Category Archives: Washington Capitals

A Cournoyer Goal Puck – Only Weeks After The Summit Series. Anything To Take Your Mind Off The Washington Game.

 Oh, were you thinking you were going to read about the Canadiens loss to the Washington Capitals tonight? Forget it. I’m not going to bother. It’s too disappointing after their big win in Detroit. So I’m moving on.

This post is about a puck instead.

 I never caught a foul ball or home run at a ball game, or grabbed a flying puck in the stands. Although a ball did hit my seat at Shea Stadium when I was out getting a beer and hot dog (seriously), and I did take a puck in the mouth which broke a tooth when I was kid up at the arena in Orillia.

 I did manage to get this though, some time ago. It’s an official goal puck scored by Yvan Cournoyer in 1972. The NHL issued a few goal pucks for about a year, then the idea fizzled out.

 This one reads:

 REGISTERED GOAL-PUCK

Collectors Series

Yvan Cournoyer

of the Montreal Canadiens

Scored an official National Hockey League goal

With the puck mounted above.

This goal, his 5th of the season,

was scored against the

ST. LOUIS BLUES

Date – Oct. 26, 1972

Period – 2nd

Time – 3.38

Habs Stop The Skid By Beating Detroit. And My Theory Of Why.

A giant piano has been lifted ever-so-slightly off the backs of the Canadiens after a reasonably solid 3-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings, of all people. Can’t beat the Islanders and the Hurricanes, but of course the Wings.

 

That’s the Montreal Canadiens. Full of surprises.

 

But I think it’s not a surprise. I think the team banded together after the Ryan O’Byrne goal-on-his-own-net nightmare, and they saw the media and bloggers giving it to their teammate, and whether they knew it or not, it took their chemistry to a whole new level. It’s like they feel it’s them against the world now.

 

This is my theory. We’ll see how they play Friday in Washington, and then against the Sabres back home on Saturday. If they don’t play great, then please disregard the theory.

 

GAME NOTES:

 

Not to pour cold water on this big night, but when is Alex Kovalev going to score? It’s eleven games now without a goal. I don’t want to see this guy traded. I want him to create some magic like he did last year. And on his DVD.

If this enigma ever gets going, then just watch the Habs take off.

 

The Kostitsyn boys, especially Sergei, are also stuck in neutral. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sergei is being considered for demotion to Hamilton.

 

Ryan O’Byrne gave the puck up to Johan Franzen, then let the guy do a little dipsy-doodle on the big defenceman for Detroit’s only goal, which, of course, ruined Carey Price’s shutout bid. 

I wonder if O’Bryne is thinking he should’ve stayed in school and got a job where ten million people don’t watch you screw up when you’re working.

 

Breaking Down The Habs’ Remaining November Games

It’ll be a very interesting remainder of November for the Montreal Canadiens. The boys are in Ottawa now, (Kanata, way to the west of the city, where the rink is), getting ready to take on the dysfunctional Senators.

Then they’re at home Saturday to beat the Bruins, and we all know what this game means. It’s Patrick Roy Sweater To The Rafters Night.

Then the boys sleep in their own beds and wait for the Islanders on Monday.

After that, it’s a two game road trip, when they travel to Detroit next Wednesday, and then swing over to Washington for a Friday game against the Caps.

They then close out the month the following Saturday when the Sabres visit.

 

What does all this mean? 

 It means every game will probably be a struggle for our struggling guys. Let’s see – Ottawa, Boston, the Islanders, Detroit, Washington, and the Sabres. How many games will they win here?

 Boston and Detroit should be tough ones. The Sabres and Washington will also be no picnic. Montreal seems to play flat in Washington. I went to a game there in the 1980’s with a bunch of guys on a beer-soaked, rented car roadtrip, and the Habs lost 5-0.  

 And opening game this year in Buffalo, the Habs lost in a shootout and were flat, a sign of things to come.

 If all the stars and planets are in alignment, Montreal should kick the Islanders ass.

 Which brings us to Thursday night’s game in Ottawa. The Senators have stunk this year. There’s no other way to say it. It’s a team in turmoil, it seems. I don’t know why. They’ve got Alfredsson, Heatley, and Spezza, for goodness sakes. That’s a lot.

But I suppose they’re missing most everything else, although journeyman goalie Alex Auld has been better than expected.

 Montreal needs to start in Ottawa, pick up steam, and make their presence felt in all these games mentioned. Their power play needs to explode. They have to quit taking ridiculous penalties, which I blame Guy Carbonneau for. A Stanley Cup contender is a disciplined team.

Alex Kovalev needs to break out. Why does he feel he needs to be pretty on the ice? Pretty doesn’t usually work. Power works. And as Kovalev goes, the team goes. We saw this last year.

 Carey Price needs to play at least five of the six remaining November games, preferably all six. The Kostitsyn boys, both of them, have to play like last year, although Andrei has been fairly good. Sergei hasn’t.

The defence has to tighten up. Price faced 48 shots in Carolina. That’s unacceptable.

 Also, they’re showing that they’re weak clearing the puck. It can’t be that difficult to shoot the puck out. But other teams have seemed to have figured out how to stop it. Why is that? Carbonneau again, I think.

