Category Archives: Tomas Plekanec

Habs Blow It

Is it too much to ask the Canadiens to wait slightly longer than the first period before going into a defensive shell to protect a lead?

It was going so well. Two goals by Maxim Lapierre, the one player, even more than PK Subban, who the orange greasers would love to stuff down the zamboni exhaust pipe. Carey Price was stopping them cold. PK Subban seemed oblivious to the cat calls. And the hometown crowd sat on their hands and were so quiet and depressed it made my heart soar.

But then, as they have on several occasions this young season, the Canadiens stopped trying to score and instead concentrated on keeping the puck out of the net. Naturally, play remained mostly in their end, and they allowed an inexcusable 21 shots on goal in the second period to their feeble five. 

They simply handed the game to the Flyers on a silver platter.

It became 2-1, then 2-2, and then, of course, 3-2 for the wrong team, all because the Habs forgot to put on any pressure after the opening frame.

And what could have been. Lapierre came within half an inch of a hat trick when he hit the post, and more importantly would have made it 3-0. It also would have made the crowd even quieter than they already were, which at that point resembled a seance.

Lapierre did his two-goal damage with help from Benoit Pouliot (two assists) and one helper from Jeff Halpern. Scott Gomez added….nothing, Brian Gionta chipped in with…..nothing, Andre Kostitsyn……., Cammalleri, Plekanec…… They all swooped and swerved and not much of anything else.

They would have looked okay on Battle of the Blades, but this was a hockey game.

We’re learning in a big way that we can’t rely on the guys we thought we could rely on, at least so far this season. It’s been the journeymen who have kept this team high in the standings and thank goodness for them. As far as the big money players on this team go, patience is wearing thin in my little house by the sea.

Yes, what a disappointing night, all because the Canadiens decided to go into a shell way too early. Is that what you’re teaching them, Jacques Martin? Couldn’t it have waited until say, midway through the third before defence overruled everything else?

Kind of reminds me of the conference final last year.

Random Notes:

Roman Hamrlik hit the post late in the third which would have tied it. But I’m grasping at straws here. 

Next up – Wednesday when the LA Kings pay a visit.

Shots on goal – 45-31 greasers.

Valeri Bure and his partner Ekaterina Gordeeva won Battle of the Blades on this night.

How Sweet It Is!

Years ago Orillia had two pool halls, the Top Hat and Dino’s.

The Top Hat was a dark, dingy, filthy, smelly hole full of non-desirables who spit and fought and blew snot out their noses. Dino’s was new, bright, with beautiful tables, and it was a fine place to go and play pool after skipping school. And on weekends, Dino’s was the source to find all the good parties in town.

Just a nice place, unlike the cave-like Top Hat.

The Philadelphia Flyers are the Top Hat. An unlikeable herd of greaseballs with thugs with names like Powe and Shelley. Even players who can actually play, like Scott Hartnell and Mike Richards, might as well have worn black leather jackets and swung chains. And the whining from these dudes reminds me of my kids when they were about six and had to go to bed before they wanted to.

Gawd I wish we had another Larry Robinson to make these guys get down on their knees and plead for mercy.

Try as these Flyers may to intimidate and disturb and live up to the reputation of their forefathers, the ridiculous Broad Street Bullies, all they are are players who manage to hurt and push around and attempt to be the toughest kid on the block.

But they still have to play hockey, and sometimes their sleeziness backfires. Like tonight, as Carey Price and the boys shut’em down 3-0, never backed away from the rough stuff, buried their chances, and continue their merry way up the ladder to success.

A week ago analysts said it was going to be tough-going for the Habs after playing far too many weaker teams to begin the season. Now wait, the experts said, the Habs have to face the formidable Vancouver Canucks, Boston Bruins, and Philadelphia Flyers. Just watch them fall back to earth with a thud.

