Category Archives: New York Islanders

Breaking Down The Habs’ Remaining November Games

It’ll be a very interesting remainder of November for the Montreal Canadiens. The boys are in Ottawa now, (Kanata, way to the west of the city, where the rink is), getting ready to take on the dysfunctional Senators.

Then they’re at home Saturday to beat the Bruins, and we all know what this game means. It’s Patrick Roy Sweater To The Rafters Night.

Then the boys sleep in their own beds and wait for the Islanders on Monday.

After that, it’s a two game road trip, when they travel to Detroit next Wednesday, and then swing over to Washington for a Friday game against the Caps.

They then close out the month the following Saturday when the Sabres visit.

 

What does all this mean? 

 It means every game will probably be a struggle for our struggling guys. Let’s see – Ottawa, Boston, the Islanders, Detroit, Washington, and the Sabres. How many games will they win here?

 Boston and Detroit should be tough ones. The Sabres and Washington will also be no picnic. Montreal seems to play flat in Washington. I went to a game there in the 1980’s with a bunch of guys on a beer-soaked, rented car roadtrip, and the Habs lost 5-0.  

 And opening game this year in Buffalo, the Habs lost in a shootout and were flat, a sign of things to come.

 If all the stars and planets are in alignment, Montreal should kick the Islanders ass.

 Which brings us to Thursday night’s game in Ottawa. The Senators have stunk this year. There’s no other way to say it. It’s a team in turmoil, it seems. I don’t know why. They’ve got Alfredsson, Heatley, and Spezza, for goodness sakes. That’s a lot.

But I suppose they’re missing most everything else, although journeyman goalie Alex Auld has been better than expected.

 Montreal needs to start in Ottawa, pick up steam, and make their presence felt in all these games mentioned. Their power play needs to explode. They have to quit taking ridiculous penalties, which I blame Guy Carbonneau for. A Stanley Cup contender is a disciplined team.

Alex Kovalev needs to break out. Why does he feel he needs to be pretty on the ice? Pretty doesn’t usually work. Power works. And as Kovalev goes, the team goes. We saw this last year.

 Carey Price needs to play at least five of the six remaining November games, preferably all six. The Kostitsyn boys, both of them, have to play like last year, although Andrei has been fairly good. Sergei hasn’t.

The defence has to tighten up. Price faced 48 shots in Carolina. That’s unacceptable.

 Also, they’re showing that they’re weak clearing the puck. It can’t be that difficult to shoot the puck out. But other teams have seemed to have figured out how to stop it. Why is that? Carbonneau again, I think.

 And I’ll mention it again. Quit taking stupid penalties. It kills momentum. The gunners sit on the bench while the penalty killers work. How can Carbonneau stop this insanity? Start benching those who take bad, ill-timed penaties. Do something.

In my book, the penalty-taking is the biggest killer of all.

The Boss And The Schedule Maker Have Phone Sex

 

Ring…….

 

Office of the schedule maker. Good morning.

 

Hello, this is Mr. Bettman. I need to speak to the schedule maker.

 

Speaking.

 

Yes, schedule maker. We have a problem. I’m sure you’re aware that there’s a few good Canadian teams up there, especially the Montreal Canadiens, and I’m sure you’re aware of what that means. Can you imagine a Canadian team in the Cup finals, schedule maker? Do you understand what that would mean for American TV audiences? No one would watch. We can’t have this. It’s happened before and I’ve decided to put my foot down.

 

So what would you like me to do, boss?

 

See what you can do about giving Montreal at least a bunch of big spaces between games early in the season. Maybe it’ll affect their timing, make them rusty, maybe they’ll lose a bunch of games, fall behind in the standings and never catch up. You know, whatever you can do. It’s important.

 

Later on that summer…

 

Ring…

 

Hello, Mr, Bettman? This is the schedule maker. How about this? I give them almost five days off in October when they’re in Florida on a Monday, and then don’t play Anaheim until the next Saturday! And then, sir, I think you’ll like this! I have them in Long Island in November on a Saturday, then don’t have them play in Columbus until the following Friday, even though the two places are only 400 kilometers apart and about an hour plane ride?

 

How do you like that?

 

Schedule maker, you’re a genius. That should take any wind out of those Montreal sails. It’s perfect, and I’ll make sure you have a job next year.

 

Thank you, Mr Bettman. And by the way, if you decide to move any more Canadian teams to a place like Acapulco or Rio, please think of me for a front office job? Thanks.   

