Category Archives: Tampa Bay Lightning

Habs In Shootout

bench

It was a win, and wins are good I suppose.

The Canadiens edged Carolina 2-1, but it took a shootout to do it, and without Ben Scrivens flapping around like a fish on a line, it would’ve been just another loss in this long, heartbreaking season.

Because the team in front of him, as usual, lacked fire.

I suppose I shouldn’t complain. It’s two straight for the boys, which is something we haven’t seen since late November when they put together four in a row, and which seems as miraculous as can be now.

But two wins still doesn’t sit right. Not for me, anyway. Not the way they won today.

I’ve tried to stay upbeat and as positive as possible throughout this ridiculous campaign. But this is a team that on most nights disappoints, even with a rare win, and I’m tired of being disappointed.

Real life can be disappointing enough. I don’t need more from my friggin’ hockey team. But maybe I’m selfish. I’ve been alive for 18 Montreal Canadien Stanley Cup wins, so I shouldn’t be greedy.

And reality tells me I probably won’t see 19.

And this year, not even playoff action.

Although the 3-on-3 overtime gave us good old fire wagon hockey that had fans oohing and aahing, we saw the Canadiens be the second best team for the three regular periods. Like they’ve been so often.

It’s a win, but whatever. They didn’t play well.

Random Notes:

Carolina outshot Montreal 35-34.

Max, with his 20th, tied thing at one apiece in the second period.

Galchenyuk, Flynn, Max, and Eller failed miserably in the shootout, but Andrighetto came through.

Next up – Tuesday, when it’s the Tampa Bay Lightning in town.

 

 

Max Gets The Job Done

sailor

In storybook fashion, Max Pacioretty, with the captain’s C meaning more than just about any game this season, buried the puck in the shootout to give the Habs a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the curtain closes, at least for one night, on a tremendously dismal time in Habsland.

But it’s the kind of thing that can right a ship, this clutch goal, and when it happened, Max’s teammates piled on him like teenagers celebrating at the World Junior Championship.

A beauty of winner it was too, with Max putting a couple of cool little dekes on netminder Ben Bishop, who’s still unraveling his jock strap from his testicles, and with that the Canadiens put an end to something called a six-game losing streak.

Max has been on the hot seat lately as folks haven`t been happy with his play. They say he looks lazy, floats, and isn’t trying like he should, which is all the same thing I guess. But as I mentioned on Twitter, it’s exactly what people said about Frank Mahovlich when he was with the Leafs.

For a few hours at least, fans can start planning the parade once again. I personally feel the Trans Canada Highway from Montreal to the West Coast would be a terrific route.

One win doesn’t guarantee anything except two points, we know that, but how it would’ve sucked to see yet another loss in this December to end all Decembers.

Now we see light, and it will shine even brighter if the boys handle the Florida Panthers in a few hours time. Big game, that one. Imagine a two-game winning streak?

The Canadiens opened the scoring in the first period when PK Subban fed Tomas Plekanec in close, and Pleks made no mistake.

How big was this goal? The Habs took the lead, which hasn’t happened much lately, and Pleks finally scored, which hadn’t happened since that night in ’36 when he beat Montreal Maroons backstopper Alec Connell.

Maybe not 1936, but it’s been a while. Twenty-one games in fact since Plekanec lit the lamp, which is completely unacceptable and one of several huge reasons why the team has spiraled out of control.

Scorers haven’t been scoring, and tonight, the nasty little monkey was wrenched from Plekanec’s back. It has to feel good.

Tampa would even it at one apiece in the second, but four minutes later, Alex Galchenyuk would wrist a puck from 20 feet out, and the boys took the lead once again.

In the third period, after the Lightning had shocked everyone with two quick goals to jump ahead, Dale Weise sent the puck over the line, and although Tampa called a Coach’s Challenge, the goal stood and the game was tied.

The Canadiens were less than great on the 3-on-3, aside from some flurries as the clock ticked down, but held on regardless. And onto the shootout we and they went, with Max getting it done in style.

Random Notes:

A fine enough evening, and best of all, the team looked like they wanted to win. Mike Condon was sensational, especially in the middle frame when he made several sprawling saves.

The team as a whole showed more energy than lately, they were alive and gunning for a win, and although it took a shootout, the sigh of relief is one big honkin’ beautiful sigh.

