Category Archives: Tomas Plekanec

The Dismal Beat Goes On

Late-’80s Claude Julien.

The wild and crazy Montreal Canadiens were rusty and sloppy in Claude Julien’s 2017 coaching debut, and their 3-1 loss to the visiting Winnipeg Jets ruined what could have been a fun breakout party for the new Blind River bench boss.

Probably rusty because they had five days off. And sloppy, regardless of who’s behind the bench. Nothing new about their sloppiness. They’d probably be a mess if Toe Blake was behind them.

Was any part of this loss Julien’s fault?

If he was Kreskin, he might have plunked Nathan Beaulieu into the press box pre-game, before this mediocre defenceman could think he was Bobby Orr during a second period power play, and which quickly showed he’s no Bobby Orr.

Or Gaston Gingras for that matter.

Beaulieu decided to do some fancy stickhanding and was promptly stripped of the puck by Joel Armia, who walked in and tied it.

And because Julien didn’t have his skates on, he couldn’t be on the ice at 1:16 of the third when Emelin, Weber, Plekanec, Danault and Max decided to show their soft and tender side as Big Buff muscled his way in from the right side and found Mathieu Perreault, who notched the winner easy as pie.

Winnipeg’s third goal was an empty-netter, so I guess Julien can’t be blamed for that one either.

Wasn’t Carey Price’s fault either, as the big fellow snagged shots left and right, including lightning-quick glove hand robbery on rookie star Patrick Laine’s laser in the first period and then again in the third, plus coming up big a plethora of other times throughout.

Price was his old self, which is a good thing. So were his teammates, which is a bad thing.

Gump Worsley, manning the pipes for the New York Rangers in the late-’50s, was asked what team gave him the most trouble. Gump answered, “the Rangers”.

Price can say exactly the same thing about his teammates. Coverage means more than just car and house insurance, boys.

Random Notes:

Jets outshot the Habs 33-20.

Either the Sens or Leafs will win tonight, considering they play each other. Which means if the Sens win they’ll be within two points of Montreal, and if the Leafs pull it out, they’ll be just five back. Both teams also have games in hand on the Canadiens.

 

Habs Smoke Flames

So many good things to be happy with, and only one bad thing to grind teeth about. So as far as the big picture goes, the Canadiens 5-1 win over the visiting Calgary Flames was sensational and far out and, as we used to say, uptight and out of sight. (How stupid is that?)

But that one thing……….grrrr.

Five goals, including a pair of power play markers, and the Habs blitzed the Flames in a big way, even with the visitors outshooting Montreal 31-20.

A big night that saw a Tomas Plekanec shorthanded goal, a Calgary 5-on-3 man advantage for 50-odd seconds that was killed in style, two goals on the power play from Alexander Radulov, delightful clear cut breakaways by Philip Danault and Andrew Shaw (although they didn’t score)…….

……….and last but not least, Carey Price, the guy people have been wondering about lately, coming up big and kicking out everything that came his way.

Everything expect one puck with 1.1 seconds left in the game. 1.1 SECONDS LEFT IN THE GAME. With Radulov in the box, but whatever.

Would’ve been nice to see Price get that shutout. But he didn’t, and that’s that. We focus instead on a big night with a somewhat surprising 5-goal output, a power play that went 2/3, and a huge win after dropping their last 3 of 4 games and 5 of 8.

Also, because they’re good solid Habs fans, a hearty shout-out to all the folks at the Bell Centre who braved what seems to be ultra-shitty, icy weather in the Montreal area this evening.

I myself was warm and cozy, with the fridge, bed, and bathroom within very short walking distance.

1.1 seconds. Damn.

Random Notes:

Aside from Plek’s shorthanded goal and Radulov’s pair, the other goals came from the sticks of Andrew Shaw, who opened the scoring in the first period with under a minute remaining, and a great Carr-Mitchell-Carr bing bang boom in the third that made it 4-0 at that point.

The win was Carey Price’s first after losing his last three. A shutout would’ve been nice………….

Next up – Thursday in Brooklyn to tackle the Islanders.

 

 

 

 

Habs Handle Caps

Old mitts. Maybe older than you.

The Canadiens held on and edged the Washington Capitals 2-1 on Caps ice, and displayed a fine rebound game after their pathetic effort Friday against the San Jose Sharks.

Artturi Lehkonen and Jeff Petry scored for Montreal, and Carey Price made his own personal statement.

After the Canadiens’ great start, especially in October when they racked up eight wins and a shootout loss, each win now makes their chances of making the post season even more secure.

It also means that although they have their down moments, like the Sharks game, or that 10-0 thing in Columbus, once the playoffs start you’ll forget completely about the regular season.

You say you won’t but you will.

And if you look at last year, the year of The Nightmare (also known as The Worst Habs Season Ever), you’ll see that the collapse to end all collapses began in December, when they won the first game of the month, then dropped the next four, won again in the middle of the month, then lost another six, and then won just once more before falling in their final game of December.

Three wins in December and three times in January. And the sky did fall.

