Category Archives: New Jersey Devils

Canadiens Nailed By Lightning


Nice to see Carey Price stop everything in sight once again. If only his teammates in front of him could do……something.

The Canadiens dropped a 1-0 overtime decision to the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning, which meant Price went for more than six periods without allowing a goal. But jeez, he’s gotta get some support from his buddies.

The team scored just a pair in their win against the lowly Coyotes on Saturday (one into an empty net), and none tonight. Price is doing everything he can to help his team win.  If he could score he would (and someday he might). But that particular aspect of the game is left up to the other guys, and they’re not holding up their end of the bargain.

Tampa owned the puck for much of the night, outshooting Montreal 36-19, and it has to be said – without the best goalie in the world back there, the Canadiens might be sitting in a world inhabited by Leafs and  Devils and Flyers and other mediocre squads with mediocre points.

It’s tremendously depressing. Not to mention that these two teams could meet in the postseason.

I thought, when it was scoreless in the third period and Price robbed Ryan Callahan, that the boys would finally say enough’s enough, they have to give their backstopper a helping hand once and for all.

But nope. They were outshot 10-2 in that final frame, and ultimately they deserved to lose. Price didn’t, but the rest did.

Now it’s Ottawa paying a visit to the Bell on Thursday, and once again, Price will stand on his head, do his job in Price-like fashion, and it’ll be up to the rest of them to do their share for a change. We’ll see. I know it’s asking a lot.

March so far? One win and four losses.

Canadiens Drop Another

Couldn’t see the Habs-Coyotes Sunday matinee, but I heard that the boys, except for a flurry at the end, were reasonably lousy in their 3-2 loss to Arizona.

I did manage to catch the Habs and Sabres on Tuesday though, and aside from a third period flurry, were reasonably lousy in their 3-2 loss to Buffalo.

The Canadiens had plenty of chances, with pucks missing the net left and right. It’s infuriating to say the least. Maybe a bunch of them need to see an eye doctor.

Hit the net for #$&@ sakes.

I don’t have much to say. I’m a tired guy just back from an exhausting trip.  Here’s my official summary – the big shot 5th place Habs, busy feeling high and mighty after back-to-back 1-0 shutout wins over really good Rangers and Washington teams, suddenly lose to the 27th place Arizona Coyotes, and the 30th place Buffalo Sabres.

And I’ll add this. It’s a grueling marathon, this 82-game season, and there will be stinkers. Doesn’t matter if pro athletes make millions. Sometimes they don’t give the expected 100%.

Keep in mind, the minute the playoffs start, most of us will forget all about the regular season.

Next up – New Jersey Devils at the Bell on Saturday, and then the Canadiens head to Boston for a Sunday meeting.

Brandon Prust was involved in a cool sequence to tie the game at one in the 1st and lure us into thinking that it was the beginning of the end for the Sabres. Prust burst out of the penalty box, knocked the puck off Tyler Myers near centre ice, the puck scooted to DD who sent it back to Prust who buried it.

DD, in the 3rd frame, would score his team’s other goal.

Shots on goal – Habs 34, Sabres 18.

Left winger Jacob de la Rose was called up from Hamilton for his first NHL game and was -1 with 5 hits recorded.

Gabriel Dumont also saw action, while Michael Bournival, Manny Malhotra, and Mike Weaver didn’t.

Pat’s Time

I worked in Hull, Quebec at the E.B. Eddy paper mill in the mid to late-1970s when Pat Burns was a local cop there.

I never met him. I just thought it was a good opening paragraph.

I’ll bet as a cop, Burns was a beauty. Tough as nails. No nonsense.  We saw how ferocious he was as a coach. Smart-ass punks would have stood no chance.

The ex-cop has now been chosen as part of the 2014 Hall of Fame gang, along with Dominik Hasek, Mike Modano, Rob Blake, Peter Forsberg, and referee Bill McCreary.

Who knows why Burns wasn’t picked five or ten years ago? Maybe he’d ruffled some feathers before he passed away in 2010 from cancer.

