Category Archives: NHL playoffs

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.

Mid-June Hockey

I don’t care what you think, hockey should be over before the heat kicks in. Although there’s probably people who disagree.

However, if you disagree and your favourite team isn’t the Habs, your team sucks.

It’s a fine mantra if you don’t mind me saying so. “If your favourite team isn’t the Habs, it sucks”. A song title, a t-shirt slogan, a tattoo, something to come up with in a drunken argument.

Anyway.

It’s nearing the middle of June. It’s nice and warm out. We should be doing summer things like sitting in dark, air conditioned bars drinking pints.

Of course if the Habs were still going I wouldn’t be complaining about this.

It used to be over in mid-April, back when there were less teams and people decided hockey was strictly a winter sport. But that isn’t the case anymore. Too many teams, so much money for owners to light cigars with.

If the playoffs end in mid-April it means it would have to start sometime in February, and we’d miss part of the annual Leafs collapse that takes place then.

That would suck if we couldn’t see that.

Below is an excerpt from my mother’s 1942 diary when she was 17, typed out by my sister. As you can see, the Cup was won on April 18th. Disregard the team.

mom

 

Guy Should Have A Blog

Guy Lafleur should have a blog. Imagine the insights we’d get!

Guy could tell us all about his troubles with Jacques Lemaire, about why the team hasn’t won the Cup since 1993, why Rejean Houle didn’t get enough in return for Patrick Roy, why Steve Shutt was hard on rookies, what he thinks Michel Therrien is doing wrong, why sometimes there’s not enough foam on the Bell Centre beer. All kinds of stuff.

Imagine the readership he’d get. We’d rush to open his blog to see what he says. It might be the most fascinating blog in the history of blogs.

“You can’t keep guys like Vanek and Pacioretty on the team,” Lafleur now says. “They should stay home if they’re not willing to pay the price. Your team won’t win with players like that who disappear under adversity.”

Guy would get a million hits for that story alone. Advertisers would flock to him. He’d be the king of bloggers.

Lafleur was basically talking about game six of the Rangers series that ended the Habs year. New York threw a blanket over the Canadiens and that was that.

The problem, I think, is that some of the true greats like Lafleur sometimes expect others to step it up in superstar fashion, and I guess lately he’s been stewing about the team, Max and Vanek in particular, not pulling out all the stops in that final game.

Max, however, had scored the winning goal in both the Tampa and Boston series which eliminated those teams, so it wasn’t like he was going through the motions. He’s enjoyed some fine moments. But Guy was focused mostly on game six of the Rangers series when all the boys, not just Max, were stuck in mud.

Vanek, I still don’t know. Guy might have a point there. The guy had helped kickstart the team into another level when he joined them, but was definitely a disappointment in the postseason, not just game six but throughout.

But he’s probably gone anyway so it doesn’t matter what Guy says about it.

Some guys think out loud like Guy, others don’t. Bobby Orr’s teammates in Boston said that if they weren’t playing well in big games, they’d look over at Orr in the dressing room and he’d be glaring at certain guys. No words, just two eyes. If Orr was glaring at you, it wasn’t good.

Lafleur’s very much like Maurice Richard in some ways. Rocket sometimes couldn’t contain himself either, and after too much criticism in his ghost-written newspaper column, sometimes about other players and teams but particularly about league prez Clarence Campbell, Rocket was told to forget the column or else.

But no one could tell Guy to forget his blog. He could carry about things and Gary Bettman or Geoff Molson couldn’t say a thing.

C’mon Guy, start your blog. Get it all out, right or wrong, and make some serious coin doing it.

 

 

Marc Talks About Things

Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin met with the press on Monday and didn’t say a lot  but mentioned the core players are maturing but the team in general isn’t mature yet like Chicago and Los Angeles are.

He said there will be more ups and downs, but the team is well on track.

Nice to hear. And we already knew all that. Ups and downs, on track, good core players.

He said Dale Weise was allowed to return and play after getting thumped by John Moore because all the tests looked to be normal, and it wasn’t until the next day that they realized he was concussed.

He looked pretty concussed to me on the TV screen. Wobbly and goofy, just like George Parros, Travis Moen, and Michael Bournival looked when they got clocked. PK had to give him a bear hug to hold him up.

If the test machines said he was fine, I’d be looking to buy new test machines. If the doctors and trainers said he was fine, I think Weise paid them off.

One of the guys Bergevin did single out as playing hard was Brian Gionta, which must be some sort of sneaky ploy. Make Gionta feel wanted and want to stay, and then cut the salary in half. Or something like that.

He played hard, he just didn’t make much of an impact. I’d rather have an impact guy. Put me in a uniform and I’d play hard too. Harder than anybody. I wouldn’t get anything done and I might fall down a lot, but I’d play hard.

For me though, it’s much different about Gionta. I think either Gionta should go, or if he stays it’s for a bargain rate and the captain’s ‘C’ comes off.

Why do I want the ‘C’ off? I don’t even know the guy. Maybe he’s a great captain. I don’t care about that. I don’t want a non-productive wee little guy leading my team.

