Category Archives: Washington Capitals

Bell Number Eight?

Hard to believe that seeing a game at the Bell Centre only ranks number 8 behind Minnesota, Washington, Winnipeg, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and New York, but that’s what the Stadium Journey people have decided in their new 2014 rankings.

I was sure there was no better experience than being at the Bell. In fact I’m still sure, regardless of what they say. Number 8 definitely beats Ottawa though, which comes in at a dismal 29th.

Here’s the link with new ratings for all the barns – Stadium Journey Arena Rankings.

Gionta Wins It And Team Reaches 100!

No goals through three periods.

Brian Gionta tripped up on a breakaway in overtime by ex-Hab Raphael Diaz, awarded a penalty shot, and comes through to give his team and us a huge 1-0 win.

The regular season is finished, the Canadiens reach a very impressive 100 points, and now the real season begins. The 82 games were only a lengthy warm-up act.

And the boys finished it off in dramatic fashion.

I wasn’t a Gionta backer throughout most of the year. He hasn’t been overly effective in my mind. He’s been a reminder of the smurf days. It seems Josh Gorges has been more of captain material.

But Gionta has come through often in the last while. He’s worked hard, has popped a few, and has shown leadership, which he should, considering he wears the captain’s “C”.

So now I’m proud of Gionta. As the season wound down, he cranked it up. And on Saturday night he was also awarded the important Jacques Beauchamp trophy for being an unheralded key guy on the team.

Luci and I decided against the Irish pub to watch the game because we found another down the street with a giant screen. Again a sensational night in Quebec City where we encountered nothing but friendly folk in an incredibly cool Old Quebec.

I had a bunch of beer, though, so this is what passes for my game post for the final game of the season. Hic.

Shots on goal – Blueshirts 41, Habs 27. Carey Price voted game’s first star.

Tomorrow we cheer for Washington in their game against Tampa Bay.

Great talking to you.


Canadiens Clip Wings

Maybe a tad too many giveaways and Carey Price has seen better nights, but no matter, the Canadiens win another, a 5-4 affair in Motown, and thus, the train keeps a rollin’.

Seven wins in eight games. Fighting it out in the standings with Tampa Bay for home ice advantage in the first round. A team more and more are thinking of as a bonafide contender in the east.

It makes my heart soar like a reawakened Avro Arrow.

They almost blew it though. Some inexcusable turnovers and some slightly off-kilter work by Price, but many of the guys showed up for work, like DD, Vanek, and Max line, and in the end, it’s two points deposited in the bank of Montreal.

Now we have a good sleep, make sure we wear our lucky socks for the next two days, and get ready for Saturday in Sunrise.

Tomas Plekanec scored two goals in the first period, his 19th and 20th, but beginning in the second and then into the third, Detroit would answer whenever the Canadiens lit the lamp, and the hometown team continued to keep it close.

The Wings made it 2-1 in the second before David Desharnais converted some nice work by Tomas Vanek in the corner and it became 3-1 for the good guys.

But in the third, P.K. Subban suddenly decided to do what no Norris Trophy winner should ever do – lob a softball up the middle, which of course was intercepted, and it became a 3-2 game at that point.

The Wings then took advantage of loose play in the corner, the puck skipped out, and the game was tied faster than you can say Alex Delvecchio.

The goal scoring onslaught didn’t finish there either. Max made it 4-3 on a slightly offside play, Thomas Vanek then deflected an Andrei Markov shot and it was 5-3, but just 21 seconds later, Detroit made it 5-4 and it was still anybody’s game.

Until it wasn’t.

The Canadiens held on and downed the Red Wings who are fighting for a wild card spot but these are the breaks. No one worries about the Habs, and we’re not about to worry about hurting others’ chances. At least I’m not. It’s dog eat dog out there.

And Detroit is still in the thick of it, although Washington, Columbus, and Toronto are really happy the Habs won and the Wings lost.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – Detroit 30, Montreal 29.

Habs multi-point getters on the night were Vanek with a goal and two assists, Pleks with two goals, DD with a goal and an assist, and PK with two assists.

Vanek has 5 goals and 4 assists in his 11 games with the Canadiens so far.

Max notched his 33rd.

Habs hit Florida for a Saturday night tilt against the Panthers. It’s always interesting to see how many down low, center ice, primo empty seats there will be at the BB&T Center. It must drive hockey fans in Quebec City crazy.


Can’t Wait For Tonight

New pic from Darth says it all.


Just can’t wait to see if they stink again.

Will they play against Carolina the way they did the other night against Washington?

