Category Archives: Toronto Maple Leafs

Habs Taste Their Own Medicine

I suppose Devils players thought if Montreal could come back from a 2-0 deficit on Friday and win, why couldn’t they on Saturday?

And so they did, skating away with a 3-2 overtime win over the Canadiens in Montreal, ending a perfectly good Habs winning streak (4 games), and ruining Alex Galchenyuk’s excellent two-goal night that pointed to yet another example of Galchenyuk’s sudden jump into a new and bright stage of his career.

But in true party-killing fashion, the visitors scored two third period goals, the last with just 28 seconds left and Cory Schneider pulled for the extra guy, and the game was tied.

In overtime, the final wall came tumbling down. But the home team got a point and remain in the penthouse, and things are good in general. Really would’ve like a five-game win streak though.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – Habs 32, Devils 31.

Next up – Tuesday, when the Columbus Blue Jackets come a buzzin’.

The Leafs lost.

I’m truly sorry I have to cut this short, but I have to leave soon. Homer’s saving me a seat at the nearby watering hole.

In the meantime, maybe you’re not aware of this but not long ago, the NHL Board of Governors decided that if any NHL referee is deemed truly horrible and far from being up to scratch, they’re sent to London where they’re sliced up and made into zebra burgers.

I had the ‘Chris Lee’ when I was at a London market last week, and it tasted like shit.

Zebra burger



Habs Surprise Bruins

There were times throughout when they were far from sharp. Dozey in fact.  Definitely brain-dead in places.

But enough about the referees.

Canadiens double up the visiting Bruins 4-2 in a game that should turn more than a few Bruins fans into babbling glue sniffers. Their team had the Habs on the ropes. And then they didn’t.

Funny how that happens sometimes.

Somehow, although outplayed for much of the game, this first place team hung in against a surprisingly tough Boston squad. Tougher than I thought, considering the Bs sit in 19th spot overall with just 13 points, while the Canadiens, from the highest perch, can barely see them with binoculars.

But in the end, when the score was tied and just over a minute left in the third period, David Krejci decided to crosscheck Tomas Plekanec, several times in fact, and while he was cooling his blades in the sinbin after his numbing stupidity, David Desharnais buried the puck and the knife.

Soon after, Max found the empty net, and fans exhaled.

A fine ending to a tense game, and Bruins fans scurry to the local Army Surplus to buy knives to slit their throats.

Boston jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first period after the Canadiens were called for a tremendously dubious ‘too many men’ infraction, which was one of several weird refereeing decisions. But because of the final score, I won’t bitch. Except for the first paragraph of course.

The team was stifled constantly. They were bottled up, scrambling, all out of whack. I couldn’t wait for the period to end.

The only fun I had in this 20 minutes was seeing Andrei Markov blast a slapshot into the Bruins bench after taking a tripping call when Colin Miller embellished in fine Brad Marchand style.

No one was hurt on the Bruins bench, which is good I suppose. But it was a great moment. An excellent Markov moment.

Just as the Bruins had scored early in the first on the power play, the Canadiens did the same in the second, when Tomas Plekanec finished off a feed from Brendan Gallagher at 1:09 into the frame.

The Canadiens power play is clicking now. They promised, and I believed.

The Bruins took the lead in the second when Frank Vatrano, from the legendary Vatrano/Gambino mob family and playing in just his first NHL game after the family made the Bruins an offer they couldn’t refuse, notched his first big league goal.

Now we wait for news of a horse’s head found in David Krejci’s hotel bed after he gets home from Crescent St.

A Bruins lead going into the third period, with Boston stifling the boys and simply being the better team, ready to collect two big road points.

The Canadiens were in trouble, and possibly let down emotionally  after a Plekanec goal in the the third, which would have tied things up, was ruled no goal because of Gally causing havoc in the crease.

It was a sad time at the old Bell barn. The team getting whupped by the rival Bostonians. Things just weren’t going the right way on this Saturday night.

And then………

At 8:58, Lars Eller slipped one through Jonas Gustavsson’s legs and the score was tied in dramatic and surprising fashion.

At 17:57, David Kejci lost his mind and not quite a minute later, DD put his team in front.

And with 17 seconds left, Max found the empty net.

The Bruins and their fans once again hate the Habs more than anyone they’ve ever hated.

