Category Archives: New York Rangers

Blitzed In Big Apple

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It was like watching a sampling of last year’s Eastern Conference Final between the Habs and Rangers. Habs couldn’t do much, the Rangers could.

The Canadiens just didn’t seem to have their legs, losing 5-0 to a Rangers team that was in control from start to finish. Basically every guy throughout the Canadiens lineup had an off night and need a good solid scolding from their mothers.

Serious pressure on Henrik Lundqvist was basically non-existent. Loosey goosey defence. Glaring mistakes that led to goals, from Alex Galchenyuk swatting the puck towards Dustin Tokarski instead of away from him and which landed on a Ranger stick, to Alexei Emelin getting stripped of the puck by Martin S. Louis, to Tom Gilbert being soft with his man in front of the net, to the forwards and defence letting Rick Nash waltz in alone.

But it’s fine because the nasty stretch has ended, a stretch that began on November 5th and ended on November23rd, 10 games in 19 days, and because the schedule maker has some sort of twisted sense of humour, the boys don’t play again until next Friday, 5 days from now.

But this thing definitely smelled of last year’s playoffs. The Rangers outskated the Habs by a country mile. And last year’s Rangers heros Lundqvist, St. Louis, and Moore were heros on this night too.

Montreal showed almost no attack and it was a fairly easy night for Lundqvist. Except for that fun time when Brandon Prust collided with him and which led to Kevin Klein dropping the gloves with Prust, which led to Prust pounding Klein with a flurry of knuckle sandwiches.

Random Notes:

Rangers outshot Canadiens 34-21, and now the Habs moms are free to party in Manhattan. Look out New York.

Next game – Habs in Buffalo on Friday, and then the two teams are back at it in Montreal on Saturday.

 

 

Sweet Mother’s Night Win

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A 2-0 blanking of the Boston Bruins by the Canadiens with Habs moms whoopin’ and hollerin’ from their seats at Boston’s TD Garden.

How sweet it was. And how the Bruins and their fans must already dread the thought of meeting the Canadiens in the postseason.

Montreal just keeps on beating the Bs (6-4 in October, 5-1 and 2-0 in November), and they’re ready to drop the gloves, as Dale Weise did with Gregory Campbell and I guess Alex Galchenyuk with Torey Krug, although I somehow missed Chucky’s battle in the ring.

They also show they couldn’t care less about the increasingly less-problematic Milan Lucic.

Last night, while sitting with my brother in an Ottawa public place watching the game with the sound down, I remarked that the Canadiens at one point were showing great things on the power play when they had the Bruins completely at their mercy and hemmed in for what seemed an extraordinary stretch.

Then I realized it wasn’t a power play. Montreal was simply dominant for more than two minutes on a five on five situation. Men against boys. It almost didn’t seem fair. Bruins prez Cam Neely had a serious look of concern from his high above perch.

It was going to be a formidable task. Four tough games in short order against the Penguins, Blues, Bruins, and Rangers. But after dropping a 4-0 decision to Pittsburgh, the boys have taken out the Blues and Bruins in fine fashion and the possibility is there that they can emerge with three wins from those four somewhat worrisome contests.

Tops in the league overall with three points more than Tampa Bay. (Boston sits in eleventh place), and looking more and more like a confident bunch who know they can win on any given night and so far haven’t been all that far off from doing so (5 regular season losses and 1 in overtime).

It’s still early, but Habs fans have every right to feel excited as hell about what’s transpiring. I know I am.

Tonight, Madison Square Garden. C’mon boys, give your moms another great night.

 

Six Appeal

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Six straight wins for the Canadiens after handing the Red Wings a 4-1 clock puncher at the Joe Louis Arena. It’s a six pack, like my stomach might have been if I hadn’t drank six thousand six packs over the years.

In looking at last year’s Scientific Habs Information Tracking System (S.H.I.T.S.), I can tell you that not once did the 2013-14 team win six straight. Twice they had five in a row, but not six. (Although they did manage 8 out of 9 in late March).

Imagine if they beat Pittsburgh on Tuesday to make it seven! I might buy a six pack!

