What, They Won? Get outta Here!

The team won last night! Weird. Yep, they beat Philadelphia 4-1, and they beat them good, real good. Michael Ryder was a healthy scratch, and deservingly so because unless he’s shows me otherwise, he’s a bum who probably thinks he’s a star and has gotten lazy, thinking his really good wrist shot is gonna get him by without having to do anything else. It’s too bad because he’s a good Canadian newfie but he needs to be traded. And if he continues this shitty play for another couple of years, even with another team, he’ll be out of the league for good. Geez I should be helping Bob Gainey make the decisions. I also should be replacing Red Fisher as resident team writer. I also should have an apartment at the Bell Centre like Conn Smythe had at Maple Leaf Gardens. Why am I being punished like this?

The team plays Toronto on Saturday night. Will they win? Will Michael Ryder play? Will Marie Osmond faint? Stay tuned. This is big stuff.

Sandy The Vancouver Canucks Girlie Who Never Agreed That Todd Bertuzzi Looked Like Frankenstein

Every year Sandy and I have a bet on who will finish the season with the most points, Vancouver or Montreal. I won two years ago, and she squeaked in last year. I gave her a nice homemade trophy which didn’t bother me because I’m mature. So I have just one thing to say to you, Sandy. As soon as the Forum gods wake up, and as soon as the trade is made for Vincent Lacavalier, and as soon as Guy Carbooneau gets fired, and as soon as Michael Ryder, Saku Koivu, Alex Kovalev and four or five others get traded, and as soon as the Habs hire me as their hockey writer, and as soon as I win the lottery, and as soon as Pamela Anderson comes to my door to borrow a cup of sugar, then you’ll be begging for tips on becoming a good, solid Montreal Canadiens fan.

But until then, I’m worried.

Conn Smythe Was Only Sort-Of-A-Nice-Man

Conn Smythe, after building Maple Leaf Gardens and a successful franchise, the Leafs, was offered the presidency of the entire league so the other owners would finally have him out of the way. But Smythe said no way was he becoming a yes-man to the owners. So they hired Clarence Campbell, a name you know, who was the definitive yes-man and a guy the owners, especially Smythe, could manipulate like a puppet. Years later, someone asked Stafford Smythe, Conn’s son who succeeded dad as Maple Leaf president, why they didn’t get rid of Campbell who would, from time to time, piss owners off. Stafford replied, “Where would we find another Rhodes scholar, graduate lawyer, decorated war hero, and former prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, who will do what he’s told?” So now think about the St. Patrick’s Day riot in 1955 in Montreal, when Campbell suspended Rocket Richard for the remainder of the season, plus all of the playoffs. Owners, especially Smythe, had been fed up with the Rocket causing havoc throughout the league and wanted him curbed. So you can bet your bippy that they had their puppet, Campbell, do their dirty work for them with that gigantic suspension.

When you see a single house being built that takes maybe a year to finish, think about this. Maple Leaf Gardens was built during the depression in five months. FIVE MONTHS! Smythe recruited several rich buddies to invest, and when the money fell short by several hundred thousand dollars, Smythe convinced the workers to trade twenty percent of their wages for shares in the Gardens. The thing got built and the workers’ shares, that were bought for a dollar a piece, quickly increased by a hundred-fold.

Smythe had a beautiful apartment built in the innards of the Gardens where he practically lived most of the time and where he called many Gardens employees to so he could fire them. I would have liked an office like this but I would have preferred the Forum. He also had his mansion, and a ranch where he raised prize racing horses.

Conn Smythe was instrumental in not giving in to the ideas of the players to form a players association (union) and managed to prolong it for ten years, mostly by convincing all the teams to trade the main instigators, like Ted Lindsay and Doug Harvey, to other teams. He was very proud of this accomplishment. He also lobbied for years to stop Harvey Busher Jackson, one of his players throughout the 1940’s in Toronto, from being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame because he disapproved of Jackson’s drinking and womanizing. Smythe eventually quit hockey completely when Jackson was finally inducted in 1971. He also didn’t like Roman Catholics and was mortified when son Stafford fell in love with and married one.

Conn Smythe was a piece of work, but raised countless dollars for crippled children. So he was sort-of-a-nice-man. I’m sure Lawrence will say he was a nice man and there’s two sides to every story. And one last thing for Lawrence. In the 1920’s Smythe’s amateur football and hockey teams played big games up in Orillia, my home town, and always got pummeled.

What You May or May Not Be Reading Next

The team plays Tampa Bay in a couple of hours so it boils down to this. If they win, I’m gonna be upbeat and talk about things related to this and about all things interesting in the history of the world. However, if they lose, I’m going to tell you instead about the egotistical prick, Conn Smythe, who died in 1980, and who, if you’re not familiar, fought, fired, and dictated like an army major, which he was, to every single hockey person in the NHL in the 1940’s and ’50’s. Smythe is much more interesting than the 2007-2008 Montreal Canadiens.

