Category Archives: New York Rangers

Gionta Wins It And Team Reaches 100!

No goals through three periods.

Brian Gionta tripped up on a breakaway in overtime by ex-Hab Raphael Diaz, awarded a penalty shot, and comes through to give his team and us a huge 1-0 win.

The regular season is finished, the Canadiens reach a very impressive 100 points, and now the real season begins. The 82 games were only a lengthy warm-up act.

And the boys finished it off in dramatic fashion.

I wasn’t a Gionta backer throughout most of the year. He hasn’t been overly effective in my mind. He’s been a reminder of the smurf days. It seems Josh Gorges has been more of captain material.

But Gionta has come through often in the last while. He’s worked hard, has popped a few, and has shown leadership, which he should, considering he wears the captain’s “C”.

So now I’m proud of Gionta. As the season wound down, he cranked it up. And on Saturday night he was also awarded the important Jacques Beauchamp trophy for being an unheralded key guy on the team.

Luci and I decided against the Irish pub to watch the game because we found another down the street with a giant screen. Again a sensational night in Quebec City where we encountered nothing but friendly folk in an incredibly cool Old Quebec.

I had a bunch of beer, though, so this is what passes for my game post for the final game of the season. Hic.

Shots on goal – Blueshirts 41, Habs 27. Carey Price voted game’s first star.

Tomorrow we cheer for Washington in their game against Tampa Bay.

Great talking to you.

Hic.

Quebec City

We’re in Quebec City and it’s been terrific, with our hotel so perfectly situated we find ourselves only a couple of hundred feet from the Plains of Abraham.

When I was fourteen I spent a month with a French family in St. Hyacinthe on an English-French exchange, and my new friend and I hitchhiked to Quebec City and slept in sleeping bags on the Plains of Abraham. And now I’m back.

It’s Luci’s birthday and she and I celebrated at the greatest restaurant either of us have ever been in, called Parmesan, where joie de vivre reigned supreme, and where the staff was amazing, the food was excellent, and a singer and fellow with an accordion walked around and sang old Italian songs.

It was like being serenaded by Dean Martin and Perry Como.

We never stopped smiling and laughing for the two or three hours we were in Parmesan. Usually being in restaurants is fairly serious business.

We’ve already staked out a nearby Irish pub to watch the Habs-Rangers game tonight, after walking in and an employee showed us around and told us where the best TV viewing is.

And I hope I don’t sound like I’m boasting, but since my teens I’ve been saying exactly what Jacques Plante said in describing the nice time he had in Toronto when he played for the Leafs in the early-1970s:

“Maybe that’s been the trouble in our country; we just don’t get around and meet the neighbours in other provinces.”

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Habs Unreal (In A Bad Way)

Not much to chat about here.

Not after the Habs sucked more than the septic truck that used to come on the Island Sky ferry and suck the gook out of the tanks.

They don’t want home ice advantage and I don’t blame them. It’s an extra night of not having to endure the blaring techno music the Bell Centre pipes out.

The Canadiens played what was basically an AHL team on Thursday night, the New York Islanders with 11 or 12 raw rookies in the lineup, including 3 AHL defensemen. But it didn’t look like it.

The home team couldn’t score even once. They were bottled up all night. They were confused and uninspired and hopefully the wives make them sleep on the couch tonight.

Blanked 2-0 by the Islanders, who played a great game. The Habs played like the septic truck on the ferry.

But I’m not concerned. They were skating well just 24 hours prior in Chicago. And we’ve seen them flat like this before. Not even Didier Pitre knows why.

Random Notes:

Tampa Bay beat the Flyers 4-2, so they’re doing the right things on the verge of the playoffs, as opposed to what the Canadiens are doing.

They’re saving their motivation for next week.

Douglas Murray slammed Johan Sundstrom head first into the boards, got tossed, and a suspension is a distinct possibility, coming just after he sat for three games for an elbow to the head of Tampa’s Michael Kostka on April 1st.

George Parros was in another scrap, and once again it was nothing to write home about. When we got this guy, I thought we were getting a brute. Instead, we got a paler-skinned Georges Laraque with a mustache.