This was a tough hombre who wouldn’t have stood for any guff from legends in their own minds who run various branches of hockey, including members of the HOF selection committee.

The bottom line is, he was a strong and successful coach who deserved to be placed in the Hall. There are plenty in there who are debatable choices, but not Pat Burns.

It was Wayne Gretzky, who owned the Hull Olympiques from 1985 to 1992, who convinced Pat to quit the beat and coach the Quebec Junior team full time. It worked out beautifully.

Of course it did. Because everything Gretzky touched back then seemed to turn to gold.

As a coach, when Pat Burns wasn’t raging, he seemed as likeable as can be in interviews, and by many accounts was popular and personable to everyone he wasn’t collaring or coaching or happened to be near when he was in a foul mood.

He admitted it was tough in Montreal with the pressure from media and fans, he didn’t always handle things in a cool and calm manner, and I’m sure at times, reporters would tread lightly after a tough loss. Would you want a pissed off Pat Burns glaring at you?

He was behind the Habs bench for just four years, his learning years as an NHL coach from 1988 to 1992, and was awarded the Jack Adams Award in 1989 for top coach in the league after taking the boys to the Cup finals before falling to the Terry Crisp-coached Calgary Flames.

(I wrote a letter to my sister in Calgary before that ’89 series had started, giving my prediction along with a little made-up series review which I titled “Pat Burns Terry to a Crisp”)

Next stop was Toronto, where he led the Buds from 1992 to ’96, and where he’d win the Adams in 1993. And from there it was four years with the Bruins (1997 to 2001),  where he’d earn a third Jack Adams Award, this one in 1998.

It sucked to see Pat Burns running the bench in Toronto and Boston. It always sucks to see a beloved Hab in those enemy uniforms.

Following Boston it was the New Jersey Devils in 2002-03 for Burns where he’d win the Stanley Cup, and then one final year after that with the Devils before being diagnosed with colon cancer.

A great career, successful almost everywhere he coached. And on Monday, November 17, 2014, eleven years after his final line change, we’ll see Pat inducted.

Late, but better late than never.


Not Enough From Habs In Toronto

It wasn’t a lackluster effort like the previous Philadelphia and New Jersey games, and they weren’t wildly outshot and outplayed like in Ottawa, but when all was said and done, it just wasn’t enough on Saturday night and the Habs drop a 5-3 decision to the Leafs, which puts the Torontonians just four points behind them in standings.

And even though it wasn’t a dud like the aforementioned games, it proved as depressing as can be to see the irksome Nazem Kadri play well, to see the Leafs take the body throughout (something the boys can’t do), and to see Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin flounder.

The game didn’t start out well, especially when Kadri undressed Emelin to set up the game’s first goal, but the Canadiens eventually found some legs and made it a game.

Canadiens’ goal scorers were Brendan Gallagher, Brian Gionta, and David Desharnais, and it also could’ve been Andrei Markov who had a couple of great opportunities to tie it in the dying minutes, but he couldn’t hit the net.

Anyway, I’m not able to continue. I’m fighting something, been laid up all day, and can barely sit and type. Sorry but I need the couch again.

I gave it the old college try.

Montreal outshot the Buds 33-30.

Next is Pittsburgh on Wednesday.


Needing A Win Tonight


Habs in Ottawa tonight, and it’s must-win of course.

Because I harken back to the old adage that a slump is three straight losses and a bad bounce from being four.

And seeing how they fell to New Jersey on Tuesday, with the Sens now and then the Leafs on Saturday, we need a win to avoid the old adage and kick off this three-game road trip in fine style, which, by the way, also includes Pittsburgh next Wednesday.



Brodeur And Jagr Gang Up On Gang

It’s the schedule maker’s fault. He arranged for the New Jersey Devils to come in after figuring Montreal would have a great game a few nights before.

I’m not going to say it was boring, this 4-1 win by the visitors. Because more than enough Habs efforts have been this sort of thing. I guess it was crazy of me to hope for two high-octane games in a row.

