Tag Archives: Andrei Markov

Habs Wax Leafs

iron 1

Two huge goals in the third period by the captain, and great work throughout by the new guy and the big young guy, and the Canadiens top the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1.

This gives the boys two straight wins, or three of their last four, and although their season still sucks, they’ve played better lately. It kind of makes my heart soar like a kite with holes in it.

And no, the team’s not tanking, it’s not the proud or right way of doing things. It’s management who would do the tanking anyway, not the players, and the Montreal Canadiens aren’t the 1919 Chicago White Sox.

The first period saw the Leafs strike first, but a great wrist shot from Alex Galchenyuk would even things, while the second period featured a couple of noteworthy events:

Brendan Gallagher batted the puck in, but it was decided his stick was too high, although maybe by just a whisker. Personally, I thought it was legal but I’m biased.

The goal that did count soon after was one that began with 6’6″ Michael McCarron ramming an enemy body into the end boards, with the puck nicely kept in for Devante Smith-Pelly to get his stick on.

This would mark big McCarron’s first point in his three games with the club, and with his size, if the veterans try to make this rookie buy the dinners, all he has to do is look down at them and say no.

In the third frame, when the score was tense at 2-1, Max Pacioretty finally came alive, scoring his 22nd of the year after taking a great cross-ice pass from Andrei Markov, and then notching his 23rd from a rebound off the back boards.

Maybe this will light a fire under Max’s arse. There’s 20 games left, and the team is clinging to life. If Max hasn’t exactly been great leadership material in the past, maybe as the season winds down he can show us some. A slew of goals would help.

Michael McCarron needs to win a regular spot in a big way. Imagine people calling the Habs a big team instead of what we’ve heard for years now?

A hulking forward like him, crashing the net, having his way with smaller opponents, contributing on the scoresheet, maybe winning most of his fights. Damn.

Twenty-three year old Quebecer Phillip Danault, over from Chicago in the Weise-Fleischmann trade, looked completely at home, winning his share of faceoffs, in on several scoring chances, and doing some bumping.

He might not a big point-getter, at least not yet, but Danault was impressive. And set to become UFAs anyway, Weise had come back to earth after his early season Dutch Gretzky act, and Fleischmann may have started the year in fine style, but sure wasn’t ending it like that.

Random Notes:

Habs outshot the Leafs 36-32.

Mike Condon, in his fourth straight start, once again played well.

That’s twelve games played in February, with one remaining, and the team has won 6 of these 12. Not fantastic, but better.

Next up – Canadiens begin their three-game series in California, beginning with the Sharks in San Jose on Monday night. (10:30 ET).

 

 

 

 

Habs Lose Again

my team

All it took was for P.K. Subban to swoop across the ice inside the Colorado Avalanche blueline and turn over the puck, and the Montreal Canadiens lose again.

Another loss, this time 3-2. Maybe that’s all that needs to be mentioned.

It doesn’t matter anymore if they play well or not, if they look sharp and remind us a little of the glory days back in October and November.

They still lost, which they do on most nights in this most pathetic of seasons, and if I heard correctly earlier today, they now have to win 17 of their final 24 games.

A season to forget and I’m already working on it. If you’re interested, the Chicago Cubs are the betting favourite to win the 2016 World Series. This means a lot considering they haven’t won it all in 107 years.

If the Canadiens were to go 107 years between Stanley Cups, it would be 84 more years, in the year 2100. So we’ll probably miss it if it happens.

The boys played a decent game, though. They were more alive than they’ve been lately. Much better than in Phoenix on Monday, although that’s not saying a whole lot, I suppose. They skated well, they had their chances, they held the lead twice, and they lost.

They lost after P.K. decided to swoop when less swooping was called for, when he should’ve just got it in deep, and down the ice the enemy came, ready to stuff yet another dagger in the hearts of Habs fans.

Future HOFer Jarome Iginla, after tying the game late in the second, netted the winner with just 2:03 left in the third.

And soon after, with Ben Scrivens pulled and the Canadiens looking for the equalizer, P.K. sat on the bench.

He sat on the bench. What good was that? A key offensive threat paying for his sins while a goal was needed?

Penalize him by making him buy the beer at the golf course in a couple of months. Not when the team is desperate for a goal and he’s one of the guys who might help get it done.

Basically, Michel Therrien would rather punish PK than win the game.

Random Notes:

Andrei Markov and Lars Eller were the two Montreal marksmen.

One of Montreal’s standouts was Lucas Lessio, back from injury and in just his second game with the CH. The Ontario-born fellow was flying, and was involved in several fine chances around the Avs net.

Canadiens outshot the Avs 34-28 and were 0/3 on the power play.

Next up – Friday in Montreal, when the Philadelphia Flyers pay a visit.

