Tag Archives: Andre Kostitsyn

The BIG Story Of 2012

There goes 2012. Maybe it’s a good thing.

The Habs were disturbingly mediocre in 2012, finishing 15/15 in the Eastern Division, one point behind 14th place Islanders and two behind the Leafs. I still feel nauseous.

Along the way, Hal Gill and Andrei Kostitysn were shipped to Nashville and I miss Hal. The other guy – not so much. Mike Cammalleri was given a one-way ticket to Calgary after saying publicly that his team was quite pitiful, and that was all well and good except for the fact that the Canadiens got Rene Bourque in return. We’re still not sure if Bourque is dead or alive or just really stoned on valium.

Habs’ brass Pierre Gauthier and Bob Gainey were dismissed after doing quite a lousy job for way too long, and interim coach Randy Cunneyworth and assistant Randy Ladouceur were let go when the season ended, with Michel Therrien announced later on as Cunneyworth’s replacement. It wouldn’t have mattered if Cunneyworth learned to speak French without a trace of an accent. He was on his way out and he and everyone else knew it. Finishing in the basement didn’t help matters either.

Alex Galchenyuk was chosen third overall by the Habs in the 2012 entry draft, thus allowing us to dream that the young fellow will blossom into a Guy Lafleur-type superstar. If we’re going to dream, we might as well dream big, don’t you think?

The Summer Olympics took place in London and I’m still regretting not training to be a gymnast for these games. Judging by the more than 150,000 condoms that organizers gave out to athletes, it seems like I missed an excellent party. And September of 2012 marked the 45th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series, a series which catapulted Paul Henderson from normal, everyday NHL player to monumental icon, and a series which allows me tell everyone how I was a bartender in Sudbury at the time.

And of course 2012 saw the L.A. Kings win the Stanley Cup, once again the Vancouver Canucks collapsed when it counted, a lockout began, and the world didn’t end like it was supposed to.

But none of this can match the BIG story of the year. The story destined to become a movie, a story to tell grandkids and at parties and around the supper table for years to come.

February 9, 2012. The night, while playing against the New York Islanders, when Scott Gomez scored a goal.

It was a mighty feat, his first in more than a year, and it was the winner to boot in the Habs’ 4-2 decision over the Isles. The puck came out to him and although it seems impossible, he shot it right into the net. He did. It’s in the video below if you don’t believe me.

Yes, the biggest story of 2012. Can it get any better than that?

Oh, and Happy New Year. May great things happen to you over the next 12 months.

Canadiens Reverse The Tide

After three dismal games in which the Habs were shut down with zeros across the board, they came out Tuesday night against the Atlanta Thrashers and finally scored not once but three times, beating the visitors 3-1 and ending for now, misery of extreme proportions in Habsland.

One thing that has always remained constant for me over the years is that as long as the Habs win, I don’t care how they do it. I don’t care if they didn’t deserve it, or if the goalie kept them in it, or if the puck played pinball with five noses before going in. 

As long as they win. Which they did.

It’s another inch closer to clinching a playoff spot, and soon, when the boys begin their post season surprises, being shutout in three straight games will be long forgotten

Many of you know I’m preoccupied at the moment, in Ottawa with other matters at hand, and so I didn’t see the game. I didn’t see the Hal Gill controversy, and I didn’t see how the team looked. All I saw was the score, and that’s good enough for me.

I know the game was and is analyzed on several dozen sites and Twitter and in newspapers throughout the land, and you can’t get the same sort of thing from me now. All I can tell you that I spent several fine hours in a restaurant in Gatineau with friends of 40 years, eating and drinking and telling old stories, and missing the game in the meantime.

A 3-1 win? I’m happy. Just imagine if they would have been shut out again. Holy smokes.

Random Notes:

Roman Hamrlik, Mathieu Darche, and Andre Kostitsyn were the Habs scorers on this night. I know because I read it at Canadiens.com.

Next – Montreal plays Wednesday night in Carolina and this is not only a big night for the Habs but also a big night for me. Because this is the night when some of us gather at Liam Maguire’s in Ottawa to enjoy the game and meet for the first time after chatting on this site for so long. Join us if you can. You’re surely welcome.

The Hurricanes are three points out of a playoff spot and so Montreal will face a desperate team. Canadiens remain in sixth and are still in a situation where they’ll meet Boston in the opening round.

Habs And Bruins Agree To Disagree

Montreal, normally a low-scoring team, scored six big ones against the Boston Bruins Wednesday night.

Unfortunately, the Boston Bruins scored eight.