But I’m now happy to report that the 2016-17 team has won four times already in December, with six games to go, and they remain top of the heap with Pittsburgh and a couple of other pretenders.

So they’ll make the playoffs (yes they will), we’ll forget about anything else, and then they’ll win the Stanley Cup because everyone will be healthy (Andrei Markov left early tonight) and Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Plekanec will see their luck change and light several lamps as the CH steamrolls everyone in their path..

Oh, you have your doubts? Well you obviously haven’t been talking to Sprague Cleghorn and Didier Pitre like I have.

Explosion At The Bell

I’ll take a nice, tidy 10-1 thumping any time. Too bad it wasn’t against Ottawa, Boston, or Toronto, and so what that the cellar-dwelling Avs were truly lousy on this night. It’s still good. Great even.

It’s also too bad it wasn’t against the Columbus Blue Jackets, who demolished the Canadiens 10-0 back on November 4th.

I wouldn’t have minded 12 or 15 goals, because I’m a greedy bastard. But when you see your team rack up six goals in the first period alone, heady thoughts creep in. Like 12 or 15 goals when all is said and done.

Oh, they’re not suppose to rack up the score? Hey, what’s a dozen or so goals among friends?

It was a fine night at the old (opened in 1996) Bell Centre, with Max Pacioretty scoring four times and adding an assist, Tomas Plekanec racking up four helpers, and a whack of others lighting the lamp or helping to light the lamp.

Just too bad Shea Weber didn’t get on the score sheet. He leads that fellow in Nashville by just 1 point (at this writing), and I’d prefer that our guy had a way better year than that guy. Twice as good, Three times even.

It was just one of those nights. The Canadiens were clicking. Max was flying. Alexander Radulov, with a goal and an assist, was inspiring. The fourth line, led by Brian Flynn was two goals, were demons.

It was time for early Ole Ole’s and a late Na Na Na Goodbye. Time for stress-free watching, some chuckles, some completely relaxed viewing of the boys blitzing the Avs.

But then there was the Alexei Emelin low hit on Joe Colborne late in the game that had commentator Gary Galley seething. Galley said there was no need for it. I say hit ’em for 60 minutes, 10 goals or not.

I think Don Cherry pooh-poohed it too. I’m not sure, I wasn’t really paying attention to the old fellow.

And why won’t Emelin fight when the shit hit the fan, asked Galley? Probably because he has metal plates under his left eye, Gary. The guy’s on the team because he’s a bone bruiser, he hits harder than most. It’s his job. What if Colborne had danced around Emelin and caused a crease-crashing that injured Carey Price?

Nope. Stop ’em in his tracks. Old time hockey. Montreal has seven forwards under 6 feet. A little meanness shown by anyone is a welcomed sight in this corner.

Colborne might have his head up next time he waltzes down the right side. And most players from other teams will see it on the news and possibly be a bit more tentative when they come up against Emelin.

Oh, and maybe it was slightly dirty. I don’t give a shit.

A beauty shellacking on home ice. Fifteen goals scored in two games. What a machine!

Bring on the Bruins (Monday).

Random Notes:

Habs scoring went like this:

1st period – Flynn, Pacioretty, Lehkonen, Pacioretty, Byron, Flynn.

2nd period – Radulov, Pacioretty, Petry.

3rd period – Pacioretty

 

Habs Beaten By Blues

The Canadiens were in St. Louis Tuesday night where the boys blew a two-goal lead (Paul Byron and Tomas Plekanec), and lost 3-2 in overtime.

But that’s all I can say about this. I’m waiting for my enthusiasm to return. It’s been gone for several games now.

But I would like you to know that I’ve lost 8 pounds by walking a lot and I now look like a friggin Adonis.

And if that isn’t interesting enough, there’s this: The decision to separate opposing players in the penalty box came after October 30, 1963 when Montreal’s Terry Harper and Toronto’s Bob Pulford fought on the ice and then continued their disagreement in the box after they’d been sitting side by side.

And if ALL THAT isn’t enough, Rocket Richard once said in a questionnaire that the one man he wanted to meet in person was actor John Wayne.

The Captain Came To Play

hooray

Captain Max put his team ahead just 14 seconds into the third period, and the Canadiens snag a big 2-1 win over their ungrateful guests, the Carolina Hurricanes.

Not a great game by the Canadiens, they were dominated by the Canes at times, particularly in the second frame when Carolina owned the puck and Montreal managed just 4 feeble shots.

But whatever. Carolina still lost. Ain’t life grand?

The boys were also outshot by the visitors 32-22 overall, and a hearty thanks it is to Carey Price, who shut the door when called upon, even though it is slightly disturbing to see once again that it was him to the rescue.

Maybe we just have to get used it. Maybe our man Price will take us to the promised land.

Thursday night was a night when silent guns suddenly became a bit louder, with Max chosen first star, and his linemates Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher collecting assists on the game winner.

Max even rang one off the post late in the third, so maybe the slump gods have found some peace and love up there.