Random Notes:

Montreal outshot Boston 33-31.

Canadiens went 2/3 on the power play, while Boston was 1/5.

Too many turnovers, loose play, a plethora of icings, too many penalties, and the boys still won.

Next up – Canadiens take on the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

A little humour to close with. The Leafs allowed a goal with just a second left in Washington, and then lost in the shootout.





Collapse In Edmonton


This was going to be the night they’d get back on track. It was the plan, and it was a fine plan.

They’d stunk up the joint in Vancouver on Tuesday when they got mugged 5-1, and although they beat the Leafs just prior to this Western Canada jaunt, they were outshot 52-27 in the process. Enough was enough, we said.

In Edmonton they were going to redeem themselves. Be that team the hockey world was talking about after winning nine straight out of the gate.

And indeed, they jumped out to a 3-0  first period lead against the Oilers in Edmonton, and things were good. It was gonna be a big night. A great night. Edmonton fans would see what all the fuss was about. It might even be a slaughter!

Then it all came tumbling down, like Kim Kardashian’s boobs when she’s in her 60s.

In the second period, Alexei Emelin would play handball with a bouncing puck behind Carey Price, and video replay showed the puck clearing the line by an inch or so.

A game of inches. And it happened with a mere 52 seconds left in the frame, and which gave the Oilers the life they needed.

In the third frame, a screened long shot that beat Price made it 3-2, and I’m betting that every single Habs fan on the planet who was watching or listening felt that familiar and quite sickening feeling of the jig being possibly up.

And the jig was up soon after when young stud Connor McDavid shoved the puck past Andrei Markov at the blueline and sent Benoit Pouliot in alone, and suddenly, in horrifying fashion, the game was tied and the boys were in a heap of trouble.

Yes, Benoit Pouilot. A bum when he was a Hab, and one of the league’s dirtiest players. Doesn’t fight and isn’t tough, but prefers to shove his stick in guts and faces. And it had to be him.

The final blow? With just 1:02 left in the third period, David Desharnais was stripped of the puck behind Price, the little black biscuit was sent out to rookie Leon Draisaitl, and that was that.

Oilers with four unanswered goals.

As we used to say when we were kids when a game ended, “game deodorant”, and although it was always a fairly stupid thing to say, the game smelled so it’s fitting.

Random Notes:

Habs scorers – Brendan Gallagher deflecting a PK wrist shot from the point on the power play; Torrey Mitchell after nice work by Devante Smith-Pelly; and Alex Galchenyuk converting a beautiful pass across the crease from Andrei Markov.

Oilers outshot the Habs 27-21, the fifth straight game in which Montreal has been outshot.

Canadiens power play was 1/2.

Carey Price has allowed 12 goals in his last three games, after previously being on a run that saw him average just one a game.

Next up – Friday night in Cowtown. This is the game where they’re going to redeem themselves. This is going to be the night. Enough is enough etc.



A Mighty Fine Nine

Rocket's sweater

Yes, Leafs fan, I’ll give you this. Your team spent much of the second period in Montreal’s zone, played well, outshot the Habs 23-11, and for awhile made things dicey.

Heck, your team had lots of gas for most of the game, and peppered an incredible 52 shots at Carey Price.

But you can thank your captain, Dion Phaneuf, for being a baby after getting hit hard by Dale Weise late in this second frame and getting sent to the box, which must  have been a kick in the gut to Dion’s teammates.

Phaneuf, to our amusement, took a crosschecking penalty on Weise because he couldn’t handle being hit hard, and the Canadiens, who were in tough at the time, scored with 14 seconds left to make it a 5-2 game at that point, and the dagger was thrust.

So blame some of the loss on your captain. If you can’t take a heavy hit, you shouldn’t be in the game.

Canadiens win their ninth straight, with Vancouver on Tuesday to tie the league record, with the boys not allowing a single goal in any first period along the way.

Random Notes:

My friend Mel St. St. Onge in Orillia wants to start a movement to have hockey host George Stroumboulopoulos sent packing and Ron Maclean brought back. I think it’s a great idea. C’mon Rogers, toss this guy.

Shots on goal when all was said and done – Leafs 52, Habs 27.

Canadiens went 2/4 on the power play.

P.K. Subban, especially in the first period, fired several cannons at Jonathan Bernier, with one going in while the Habs were enjoying the man advantage.