How wrong they were. The Canadiens beat the Canucks 2-0, the Bruins 3-1, and the Flyers 3-0. And throw in the Carolina Hurricanes for good measure, a team we pounded 7-2. ‘Nuff said. And this shutout tonight against the Flyers comes directly after Andrei Markov goes down for the count.

Just a fine display, although the Canadiens were outshot 41-28 by the greasy swines. Power play goals by Mike Cammalleri and Brian Gionta nailed the coffin shut. Tomas Plekanec also scored and skated miles. Maxim Lapierre showed jam by taking on the low-life Powe and although he didn’t exactly win, he won in my book.

Travis Moen played a fine and aggressive game and also provided tidbits of offence. Gionta, along with his power play goal also had two assists. And PK Subban was all over the place and it’s only six more months or so before he’s announced as Rookie of the Year.

If the Habs meet up again with these greasers in the Conference final as they did last year, things will be different.

Random Notes:

Scary moment when Jeff Halpern hit the boards, his helmet came off, and his head hit the ice as he toppled over. He seemed to be alert as he was led off and here’s hoping all’s well. It doesn’t surprise me when one or two guys get hurt playing the Flyers, who, by the way, have tremendously ugly uniforms.

Carey Price – I am as dust under your feet.

Next up – Thursday, when Sergei Kostitsyn and his Nashville Predators come to town.

Great Night….Except….

So many great things. And just one bad one. But that one bad one might be plenty. 

A 7-2 demolishing by the Canadiens is one of those things Habs fans don’t see very often from the boys. I don’t know what got into them and I hope they didn’t decide to do steroids or something. Regardless, they flattened the Carolina Hurricanes in a big way and we have to be happy about this.

It’s good to see a real good spanking from our guys every now and again. And tonight it was one of those, as guys throughout the lineup garnered points and it seems slumps are being broken out of in dynamic fashion.

But Andrei Markov may be seriously hurt again, and it’s like throwing a wet blanket over a hot fire.

Markov got tangled up with Eric Staal and crashed into the boards, and it looks to be a leg or knee problem, which of course is possibly the worst thing that could happen aside from Tomas Plekanec or PK Subban or Carey Price going down. (Price, by the way, made a beautiful stop tonight that you can see in all its glory below). 

When Markov slammed his fist into the boards with frustration, my heart sank.

But we’ve learned to live without Markov before and we’ll do it again. Is it too late to keep our fingers crossed?

Habs point-getting was all over the map on this night, and take away the Markov incident, this became a time to celebrate. Tomas Plekanec, quiet lately, had a goal and three assists. Andrei Kostitsyn, also less than sparkling in his last few games, tallied a goal and an assist, as did Mike Cammalleri, who is another one who could’ve started the season with more of a bang.

Benoit Pouliot continues to prove me wrong. Brian Gionta is starting to roll. Mathieu Darche from the legendary PhD line chipped in, and Maxim Lapierre scored a dazzler that deserves sports hilites for days to come. Lapierre raced in, did a Savardian Spinnerama and in the net it went, and Lapierre’s smile could be seen from miles around.

Scott Gomez added a couple of assists, and Jaroslav Spacek, Travis Moen, and Roman Hamrlil also had helpers.

So you can see it was all hands on deck on this night and it’s not too far-fetched to say things are coming together in many ways.

How I would like to gush and throw adjectives all over the place on a night when Montreal onloads on the opposition. But I can’t. Not seeing Andrei Markov go down like that.

Yes, it’s great that we won and tremendous that we won in a big way. But now it’s a waiting game about Markov and I’m worried.

Random Notes:

Good old Tom Kostopoulos scored Carolina’s second goal, which briefly tied the game before the flood gates opened. If somebody from the enemy’s going to score, it might as well be Kostopoulos, a good ex-Hab.

Shots on goal – 33-30 Habs.

Next up – Tuesday when Philadelphia shows up.