Even DD got into the act when he (and Charles Hudon) assisted on Andrew Shaw’s goal in the first period that tied it at one apiece after Carolina had opened the scoring.

Spread the wealth, boys. It’s as basic a game plan as there is.

It reminds me of when I was a smallish yet shifty right winger for Orillia’s Byers Bantam Bulldozers and………

Never mind.

Random Notes:

The team now meets the Red Wings in Detroit on Saturday night, and then it’s off to California for a Tuesday lace-up in Anaheim, then Friday in San Jose and Sunday in Los Angeles before ending the journey in St. Louis the following Tuesday.

Long road trips can be good and bad. Just stay away from Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip, boys. And don’t worry about your wives. I’ll see to it that they’re in good hands.

Bonus Random Note:

I mentioned the other day that on November 22, 1968 my buddy and I sailed to England on an ocean liner, and here’s the ship’s weather log for each day of the journey.

ship-log

empress

 

Habs Trim Leafs

image1Back in the saddle again, as the Canadiens edge the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 and put a stop to the lousy three-game losing streak that had us all in a kerfuffle.

At least I was in one. I’m anti-slump. So winning, and against those Leafs, is basically a win-win situation. Does that sound right?

The good news – Alexander Radulov is back from sick bay and along with collecting two assists, banged and set up plays and skated miles and was all-round terrific.

The bad news – Toronto’s Nazem Kadri didn’t lose any teeth or get his nose plastered over his face. Not even one stick to the gonads. Really bad.

Red-hot Paul Byron scored his seventh of the season to open the scoring in the first period, while in the second, Alex Galchenyuk, also with his seventh, bulged the twine on the power play in what ultimately became the winner.

Shea Weber also racked up assists on both goals, and was much more of a force than he was on Friday in Carolina, when he looked fairly ordinary. But even then, not once did I pine for PK Subban.

As it stands now, Galchenyuk leads the team with 19 points in 19 games, while Radulov has 16 pts in 17 games, and Weber follows with 15 in 19 games.

New guys like Radulov and Weber are getting it done, but team vets like Max and Pleks and DD and Gallagher need to step it up. Although Gally continues to play his game and the points just aren’t happening for him right now. So he gets a pass. The other three don’t.

The Leafs played a decent game,  swarmed Montreal’s net far too often, and ended up outshooting the good guys 32-29.

But Carey Price was in nets, so swarming was the best they could do.

The boys now wait until Tuesday when the Ottawa Senators come a calling, and of course it’s a must win for the Habs. Another win gets the wheels rolling. A loss and we can say the gang sits at one win and four losses, which would be a bummer.

As for you folk, I hope the rest of your Saturday and all of Sunday is full of merriment. Just don’t get busted.

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?

 

 

 

Habs Pluck Penguins

pens

Two goals from David Desharnais, an awakening from Captain Max, and a well-deserved shutout for Al Montoya, and the Canadiens rebound from a dismal outing in Ottawa to finish off the Crosby-less Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0 in their home opener at the Bell Centre.

Definitely better than a few nights ago, and it began with a fired up Max Pacioretty opening the scoring just 23 seconds into the contest. Max was alive on this night, like a young DK at parties when someone would put Led Zeppelin 1 on the turntable.

But although the team played well overall, in particular the top line of Pacioretty, Galchenyuk, and Gallagher, it was Montoya who was truly exceptional once again, and who shut the door when the door needed shutting.

Montoya stopped 36 shots, it was never easy throughout, and has now allowed just five goals in his three games for the good guys. Carey Price is still recovering from the flu, and Big Al is doing the job in a big way.

A couple of goals from Desharnais will see DD’s critics forgive him for a night or two, and it was sensational to see the little guy come through, especially after his puck fanning in the shootout in Ottawa.

Alexander Radulov scored his team’s third marker, one which saw him take a pass from Galchenyuk, skate the length of the ice, swoop across, and bury the puck past Marc-Andre Fleury.

This beauty of a goal, on the power play, demonstrated the kind of skill this guy has, and the team is far better with him on board.

All in all a fine, if not spectacular, showing from the Canadiens, on a night that began with a gorgeous pre-game ceremony to open the 2016-17 season at the Bell Centre, concluding with former coach Jacques Demers passing the torch to Captain Max.

Demers coached a bit more than three seasons in Montreal, and was behind the bench for the Canadiens’ last Stanley Cup win in 1993. He’s in a wheelchair now after suffering a stroke earlier this year.

Random Notes:

Montoya was given an assist on Radulov’s goal, and the point now sees him tied with Tomas Plekanec.

The power play was 1/6.

Jeff Petry’s cross ice pass to DD late in the third to make it a 4-0 game was a thing of beauty.

Young buck Mikhail Sergachev saw less ice time in the second and third periods, to the chagrin, I guess, of his folks and sister who had flown in from Russia. But guaranteed, as Misha’s career unfolds over the years, mom, pop, and sis will have plenty to cheer about.

Next up – Thursday, when the Arizona Coyotes pay a visit.