Lars Eller, David Desharnais, Max, and Gally tallied in the second, while in the third, after Morgan Rielly had made it 5-3, the Canadiens held the fort and skated away with their win.

Alexander Semin showed tonight why previous coaches and managers just weren’t thrilled with him. He floated, looked uninterested, and provided a blatant turnover which led to James Van Riemsdyk narrowing the gap to 3-2 at the time.

But Max would notch a shorthanded marker soon after, and Brendan Gallagher deflected a PK blast on the power play with Phaneuf serving his time, and the gap widened even further.

Have a great night and excellent Sunday. I’m on my way to a birthday party where there’s gonna be live music and a keg of draught in the back yard.


Habs Bomb Buffalonians


Eight straight wins in the books as the Canadiens invade Buffalo and proceed to blast the Sabres 7-2, even though the home team outshot Montreal 36-26.

And regardless of being outshot, there were times in this game when the Habs threw the puck around like hockey-playing Harlem Globetrotters. Looking good and rolling along. A plethora of early points banked, to come in handy when times are a tad tougher.

My chest is swelled so much it’s now in line with my stomach.

With Mike Condon making his second start (he beat Ottawa 3-1 in the third game of the season), and Andrei Markov collecting a goal and four assists, the team now sits just two wins away from the NHL record of ten wins to start a season, jointly held by the ’93-94 Leafs (of all people), and the 2006-07 Sabres (of all people).

The Canadiens host the Leafs on Saturday night to try and keep this sensational run intact, with game ten in Vancouver on Tuesday night.

How sweet it is so far, and how sweet it would be. But the boys can never take the Leafs lightly, because no matter how much the Buds suck, they can still be full of shit when it comes to playing the Habs.

The 7-2 slaughter in Buffalo not only saw Markov inflict major damage. Brendan Gallagher and Dale Weise both notched a pair of goals, P.K. and Plekanec each collected three assists, and Max a goal and an assist.

A great night for so many, with Torrey Mitchell also scoring, and Tomas Fleischmann and DD grabbing an assist each. And to add to the merriment, the team went 2/3 on the power play, as Markov and Gallagher made the enemy pay the price for being shipped off to the sinbin.

Random Notes:

Top five Habs point getters in these eight games –
Plekanec – 5 goals, 4 assists
Max – 6 goals, 3 assists
Markov – 1 goal, 8 assists
Gally – 3 goals, 5 assists
P.K. – 8 assists


On such an occasion as a 7-2 drubbing and eighth straight win, it saddens me to hear of former Canadien Jim Roberts passing away at age 75. A solid and important player, and a fine and friendly fellow.

I’ll have more about this later.

RIP Jim.

Jim Roberts

Six Appeal!


The Canadiens are serving early and serious notice that they’re a team to be reckoned with as they downed the visiting Detroit Red Wings 4-1 at the Bell Centre, thus extending their unbeaten streak to six, and doing so in fine style.

They even went a respectable 2/5 on the power play and outshot the Wings by a formidable 20-5 in the third period. Beauty eh?

It was Detroit who opened the scoring on this night, after the Canadiens had done just that in their five previous games, when 19-year old Dylan Larkin fired the puck off Carey Price and into the net in the second period.

I admire 19-year old pros. In almost every way, the complete opposite of me when I was 19. It’s just not normal for a teenager to be earning hundreds of thousands of dollars and being hit on by groupies in big league cities. He should be chugging tequila and smoking reefers and puking in the basement like everybody else.

Soon after the young fellow got things going, Brendan Gallagher would take the puck with him while sliding into the net, and after the officials went upstairs, it was ruled a good goal and things were tied.

When I first saw the goal I thought of Henri Richard, who scored the clincher in the 1966 Cup Finals when he slid into Detroit’s Roger Crozier and over the line, taking the puck with him.  But the puck was under Henri’s arm, unlike Gally’s puck which was forced in with his skate.

Truly sad is the recent news that the Pocket Rocket is in declining health due to Alzheimer’s. We’re with you, Henri, that’s for sure.

In the third fame, the Habs broke things open when Jeff Petry scored with the man advantage, Tomas Plekanec lit the lamp a dozen or so minutes later, and Brian Flynn found the empty net with less than a second remaining.

And the world rejoiced!

Random Notes:

Montreal outshot Detroit in impressive fashion, 41-22.