Lapierre’s Savardian spinnerama goal wasn’t the only Montreal hilight play tonight. Carey Price made this stop that had everyone oohing and awing.

Price And Power Play The Difference In Boston

It was a nice, solid 3-1 win in Boston for the Habs, a satisfying feeling seeing the team get it done in areas they’ve fallen short in lately, and once again, Carey Price comes through in a big way

It was much more than just Price on this night. It was also, and for those unaware I hope you’re sitting down – two big power plays goals, one by PK Subban and another by Brian Gionta at a time when power play goals are rarer than dodo birds. And while you’re grabbing for the smelling salts at the thought of that, think about the idea of Scott Gomez also scoring.

It’s almost too much to fathom.

It was a team effort. Mike Cammalleri had two assists, Plekanec, Kostitsyn, Markov, and Hamrlik had one apiece, and the PhD line deserves an upcoming Christmas bonus for giving an honest day’s work.  Once again, Pouliot, Darche and Halpern managed to get both their chances and their noses dirty throughout the night.  

If I smoked and had a cigar, it would be a good time right now to sit back and blow smoke rings with a silly little grin on my face.

Back to Carey Price. He’s been outstanding for the Habs this year, has calmed down the naysayers, made believers of non-believers, stifled the boos. And yet, my friend Beatnik got an email from someone he knows who says she’s a Habs fan, yet here’s what she wrote. ”

“He SUCKS!  What’s even worse is he is a poor sport and a bad loser and he seems to have a chip on his shoulder.  Never smiles.  Looks really sad for a young lad like himself!  Not HAB material I’m afraid.”

So there you go.

I’d like to reply to this person. Lady, you’re not a Habs fan even if you say you are. I don’t know who you’ve been watching but it certainly hasn’t been Carey Price. He’s been the team’s best player this year and you’re just not paying attention. I’m trying to be polite here. And I feel sorry for your husband.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – 41-35 Habs

Tuukka Rask should say a little prayer of thanks to Jacques Plante for goalies masks being worn because the guy took three shots off the face from Habs shooters. Without a mask on, Rask might need one to go out in public after tonight.

Next up – Saturday when Carolina visits the Bell Centre.

 

If I Knew Carey Price I’d Buy Him A Beer

Carey Price did his best imitation of a brick wall as he notched his second shutout of the year in a fine 2-0 win over the visiting Vancouver Canucks.

The Canuckovovians, try as they may, couldn’t solve Price in what was possibly the young goalie’s most solid display of the year, and it’s a good thing he was hot because the offence remains cold, and the more I see Scott Gomez swipe at pucks like he’s worried something will break, the more angry I get.

Gomez skates and carries the puck similar to the way Henri Richard did, but that’s where the comparison ends. The Pocket Rocket played with burning fire and intensity, and managed to get results while doing so.

Gomez? Nope.

But anger isn’t called for on a night when Montreal beats Vancouver and all is perfect in Habs universe except for the part about scorers not scoring. And some Canucks fans and Vancouver media will tell anyone who listens that their team simply ran into a hot goalie which happens to all great teams from time to time. This will be their best excuse for the next day or so.

Whatever the Canucks are, they got blanked tonight. And imagine if Montreal scorers were actually scoring?  

There was a power play goal to speak of though, but it was a defenceman, not Gionta or Cammalleri or Plekanec or Kostitsyn or Gomez who got it. It was Roman Hamrlik who was smart enough to take a one-timer and blast away instead of trying to get fancy.

And another defenceman, Andrei Markov, opened the scoring by stuffing it in from the crease. Garbage goals are beautiful things too in case the offence hasn’t noticed.

So on this night, a couple of rearguards and Carey Price combined to win the game for the Habs. Most of the other guys were there because of the great seats they got for free – on the players bench.

Random Notes:

Montreal’s one power play goal means they stand at 4 for 51 with the man advantage. I have no comment about this.

Next game – Thursday in Boston

Shots on goal 34 – 29 Canucks.

