nashville team, presumably based upon discussions with the NHL commissioner.
“Mr. Del Biaggio was recently charged with fraud and acquiring the Nashville Predators with Ponzi scheme money, which a thorough due diligence inquiry like the one previously conducted on Mr. Balsillie likely would have exposed.”

Locked in struggle
The NHL and Coyotes majority owner Jerry Moyes are locked in a struggle for control of the team, after Moyes filed for bankruptcy protection last week.
The league alleges that it has been in control of the team since November, after loaning money to the franchise so it could cover its costs, and that Moyes signed documents stipulating that he couldn’t file for bankruptcy.
Soon after the bankruptcy filing, Balsillie, billionaire co-CEO of Waterloo-based BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, offered $212.5 million US to the Coyotes, provided that he could move the team to southern Ontario.

In court documents filed Thursday during the bankruptcy hearing, the league called Balsillie’s attempt to buy the franchise (his third try at purchasing an NHL team) “illusory, at best, and a sham, at worst,” and said that the bid breaks fundamental rules in the NHL constitution.
Judge Redfield Baum is presiding over the case in U.S. bankruptcy court and will render a decision Tuesday on who owns the Coyotes.

NHL ACCOMODATING THE LEAF?

Among the items in Jim Balsillie’s court filings Friday was the suggestion that the NHL is preventing a move to Hamilton in part because of pressure from the Toronto Maple Leafs, who allegedly want to keep the hockey-rich market solely in their possession.

Though the NHL rules on territorial rights remain murky at best, Hamilton’s Copps Coliseum is technically outside the 80-km boundary imposed by the league.

But any franchise that moves into southern Ontario will almost certainly cut into the Leafs’ profits.

The organization is staying mum on the subject.

When CBCSports.ca contacted the team for a response to Balsillie’s comments and what the organization thought its territorial rights were, a Leaf representative said he had no comment on the matter and didn’t expect to have one until at least Tuesday when the bankruptcy case wraps up.

Latendresse Continues His Fine Play As He And His Team Bonk The Preds

It wasn’t exactly a barnburner, this 3-2 win by the Canadiens over the visitng Nashville Predators. It was a tight, mostly non-eventful mid-week game in the middle of winter in a time that is often referred to as the dog days. 

 

In fact, the most excitement came in the last minute when the Habs tried a dozen different ways to score on the empty net. To no avail, but it was frenzy-packed.

 

But they got their two points, they didn’t take a lot of silly penalties, and all’s well in the land of Habdom.

 

Guillaume Latendresse, who has proven that he’s a solid, if not a star player who punches in and out and earns his paycheck, opened the scoring for Montreal. He’s come a long way, from the World Juniors when he was basically the 13th forward, throughout his time in the big leagues where he’s struggled, been the subject of trade talks, been a healthy scratch at times, and he’s stuck with it, obviously worked hard, and showed that he belongs as a regular, even though it’s often as a fourth-liner.

 

Latendresse, along with the other grinders Tom Kostopoulos, Steve Begin, and Maxim Lapierre, have all been major cogs and big reasons why the team is rolling.

 

And one little thing about Kostopoulos and Begin. These guys stick up for their teammates, play with an edge, and get into their fair share of scraps where, sadly, they often lose, as Begin tonight did against Jordin Tootoo.

 

But the point is, they get in there and get dirty, bless their hearts. And God bless ice packs.

 

Too bad Geoges Laraque has been such a letdown and injury-ridden. He could be out there pounding heads instead of poor and bruised-up Kostopoulos and Begin. 

 

MAJOR OBSERVATION

 

Radek Bonk was in the lineup for the Preds. This ex-Hab from 2005 to 2007 has the best name as far as I’m concerned. I wouldn’t mind having the name ‘Bonk.’  Dennis Bonk. Maybe Denny Bonk. The Bonker.

Reminds me of the name of a guy I went to high school with. His name was Johnny Coull, and of course with that name he was president of the student council.

 

Imagine having a name like Johnny Coull? How cool is that?

 

The two Andrei’s, Kostitsyn and Markov, rounded out the scoring for Montreal. Alex Kovalev came close. Although you’re right, close doesn’t count.

 

ENEMY WATCH

 

Boston beat the Islanders 2-1. Grrrrr. I don’t even want to go there.

Tampa Bay defeated Philadelphia. Hah!

