Bombed By Bottom Feeders

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I’m assuming the Canadiens wandered into Columbus feeling renewed and re-energized after beating the Leafs last Saturday.

The start of something better. Good times are here again!

And then they get trounced 5-2 by the worst team in the league.

Downward they go. Where they stop, nobody knows.

They’re playing with my head, these people. Stop the season, I wanna get off. Pathetic, soft, unorganized bunch of multi-millionaires, playing with my emotions.

A friend today told me about a game he used to play when he lived in New Guinea. Darts, using a real dart gun. Sounds excellent.

This is going to be my new favourite sport, because I can’t handle what the Habs are doing to me. And maybe I’ll put a picture of the team on the dartboard.

I thought, before tonight, that they could finally win two in a row after not doing so since November. After all, it was only the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets.

And the Canadiens play these same BJs in Montreal on Tuesday, so it was probably going to be three in a row.

A beautiful winning streak to make us happy. And then they’re blasted 5-2 and a dagger gets rammed into my already battered heart.

Can it get any sadder?

Can life be any better for Habs haters?

Random Notes:

Habs outshot Columbus 34-25 and were 1/3 on the power play.

Montreal’s goals came from Gally and PK, with PK’s a big blast from outside the blueline.

Two posts were hit, by Eller and Petry. I’m grasping at straws here.

 

 

Ralph Backstrom Was The Guy

He was all the things I knew were good in life – he skated like the wind, had a great brush cut and a pretty wife, and he wore the sweater of the Montreal Canadiens.

What’s better than that?

This was Ralph Backstrom, and I wanted to be just like him. I knew I wasn’t going to be another Rocket or Beliveau or Geoffrion, but I thought maybe I could be like Backstrom. And I wasn’t even on drugs when I thought this.

It meant getting a brush cut and trying to look like him when I watched him on TV taking faceoffs and darting up the ice with the puck. I could do that and I did. I got the brush cut.

Ralph came out of Kirkland Lake, Ontario, a little town in northern Ontario that churned out NHL players in abnormal fashion, having produced him and Ted Lindsay, Mike Walton, Dick Duff, Mickey and Dick Redmond, Wayne and Larry Hillman, the Plagers, and many others.

About 30 in all. That’s a lot of players.

Ralph was a phenom in Kirkland Lake minor hockey, and became captain and the best of the powerhouse Hull-Ottawa Canadiens juniors before he joined the big club. He had it all, I thought. I gotta practice more, I thought.

I admired the way Ralph Backstrom played, the way he skated and was so solid both as a playmaker and a checker. And I loved the way he and rival Dave Keon of the enemy Leafs went head to head on glorious nights when the Habs and Leafs were what life was all about for Canadian kids from coast to coast.

This guy isn’t in the Hall of Fame, and when he played he sometimes got into coach Toe Blake’s bad books. But he was a great hockey player. Underrated maybe, but absolutely great.

And I wanted to be just like him and I was. I had the brush cut.

DK

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Canadiens Begin Their Win Streak!

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It took Max and Lars Eller to come through in the shootout as the Canadiens down the Leafs 3-2 in Toronto, thus avoiding suicides, bricks through TVs, and serious hairpulling throughout Habsland.

Not really a fantastic win, or even a great win. Maybe only a decent win. But it was a big one as they snap a five-game losing streak in the midst of a gigantic slump, and it has to feel good.

Now the boys can relax and maybe take in a late show with Rompin’ Ronnie and the Hawks at Le Coq d’Or on Yonge Street before calling it a night.

It began in splendid fashion as the team dominated the Leafs, outshooting them 14-3, and jumping out to a 2-0 lead on goals by David Desharnais and Tomas Fleischmann, although Fleischmann’s goal appeared to go in off Daniel Carr.

But as we’ve seen before, a quick start can mean little as Toronto slowly found their game and scored in the second and third periods to send the game into overtime.

It would take the shootout to decide things, and now the challenge is for the team to win two in a row, something that hasn’t happened since November 20th to the 27th when they nailed down four straight.

After that, as we all know and need to forget, the roof fell in and continued until tonight, when they grabbed two big points against a team that boasts the despicable Dion Phaneuf.

Random Notes:

I feel good about this, mainly because it wasn’t a loss. But not good enough to put on my dancing shoes and head down to the Westview Hotel, though. They’d think the grim reaper just walked through the door.

A loss would continue the nightmarish slide into Satan’s basement. But it wasn’t a loss, mainly because Max and Eller got it done in the shootout, when Galchenyuk, Flynn, and DD didn’t.

Canadiens outshot the Leafs 29-19, and were 0/4 on the power play.

Next up – Monday, when the boys travel to Columbus to take on the BJs.

Extra Random Notes:

Before the game began, Leaf greats Turk Broda, Tim Horton, and Dave Keon were honoured with inclusion on Toronto’s Legends Row, and it was emotional fifteen or twenty minutes.

Broda retired when I was two, but I saw Horton and Keon in their prime, on those great old Leafs teams.