 

 

This is the other little ad I have. It also came from an old 1940’s newspaper and it’s good because it gives all the different prices.

 

Habs Wake Up In The Third. And A Whole Lot Of Other Stories

Talk about doing it the hard way. Sleepwalk through most of the game, fall behind 4-1, then storm back in the third period and shock everyone in the building by coming alive and winning the darn thing 5-4 by scoring four goals in seven plus minutes at the end of the game.

 

I was hoping for Alex Kovalev and Tomas Plekanec to have break-out games, and both guys produced two goals and two assists and basically pulled it out for the good guys.

 

The Habs won………even though they played lousy. This game must really piss off the Islanders.

 

Must have been a good Halloween party the boys were at the night before. Hangovers can really suck.

 

Moving on:

  

David Robinson of the Chilliwack Bruins of the Western Hockey league took a puck in the teeth Oct. 18th while playing against the Kootenay Ice.

A dentist in Cranbrook yanked his teeth back into position, then Robinson rode the team bus home for seven hours with his mouthguard in his mouth to hold everything together.

 

Is that impressive or what?

 

Rick DiPietro is in some people’s bad books, including the New York media. The Islanders goalie signed a 15 year, 67.5 million dollar contract in 2006, and since then, keeps getting hurt. Now he’s on the shelf again and he’s only got 13 years left on his contract.

 

Apparently, Rick DiPietro is no David Robinson. Geez, the media is hard on their players in New York. I’m sure glad the Montreal media isn’t like that.

 

Important thing to know about Habs defenceman Andrei Markov. “Markov” translated into english means “stamp”, as in stamp on an envelope.

So you can now call him Andy Stamp if you feel so inclined.

 

The Toronto Maple Leafs are doing so well I’m kind of embarrassed I called them dog excretement a while back.

 

My old hometown, Orillia, is famous for many things. Gordon Lightfoot and Rick Ley come from Orillia. Stephen Leacock spent most of his life there and wrote a book about it, titled ‘Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town.’

A Toronto TV show in the 1960’s, Perry’s Probe, did some research and decided Orillia had more drug users per capita than any other place in Canada.

 

But most of all, Orillia has the following, documented in this video. I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am.

Montreal Needs This Islanders Game…..Plus…..Grade Two Was A Long Time Ago

There are thirty teams in the NHL and it’s the law of the universe that says one of those thirty teams must be in last place.

And that would be the New York Islanders, whom the Habs play Saturday night, with a record of five points in nine games. (2-6-1)

 

So Montreal absolutely needs to win this game. And hopefully they’ll look good while doing it, and Alex Kovalev and Tomas Plekanec will be a force to be reckoned with. These two need a big, breakout game.

 

The Islanders will be wearing throwback jerseys from the 1970’s, similar to the Potvin, Bossy, and Trottier era.

So they’ll be looking good when they lose.

 

Meanwhile, I found my old grade two workbook with some serious pieces of my art in it. I think I was a better artist then than I am now.

 

     

That Game was Worth At Least 75 Cents.

If I had paid a hundred bucks or so, or more, for a ticket tonight in Minnesota, I’d ask for my money back. Because even though the Canadiens won 2-1, this sad excuse for a game was a combination of sloppy play by the Habs, boring hockey by the Wild, and a never-ending amount of penalties called by the officials.

 

Imagine taking your new girlfriend on a first date to a game like this? She’d get up and leave with the hot dog vendor.

 

Montreal still hasn’t got their act together. PJ Stock was right. If they want to be a dominant team in the league, they have to start playing like one. And so far, except for the game against Toronto, they haven’t been good enough.

 

But at least they keep winning. That says something. But in my book, they haven’t looked great so far.

 

And if I could say good things about the Minnesota Wild, I could say the front office is laced with ex-1970’s Habs, starting with Doug Risebrough, the Wild’s President and GM, who I delivered milk to in Calgary when he was with the Flames and I was a door-to-door milkman.

 

Jacques Lemaire, Guy Lafleur’s centreman for most of the seventies, number 25 with the big slap shot, is the head coach and the inventor of boring coaching methods.

 

Guy Lapointe, one of the big three defencemen in the ’70’s along with Larry Robinson and Serge Savard,is the head of amateur scouting for the Wild. If you’ve read Ken Dryden’s The Game, you’ll know that Lapointe was a heck of a funny guy when he played.

 

And assistant coach Mario Tremblay. I’m not going to get into that.

