Category Archives: Philadelphia Flyers

Big Years, Yes They Were

For the last eight Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup wins, from 1971 to 1993, I managed to save the front pages and laminate them. (Although one, from 1977, is an inner page).

Using info from the papers, here’s a couple of my recaps, first from 1976, and then 1977.

It was their 17th Stanley Cup, a beautiful, delicious four-game sweep of the Philadelphia Flyers. How sweet is that? Sweeping the Broad St. Bullies, the goons who had slashed and punched their way to the two previous championships. But this time, real hockey prevailed over thuggery.

All in all, it was the Canadiens plumbers who helped made things happen in a big way. Bob Gainey, Jim Roberts, Doug Jarvis, and Doug Risebrough proved just how important blue-collar guys can be. The team had Lafleur and Shutt and the boys, but the lesser-lights shone. “Really, the plumbers did the job for us in this series,” said Steve Shutt. “But when we needed the goals, the two big guys (Lafleur and Perter Mahovlich) came through.”

Lafleur and Mahovlich weren’t having a sensational series up until the final game and the plumbers stepped up. But both Lafleur and Mahovlich scored goals in the third period to ice the thing and to prove that singer Kate Smith, the Flyers’ lucky charm, wasn’t such a lucky charm after all.

Kate was there in person that night to sing the anthem, usually it was a recording, but even her live and in colour wasn’t enought for the thugs from Philly. And in the dressing room, the Habs sung God Bless America in a good-natured jibe to the singer.

It had only taken Montreal 13 games from start to finish in these 1976 Stanley Cup playoffs, sweeping Chicago, taking out the Islanders in five games, and then the four-game dismissing of the Flyers.

Some Flyers fans thought it might have been different if their team had been healthy. Rick MacLeish didn’t suit up, and Bobby Clarke and Orest Kindrachuk played but weren’t 100%. And Wayne Stephenson was between the pipes instead of number one, Bernie Parent. But even coach Fred Shero admitted that his team, although they might have prolonged it slightly, would have lost anyway. “If we’d had everybody healthy, I suppose we might have lasted longer, we might have made it close, at least.” said Shero. “But on the other hand, I imagine that if we had been able to play better, Canadiens might have played better too. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if they could.”

And to make all Habs fans giddy, Shero also went on about how good the Habs actually were. “These are guys you can’t ride off the puck. They’re immune to normal forechecking. You put pressure on most defences and they fall apart. They cough up the puck or throw it away. These fellows never panic. They just won’t give up the puck. They’re always in control.”

And Shero wasn’t finished being nice. “And my God, they’re all like forwards besides. That’s what you’ve got to have on your defence in the NHL today. You can put Robinson, Savard or Lapointe up front and they don’t look out of place at all.”

The last word goes to Bobby Clarke. “We were beaten by one great hockey team, the best in many years.”

And now, 1977

In the spring of 1977, as I was on the verge of getting married for the first time, Jacques Lemaire scored the overtime goal to give his team their second straight Stanley Cup in this late 1970’s run, and it was done with a lovely four-game sweep against Don Cherry and his Boston Bruins. Is this one of the reasons you hate the Habs, Don?

It had been quite a year for this dominating bunch. Montreal only lost eight times in 80 games and racked up a record 132 points. Nobody was going to beat them in the playoffs. You didn’t have to be Kreskin to figure it out. In fact, the team swept the Blues, took out the Islanders 4 games to 2, and then swept the Bruins. Fourteen games in total, and very similar to the 13 it had taken them the year before.

Guy Lafleur won the Conn Smythe trophy for playoff MVP and managed nine goals and 17 assists throughout. But he had this to say: “It’s my third Cup and it’s always nice, but it’s not the same excitement. I don’t think I’m the best player. It’s just that everything went well for me.”

Jacques Lemaire was the quiet hero on this ride. His teammates had told him to shoot more, and on this night, he delivered with the overtime marker. “Why shouldn’t I be happy,” said Lemaire. “I’m on a holiday. I’m on a holiday starting now. It’s about time. It still is Lafleur and Shutt, except tonight. Tonight was a mistake. They said, shoot the puck, you look good.”