In Detroit the boys carried on nicely after doubling up the Flyers the night before, getting points once again from a bunch of different guys, and backstopped by the solid-as-can-be Dustin Tokarski.

The power play was shutout 0/4 and that’s fine. They were also outshot 29-19 and that’s fine too. They handled the Wings in fine fashion and I’m not sure what else I can talk about.

Just the somewhat colorless facts I suppose.

It was 0-0 after the first period, although Jiri Sekac had a partial breakaway and Galchenyuk was stopped point blank, and Brandon Prust would finally get the ball rolling in the second when, on a 2 on 1, beat Jimmy Howard on the short side.

P.K. Subban bounced a shot off Wings defenceman Kyle Quincey to  make it 2-0, (Sergei Gonchar rang one off the post on the power play), and in the third, Tomas Plekanec gave his team a 3-0 lead after converting a Brendan Gallagher rebound.

The Wings would eventually beat Toker, but maybe they shouldn’t have. His mask was loose and although he told the nearest referee, play kept going and the Wings scored.

I guess the ref didn’t believe Toker. Maybe he’d been burned before by some unscrupulous non-Hab goalie.

The Canadiens would add one more when Gallagher worked liked a Gallagher behind the net and ultimately banked the puck off Howard and over the line. A fine reward for good old fashioned hard work.

Random Notes:

Point-getters included Gally, Pleky, and P.K. each with a goal and an assist, and Parenteau, Galchenyk, Beaulieu, Max, and Markov all with an assist.

After hosting Pittsburgh on Tuesday, the St. Louis Blues pay a visit on Thursday, then it’s in Boston Saturday and New York Sunday. That’s fine, except then they’re off until the following Friday. But whatever.

 

 

 

Habs Chuggin’ Along

It was a simple enough game plan. Beat Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers, the team that ended the boys’ playoff hopes and dreams last spring.

Win and it would mean a breathtaking 7 wins and 1 loss out of the gate.

And win the Montreal Canadiens did, with a score of 3-1 over the visiting Blueshirts, and now it’s the big silver bird west to Edmonton on Monday, Calgary Tuesday, and Vancouver on Thursday.

It’s a good thing the western swing begins in Alberta and not Vancouver. The West Coast is preparing to batten down the hatches for hurricane-type weather, and a hurricane outside and a Habs hurricane inside just wouldn’t be fair to the locals.

Carey Price was brilliant on numerous occasions on this Saturday night at the Bell. His glove hand flew out like a striking snake,  with more than a handful of Rangers’ quick and close-in shots swallowed up by Price’s trapper.

It was Price’s show, not Lundqvist’s. All part of the perfect game plan.

Finally the Canadiens would open the scoring, something they had managed only one other time in this early part of the season. And it was done in style when Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty, on the ice killing a penalty, found themselves with a clear-cut two on nothing breakaway.

After four passes back and forth, Pleky finished off what had amounted to a perfect and unstoppable play.

1-1 after the first. 2-1 in the second when Lars Eller notched his first goal of the season. And in the third frame, after Eller hit the post, Dale Weise would dig the puck out to Max and the Rangers were sunk.

The Canadiens in general were solid, the Eller, Weise, Bourque combo made an impact, Price was amazing when he had to be, and Max made things count on the all-important first and third goals. But it’s a team game and plenty of guys punched the clock and made it work.

Makes my chest swell. Kind of makes it level with my stomach.

Such an impressive start to the season. Keep it rolling on the western swing to close out October and make this an absolute month to remember.

 

More Magic!

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Habsville 20 that day,
The score stood Wings 1-0, with just 4 minutes left to play.
But Chucky tied the contest, with 3:09 to go.
And DD won it for his team, their last loss 4 games ago.

Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard was stopping everything. The Wings were moving, their game in control, and the clock wound down.

But once again the Canadiens would come from behind, pull another rabbit out of the hat, and they skated away with an unreal 2-1 win in overtime to the roar of a ecstatic Bell Centre crowd.

Six wins and a loss to start the 2014-15 season. Red hot. White hot. Blue hot. I’d almost given up on them as the clock wound down, but not quite.