Both Islanders goals came on the power play.

Shots on goal – Islanders 30, Habs 19.

Luci and I are heading to Quebec City for the weekend. Hopefully there’s a good sports bar near our hotel on the edge of the Plains of Abraham to watch the Canadiens smash the Rangers and Max notch his 40th.

 

 

Howie’s Obit Added

I came across the old Toronto Star obituary for Howie Morenz after he’s passed away in a Montreal hospital bed in 1937 and I’d like to add it to a post I did last summer after wandering around Montreal.

First, the truly beautiful obituary witten by Andy Lytle in the Toronto Star, (from Brian McFarlane’s book “True Hockey Stories: The Habs”), followed by my post done last summer.

“Like a tired child dropping softly to sleep, Howie Morenz died in a Montreal Hospital last night.

Morenz, the flashing meteor of the ice lanes, the little man who proved that “they do come back from the valley of regret and disillusion,” ate a light supper, smiled at his nurse and then turned his head wearily on the pillow as though to fall asleep.

The watching nurse, noting the strange pallor settling over his face, called a doctor. But before the medical man arrived the turbulent soul of one of the greatest figures that ever laced on skates had found eternal peace.

It was his heart that gave out, the experts said sorrowfully. To those who knew the strong vein of sentimentality that surged in the make-up of this remarkable athlete it was if the fibre of the man slowly disintegrated as he faced the uncertainty of a hockeyless future.

A crestfallen Morenz had come back to the Canadiens this season after a season on foreign ice with Chicago and then the Rangers.
In a few months he had re-scaled the heights. Was once more the flashing, dashing Morenz, the streak of Stratford, the beloved of the hockey gods who sit in silence or roar like maddened souls during the progress of the games in Montreal.

Then a quick twist, a fall on the ice and Morenz was carried away, his leg broken in two or three places.

As he recovered slowly, Morenz held court in his hospital ward. His friends were legion, his admirers more. They called to see him, to talk, to commiserate and to secure his autograph.

Howie again broke under the strain and the excitement of this renewed adoration. Last weekend the doctors belatedly clamped on the lid. No more visitors, no more chats. He was, the experts said, on the verge of a complete nervous breakdown. The strain was too great.

And then, a few days later, as his friends looked confidently forward to his complete recovery, with the unexpectedness of a bolt of lightning from a cloudless sky, the weary, exhausted figure heaved a tired sigh and turned his face to the wall.

A moment later, to a startled world and to his agonized people, the tragic words were spoken – “Howie Morenz is dead.” It was his brave heart that had given suddenly, tragically out, his doctors said.

Morenz is survived by Mrs. Morenz and three children. Howie Jr., 10, skating mascot of the Canadiens, Donald, 4, and Marlene, 3.”

Morenz

It was mostly driving around Montreal today instead of walking, and I have to say, the pavement sucks almost everywhere.

Bumpy streets. I’m hoping my shocks hold up.

I avoided joggers and bike riders at Mount Royal Cemetery, and visited Howie Morenz and his son Donald. As you can see, Donald died when he was only six. Howie and Donald are buried with Mary Morenz’s family members.

Howie

I don’t know what caused Donald’s death at six years old, and I’m not sure where Howie’s wife Mary is. She doesn’t seem to be there with the rest of the gang.

If my research is correct, it seems Mary remarried in 1939 (to Georges Pratte), just nine days after young Donald Morenz passed away.

And just for the record, Herbert McKay and Wilhelmina Stewart on the headstone are Mary Morenz’s mom and dad.

After that I drove to the Howie Morenz Arena, which wasn’t far away and I was killing time before Lester’s Deli opened. The arena’s only 35 years old for goodness sakes, with new renovations. I was hoping for something much older with more of a sweaty, tobacco/mildew smell.

But at least Howie has an arena named after him, and rightly so.

Howie arena 1

Howie arena 2

Then I went to Lester’s Deli, just as it was opening. Lester’s, a family-owned business since 1951, was fantastic, and the neighbourhood around it on Rue Bernard has this great Jewish feel to it. Some of the men walking around wore these big round hats which I’ve never seen before. Awesome hats. I want one.

