Category Archives: St. Louis Blues

Bell Number Eight?

Hard to believe that seeing a game at the Bell Centre only ranks number 8 behind Minnesota, Washington, Winnipeg, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and New York, but that’s what the Stadium Journey people have decided in their new 2014 rankings.

I was sure there was no better experience than being at the Bell. In fact I’m still sure, regardless of what they say. Number 8 definitely beats Ottawa though, which comes in at a dismal 29th.

Here’s the link with new ratings for all the barns – Stadium Journey Arena Rankings.

Gilles Does It His Way

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Ex-WHA and NHL goalie Gilles Gratton in a mock arm wrestling pose with Bobby Hull.

They did it as a joke because Gilles has always been a slight fellow and Hull is Hull.

I work with Gilles and he’s a great guy who seems to enjoy talking with me about games the night before and ones coming up. The feeling is mutual. I like hearing his thoughts on things.

Gilles was considered one of the best backstoppers in the WHA and was a backup during the WHA 1974 Canada-Russia series. He didn’t play and didn’t mind at all.

Gilles gained a reputation of being somewhat of a flake when he played, sometimes making noises at opposing players, rambling on about reincarnation to teammates and coaches, and he once refused to suit up with his Toronto Toros because the moon was in the wrong part of the sky and not lined up with Jupiter, which was his way of disagreeing with his coach being fired.

Ken Dryden says in his book “The Game” that Gilles once streaked during a practice with whatever team he was on at the time, and I asked him about it. He said that was wrong. It was during a ball hockey game and the coach promised him five new sticks if he did it.

He told us this story recently. When he first arrived in St. Louis to play for the Blues, he was in an elevator and a man riding up with him asked him if he was happy to be joining his new team.

Gilles answered, “I don’t give a f*&%k about the St. Louis Blues”.

When the elevator stopped, they got out and were met by others. It turned out the man in the elevator was his new coach Gary Young.

Gilles lasted 6 games in St. Louis before he walked out. The next year he was with the New York Rangers, then a season in the minors, and that was that.

After he retired he worked as a wire service photographer at a couple of World Championships in Europe, and eventually ended up in India for several years where he learned to meditate.

Gilles’ a Montreal boy, and I once asked him if ever would have liked to play for the Canadiens.

He said he didn’t know, he’d never thought about it.

Impressive At Seven

Danno sends the Sportsnet NHL Power Rankings and as you can see, the Canadiens are right there behind the six everyone considers to be the class of the league.

I think it’s pretty darn impressive to see the Habs ranked that high. Could it be a touch of respect thrown their way?

Team Previous
1 Thanks to Montreal, Boston’s 12-game winning streak has been morphed into a 13-game point streak. A seven-point lead over the Penguins for the Eastern Conference crown is a big deal for the best home team in the conference. 2
2 The West-leading Blues stumbled early in their four-game road trip, getting outscored 8-1 combined in losses to the Flyers and Blackhawks, but bounced back to shutout the Penguins and pile onto the Maple Leafs’ misery. 1
3 Led by two 30-goal scorers, Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski, the Sharks have points in four straight and look to be a serious Presidents’ Trophy threat. With a 26-5-5 record at the Tank, home ice is worth fighting for. 3
4 Tough one-goal losses to the Sharks and Caps underscored the Ducks’ need to get Cam Fowler back as soon as possible. But while Anaheim has surrendered the Pacific lead to San Joe, the Ducks have three games in hand. 5
5 Chicago is playing into the wind, and playing well. Despite the loss of leading scorer Patrick Kane, the defending champs have points in five of six and welcomed future star Teuvo Teravainen to the NHL Tuesday. 10
6 A big W in Philly — the return of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter — shows that the Kings are peaking at the right time… again. Winners of four straight. 8
7 The Canadiens wanted the Bruins to extend their league-best winning streak to 12 games just so they could be the Bruins’ unlucky 13th opponent. And they were. Here’s hoping these two passionate and on-fire clubs meet in the playoffs.

The entire league rankings can be seen right here

Canadiens Blank Buffalonians

Habs win 2-0 against Buffalo at the Bell and the beauty of a game like this is that because not much happened, I don’t have to babble on and on and I can go to bed.

The Canadiens just didn’t have much in the way of fire, coming off big games in Toronto and Boston, and it’s understandable. These guys aren’t machines. The emotion was spent.

Two big games and then a third one in four days against a team lower than J.J. Daigneault’s hairline. It was like watching a violin recital after a Little Richard concert.

But they got the win, Carey Price played well and nailed down a shutout, and the boys have now won six of the last seven. It makes my heart soar like a Red Footed Booby.

It took two and a half periods before the Canadiens’ first goal was scored against Matt Hackett, Jeff’s nephew playing in only in his second NHL game, when Max converted a nice passing play involving linemates Vanek and DD.

Six minutes later the team struck again when Daniel Briere beat Hackett, and that’s how it ended up.

Oh, there was a brief disagreement near Price when the game ended, but it was quickly snuffed and two points are in the bag. Now it’s Detroit on Thursday to start thinking about.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – Habs 35, Sabres 24

The Leafs lost their sixth straight, 5-3 to St. Louis.

 

Max Mentionings

All the way home I listened to speculation on TSN 690 about the possibility of Max Pacioretty getting traded, with the question being, for whom?

Or is it just idle gossip on a slow news day in Montreal, aside from all the ice and snow.

I don’t want Max traded. Streaky or not, he’s a big power forward who can find the back of the net.

How many others on our team can we say the same of? And how many are out there who are similar?

What, we’re going to get even smaller? If Marc Bergevin trades Max for a little guy, I’m moving to Tibet to find the true meaning of life.

Okay, I can be swayed. I’ll take either David Backes or Alex Pietrangelo for Max.

There was also talk that he and Michel Therrien don’t see eye to eye. Twenty guys on those ’70s Habs teams didn’t see eye to eye with Scotty Bowman either.

There’s probably a thousand examples. It’s part of nature. Working for the man.

Again, I don’t want Max traded.

And congratulations to him and his wife Katia for their new baby boy, Lorenzo. May Lorenzo grow up in Montreal. At least during the winter.

 

Outmatched In Missouri

In the category of “what if”….. what if the Canadiens had scored on a first period power play instead of St. Louis scoring while shorthanded?

It became 1-0 for the home team at that point and it was an early dagger….and soon after it became 2-0, and then 3-0.

And the Canadiens were screwed.

And I couldn’t help thinking, are the St. Louis Blues ever a nice big club. Who can skate. And score. How nice it would be to see a Habs club with that kind of size and mobility. We’ve got guys so small the fans in the nosebleeds think it’s a bunch of red, white and blue pucks on the ice.

Ottawa beat this Blues club 3-2 in OT last Monday. How’d they do that?

Brendan Gallagher made it close for awhile, scoring just his second goal in 18 games, which came in the second period and which gave us hope for awhile. And although the team did begin to make a game of it, the third period saw the Blues tally twice more and the Habs fall 5-1 and basically got whupped.

If all goes as planned, Montreal will win on Saturday in Nashville, if only to keep the mediocre “lose one, win one, lose one, win one” thing going.

Random Notes:

Brandon Prust took four minutes for hooking and roughing, but the boys killed it. That sort of thing that got them going the other night against Phoenix, and they did pick things up a notch. But with a 5-1 final score, they obviously didn’t pick things up enough.

Shots on goal – St. Louis 29, Montreal 26.

Alexei Emelin might have wished he missed the plane. A stick in the mouth and on the ice for four of the Blues’ five goals.

Back to the drawing board. These thumpings probably don’t affect the players nearly as much as losing heartbreakers, but it affects lots of us.

When they get their asses kicked, the shortcomings are magnified. It makes for a dismal night all round.

 

 

 

 

Tonight in Old St. Louis

Daniel Briere has been announced as a healthy scratch in St. Louis and rightly so in my mind.

But I also noticed in surfing around that many Habs fans still feel David Desharnais is the worst thing to come along since hockey was invented and they want him demoted, traded, bought out, tarred and feather, and kicked to the curb.

Frankly, I must be missing something. I thought he’s been playing well lately and has been a big factor in Max Pacioretty’s recent prowess.

Maybe my eyes are getting worse. Maybe the acid flashbacks have started again.

An 8 pm Montreal time puck drop. In St. Louis it’ll be 7 pm.  And 5 pm in Powell River.

Falling To Florida

For the third straight game the Canadiens scored just one goal, with Sunday night at the Bell seeing them fall 2-1 to Florida and once again play less than stellar.

When I look at the Scientific Habs Information Tracking System (S.H.I.T.S.), I see that the gang has lost three out of their last four. It’s one of those stretches we have to endure until they give us another lengthy good stretch.

They’re my team through thick and thin.

Canadiens’ scoring woes continue. They failed to find the back of the net until Alex Galchenyuk managed in the third period on the power play, and they were unable to capitalize on a brief two-man advantage late in the game. They’re not going to win a ton of games from here on in unless the scoring begins again. The season gets harder, not easier.

I think they’re a tired bunch. A team that isn’t big and relies on speed is going to wear down a bit when they’re playing a lot of games bunched together. They’re off for about seven days at Christmas and that has to help. The Olympic break will too. There’s some serious batteries to be recharged here.

A couple of big tests coming up, with the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday and St. Louis Thursday. Maybe nothing more than a fluky goal will get things going. Or, maybe a big trade isn’t far off.

Therrien Likes Things Drab

Geez, I hope this doesn’t hurt my stick boy chances.

What do I think about the seemingly never-ending P.K. Subban/Michel Therrien saga?

I personally believe PK drives Therrien crazy, only because Therrien is an idiot who believes PK should be harnessed and talks too much and doesn’t deserve more ice time or playing for Team Canada in the Olympics because Therrien never really grew out of his grade eight mentally or understanding that some people just have high-level personalities. Unlike him.

It’s a personality conflict that would make this coach dislike PK even if he was nothing more than his next door neighbour.

Therrien might also feel he’s getting into Marc Bergevin’s good books by not showcasing him and possibly keeping PK’s bucks from being sky-high when it’s time for a brand new contract. Kind of a brown-nosing, self-serving approach.

Why does the entire hockey world wonder what Therrien’s doing with this young stud? Because like I said, there’s a strong chance the guy’s an idiot.

And what was so wrong with PK and Price’s triple low-five?

“I always like teams who are humble” Therrien said back then when he banned the triple low-five. “It’s a team concept. It starts with that. In life, I think you have to be humble. And we have to respect the game. We have to respect the other team. And we have to respect our fans.”

PK’s personality almost certainly rubs this guy the wrong way. Something will have to give soon.

Random Notes:

My co-worker Gilles Gratton, who played goal in both the NHL and WHA, said the Canadiens wouldn’t have scored on Jaroslav Halak the other night in the shootout even if every player on the team took a turn. Halak didn’t move, the skaters waited for him to do just that, and they ultimately were confused when he stood his ground. Whereas, says Gilles, Carey Price is a slow goalie, his reflexes aren’t overly quick, he can’t react in shootouts, and if he was smaller, he wouldn’t even be in the NHL.