Category Archives: Tomas Plekanec

The Boys Are Back In Town With Big Game Against Atlanta

Things are going quite swimmingly as the first period of the Montreal-Atlanta matinee comes to an end. It’s 1-1, the Canadiens are outshooting the Georgians 16-5, the gang is playing with jump, and the Wiz continues making an impact by springing Tomas Plekanec free late in the frame on the power play to even it at one apiece.

The Habs look happy to be at home. We’re happy they’re at home. Maybe even their wives and kids are happy they’re at home.

It’s going reasonably well on the ice but I’m not sure about myself and my timing. I need to leave in approximately 90 minutes which begs the question, – can they get the second period going quite soon and can they play two periods in 90 minutes?

It remains to be seen. Depends a lot on whether there’s a parade of penalties. And of course, overtime.

The second period is finally underway and shortly after, Atlanta snuck one through the pads of Carey Price to make it 2-1 enemy. Both Thrashers goals have been weak which leads me to ask myself – should I begin to feel nervous about Carey Price? Is he still a brick wall, or is he becoming a wall with holes in it like some of the places I’ve lived in over the years?

Whooppee! PK Subban blasts one home from the blueline, another power play goal, and it’s all tied up again. Seeing PK do that makes me swell with pride, like I was his dad or something.

Of course. Naturally. Sixteen seconds left in the period and Atlanta scores. I have no words. Except why didn’t you get it done on your breakaway, Brian Gionta? You used to be a goal scorer, remember?

It’s the end of two periods and I need to go in 45 minutes. Can’t they just do a quick flooding with the Zamboni and start again?

The third is now underway and the boys are getting chances. But close doesn’t count. They have to bury their chances and so far, as I slowly get ready to go out the door and off to work, they haven’t been burying them and still find themselves down 3-2.

I wonder what Jean Beliveau is thinking about this team right now.

Furious, frantic scrambles near the Atlanta net, but alas, no finish for the Canadiens. Five minutes to go and I’m edging toward the door. Can they do it?

GIONTA SCORES!!!!!!!  GIONTA SCORES!!!!!!!  It’s tied at three and I really have to go. I can’t delay this anymore. There’s a minute and a half left.

How will it turn out?

I’m still here, I’m going to be late for work. Only seconds left and I really have go. Overtime awaits. So does my boss.

Okay, I’m at work now and I see how it ended up. Big Buff  scores for the Atlanta Byfugliens. 4-3 enemy. Whatever.

Random Notes:

Habs host Pittsburgh on Thursday. Maybe several of the Penguins are under the weather following the Winter Classic.

Is There No End To This Misery?

Caps 3, – Ineffective slump-ridden underachievers – 0

It’s unfortunate that Washington’s Jay Beagle scored to make it 1-0 for the Caps in the first period. Montreal was looking sharp, skating well, killed off a couple of penalties, and then……

With 37 &%^#$ seconds left in the period, Washington scored again, and oh, how this hurts. Whenever this happens, this late goal thing, and it’s happened far too often this season, it’s like a kick in the nuts from a guy wearing steel-toed boots.

Down two after the first period. It’s enough to cause a guy to phone in sick for his graveyard shift and get hammered instead.

It’s just going to take one goal in the second period, I thought, and the boys are back in town. And lo and behold…………it didn’t happen.

This has been quite a road trip. THE ROAD TRIP FROM THE DEPTHS OF HELL.

Of course being down by two going in to the third period isn’t impossible to overcome. Unless you’re the Montreal Canadiens, who began the final frame with a penalty 21 seconds in by Roman Hamrlik, and later Tomas Plekanec took a four minute double minor for shoving a stick into Mike Green’s face when the Canadiens were enjoying a power play to deflate anything they had going at that time.

And of course Alex Ovechkin scored in the empty net.

Are you like me and getting tired of a small team being outmuscled and outskated by larger teams? There’s just not enough strength, and too many short legs racing long legs and losing. This team is built to win the Allan Cup, not the Stanley Cup.

Are you like me and getting tired of Andre Kostitsyn and Benoit Pouliot and Travis Moen and a host others including Brian Gionta, Mike Cammalleri, and Scott Gomez, and how none of these players scare the daylights out of anyone? 

Is it sacrilege to come down hard on Gionta, Gomez, and Cammalleri? I’m sorry but they’re too small – plain and simple.

Are you like me and growing sick and tired of undisciplined penalties?

And are you like me and wondering just how far down the standings the boys are going to end up?

Random Notes:

Shots on goal 30-25 Washington

Next up – Thursday in Tampa Bay.

Habs Stalled In Mediocrity With Loss On Long Island

It began as a game between two teams with very different numbers – Montreal, third in the east with 42 points, and the New York Islanders – 14th out of 15 teams in the east with just 22 points.

But in the end, the lowly New York Islanders had handed the Canadiens an embarrassing and unacceptable 4-1 loss, and the Habs slump continues even though they had squeaked out a 3-2 win in Carolina just before Christmas.

It’s easy being an armchair quarterback and going on about several dozen things I don’t like about the Habs right now, but I recall the words of Washington general manager George McPhee who said on the HBO documentary 24/7 that if hockey critics really knew what they were talking about, they’d be in the game.

There’s not enough jobs for all of us, George.

And at the risk of sounding like a critic, I’ll go ahead and say that PK Subban doesn’t need to be in the press box, where he was again tonight, and Carey Price needs a rest. Am I bad for saying this?

This Habs team is far from dynamic at this point, and it’s what Subban brings in spades. Play the young fellow, let him make mistakes, but also let him wake up the rest of the team and piss off the enemy.

Carey Price was not only loosey-goosey with the puck several times, but has played 33 of 36 games, with backup Alex Auld only getting work three times. Most backups get in twenty or thirty games in a season. Auld might see ten if he’s lucky.

But there I go again, criticizing, and like George McPhee would say, if I knew what I was talking about, I’d be in the game.

Random Notes:

Tomas Plekanec scored Montreal’s lone goal.

I didn’t feel Max Pacioretty deserved a penalty, let alone a five-minute major, for bodychecking an Islanders player into the boards. His wasn’t a head shot and it wasn’t charging. All it was was a bigger man slamming a smaller man and sometimes these things hurt smaller men. It’s hockey, not ballet.

Shots on goal – 39-25 Montreal.

Next up – in Washington Sunday, home of the swearing fat man and George McPhee.

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.