Category Archives: New Jersey Devils

You Can’t Win If Your Goalie Doesn’t Stop The Puck

Jaroslav Halak, playing for the again-absent Carey Price, didn’t remind anyone of Jacques Plante, Ken Dryden, or Patrick Roy tonight. In fact, he didn’t even remind me of Bob Chruszcz, goalie for the Orillia Byer’s Bulldozers Midget club, of which I was a smallish yet shifty right winger.

 

Halak let in three he should have stopped in the Habs 4-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils, albeit, the first one was deflected by teammate Kyle Chipchura. But he should’ve had it anyway. Stevie Wonder could have stopped the other two.

 

In the third, Marc Denis replaced Halak in goal and allowed only one goal. Which is one too many. 

 

Carey Price needs to start eating more Wheaties. It’s play some, out some. It’s upper body, lower body, flu-this, flu-that. Aren’t young guys supposed to be indestructible?

 

Not him. Shape up, Carey.

 

The Devils winning doesn’t affect the Canadiens fourth-place standing, but New Jersey does creep within one point of Montreal and are now tied with Philadelphia with 47 points to the Habs’ 48.

 

Game Note;

 

Max Pacioretty scored his first NHL goal in his first game. But his team lost so who cares?

 

I’ve got nothing left to say. I hate it when the Habs lose. YES, they’re supposed to win every game. Quit saying that.

 

 

Carey Price And Andrei Kostitsyn Beat The Penguins

On paper it was a solid 3-2 road win for the Canadiens. But in reality, they got through by the skin of their teeth against a dangerous Pittsburgh team led by Sidney Crosby and Evgeny Malkin, of course.

 

But no matter. A win is a win is a win. And anytime you see Carey Price stand on his head like he did tonight, you know it can only be a good sign. Price on top of his game means Price is on top of his game. (You know what I mean.)

 

And anytime you see Andre Kostitsyn come through in a big way, in this case three goals after just returning to the lineup, and you also know someone else is chipping in while guys like Alex Kovalev, Alex Tanguay, and Tom Plekanec were asleep at the wheel for the most part.

 

It’s always a good win when you’re not firing on all cylinders and still get it done, and Montreal now heads down to Florida with a nice two points in the bag.

 

Hey, we’ll take it. On paper it was a solid win.

 

Game Notes:

 

The Habs play the Panthers Monday and Tampa Bay on Tuesday. Four big points here would be a great way to close off the year.

 

ENEMY WATCH

 

New Jersey beat the Rangers. This is good as the Rangers drop to third place with 47 points, only three more than the Habs who remain fifth in the east.  Good job, Devils. Just don’t think about catching the Habs.

The Real Season Is About To Begin. Help The Right Teams To Lose

The second season is about to begin and it’s where men are separated from boys. It’s where the Habs will begin to mount their serious climb up the summit. But a lot of it is up to us. We need to know how to watch and cheer against certain teams. It’s crucial that we send out good vibrations to the Canadiens and bad vibrations to the rest.

 

It all begins Saturday night when the good guys demolish the Pittsburgh Penguins. And then we start rolling.

 

There’s many villains involved, and we need to watch them closely as this second half of the season unfolds.  

 

Montreal sits in fifth place in the east with 42 points. So for us to properly watch hockey, we must concentrate on the four teams ahead of them – Boston -54 points, Rangers – 47, Washington – 45, and Philadelphia – 45.

 

There are also four teams behind the Canadiens to keep an eye on too. New Jersey – 41 points. Pittsburgh – 40, and Buffalo and Carolina with 37.

 

All of these teams must lose. Lose like crazy. These are bad friggin teams. Wretched teams. The players on these teams aren’t nice people. Especially Boston’s number 17, Susan Lucci, and most of the Flyers for that matter.

 

Imagine if Philadelphia finished ahead of Montreal in the standings? I think I’d feel kind of dirty all over if that happened.

 

And Boston, we want to crash and burn, collapse, fold, quit, choke, lose big and lose often. It’s not right that this team should be doing so well. It’s almost unnatural.

 

The next six months are going to be great. But a lot of it will be up to us. Let’s get going.

 

And don’t forget to send those good vibes to our Juniors too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Number Nine Is Too Sacred For Just Anybody

  When Wayne Gretzky retired, the entire league, every team, agreed the proper thing to do was to retire jersey no. 99 permanently so no other player would ever wear it.