There is always hope, except when it’s a blowout like the Tampa debacle, and when Chucky scrambled to retrieve the puck behind the net and lit the lamp on a wraparound, the game was suddenly not lost. It could be won afterall, and just 56 seconds into overtime, David Desharnais did just that for them and us.

Very proud right now. I had been slowly sinking into the couch, and now I’m alive and ready to rock for at least another hour.

Random Notes:

I think every time I focused on Manny Malhotra in the faceoff circle, he won the draw. This is a guy who’s going to make a huge impact in key moments over the next eight months.

Montreal had outshot Detroit 34-28 after three periods.

It wasn’t like the Canadiens didn’t make Howard work. They had bundles of chances – Parenteau, Malhotra, Galchenyuk, Desharnais, and on and on. But like the announcer said, some nights the puck looks like a beach ball, and  for Howard, it appeared this night was one of those.

Next up – it’s the Rangers on Saturday.

 

Great Gift From Marc, Great Goal From Lambert

The other day, owner and founder of Classic Auctions (and my boss), Marc Juteau, came into my office and gave me a beautiful vintage style (with fight strap) Yvon Lambert store model sweater, signed on the crest, which came from a Lambert charity golf tournament.

It was really nice of Marc to do this, and I greatly appreciate it.

When we talk about the unreal night of May 10, 1979, game seven of the semi-finals when Don Cherry and the Bruins were called for “too many men on the ice”, we first think of the  Habs power play that followed, capped off by Guy Lafleur tying the game and sending it into overtime.

Nine minutes in, it was Lambert winning it after taking a pass from Mario Tremblay.

Lambert wasn’t finished there either. Two weeks later, he would net the Stanley Cup winner against the New York Rangers.

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Summer Notes From Habsville

A number of things happened Habs-wise this summer, the most surprising being I was able to decipher the notes I’d made regarding the things that happened Habs-wise this summer.

Gone are Daniel Briere, Josh Gorges, Brian Gionta, Tomas Vanek, Ryan White, Douglas Murray, George Parros, and anthem singer Charles Prevost Linton.

Francis Bouillon, at this writing, remains stranded on the desert island named Limbo. Douglas Murray’s island is slowly sinking. George Parros’ island is somewhere near the lost continent of  Atlantis.

White now finds himself in Philadelphia where one of his jobs will be to protect captain Claude Giroux from grabbing police officers’ buttocks, and Bouillon’s future seems secure. If he doesn’t find a hockey job, the City of Montreal is ready to step in and make him a fire hydrant.

Auditions are now in process for the anthem singing gig. Unfortunately, management, with a somewhat prickly attitude, has informed me that I’m not allowed to be singer AND stick boy.

Forward P.A. Parenteau, from Colorado in exchange for Briere, is now part of the family, and Gorges and Gionta aren’t, as the two UFAs were picked up by Buffalo, a place Gionta is probably happy about being. Gorges, maybe not as much, considering it’s Buffalo.

Parenteau is 31 and hopefully more effective than Briere, who is on the verge (Oct. 7th) of becoming 37. Gorges’ passion and shot blocking will be missed. Gionta’s captaincy will be replaced in a year or two, and until then, Max, Markov, Pleks and P.K. will serve as assistant captains.

In the spirit of fairness, Markov, with the most seniority, should be the one to accept the Stanley Cup from Mr. Bettman next spring.

Signings this summer involved free  agents Manny Malhotra (1-year, from Carolina), Tom Gilbert (2-years, from Florida), and goaltender Joey MacDonald (1-year, from Calgary). And Jiri Sekac from the KHL Lev Praha squad signed a two-year entry level deal.

Those with new contracts include P.K. Subban, at 9 million a year for 8 years. Apparently there is no truth to the rumour that P.K. has bought the Sun Life Building in downtown Montreal to use as his winter residence, so you can stop thinking about that.

Regulars Andrei Markov (3 years), Dale Weise (2-year extension), Mike Weaver (1 year), Lars Eller (4 years), and coach Michel Therrien (4-year extension), also penned their names on paper.

Chosen in the 2014 Entry draft, 26th overall, was Moscow-born Nikita Scherbak, who looks, speaks, and plays like a young Alex Galchenyuk, who’s a grizzled old guy now.