Pouliot, Price, And Halpern Clip Buffalo Wings

It was a nice big two points in Buffalo Friday night for the Habs, and although 3-2 isn’t a lopsided and convincing win, it’s an important one on several fronts.

First, it would have sucked to have lost a third straight, especially against a struggling Buffalo team with all kinds of problems within.

It was also great to see Jeff Halpern continue to earn his salary with a goal and two assists, and Carey Price looked just as good as anybody playing for the St. Louis Blues.

It was really nice to see Benoit Pouliot score the tying goal and then the winner, and I don’t mind eating my words at all after saying recently that he had his few good games and I didn’t expect much more. I hope I have to eat my words time and time again. It’s better than brussel sprouts anyway.

And although Mike Cammalleri, Brian Gionta, Andrei Kostitsyn, and Scott Gomez once again failed to put up points, they all had several dandy chances, which means very shortly pucks will start to go in for them. You can see the slumps as plain as day. These guys are trying to make the perfect play to each other and getting way too fancy. It’s not working. And their shots are aimed at finding the perfect little hole and missing the net, which is another tell-tale sign of a slump.

If the net was seven feet wide instead of six, these four would have racked up the points tonight like the Halpern/Pouliot/Darche line, which had a lovely seven between them.

The answer to working out of a slump has been around for a century. Just close your eyes and shoot. Forget the holes, just blast away. Pucks will start to go in at some point and the slump will become just a distant and painful memory.

But regardless. It’s a win on the road. Beautiful. Now go home and smash the Ottawa Senators to smithereens.

Random Notes;

Shots on goal – 32-31 Montreal. And I’ll mention once again, Carey Price was really, really good on this night.

Tomas Plekanec was out with the flu. One game’s enough, Tomas. Up and at ’em.

Columbus Comedy Club

Columbus 3, Habs 0

We don’t need a fancy adding machine to keep track of Montreal’s scoring in the last two games. That would be one goal. One lousy, feeble, stinking goal.

None tonight, and of course Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez remain mired in nowhere land. These two score? Get outta here! And when it rains, it pours. Mike Cammalleri is slumping and who knows when Andrei Kostitsyn will light it up again.

Benoit Pouliot had his moment in the sun recently when he found the back of the net once or twice, but that’s probably finished now. I don’t expect much more.

All in all, nobody’s stepping up to the plate. Everyone’s gone for a coffee break at the same time. The team was quite mediocre in Columbus, and although they had chances now and again, none of it is worth mentioning because all in all, they weren’t sharp, the Jackets were sharper, and the Habs edge even closer to the dreaded five-letter swear word – “slump.”

But what about the humour? Isn’t it funny that we waited so long and impatiently for the return of Andrei Markov and the boys lose both games he’s been involved in?

And isn’t it hilarious that Brian Gionta becomes captain and proceeds to give us one goal and two assists in 12 games?

And isn’t it side-splitting when the team gives Scott Gomez 8 million clams to also score just once and add two lousy assists?

What can we say about the player we got in the trade for Jaroslav Halak? One assist for Lars Eller. Should we laugh or cry? And then there’s the back-slapping play of Mr. Spacek on the blueline?

In fact, Tomas Plekanec is the only guy I have faith in right now to not let his game go south. Because he’s too good a player for that to happen. Right, Tomas? Say it’s right, Tomas.

Random Notes:

Carey Price played reasonably well but not well enough. I prefer the standing-on-the-head variety.

Shots on goal – 29-24 Montreal

The team doesn’t play again until Friday when they travel to Buffalo. That gives the coaches time enough to juggle the lines and come up with something better than this, which borders on ridiculous. Break up Gionta and Gomez for one thing. And does Travis Moen belong on the top line? He’s got hands of stone, get him out of there. 

C’mon Jacques Martin and associates. Get this fixed pronto.

And through it all, Danno, the video professor, comes up with just the thing: