Category Archives: Vancouver Canucks

Byron And Price Seal Win

A young man wearing a turban with three eyes

It was one eye on the game, one eye on the U.S. election, and one eye on closing day at Classic Auctions’ fall auction, where I was selling some of my stuff.

But with the first eye I saw the Canadiens dropkick the Boston Bruins 3-2 at the Bell Centre, after Paul Byron notched the winner with just 1:02 remaining, and with Carey Price once again holding the fort and racking up first star on the night.

Better than the Habs’ showing against the Leafs eleven days ago. A slight improvement over their game against Philly four days ago. And it goes without saying, a major league improvement over the 10-0 debacle in Columbus five days ago.

But they were still outshot badly against the Bs, 41-23, but maybe it’s not even worth mentioning. They’re badly outshot every game.

The first period saw the home team with more jump than we’ve seen lately, like they were truly focused on waking from their coma. Either that or the wives kicked them into the spare room in the basement.

But even so, Boston outshot the boys 14-5, so jump or no jump, some cracks still aren’t filled.

In the second frame, Shea Weber would open the scoring on the power play with his patented blast from the blueline, but less than a minute later, Boston evened things up.

And then, just twenty seconds later, Alex Galchenyuk lit the lamp and the crowd, as they say, went wild.

In the final frame, Boston would convert on their power play with Alexei Emelin in the box, and it was finally left to Byron to come through in the end.

You have to think that 10 wins in the last 11 games isn’t all that bad, even with a 10-0 loss thrown in. Kind of what Michel Therrien was saying in his press conference earlier.

The Vancouver Canucks would kill for that record.

Random Notes:

Canadiens were 1/2 on the power play (Weber).

Weber’s goal was his fourth power play marker, and his fifth overall of this young season. Chucky’s goal was also his fifth.

Alex Radulov collected 2 assists on the night, and is tied with Weber and Galchenyuk with 11 points so far this season.

Canadiens record stands at 11-1-1.

Worth mentioning, and a play that really caught one of my eyes’ attention – Jeff Petry crushed Ryan Spooner into the boards in Emelin, Weber-type fashion. Beauty, eh?

Next up – Thursday, when the boys host the L.A. Kings.

Finally I can rest one eye. And the other two are beginning to get tired.

 

 

Price Shuts Down Canucks

roll-along

The Vancouver Canucks showed up at the Bell Centre on Wednesday night with fire in their eyes.

They’d lost their five previous games, and were in no mood for screwing around. You don’t mess with a wounded animal.

The Canucks dominated much of the game, especially the first half of the contest, and ended up peppering Carey Price and forcing the Canadiens into 19 giveaways. They were an impressive bunch, these West Coasters.

That’s the good news for Canucks fans.

The bad news is, their team lost 3-0.

Montreal was lousy on this night, and without Carey Price being Carey Price, the Canucks might have ended their drought. But they didn’t, and Les Glorieux’s record now stands at eight straight wins and a 9-0-1 record overall.

It makes my heart swell like Sean Avery’s head.

Sean Avery. The last we heard of him, he was having all kinds of fun in L.A. tormenting homeless people for some reason. Boredom maybe. Personality defect probably.

It was the first period in particular that the Canadiens and fans would like to forget. Outshot 13-3, the team was scrambling, they resorted to numerous icings, and the two power plays they had ended with zero shots on Vancouver’s goal.

Just a poor effort. A discombobulated bunch.

Sometimes I feel the right thing to do is send the wives to Powell River for a week or two, probably several times throughout the season, so the guys can refocus. They need it sometimes.

Midway in the second frame however, Nathan Beaulieu converted a Brendan Gallagher rebound to put the boys on the board, and then with just 49 seconds remaining, Phillip Danault burst down the right side and linemate Torrey Mitchell finished it off.

In the third period, as time wound down, Alexander Radulov swooped in with the Canucks’ net empty, and although the puck didn’t go in, Radulov was given the goal because he’d been slashed during the play.

A 3-0 win when they were lousier than lousy. I guess it’s a good thing.