 And I’ll mention it again. Quit taking stupid penalties. It kills momentum. The gunners sit on the bench while the penalty killers work. How can Carbonneau stop this insanity? Start benching those who take bad, ill-timed penaties. Do something.

In my book, the penalty-taking is the biggest killer of all.

Micro Look At The Eastern Standings. Leafs Sniffing At The Habs.

The goods news is, Montreal has played less games than most, only 15.

 

The bad news is, they’re in tenth place overall, with Buffalo, Vancouver, Minnesota, Washington, Boston, Pittsburgh, Detroit, the Rangers, and the Sharks all above them, with the Sharks leading the pack.

 

The really bad news is the Toronto Maple Leafs are only two points behind them, although the Torontonians have played three more games.

 

Regardless, the Leafs shouldn’t be in the same air space as Montreal. Vancouver shouldn’t be ahead of them. And I hate it when Boston’s ahead of them.

 

Start turning this around tonight, boys, when you play St. Louis. Otherwise, me and a handful of other bloggers are going to have to take the team over and do the coaching.

Looking At The Standings Because It’s Interesting

Now that the dust has sort of settled on getting the season underway, it’s a little disturbing to see the Buffalo Sabres playing so well. They have the same record as Montreal – 4 wins and a shootout loss for nine points, for goodness sakes. Even with those George Jetson jerseys.

 

The Sabres will come back down to earth shortly. I’m sure they will.

 

There’s good news, though, and the good news is that the Philadelphia Flyers, the team Steve Downey plays for, hasn’t won yet in five games. It doesn’t get much better than that!

 

The Florida Panthers are in Montreal Monday night to play the Habs. I know I say every game that the two points that night are extra important for the Canadiens,  so I’ll just say it again. These two points are extra important for the Canadiens. Gotta catch those Rangers.

 

Florida should be in Hamilton. Or Halifax, or Winnipeg, or Saskatoon, or Quebec City.

 

Why is there hockey in Miami, Florida?

 

I know there’s lots of snowbirds in Florida who are big hockey fans, but that’s not good enough. The team’s drawing only around 12,000 a game, and so now they’re giving away a pair of free tickets as long as you can show a Florida driving license. Miami people need to be at dog races and jai alai tournaments. Not hockey games.

 

Also interesting in the standings is Tampa Bay’s start. They’re winless after five games. And this with two new owners, the firing of coach John Tortorella, and the hiring of Barry Melrose. So it’s not going well for all concerned except Tortorella, who’s now providing reasonable thoughts on TSN. (Except for his prediction of who will win the Cup.)

 

Montreal sits in second place in the east with those bastard Buffalonians, with the Rangers leading with 13. But New York has played several more games than anyone else so the standings are slightly cockeyed. And there’s a handful of teams just behind Montreal and Buffalo, like New Jersey, Pittsburgh, and Washington.

 

San Jose’s leading the west with St. Louis, Minnesota, and Edmonton hot on the trail. Both Edmonton and Minnesota are undefeated at 4-0.

 

And John Tortorella thinks San Jose will win the Cup.

 

 

See Ya Later Mats. Welcome Aboard Robert Lang!

Waiting for Mats Sundin to figure out what he wanted to do turned sour after about the first month. And finally, in the middle of September, with training camp close to happening, Bob Gainey made his move.

 

Because I’m sure Gainey was even more sick of the Sundin thing than we were.

 

So he went out yesterday and landed centre Robert Lang from Chicago, and now the team is set for training camp with all the pieces in place, and scoring Lang instead of Sundin isn’t that bad a thing at all.

 

It’s all strength down the middle now, with Lang, Saku Koivu, Tomas Plekanec, Maxim Lapierre, and Kyle Chipchura.

 

Robert Lang’s been around. He’s 37 now, and has played with six previous teams, LA, Boston, Pittsburgh, Washington, Detroit, and Chicago, and was even Alex Kovalev’s centreman in Pittsburgh. He’s a playmaker who averages 50 points a year, and is going to be, in my estimation, a key player with the Habs.

 

This means the Canadiens are now a mix of older and young, of experience throughout, with Carey Price beginning his second full season.

 

The Canadiens gave up a second-round draft pick in 2010, which is fine. Because this is a team gunning for all the marbles this year, their 100th season, and the time is ripe.

 

This Lang thing puts me in a good mood. I’ve got big expectations for him. They say he might he play alongside Kovalev, just like in the old days. And he seems really happy to come to Montreal, which is of the utmost importance. “You never want to get traded or have to move your family,” he said, “but I think it’s going to be a great situation. It’s a great hockey town.”

 

Of course it is, Robert. It’s the greatest hockey town on the planet. You’re walking into a great thing, and I know you’re 37 years old, but you now belong to a historic and legendary team and you’re going to do great.

 

Welcome aboard, Robert. Wear the CH with pride.

 

ALSO:

 

Patrice Brisbois has resigned with the Habs and this is good too. Brisebois, mistakes or not, is a classy guy with something to offer, but unless there’s an injury from another blueliner, he won’t see tons of ice time. 

 

And this is another guy who wants to play in Montreal and had hoped that Gainey would resign him so he could stay. And he may even pop the odd power play goal.