Alex Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby: Who Would You Choose?

They’ve both been in the league since the 2005-06 season, and both, in their own distinct ways, have been fabulous. Any General Manager, if asked who he would pick from these two to build his team around, would have to think long and hard. Crosby is the successor to Gretzky and Lemieux’s mantle, and is The Next One. Ovechkin plays with abandon, and several of his many goals have been described as some of the prettiest ever. Both fill rinks wherever they play, both genuinely love the game, and both have the big numbers.

SO HOW DO THEY MEASURE UP? LET’S TAKE A LOOK.

Sidney Crosby is 20 years old, and Ovechkin is 22.

Crosby is a centreman. Ovechkin plays left wing.

Crosby is 5’11”, 200 lbs.  Ovechkin is 6’2″, 217 lbs.

Crosby, in 206 games, has 95 goals, 190 assists, for 285 points. (with 207 penalty minutes.)

Ovechkin, in 213 games, has 137 goals, 126 assists, for 263 points. (with 126 penalty minutes.)

THE QUESTIONS THAT REMAIN TO BE SEEN ARE:

Who will prove to be the bigger winner. Crosby’s on a better team and may wear a Stanley Cup ring soon. Ovechkin may never wear the ring. Winners create more of a legacy than non-winners.

Who will have more longevity. Both are good sizes, but both go kamikaze to the net. Crosby already is in the midst of a serious ankle injury. Ovechkin has dodged the bullet so far.

Crosby’s a Canadian, so his love of hockey is built in. For him, hockey’s as natural as eating and sleeping.

Ovechkin’s Russian. And you can tell by the smiles that he finds sheer joy in playing the game. It seems his love of hockey is built in too.

Crosby’s a better playmaker with all the hockey smarts. Ovechkin just plays with natural instinct and has a colourful knack when scoring. 

Crosby is the new Gordie Howe. Ovechkin is the new Maurice Richard.

Keeping Up With Our Boy Carey Price, Down On The Farm

Of course you’ve been saying to yourself lately, “Hmm, I wonder how Carey Price is doing since he was sent down to Hamilton.”

And rightly so that you should be wondering. Price, at 6’3″, 226 lbs., is considered the young stud, the next great goalie in a long line of great goalies who’ve played for the Canadiens.

And because you’ve been wondering, I’m here to deliver.

He’s not doing fantastic. Quite ordinary, actually. He’s played 8 games there, down on the farm, has let in 25 goals, (3.12 average) and has 4 wins and 4 losses with no shutouts.

He’s young. It’s going to take time.

You Bet, Bettman. It’s Hockey, Not Basketball

It seems I’m not the only one who gets riled up about NHL All-Star weekend. These are comments from the TSN website regarding Saturday’s silly Breakaway Challenge and the Skills Competition. It’s all quite interesting.

Judging by the following, changes need to be made. Like adding intensity, for one. Are you listening, Gary Bettman?

1 lang13 YAWN!!!!! What a joke this comp was. I will never …
2 tomglod That was lame….. the players chickened out and d …
3 TheDude24 Wow, that was NOT worth my time. That Breakaway C …
4 ChrisGunz All star competitions and games arent really worth …
5 rgabartlett What a shame….I’m embarrased to be a hockey fan. …
6 lauraperry What fun… sure it wasn’t hardcore competitive or …
7 yousnoozeyoulose GREAT thing that the nhl decided to change the ski …
8 el_cielo So boring… But! With that being said it was the …
9 gunshow LAME!!!!! When I first heard of this competition I …
10 dagley I’m sorry, but this was incredibly boring. I was d …
11 Ruzty Thank God Pretty Woman was on! …
12 Original6-Pack Ovechkin was the only one who tried something out …
13 prov_1 Just when you thought that the NHL couldn’t sink t …
14 leafsrule9 boring but at least ovechkin tried …
15 Habscrazy1 One word, BORING …
16 jamie_kee_mac85 Definitely could have been better, but I’m sure th …
17 kuvdog The camera work was absolutely brutal. I still don …
18 dtcampbe Did anybody catch DiPietro drop an F-bomb? I thoug …
19 ab608 That was a horrible skills showcase. I’ve seen …
20 fork_killer I personally enjoyed the skills competition, it wa …
21 dellstrike Im 14 and i could pick up the puck with my stick s …
22 Innet31 Not worth it…DiPietro hurts himself??!! I hope i …
23 w1n6m4n Don’t like the changes. Boring. How does a goalie …
24 el_cielo ALSO! Why wasn’t Gaborik in the fastest skating co …
25 scoots3131 We gotta kill this “vote your fave’s in” system. …
26 StopPropoganda This was an unmitigated disaster. I could spew a …
27 vinman that was boring….they should scrap the whole thi …
28 mjc313 big disappointment, though expectations weren’t to …
29 mittin I can’t imagine actually paying money to sit throu …
30 jeremo46 Well, the only exciting part about this was Kaberl …

Those Who Would, And Wouldn’t, Look Good In A Montreal Canadien Sweater

DEFINITELY NOT:

Daniel Briere:  This is a guy who wants to collect his millions the easy way, in relative obscurity, so when he has a bad game no one notices. This is not a Montreal Canadien. I feel he’s a little shy in the cahoonie department.

