Category Archives: Nathan Beaulieu

Streak Reaches Four!

four

Now that’s some kind of season-opening road trip.

Four games, four wins. Success in Toronto, Boston, Ottawa, and a tidy 3-2 win in Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Road bonding. Kanata nightlife. Four goals during the stretch for new captain Max.

Now it’s the friendly confines of the Bell Centre on Thursday where this 2015-16 edition of the Canadiens will be introduced before tackling the visiting Blueshirts, who at this moment are considering calling in sick.

Zack Kassian, presumably watching this unfold, must be feeling lousy. He’s missing all this good stuff, and we could’ve used him to smash Chris Kreider’s ribs into bone dust.

And the game in Pittsburgh? Two goals by captain Max, beginning with the opener in the first frame after some nice work by Brendan Gallagher to get the puck over, and with Tomas Plekanec causing fine havoc in front.

The Pens would even things in the second after Nathan Beaulieu was caught at the enemy blueline, allowing Beau Bennett to skate in. (I hadn’t realized that parents named their kids ‘Beau’ nowadays, but apparently they do. They don’t seem to call them ‘Dennis’ though.)

But then it happened (in the game, not the kids’ names). Not only did Max’s second goal put his team ahead again, it was also on the power play of all things. A power play that was nicely quarterbacked by Jeff Petry. A power play that went 1/2 on the night and now stands at 2 for 16. Maybe Petry is the key to untangling this mess.

That’s one small step for the power play, one giant leap for mankind. Or something like that.

Later in the second, a bit of a deflection from far out fooled Carey Price, and the game was tied once again. It’s weird to type that – “from far out fooled Carey Price.” 

But we forgive him. And we’ll probably forgive him two or three more times this season.

The Canadiens won it in the third period after a broken play saw Dale Weise miss David Desharnais with a long stretch pass, but wee DD hustled to the corner, grabbed the elusive biscuit, and sent it to newcomer Tomas Fleischmann who made no mistake. And which kept the beauty of a streak alive and well..

A fine win, capped off by Price robbing Sidney Crosby with just 2:17 left in the game.

What a start to the season, and they have a chance to extend it to five in front of a rip roaring Bell Centre crowd on Thursday.

Again, Zack can’t be feeling great about this. It must be like being locked in a room while your buddies are splashing in the pool with Playboy bunnies.

Random Notes:

Pittsburgh outshot Montreal 33-30.

Everyone on the team has at least a point, except for Tom Gilbert, Alexei Emelin, and Devante Smith-Pelly. Max leads the team with 6, while Markov, P.K., and Galchenyuk sit at 4.

This, from Mike McKim on Facebook –

Knock, knock,
Who’s there?
Foreign.
Foreign who?
FOUR and OH!

 

 

 

Well I Woke Up Sunday Morning

It’s Sunday morning and although the grass needs cutting, I can’t get out there and do it because a little baby is sleeping. What a fantastic excuse!

Nathan Beaulieu has signed a two-year contact with the Habs, at a million per. Great to  have this done, it doesn’t break the bank, and it should inspire the young fellow to be all he can be and ink a whopper in a few years.

It seems like only yesterday that we debated the idea of who would win a full-time job first, Beaulieu or Jarred Tinordi, but Beaulieu came through with his skating, puckhandling and poise, while Tinordi lagged behind because of his tentativeness with the puck. But we can’t give up on the big fellow, mainly because he’s a big fellow.

And regarding Beaulieu and his dad’s assault charge in 2013, it came to light only recently that the two had heard someone at a party saying Kane’s blog sucked and they naturally took matters into their own hands. “Nobody says that and gets away with it,” said papa Jacques Beaulieu.

The Leafs have signed former Leaf Wally Stanowski to a one-year deal. Stanowski, 96, says he’s anxious to suit up as it’s been awhile, and if someone can help him onto the ice and then off again, he feels he should be at least as mobile as Dion Phaneuf, and probably a better fighter.