Coach Scotty Bowman had this to say about Lafleur and Shutt. “They play more like Europeans. I’m not knocking the NHL style of play, but the Europeans make more plays on the move. That’s what Lafleur and Shutt do.”

And last word to Don Cherry. “It’s hard to believe we kept outshooting them and still can’t win a game. I still say the whole thing boiled down to those three defensemen.”

Oh Well, Habs

On January 7, after the Canadiens had won two straight, the numbers came out in various places that said the team would need to go 26-11-3 for the remainder of the season to hit 95 points, which could possibly give them a playoff berth.

Since then, they’ve won two and lost six (2-4-2).

Young Guy Called Up

My Feb. 11, 2010 post:

PC_070623subban-pk_n

PK Subban has been summoned from Hamilton to play in Philadelphia Friday night.

This is terrific news because the young buck is considered a keeper and a big part of the future on the Habs blueline. But it also reminds us that it’s a little bit like preseason in Montreal right now, with guys being called up or sent down on a regular basis.

It’s never boring with the Montreal Canadiens.

(PK played two regular season games for the Habs during this call up before being sent back to Hamilton, and came back to the big team for 14 playoff games that year. He collected two assists in his two games, while in the playoffs had a goal and seven assists.

His NHL career fully began the following season, 2010-11, when he played in 77 games.)

Saturday Morning Close But No Cigar

The Canadiens almost pulled it out in the dying minutes but they didn’t, so why even mention it?

Because I’m feeling guilty for slacking off lately with the recaps and this is the best I can come up with.

A 3-2 Caps win at the Bell Centre, in a game that saw the home team play with more vim and vigor than their comatose display in Philly Thursday night.

But 95-year old Betty White and a full century Kirk Douglas would play with more vim and vigor than the Habs’ Thursday sleep-in. So instead of doing a little summary of that recent yawner, I decided to pick my toenails and melt my ear wax instead.

Today (Saturday) was a game that began at 10:10 am at my house, which works out beautifully because it gives me plenty of time to track down my pusher. Same thing tomorrow when the boys greet the Edmonton Oilers.

Sure hope I don’t get ‘acid’ indigestion while stirring the ‘pot’ full of boiled ‘hash’ while I, uh, drink my ‘coke’.

I can’t wait for the playoffs. This 82-game schedule is merely a series of teams tweaking before real hockey begins. Let the Canadiens play like bums now, it doesn’t matter. Calm down and don’t get your shorts in a knot. Spent some quality time with your pusher instead.

The Maharishi would tell you the same thing if he were alive and not busy hitting on Mia and Prudence Farrow.

The postseason is the real deal, not Gary Bettman’s dream of parity, where almost every team is basically as good as every other team, in the regular season at least.

The top of the heap Caps are notorious flops in the playoffs and I expect them to do so again, mainly because it’s all we know from them. And surprises happen in late-spring. Small and quick teams with great goaltending, who were often boring and inept as hell beforehand, can sometimes surprise and go far at this time. Like Montreal will this year.

Just have to get the wretched season over with.

I hate parity. I want a handful of good teams and plenty of bad ones. It’s nice to see the bad ones play like gangbusters against powerhouses. Sometimes the poorer teams win because of hard work, lucky bounces, milder hangovers, along with supreme cockiness and worse hangovers on the part of the good ones.

Where was I going on this? What’s this about parity? Sorry.

Carey Price allowed his usual three goals, which he does on most nights now, but it matters little because it’s not the playoffs. So please don’t take his play or Galchenyuk’s or Shaw’s to heart. It means almost nothing.

Is there a rule that says Price can’t wear Jacques Plante’s old equipment during a game?

Random Notes:

Alexander Radulov was on fire today, with a goal, an assist, and a goal called back after Max interfered with Caps netminder Braden Holtby.