 

This is absolutely reasonable. Gretzky deserves this honour. He was Gretzky, for goodness sakes.

 

But there’s another number out there that deserves the same royal treatment. Number nine.

 

Number nine was the number of Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, and of course, Maurice Richard.

 

How can you argue with that? Number nine shouldn’t be worn by Steve Downie or Oscar Moller. Number nine was worn by Mr. Hockey, the Golden Jet, and the Rocket, three of the greatest ever, right up there at the top of the mountain. It’s a sacred number.

 

Currently there are 15 teams of the 30 with a player wearing number nine. It doesn’t seem right.

 

I think all but two of these players should surrender their number nine, choose another one, and carry on. The two players, Mike Modano in Dallas and Paul Kariya in St. Louis, have had too good a career to not wear these sweaters. But when they retire, so goes the number.

 

Here are the other 13 players currently wearing number nine.

 

Eric Christensen – Atlanta

Derek Roy – Buffalo

Steven Weiss – Florida

Oscar Moller – LA

Mikko Koivu – Minnesota

Zach Parise – New Jersey

Brendan Bell – Ottawa

Scottie Upshall – Philadelphia

Pascal Dupuis – Pittsburgh

Milan Michalek – San Jose

Steve Downie – Tampa Bay

Niklas Hagman – Toronto

Taylor Pyatt – Vancouver

Canadiens Fall To The Devils. Only A Couple Of Brain Farts Were The Difference.

At least they got a point out of it.

 

Goerges Laraque said before the game that it would be a low-scoring affair, just by the nature of the Devils’ game – tight, neutral zone trapping, few goals – and Georges was absolutely right.

 

The problem was, snakebitten Alex Kovalev, instead of breaking out of his 15 game scoreless streak, took an ill-timed penalty with 28 seconds left in the third period, and the Devils’ Zach Parise, on the power play in overtime, scored to win it 2-1.

 

And that’s that. They could’ve won but didn’t. Earlier, Tomas Plekanec took a penalty to start a Habs power play, which killed that of course, and who knows, it could’ve been the difference. 

Carey Price was solid. The grinders were good. The team had their chances and all in all, continue their good play which they started about four games ago.

 

Mostly though, I want to talk about Alex Kovalev. Everyone says he’s underachieving, he should be traded but it’s too late because the team wouldn’t get anything for him now, etc. etc.

But Kovalev is still a strong force out there. He’s not dogging it, he’s working hard. He sets up his linemates on a regular basis. He has certain leadership qualities. He does things with the puck most others can’t do. And he’s coming oh so close.

 

And it’s not like he’d done nothing. He sits third in team points with five goals and 14 assists for 19 points in 25 games, two behind Andrei Markov and three behind Saku Koivu.

 

I believe in Kovalev. I believe he’s a crucial member of the team, and I take with a grain of salt everything I read in hockey forums about what a non-factor he’s become. If I saw him dogging it, with lacklustre and uninterested play, I’d be in these forums to, calling for Gainey to trade the guy.

 

But I think he’s going to snap out of this soon. It’s not for lack of trying, and seriously, the guy must be losing sleep over what’s going on now for him.

 

Of course it’s not only Kovalev that fans have been screaming blue murder about. Guillaume Latendresse and Patrice Brisebois are favourite whipping boys. So is Sergei Kostitsyn and Mathieu Dandenault. And of course Ryan O’Byrne.

 

Maybe some of these fans can lighten up on Kovalev for awhile and concentrate on tying Plekanec to the stake instead. I think it’s his turn.

 

Game Notes.

 

Matt D’Agostini scored the lone Habs goal for his fourth in three games since being called up. I looked up the name D’Agostini in my Italian dictionary and it means “air freshener being sprayed in a drab, musty room that needed to be freshened up.”

 

Zach Parise, who scored the winner in OT for the Devils, is the son of Team Canada ’72 role player JP Parise. Parise Sr. made a name for himself when he was called for a penalty in game eight of the series in Moscow, lost his mind, and raised his stick like he was going to decapitate officials Rudy Batja and Josef Kompalla. He didn’t follow through but it was quite a sight.

Devils Say No To Drugs And Canadiens Say No To Devils

  The usually dangerous New Jersey Devils are welcomed by the now dangerous Canadiens Saturday night at the Bell Centre, and those horned-head buggers aren’t far behind our good guys. The Devils currently sit with 28 points in 23 games in the Eastern Conference. Montreal, on the strength of four wins out of five, have 34 points, six more than the Devils, but have also played two more than them also.