Below, Wally at a recent press conference. “With Montreal inking Beaulieu, we felt this signing was necessary to keep pace,” said Leafs president Brendan Shanahan. “All we ask is that he quits smoking.”

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Other tidits: The Chicago Blackhawks have taken a 3-2 series over Tampa Bay, the Arizona Coyotes are in building lease trouble, and NBC’s Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus says playoff beards should go.

It’s hard to know which is the most important of the three. Probably the Cup Final, although as a Habs fan, any playoff passion has been squeezed out like that last drop from a bottle of Four Aces. And then, of course, the Coyotes situation, which everyone should be used to by now, and which could possibly end with Quebec getting their well-deserved team.

But the beard thing is definitely important too.

“I just don’t like the beards,” said Lazarus. “You can’t see their faces. Although, for that very reason, it was good when Brad Marchand grew one.”

For me, I don’t know what to think. The Rocket and Beliveau never grew playoff beards. What about that?

Below, Lazarus at his recent press conference, explaining the beard problem.

beard

Summer Windbag

May 20 – Mike Babcock leaves the Detroit Red Wings to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs, with the deal calling for 50 million bucks over eight years. Seriously, that’s more than I made at BC Ferries.

Last year Toronto brought in a hot shot advanced stats guy, and now it’s this coach. We’re all screwed. The Leafs will probably be fantastic from now on. Unstoppable every year until the two of them retire. Leafs fans are lucky.

May 21 – Babcock mentions at his big press conference that the Leafs are “Canada’s team”.

May 25 – Today I’ve been thinking about what Babcock said about Canada’s team. I wanted to know who Canada is, the one the team belongs to, so I typed in Canada 411 and had a look.

The problem is, there are quite a few people in Canada named Canada, and I’ve no idea which one the Leafs belong to. There’s Graham Canada in Brampton, Vicki Canada in Vancouver, Gorving Canada in Toronto, Sheldon Canada in Alberta, and a whole bunch in Manitoba, including Mervin and Terry. Others too, including Catherine Canada in Quebec. And then there’s the parents and siblings. All these Canadas, and at least one of them owns the Leafs. Right now we don’t know which one, but I’m hoping it’s Mervin.

Whichever Canada it is, maybe his or her granddad was part of the crew that helped build Maple leaf Gardens and took shares from Conn Smythe instead of money. And if it’s one of the Manitoba Canadas like Mervin, the neighbours probably had no idea. They thought the Canada clan down the road were Jets fans.

May 27 – Guy Lafleur says Brendan Gallagher should captain the Canadiens. Guy says what he thinks, and I say good for him, he doesn’t keep things bottled up inside which could lead to ulcers. Last year he put the hammer down on Max and Tomas Vanek for having lousy post seasons, before that it was Bob Gainey and Guy Carbonneau’s handling of Alex Kovalev, and in 2007 he said the Habs were a team of 4th liners. I’m sure there were more.

Management must grit their teeth when they find out that the Flower has spoken again.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter what Guy or any of us think about who should wear the C. It should be put to a dressing room vote. They know each other. They have showers together. But call the vote when no one’s expecting so there’s no time for players to do some personal brown nosing to garner votes, like buying flowers for the other guys’ wives, or babysitting their kids.

And sadly, Carey Price’s name shouldn’t be on the ballot. You know, the goalie/captain thing. But if Price was a forward or d-man, it’s the captaincy for sure.

June 2 – Jeff Petry signs a new six year, $33 million contract with the Canadiens. I like the Habs blueline. You got yer P.K. and Petry and Beaulieu and Emelin and Pateryn and Tinordi. And yes, even Old Man Markov, who will be relying on smarts only from here on in, which is still good.

June 3 – The Stanley Cup Final featuring the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks begins. Canada’s team isn’t involved. Probably next year because they have the coach and the stats guy. Mervin or Graham, or whichever Canada it is that the team belongs to, will be cheering wildly from Manitoba or wherever.

June 4 – Something slightly unusual happens to me today.