The Canadiens jumped into a 1-0 first period lead when Max Pacioretty blew one by Martin Brodeur, and I’m probably not the only who thought, hah, Brodeur should’ve had that and his last game in Montreal is going to be a mediocre one.

Then he became unbeatable for the rest of the night. A fort holder.

And Jaromir Jagr played like he did when he was a newcomer in the league, about eighty-five years ago.

I thought the Canadiens began to make a move in the second period as they were skating better and getting chances, including a dinger off the post from Tomas Plekanec that would have helped considerably if it was different by a half inch.

But I never say a word when other teams hit posts against the Habs, so forget what I just said.

It was 3-1 at that point, and when Brendan Gallagher’s goal was called back because of the decision that it was a kicking motion, the rest of the night became a lost cause, even though Rene Bourque, Lars Eller, and Raphael Diaz all had great chances to get the team back in it.

I didn’t think it was a kicking motion. It seemed on the replay as more of the puck off the skate as he happened to be moving. Does that make sense?

It’s disappointing that the boys couldn’t reproduce the effort they showed on Saturday against the Hawks, but this team is what it is. Whatever that is.

And their netminder was solid.

David Desharnais sat out with the flu, with Alex Galchenyuk and Ryan White gone, you have to think that Louis Leblanc kneels by his bed every night and prays for a trade. They just don’t want to call him up and it has to be as discouraging as can be for the guy who was chosen in the first round by the Habs, 18th overall, in the 2009 Entry Draft.

But I really can’t talk because I haven’t seen him play in a Bulldogs uniform. Maybe his heart’s not in it anymore.

I really liked that feeling when the Habs played Chicago. It was a good feeling. But so short-lived.

Now it’s up the road, through Ottawa, and out yonder to Kanata to play the Senators on Thursday. There’s no sense in trying to predict how the boys will play. They’re a riddle wrapped in a box of frustration, inside a giant CH.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot the Devils 30-19 on the night, including six shots to two in the third. Talk about a slow final frame. Snailwagon hockey.

Great Game, Great Win

A rootin’ tootin’ doozy of a game at the Bell Centre, with the boys in red beating the defending Stanley Cup champions 2-1  in overtime when Andre Markov buried the puck and the Chicago Blackhawks with his second goal of the game.

An Original Six matchup that captured everything the original Original Six would muster – great goaltending at both ends, lots of scoring chances, end to end action, tremendously close calls, the fans into it in a big way.

If only Danny Gallivan had called the game. It was all we were missing.

Unless I’m forgetting something, this had to be the best game at the Bell Centre this year, or at least the most exciting, which, I suppose, is one in the same. The guys were alive. They came to play and they got it done.

I’ll bet the downtown Montreal bars were hopping for hours after, filled with good vibrations and cheer.

And what a confidence booster it could be for the Canadiens, seeing that they can compete against a fine team after getting taught some harsh lessons from L.A. and St. Louis last month. Forget the bad ones and remember the good. And then do it again more often.

A revitalized Alexei Emelin, who hasn’t been his normal self lately, snapped out of it and went out and thumped several Hawks, including a beauty on Patrick Kane that very well may have charged up an already charged-up team that would ultimately carry through to the end.

Brendan Gallagher found himself in a scrap with Kris Versteeg that of course put smiles on faces, with Gallagher, at 5’9, holding his own with the 5’11 Versteeg. It’s not often we see Gally squaring off like that, and it was another moment to make us all realize that the Canadiens were fired up for this game.

Chances came fast and furious, including some beauties when the Canadiens were shorthanded, with Plekanec and Prust coming close, and then Eller, who had it in the bag until a sprawling Corey Crawford got his skate on it. It was a great save, but a tad lucky too. And that’s no slight on Crawford, who was excellent for his team.

So close with all those chances, and yet so far, as the Hawks would tie this barnburner in the third after first having a goal disallowed because of a player in the blue paint interfering with Price, and with just over a minute to go, rang a puck off the post which almost sealed it.