 

The photo is of the free binder that the Devils gave out at a home game I was at in the 1980’s at the big field across the tunnel from Manhattan.  The Devils say no to drugs. We sat behind the net, not far up, and it appeared we were near a bunch of the players’ wives. At least they seemed like players’ wives. Maybe they weren’t. They all sat together, had nice expensive clothes on, and they weren’t with men, so I put two and two together. 

 

The other thing I recall was Saturday Night Live cast member Jon Lovitz was somewhere in the stands. I know this because a camera put him on the big screen a half a dozen times or so and everyone cheered.

 

I also remember, from sitting behind the net, realizing just how wicked those shots come in to the goalie, especially the ricochets, which made me ask why anyone would want to be a goalie, and how could they stop these things in the first place.

 

After New Jersey, we went to Hartford for another game and I saw with my own eyes my old buddy’s sweater, Rick Ley’s, hanging in the rafters next to Gordie Howe’s. And it was Washington before the Jersey game where the Habs got skunked 5-0. All in all though, even with the disaster in Washington,  it was great fun.

 

The Canadiens game against the Rangers has us now licking our lips at the thought that the team is turning a corner and becoming the one everyone wants and had expected.

And this means taking it to the Devils Saturday night. No letting up, No screwing around with lines. No bad penalties. Just a solid, hard working 60 minute effort and a big break-out game from Alex Kovalev and the power play. 

 

And Mike is right. We need Roget Doucet to sing the National Anthem again.

 

Go Habs. Keep it going. Show yourselves and us that you’ve taken it up a notch.

Canadiens Take It to The Rangers And Play A Fine, Fine Game

 

I’d say there’s a lot of things to smile about tonight. This solid 6-2 win over the NY Rangers had to be the Canadiens’ best game of the season. Everyone contributed, and although Alex Kovalev has now gone 15 games without a goal, he was effective and creative, and at least managed an assist.

 

From the beginning, when Bobby Rousseau, Pocket Rocket, Guy Lafleur and others including old Rangers greats like Andy Bathgate and Harry Howell, were introduced, it was an outstanding night. This was the first time I’d seen Rousseau in about 35 years. Lafleur got the chant, and everyone was applauded heartily. And rightfully so, Pocket got a standing ovation. If I could’ve been there, I would have been proud to give this little big man a big thank you.

 

And the team, for a nice, delightful change, was smoking.

 

This is the Montreal Canadiens we’ve been waiting for. Andrei Kostitysn has come alive, coincidently since his brother Sergei was sat down a couple of games ago. The grinders, Maxim Lapierre and Steve Begin, continue to pick it up a notch and this is a huge turn of events. Newcomer Matt D’Agostini scored again for the second night, and added an assist. And Georges Laraque earned his first point of the season with an assist on Lapierre’s second period goal.

 

There were no dumb penalties, no serious turnovers, no blunders whatsoever. It looks like a team coming together, and D’Agostini has produced while underachievers Guillaume Latendresse, Sergei Kostitsyn, and Ryan O’Byrne sit in the press box and think that maybe they should have done a bit better job.

 

The team seems to have tightened up, turned a corner, stepped it up, and maybe, just maybe, are fed up with their lacklustre start to the season and have decided to do something about it.

 

Let’s see a continuation of this Saturday when the New Jersey Devils are in town. I don’t even mind that I have to go to work tonight for a graveyard shift. This game has made my day.   

 

Game Notes:

 

The Canadiens wore the uniform of the 1915-1916 Habs, the team that won the first of 24 Stanley Cups. And Carey Price wore pads and gloves resembling the old leather ones, although these are state of the art, unlike the ones worn by Georges Vezina who was the goalie back then.

 

TSN’s Sportcentre listed their top ten Montreal Canadiens and I have no qualms with these choices.

 

1.  Maurice Richard

2. Jean Beliveau

3. Doug Harvey

4. Guy Lafleur

5. Howie Morenz

6. Jacques Plante

7. Patrick Roy

8. Larry Robinson

9. Henri Richard

10. Ken Dryden

 

 

 

Carey Price And The Grinders Come Up Big

Bell Centre

Montreal

November 29, 2008

Montreal vs. Buffalo

 

First period:

 

Good, spirited, fast-skating, lively first period. The Canadiens look good. And of course, they’re doing all the things they’re really good at – turning the puck over and the other team scores (Higgins this time), and not scoring themselves. They’re really good at both of these things.