 

 

Canadiens Add A Couple

petry3

The Canadiens gave up a second-round draft pick and a conditional fifth-rounder (which will become a third-rounder after the team marches toward the Finals), and pry defenceman Jeff Petry from the Edmonton Oilers.

In a blink of an eye, the 27-year old Petry goes from the basement to the penthouse. He’s gotta like that.

I’d say the Canadiens are definitely set on the blueline, but I’m not going to bullshit you here, I have no idea how good or bad this guy is. The Globe and Mail calls him a smooth-skating puck-mover who will probably pair up with Nathan Beaulieu, and apparently he was Edmonton’s best d-man, but I’m not sure that says a lot.

Petry’s a righthanded shot with nice size – 6’3″, 200 lbs or so, and giving up draft picks seems a fair enough price to pay if the blueline is now set for a long run. He also becomes an unrestricted free agent soon so he won’t be looking to buy one of those new downtown Montreal condos just yet.

The Canadiens have also grabbed centre Brian Flynn, 26, from the Buffalo Sabres for a 5th-round draft pick, but this is no high-scoring impact player to solve the team’s scoring and power play woes. It’s simply a move to add either depth or become part of something Mr. Bergevin has up his sleeve before trade deadline draws to a close.

I wish The Amazing Kreskin was my buddy. I’d have all the inside scoops before they happened. What a blog it would be.

So far so good, but we still wait for a big and skilled forward to come aboard and give up next to nothing in return. We’ll see. The TV talking heads say Bergevin’s still not done and hopefully not, as long as the team’s  great chemistry isn’t affected in a big way.

Bergevin’s Gamer On The Block

Bergevin

Marc’s 1994 Team Canada jersey is currently up for grabs at Classic Auctions, and at this writing, noon on Monday, it sits at $324 (6 bids so far).

The auction closes late Tuesday night, so it’s time to get off your keister if you want to grab a gamer from the guy who’s going to lead us to the promised land after he tweaks the lineup a tad before the March 2nd trade deadline.

Who knows what Bergevin’s going to do to bolster the lineup? Is he looking for a defenceman, or a top six forward? Has he run out of patience with certain players? And with Nathan Beaulieu playing the way he is now, is an added defenceman necessary?

I refuse to speculate. I think it’s a waste of time, although I realize it’s fun to do, I suppose. If you’re able to nail down exactly what the GM does, you become an expert for 24 hours at least. But the phone call, offering you a job with the team, still won’t come.

Bergevin will do what he feels right, whatever it is, and I can’t wait to see what he pulls off.

Meanwhile, that’s a pretty cool Team Canada jersey worn by the man.

Max & Co. Come Through

I was delayed getting to the computer. I saw that Toronto and Winnipeg were tied 3-3 with seven minutes left, and I wanted to see how the Leafs would lose.

But they won in overtime, and that’s quite a few minutes that I just wasted if you don’t mind me saying.

The Canadiens, led by Max Pacioretty with two goals, got the job done by taking out the decent-looking Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1 at the Bell, with Tomas Plekanec getting the insurance marker by notching a shorthanded empty net goal.

Two big points for the team, a win that halted that little two-game losing streak they found themselves in, and a win which allows them to sit in their rightful place in the universe – on top, a point ahead of the New York Islanders.

In the background, the outdoor game in California is being played, but I have the sound down. Sometimes I forget it’s on, look up, and there again are the LA Kings wearing some sort of grey and white ensemble, highlighted by white pants and huge numbers on the sleeves. The luckiest fans are the ones at the top of this massive football stadium that can’t see these uniforms.

Carey Price was, of course, solid once again in the Montreal net. It goes without saying. I said it but it goes without saying.

Nathan Beaulieu was truly impressive. The young defenceman is getting better and better every game now, he’s won himself a job, he’s a great skater and puckhandler, and as the confidence grows, so does his time spent doing all the right things.

How great it is to see a young d-man coming into his own, and at the same time two blueliners are on the shelf. God is a Habs fan.

I thought Jiri Sekac and Jacob de la Rose had some nice moments too. Two very fine young players with very fine futures. Is it de la Rose, or De La Rose?