But they didn’t seal it, and in overtime, Andrei Markov, from a deflected pass from Max Pacioretty, bulged the twine behind a screened Corey Crawford, and Habs fans rejoiced, especially Luci, who may have damaged my left eardrum. I enjoyed it in slightly quieter fashion.

What an enigmatic Habs team. They sleepwalked and were generally quite pathetic in Philly on Wednesday, and a few days later play a dandy against a tremendously strong Chicago Blackhawks squad. We just never know what to expect, even though for the last month they’ve been on the listless side, which more and more we’ve come to expect.

Saturday night they came to play, and let’s hope this is a springboard for a strong rest of the season.

It was a complete team effort which begs the question – why don’t they play like this more often?

Random Notes:

Habs outshot the Hawks 38-20 and although Crawford had more work, Price was equally outstanding.

George Parros dressed and was on the ice for 3:33.

Next up – Tuesday, when the New Jersey Devils visit. Some real big games coming up after that but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.


Holik’s Gun Blog

I stumbled across a blog written by ex-NHL star Bobby Holik titled Holikonshooting and I’m not going to comment on it. I have my views which happen to differ from his. But that’s democracy and freedom of speech, right?

Holik played for four teams during his 1314 games in the bigs, won a couple of Cups while with New Jersey, and was a New York Ranger for two seasons, the team the Habs play tonight.

Holik’s blog deals with his love of guns and I thought I’d simply paste his introduction.

Take it away, Bobby –

“2013 turned out to be great year for supporters of the Second Amendment. Our government threatened the masses again to create more restrictions on our constitutionally guaranteed right. There is very few things I am more passionate about than this issue. As I’ve mentioned many times before, this is as important as standing up for the First Amendment. Surprisingly too many people in this country do not want to recognize it. Well, sometimes it’s good to have spineless politicians in Congress.They were not willing to pay the political price to accomplish any major changes. Great news not only for gun owners but for everyone else. United States of America is a better place for it and the whole world can envy our ability to coexist peacefully.

I had a wonderful and exciting year. I improved my pistol shooting skills, participated in fund raisers shooting clays, harvested mule deer buck and fell in love with upland bird hunting.

I usually write about the events or trips I have experienced. Today I would like to recap some of the guns I used. Keep in mind I am above average in size and bellow average in shooting skills. I try to compensate with great passion for all things involving guns.”

Wild And Wacky Win

It sure wasn’t pretty, but somehow, after the dust had settled, the Canadiens found themselves with a 4-3 shootout win in Newark against a solid New Jersey Devil squad that is probably still shaking their heads.

Like us.

With the clock rapidly winding down, I started getting up from the couch to head to the computer to babble nonsense for a couple of uninspired minutes and then hit the sack so I’ll be fresh to give my usual 145% at work tomorrow.

But before I could even unhinge my creaky knee bones, the Habs tied it with mere seconds left and took it to a shootout where they won yet another game, their 7th in the last eight outings.

Once again it wasn’t pretty, but the two points are. And you should hear my knees crack when I get up from the couch.

The Canadiens had opened the scoring in the first period when Brian Gionta converted a nice Daniel Briere pass, and the score remained just that through the second and into the third.

And through most of everything, the Devils were the much better team, but Peter Budaj was shutting the door when called upon.

But then a Devil shot surprised everyone on the ice as it made its way through to the back of the net, and the game was suddenly tied.

Midway in the third, Michael Ryder put his team up 2-1, and it was that old sinking feeling. It would be tough to rebound against a tight checking and disciplined Devils team who could taste it.

Then it all went nuts.

With 3:50 left, Lars Eller tied it up, and overtime seemed a sure bet.

But as horrible as could be, with all the talk about P.K. Subban not always being trustworthy enough to be chosen for Canada’s Olympic team, our guy suddenly lost the puck near his own net, and the Devils, with just 1:06 remaining, once again took the lead and this is where Luci went to the kitchen and I got up to move to the computer.