Random Notes:

Last year at the ten-game mark, the Canucks beat the Canadiens in Vancouver to end the Habs’ nine-game winning streak. This year, at the ten-game mark, the boys made sure the Canucks five-game losing streak became six.

Final shots on goal – Canucks 42, Habs 22.

Next up for the Canadiens – Friday in Columbus.

Now, back to the World Series. Top of the seventh.

 

Habs Squeak Out Win Over Leafs

habs-leafs

It was tight, that’s for sure. Tighter than Richard Simmons’ tights. A game that could’ve gone either way.

Except Montreal has Shea Weber on their power play and the Leafs don’t.

Weber let go a rocket in the third period that broke a 1-1 deadlock and crushed the hearts of Leaf fans, who thought maybe, just maybe, their team might actually do it.

You know how silly Leaf fans can get sometimes.

Just joking. Seriously.

It wasn’t to be, Leaf fans, although your team played well and almost came through.

And these same fans can now focus on November 19th, when the two teams clash again. But they have to always keep in mind one thing. The Canadiens have Carey Price or Al Montoya. And Weber. And Radulov and a whack of other beautiful bastards.

But again, your team played well if it’s any consolation. And there’s some real nice young players on that Leafs squad and could be a force in the near future.

I’ve said for years that a winner in Toronto is good for the game. It’s just the Toronto media that might be insufferable. And maybe a few million fans.

The Leafs were the better team in the first period of Saturday’s contest, but the second frame would see Alex Galchenyuk finish off a great pass from Alex Radulov, and the Canadiens regrouped slightly after that.

In the third period, Toronto would score with the man advantage, but Weber, on a 4-on-3 power play, wound up and that was that. And Price stuck out his pad with about half a second left to save the win.

An 8-0-1 October for the Canadiens, and try as you may to compare it to a perfect 9-0 last year that went south in no time, you just won’t be able to. Because Carey Price is playing. And those other guys.

Last year went like this: Montreal won their first nine, then lost to the Canucks and Oilers on their western swing, where Carey Price suffered his then-mysterious injury.

Into November, with Mike Condon in nets on most nights, and they’d win a few and lose a few. But in December, January, February, and March, they fell off the cliff and fell out of the race. Simple as that.

Price even managed to get back in nets for three games in late November last season, but that was all, and Condon,  Dustin Tokarski, and Ben Scrivens manned the nets for the remainder.

I’m hoping to stop talking about it. I just thought it was interesting for you. And it’s all about you!

Random Notes:

Next up – The Vancouver Canucks visit the Bell next Wednesday.

Radulov assisted on both goals, and Weber leads his team with four goals and six assists.

 

 

 

Jean’s Funeral, And Danno Was There

Not many members of the public were at Jean Beliveau’s funeral on December 10th of last year.

But a great friend to this site, Danno, was.

Danno and his gorgeous wife (who prefers to remain anonymous), had come to Montreal from Ottawa for the December 9th game between the Habs and Canucks, and stayed that night at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, which is just up the street from Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral where the funeral was held.

The following day the couple strolled down to the church before the service began and were promptly turned away at the door as they knew they would be. But, like divine intervention, someone else at the door told them to go on in, and in they went. Just like that.

At Le Gros Bill’s funeral when they’d least expected it. I think Jean, as heaven’s new captain, had a say in this.

Not long after, Danno sent me a program from the service.

Jean 1

Jean 2

Jean 3

Jean 4

Jean 5

Jean 6

Habs Drenched By Hurricanes

hurricane

I think it takes a special talent for a team sitting at the top of the heap to lose to a team at the very bottom and look tremendously mediocre while doing so.

Yes, those wild and crazy Montreal Canadiens, bowing to the lowly Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in Raleigh, a team 20-some points behind them.

They can’t be feeling good about this. If Jean Beliveau was captaining this team, he’d politely and respectfully give them all a mighty fine and gentlemanly dressing room tune up.

But the Canadiens have that special talent to play down, having also lost to the 28th place Oilers, the 25th place Avs, and the 22nd place Canucks (and were bombed 6-1 by the Avs and 5-1 by the Oilers in the process).