And good old Max, notching a pair which gives him 29 on the season, and he rolls along, enjoying a fine and fruitful campaign. Of course he and P.K. Subban were left off the All-Star team, because the league is run by a bunch of morons.

Other things to note – Jarred Tinordi had his second fight in the last two games, coming out second best against Jared Boll, but not getting massacred. And Christian Thomas and Matt Calvert squared off, and when all was said and done, both looked like they’d walked into a telephone pole.

Columbus outshot the Canadiens 32-24, but again, it’s the Carey Price factor.

The team now heads out on a two-game road trip, first to St. Louis for a Tuesday night battle (8:00 ET), and then it’s Thursday in Columbus to face these Blue Jackets once again.

And to get way ahead of myself, next Saturday the Leafs sneak into Montreal.

In the background, John Fogarty is singing Proud Mary between periods at the outdoor game. John looks and sounds pretty well like he did in the 1960s with Creedence. This is obviously not a Keith Richards type of rock star.

Me and my buddies Mike Williamson and Hobo saw Creedence Clearwater at the Atlantic City Pop Festival in 1969.

Habs Lucky To Lick Laffs

iron-on

It would’ve absolutely sucked to lose to the lowly Laffs on Hockey Night in Canada, coast to coast on a Valentine’s Day Saturday night, when Hab fans far and wide took their dates to romantic bars that also happened to have televisions.

But Montreal didn’t lose. They won 2-1.  Although it took a shootout to make it happen.

No use talking about how the Canadiens play their lousiest when it’s a basement dwellar they face. They can lose to the lowly Oilers and Sabres and Coyotes. It’s almost something we have to accept because they can be assholes that way.

But to lose to the Laffs would have been the last straw. It’d be like Gary Lewis and the Playboys winning a Battle of the Bands showdown with the Beatles. The Washington Generals clobbering the Harlem Globetrotters. Wile E. Coyote outsmarting the roadrunner.

But the Canadiens got it done in the shootout when both Alex Galchenyuk and David Desharnais showed some sweet moves, and the Leafs didn’t. (One of their guys scored in the SO but it wasn’t sweet like our guys 🙂 ).

All in all it was a fairly tight and slightly rough affair, with Toronto’s David Clarkson doing battle with Brandon Prust early in the first and then with Nathan Beaulieu later on after Clarkson had nailed Sergei Gonchar into the end boards and Beaulieu came a callin’.

An excellent “fight for your teammate” moment for Beaulieu, and an excellent removal from the game for Clarkson. And Beaulieu’s actions certainly go a long way in him becoming a true and respected regular on the team, something he’s been working on for several seasons, little by little. It appears his time has come and it must feel good.

Gonchar was gone for the night after that check, and hopefully he’s fine.

Not a pretty affair for the CH, not passionate, far from perfect. But we take the two points, retain fine bragging rights (Montreal edged Toronto 4-3 in the season opener), and the good guys get a chance to make it three in a row on February 28th when the Laffs once again return to the Bell to experience another heartbreaking disappointment. 🙂

Random Notes:

Brendan Gallagher tied things in the first period, a power play marker after some nifty passing from Pleks and P.K.

P.K. racked up more than 35 minutes on the ice, including a stretch of four straight in the second frame. I played a game last winter at a rink near Montreal and was ready for a defibrillator after four seconds.

Canadiens outshot Toronto 32-29, and Carey Price was his usual self. We expect no less and we get no less.

Next up – Monday, when the boys are in Detroit. I’m hoping like hell I’ll be near a television so I can see and then babble about. If I’m not near a TV, maybe I can bullshit my way through.

Nice little tribute to Danny Gallivan before the game, with much of the commentary from his buddy Dick Irvin.

Hearing Danny’s voice gives me goosebumps.

Danny

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.

 

Canadiens Stomp Bruins

weise

Imagine that. The Bruins thumped 6-1 in Toronto and 24 hours later smoked 5-1 by the Canadiens.

Take that, Bruins fans.

