Category Archives: Washington Capitals

Habs Burn Leafs

Just when the young and smug Toronto Maple Leafs and their giddy fans thought the team was rockin’ and rollin’ toward new and amazing heights, they came up against the gritty Montreal Canadiens.

Suddenly, all isn’t so fantastic in Leafland, as the visiting Habs, finishing off a seven-game road trip that took them to winter wonderlands like Miami, Tampa, Dallas, Nashville etc, waltzed into Toronto and won 5-3 in solid fashion over the Toronto Kadris.

Alexander Radulov was sensational, as was Carey Price, but for me the real hero was Shea Weber, who pounced and trounced Zach Hyman after the Leaf forward flew into Price and sent him sprawling. Then, as the second period came to an end, Weber once again sought out Hyman and made his point even clearer.

That’s what we want, and it’s what I knew we’d get from Weber when he came over from Nashville. This is is a guy respected by all, he’s a big brother to some and a leader to all, and he needed to bend Hyman’s nose to say it loud and clear in Toronto and around the league that Carey Price is not to be messed with.

The team will protect Price, and the corner was abruptly turned after New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri ran Price a month ago and Price took matters into his own hands. His teammates were embarrassed and criticized, but sometimes a team in the midst of gelling needs to learn a solid lesson.

And the Canadiens have.

Habs

Leafs

Three wins in their first three games of January. Last season, the boys won just three in the entire month. I’m proud of these crazy bunch of beautiful bastards. A team held together with band aids, and they won’t break.

Just a tremendous showing in front of smug Leaf fans.

Random Notes

Habs were outshot by the Leafs 36-31, and were 2/5 on the power play (Scherbak and Radulov).

Nikita Scherbak, in his very first NHL game, scored his first NHL goal with just one second left in the first period to give the boys a 3-2 lead.

Max Pacioretty had opened the scoring just 20 seconds into the game, and Artturi Lehkonen added another befor e the Leafs stormed back to tie it.

Radu scored his power play marker in the second frame to widen the gap to 4-2, but the Leafs would soon make it a 4-3 game.

In the third period, Michael McCarron salted it away by bouncing the biscuit off Leafs goaltender Frederik Anderson, who was quite shitty on the night. Anderson is keeping up the fine tradition of mediocre backstopping in Cabbagetown. It goes back many decades.

No sense naming the Montreal injury list. It’s old news.

But if you haven’t heard, it’s Gally, Chucky, DD, Pateryn, Markov, Byron, and Shaw.

Next up – Habs at home on Monday to battle the Washington Capitals, then it’s back on the road to Winnipeg and Minnesota on Wednesday and Thursday. The wives must be lonely. (And if you are, my number is 604-555-1212. Call me.)

Photos – First – the art was done by me in grade two. Second – one of my old ads from crumbling newspapers. Third – My hockey coin collection. I have the other four teams complete as well. Fourth – the iconic Maclean’s magazine cover, with added script created by my friend Ed in Ottawa.

Habs Handle Caps

Old mitts. Maybe older than you.

The Canadiens held on and edged the Washington Capitals 2-1 on Caps ice, and displayed a fine rebound game after their pathetic effort Friday against the San Jose Sharks.

Artturi Lehkonen and Jeff Petry scored for Montreal, and Carey Price made his own personal statement.

After the Canadiens’ great start, especially in October when they racked up eight wins and a shootout loss, each win now makes their chances of making the post season even more secure.

It also means that although they have their down moments, like the Sharks game, or that 10-0 thing in Columbus, once the playoffs start you’ll forget completely about the regular season.

You say you won’t but you will.

And if you look at last year, the year of The Nightmare (also known as The Worst Habs Season Ever), you’ll see that the collapse to end all collapses began in December, when they won the first game of the month, then dropped the next four, won again in the middle of the month, then lost another six, and then won just once more before falling in their final game of December.

Three wins in December and three times in January. And the sky did fall.