The only good that came from this night was Daniel Carr, called up from St. John’s in place of Devante Smith-Pelly, who notched a wraparound goal in his very first shift of his first NHL game. That’s the kind of thing I’ve dreamed about doing off and on for about five decades or more.

It’s with great pride to announce that Carr played the 2009-10 season here in Powell River, at the barn not far from my house. However, I didn’t go to one game in 2009-10, so that’s the end of this feel-good story.

But I would like to say one thing. The BCHL is an underrated league, with lots of talent like Carr winding up in the NHL. You’d be surprised by some of the names, like Brett Hull, Paul Kariya, and even Carey Price for a season before heading to the WHL.

There’s been a whack of them. Even Scott Gomez for those three Gomez fans out there.

Carr’s goal in the first period got things rolling, but the Canes would even it up on the power play on a smooth finish by Jeff Skinner who simply flipped it over a sprawling Mike Condon.

In the second, Sven Andrighetto would give Montreal the lead after converting a nice pass by Jeff Petry, but two minutes later Joakim Nordstrom tied things up again, and into the third we went.

Carolina would take the lead briefly, but Michel Therrien’s coach’s challenge saw the goal ruled no-goal because of goalie interference. Whew, we thought. But it made no difference, because the Canes would score another anyway.

Later on, with Tom Gilbert in the box for tripping, Skinner, with his second of the night, won it for the home team.

It’s not the first time Gilbert watched a nightmare unfold from the sinbin. There was that fathers trip recently when he did the same sort of thing. Now, whenever Gilbert goes home during the off season, he’s grounded.

The Canadiens lose their second straight, or 3 of 4 if you want to go that route. And they sleek off into the night, hoping they don’t get beer pored on them by drunken and disgruntled Habs fans because they couldn’t play well enough to beat the team tied with Calgary and Edmonton as league’s worst.

Random Notes:

Eric Staal hit several posts, missed several open nets, and scored the goal that was called back. This is the guy who’s the subject of trade rumours, with Montreal being a possible destination.

Staal would be a nice addition, although we already have plenty of guys who can’t hit wide open nets.

And speaking of Staal. he was sent to the box with just over three minutes remaining for flipping the puck over the glass, but the Canadiens, with Condon pulled and enjoying a two-man advantage, still couldn’t get it done.

And because of that very thing, they didn’t deserve to win this thing.

Shots on goal – Habs 38, Canes 29. The previous game against Washington, which was also a 3-2 loss, they had 35 shots to the Caps 19.

Next up – Wednesday, when the Bruins show up at the Bell.

 

 

 

Habs Claw Back In Jersey

Just when we thought they wouldn’t, they did. Habs grab a couple of points in New Jersey after clawing their way back from a 2-0 deficit in the second period to win 3-2 in the shootout.

What a team.

A character win, Mike Condon held the fort, it’s now four straight wins, the gang sits at the top of the heap, and life is good if you cheer for the Habs.

If you don’t cheer for the Habs, you might be here by accident and may want to get out the barf bag.

The Canadiens were in tough through the first two frames, with New Jersey looking more than decent for a team stuck in 20th place, and were aided by sometimes good, sometimes lucky Cory Schneider between the pipes.

Particularly late in the first when the ex-Canuck backstopper robbed Max Pacioretty and shortly after, David Desharnais. Important stops late in the first period. Those pucks go in and the boys have the Devils by the private and sensitive areas.

They’re big catching gloves these goalies wear now. And Schneider’s save on Max showed just that, although to be fair, the goalie also had to stretch across, making it sort of a bonafide good save. And he got his pad on DD’s attempt, so full marks I suppose.

This guy was good in Vancouver but was basically shafted by the ongoing Luongo/contract/backup/starter confusion.

At the other end, Mike Condon got only part of his glove on a shot, it would have been almost a carbon copy of Schneider’s save if he had grabbed it, but he didn’t, the Devils took a 1-0 lead, and soon after went up 2-0 when they dominated on the power play.