What if they’re half-past dead and play like they’ve just eaten a turkey stuffed with valium and get three or six shots in a period?

How unbelievable it’ll be if they do all this. After their stinker and the one before that and the one before that and before that.

If they come out flat, we need to drop an Acme safe on the bunch of them.

Do we have a captain to try and rally the troops?

It’s going to be interesting how it all unfolds.

Tonight we’ll see what they’re made of.

Habs Stunned By Cap Guns

The Canadiens came out Saturday night and bombarded Braden Holtby with big three shots.

But they weren’t finished there, as they continued in waves and fired another six blasts in the second.

Washington 5, Habs o.

Close, but no cigar. How did Holtby withstand such an onslaught?

The beat goes on, and the pathetic display tonight by the Canadiens was just an incredibly unacceptable effort.

They should be completely ashamed of themselves. How long do we have to put up with this nonsense?


Bummer in Pittsburgh

Part One

Habs lose 5-1 in Pittsburgh, and Marc-Andre Fleury and Peter Budaj, who was in relief of Carey Price, almost came to blows for some reason, and which was one of the more interesting parts of the night I suppose, along with, if you’re a Pens fan, Evgeny Malkin doing the quick step.

An even more interesting thing would’ve been a Ned Flanders goalie mask stuffed into Fleury’s smiling mouth.

Part Two:

It was a blowout and it’s sad. I was hoping for a bigger blowout. Something so huge, so shocking, that it might even force Marc Bergevin to panic.

Although he’s probably been trying for months to make moves but teams just aren’t all that interested in the moveable objects.

Douglas Murray, Francis Bouillon, Rene Bourque, Daniel Briere, Andre Markov, Raphael Diaz, Brian Gionta, Travis Moen, and George Parros just aren’t that popular with other teams for some reason.

It’s a head scratcher.

The team’s been ill since the beginning of December, back when it was only sort of freezing outside instead of feeling like we’re living on a friggin’ iceberg. Stores were gearing up for the big Christmas rush. The EGG line had been on fire up until then. The team had been fighting for first place in the east.

Life had been good. Then they started winning while sucking. And sucking when losing.

It’s been a walk on the mediocre side mostly since, except for that stunning and miraculous night when the team put it all together against a great Chicago team and thrilled us to no end.

It was a night to love. Brought back to another time, to years ago when the team was great, the joint was rockin’, and on a personal note, I had more hair.

But the Chicago game was then. A one time deal. We’ve cleared our eyes and heads and have come to the realization that the team needs serious fixing and management hasn’t done a thing in the fixing department.

No trades. Guys rarely brought up from Hamilton and when they are, they’re on the ice less than the anthem singer. The defence, aside from P.K., is slow and full of holes, like a pin cushion rolling along a table.

The coach can’t decide on set lines except for ones with guys who don’t deserve to be on set lines. Some play like they’re on morphine. Others have energy and take bad penalties and can’t hit the net. And the captain is shorter than Danny DeVito.

The team is sick right now, and instead of management giving it first aid, they stand nearby while the patient coughs up blood and prepares to meet its maker.

Everyone knows the Habs are in trouble. And now they play on Friday (against Detroit) which conflicts with my beer night at St. Hubert’s Chicken.

But I’ll watch it, hoping they put it all together and trick me once again into thinking they’re going good. Because the night after that, when the Caps show up, they’ll almost certainly stink again.

It’s been tough being a Habs fan for the past couple of decades.

Less-Than-Great December

Thus ends December, and as you can see on the Scientific Habs Information Tracking System (S.H.I.T.S.), it ended on a sour and angry note instead of glee and giddiness.

Even though there’s a fair amount of yellow in December (8 games won, 6 lost), the boys didn’t play well for most of it.

The wins were all one-goal squeakers, except for the 3-1 game against Phoenix, but the third goal was an empty-netter. And as you can see in their losses, one was 6-0, another 5-1, then 4-1, and that pathetic implosion in Carolina when they dropped a 5-4 OT stinker.

Peter Budaj lost his last two starts, and was part of the miserable Los Angeles Kings 6-0 spanking when he replaced Price after our number 1 guy allowed four goals on 16 shots.

The saving grace is that the Canadiens are still firmly lodged in fourth place overall in the East, which isn’t chopped liver. Pittsburgh leads with 59 points, then Boston with 54, then TB with 50 and the Habs also with 50. Washington trails in fifth with 45.

Not bad by the boys, but for the big picture it is. Except for Price, who’s been mostly stellar, it was an entire month of mediocre hockey played.

Here’s hoping it’s new-found vim and vigour in 2014 . And maybe a trade or two.