Lester’s smoked meat sandwich is right up there with the best of them, that’s for sure. I was the only one there and it was fun to watch all the staff, who might be all related, go about getting ready and from time to time bitch at each other.

If I hadn’t have gone to Schwartz’s (which holds a special place in my heart) first, I would say Lester’s is the best. It’s not fancy and it’s not big, but it’s clean and nice, with a lot of funky stuff on the walls.

They didn’t ask me if I wanted lean, medium, or fatty, and I’d say it was medium that I scoffed down. And wow was it good! An awesome smoked meat. Messy as hell. I didn’t order fries because I’m worried about my complexion.

My one complaint was afterward, when I looked at the menu on the wall and I saw they have a regular sandwich for $7 bucks and a bigger one for ten, and they brought me the ten buck one automatically. But what’s three bucks, right? And I wasn’t going to say anything because I’m a Canadian.

A cool place on a cool street.

Lester's

Lester's 2

Lester's 1

Win One, Lose One Etc

Not too many big chunks of yellow on the Scientific Habs Information Tracking System (SHITS) lately, just a lot of “win, lose, win, lose”, and the boys are going to have to smarten up.

Because as you can see (hopefully), they’re coming up against some good teams in the near future, and if they aren’t careful, they could even find themselves in a bit of a pickle, with the Rangers, Philadelphia, and Toronto breathing down their neck.

Heck, making the playoffs isn’t even a given.

C’mon Habs. Give us some more yellow.

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The Drabness Continues

Canadiens showed lots of life Thursday night in Philadelphia. After the game had ended when Brendan Gallagher and Brian Gionta showed displeasure with Flyers goalie Steve Mason.

Before that, most everyone was comatose.

Habs lose their second straight, 2-1 to the Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center. They didn’t deserve to win.

Remember the good old days when they were 9-0-1 and we were gleeful and full of merriment? That’s gone now. But I remember it well. Mainly because it was less than a week ago.

At least they scored a goal, although they didn’t until 56 seconds left when Alex Galchenyuk squeaked one over the line. And at least Galchenyuk came to play. Most didn’t for the second straight night. Third if you count the listless win against the Sabres last Saturday.

Again a disappointing effort from the boys. There wasn’t much drive, or pinpoint passing, or crashing the net, or any big blasts from P.K. But there was lots of dazed and confused play from way too many and that’s not the way it’s supposed to work.

If we’re expected to pay 11 bucks for a beer when we go to the Bell Centre, then the team is expected to at least give a solid effort whenever they play. That’s the deal. We cheer and pay through our noses. They play hard and cash six-figure cheques every two weeks.

We’re keeping our end of the bargain. Right now at least, they’re not.

I wonder how much beer is at the Wells Fargo Centre. Is it eleven bucks? Or is there a law in place saying Flyers fans shouldn’t drink?

Daniel Briere returned to his former home, and now we can only hope the charter leaves without him.

Brian Gionta barged in on a three on one and fired the old biscuit into the one place he shouldn’t – Mason. He had a bunch of options, none of which he decided to choose. He could’ve dropped it back, or sent it over, or maybe tried some kind of move, or even, and I know this sounds farfetched, shoot it where the goalie wasn’t.

Instead, right into the gut. The mark of a guy who might have had half-decent hands once upon a time but doesn’t now.

Carey Price was solid, the kids were fine, and most everyone else wasn’t.

Alexei Emelin got thrown out of the game for what the officials deemed a head shot on Steve Downie. I watched the replay several times and to me, Emelin nailed him in the upper chest and Downie acted like he was shot by a cannon. Either the camera angle didn’t show the true picture, or Steve Downie performed a magnificent embellishing act that would make Brad Marchand proud.

Next up – Canadiens on Long Island Saturday to end this short yet disturbing bummer of a slide.

Philadelphia, a team that began the night 12 points behind the Habs, outshot the boys 27-21, with Montreal managing 4 big shots in the first.

 

 

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.”