Condon didn’t waver, though. And with less than five minutes remaining in the second, Sven Andrighetto narrowed the gap with his second in two nights, and we knew then that this thing might not be over because we’re Habs fans and we can sniff these things like rats at the local dump.

Over it wasn’t. Midway through the third, Alex Galchenyuk burst through two d-men, flew in on Schneider like Howie Morenz, and buried it to tie the game and send it first to overtime and then the shootout where Andrighetto would score the marker that solved things after Galchenyuk’s backhand on his attempt got the thing rolling.

A fine comeback win, their fourth straight, and now it’s these same Devils on Saturday night, only in Montreal this time.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal were 27 apiece.

Canadiens call-up Bud Holloway got his feet more than wet with 7:19 minutes of ice time.

Holloway, 27, is a Saskatchewan boy, hailing from Wapella (pop. 408), and home of Brett Clark, who played one season for the Habs back in 1997-98.

Below, one of the many interesting things to see and do while in Wapella.

Wapella

 

 

London Calling!

LondonA couple of months ago my brother called and asked if I had any plans from the 15th to the 24th of November. Then he left it like that for me to scratch my head and wonder.

A few days later he  told me what he was up to, which was an offer to buy me a plane ticket to London, England as a late birthday present. Now that’s a brother. And today’s the day we leave.

I’m gonna walk across Abbey Rd. Then there’s those great seats at the hit musical Sunny Afternoon, which is about one of my all-time favourite bands the Kinks. The massive flea market on Portobello Road is gonna be explored I hope.  And of course the pubs, because we’ll be thirsty from crossing streets and stuff.

And another thing while I’m on about London – I’ve always felt that the Queen’s chest size has been underrated for years.

I’m going to miss four Habs games though – Monday, when the Canucks visit and take a severe pounding; Thursday, when the Coyotes show up to be slaughtered; Friday, when the Canadiens clobber the Islanders in Brooklyn; and Sunday when those same Islanders come to the Bell for more punishment.

I’ll have my iPad and will see the scores and scorers, but I’ll be so busy there’s no time to talk about these four games. Lots to do in just a week.

Please feel free to mention anything about these games here if you so desire. And when I get back, I’ll show some photos of this short but sweet visit to Swinging London.

One last thing – my thoughts are with Paris. It’s difficult to understand such evil in our world, and although the timing of our trip could be better, I’m traveling without fear. No way are these sorts of threats keeping me from walking across Abbey Rd.

Bye for now. Back soon.

 

 

Bell Smell

skunk-smell-229x259

Mike Condon has had a lot of great nights lately. Saturday wasn’t one of them.

Against the visiting Colorado Avalanche, Condon allowed four goals on eleven shots during his two periods of work before being yanked for Dustin Tokarski in the third, who himself let in two more in this 6-1 debacle at the Bell.

And to make matters worse, the Canadiens had plenty of chances and fired 40 shots at Swedish goaltender Reto Berra. But when all was said and done, the Swede was sharp and the Montreal backups played like backups.

It just wasn’t Condon’s night, his first true bummer of an outing, and it began early, after both Jeff Petry and Max Pacioretty blew glorious chances, when Mikhail Grigorenko sneaked one through Condon’s legs just 3:26 into the contest.

With 1:22 left in the first, Petry turned the puck over to Nathan Mackinnon, who fired past Condon, and just 13 seconds later, it was MacKinnon once again, with a backhand that Condon probably should’ve stopped because it seemed he wasn’t set properly.

There we go again. Early and late period goals. It just seems so Wednesday-like, when they lost to Pittsburgh after being scored on 13 seconds into the first period and again with just 44 seconds remaining.

Their opening and closing habits might need a few tweaks.

In the second period, Brendan Gallagher chipped in a Tomas Plekanec pass from behind the net, and hope reigned supreme. For a few minutes at least.

A game to be had, until Andrei Markov, on a Habs power play, told P.K. Subban to grab the puck at the blueline, and P.K. told Markov to grab the puck at the blueline, which led to no one grabbing the puck at the blueline.

