Outnumbered In Overtime

It was a hard-fought, tight affair that was sent into overtime, with the Canadiens in tough after being given a too-many-men penalty.

Throw in a Tomas Plekanec broken stick that made it basically 4 Pens to 2 Habs, and an overdue Sidney Crosby swarming around like a man possessed, and it all coming to crashing halt when Crosby bulged the twine to give the visitors a 2-1 win.

Just no chance when Sid and the boys have what amounted to a two-man advantage in OT. I’m gonna blame the stick maker.

Nice goal by Max in the first though. A 2 on 1 with Gally, with Max sending a missile past Marc-Andre Fleury.

Now we wait until Wednesday before the Habs play again, when they travel to Columbus to meet the Blue Jackets.

In the meantime, I think I’ll have some………

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A Fine Hat

I’d forgotten I had this. But going through boxes today, there it was.

It’s too small so unfortunately I can’t wear it around town. But it’s just as well, because if it did fit, the ladies would probably swoon and try to tear my clothes off. My personal safety would be at risk. It even comes with attached fold-down shades to enhance the coolness.

As rare as rare can be is this mighty fine 1950s Habs hat.

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Struck By Lightning

A few of my personal 2015 wishes: health, a big lottery win, and no Habs-Lightning playoff matchup.

The Canadiens are definitely in tough when they face this team, losing 4-2 in clear cut fashion on Tuesday, three months after being bombed by this speedy bunch 7-1 in Tampa.

Now, after just  a couple of heady days in the Eastern penthouse, Montreal gets bumped to the next floor by these Floridians who deserved the win and the Habs didn’t.

The Canadiens scored first, which usually means a fine evening to follow, but four Lightning goals in the second period sunk the ship. Max would narrow it to 4-2 in the third, but because of overall feebleness by the guys in red, a miraculous comeback would have been just that – a miraculous comeback.

PK Subban needed to go back to bed. A lackadaisical giveaway that sent a Tampa player in alone, which didn’t result in a  goal but no matter. Later on, a fancy move to dazzle the enemy, but it all fell apart and no dazzling was to be. And his second penalty of the game, a brain fart type of infraction, came from jabbing his stick at Brett Connelly while PK was still on the bench, which led to a slashing penalty and TB’s second goal which basically got the ball rolling.

Lousy night overall, and now the boys don’t play until Saturday when the Pens visit the Bell. Upon examining the Scientific Habs Information Tracking System (S.H.I.T.S.) closely, I’m now fully convinced the schedule maker has a drug and alcohol problem.

Random Notes:

Lightning outshot the Canadiens 36-22.

RDS went with their nosebleed camera for most of the game, which pissed me off to no end. Why so high? It’s bad enough when one gets stuck in the cheap seats at a live game, but to be just as high up from the living room is so wrong.

A Golden Night

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Congratulations to Habs prospect Zach Fucale and his Team Canada teammates for collecting gold in the 2015 World Junior Championship after surviving a serious scare from a big and impressive Russian squad.

Sixty solid minutes of stress, excitement, tension, drama, and getting a big time bang for the buck, regardless if you were at the ACC in Toronto or sitting on your couch biting your fingernails.

It began with a 2-0 Canadian lead in the first few minutes, followed shortly after by a Russian goalie change, after which unfolded a hefty 5-1 lead by the team most in the building were wildly cheering for.

It was supposed to be in the bag. But the Russians didn’t get the memo.

Three goals in just over three minutes and suddenly it was 5-4 with a period to go. But Team Canada held the fort in this wildly entertaining game that was chock full of near misses, bone-rattling checks, heart-stopping action, off the charts emotion, and youthful exuberance.

When you see a hockey game like this, you know that this can be an unparalleled sport, the best sport, but only when the planets are aligned. And it was a bunch of teenagers that did the aligning.

One thing’s for sure. These once in a blue moon affairs don’t exactly make one long for a Panthers-Coyotes tilt. Or most regular season NHL games for that matter.