Preparing For Those Nashville Cats

Montreal doesn’t see the Nashville Predators, who they play Thursday night, all that often. This is a team who mostly toils in the west, and aren’t toiling all that well. The Predators have 43 points. (Habs have 56) and sit 12th of 15 teams in the Western Conference. They have one blue-chipper, defenceman Shea Weber, who was a standout for Canada along with Dion Phaneuf at the World Juniors a few years back.

 

The problem is, they also have Jordin Tootoo, who needs Mike Komisarek to wrap his big hands around his throat a la Marc Savard, and teach the guy to quit wreaking havoc and causing injuries.

 

The Predators are not to be taken lightly. The Canadiens have been known to be absolutely lousy against lesser teams. Think back to the 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning December 11th as a prime example.

 

I also think some of the boys might be nervous about recent trade talks. Will they stay or will they go.

 

HOPE YOU’RE SITTING DOWN DEPARTMENT:

 

The Ottawa Senators have now won two straight games, beating Atlanta 3-2 Wednesday night. That means all those people I know in Ottawa who used to be good Montreal Canadiens fans and changed to Senators fans will be popping champagne and kissing women in the street.    

Maybe The Bruins Should Buy Their Goalie A Beer

It seemed like only yesterday that Boston had this guy who looked like an overweight butcher playing goal for them. It was Fatty Arbuckle back there.

 

Now, instead of Fatty Arbuckle, the same guy in goal looks like an overweight Vladislav Tretiak.

 

Tim Thomas won the game for the Bruins tonight, stopping 34 big shots, as they handed the Habs a close 3-1 victory in Boston. Even though Zdeno Chara scored two goals, it was Thomas who won the game. Boston didn’t outplay Montreal, not by a long shot. In fact, the Habs had handfuls of great scoring chances.

 

But they couldn’t solve Thomas.

 

So it’s not the end of the world. Montreal waltzed into Boston and showed the Bruins and their fans that this is a team to be reckoned with. And I’m sure everyone knows that it was only because of Thomas that the Bruins won this game.

 

One of the great highlights of the night was when Marc Savard decided to get a little spunky with Mike Komisarek. Komisarek reached out and put his big hand around Savard’s throat. That ended that discussion.

 

Coming Attactions:

 

Nashville’s in Montreal Thursday, and Saturday the Canadiens bomb up the 417 to Ottawa to take on the Senators. I’m expecting four big points in these next two games.

 

Now excuse me while I go slit my wrists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Habs Give Leafs And Grabovski The Boot

It was no contest tonight between the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs. No contest at all. In fact, it was almost like a Red-White scrimmage with the Red team coming out on top 6-2.

 

It could have been 10-2. Montreal had more chances to score than Casanova. And when you add the extra intigue of several donneybrooks and an obvious distaste of each other between Mikhail Grabovski and most of the Canadiens, you’ve got an old fashion Habs-Leafs war of days gone by. I almost expected John Ferguson and Eddy Shack to make an appearance and drop the gloves and ram each other with their heads.

 

The Habs are rolling. The Leafs aren’t.

 

Montreal, first and foremost, and received solid goaltending from Jaroslav Halak. And the scoring came from throughout the lineup. The brothers Kostitsyn, Guillaume Latendresse, Maxim Lapierre, Max Pacioretty, and Alex Kovalev did the damage. And many others came close.

 

These are good times if you’re a Habs fan.

 

Mikhail Grabovski was a Hab, but he did the unthinkable a year ago. He felt he wasn’t getting enough ice time from Guy Carbonneau, and on a Habs west-coast swing, he bolted the club into the arms of his agent. Not long after, he was sent packing.

 

This year, when asked how many friends he still had on the Canadiens, he said none.

 

And he has no friends because he quit on them. And now he’s with a loser while his old teammates are making noises in the Eastern Conference. Several Montreal players wanted a piece of him tonight, as they have previously this year. And they probably will again in the future.

 

 Bad feelings linger.

 

Game Notes:

 

Alex Kovalev came out of his funk when they gave him the ‘C’ after Koivu went down.

 

Yannick Weber played his first game NHL game. He was placed up front instead of on defence, but I’m sure the young fellow wasn’t complaining. 

 

Canadiens meet and greet the second-place Washington Capitals on Saturday night, and travel to Boston Tuesday. Two big games, four big points. That’s the plan.

 

ENEMY WATCH

 

Unfortunately, Boston beat Ottawa and Philadelphia beat Minnesota. That’s the bad news.

