Category Archives: NHL playoffs

Weise Ends It

Dale Weise would score at 19:08 of of the first overtime frame to give his and our Montreal Canadiens a 5-4 win and and a nice one-game lead in what should be an outstanding series.

Fast paced, close, tense, some bad blood, and the right team winning. Now that’s hockey!

The Canadiens easily could have lost though, especially after allowing four goals on just fourteen shots. But thanks to some timely goals and Weise pulling the trigger, all’s well in Habsland.

Carey Price wasn’t particularly sharp, but the Canadiens were still able to get it done, even with him being slightly shaky, and the boys on this night outplayed Tampa for most of the first period, much of the second and third, and most of the overtime.

It was one of those nights that whenever play moved into Montreal’s end, the possibility was there that things could go south quickly. And four times it did.

But the Canadiens never let things get out of hand, they scored some timely goals, and that big first game is won by the team that should have and did.

Tampa had opened the scoring in the first period but just nineteen seconds later, Tomas Plekanec wired it home and the teams went to their rooms all even, although Montreal had outshot the Floridians 14-4.

In the second frame, not long after Brendan Gallagher took a puck in the throat from an Alexei Emelin shot from the blueline, Steven Stamkos would notch his first of two on the night and put his team ahead 2-1. Gallagher would return thankfully. But he might not be happy with Emelin.

Back and forth it went, playoff hockey at its finest, fans everywhere on the edge of their seats and couches I’m sure, and in the midst of scrums and battles, Brian Gionta would take a nice pass from Lars Eller and score a big shorthanded marker that caused Luci and I to yell and once again scare the cat that has happened far too often this year.

It’s going to be a long series for the cat.

The Canadiens would take the lead in the third period after Brian Gionta had corralled the puck at his blueline and got it to Lars Eller who danced up the ice and found the back of the net. A beautiful goal, and the Eller, Gionta and Bourque line skated well and created chances all evening. Hell, all the lines skated well I thought.

Sidenote: P.K. Stock said we have one good line and the other three suck. Just so you know.

One of my big dreams is to be rich enough so I could have spare TVs and whenever Stock comes on, I shoot the TV out the way Elvis used to.

Again the pesky Lightning would reply after a turnover, and the way Price was looking in nets, I experienced one of those strong sinking feelings that I’m really not crazy about.

Things would perk up though after Thomas Vanek converted a great pass from David Desharnais, but Steven Stamkos wasn’t through on the night as his second goal would even things at four apiece. Tampa’s captain is dangerous. Therrien’s gonna have to come up with a plan to calm this guy down down.

Sadly, Montreal’s power play continues to shoot blanks, and when they were given a power play with just 2:01 left in the third, the chance to win it was there on a silver platter. But again…..

Montreal’s man advantage at this stage of the year is confused and non-threatening. Throw out the power play drills they recently did in practice and come up with some new ones. Ask PJ Stock. Maybe he can help.

Overtime almost ended quickly when Max rang one off the post, and usually after something like that happens, the other teams scores. But Tampa didn’t, Dale Weise did, and at that point, I breathed a sigh of relief and now my heart is soaring like a Tawny-Headed Mountain-Finch.

Game two on Friday. Without sounding like a greedy bastard, another win would be good.

Habs outshot Tampa 44-25 on the night.

It’s Time

Finally it begins, 198 days from that dark October 1st evening when the Canadiens would lose 4-3 to the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Bell Centre.

Through highs and lows they took us, from four and five-game winning streaks to three and four-game losing streaks. But they always kept pace, always stayed in the hunt from start to finish.

Up and down we went, and in the end, when the long 82-game regular season finally drew to a close, we found our team finishing fourth in the east, a  fine100-point season to be proud of, with a goalie at the top of his game and a team that slowly but surely created chemistry within its ranks and a new and forceful first line in place.

Tampa’s number one goaltender Ben Bishop won’t start and we don’t know if he’ll even finish. Brandon Prust seems ready to go. The penalty killing has been spectacular. And our goaltender backstopped Team Canada to gold at Sochi and carries on now as the best in the business.

I’m not going to try and dissect the lines and matchups, or who’s dressing and who isn’t. I prefer to see how everything unfolds. Criticism can wait until it’s well-deserved.

For now, for me at least, it’s time to get excited, nervous and more than hopeful, and embrace the Montreal Canadiens as they attempt to give us and themselves what we last saw in 1993.

It’s time once again to bring out Annakin Slayd’s “Feels Like ’93″.

It’s Their Own Fault

Tampa won the game they had to win, a 1-0 shootout over Washington, and the Canadiens couldn’t solve a New York Islanders team they should have easily beaten.

Thus, the Canadiens lose home ice advantage.