There was no trap. No dump the puck in all night. No going through the motions. Just massive doses of frenzied action from skilled kids who haven’t become jaded yet.

Of course a good old fashioned Habs win is always fun, but that’s a different mindset. It’s early January and the World Juniors owned the big stage. This was their time, their moment to shine. And it was all capped off in glorious fashion by wonderful gold medal hockey featuring two classic rivals.

Now we have to wait a full year to hopefully see this sort of thing again. Only a late spring parade down Ste-Catherine will help the wait.

 

A Beautiful Brick

Classic Auctions founder and president Marc Juteau gave me a going away gift before I left, and it now sits in my living room, reminding me of my special time there.

I remain tremendously proud of having worked at Classic, and I’ll never forget the job and the people I worked with. What a great bunch – Marc, Frank, Sean, Gilles, Dan, Josee, Debbie, Andre, Maude, Scott, Mathieu, and Greg. They became my friends, and they’re awesome.

Marc’s gift was a brick from the original Montreal Forum, before the building was renovated in 1968, placed into a special case, and with a plaque and Certificate of Authenticity from the Montreal Canadiens. I love it so much.

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Below, photos I took of the old Forum circa 1965, when I was 14 or 15. My buddy and I had taken a bus charter from Orillia to Montreal to see the Canadiens play the Rangers, and I still remember the magical feelings I had of the city.

And of course I remember the old Forum with the pillars on each side, and where, when the game was over, we made our way down and stared at the ice until we were told to leave.

The Forum would eventually be renovated and enlarged in 1968, but this is the old barn. Maybe one of the bricks you see in these photos is the one I have now.

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And a cool whimsical illustration of inside, from my old scrapbook.

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Habs Top Of The Heap

The Pittsburgh Penguins may have had their way with the Canadiens back on November 18th when they blanked the boys 4-0, but Saturday night in Pittsburgh was a different story.

4-1 Habs. A well-deserved win.

Montreal punched the clock and played a solid, hardworking, hard checking, all round fine game as they bottled up the Pens in impressive fashion, found themselves with meaningful scoring chances sprinkled throughout, and now sit in the Eastern Conference penthouse with 54 points, one ahead of both the Pens and Islanders, and two in front of Tampa Bay, the team they face on Tuesday evening in Montreal.

Max would slam one home in the first period to open the scoring, then a Desharnais slapshot made it 2-0, Tom Gilbert was wide open in the second frame and it was 3-1, and Alexei Emelin blasted a laser through a crowd in the third to put the thing out of reach.

A nice little run Les Glorieux have going now, winning 6 straight and 9 of their last 10. No wonder they’re king of the hill.

I’m back watching and typing in our little house in Powell River, after a year and a half of living in Montreal. It feels unusual, with the game coming on a 4 pm instead of 7, and in a completely different place than the one I was in just over a week ago.

I also hadn’t seen the team play the previous three games because we were in the process of driving across the country.

It’s great to be back, but I also loved Montreal. It was a grand adventure, and now returning to PR is strange and also fresh and  comfortable. The old couch, the  bigger TV, the kitchen table where I am now. The fence in the back yard that blew over during a recent storm.

And the Canadiens ruling the roost. All they gotta do now is take out the Lightning at the Bell on Tuesday. Widen the gap a touch.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot Pittsburgh 33-31.

They also went 0-4 on the power play,  which puts them in 27th place in the man-advantage category. But they’re on a serious run so now’s not the time to complain.

Carey Price was in the nets for back to back games, only the second time this year that Toker didn’t play in one of them. Price was between the pipes on Dec. 5th against the Hawks and the 6th against the Stars, losing both. But that was then, this is now.

 

Nearing The Finish Line

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It was Calgary to Chilliwack on this New Year’s Eve, definitely a major haul that saw us wind our way through the Rockies and beyond, and we’ll be in Powell River tomorrow afternoon.