 

The good news is Atlanta won over New Jersey and Pittsburgh lost again, this time to Nashville. Looks like Malkin and Cindy Crosby aren’t enough in Pittsburgh.

 

 

 

 

Goodbye Las Vegas, You Beautiful Bastard. (Or is it ‘Gorgeous Dame’?)

Las Vegas is my kind of town. I like the lights, the action, the cleavage all over the place. In reality I’m just a guy from a small and isolated town a million miles away. But in my heart, I’m a member of Sinatra’s Rat Pack. Although I suppose Frank and Dino and Sammy and the others were more concerned about gorgeous dames and martinis than the Montreal Canadiens.

 

   

 

And with the rumblings in the last year or so about a possible NHL franchise being placed in Las Vegas, I decided to think this one out.  I’m not a fan of teams being in hot, palm tree-laden places, and I wasn’t sure if Las Vegas measured up. But if the NHL decides to go into another American city, I think Vegas is a good choice indeed. Maybe the best choice in the whole U.S of A.

 

As long as the arena is near the strip.

 

The strip is always packed by people from elsewhere, including, of course, thousands of Canadians, and Americans from cold states. Hundreds of thousand of us. It’s not like Nashville or Miami or Phoenix, with people just learning what a puck is. Vegas is made up of people like you and me.

 

The big shows here cost anywhere from 80 to 200 bucks usually, just like a hockey ticket. And people create incredible line ups to see Barry Manilow, Donny and Marie, and all the other acts I wouldn’t pay five bucks to see.

 

I don’t think there’d be a problem at all selling 20,000 tickets to a hockey game here. People are just itching to spend money, and do things they can’t do in Moose Jaw and Des Moines. 

 

But like I say, put the arena within walking distance of the strip. I think that’s crucial. Too far away and people will go see Donny and Marie instead.

 

I don’t want to go home. There’s too many palm trees to admire, too many hotels to explore, too many two dollar beers at O’Shea’s and Bills to drink.

 

Game notes:

 

Habs are at 4.5 to 1 odds to win the Cup. It was 5-1 the other day.

Regardless, I’ve got my ticket.

 

 

Habs and Flyers Saturday night. Which Canadiens team will show up, beauty or the beast?

 

 

Gary Bettman Wets The Bed, And Other Hockey Thoughts

Hockey items you could discuss with your friends after five or six beer:

 

The Philadelphia Flyers have sent Steve Downey down to their AHL affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms.

Players around the NHL now stand a much better chance of not having their skulls cracked. AHL players, however, are putting extra padding in their helmets and have told their wives to remarry if anything happens to them.

Steve Downey is Sean Avery on crystal meth.

 

Gary Bettman says everything’s rosy in the the league and so talk of a team in Canada is silly, especially the part about having two franchises in the Toronto area. Bettman may or may not have said this as he overlooked the three franchises around New York from his office window.

 

This is a guy who probably even makes French-Canadian oldtimers long for Clarence Campbell.

And why are teams like Atlanta, Florida, Nashville, Phoenix etc. so important to the little man, and placing a team in Canada isn’t?

There has to be a reason. I just don’t know what the reason is. Is he getting fat little Christmas bonuses from people?

Was the bully who picked on Bettman in school a transplanted Canadian?

 

Rumours contimue about Wild star Marian Gaborik being traded to Montreal. I’m assuming Gary Bettman is against this because if it makes the Habs even stronger and even more of a Cup contender, the Stanley Cup could end up in the dreaded backwaters of Canada, one of the commissioner’s worst nightmares.

 

And one of my worst nightmares is a major trade involving the Canadiens which disrupts the harmony and chemistry they’ve got going now.  If they landed Gaborik for future draft picks only, then great. But they’d need to clear out some salaries to make room for him, which means moving some existing players.

Is this a good idea?

 

Did the Boomer-Pocket commercial make you smile?

 

Bobby Clarke says Sean Avery is an idiot and someone should punch him out. Of course, when Clarke played, he was an angelic, gentlemanly fellow whom the whole hockey world loved. But aside from that, I completely agree with him.

 

This five-game break in the schedule for the Canadiens may or may not suck. Players can nurse their wounds and certain things can be worked out in practices, but geez, they’ve been on such a roll. And don’t forget about the poor wives who have to put up with them for this long. This isn’t normal for the little ladies.

Hope all this doesn’t affect the big game against Anaheim Saturday night.

 

Is it possible Gary Bettman told the schedule planners to give good Canadian teams big long days off to disrupt their play?