 

I also don’t mind their sweater design. Reminds me of the old Quebec Aces sweater only with the colours reversed. Just plain and simple, with the round crest and laced neck. No fancy-dancy shit here.

 

Notes:

 

Young Habs’ Russian prospect Pavel Valentenko, toiling in the salt mines of Hamilton, asked the Canadiens if he could go home to visit his family. Montreal said yes, then the guy turned around and signed a three year deal with Moscow Dynamo. I suppose he had simply forgot to tell Bob Gainey that his family’s name is Moscow Dynamo.
 

 

Steve Downey has been recalled by Philadelphia. After his big scare of being sent down, maybe Downey will now be the next Lady Byng winner. What do you think?

 

Next up: The team is in Long Island Saturday to take on the New York Islanders. After that, they’ve got five freakin days off before they play the Blue Jackets the following Friday. FIVE FREAKIN DAYS! Stay out of the bars, boys. 

 

     

 

 

Canadiens Didn’t Put On A Show, But Bruce Blake Put On His Dad’s Fedora And Cardigan Sweater

I’m not going to go into great detail about tonight’s 3-2 shootout win over the Carolina Hurricanes, other than it was a bit of a sloppy affair, with the Habs being outshot 33-25 by the quick-skating Canes. The boys also took several bad penalties, including a puck over the boards by Carey Price with two minutes left, that almost cost them the game.

But Saku Koivu pulled it out in the shootout.

My feeling is, the homestand was too long, and a little road trip, beginning Thursday in Minnesota, then back east for stops on Long Island, Columbus, and Toronto, can’t come soon enough.

There’s things to be worked on, that’s for sure. Yes, I know, it’s only October. I’m an impatient man.

But they got their two points, and that’s what we see on paper when all’s said and done.

What I really want to talk about is something that happened before the game began. The Canadiens honoured their three most successful coaches – Dick Irvin, Toe Blake, and Scotty Bowman, and when I saw Toe’s son Bruce, my heart did a little dance.

Bruce Blake came out for the ceremonial faceoff wearing what probably was his dad’s old team cardigan sweater. And if that wasn’t good enough, he put on a fedora which also probably belonged to his dad. So there he was, dressed like his dad dressed in the good old days of the 1950’s and ’60.

It was a tremendous moment, and I hope the younger generation picked up on this.

Last year I had a nice long talk, for about an hour, with Doug Harvey’s son, Doug Jr., and he told me that when he was growing up in Montreal, his best friend was Bruce Blake. Imagine being young kids with dads who were members of the famed Montreal Canadiens of the late 1950’s?

Bruce and Doug Jr. were. (Although Doug said it was like growing up the same as any other family, which is hard to imagine.)

And Doug Jr. told me that Bruce still has all those huge players’ murals that hung in the old Toe Blake Tavern, which sat just down Ste. Catherines Street from the old Forum.

Coming Up:

Thursday’s game in Minnesota should be an interesting affair. Montreal’s record after eight games is 6-1-1 for 13 points. The Wild’s, after seven games, is 6-0-1, also for 13 points.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Islanders’ Fans Have To Find Better Reasons To Hate The Habs Than These

      The silliest thing came to my attention the other day. A nice Habs’ fan commented on this site that she’d been reading “Islanders Beat” and some Islanders’ fan was saying that the big reasons Islanders’ fans don’t like the Montreal Canadiens is because Habs’ fans think Bobby Orr was a better defenceman than Denis Potvin, and that we also hold a grudge because the Islanders won four straight Stanley Cups in the early 1980’s.

 

Other teams’ fans might come up with a lot of reasons to dislike the Habs, but these two reasons are just plain silly. Do you dislike the Islanders because they were great in the early ’80’s? Or did you even think about this?

 

And about Orr and Potvin. Orr is considered possibly the greatest player ever. Potvin was listed 19th out of 100th best in the Hockey News.

 

Orr dominated. Potvin didn’t nearly as much.

 

Orr was popular with his teammates. Potvin’s teammates thought he was arrogant and somewhat phony, which I admit is neither here nor there. I just thought I’d throw it in.

 

Potvin played 1060 games, racking up 310 goals and 742 assists for 1052 points. He won the Norris trophy for league’s best defenceman three times.

 

Orr won the Norris eight time and collected 270 goals and 645 assists for 915 points in 657 games. And half of these games he played with bad knees that ended his career prematurely.

 

What silliness from some Islanders’ fans.

 

Maybe they’re just mad because Montreal has a better team than them.