It’s their own fault. The playoffs are hard enough without handing home ice to the other team but they made their bed. The best thing to do now is win in less than seven so Tampa’s home ice is all for naught.

It’s also very interesting to see how a couple of things play out Tampa Bay-wise.

Will Ben Bishop suit up in the series? And what’s going to happen to Ryan Malone, who was busted early Saturday on a DUI and possession of a gram and a half of cocaine? One would have to think he’s in a heap of trouble.

In 1977 Rangers forward Don Murdoch was busted at the Toronto airport with 4.5 grams of coke and was suspended by the league for an entire season, although it was lifted after 40 games.

If Ryan Malone laces up in the playoffs, it won’t seem right. I’m anxious to hear what happens. Will the league put the hammer down on this? And will they do it right away?

Malone’s also a bit of a dirty player who cold-cocked Chris Campoli back in 2011 (no suspension), and head-hunted Alexei Emelin in a game in 2012 after Emelin had leveled him with an old-time cruncher that was clean as a whistle.

This time around, it’s not an-ice problem. Cocaine and a DUI is a mighty serious combo, terrible for the Lightning and the NHL. The rep takes a hit. Not exactly role model type of stuff for kids to read and hear about.

Bishop on the other hand is a different story. He’s injured but if he’s healthy and plays, that’s fine. But if he doesn’t play, them’s the breaks.

 

Leafs Tickets

The Leafs had some fine teams once upon a time, and scoring a ticket for the normal hockey fan with no connections was tough. Almost impossible.

You’d think nowadays would be a cinch but I know it’s not. Maybe within the next few years I’ll give it a shot when the Habs play there.

A couple of replies from the Gardens back in the ’60s. And at least they replied.

Even though on the first one they spelled my name “Lane”.

 

Party In Chicago

Danno sends this photo of the the recent Cup rally in Chicago. It looks like Woodstock, but instead of trees, naked bodies, and Wavy Gravy in the background, there’s big buildings instead.

We’ll be able to have a rally someday like this in Montreal. Soon I hope. And where we’ll be living, in St. Hubert, there’s lots of room if organizers need to find a good spot.

The only problem I can see is, if you’re in the middle, how do you go to the bathroom?

Hawks

Hawks Hoist Hardware

The Bruins had it, and then they didn’t. The Chicago Blackhawks amazingly score two goals just seconds apart, with only a minute left in the third period, and capture their second Stanley Cup in four years.

It must have been shocking for the Bruins and their fans. They’d been feeling so good until the 18:44 mark of the final frame. Then it fell apart completely when 17 seconds later the puck eluded Tuukka Rask once again and the scoreboard showed 3-2.

I’m gonna be an almost-mature Habs fan here and admit that I admired the Boston Bruins for working through a solid playoffs this season that almost reached July 1st. The Bruins were a formidable force. A fine playoff team.

And of course I say the same for the Windy City Cup winners. True battlers.

Now we can finally on to the important stuff? Getting next season going so the Habs can do it too.

Building Lights – Chicago Style

Hobo’s in Chicago at a blues festival and says he took this photo while Bobby Rush was on stage singin’ and pickin’.

Someone had strategically turned the inside lights on (or off) in the building to spell out “Let’s Go Hawks,” which is a fine idea indeed.

Maybe Place Ville Marie or one of the other big buildings in Montreal can do this next year when the Habs are on their Cup run!

Chi

Bruins Sweep Penguins

Pens gone in four.

Two goals scored in the four games.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeny Malkin held pointless in the series.

For 48 games in the regular season, Pittsburgh was the powerhouse, not Boston. But the Bruins played great from top to bottom, the goalie stopped every puck but two, and Gregory Campbell personified what his team was made of when he stayed out for his shift with a broken leg in game three and then was helped to the dressing room, gone for the playoffs.

I thought it was an awesome moment. A true playoff moment. Sort of a Bobby Baun moment.

Can you see either of the Kostitsyn brothers doing this?

I hate the Bruins, but they’ve been pretty darn impressive. Would the Habs have had a chance against this team if they would’ve met up at some point?  Not with the way the Beantowners have played, which is tough and smart and almost mistake-free. And of course the goalie, who could have gone for an extended coffee break because our guys can never hit the net anyway.

Maybe Jarome Iginla should have chosen Boston after all, like everyone thought, including Boston. Instead, Pittsburgh gave Calgary a 2013 first-round draft pick and two college players to corral the former star, and maybe it wasn’t the shrewdest move by both Pens G.M. Ray Shero or Iginla.

Iginla thought the Pens had the best chance to win it all. Oops!

It also shows loud and clear that a stacked team isn’t always the best team. And is it possible that the addition of Iginla, Brenden Morrow, and defenceman Douglas Murray somehow tampered with delicate team chemistry?