Plekanec’s goal, his fifth of the season, gives him the team lead (Max has four). Gallagher, Petry, and Flynn all scored their first of the year.

Next, the St. Louis Blues pay a visit on Tuesday. And of course we need seven.

Excellent night for the boys as they roll along. All four lines once again contributed, David Desharnais enjoyed a big night, the penalty kill was solid, Alexei Emelin thumped, Tomas Fleischmann was good, Alex Galchenyuk had some nice chances, especially when he danced through four Wings during a first period power play, and of course, Price was Price, although he wasn’t exactly overworked.

Price also fed a long pass to Plekanec in the second period, who rang the  puck off the bar. Our goalie even tried once again to send the puck down the ice and into the empty net. It’s gonna happen yet!

As far as Alex Semin goes, we keep hearing about his blistering wrist shot, but we never see him unload it.

The Leafs lost to Pittsburgh.





Streak Reaches Four!


Now that’s some kind of season-opening road trip.

Four games, four wins. Success in Toronto, Boston, Ottawa, and a tidy 3-2 win in Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Road bonding. Kanata nightlife. Four goals during the stretch for new captain Max.

Now it’s the friendly confines of the Bell Centre on Thursday where this 2015-16 edition of the Canadiens will be introduced before tackling the visiting Blueshirts, who at this moment are considering calling in sick.

Zack Kassian, presumably watching this unfold, must be feeling lousy. He’s missing all this good stuff, and we could’ve used him to smash Chris Kreider’s ribs into bone dust.

And the game in Pittsburgh? Two goals by captain Max, beginning with the opener in the first frame after some nice work by Brendan Gallagher to get the puck over, and with Tomas Plekanec causing fine havoc in front.

The Pens would even things in the second after Nathan Beaulieu was caught at the enemy blueline, allowing Beau Bennett to skate in. (I hadn’t realized that parents named their kids ‘Beau’ nowadays, but apparently they do. They don’t seem to call them ‘Dennis’ though.)

But then it happened (in the game, not the kids’ names). Not only did Max’s second goal put his team ahead again, it was also on the power play of all things. A power play that was nicely quarterbacked by Jeff Petry. A power play that went 1/2 on the night and now stands at 2 for 16. Maybe Petry is the key to untangling this mess.

That’s one small step for the power play, one giant leap for mankind. Or something like that.

Later in the second, a bit of a deflection from far out fooled Carey Price, and the game was tied once again. It’s weird to type that – “from far out fooled Carey Price.” 

But we forgive him. And we’ll probably forgive him two or three more times this season.

The Canadiens won it in the third period after a broken play saw Dale Weise miss David Desharnais with a long stretch pass, but wee DD hustled to the corner, grabbed the elusive biscuit, and sent it to newcomer Tomas Fleischmann who made no mistake. And which kept the beauty of a streak alive and well..

A fine win, capped off by Price robbing Sidney Crosby with just 2:17 left in the game.

What a start to the season, and they have a chance to extend it to five in front of a rip roaring Bell Centre crowd on Thursday.

Again, Zack can’t be feeling great about this. It must be like being locked in a room while your buddies are splashing in the pool with Playboy bunnies.

Random Notes:

Pittsburgh outshot Montreal 33-30.

Everyone on the team has at least a point, except for Tom Gilbert, Alexei Emelin, and Devante Smith-Pelly. Max leads the team with 6, while Markov, P.K., and Galchenyuk sit at 4.

This, from Mike McKim on Facebook –

Knock, knock,
Who’s there?
Foreign who?
FOUR and OH!




Canadiens Burn Leafs In Opener


(Cool Carey Price portrait created by our friend Darth aka Wade Alexander)

Opening night for the Canadiens and Leafs at the ACC in Toronto, and the boys wearing the CH did what we knew hoped they’d do – send the local fans and the homer Sportsnet television crew home to pound whiskey and scream in the shower.

It wasn’t like the Habs outplayed the Babcockians though. Not by any stretch. Much of the time they were flat and disorganized, but Carey Price saved the day, something we’re definitely familiar with, and something which is both good and bad.

Good because he saved the day. Bad because he had to save the day.

Price stopped 36 of 37 shots, while the Habs fired 30 at Jonathan Bernier, who, by the way, has a tremendously hot fiancee (as seen on Hockey Wives).