So we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

Lawrence, That Rotten Low-Down Young Whippersnapper

My friend Lawrence, who’s also a fellow inmate (figuratively speaking) tells me the Habs suck, every time he sees me. May Lawrence taste the fires of Hell for all time, squirming and screaming as his skin shrivels, and praying that if he had one more chance, he’d tell me every time he saw me that the Montreal Canadiens are great, that they surely don’t suck and he’s really sorry and how could he have been more wrong.

If he got one last chance, he’d promise that tomorrow, Saturday, he’ll get down on his knees and pray that the boys put together two wins in a row when they play Carolina Sat. night.

Thanks Lawrence. We’ll see about that second chance.

Better Start Making Plans For The Parade Again

The team won a game last night. Seriously. Hasn’t happened often lately, but they beat Boston, so it gives all fans of the team a day off from misery and suicide thoughts. In the “glass is half full, not half empty” category, maybe the boys can put together a real lick-splitten bunch of wins and get back up to the penthouse where they had a room for a few weeks before they fell over the edge and ended up in a big garbage dumpster. Last year at this time, their record was 16-8-4 for 36 points. This year after the same amount of games it’s 14-10-4 for 32 points. It’s not great but just about every team in the east has about 32 points, it seems. Pretty soon, though, some teams are going to start putting some distance from the others and one of those teams better be the Habs or I’m going to have to resort to mentioning SEX, POSH, DAVID BECKHAM, BRITNEY, PARIS, and LINDSAY again to keep this blog from becoming the Diary of a Madman.

Sex, Drugs, Paris Hilton, David Beckham, Britney, Lindsay, Posh, and the Montreal Canadiens

They say the best way for a blog to be read by many is to insert lots of words that people seem to read about. So here goes. PARIS HILTON probably won’t be at the Montreal-Boston game tonight because she’s probably busy having SEX. She’ll probably be having SEX during every game the Habs play this year, and sadly, she’ll be missing a lot. Chances of her having SEX with DAVID BECKHAM are slim, though, but you never know, with his wife POSH SPICE being away on tour right now with the SPICE GIRLS.  However, speaking of the Habs, they’re playing like they’re all on DRUGS right now and it’s enough to make me start taking said DRUGS. It’s ridiculous how much of a slump they’re in. Cripes, I think PARIS HILTON and POSH SPICE or any of the SPICE GIRLS, or probably even LINDSAY LOHAN and BRITNEY SPEARS, could play for the team now. They don’t need DAVID BECKHAM, however, because he’s only a soccer player and would get carried off the ice on a stretcher whether he was really hurt or not. I wonder if he gets carried off on a stretcher after having SEX with POSH.

The things POSH, PARIS, and the rest think about when they’re not out clubbing is this: Should the Montreal Canadiens part ways with underachieving players like Michael Ryder, Steve Begin, and – Lord forgive me for this – Saku Koivu, who does way better raising money for hospital equipment and capturing the hearts of people because of his personal battles than he does putting the puck in the net.  Montreal has fallen a long way over the past decade and a half, and once again, they’re in the midst of a season where they start well,  slump badly in December, then scramble for the rest of the year and either make or not make the playoffs. Every year now, it seems, the same old song is played.

And one other thing for POSH, PARIS, and SEX kittens like BRITNEY and LINDSAY to ponder: When should Bob Gainey, who I trust and admire, start thinking seriously about firing coach Guy Carbonneau. In a perfect world, one where I win the lottery, my kids visit me, and I play God of Hockey, Scotty Bowman comes back, and the team signs Vincent Lacavelier. 

The Continuing Saga of: FASCINATING FACTS!!

Interesting fact: My pee wee coach in Orillia played 27 games for the Chicago Blackhawks during the 1943-44 season. He had one goal and 31 penalty minutes. AND NOT ONLY THAT:  He played alongside Punch Imlach for the Quebec Aces in the old Quebec Senior League and played against the Rocket before Richard joined the Habs. Does it get any more interesting than this?

Interesting fact:  I went to the Forum in the early 1980’s to pick up an autographed stick they had waiting for me because I had phoned and asked for one. (no shit.) Afterwards, I was down at the bottom of the stairs somewhere in the Forum, wrapping my new stick in my coat, when Jean Beliveau appeared on the stairs above me. He saw me and jumped. I think he thought I had a gun.

Interesting fact: When I lived in Ottawa, it was a known fact that Doug Harvey, the greatest defenceman of all time after Bobby Orr, lived in some kind of railway car at the race track in Hull, completely down and out, with a drinking problem. So what did I do? Nothing. Nothing at all. Didn’t go there. Didn’t bring him any smokes or a bottle. Didn’t invite him home for a turkey dinner. Nothing. Geez, this would have made an interesting story.

Interesting fact: Conn Smythe let the Habs have Dick Irvin as their coach, even though Irvin was a good and successful coach in Toronto, because Smythe wanted his man Hap Day, a good, religious company man and supreme ass kisser, to coach. Irvin went on to coach Montreal for 15 years where he won 3 Stanley Cups and let his son, broadcaster Dick Irvin Jr., sit on the players bench from time to time when junior was a kid. Hap Day, in Toronto, won 5 Cups, but I don’t want to talk about that except that maybe it was good for Toronto to have a coach who liked to kiss his boss’s ass.

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