But I’m now happy to report that the 2016-17 team has won four times already in December, with six games to go, and they remain top of the heap with Pittsburgh and a couple of other pretenders.

So they’ll make the playoffs (yes they will), we’ll forget about anything else, and then they’ll win the Stanley Cup because everyone will be healthy (Andrei Markov left early tonight) and Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Plekanec will see their luck change and light several lamps as the CH steamrolls everyone in their path..

Oh, you have your doubts? Well you obviously haven’t been talking to Sprague Cleghorn and Didier Pitre like I have.

Habs Win In Washington

rocky

Alex Galchenyuk’s two goals and Mike Condon’s often great and sometimes lucky netminding helped the Canadiens edge the uppity Washington Capitals 4-3 in D.C. Wednesday night.

Although they barely held on in the final few minutes after blowing a 4-1 lead in the third.

But it was mostly an impressive outing by the boys, and as Dale Weise said between periods, before they almost blew it, “This is the kind of hockey we knew we could play.”

Sportsnet announcer Dave Randorf babbled on early about how great the Caps were and how they were too much for the struggling Canadiens. But he’d soon do an about-face.

Galchenyuk banged in a rebound to open the scoring, Brendan Gallagher fired home an Andrei Markov rebound, and the score was a shocking 2-0 Canadiens to end the first period. And Randorf quit the gushing and began to give the Habs their due.

The Canadiens deserved praise too. They skated well, looked sharp, scored a power play goal (Gally), and Ovechkin and company for the most part didn’t know what hit them.

To add to the first period shock, Tomas Fleischmann would make it 3-0 just two minutes into the second frame, which chased hotshot goaltender Braden Holtby, and after Jason Chimera solved Condon to make it 3-1, Galchenyuk would notch his second of the night and it was a magnificent 4-1 lead.

Maybe you saw Chimera in the series Road to the Winter Classic, when he was chirping PK Subban and saying, “You guys won nine straight but that’s it. Who do you think you are?”

The excellent second period also saw Brendan Gallagher on a penalty shot and Lars Eller on a clear-cut breakaway, with neither scoring. But they could have, and 5-1 or 6-1  would have been mighty fine.

But that’s not the way the Montreal Canadiens do things.

In the third period, after Jacob de la Rose was foiled on a breakaway, the Caps suddenly came to life, scored two and stormed the Montreal net, and almost came all the way back to win the friggin’ thing.

But the boys hung on and skated away with a fine 4-3 win.

They beat the penthouse dwellers. That’s good, right?

Random Notes:

Washington outshot Montreal 35-34.

Great stop by Condon on Mike Richards with his back turned.

Next up – Leafs at the Bell Centre on Saturday.

 

Gunned By Flyers

rink

The Canadiens, finishing off eight straight road games, fall 4-3 to the Flyers in Philadelphia, with this latest disappointment coming after a great outing against Boston at the Winter Classic last Friday.

Coach Michel Therrien, when asked about the difference between the big outdoor win and the lacklustre showing in Philly, had this to say:

“I’m glad you boys brought this up,” said the coach as he emptied his bottle of Four Aces, hurled it across the room, and opened another.”

“I don’t care if the league fines me, but I’m gonna get this off my chest. Everybody knows we’re an outdoors team. That’s where we play our best hockey. But look what the schedule maker did. We’re forced to play 81 games indoors and it’s not $#^%& right.”

“Look at the top teams – Dallas, Washington and the rest. These are indoor teams and they get to play all 82 games indoors, while we only get one outdoor game, which is our bread and butter. Is that $#^%& right? Is it?

Coach Therrien has a point. His Montreal Canadiens do not play well indoors, but the league doesn’t seem to care. But it’s always been this way. No one wants to see the Habs do well.

And the beat goes on.

Random Notes:

The Flyers outshot the Canadiens 31-24.

With the eight-game road trip now history, the team plays its next three in Montreal, beginning with the Devils on Wednesday evening. Unfortunately, all three games are indoors.

Ben Scrivens, in net for Montreal, was excellent in a losing cause.