That wasn’t a 2011 hockey game, it was a Habs-Bruins tilt from the 1970’s, a Habs-Nordiques battle from the 1980’s, a senior game from small-town Canada. It was scoring, hitting, and fighting throughout, including a weird goaltending disagreement between Carey Price and Tim Thomas and a lovely smack in David Krejci’s mug compliments of Benoit Pouliot.

It was old-time hockey with blood spilt. But the Habs lost a game which would have seen them catch the Bruins for the Northeast division lead and they didn’t get it done. With absolutely no help from Scott Gomez and Andre Kostitsyn who just couldn’t find it within themselves to play hard and give all they could give. I know what I’d like to give them. 

These two slugs were on the ice for four Boston goals before they rode the pine for most of the second half.

For some reason, and it wasn’t a full moon on this night, the goalies couldn’t stop the puck. And because it was a big game between two old rivals, with standings on the line and with Boston having lost the last five straight to the Habs, bad blood was the order of the day. Just like the old days.

If only the boys could’ve won this, I would have said it was an excellent night. But it wasn’t to be.

Have I mentioned that I despise the Boston Bruins?

Random Notes:

Finally it was heard out loud – Pierre McGuire said before the game that PK Subban has become a legitimate contender for Rookie of the Year.

Max Pacioretty had two goals, and the Wiz two assists.

Shots on goal – 34-33 Boston.

Next up – Thursday when the Islanders visit the Bell.

Canadiens Stop The Bleeding

Erik Cole might want to think twice next time about ramming a guy’s face into the top of the boards.

The Habs took advantage of Cole’s five minute major after the Hurricanes veteran tried to remove Jaroslav Spacek’s face on the top of the boards, Canadiens scored the tying goal and then the winner on the power play, and although the 3-2 win wasn’t a masterpiece, at least it was a win. Something none of us have seen much of lately.

Another loss for the Habs would have been catastrophic. Carolina would have edged closer to a playoff spot, Montreal would have edged closer to no playoff spot, Jacques Martin would have edged closer to filing for employment insurance. Habs fans everywhere would be in an uproar, Montreal sports pages would be vibrating, the work of Carey Price would be questioned, and the romance with PK Subban would be a distant memory.

It just would have sucked.

But for a few days at least, the Habs are back on the winning track, and if they can topple the New York Islanders, next on the list, things could slowly begin to snowball and all could be well again in Habs Universe. We’ll see. We never know quite what to expect from this team.

Roman Hamrlik has seen better nights. His giveaway gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead in the second period, and then he was weak in controlling Erik Cole who scored to put Carolina ahead 2-1. But Cole then took his five minute major, Andre Kostitsyn and Alexandre Picard scored, and Les Canadiens sont la!

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – 29-24 Montreal.

Four more games on the road after Christmas beginning on Long Island Dec. 26, then it’s off to Washington, Tampa Bay, and Florida. Four out of four is what I want because I’m a greedy bastard.

PK Subban was in the press box again, and things haven’t been going so well lately for our young prospect. He’s become a real work-in-progress, and visions of rookie of the year honours are fading ever so slightly. Benoit Pouliot also sat, and it’s disappointing in the fact that it seemed Pouliot had finally turned a corner. But lately the drive just hasn’t been there in spades with this guy.

Scott Gomez scored Montreal’s first game and things have picked up for Alaskan lately. But it hasn’t for many who continue to take turns playing well and not playing well.

If I Knew Carey Price I’d Buy Him A Beer

Carey Price did his best imitation of a brick wall as he notched his second shutout of the year in a fine 2-0 win over the visiting Vancouver Canucks.

The Canuckovovians, try as they may, couldn’t solve Price in what was possibly the young goalie’s most solid display of the year, and it’s a good thing he was hot because the offence remains cold, and the more I see Scott Gomez swipe at pucks like he’s worried something will break, the more angry I get.

Gomez skates and carries the puck similar to the way Henri Richard did, but that’s where the comparison ends. The Pocket Rocket played with burning fire and intensity, and managed to get results while doing so.

Gomez? Nope.

But anger isn’t called for on a night when Montreal beats Vancouver and all is perfect in Habs universe except for the part about scorers not scoring. And some Canucks fans and Vancouver media will tell anyone who listens that their team simply ran into a hot goalie which happens to all great teams from time to time. This will be their best excuse for the next day or so.

Whatever the Canucks are, they got blanked tonight. And imagine if Montreal scorers were actually scoring?  