I sat behind Keon and his wife in church in Orillia when I was young. Keon and most of the Leafs had attended Leaf trainer Bobby Haggart’s wedding in Orillia the day before, and the next day in church there was the great centreman, standing and kneeling and sitting and crossing himself, just like the rest of us.

I also have a personal story about Tim Horton. I’ve been to his doughnut shop many times.

Broda was on hand for the opening ceremonies of the arena in Orillia in 1950.

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Brandy’s Habs-Leafs Lovers

You want romance? Hockey? Habs and Leafs on Saturday night?

This is the great Canadian artist Brandy Saturley’s recent creation, titled ‘Lovers in a Dangerous Time’, made prior to the last few months of our pain and misery.

Two lovers, two teams. With bags over their heads.

Habs and Leafs coming up. Get your beer and nuts ready, and your bricks to throw at the TV screen.

Go Habs. Kick the shit out of ’em.

LoversInADangerousTIme

Have a look at some of this award-winning, Victoria-based artist’s great stuff at her website The Art of Brandy Saturley . She’s a true Canadian gem.

Game Time Gourmet

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I think most people enjoy eating while watching games. Peanuts, popcorn, and crackerjacks at the ball game. Pig intestines at bull fights. Feral cats at Bruins games.

But what do you eat at home when the Habs are playing?

Today I offer a few select dishes from my personal recipe book to help you.

1. Take two slices of bread and gently insert cheese (any type) between them. Spread butter or margarine on the outside of bread and place in a hot pan. Brown one side and then the other. Make sure you flatten properly, using an iron or your palm, or even with a kitchen utensil if so desired. This fascinating dish, which is the hit of my dinner parties, is what I like to call Fromage de Grilled.

2. Carefully open a bun of approximately six inches long and place a cooked wiener inside. Add relish and/or mustard and top with fried onions. Do not overcook wiener as it will go limp, and we know that can’t be good. This wonderful entree, which I have perfected, is called Chien Chaud or Dog du Hot.

3. Gingerly open the top of a pasta package and pour into boiling water. Make sure water is salted but do not use ocean water. Stir occasionally until pasta is soft, then drain and add delectable cheese powder, a touch of milk, and a tiny bit of butter. This little treat, known as Dinner du Kraft, will soon have you taking Italian lessons and dreaming of riding in a gondola along the canals of Venice.

4. Place one or two slices of bread into the machine that gets hot when button is pushed down. In only a few short minutes, bread will pop up and is now toasted and ready for butter. After butter is applied, slowly spread peanut butter evenly over top, making sure no areas of toast are missed. This is known on the dinner party circuit as Peanut Butter sur Toast.’ And for those with even more imagination, simply add raspberry or strawberry jam to top of the peanut butter and press hard to mix well. This is called Peanut Butter sur Toast avec Jam.

5. At the top of the stove you will see dials. One of these dials will say ‘oven’ and it will have numbers on it. Turn dial to about 375 and insert dinner, which has been frozen to keep freshness in, into the lower area of the stove which will open up when pulled. Check periodically when there is a time-out in the action, and when it looks like the delicious mashed potatoes are bubbling, take dinner from stove, remove wrap from top, and dig in. This meal, which is great when you’re trying to impress, is fondly called Dinner de Frozen. Or, in the old days, the more popular name was Le Frozen Dinner de TV.

6. Make your way to a specialized utensils shop and pick up a progressive turning handle lid remover. Using lid remover, remove lid from the solid and convenient tin container which contains a smooth blend of pasta, herbs and spices, then empty contents into a pot and place on the type of stove mentioned in number 5. Stir frequently until delicacy is hot, and dig in. Mmm. This specialty dish, known as Ravioli de le Can, is a sure hit when your date comes over for the game and you want to get lucky afterward.

Here’s To You, Historic Habs

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I saw the Beatles at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1966, and Janis and Zappa in Atlantic City in ’69.

I saw Led Zeppelin in Vancouver in ’73, and Evel Knievel sail over 13 Mack trucks on his motorcycle at the CNE in ’74.

NOn my TV in Orillia I saw the Kennedy assassination in ’63, and Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon in ’69.

And from my couch in Powell River in 2016, I saw the Montreal Canadiens have their lousiest season in 75 years.

The historic Habs.

Something to tell my grandchildren.

And their fifth loss in a row (forget the overall loss tally) was against the Boston Bruins, with good old Brad Marchand scoring one of four Bruins goals as his team rolled over the hometown Habs 4-1.

It’s the Twilight Zone, baby.

It was last year when Marc Bergevin gave Michel Therrien a four year contract extension that kicked in this season, at $2 million per, and which takes him to 2019.

This was the report at the time;

Montreal re-signed Michel Therrien to a four-year contract extension Saturday, two weeks after the Canadiens were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“It really shows the stability that [general manager] Marc Bergevin and [owner] Geoff Molson want to establish with the Canadiens,” said Therrien on a conference call. “We’ve progressed a lot over the past two years and we want to continue to progress. It’s a sign of confidence.”

Continue to progress. Yes indeed.

Oh, you like Michel Therrien and argue that it’s not his fault this team is on the fast track into the depths of hell? Do you think getting Jonathan Drouin is the answer instead?