Below is Lyla, who is the main reason why my priorities have changed. Why I don’t write summaries after every game now. Why I often pace the floor or look at blank walls instead of paying attention to these friggin’ multi-millionaires on the ice who insult all of you when they float or sign their chicken scratch names on a piece of paper, which ultimately looks like something Lyla would’ve scribbled.

Lyla’s become way more important than getting wound up about any lousy regular season showing on the part of this team that I’ve put my heart and soul into for six decades.

My wife Lucy and I are raising this little girl, with great help from Lyla’s mom, even though we’re in our mid-60s. And I’m slowly converting my spare room, that was filled with rare Habs memorabilia, into a little girlie room, which I’m happy to do.

Lyla is real life, unlike the regular season.

 

 

Radulov To Galchenyuk

joe

Above, the Joe Louis Arena (the white building) in Detroit, taken a few months ago when I was visiting my old friends Mike and Diana Williamson in the Windsor area.

Yes, the Joe Louis Arena. Where on a Saturday night in late November, Alexander Radulov fed Alex Galchenyuk in overtime, the net bulged, and the Canadiens begin their five-game road trip with a 2-1 win over the Red Wings.

I might as well save the next sentence and just copy and paste it after every Habs win…….. Carey Price saved the day once again.

The Wings opened the scoring in the third period of a slightly dull game, but Brendan Gallagher would soon even things up, and for Habs fans, it wasn’t as dull anymore.

Gally, who hadn’t scored since Oct. 24th when he deflected a Radulov shot on the power play for the game winner against Philadelphia, hopefully now has that great big mother of a piano lifted from his back.

Random Notes:

Shea Weber was penalized in overtime for slashing but Price and the boys held the fort. Soon after, Weber came out of the box and rang one off the post. One of the more exciting moments of the night.

Charles Hudon was out, due to a fractured sternum (breastplate). These young guys. Can’t even play with a lousy fractured sternum. Hell, in my day………..

Replacing Hudon was Arturri Lehtonen, who was absolutely robbed by Wings netminder Petr Mrazek with a glove save that you’ll see for the next several weeks or months on TV.

Detroit outshot Montreal 33-24.

Next up – Tuesday in Anaheim, which means a late night for eastern time zone fans.

Byron And Price Seal Win

A young man wearing a turban with three eyes

It was one eye on the game, one eye on the U.S. election, and one eye on closing day at Classic Auctions’ fall auction, where I was selling some of my stuff.

But with the first eye I saw the Canadiens dropkick the Boston Bruins 3-2 at the Bell Centre, after Paul Byron notched the winner with just 1:02 remaining, and with Carey Price once again holding the fort and racking up first star on the night.

Better than the Habs’ showing against the Leafs eleven days ago. A slight improvement over their game against Philly four days ago. And it goes without saying, a major league improvement over the 10-0 debacle in Columbus five days ago.

But they were still outshot badly against the Bs, 41-23, but maybe it’s not even worth mentioning. They’re badly outshot every game.

The first period saw the home team with more jump than we’ve seen lately, like they were truly focused on waking from their coma. Either that or the wives kicked them into the spare room in the basement.

But even so, Boston outshot the boys 14-5, so jump or no jump, some cracks still aren’t filled.

In the second frame, Shea Weber would open the scoring on the power play with his patented blast from the blueline, but less than a minute later, Boston evened things up.

And then, just twenty seconds later, Alex Galchenyuk lit the lamp and the crowd, as they say, went wild.

In the final frame, Boston would convert on their power play with Alexei Emelin in the box, and it was finally left to Byron to come through in the end.

You have to think that 10 wins in the last 11 games isn’t all that bad, even with a 10-0 loss thrown in. Kind of what Michel Therrien was saying in his press conference earlier.

The Vancouver Canucks would kill for that record.

Random Notes:

Canadiens were 1/2 on the power play (Weber).

Weber’s goal was his fourth power play marker, and his fifth overall of this young season. Chucky’s goal was also his fifth.

Alex Radulov collected 2 assists on the night, and is tied with Weber and Galchenyuk with 11 points so far this season.