There was a power play goal to speak of though, but it was a defenceman, not Gionta or Cammalleri or Plekanec or Kostitsyn or Gomez who got it. It was Roman Hamrlik who was smart enough to take a one-timer and blast away instead of trying to get fancy.

And another defenceman, Andrei Markov, opened the scoring by stuffing it in from the crease. Garbage goals are beautiful things too in case the offence hasn’t noticed.

So on this night, a couple of rearguards and Carey Price combined to win the game for the Habs. Most of the other guys were there because of the great seats they got for free – on the players bench.

Random Notes:

Montreal’s one power play goal means they stand at 4 for 51 with the man advantage. I have no comment about this.

Next game – Thursday in Boston

Shots on goal 34 – 29 Canucks.

Kostitsyn To The Rescue

He flew through the air like Bobby Orr, and although it wasn’t a Stanley Cup-winner, it sure as heck makes a Habs fan happy after a reasonably unremarkable night at the Bell Centre.

Thanks a lot, Andre Kostitsyn, for your overtime winner. But a little bit less thanks to the Montreal Canadiens in general for being a kind and generous bunch in making the Phoenix Coyotes, sitting 14th of 15 teams in the west, look like a force to reckoned with. The Coyotes had as many shots as the Habs (29), had way too many dangerous chances, and if they played like that every night they might put a few more bums in the seats back home in the Jobing.com Arena. (I really hate that name – Jobing.com Arena. Damn).

But a win is a win is a win.

It was a humanitarian gesture by the Canadiens that we don’t really need to see too often.

Canadiens win 3-2 in overtime as a rejuvenated Andrei Kostitsyn scores, (and also played well in my books), and Montreal can thank their lucky stars that Carey Price came up big from time to time, because they easily could have blown it to the hapless Coyotes.

Random Notes:

Montreal is now tied with Tampa and Pittsburgh for first place in the east.

Habs marksmen, along with Kostitsyn, were Tomas Plekanec and Mike Cammalleri with a power play goal, something we don’t see much of, like the Northern Lights, or Don Cherry praising the Habs. Or Habs games on English TV in the west.

Lars Eller got his first point of the year as he assisted on Kostitsyn’s game winner. Maybe this will get Eller going. And maybe because they scored tonight, Plekanec and Cammalleri will take off.

That’s five goals and three assists in eight games for Kostitsyn. He’s now one of our best players and it feels good to say that. 

I’ll just back off from whining about Gionta and Gomez’ lack of scoring so far.

Wednesday it’s the Islanders visiting the Bell. This is good news. The Islanders are playing well, just a point out of first place in the east, and doesn’t Montreal stink against lousy teams and look great against good teams? So on Wednesday the Habs should be just fine.

Price and Company Shut ‘Em Down

Those wild and crazy Habs. They come off a lackluster 3-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils and two nights later play a fine game in Ottawa, skating away with a 3-0 win.

How often do we get to talk about a shutout from Carey Price? Or a goal from Benoit Pouliot? Or two great markers from Andrei Kostitsyn. Or one-sided shots on goal for the Habs?

For Price, it was November of 2008 when he was so stingy with the opposition. It was March when Pouliot last scored.

But it was only two games ago that Andrei Kostitsyn bulged the twine, and maybe the -Belarusian-who’s-supposed-to-be-a-gunner will finally be one this year. How great would that be?

Of course, getting Lars Eller and Brian Gionta on track is next in line. Gionta, needed badly as an offensive threat, has managed just one goal and one assist so far. Eller doesn’t yet have a point, and ditto for Tom Pyatt.

But a win in solid fashion is a great thing to go along with a shutout and a couple of guys getting it done up front. We can be happy with this game but there’s no need to do cartwheels. The Senators looked lethargic and were quite lousy indeed, and if Montreal would’ve lost this, we might have had to cancel the parade route again.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal were 34-19 for the good guys.  Yes it’s true. 

Monday night, the Phoenix Coyotes come howling into the Bell Centre. Coyotes are shy animals, aren’t they?

Good work by Tomas Plekanec on Kostitsyn’s first goal and Mike Cammalleri on Kostitsyn’s second.

Montreal maintains a winning record thus far with four wins, two losses, and an overtime loss. Not bad considering so many have started the season in mini-slumps.

Don Cherry was at it again about PK Subban. Don says PK doesn’t give enough respect to opposing players and so a slap shot that hit the young buck on the back of the leg was intentional. Last time it was the Mike Comrie stick thing. Ho hum. Find another topic, Don.