Montreal marksman were Galchenyuk, Gallagher, and Carr.

outdoor rink

 

 

Canadiens In The Zone…The Twilight Zone

twilight-zone

I was watching one of my favourite TV  shows today, The Twilight Zone.

Have you seen any of this classic series? Ventriloquist dummies coming to life, weird things at bus stations, freaky little aliens on airplane wings.  George Stroumboulopoulos wearing shoes the length of a canoe.

Anyway, today’s episode was about a hockey team that one minute was one of the best in the world and a possible favourite to go all the way, and almost at the snap of a finger froze up like they were freaky aliens on an airplane wing over the North Atlantic.

Even the Toronto Bleeding Scabs thought they might be able to leap over them in the standings. It was that bad.

Sports writers were ruthless. Fans considered jumping off bridges. Little kids cried. Bloggers tried to think about what to write.

Why did Rod Serling screw with our minds like that?

Canadiens fall 3-1 to the Washington Capitals, their sixth straight loss, their tenth in eleven games, eleven in thirteen etc. No one’s scoring except Daniel Carr. The team has just six goals in these latest six losses. Marc Bergevin is making calls about Mike Bossy.

It’s enough to send me to the fridge where the brandy is, like a thirsty zombie in The Twilight Zone.

Next – Monday in Tampa Bay, where the boys can drop televisions and drive cars into the hotel pool if they so desire. They’re rich, pampered athletes. They can do whatever they want.

And frankly, dropping TVs and drowning cars to let off steam might be exactly what they need. Christmas at home didn’t help.

Habs Almost….

FreshPaint-12-2015.12.22-08.35.38

Imagine how good it’s going to feel when they win a game!

Don’t forget, they set a record for most wins in regulation to start a season when they racked up nine straight, so that helps, right?

A goal by Montreal’s surprising Daniel Carr closed the gap, but the hometown Minnesota Wild held on for a 2-1 win as the Habs’ ridiculous slump continues. And Lucifer rubs his hands with glee at his incredibly nasty joke on us saintly Habs fans.

The Canadiens have lost a lot of games lately. No need to rehash numbers.

Good. This part done. Now a fresh regrouping until Boxing Day, when it’s on to Washington to play the really good Capitals.

And with the Christmas regrouping, and some serious shit from their wives, we’ll see a new team. An upset, fed up, dried up, beat up team that will rise from the wrath of their wives and kids and dogs and neighbours and grocery store clerks and destroy Ovechkin and crew and boot the Zamboni as they leave the building.

Starting soon, they’re gonna kick this slump in the nuts. And they’re gonna start scoring.

Dallas Does Debbies

clobbered

The impressive Dallas Stars rolled over the Montreal Liberaces 6-2 Saturday in the Lone Star State, and it was a night when most Liberace players probably should’ve just stayed in the hotel lounge and tickled the ivories and drank Pink Ladies instead.

Eight losses in ten games. Now it’s on to Nashville, Minnesota, Washington, Tampa Bay, Florida, Boston, and Philadelphia.

All good teams.

I’m starting to bite my nails again after quitting 20 years ago.

And although Paul Byron (shorthanded) and Daniel Carr would bulge the twine, once again the big guns stayed silent. Pee Wee Herman, Richard Simmons, Don Knox, Bill Nye – none of them were noticeable in this fiasco.

Mike Condon was replaced by Dustin Tokarski early in the third after the sixth goal.

Jeff Petry was hit by Jamie Benn and left the game.

P.K. Subban shot the puck over the glass and was penalized. Twice.

Andrei Markov only did it once.

Random Notes:

For breakfast I had two poached eggs on toast, with extra toast and coffee.

At this moment, P.K. Subban is thinking a little about his two delay of games penalties, and a lot about his new suit at the tailors and his ability to get Justin Trudeau to sing a Christmas carol.

Next up – Monday in Music City.

How are things in the world of cricket?