Oh, well. Live and learn for all concerned. And because I’m a terrible person, I think it’s quite a classic and fun moment when this team, that was expected to steamroll to the Cup, falls flat on their face and bows out in such embarrassing fashion.

It’s the spice of life. It’s what makes the hockey world go round.

 

 

 

 

A Criminal Gets Busted

I’m cheering for the L.A.Kings in these playoffs. Not because of any player, or who they’re playing, or because they’re behind in the series, or any of that nonsense.

It’s because Los Angeles is where the Sunset Strip is. A great street. Where I got busted and spent a week in jail for doing something so despicable, so heinous, it makes Al Capone look like Scotty McCreery.

The Sunset Strip is part of Sunset Boulevard, a big honkin’ main drag which runs from downtown L.A., past Dodger Stadium, and all the way through Beverly Hills and Santa Monica to the ocean. The Strip is just a small part of the boulevard in West Hollywood, beginning at the Chateau Marmont hotel to the east, and ending just beyond the Roxy Theatre and Rainbow Bar and Grill, a mile or so away.

It’s a street of clubs, giant billboards, some real fancy restaurants, and a fair amount of good-looking women in short skirts.

Lots of great music. Lots of history, from the golden days of Hollywood, when Humphrey Bogart got the daylights beaten out of him by his third wife Mayo Methot on a sidewalk outside a Strip restaurant; through the crazy sixties with protests in the street; and into later years when John Belushi and River Phoenix died and where celebrities have always gone to be seen; and where the sordid Phil Spector mess began at the House of Blues.

Unfortunately, it’s also the place where I was picked up for breaking an 11 p.m. curfew set for anyone under 18, which isn’t exactly a horrendous crime, but it was enough to spend a week in jail for.

There was an 11 p.m. curfew in place for anyone under 18, because of riots there the previous fall. I was stopped by a cop at the curb, just after I’d come out of Whisky a Go Go, and when he saw I wasn’t 18, he cuffed me and took me to the local cop shop, and the next day they shuffled me off to this place with large walls where they gave me some institution clothes and said I’d get my stuff back when I was released.

So I found myself doing this. One minute I was on the Sunset Strip, movin’ and groovin’, and the next minute I was in a juvenile hall playing checkers with my new Chicano friends.

A week later they called out of the dining room and told me my parents had sent money for a plane ticket back to Toronto. So I got my own clothes back and a man drove me to the airport and actually walked me right to my seat on the plane.

When I landed in Toronto, I could’ve kissed the ground. Maybe I did.

I was 17. I had taken a train to Vancouver, and a bus to the border. Custom guards thought I was a runaway, but I told them I wasn’t and if they didn’t believe me, phone collect to Orillia and ask my parents. And they did. And when my mom informed them that no, I wasn’t running away, I just wanted to go to Los Angeles, they said okay and let me go.

From there I started hitchhiking, sleeping near the side of the highway every night, and I can remember the sound of cars zooming by as I lay in my sleeping bag with my eyes closed or looking up at the sky. I got lucky at one point when a potato farmer going through Oregon picked me up and took me all way down past San Francisco to Watsonville.

We hardly talked. Maybe he didn’t speak English very well.

Eventually I made it to L.A. I took a bus in from some point, and I was excited and anxious. Probably starving too. Probably smelled pretty bad. But it was all okay. It was the sixties.

I’d always wanted to go there, ever since I was a kid. Ever since I’d watched The Shaggy Dog and Leave it to Beaver and My Three Sons and cheered for Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale and rest who played at Dodger Stadium, where palm trees rose behind the outfield bleachers.

Then when the Strip became one of the hippest areas in the country, with club bands like the Doors beginning to explode worldwide, I decided I finally had to go there and I did.

Two weeks later I was in jail.

Last fall Luci and I spent a week on the Strip, and I took some pictures of some of the clubs, including the legendary Whisky a Go Go, the Viper Room, Rainbow Bar and Grill, and the historic Troubadour, which is down the hill a block or two away.

whis

viper

rain

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Arrgg, Grrrrrrr

Maybe Sidney should be careful about the way he’s been talking to the big lug lately.

Thanks to Hobo for sending this pic along. Imagine how funny it would be if we actually saw this?

IMG_9074

It’s kind of like Andre the Giant throwing some poor mortal around. Andre lived in Montreal at one time, wrestled at the Forum, and I like to think he was a Habs fan. So no way am I comparing this gentle giant to the guy in Boston.

Anyway, Chara’s a mere 6’9″, 255 lbs. Andre the Giant was 7’4″, 424 lbs and would have crushed the wee lad.

Andre was 46 when he passed away due to heart failure in 1993.

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