Habs Rebound And Sink Sens

The Canadiens win their second in two nights, and look out Toronto Maple Leafs, we’re coming.

Tonight it was the Ottawa Senators, with absolutely no help from Alex Kovalev, who fall to the Habs, and when you look at Montreal’s five games so far, only one was where they didn’t gain any points. So how can I be less than happy? How can I criticize?

I can’t.

I can, however, mention that PK Subban continues to make me nervous with some of his puck handling and ill-advised decisions, but how can I even be negative about this? He’s a rookie, with a only a few games under his belt last season and just five this year.

But CBC’s Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson were right when they pointed out that PK stayed on the ice for almost all of a power play with fresh and experienced defencemen biting at the bit to get out there. This is a big thing the young fellow needs to straighten out. Can’t have dissention within the ranks.

I know as a smallish yet shifty right winger for the Orillia Byers Bulldozers midgets that this can really piss off teammates.

PK is learning and we must be patient. He needs to be brash and colourful and daring, but until he sorts it all out over a period of time, he’s playing havoc with my nervous system.

The game was a see-saw affair, beginning with Brian Gionta looking like a shrunken Mario Lemieux the way he burst down on a clear cut breakaway and deked Sens goaltender Brian Elliot out of his jockstrap.

The Senators then tied it at one and in the second period scored two goals on just two shots that had visions of the old Carey Price dancing in my head. But our boys didn’t collapse. Jeff Halpern closed the gap, and then Andre Kostitsyn, playing the way we’ve begged and pleaded with him to play, scored a great goal late in the second after being set up by Tomas Plekanec. And in the third, Plekanec took the bull by the horns and scored his own beauty after a lovely Kostitsyn rush.

Good stuff. Plekanec and Kostitsyn getting it done.

Random Notes:

Carey Price got his first win at the Bell Centre in a long, long time. So long, in fact, that eight track cassettes were still around and Don Cherry was normal when he won last. Okay, maybe not that long. But it was last February, which is a long time ago.

Shots on goal? An amazing 40 to 19 for the Habs. How often does this happen? 

Next up – not until next Thursday when the New Jersey Devils pay a visit.

Keep it going, you crazy Habs.

Oh No….Habs Home Opener Not So Great

 

Slip, sliding away. Slipped, slid away.

At the risk of sounding like a whiner, did PK Subban really deserve a slashing penalty with just over two minutes to go in the game? Maybe my television’s not big enough, heck it’s only a 52 inch job, but even in the replay I didn’t see what would warrant the call.

And why am I complaining about one play? Because the Lightning tied the game on this power play and won it in overtime, that’s why. So just tell me I’m wrong. Tell me PK deserved the penalty and maybe I’ll feel better.

But until then……..

This wasn’t a picture perfect game by any stretch of the imagination. It wasn’t the Mona Lisa or a Norman Rockwell magazine cover. More like me scribbling in my sleep. Players flopped around, fell about, had pucks go through their legs and forgot to bring it with them when they were supposed to.

Was the ice soft or is my players’ Thanksgiving Day turkey theory valid?

Carey Price was spectacular, stopping 41 shots in this more-than-depressing 4-3 overtime loss. Suddenly I’m not nervous about the goaltending anymore. Tomas Plekanec sparkled. Andrei Kostitsyn notched a beautiful goal nicely set up by Pleks.

Benoit Pouliot was…….How can I be polite? The puck didn’t go where he wanted it to go.

But in general, it was a sloppy and strange game that saw play far too often in Montreal’s end and a slew of penalties from both sides that certainly added to the sloppiness.

I’m just really interested what others have to say about this. It just seems like it slipped away and didn’t have to. Is the referee to blame? Or did the Habs simply shoot themselves in the foot?

Random Notes:

Captain Brian Gionta introduced the players at the centre ice circle in a nice, brief home opener ceremony.

Maxim Lapierre took a five minute major for driving the obnoxious Steve Downey into the boards. I don’t mind Downie getting pummelled like that. But only when the referee isn’t looking.

Lapierre also scored the Habs first goal. Plekanec had the second and Andrei Kostitsyn the third.

What a miserable ending. And Lightning coach Guy Boucher gets his much-desired win in Montreal. The whole thing sucks the big one.

Friday night in Buffalo. A nightmarish loss like tonight can very possibly affect the team’s performance in Buffalo. Or can they get mad, dig deep, put it aside and play better next game?

Shots on goal – Tampa 45, Habs 27

Man, this one hurt.

The Leafs beat Pittsburgh 4-3 tonight. Can anyone stop this juggernaut?