Canadiens record stands at 11-1-1.

Worth mentioning, and a play that really caught one of my eyes’ attention – Jeff Petry crushed Ryan Spooner into the boards in Emelin, Weber-type fashion. Beauty, eh?

Next up – Thursday, when the boys host the L.A. Kings.

Finally I can rest one eye. And the other two are beginning to get tired.

 

 

Pleks Scores Big In Habs Win

toupee

No, they’re not in a slump. They just ain’t playin’ well.

Apparently they were far from perfect in this Philly game, a night after the ‘Catastrophe in Columbus’.

I don’t know, I didn’t see it.

I feel like I owe you a martini, but there’s gonna be a few times this season when I’ll miss a game.

What, you think I have don’t have a life?

Tonight I’m in Vancouver, doing important family stuff, with a baby in tow, and a hotel room TV showing baby stuff. It’s life getting in the way of Habs life.

But I know they won, beating Philadelphia 5-4, with goals coming from Andrei Markov, Greg Pateryn, Alex Galchenyuk, Phillip Danault, and the winner being a shorthanded (and his first of the year) from Tomas Plekanec.

So no teenage loss slump. The 10-0 slaughter is still in the minds of millions but faded ever-so-slightly. Life is almost worth living.

We”ll know more about the quality of life after the Habs-Bruins tilt on Tuesday.

Sorry. Lyla’s here, bouncing and prancing and running around, the way two years old do.

She has no idea of the importance of Habs wins and losses.

Habs Edged By Blue Jackets

bombed

The Stanley Cup champion Columbus Blue Jackets edged the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night.

A nail biter.  A heart stopper, a thriller, and a barnburner.

Oh, that was game 7 of the World Series.

This game? 10-0.

And the Blue Jackets aren’t Stanley Cup champions?

Oh again.

stinker

And thus, the magical ride smashes full speed into a brick wall, and now we must consider something:

One loss is a baby slump. Two losses is a teenage slump. Three losses is a full-fledged adult slump.

Four or more straight losses is your grandma and grandpa and dead relatives slump.

And a slump creeps up like next month’s Visa bill. So the next game, which is also creeping up quickly, will be interesting.

Simply pathetic in Columbus, against a team 8 points behind our bunch. Inexcusable. I need to talk to the wives about this.

It’s just one loss, but they’ve sucked for several games now. Just as they did last year when they opened the season with nine straight wins.

Cracks in the armour lately. Turnovers. Laziness. Sloppiness. Two guys who score less than the Pope – David Desharnais on the power tonight and Tomas Plekanec on the PP against the Canucks.

I think that’s how it went. I wasn’t really paying a lot of attention as the night wore on.

Picture this: You’re a lifelong Habs fan living near Columbus, and you somehow nailed down a couple of great tickets to finally see your team when they come to town. You couldn’t sleep last night, you waited all day to finally head to the rink, and you wore beloved your Habs sweater with ‘Lafleur’ or ‘Beliveau’ on the back.

You watch your heroes warm up, and you think how much you love seeing that crest in person.

You’re in heaven. It’s so great.

And then your team gets demolished 10-0 and you want to stuff your sweater in the team bus exhaust pipe.

Random Notes:

Of course, if you’re a glass half full kind of person, you can always say that Stanley Cup-winning Habs teams have had a few pathetic nights.

The Canadiens, in their third year of five straight Cups, 1957-58, lost 7-1 to Chicago, on January 12th, 1958.

On Oct. 13, 1985, many months before they’d hoist the trophy, they were handed a 7-2 spanking by Boston.

When they won the Cup in 1993, they were bombed 8-2 by Buffalo on Oct. 11, 1992.

And who can forget Dec. 2, 1995, a non-Cup year but with Patrick Roy in nets, and the team was pasted 11-1 by Detroit.

But on this Friday night, they were embarrassed almost like never before. Snuffed out by the mediocre Columbus Blue Jackets 10-0.