If I’m going to have a small captain that I can be proud of, I want one like 5’7 Henri Richard or 5’7 Yvon Cournoyer. Guys who play with burning fire and also produce.

Otherwise, I want a bigger captain. Crazy eh?

Really though, at this stage of the game, I think the one big change I’d make sooner than later would be the announcing of the new assistant to the assistant to Head Equipment Manager Pierre Gervais.

Stick boy.

Kings And Rangers Next

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention at least something regarding the great Kings-Hawks series that just wrapped up with a game 7 overtime win for L.A.

Great series. One of the best ever. Exciting and dramatic. Everything good about the sport.

I didn’t see much. It’s just what I heard.

Should I apologize for not being a good hockey fan? For not watching a lot of this great series that just wrapped up? For not paying as much attention after the Habs bowed out?

Sorry.

But enough about that.

Danny Gallivan speaks and Jean Beliveau lights the lamp in game seven of the 1965 Cup Finals.

The Canadiens would hoist the hardware after winning this game 4-0, and Mr. Beliveau would win the league’s first-ever Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

The Curtain Closes

And just like that, it comes to a crashing halt.

Blanked 1-0 in game six at Madison Square Garden and the Canadiens’ season closes way too soon. We wanted more but I guess fans of every team except the Cup winner want more and don’t get it.

It was a game where the Habs had a blanket thrown over them almost from start to finish, a game they never found themselves truly in, a game where passes were off, they were checked into the ground, and the flow never flowed.

The Rangers tightened things up so much, Montreal, fighting for their lives, could only muster five shots in the first, eight in the second, and just five in the third when they should’ve been pulling out all the stops.

The attack was non-existent. So was pressure on Henrik Lundqvist. And the Rangers move on to the Stanley Cup Final and the Canadiens say their goodbyes in the next few days and spread out to different corners of the planet.

It’s a tad shocking as I pound the keyboard with two fingers. We had so many hopes and dreams that ended before they were supposed to. It sucks when the hopes and dreams don’t pan out.

This also isn’t  a night to say this guy didn’t do this or that guy didn’t do that. It just wouldn’t feel right.

It’s a night, for me at least, to look back and appreciate the terrific season the Montreal Canadiens gave us. One of only four teams left standing. How great was that?

Carey Price was on the sidelines, Dustin Tokarski stepped in, and the goaltending never lost a beat. But against the Rangers in this game especially, the team in front of Tokarski looked to have run out of gas while the Rangers still had a full tank.

In the next six months there will be some tweaking, some guys gone, a couple of young defenceman will find themselves with regular jobs, our kids like Alex Galchenyuk and Michael Bournival will have another valuable season under their belts, and PK Subban will get signed and continue on his road to the league’s best d-man.

We can get into changes and non-changes in the next while. It’ll be interesting to see what Marc Bergevin decides to do. I just hope Dale Weise, who had only signed a one-year contract, is in the plans.

We missed Weise’s character in this game six because of John Moore. Who is John Moore again?

This run has made our guys better. The experience is invaluable. Next year they’ll be one of the elite teams, one that when playoff time rolls around, they’ll be be a force and that parade will be much more of a possibility.

I’m truly proud of them. They gave us a great year, but they just aren’t quite there yet. Next year they will be because it’s a large and strong nucleus that make up our Montreal Canadiens, and the near future looks extremely bright.

One final note before it’s lights off. As I mention every year when the Habs season draws to a close, I don’t go away. This blog carries on throughout the summer so please continue to stop by.

Tomorrow’s another day. It’s also my weekly beer day at the local pub!

 

 

Habs Haters In Full Force

Driving home today I listened to TSN 690′s Tony Marinaro talk about how the Canadiens are THE story of the 2014 NHL playoffs but yet……

A team fighting for a place in the Stanley Cup Final, with a third-string goalie in nets, terrific young kids, P.K. Subban showing he’s captain material, the surprising Rene Bourque, the Bruins now watching from a distance.

But, Marinaro says, people everywhere continue to find fault and show no absolutely no respect for a team that’s doing what most feel couldn’t do. It’s a team everyone wants to lose.

I agree. No respect from anyone except the sensational, salt of the earth, good lookin’ Habs fans The rest are idiots.

A fine rant from Mr. Marinaro which also included the fact that Twitter folks have jumped on the “Habs embellishing” angle, embraced it, and have given it a life of its own.

Many of these folks live in Massachusetts of course.

A  Boston newspaper wrote a full-page story about the Habs embellishing, and now Puck Daddy and others are on about it too after Tomas Plekanec yanked his head back too violently the other night when he didn’t really have to.

A newspaper from the city of Boston. Where the saintly Bruins play their home games.

Not Tomas’ finest moment, but he needs some slack cut. He comes from soccer country. And he was trying to help his team win the game, which means he was trying to make us feel good.

I don’t know about you but I’m saying thanks for the effort, even though it was slightly poor judgement on his part.

The Habs won the game of course, but that’s not important it seems. If Toronto for example had come out of nowhere and won game five of the Eastern Conference, it would’ve been a frenzy of orgasmic euphoria that caused people to slobber and light up smokes.