Except Blake Comeau, who took advantage of the black comedy and sent the puck through the backstopper’s legs after skating in home free.

This embarrassing and momentum-killing shorthanded goal would see a 4-1 game at that point and spell the end of Condon’s night and his incredible run as saviour while Carey Price is on the mend.

The Markov/Subban lack of communication sequence is not something we want Habs haters to take and run with and plaster all over Facebook pages.  Not something we ever want to see again. So let’s never mention it.

At the other end of the rink, Avs goaltender Berra thwarted plenty of splendid home team chances, and good for him I guess. It’ll be something he can tell his grandchildren someday when back in the old country. How, when he was playing overseas in Canada, he stoned the team that seven months later would win the Stanley Cup.

All in all, the Habs should’ve beaten this guy several times. They also shouldn’t have been scored on shorthanded, shouldn’t have had a blueline brain fart, and shouldn’t have had their backup goalie come crashing back to earth after being the talk of the hockey world, and the league’s third star last week.

Condon might have been fine if the boys would’ve cashed in early once or twice. But they didn’t and he wasn’t.

If a backup played like a first stringer all the time, he wouldn’t be a backup. Poor play once in a while is to be expected. Poor play too often means you’re Peter Budaj or Dustin Tokarski or Alex Auld and you don’t have the job anymore.

Now Condon needs to regroup and hang in there just a little bit longer, as Price seems closer to being up and at ’em.

We need a serious regrouping on Monday when the Vancouver Canucks stop by to say hello. And keep in mind, not only is this loss the team’s second straight, but they’ve dropped five of their last nine.

Those nine straight wins were so nice. I miss that.

 

 

 

 

Rebounding In Fine Fashion

A white dry erase board with shiny metal frame and the words To Do List - Win on it

Much better when the boys win. And on this Halloween Eve, a 6-2 trouncing of the Flames in Calgary makes things right again.

A character win after a couple of embarrassing losses.

A big night for Dale Weise, who netted three in his team’s 6-2 win in Calgary. A fine night for backup goalie Mike Condon, winning his third in three starts this season. And an emotional night for ex-Flame Paul Byron, who inflicted serious damage on the team who said they didn’t love him anymore.

A Habs team back on track, going home without losing that lovin’ feeling. Taking it to the Flames, with a big win to close out October. Ten wins and two losses. Losses we don’t want to talk about.

I’m feeling so good about this rebound win, I can’t decide if my heart soars more like a flock of Fan-Tailed Berrypeckers, or a single Crested Shrike-Tit.

Fifteen minutes in, Weise struck first, with a long shot that Flames goalie Joni Ortiz, who showed absolutely no resemblance to Mike Vernon or Miikka Kiprusoff, let go through his legs.

Joni Ortiz. There’s always Google.

An early lead, but we know how leads can sometimes work out.

In the second frame, the Flames tied it just 27 seconds in, but a couple of minutes later, while on the power play, Nathan Beaulieu’s blast put his team in front once again.

Love those power play goals, and little by little, the team is gaining in power play respectability, sitting tenth or so overall. Much better than 20th or 25th or whatever it was not so long ago.

After the Flames had once again evened things up, the Weise and Byron Show cranked it up.

First with Weise firing a fine wrist shot past Ortiz. Then Bryon, in his second game replacing healthy scratch Alex Semin, sending the puck across in beautiful fashion to set up Devante Smith-Pelly for S-P’s first goal of the season.

And in the third period, Byron breaking free while shorthanded to make it 5-2 before Weise notched his third after some stylish play from linemate Tomas Fleischmann, who’s proving to be a key guy.

A solid 6-2 thumping of the Calgary Flames, although this is a team with just two wins so far this season. Which means if the Habs lost on this night, things would’ve sucked after an already suckified Western Canada jamboree.

But they didn’t suck, they looked just fine, and they remain best of all 30 teams. Already I’ve forgotten about Vancouver and Edmonton.

Random Notes:

Flames outshot Montreal 32-31.

Next up – Sunday, when the Winnipeg Jets visit the Bell Centre.

 

 

Collapse In Edmonton

Price

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.