Snuffed. Like this guy.

snuffed

Al Montoya was in nets for all 10 goals.

Shots on goal – Columbus 40, Montreal 30.

Habs power play was 0/1, while the Jackets went 4/5.

Next up – Saturday night, when Philly pays a visit. Will the boys get their shit together?

Or will it become a teenage slump?

 

 

 

Radulov Sparks Habs

speeding-train

Great night for the Canadiens as they down the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1 at the Bell Centre, and the Habs’ 2016-17 campaign rolls along like a speeding red, white, and blue train.

Five wins and a shootout point as the boys blast through six games to start the season, and a tough, hardworking night against a gritty Flyers team. The team is getting it done, and it makes my heart soar like the Flying Wallendas on crystal meth.

Who was that dynamo with the two-week growth on his face, scurrying here and there and causing problems all night in the enemy zone?

Alexander Radulov, that’s who. The one we wondered about before the season started, and who has been a revelation. The one who wasted eight years in the KHL and with only 160 NHL games under his belt.

And he’s not small either, standing 6’1″ and weighing 200 lbs, unlike the parade of little guys who tried and failed in becoming¬† top six gunners on the Canadiens over the past several years.

Radulov, with a goal and two assists, and the game’s first star. A force all night long. A great addition to the Habs attack. A guy who said bonjour and merci beaucoup in his postgame on-ice interview.

A guy who changed the climate of the game, and who has the tools to change the climate of many games.

Climate change. It’s real. It’s Radulov.

The Canadiens were first on the scoreboard when Shea Weber’s shot hit a Flyer stick and fooled Philly goaltender Steve Mason, while in the third frame, Brendan Gallagher on the power play would deflect Radulov’s shot from the point to give the boys a 2-1 lead.

Weber also notched an assist on the pp marker.

Radulov would find the empty net to ice the thing, and fitting that it was him after such a tremendous night. And it’s obvious that this guy loves being a Montreal Canadien.

He’s on the verge of being the toast of the town, and it’s what happens when a player works hard and becomes a major factor in games. Players around the league, free agents and those with no-trade to Montreal clauses, who are chicken shit to play for the Canadiens, need to pay attention to what Radulov is doing. It’s how one becomes a fan favourite in a tough town.

But I can’t get carried away. It’s only six games and we’ve seen players disappear before as the season wears on.¬† But for now, Radulov is alive and well!

Random Notes:

Carey Price made a huge game-saver late in the game, when it was still 2-1.

Canadiens outshot the Flyers 33-32 and were 1/4 on the power play.

Next up – Wednesday in Brooklyn to face the Islanders.

 

 

 

 

Canadiens Continue To Roll

bruins

A tidy 4-2 win in Boston, and the Canadiens continue their smokin’ hot October, sitting atop the Eastern Conference with nine points in five games.

A great start, like last year, and which is why I won’t mention it anymore.

Montreal would score twice in the second period, the first coming when Gally one-timed a nice pass from Max, and Phillip Danault converted a beautiful feed from Alexander (Sasha) Radulov.

In the third frame, Paul Byron burst in alone while shorthanded to make it 3-1, and Torrey Mitchell notched his team’s fourth goal after creating a big turnover in Boston’s end.

A big win from this red-hot bunch, and always extra fine when it’s the Bruins involved.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot Boston 29-21 and their four goals scored per game average remains intact.

They also went 0/5 on the power play, which is about normal I suppose.

Misha Sergachev was a healthy scratch, replaced by Greg Pateryn.

Next up – Monday, when it’s the Flyers’ turn to get pummeled.

At the moment I’m under the weather, and my nose is dripping on the keyboard. Then I get the drippings on my fingertips which will touch loose change in the near future, with the change being touched by the clerk at the 7/11 who will give it to unsuspecting customers who will then pass the change on when they leave a tip on the table at the pub, and pretty soon all of the Powell River region will be under the weather, all because I was dripping on the keyboard.

So I have to cut this short because at the moment I’m feeling hot. Like the Habs, only different.