Instead, the talk is about the cheating Habs and Tomas Plekanec snapping his head back. Lots of attention. The team actually winning the game is back on page 37 somewhere near the obituaries.

Forget about a third-string goalie, or the resilience of the team, or the sensational play of so many, or a team doing what no one expected. Instead it’s about Plekanec and others being naughty.

We know true respect will never come, even if they win it all. But it makes us stronger, Habs haters. You should know that. Keep it coming. Find others things wrong too.

What, you think we’re going to change teams?

 

 

John Moore – Who Is He Again?

Ain’t it strange how things go. Some guy named John Moore gets two games for giving Dale Weise what looks to be a concussion, and very soon Moore will have to have his brain analyzed by doctors as they study why some people are more stupid than others.

The Rangers become  short a defenceman going into a crucial game 6. Some of their toughness, for lack of a better word, is now on the sidelines. The Canadiens, seeing their fallen comrade Weise take an illegal blow in the heat of the action, dig down and find the wherewithal in hurting the Rangers where it hurts the most.

Not the gonads. The series.

Full disclosure here. I’d never heard of John Moore until the series began. Am I bad?

But here’s some of his numbers:

2 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2010-11.

67 games with the Jackets in 2011-12

17 games with the Jackets in 2012-13 and13 games with the Rangers in the same year.

74 games this season with the Rangers.

173 NHL games and I had never heard of him. I gotta start paying more attention. But I see in looking at his scoring  and penalty numbers during his time in the league, he’s a bum with 7 goals, 22 assists, and 40 PIM in those 173 games.

And in this postseason he’s also a bum, with 1 assist and 16 penalty minutes in 17 games.

So what if they lose this guy? He’s a non-entity. A bum. Why couldn’t it be Ryan McDonagh. This guy Moore? He’s nothing. He’s like an extra in the Ten Commandants.

Do I think two games is enough? Sure, why not?

It takes it to the end of the series. Any more than that wouldn’t affect me if the Habs aren’t involved. If it had occurred earlier in the series, like the start, I’d say give him seven games. If the series was midway through, give him four games.

But now going into game six, give him two, he’s gone, and we don’t have to figure out who he is and why he isn’t selling vacuum cleaners door to door.

And hopefully Dale Weise  is okay and ready to go when the boys tackle the Western Conference champs. Because when Dale is going, the team seems to be going. A character player deluxe.

 

Carry On Canadiens!

Wild and wacky.

And when the dust had settled, the Canadiens give a little payback to the Rangers with a 7-4 pasting after chasing Henrik Lundqvist in the second, after enjoying a huge lead that they would blow and then regain, and who knows, as the icing on the cake, maybe we’ll even see a Ranger or two suspended!

Would’ve been a good night to be at the Bell. So much went on. Lively as hell. Lots of cheering and fretting. And now the Canadiens are alive and well, and it’s on to New York Thursday to keep the ball rolling.

Montreal practically owned the first period and led 2-1 after Alex Galchenyuk and Tomas Plekanec lit the lamp, and in the second period, after killing a couple of penalties, went up a lovely 4-1 after Max and Ren Bourque bulged the twine.

But everyone except Lucy in Russia knows what happened next. New York scored three goals on six shots, suddenly it was tied at a horrifying four apiece, and the thought of this team being eliminated after leading 4-1 almost caused dry heaves.

But suddenly, the sun came up again. Rene Bourque scored his second of the night before the period had ended, the boys took another lead, and in the third Bourque would complete his hat trick, DD would score on the empty net, and all’s well in Habsland.

They could’ve folded the tent after those three quick Rangers goals that tied it, but they didn’t. And I’m willing to bet that some Knute Rockne-like speeches were made during the intermission that kept the gang on the straight and narrow throughout the third.

An awesome win. Montreal was the better team. They’ve been playing better slowly but surely as the series goes on and the Rangers know it.

As icing on the cake, we’ll hear sometime soon that Rangers d-man John Moore will get a couple of games suspension for clocking Dale Weise in a play somewhat similar to the Brandon Prust hit. You know, the one that made Rangers fans, players, and coaches scream blue murder about.

And then picture the wailing and sobbing from the Rangers if the less-than-talented Derek Dorsett, who sprayed a flag kid with snow at the beginning of the contest, also gets more than a wrist slap for a nasty headbutt on Mike Weaver near the end.

Who headbutts? Only extreme nutcases.

Dustin Tokarski came up big throughout and Rene Bourque led the charge with three goals. A tremendous night. And lots of guys contributed.

Markov collected three assists. Max ended with a goal and an assist, Eller and Weiseboth had two assists, Galchenyuk with a goal and an assist, Plekanec had a goal, and Vanek grabbed an assist, as did Gally, Gionta, and PK.

More of the same in New York on Thursday please. Except for the part about blowing a 4-1 lead.

Random Notes:

Alexei Emelin was a scratch and hopefully he’s back on Thursday.

Final shots on goal. Montreal 28, Rangers 27.

Derek Dorsett’s a weasel. There are several on that team. And we love the idiotic penalties Benoit Pouliot continues to take. Keep it up Benny!