I don’t want my historic times tampered with. So lose boys. And then charge fans for your autograph on your days off.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot the Bruins 39-24, with their lone goal coming from d-man Mark Barberio. The sharpshooters are still on their extended lunch break.

Next up – Habs in Toronto on Saturday. Imagine.

It Doesn’t Matter

alfred

Canadiens lose 5-2 to a real team, the Chicago Blackhawks, and it doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter how many goals they scored, or who the referees were, or what the announcers said or didn’t say. It doesn’t matter how they did on the power or how many shots they got overall, or who played what minutes.

It doesn’t matter that they’ve lost 17 of 22 games.

It doesn’t matter who was in goal, or who scored the two goals, or what mistakes were made, or if they looked good for a minute or two, or if they took bad penalties or not. And it doesn’t matter about the coach and GM and possible trades and making or not making the playoffs.

It doesn’t matter.

 

 

Another Night, Another….

keystone cops

The Canadiens dominated the St. Louis Blues and still lost, this time 4-3 in overtime, and we watch slightly stunned as the team that once led all teams gradually fades into oblivion.

It’s fine that they showed fire and were involved in several scrums and looked like they’re a truly fed up and pissed off group. And it’s fine that they outshot the Blues 49-22.

It’s not so fine that Mike Condon in the third period misplayed the puck behind the net and the Blues tied things up, just a few dozen seconds after Tomas Plekanec, who hadn’t scored since the invention of the turtleneck, finally found the back of the net.

And it’s not fine either that in overtime, Andrei Markov lost the puck and the Blues moved in on Condon and capitalized in gut-wrenching fashion.

The good ship Habs takes on even more water.

Random Notes:

It’s also not fine that they went 1/7 on the power play. Although it’s good that PK, with his third of the season, was the marksman with the man advantage.

The Canadiens’ 49 shots is a season-high, for what it’s worth.

They hold on to the final wild card spot by the skin of their teeth, with five teams breathing down their neck and ready to pounce.

Alexei Emelin crushed Paul Stastny with a clean, bone-rattling check that made my heart soar. I’ve missed the soaring heart, so thanks Alexei.

Max, with his 18th, gave his team a brief 2-1 lead in the second before the Blues tied it a minute later.

Sunday in Chicago.

 

 

 

 

Orillia The Good

(Re-posting a previous post, for no particular reason)

I think you should include Orillia in your future travel plans.

Why would you not? It was the home of Gordon Lightfoot, Stephen Leacock, Rick Ley, and Dino’s pool hall for goodness sakes. It’s historic.

In Bobby Orr’s book “Orr, My Story”, he says his hockey school with Mike Walton was in the Muskokas. It wasn’t. It was just outside Orillia, which is below the Muskokas.

In fact, the only time he mentioned Orillia was when he said his former agent and ex-friend Alan Eagleson had a cottage near there.

It took Gordon Lightfoot about twenty years into his career before saying he was from Orillia and not Toronto.

Stephen Leacock changed the name from Orillia to Mariposa in his book “Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town”.

Dino’s pool hall burned down.

Rick Ley has always seemed a proud Orillian, even though he hasn’t lived there since the 1960s..

My ongoing unofficial poll, which I’ve conducted for years, asks old friends who now live in places not called Orillia. “Could you ever live in Orillia again?”, to which about 98% say no.

I could, I think. But maybe not.

And about the Lightfoot thing, maybe it didn’t help that a guy I knew went in through an unlocked back door at a Lightfoot concert at Orillia’s Opera House and stole Gordon’s or one of the band member’s leather jacket. It must have put a sour taste in Gordon’s mouth, which is understandable.

Below, Gordon’s boyhood home in Orillia.

Lightfoot

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John Scott A Hab?

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Above, a new Hab and an ex-Hab. Will the new one be as fantastic as the old one?

I come home and see this? Big John Scott traded to Montreal from Arizona for Jarred Tinordi, with a bunch of other names and Nashville involved, although these don’t matter.

Sam Pollock, looking down from above, sure must be impressed.

Finally, the team’s goal scoring problems have been addressed. Big John has notched 5 goals and 6 assists in his 285 games, which is awesome because we all know it’s hard to score in the NHL, and he did it 5 freakin’ times!

This is fantastic. Now we wait to see who will score first, John or Tomas Plekanec.

And 5 goals in 285 games is almost exactly what the Canadiens as a whole are doing.

Big John reminds me in many ways of Guy Lafleur, Rocket, and Jean Beliveau. He knows how to skate, sort of, and those three could skate too, albeit way better.

Beliveau was big, but John, standing 6’8″ and weighing 260 pounds, is bigger, so that’s good, right?

And he’s an all-star like them. Fan%$#&tastic! Forget about the difference between fans voting John in as a joke while Guy, Rocket, and Jean got there by merit. This is only a technicality. They all put on their all-star sweaters the same way.

I’m sure there are other similarities too. But right now, with the numbness in my brain, I can’t think of any.

Anyway, who needs a young, skilled, huge, rough d-man like Tinordi who was also a first round draft pick. When the opportunity to grab John Scott arises, you take it.

Beauty trade, Marc Bergevin.

I need a drink.

 

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