Ready For Tonight

All set to go with no lingering beer effects, the TV will be nicely warmed-up, and I’m ready to say all kinds of nice things about the Canadiens after they wallop the Florida Panthers tonight at the Bell Centre.

It might prove tough for the gang though, considering they flew back from New York in a snowstorm in the wee hours of Sunday, with the Panthers not having played in a few days and winning their last two games in shootouts against good teams – the Caps on Friday and Wings last Tuesday.

With the Canadiens, all we’re asking for is a win and more scoring from different guys. Two goals in three games isn’t exactly fire-wagon hockey.

But they’ll turn it around because that’s what they do.

The question on everyone’s lips – Will Scott Gomez be in the Florida lineup? It’s a concern. The sniper, who has scored one goal this year and was on track for possibly a two-goal season, hasn’t dressed since Nov. 30 when he was a minus-2.

Fans pay big money for tickets and when Pittsburgh comes to town, they want to see Sidney Crosby. Same with Washington and Ovechkin.

Same with Florida and Gomez.



Boys Beat Buds

It was almost everything one would want from a Saturday night Hockey Night in Canada Habs-Leafs bash.

Guys skating like the wind, back and forth action, some nastiness, pretty goals, tense times. If only we didn’t have to see PJ Stock.

Aside from that and a couple of other things, the night was almost perfect. Leaf fans might not agree but of course that part isn’t important.

The Canadiens win the game 4-2 on two more goals by the red-hot Max Pacioretty, with PK Subban and Tomas Plekanec also bulging the twine. But they led the thing 4-0 before allowing two goals in 22 seconds late in the second period which quickly changed the gleeful merriment and put a quick halt to the tiresome Ole Ole singing.

They did manage to hang on though, there was no scoring in the third frame, and it’s a beautiful thing to see the boys rebound after losing to the Caps Friday night a shootout, which came after a four-game win streak.

Back on track, ending the month of November in fine style. Now it’s December to concentrate on.

Don’t forget, media and fans everywhere have predicted since last season that the Habs will run out of steam as the season unfolds. So it’s one month at a time, get it done throughout, and show these people they don’t know what they’re talking about.

Pre-game saw a terrific little HNIC clip showing Habs-Leafs action from over the years with soprano Giacomo Puccini warbling in Latin or Italian or whatever it was. I’ll take clips of the Rocket and Plante and the gang till the cows come home. Never tire of it, and I always get goosebumps.

The Bell Centre crowd sang the national anthem, Max Pacioretty opened the scoring after receiving a beautiful pass up the middle from PK Subban with Max banging it home with three or four whacks after the initial stop from Jonathan Bernier,

And after David Desharnais won the faceoff back to PK who sent a wrist shot to the back of the net, it was sort of off to the races.

The second period began with the obligatory Parros-Orr staged fight, and then without warning, first Plekanec scored, and then a shorthanded marker from Max Pacioretty, and the Ole singing really kicked in.

I know what the Ole bit is. It’s from European soccer, meant to be a celebration of the game and the happiness involved. I know it’s not supposed to be a smug thing, sung as a “we’ve got it in the bag” sort of thing.

No matter.  It is a smug thing whether intended or not. I don’t like it, never have, and I think it rallies the other team. And anyway, we’re in North America, not Europe, it’s hockey, not soccer, so can’t we find another way to show happiness? How about standing ovations instead?

The singing died down quickly when Toronto scored twice late in the second to make for uneasy times in living rooms and at the Bell, but the boys shut the visitors down in the third and skate away with a terrific 4-2 win that had me and I’m sure a plethora of others on the edge of couches, which is why it’s called “the good old hockey game.”

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot the Leafs 39-36.

There was a nice feature about Habs goalie coach Stephane Waite before the game, and when asked if he thought the tandem of Carey Price and Peter Budaj were good enough to be goalies of a Stanley Cup-winner, Waite said “absolutely, without a doubt’ which of course is the right answer.

But Ron MacLean (just kidding he would say) piped in when the clip was done with a “somehow I doubt it” which was uncalled for because (a) he missed the point of the question completely, and (b) he’s a moron.

Canadiens are busy. They played Friday and Saturday, then again on Monday (New Jersey), and then Wednesday (Devils again) and Thursday (Bruins).

More and more I see that George Parros isn’t doing what we’d hoped. These staged fight are ridiculous, and what he does otherwise doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.

PK ended with a goal and assist, Max with two goals, and Carey Price assisted on the first Max marker, tying him with Ryan White and putting him ahead of Parros and Douglas Murray in points, who are stalled at zero..