Just an excellent trip that began on Christmas morning in Montreal, and aside from a snowstorm north of Sault Ste. Marie, near perfect weather all the way, which means we were incredibly lucky. It easily could’ve been horrendous, but it wasn’t.

It was nights spent in Pembroke, Sudbury, Wawa, Kenora, Moose Jaw, Calgary, and now Chilliwack, with cheap gas everywhere, including 79 cents a litre in Medicine Hat.

Nearly 5000 km in all, with a lot of lousy food, beautiful scenery, frigid prairies, a visit with my son in Calgary, a cat that never complained, and now the edge of the water just an hour away.

Missed a lot of hockey though. A couple of Habs games, several Team Canada World Juniors contests, and although we get back tomorrow, we won’t have internet or TV until Saturday so more games will be missed.

Missing things is the price paid for going on something slightly bigger than a Sunday drive.

Time to get cleaned up and find somewhere to eat and enjoy the last few hours of 2014. At this time I’d like to wish everyone a fantastic 2015. Hope it’s a happy year for you, with a serious lack  of headaches and bullshit.

And imagine a Habs Stanley Cup in the spring!

Cool Leafs Snub

As we make our way across the country, I thought I’d change things up slightly and do this instead.

The telegraph below is a tad difficult to read so I’ll type it.

It’s from the Leafs’ Conn Smythe to player Jackie Leclair, dated Sept. 15, 1952.

“You received instructions per your contract to report to the training camp September 14th. Have you any good reason why we should not suspend you for failure to report.”

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Jackie Leclair replied,

“Sorry, cannot report to camp. Still playing baseball. Be through on the 20th. Would rather stay in Quebec. Letter on the way.”

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Leclair never did report to the Leafs and later on, from 1954 to 1957 (3 seasons), he would play for the Montreal Canadiens where he got his name engraved on the Stanley Cup twice.

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Pure Prairie Sailing

Canadiens won 3-1 in Carolina on Monday night, with goals from Jiri Sekac, Lars Eller, and Max Pacioretty. Max now has 14 in 36 games, which, over 82 games, would amount to……………….quite a bit. More than 30. (You thought I was going to do the math?)

A few things to note:

Lucy, Teesha, and I went from Kenora to Moose Jaw today (860 km), and it’s a tad chilly. Down around minus-25 all day, and -35 or -40 during the night. The car windows never truly cleared all day.

But the roads are dry, which is all I care about. And the price of gas is around 90 cents a litre right now, which is also cool.

I know it’s not nearly over, but so far this drive. that began in Montreal, has been, aside from the three hour snowstorm from the Soo to Wawa, dry roads and smooth sailing. But Calgary tomorrow, then through the Rockies the next day, and who knows what’s in store? Maybe we’ll see a sasquatch.

Moose Jaw TV showed the Winnipeg-Minnesota game and the Canada-Finland World Junior game, but no Habs, which brings to me to the big question. When I reach the coast and am phoning around about getting cable connected, what’s the best option for seeing the Canadiens?

This paragraph is about Teesha the Wonder Cat. Two weeks ago she was near death. She couldn’t walk, couldn’t eat, couldn’t move. Now I feel she’s at about 70% overall. Her walking isn’t great and she won’t drink water voluntarily, but other than that, she’s doing great and we’re mighty proud of her.

Tomorrow we stay with my son Rory in Calgary. Then it’s Banff, Lake Louise, Golden, Rogers Pass, and Kamloops, but only if the weather cooperates. After that, Vancouver, then up coast.

But I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. Right now I’m only concerned about the car starting in the morning.

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Crisp Kenora

Blue sky, sunny day, and dry roads meant taking advantage of the situation. So we drove 948 km. from Wawa to Kenora.

Awesome drive. But we didn’t see any moose, which disappointed me. However, if the roads are as nice tomorrow as they were today, we might not see moose but we’ll see Moose Jaw.

A bit of a slight chill in the air here in Kenora, -28 in fact. (-36 with the wind chill).

Prairies coming up.

Below, Teesha the cat.

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