The Canadiens looked just fine on this night, a solid three periods led by the guy whose name was mentioned beforehand not for what he might accomplish, but for what Milan Lucic might accomplish.

Dale Weise was a ball of fire, a guy who came to play, and with his fight in the first period with Gregory Campbell, then seeing him tie the score in the second on a penalty shot and setting up Max later on, it all added up to a sensational Gordie Howe hat trick.

But I’ll take it one step further, because after all that, he later on crashed the Bruins net in serious fashion, so I’m gonna call it a Rocket Richard home run.

Very impressive, those crazy Habs, even though, as sure as Bob Dylan won’t be singing opera and not one winning number will be on my lottery ticket, the Canadiens wouldn’t hit the back of the net in the first period and once again fell behind.

They didn’t get down on themselves though. They were dominant for the most part, and the worrisome power play was sharp all night and would eventually click on the fifth try when Jiri Sekac made it 5-1. But I’m  ahead of myself here. Tons of stuff went down.

Max Pacioretty was flying all night, and after not scoring on a last minute, clear cut breakaway in the first period, would light the lamp in the second and again in the third.

Nathan Beaulieu found himself in a fight with Matt Fraser and clocked the Bruin with a right that sent the fellow to the room with a sore face, leaving Beaulieu to add ice to the hand. Fraser had goaded Beaulieu to drop ’em, and such a mistake it was.

40-year old Sergei Gonchar, after just one practice and playing in his first game with the Habs after coming over from Dallas in the Moen trade, was solid and effective all evening, including on the power play where he showed poise and smarts, otherwise known as experience.

Tomas Plekanec pulled off the coolest little between-the-legs pass to Gally in the crease, but unfortunately it couldn’t be finished off. Looked great though.

Lars Eller notched his third goal in three games with a nifty backhand after great work by Gally. Eller’s a new man.

Pleks had a wide open net on a power play and hit the crossbar. But I think at that point we could all feel a power play goal was only a matter of time and it was.

PK stood up to Lucic after the big thug had levelled Sekac. Luckily nothing developed, but good on PK anyway.

Weise looked like Mike Bossy on the penalty shot goal.

Alexei Emelin bumped and thumped as he likes to do against the Bruins. It’s a beautiful thing when he’s rattling bones. Especially Beantown bones.

Alex Galchenyuk pulled off several very cool moves to once again give us a more hints of what’s in store for years to come.

And Carey Price continues to stop most everything and show once again that when he’s doing his thing, the team always has a chance to win.

Great game, tremendous result. And if you turn your TV or radio down and open the window, that sound you hear are Bruins fans everywhere grinding their teeth and pushing down little old ladies..

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot Boston 34-22 and dominated much of the time.

The power play had a new feel to it. Therrien had two left handed blueliners, Markov and Gonchar, paired up, and two righties, Subban and Gilbert, for most of the five man-advantages.

Near the end, Nathan Beaulieu was rewarded for his fine play over the evening by getting some time on the power play as well. And it wasn’t just the d-men changing the environment. The power play units up front stormed the net, played like they were on a mission, and finally…..finally….Sekac scored after the team’s 28 previous attempts had proved futile.

Next up – Saturday when Philadelphia pays a visit.

 

Moen To Dallas For Gonchar

Marc Bergevin isn’t sitting pat by first putting Rene Bourque on waivers and on to Hamilton, and now sending Travis Moen to the Dallas Stars for 40-year old d-man Sergei Gonchar.

This definitely makes Montreal’s blueline more experienced, considering Gonchar and Don Cherry are about the same age, although it remains to be seen how this is going to work out because of that.

Hopefully Gonchar’s experience will rub off on youngsters Tinordi and Beaulieu, and as my co-worker Sean Farrell, who covers the Habs for NHL.com says, Gonchar’s biggest plus is his value on the power play, although of course he’s not the player he once was.

The Canadiens power play isn’t what it once was either.

Details can be seen here – Canadiens acquire Gonchar

Good luck to Travis Moen, a good, hard-nosed soldier during his time with the Canadiens.