Trevor Linden:  He tried it, but was a bum there. Wearing the Habs jersey must have interfered with his wet dreams about the wet coast.

Sean Avery:  If Avery ever becomes a Canadien, I’m taking up cricket. GO PAKISTAN!

Todd Bertuzzi:  I shouldn’t have brought this up. Now I’m going to have nightmares all night.

Steve Downie:  Players who try to injure other players is certainly no Montreal Canadien.

He belongs in Philadelphia.

Mike Milbury:  There’s nothing like a supreme smart-ass to play in Boston and not Montreal.

Matthew Barnaby:  Such a mediocre talent. And he’d have that smile on his face after he’d get his head kicked in.  Sean Avery, Jarkko Ruutu, and Steve Downey learned their smile from this guy. I shudder just thinking about him in a Habs jersey.

DEFINITELY YES:

Bobby Orr:  Yep.

Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux:  Yep.

Gilbert Perreault:  This is a guy who should’ve played in Montreal. Talk about a Flying Frenchman. However, he did bail out on Team Canada in 1972, so that’s a big strike against him.

Vincent Lecavalier:  Big strong French-Canadian centreman like Jean Beliveau. His grandfather would’ve been so proud to see him in a Habs jersey.

Sidney Crosby:  If he had had a say in it, he’d be wearing the red, white, and blue right now.

Jean Ratelle:   Another tall, strong French-Canadian centreman. Geez, was he ever out of place in Boston.

Marcel Dionne:  It basically came down to Lafleur or Dionne, as Montreal couldn’t grab both. I’m glad it was Lafleur, but Dionne would’ve looked good in the jersey also.

Valeri Kharlamov:  The great Russian was at the mercy of political bullshit in Moscow and there’s no way he would ever have been released to play in North America. He would’ve looked fantastic in Habs colours, though.

Vladislav Tretiak:  He didn’t hide the fact he would have loved to play in Montreal, but the same applied to him as did Kharlamov. Anyway, Montreal had Dryden.

Pamela Anderson:  With or without the sweater.

Dennis Kane:  If only he was taller, faster, stronger, smarter, with a better shot, and was a better fighter and skater, he would’ve looked FANTASTIC in a Montreal Canadien sweater.

I Hate The NHL All-Star Game

Like the title says, I hate the NHL All-Star game. I hate the nonchalant approach, the smiles and friendliness among those who normally dislike each other and three days from now will be trying to send their new-found buddies through the glass face-first. I hate the football scores. I hate the smug looks on the players as they play pond hockey. I hate the announcers going overboard in explaining how great everyone is. I hate the fancy little skating and shooting contests. So I don’t watch it. It’s my right.

I also hate the way it has broken up the great momentum Montreal has had leading up to this.

Remember the 1970 baseball All-Star game when Pete Rose bowled over catcher Ray Fosse at home plate?  Rose was playing to win. It was part of his soul. The Rocket, Ted Lindsay, John Ferguson Sr. and Doug Harvey had similar spirits, and this is what I like. Not this kissy-face shit we see now. 

Years ago, the all-star team played the previous year’s Stanley Cup champs. Everyone had something to prove. The champs wanted everyone to see they were still champs. The all-stars wanted another go-round at the champs. It was serious hockey. Players thumped and walloped. Goalies stood on their heads. Fans got a real treat, and their money’s worth.

Now, there’s so many players, the league doesn’t want to have just 20 all-stars. And teams don’t want anyone to get hurt. So we get to see a love-in now instead. If I want to see a love-in, I’ll rent Pamela and Tommy’s honeymoon video.

Beatnik Doesn’t Stand A Chance Against Toe Blake

Before the Montreal – New Jersey game in lovely Newark,  friend and regular reader Beatnik was kind enough to email me the dismal facts that showed Montreal might as well stay back at the hotel and not bother, because they were gonna lose. Plain and simple. 

So, if I was a gamblin’ man, I’d say that Beatnik was predicting a New Jersey victory. Montreal’s playing against the unbeatable Martin Brodeur and the team they can’t solve. Of course the Devils would win this. How could they lose?

It was inevitable. Like death and taxes.

This was the email that Beatnik dug up.

‘The Devils have a 9 game winning streak against the Canadiens, and Montreal hasn’t won a game in New Jersey since Feb. 5, 2002, when José Theodore shut out the Devils 1-0.

In fact, history suggests it will take a shutout for the Canadiens to win.
Theodore’s victory was Montreal’s first win in New Jersey since Patrick Roy
was a 2-0 winner on Oct. 26, 1993. Since that win, the Canadiens are 1-21-4
in Jersey.’

Then Beatnik included words from that horrid song fans sing at the Bell Centre.

Olay Olay Olay Olay.

That’s all fine and dandy, but like Toe Blake once said. “Predictions are for gypsys.”

 Montreal scored three times in the third period and won the game 4-3 on a goal by Christopher Higgins.

There’s just nothing more I can add to this.

Coming up – How I feel about the All-Star game.

Playing The Devils: Turn Left At The Big Field

It’s easy, really. Just head south through Manhattan, turn right, go through the Lincoln Tunnel, drive past the big field where the New Jersey Devils used to play, turn left on the freeway near the big field, and proceed to beautiful, downtown NEWARK. Don’t get lost,  don’t end up in the wrong part of town, and keep your doors locked at traffic lights. Because not only will your life be in peril, but you’ll miss the most exciting team in hockey, the Montreal Canadiens. 

It’s a big game for the Canadiens. New Jersey has 59 points, and the Habs have 58, just coming off the Montrosity in Montreal against the Boston Balloons. The Canadiens need this game, just before All-Star weekend. It would be a nice little touch. I just hope their bus driver knows the quickest and safest route.

It’s deliriously mind-blowing to see Montreal proving all the experts wrong. Is that you? Are you one of the ones who said the Habs were going to be really bad this year? I can recall the TSN panel, Bob McKenzie etc., sitting there at the start of the season telling us in their infinite wisdom just how small, how short of depth, how too young, and simply how too terrible are the Montreal Canadiens to even think about making the playoffs.

Maybe these experts should review chick flicks instead.

Phil Esposito Must Be Rolling Over In His Brylcreem

Since the late 1960’s, the Boston Bruins have liked nothing better than beating the Montreal Canadiens. They’ve liked it better than pretty well everything – sex, chocolate, maybe even their wives.

But now, with the glorious 8-2 demolition by the Habs last night, those Boston Balloons, er, Bruins, have lost nine times in a row to the good guys. What would Espo, Orr, Cashman, Middleton, O’Reilly, and Bucyk think?

On the other hand, The Canadiens were simply champions last night. The Kostitsyn brothers are going to make the Sedin twins in Vancouver look like a couple of Swedish meatballs. These two young Russians have been just an excellent and a somewhat surprising find for the team, adding speed and creativity to the attack. On top of that, Alex Kovalev looked like Valeri Kharlamov, and Mike Komisarek was Larry Robinson in disguise.

The entire Montreal squad was impressive. Geez this must burn Boston fans’ asses.

On a very serious and sombre note, I would like to thank the fans at the Bell Centre for waiting to sing the ‘olay’ song until after the team had about a five goal lead. Way to go, fans.

Next up, Thursday against the New Jersey Devils. More about that tomorrow. Right now I’m just trying to savour the big thumping.

It’s Not Rocket Science: Montreal Needs A French-Canadian Star

Even though Michael Ryder is a good Canadian boy, born and raised in Bonavista, Newfoundland among the cod and the Screetch, it’s time for the Montreal Canadiens to say goodbye and make their team just a little bit better without really upsetting the fragile apple cart.

Ryder has been good, but never great for the Habs. He’s had a 25 goal season, and two 30 goal seasons, but this year he looks uninterested, just going through the motions, and has been in a season-long slump with only seven goals so far, which is pitiful for a guy considered to be a sharpshooter.

At the end of the season, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent, which means some other team like the Islanders will give him a 15 year contract for eight gazillion dollars, even though he may never score 30 goals again. But teams like the Islanders and Washington are wacko so nothing should be a surprise.

What Montreal needs to do is convince Calgary GM Darryl Sutter to trade left winger Alex Tanguay for Ryder and maybe a couple of draft picks. That would allow Calgary to have enough money to keep their stud, Dion Phaneuf, and the payoff for the Habs is  Tanguay, who’s 29 years old, (Ryder’s 27) is a really good playmaker, is French-Canadian from Ste. Justine, Quebec, in the heart of Habs country, and just might be the guy to play with Saku Koivu. Lord knows, they’ve tried everyone else.

And in the overall big picture, Montreal and it’s fans, including me, are screaming for a French-Canadian star. And I’m not even French-Canadian.

Zdeno Chara Is Taller Than You, Me, and Jarrko Ruutu

The Canadiens are sitting at home now, waiting to play Boston on Tuesday, and probably spending their down time watching NFL football. Isn’t it funny when you see a hockey player announcing his retirement, and through the tears, he explains that he wants to spend more time with the family. Then, for the next twenty years, he watches sports or goes golfing every day. Golfing takes up the better part of the day. But I guess the wife and kids are used to him not being there so it’s not a big deal. 

The Bruins on Tuesday and then the Habs travel to New Jersey to close it out before All-Star weekend. It’s time to rebound after the Pittsburgh loss. I wouldn’t mind seeing a scrap between that freak of nature, Boston’s Zdeno Chara and our hero, Mike Komisarek.

Chara’s so tall, he has to duck when he skates under the scoreboard. He can put a quarter in the view-o-matic at the top of the Empire State building without leaving the street. He got that big nose when a jetliner flying at 30,000 feet flew into him.

The one thing I appreciate about Chara is that he holds back when he could punch out someone much smaller than him. I’m sure the smaller players appreciate this too.

 I wonder if Jarkko Ruutu, Mike Rebeiro, and Sean Avery smile when they’re being held back by the linesmen when they almost get into it with Chara. “I’d kill you, Chara, if the linesman wasn’t holding me back,” they’d yell.

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