Then we sat right back down. Because 27 second later, with just 37 seconds left on the clock, David Desharnais deflected the puck and overtime was once again a sure bet.

Overtime proved scoreless and the game went to a shootout, and with goals from Eller and DD, the team overcame a bunch of odds, grabbed a couple of points, and very shortly need to refocus on the task ahead, which is the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.

Random Notes:

Seeing P.K. cough up the puck like that wasn’t good game-wise, and it wasn’t good Olympic-wise either. But this sort of thing happens in hockey games. Pucks are lost off sticks. But next time, P.K., please try to be more careful.

Brandon Prust took on Cam Janssen in the first frame after the Devils player had rammed Alex Galchenyuk hard in the boards. It was an even fight, and also one of the longer ones you’ll ever see.

New Jersey outshot the Canadiens 34-30.

There sure were a lot of empty seats at the Prudential Center. Imagine going to see the Habs and being able to sit front and centre, or choose anywhere you like. It’s never happened in my lifetime. Any Habs game I’ve ever been at have been sold out affairs.

Bruins on deck, waiting in Montreal, getting pissed drinking Pink Ladies.




Canadiens Find A Way

They were lousy in the first, slightly better midway through the second, and much better in the third.

And through it all, Carey Price kept them in it, a few of the boys found the back of the net, and the Canadiens skate away with what I would say was an awesome two points.

Awesome because they beat Martin Brodeur. Awesome because they won the game even while outplayed. And awesome for the sake of being awesome.

So great when the team is winning and we’re not bitching. I feel like singing “It’s a Wonderful World” ending with “boom shakalaka”.

They sure were an out-of-sorts bunch in the first period though, mainly because New Jersey was playing a solid New Jersey game, and the boys fell behind 1-0 on a deflection Carey Price had no chance on. Being behind by even one goal against the New Jersey Devils is tough sledding.

And they came out in the second and continued to be on the slightly dazed side. But David Desharnais created a little hard-working magic, Rene Bourque found the short side, and suddenly and without warning, the game was tied. A chance to win was a possibility. The joy of having hope.

Being tied is way better than being behind.

Then holy mackinaw, Rocket Pacioretty put the team in the lead on the power play, converting a nice pass from Andrei Markov and yet more nice work from DD.

Max and DD have been flying lately and Brendan Gallagher has to have something to do with it. He’s had some sort of influence on two guys who only recently were struggling. Gallagher is without question one of the team’s most important players. I think he adds passion.

For Desharnais, the tar and feathers have been hauled back to the barn. For Max, pucks are going in in bunches. Keep it up boys.

In the third, the game became tied at two when ex-Hab and sometimes sniper Michael Ryder snapped one home. I didn’t even know Ryder played for the Devils, but there he was, sniping like he does sometimes. And now the game could go either way.

This is why hockey’s the greatest sport on the planet. Tension is a good thing. As long as the heart’s strong and you don’t start biting your nails.

The Canadiens would win it on a Alex Galchenyuk close-in shot after Alexei Emelin sent one in from the blueline. How great is it when a guy is in the doghouse the previous game like young Galchenyuk and comes out and scores the winner.

This why hockey is the grea…….Oh, I just said that.

Late in the game Max had a shorthanded breakaway and Lars Eller was there flying around and nearly scored too, and when Martin Brodeur was pulled for the extra attacker, David Desharnias capped off his fine night by not icing the puck but gently chipping it to centre, sealing the game for his team and earning first star for all his good work on the night.

What a rag to riches story for DD right now. Or something like that.

Random Notes:

PK Subban continues to not only secure himself a spot on the Olympic team but is on the right track for a second straight Norris Trophy. And yes, I know, it’s a long season.

Canadiens were outshot by the visitors 29-17, including 11-5 in the first and 11-4 in the second. But they still found a way.

Rollin’ along. Clear the track.

Next up – in New Jersey on Wednesday, and home to meet the Bruins Thursday. The Canadiens are a busy bunch. I wonder how the wives are doing.