Category Archives: Tomas Plekanec

Habs Fall In Mountains

Things might have been different if Montreal didn’t allow Colorado to tie the game at one with just six seconds left in the first period.

That’s strictly hindsight of course.

And while I’m at it – If PK Subban would put some muscle into some of his clearing attempts, the other team might not intercept and score, as was the case with the Avalanche winning goal and has been the case with Subban several times in the past few games.

That’s four losses in five games. C’mon boys, Carey Price is doing his job. Now it’s your turn.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – 29-28 Habs.

Mike Cammalleri scored the opening goal on a nice set-up from Tomas Plekanec. Alexandre Picard also bulged the twine. Both goals came on the power play, although Habs penalty killers gave up two to the Avalanche.

Next up – In Dallas on Tuesday.

Habs Grind It Out Against Sharks

The Habs won a game today where every inch was a mile and where every puck was touched only through blood, sweat, and tears. And through it all, the team, led by an extremely solid Carey Price, climbed a tough mountain and skated away with a satisfying 3-1 afternoon delight against the west coast San Jose Sharks.

Even though the Canadiens were outshot 27-19 on this Saturday afternoon, they got it done when they had to, with Mathieu Darche opening the scoring in the first, Tomas Plekanec making it 2-1 in the second with a nice smart shot from the slot, and finally, in the third, after speed-demon Roman Hamrlik was foiled on a breakaway (that’s right – a breakaway), Mike Cammalleri slammed the rebound home for the insurance marker.

It was such a tight, hard-fought game that I might now need a nap to recuperate from. And I just woke up.

PK Subban sat out his second consecutive game and hopefully he’s learned a couple of lessons about decision-making on the ice. I just hope Jacques Martin doesn’t decide to sit him for a third game as it’s a fine line between tough love and ruining a young guy’s confidence. But there’s also much to be said for the team allowing just one goal against a dangerous Sharks squad while not having both Andrei Markov and PK in the lineup.

Never once are we reminded of Larry Robinson, Serge Savard and Guy Lapointe when we see Gill, Gorges, Hamrlik, Spacek, Picard and Weber back on the blueline, but somehow, some way, these blue collar guys are doing it, and not only am I very proud of our defence corps but they’re also making team management and coaches look very good right now.

It was a real nice way to wake up after a graveyard shift and see a win like this that I had recorded, which is why it’s a bit of a delayed reaction from this blog. And almost as satisfying as the win was the fact that Bob Cole said nice things about the Canadiens from time to time.

There’s just one disappointing aspect to the game today that needs to be addressed, and I might as well get it out. Once again, Carey Price has failed to score. He had another wide-open net and missed the mark and we all know he has to start burying his chances.

Random Notes:

Except for the fact that Montreal hosts Ottawa on Tuesday, I pretty well got all the random notes out in the story. Goal scorers, good work by Price (except for his inability to score), and shots on goal. Maybe I could mention that Lars Eller is gaining confidence every game and is finally becoming an important piece of the puzzle.

Habs Score Five In New Jersey

Nice to see a 5-1 game for a change. Even though though the Devils didn’t have their usual Habs-killer – Martin Brodeur in nets, and were also missing their best player, Zach Parise.

But we were also without Andrei Markov, and PK Subban was having a rest, and it’s a win we’ll take. Gladly. A loss on this night would have …..(please insert several obscenities here).

I would have preferred a few goals in the third period to really complete the demolishing, but 5-1 is just fine, thank you very much.

Lars Eller played with more command in his game, and contributed a goal and an assist, and I’m hoping this young Dane’s best games are still ahead of him in 2011.

Scott Gomez scored a power play goal and almost notched another later on, and thinking back, I don’t know if could handle a two-goal game from Gomez at this point. It just seems too much to absorb at this stage.

Two goals…….nope, too much.

Tomas Plekanec was stopped on a first period penalty shot, which is too bad. But at least he had a point in the game, an assist on Brian Gionta’s opening marker. And Tom Pyatt managed his first goal of the year and there’s another monkey off someone’s back who must have been sick and tired of this smelly ape breathing down his back.

Benoit Pouliot rounded out the night with his sixth of the season and his 14th point in 26 games, and if you’re still comparing Pouliot to Guillaume Latendresse from the Minnesota trade, Latendresse has 3 goals and 3 assists in 8 games with the Wild. But of course, none of that matters anymore. I don’t even know why I brought it up.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – 32-28 Habs.

Next Up: Saturday when the San Jose Sharks pay a visit. This should be a good test for both clubs.

Team Wins And Eller Grins

It was a fine night at the old homestead, a very large monkey was ripped from a back, and the Habs rebound nicely after a lousy display in Philadelphia two days ago.

It only goes to show just how effective the Canadiens can be with everyone chipping in. And now, with a solid 4-1 win over the LA Kings, who are a nice young team in their own right, the boys in red are back in the good books and none should be sleeping on the couch tonight.

How great was it to see the smile on Lars Eller’s baby-face as he finally scored his first-ever goal in a Habs uniform? He was relieved all right. And proud. And gloriously happy. Finally that wretched ape is off his back, and although we shouldn’t expect huge things at this point from the young Dane, maybe we can expect his game to be raised a notch or two from here on in.

I’m sure that puck will go front and centre in the Eller trophy case.

And to see his teammates so happy for him. He’s probably still recovering from the affectionate face-washes.

He’ll be phoning his folks probably, which is about eight hours ahead in Denmark, but I’m sure they won’t mind if he wakes them up. Or maybe they were watching on satellite, in their housecoats, and their cheer shook the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen harbour.

A good night was had by many. Andrei Kostitsyn woke from his slumber and not only scored a goal and added an assist, but was also voted number one star? How’s that for a bonus to the Eller thing, who, by the way, was the number two star.

Scott Gomez had an assist and I’m considering this as big news. He now has two goals and five assists in 22 games, which is better than two goals and four assists.

Mike Cammalleri, PK, Brian Gionta, Alex Picard, Benoit Pouliot (who continues to be steady), and Roman Hamrlik also had points on this night. And the defence kept things to a minimum in the danger zone much of the time.

Just a good night in many ways.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – 33-25 Habs.

Carey Price once again was excellent. Geez I wish I would’ve taken him in my pool.

Tomas Plekanec bulged the twine and now has 21 points in 21 games. Kostitsyn is next in line with 16 points in 22 games.

I don’t know what Michel Bergeron, Mario Tremblay and the rest were saying on RDS’s ‘Antichambre’ after the game, but they sure were happy. One could tell absolutely that the Montreal Canadiens won, just from the party atmosphere in the TV studio.

Next up – Friday in Atlanta and then back home Saturday to meet and greet the Sabres.

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.