Tampa outshot Montreal 39-34.

Next up – across the state to Sunrise to take on the Panthers Tuesday evening. If ever another win is needed, it’s now.

There’s only one way to drive a stake into a pathetic, unending slump, and that’s to win a handful of games in a row.

One down, a handful to go.

 

 

 

Canadiens In The Zone…The Twilight Zone

twilight-zone

I was watching one of my favourite TV  shows today, The Twilight Zone.

Have you seen any of this classic series? Ventriloquist dummies coming to life, weird things at bus stations, freaky little aliens on airplane wings.  George Stroumboulopoulos wearing shoes the length of a canoe.

Anyway, today’s episode was about a hockey team that one minute was one of the best in the world and a possible favourite to go all the way, and almost at the snap of a finger froze up like they were freaky aliens on an airplane wing over the North Atlantic.

Even the Toronto Bleeding Scabs thought they might be able to leap over them in the standings. It was that bad.

Sports writers were ruthless. Fans considered jumping off bridges. Little kids cried. Bloggers tried to think about what to write.

Why did Rod Serling screw with our minds like that?

Canadiens fall 3-1 to the Washington Capitals, their sixth straight loss, their tenth in eleven games, eleven in thirteen etc. No one’s scoring except Daniel Carr. The team has just six goals in these latest six losses. Marc Bergevin is making calls about Mike Bossy.

It’s enough to send me to the fridge where the brandy is, like a thirsty zombie in The Twilight Zone.

Next – Monday in Tampa Bay, where the boys can drop televisions and drive cars into the hotel pool if they so desire. They’re rich, pampered athletes. They can do whatever they want.

And frankly, dropping TVs and drowning cars to let off steam might be exactly what they need. Christmas at home didn’t help.

Dallas Does Debbies

clobbered

The impressive Dallas Stars rolled over the Montreal Liberaces 6-2 Saturday in the Lone Star State, and it was a night when most Liberace players probably should’ve just stayed in the hotel lounge and tickled the ivories and drank Pink Ladies instead.

Eight losses in ten games. Now it’s on to Nashville, Minnesota, Washington, Tampa Bay, Florida, Boston, and Philadelphia.

All good teams.

I’m starting to bite my nails again after quitting 20 years ago.

And although Paul Byron (shorthanded) and Daniel Carr would bulge the twine, once again the big guns stayed silent. Pee Wee Herman, Richard Simmons, Don Knox, Bill Nye – none of them were noticeable in this fiasco.

Mike Condon was replaced by Dustin Tokarski early in the third after the sixth goal.

Jeff Petry was hit by Jamie Benn and left the game.

P.K. Subban shot the puck over the glass and was penalized. Twice.

Andrei Markov only did it once.

Random Notes:

For breakfast I had two poached eggs on toast, with extra toast and coffee.

At this moment, P.K. Subban is thinking a little about his two delay of games penalties, and a lot about his new suit at the tailors and his ability to get Justin Trudeau to sing a Christmas carol.

Next up – Monday in Music City.

How are things in the world of cricket?

Habs Gone With The Wind

Call me crazy, but I thought the Canadiens would play like gangbusters in game six. I guess I’ve never been more wrong.

The team that had stormed back from being down three games to none to make it a 3-2 series played like lethargic bums on Tuesday night and are now forced to sit at the cottage and clubhouse all summer and dwell on how they fizzled out instead of fighting with all their might to carry on down the trail to Lord Stanley’s old mug.

A dismal 4-1 spanking at the hands of the Lightning. Not in it from the first minute to the last.  Checked into the ground, with absolutely no pressure on Ben Bishop who had plenty of time to scan the crowd for lovely ladies.

It’s difficult to understand. Maybe the Canadiens were just too spent. Out of gas as they scrambled to come back from a 3-0 series deficit. There’s a reason why most teams don’t come back. Because the hole’s a deep bastard.

But talk about going out with a whimper. A surprising display of ………not much at all. A measly 6 shots in the first, 7 in the second, 6 in the third, from a team fighting for their life. From a team that was supposed to have character, but ultimately didn’t have firepower, or a half-decent power play.

It’s never easy when the team bows out. We hope and expect and cheer heartily and then hope some more. But in the end, they were completely outmatched for some reason, and now we have to hope about next year instead.

I remain proud of my team.

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I’ll be off and on this site all summer if you feel like stopping by. Unlike previous summers when I posted every day throughout, I have serious things to attend to this time around, which will take much of my time. But I think a few hours here and there on the computer will be good for me.

I’ll be around. You and I have to figure out how to make the 2015-16 team better than this one.

And I suppose now’s as good a time as any to post my golf picture.

From my old scrapbook – The Rocket and Arnold Palmer shoot the breeze when they were in New York in 1961. The two legends were honored by the S. Rae Hickok Co. as Athletes of the Decade in their respective sports.

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Hey Ghosts, Break’s Over

Sent over by Mike McKim, this article in Grantland.com – Battling the Ghosts by Sean McIndoe, talks about the Habs/ Lightning series, the old Forum and it’s replacement the Bell Centre, along with the distance between the two barns in different ways.

McIndoe also notes the apparent absence of Forum ghosts who were suppose to pack up and move over when the old cathedral closed its doors, but seem to be taking their time. If they came at all.

Contrary to what many think, I believe the Forum ghosts did make their way over to the Bell Centre in 1996, but they’ve had so much fun reminiscing, with the hangovers never ending and good times just rolling along, and they simply haven’t gotten around to modern day Habs teams yet, except for some fine times against Boston.

And they were on the job in the 2010 playoffs, at least for a few magical rounds. But all in all, they’ve really slacked off.

I can’t blame the ghosts. They welcome old buddies almost non-stop, so they party hard and tell tall tales, and lately, with Jean and Gilles and Elmer and Dollard and coach Ruel moving upstairs, there’s way too much to do in just a short amount of time.

Guys have to come from all corners of heaven to meet at the rebuilt Toe Blake’s Tavern. Fedora’s have to be dusted off. Someone has to be in charge of cigars at the corner tobacco store. It’s been tradition to have music greet the new guys, so Benny Goodman or Sinatra or Elvis have to be rounded up and sent to Toe’s.

So much to do, and we expect them to do more? Yes we do, because we believe in a serious work ethic from our ghosts,

It’s time to get off your behinds, ghosts. The boys down below need some guidance. Morenz only took 7 years after passing before lending a helping hand. What’s going on, Rocket? What’s the holdup?

And surely Toe and Dick Sr. can get the power play in sync, although it appears they might already be working on it.

All of you. Coffee break’s over. Up and at ’em.

Toe's

 

 

 

Still Alive After Game Five!

The Montreal Canadiens are alive and well and clawing back after edging Tampa Bay 2-1 win in a game five thriller at a noisy and electric Bell Centre.

Now it’s back to the Sunshine State for a Tuesday night showdown, with the Habs feeling good and finding momentum, and the Lightning slightly on their heels and wondering how they squandered a 3-0 series lead and now could be screwed.

If you have to work Tuesday evening, quit. If you’re getting married that night, don’t. If your baby is due around game time, have it at home in front of the TV.

What a great game this Saturday night affair in Montreal was, wild and wooly, with the Habs grabbing the lead nine minutes into the first period when Devante Smith-Pelly’s wrist shot rang off the crossbar and in doing so, took the all-important lead and gave us big time hope.

Exciting and wondrous, and my pulse raced and my heart skipped several beats. Quivering sensations ran up and down my body. Just really nice camera shots of Angela Price.

The team had been a tad outmatched in the beginning, but Smith-Pelly’s goal reversed the flow. After that, the boys looked much better, their power play, although not scoring, was impressive as they moved the puck around, and the period also saw three pucks banged off posts behind and around Ben Bishop.

In final frame the Bolts pushed hard and were rewarded with a Steven Stamkos goal, and I’m assuming that Habs fans who bite their fingernails chewed hard. For me, because I don’t bite my nails, I gnawed on my arms.

As nerve-wracking as can be, but with the clock winding down, PA Parenteau took a PK Subban pass and just as Smith-Pelly had done in the first period, rang the puck off the crossbar and into the netting. The home team held on, we breathed a big and happy sigh of relief, and I wrapped my arms with towels to stop the bleeding.

Can they do it again and then again after that? Of course they can, because momentum has swung, the guys can taste and feel it, they’re playing well now and the power play seems on the verge. The Lightning also know they’ve been outmatched often in the series.

But the Canadiens have to play another beauty on Tuesday, and then again on Thursday. They can do it. Everybody knows it now.