It’s only game one, much too early to criticize, and in looking at things, we see the Habs in first place and the Leafs in last. But the so-called hockey panelists at TSN and Sportsnet rank Montreal 9th and 11th best overall, so as the weeks and months unfold, we need a tightened-up ship to show these folks they’re talking through their derrières.

Brand new captain Max Pacioretty scored twice, first on his team’s first shot of the game which trickled over the line behind Bernier, and an empty netter to seal things.

New centreman Alex Galchenyuk had put his team ahead 2-1 in the third before Max put the Leafs out of their misery, and the charitable P.K. Subban set up all three markers.

Two points, that’s all we need to focus on. After all, there’s 81 more games to get the proverbial shorts in a knot.

Random Notes:

The Canadiens were 0/1 on the power play, although Galchenyuk rang one off the crossbar.

A Jeff Petry goal in the second frame was called back after the Babcockian One used the new coach’s challenge, which can be implemented instead of a time out. Tomas Plekanec’s stick was found to be bothering Bernier’s chest at the time of the goal, and a closer look decided “no goal”.

A couple of cheapshots to mention – one by Leo Komarov, who slammed Subban from behind, and another from Nazem Kadri, who ran over Alexei Emelin’s face.

This is the kind of stuff that hardrock Zack Kassian might have dealt. And in case you’re interested, Lucy tells me in all seriousness that the name Komarov means “Son of Mosquito”.

Next up, Saturday, when the team skates onto Boston ice to meet Brad Marchand and company. Kassian might have said hello to this rat too, but alas……

Below, Bernier’s better half, Maxime Forget.






The Big Sports Dinner

Roger Crozier was there, and so was Andy Bathgate and hurler Sal Maglie and a host of others, including my peewee baseball team that rolled over unsuspecting teams from around Ontario.

It was the 3rd annual Sports Celebrity Dinner in Orillia, from June 1964, organized by local radio personality Ken McDonald, later known as Jiggs McDonald.

Only a few years after this fancy affair, Jiggs would find himself broadcasting NHL games in Los Angeles when the league first expanded, and then in Atlanta and Long Island (along with stints in Toronto and Florida). Jiggs ultimately wound up in the Hall of Fame as a recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award.

This is my program from that big night at Club Pavalon, a place where, on normal nights, gave us some of the best live rock bands from the province and beyond.






Former NHLer Cal Gardner is in the Terriers lineup.


My peewee team. They spelled my name wrong.





Jr. C

Below, Rick Ley, who would go on to NHL and WHA stardom, is in the front row of the midget team.



The Old Phone Book, With Orr And….

My old Orillia and area phone book that I grabbed years ago, just before my old man threw it out.

Paging through the Orillia section, I see the GM Lightfoot household at 283 Harvey St., where young Gordon grew up. The singer would’ve been about 20 when this phone book came out, and had moved out of the house just the year before.

My good buddies Kerry Baker and Robin Metcalfe also lived on Harvey St, and my dad worked for awhile at a dry cleaners in Orillia with Gordon’s father.

You see the Lightfoot listing halfway down, and further up is former NHLer Rick Ley’s dad Norman at 47 Wyandotte.

The book also features the area surrounding Orillia, including Parry Sound, and I found Bobby Orr’s family home, listed as Douglas Orr, (his dad) at 21 Great North Road. And Bobby’s grandfather, Robert Orr, is at 67 River. Bobby was about 11 at the time of the phone book.

Searching further, I went into the Sundridge pages and found Bucko McDonald on Main St. Bucko had not only been a star in the NHL in the 1930’s and 40’s with Detroit, New York, and Toronto, but had also coached Bobby Orr in squirt and peewee in Parry Sound. Bucko decided to make the young fellow a defenceman even though Bobby was small and had great skills up front. When dad Doug questioned Bucko about this odd decision, Bucko told him “Bobby is born to play defence.”

Sundridge is also where my mother came from.

Also listed in the pages of this old phone book is the Roger Crozier household in Bracebridge, writer Paul Rimstead’s dad’s farm outside of Bracebridge, the family home of respected Canadian writer Roy MacGregor in Huntsville, (who played minor hockey against Orr and the Parry Sound team), and John MacWilliams’ home in Huntsville.

And finally, the old homestead at 5 Elmer Ave.