Assistant coach Gerard Gallant is now the head guy in Florida and replaced by Montreal native Dan Lacroix.

Lacroix helped out behind the Rangers bench last year, and if it was he who advised the despicable Chris Kreider to run Carey Price and then Dustin Tokarski, he should be hung by the thumbs outside a Bell Centre window for several hours, and then be forced to teach our guys (aside from Brendan Gallagher) how to run goalies too.

Player Development guru Patrice Brisebois leaves and replaced by former NHLer Rob Ramage. And Trevor Timmins has had the title “Vice President of Player Personnel” added to his “Director of Amateur Scouting” handle.

Timmins is widely respected, particularly in Northern Ontario where they named a small city after him.

Former Canadiens captain Saku Koivu, an ultra-talented battler if there ever was one, retired after 1124 regular season games played, with his last 5 seasons in Anaheim and 13 years and one lockout season with Montreal before that. Thank you Saku, for all you did for the Montreal Canadiens and the city. Which was plenty.

And finally, Mensa member Brad Marchand mentioned that he dislikes Tomas Plekanec quite a bit. “Anybody who spells “Thomas” without  an “H” is a rotten bastard”, said Brad.

Other things could happen in the days and weeks too. If so, just mentally paste them to this.

Mind Freeze

It seems I’m going through some sort of writer’s block. Been that way for awhile now, and…………………………………there’s that block again. I can’t even finish the sentence.

I need to plow through like a player with a hangover. Suck it up. Force myself. Rattle the couple of dozen remaining brain cells. Just start typing and hope.

It’s not supposed to be a problem. I’m from Orillia for goodness sakes, where folks are tough. Most are Leaf fans and they still go about their day to day life in almost sane fashion. It’s inspiring.

I’m already worried about the Canadiens making it to the Eastern Conference Finals. Their series last year against the Rangers started at 8:10 et. The first intermission hadn’t even ended and it was time for bed. I was a mess the next morning.

You have no idea how concerned I am about the Habs making it to the Finals and playing a Western team, with games starting even later here.

Why oh why didn’t I become a Leaf fan when I was young so I could go to bed early now that I’m old. Just dreading it when the Habs kick ass this year.

Oh damn…the block’s happening again. Signing off  but I’ll throw the following in to add some much-needed meat to this post..

My year-long project which for months I thought was a good idea but now I realize it’s just stupid. Regardless, I’m adding it because I’ve nothing else to add.

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Building 6

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Don’s Premature Obituary

Recently I wrote about John “Chick” Webster, who played 14 games for the Rangers in ’49-50 and which can be seen here – Chick Webster.

Today it’s about his brother Don.

Don Webster, although a minor leaguer for most of his career, suited up for 27 regular season and 5 playoff games with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1943-44, and as far as I know, he came out unscathed.

It was the following year, while with the Hershey Bears, when he almost died after being checked by the Buffalo Bisons’ Roger Leger, whose stick fractured and went up into Don’s abdomen. (Leger played for the Habs from 1946 to 1950).

As doctors worked on Don, reporters scrambled and wrote two stories – one if he lived and one if he died. Thankfully he lived, although sixteen pieces of stick were removed from his innards.

After Don recovered, he was given a copy of his obituary, which must have been a strange sensation to say the least.

Doctors got all but one piece, which was eventually found and taken out more than twenty years later in California where Don had retired to, and where he would eventually pass away in 1978.

Thanks to Don’s nephew Rob Webster for the pics and info.

Below, Don second from left.

Don Webster

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Brothers John and Don in 1975

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How You Win A Trophy

The New York Rangers win game 4 and sweep aside many people’s prediction of a Kings’ sweep. It should finish in game 5, however.

The following true story has nothing to do with the Kings and Rangers.

A bunch of guys, including a friend of mine, were on a bus trip to see an NFL game in Buffalo, maybe last year, and after some serious drinking, a little trophy was offered to the person who could come up with the most outrageous thing.

A 40+ year old firefighter on the bus won the trinket after he licked the bus’s toilet floor and then all the way up the aisle to the front.