Carey Price has been as cool as a cucumber of course, and was brilliant, especially when he robbed Val Flippula with a glove save when Tampa was pushing early in the third. Price did his job and the gang in front of him went about their business and got it done. And it was only just a few days ago that I decided that I hated hockey.

Ben Bishop was good too, although high shots seem to trouble him, he’s a bit of a complainer, and in heavy traffic he goes down more than Linda Lovelace. Maybe a few more high shots past him and we’ll see that lousy Russian guy between the pipes again!

Random Notes:

Montreal outshot the visitors 29-25, and although they once again went 0 for 3 on the power, they looked great with the man advantage, especially with Jeff Petry quarterbacking from the blueline. They controlled things in slick fashion and came within a whisker of scoring several times.

They also stayed out of the penalty box all evening.

Tuesday, and remember – don’t work that night, don’t get married, and if you have a baby, have it in the TV room.

 

 

Boys Bomb Bolts

Such a character win by the Canadiens. I’m prouder than a peacock.

They’ve could’ve folded the tent after that murderous last-second goal in game three, but instead, they game out flying, got that first goal early, then another and another, and the series now shifts back to Montreal after the gang that couldn’t shoot straight took out the cocky Lightning with a tremendous 6-2 shellacking.

It was interesting to see one of the Tampa players in the corridor minutes before the game, shown during the first intermission, singing and having a grand old time. Sing some more, buddy. Maybe the blues? Maybe a hurtin’ tune?

Finally the breaks went the Canadiens way. Pucks that stayed out before went in this time. Ben Bishop was chased after the third goal and his replacement, Andrei Vasilevsky, was fairly lousy. Fans left early to water their palm tress.

Heck, Montreal even managed a power play goal, which in itself, is a mind blower of epic proportions. And Max’s shorthanded marker left me hanging from the chandelier.

Two goals in the first period, beginning with Andrei Markov converting a PK setup from a slightly difficult angle.

Next was Max’s shorty, and in the second period, Bishop was yanked after gloving a DD slapshot but then losing it. Craig Simpson on HNIC disagreed with coach Jon Cooper’s decision to switch goalies, but it worked for me.

The score became a juicy 4-0 when Jeff Petry, on the power play, finished it off after PK and Chucky and the gang threw it around in fine style, and just 15 seconds later, Brendan Gallagher let go a blast from the right side that Vasilevsky is still looking for.

It was good, real good, although Tampa would beat Carey Price twice after the 5-0 score was built, with their second just 17 seconds into the third. The Lightning weren’t going to pot three more, no way, but I was nervous anyway.

Brandon Prust converted Lars Eller’s rebound in the third period, the Bolts were officially fried, and it’s back to the Bell for a rousing game five and another one shift, one game at a time deal.

Random Notes:

Canadiens once again handily outshot Tampa, this time 40-24. Last night it was 31-19. And people say the Lightning are the better team?

I saw the game in a somewhat different place with a bunch of distractions that included that call from producers telling me I’m a “World’s Most Handsome Man” finalist. Pissed me off. So did that photo shoot with the Playboy bunnies during the second intermission.

But I still saw the game. I just wish these people would leave me alone.

 

 

 

 

Not Much To Say

I’ll be a man of few words here. I need to get to the local drug dealer and stock up. Without him I’m not able to face reality.

It seemed like only yesterday when the Canadiens were making us excited and hopeful. And then the playoffs started.

They played a fine game and should’ve won the thing, but they couldn’t beat Ben Bishop (aside from Brendan Gallagher’s third period marker), there wasn’t a break to be had as pucks came oh so close, some hit posts, the big bastard stopped 30 shots, and all in all, Montreal could’ve racked up four or five goals if even a bit of luck was on their side.

Tampa even went 16 minutes in the second period without recording one measly shot on Carey Price. And they still won.

The home team made it 2-1 with just over a second remaining in the third period, and things are grimmer than grim for the team everyone hates except 10 million of us worldwide. And now they’re down 3-0 in the series.

Just over a second left. Where’s that drug dealer?

The Canadiens haven’t bested the Bolts even once this year (8 games), and it could all come to a crashing halt on Thursday night.

Unless they play like they did tonight and things go their way for a change.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot the Lightning 31-19 and were 0 for 2 on the power play.