Alex Kovalev, Saku Koivu, Tomas Plekanec, Higgins, the Kostitsyn’s etc. etc, – they’re really, really good at not scoring. Especially on the power play and even strength. 

 

But I’ve got faith.

 

Second period:

 

Andrei Kostitsyn’s backhander finds the twine, so I take back anything bad I said about him.

 

Like I said in the first period, one of the things we’re really good at is giving the puck away, and this time it’s Josh Gorges, which leads to a Tomas Vanek goal. It’s kind of funny in a morbid sort of way. Every game it’s a different player.

 

Steve Begin scores on a beauty play with Maxim Lapierre. That’s what I like. Grinders producing when the big guns are silent.

 

Andrei Markov, on a snappy set-up by Saku Koivu, gives the Habs a 3-2 lead. I’m on the verge of taking back every bad thing I’ve ever said about everybody.

 

Third period:

 

I take back every bad thing I ever said. The boys played good tonight and won 3-2. Oh, of course there were the bad moments – Sergei Kostitsyn taking a foolish penalty (several, in fact), and the team had real trouble getting the puck out of their end late in the game, but they played well and they won.

 

I’m proud of them.

 

 

Game Notes:

 

Maxim Lapierre played a great game tonight, probably his best of the year. We saw several flashes of this last year, and finally the guy shows us again.

 

This Sabres game marks the beginning of ten home games out of eleven. The boys play seven straight, starting with the Buffalo game, and continue with Atlanta, the Rangers, Devils, Flames, Lightning, and Caps all visitng the Bell centre.

The team plays one road game, in Carolina, and then comes back home again to greet the Flyers, Sabres, and Hurricanes.

 

In other words, they’re going to drive their wives and kids crazy for awhile, with the naps and pre-game meals and all that. Not to mention the other stuff.

And hopefully, a long home stand means a long winning streak.

 

Guest Blogger With A Great Name Tells His Story

A fellow in Vermont contacted me after finding this site, and sent in this story.  He and I have one major thing in common. We have the same name. 

The Hockey Story of another Dennis Kane
 
I recently came across your site and was drawn, I admit, less because I am a die-hard fan of the Canadiens, than because I think you are the first other Dennis Kane I have come across.  I am, I’m sure you will be relieved to know, a hockey fan, both my daughters and my son played through high school.  The oldest two played club hockey in college and the youngest is aiming to play in college next year.  She is now playing for the Taft School in Connecticut.  So I have been to countless youth games.
 
I was raised in New Jersey and was never a hockey fan growing up.  Upon moving to Vermont to go to graduate school I discovered the college game where a ticket to get into some University of Vermont games was as tough as getting in to see the Yankees when they were winning.  What really got me hooked was following UVM when Martin St Louis, Tim Thomas and Eric Perrin played together and the team went to the Frozen Four.  St. Louis and Perrin were amazing to behold and once I saw St. Louis come within 1 second of scoring a hat-trick of short-handed goals.
 
My friend and I started a tradition of taking my son and his friend to college conference tournaments every spring for eight years and they still talk about those trips to rinks all over the northeast US.  We also began to follow the UVM players in the NHL including John LeClair, Patrick Sharp and now, Torrey Mitchel of the Sharks and so have seen a bunch of games of the Lightning, Bruins and Blackhawks.
 
My one hockey experience at the Fourm was watching the USA play Canada in the World Cup and seeing Gretzky, LeClair, Hull  and a host of majors stars play an amazing game (from our perspective, anyway).  It was quite an experience cheering for the USA at that game.  Not much of a hockey history compared to a life-long Canadiens fan I’m sure.
 
I still live in Vermont.  I’m 60 years old and play in a fantasy hockey league with my son and his friends. (I won last year).  My branch of Kanes was for many years in northern NJ and has been traced to Ireland.
 
I put your site on my favorite list and will be checking in on my hockey rounds.  The Canadiens look good this year and seem to be strong in every position.  It would be a great thing for them to win it all this year.
 
Nice to come across you.  You might be interested to know that I have always remembered when I was in high school in some literature class the teacher used my/our name as an example of a particularly smooth sounding phrase, a “euphonious” phrase that she compared to Mark Twain’s favoite of “cellar door”……..go figure……my 15 seconds of fame.
 
Nice to come across you
 
dennis

Dennis Kane
Director
VT Higher Education Collaborative
VTHEC.org

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?