Habs Capped By Caps

Habs girl

Due to the fact that I was in Victoria for two days to take baby Lyla to an eye specialist, this recap is not really a recap. It’s recrap. A ‘rush through with the remote’ rundown.

For those wondering, the above picture is not baby Lyla. Lyla’s more beautiful and she’s only one. And her eye is fine.

It was a dark and stormy two nights, with cancelled ferry sailings, heavy rain, and big winds to rival Don Cherry on crystal meth. But we’re home now and it’s late, and tomorrow I have to give my usual 147% for four hours. So I need some sleep.

But I know the Canadiens lost 3-2 to the visiting Washington Capitals, and with the recording on in front of me as I type away, I see the Caps jump out to 1-0 lead early in the first, but I also see the Canadiens more than holding their own.

Jeez that was a tough trip to Victoria.

Fast forward the PVR to the second frame and there’s Alex Galchenyuk dangling, with Lars Eller finally stuffing it home. More and more, Chucky’s becoming a marvel.

Back on the fast forward to a Caps goal with just 44 seconds left in the middle frame when Condon couldn’t corral his bouncing rebound. Slightly less than solid netminding, and it’s too bad.

Montreal is outshooting the visitors 27-13 at this point and I could pretend I don’t know the final outcome, but I do and it’s a shame. The team is playing well against a solid Caps club. Better than the Caps.

Fast forward to the third (because I gotta get to bed for *%$# sakes), and straight to the next goal, and I see just 2:07 in, Brian Flynn, while shorthanded, burst in and deked Holtby out of his jockstrap and it’s 2-2.

A beautiful goal, nicely set up by Paul Byron, and now I wish I didn’t know the final score. Because it looks mighty promising for Canada’s team.

But alas, midway through the third, a long shot was tipped in  byT.J. Oshie, once again a puck that probably shouldn’t have gone in, the Caps take the lead, and once again, it’s too bad.

Random Notes:

Montreal outshot Washington 35-19, and had plenty of chances to win this thing. But they didn’t.

Next up – Saturday in Raleigh to take on the Hurricanes.

Sorry for the recrap.

 

 

Late PP Goal Wins It

winning-md

All it took was an idiotic penalty by the always obnoxious Scott Hartnell to give the Canadiens a late 2-1 win on home ice.

The veteran Hartnell (15 years and more than 1000 games) decided to take out P.K. Subban’s legs with the scored tied and just 2:34 left on the clock, and now he owes his teammates some serious Buttery Nipples.

Such a perfect penalty, because just 25 seconds later, Max Pacioretty sent home a Dale Weise feed to end things.

Canadiens 2, Blue Jackets 1. And the air is thin up there in the standings.

Montreal opened the scoring early in the first period when Paul Byron converted a perfect pass from Christian Thomas, but with just over two minutes left in the frame, Nick Foligno was too quick for Mike Condon on a wraparound and the score was tied.

And it remained so until Scott Hartnell’s brain went into some sort of deep freeze. Or maybe it’s always been in some sort of deep freeze. Don’t forget, he made his mark in Philly.

Fans at the Bell sat through some serious minutes of nothingness, but they saw the boys come alive from time to time and ultimately win their first December game, with only another 20 or so before Carey Price possibly returns.

But in the meantime, Mike Condon, win or lose, just isn’t letting all that many pucks get by him. The guy’s allowed just 30 goals in15 games, and how can you ask for anything more?

Random Notes:

Montreal had three mediocre power plays, but their fourth won the game.

Alexei Emelin was given five minutes and a game misconduct for interference, which seemed harsh.

Nathan Beaulieu and Foligno battled after the Jackets forward took out Tomas Fleischmann’s legs in dangerous fashion. Beaulieu got a couple of early ones in, but Foligno nailed our guy with a late one. But the point is, Beaulieu fought for his teammate, and it’s not the first time he’s done that.

Shots on goal – Habs 26, BJs 23.

Next up – the very dangerous Washington Capitals pay a visit on Thursday.

 

 

 

 

 

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.