 

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Beaten In Buffalo

kid smoking

The thing to do, if you’re a Habs fan, is sit back, have a smoke, pat the dog, fire up the record player, and when you’ve done all that, swallow a bunch more anti-depressants.

Habs lose 6-4 in Buffalo.

But it seemed fine in the beginning, after Max Pacioretty sent a nice pass over to Sven Andrighetto and bam, the boys had the all-important  1-0 lead.

Always good to get that first one. Except the Sabres got the next four.

David Legwand began by tying things, and soon after, Old Man Markov turned the puck over (yawn), and suddenly it was 2-1 Sabres.

Mark Barberio tried to boot the puck out of danger and couldn’t, and the Sabres finished the play to take a 3-1 lead. It also finished Ben Scrivens for the night, with Mike Condon taking over.

In horrific fashion it soon became a 4-1 game, and the Sabres rout was on.

Then it wasn’t.

Alex Galchenyuk scored on the power play, and it was 4-2.

Andrighetto, with his second of the night, narrowed things to 4-3.

Things were going good. But then Galchenyuk was called for hooking Marcus Foligno, who was promptly awarded a penalty shot, and who promptly beat Condon to make it 5-3.

But with 22 seconds left in the middle frame, Galchenyuk, who was great on this night, scored on the power play to put it at 5-4, and there was hope. Lots of hope.

Especially after the Canadiens swarmed Buffalo’s end time after time in the third period, going all out to even things.

It was tense for fans of both sides. At least I’m assuming this. It was tense for me, anyway.

Tense until the Canadiens pulled Condon, and with the puck being sent along the boards towards PK Subban, it suddenly hit the linesman, Evander Kane picked up the blocked puck, and he fired it into the empty net.

Subban was pissed.

Who knows what would have happened if the linesman wasn’t in the way? But that’s hockey. Pucks hit zebras.

The bottom line is, the CH took the early lead and then proceeded to fall behind 4-1 before playing catch up.

It’s not good to dig a hole like that. Especially when the team has a tough time scoring goals at the best of times, and especially when they’re trying to show that the slump has ended.

But at least they didn’t fold and they gave it the old college try. They came close to rebounding from being down 4-1 to actually winning. That’s good, right?

It’s tough being a Habs fan.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot the Sabres 30-22.

Montreal, sitting at 21st overall on the power play before the game, were 2/3 with the man advantage.

Next up – Monday in Arizona. Game time 9:00 pm ET.

kid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once Again, Habs……

man-slumped-in-chair

It was sure nice to have a week off during the All-Star break.

The John Scott Extravaganza was up and running, so the Habs’ magnificent Slide Into Hell was forced to stop for a breather. No turnovers, no missed nets, no silent guns, no night with no points.

Nice.

But I’ll admit, after a week off, it was good to see the boys up and at ’em and lose another.

This time it happened in Philadelphia, where they fell 4-2, although they came back from being down 2-0 to tie things at one point, which sort of gave us the silly notion that they could actually win.

There was a glorious chance to even things late, after big lunk Radko Gudas clipped Lucas Lessio with just over seven minutes remaining, and was given five minutes and a game misconduct for his dastardly deed.

But the five-minute power play that Montreal went on because of the clipping simply ticked away like we knew it would, with the boys of course not scoring, and in not doing so, they’ve probably blown their season in solid Linda Lovelace fashion.

On the bright side, it’s only the team’s third straight loss and not five or six like we’ve seen in previous months. Although they should reach these marks soon of course.

I don’t want to talk about what now amounts to one win in 9 games, which is their most recent pathetic contribution to join all the other pathetic contributions. The beat goes on. The longest lousy drum solo on record.

I never know what to say anymore. I dread game nights now. What am I supposed to write about when every game is just a slight variation of all the others?

I miss the ongoing circus, CNN’s Race For the White House, for this %$*&^?

Once upon a time I thought the 2015-16 Montreal Canadiens were good. What was wrong with me?

Random Notes:

Philly out the Canadiens 36-32.

The power play? 1/4.

Habs scorers were Andrei Markov, with his third of the season, and Jeff Petry with his fifth.

Quite a start for Lessio. His first game with the Habs after being called up from St. John’s, and he’s helped off the ice with what may be a serious knee injury. Fingers crossed on this one.

It’s the first time this season the Canadiens haven’t won the first game of a month, which makes it sound like they’ve been good or something. But it’s worth mentioning I suppose.

Next Up – Wednesday, with the Buffalo Sabres paying a visit to the Bell Centre. This is the first of four games at home, for what it’s worth.

 

 

 

Habs Lose Of Course

dead fish

For the second straight night, the Canadiens fall 5-2 to the powerhouse Columbus Blue Jackets.

Send this team to fight ISIS or something. They’re useless here.

Maybe there’s some fine Syrian refugee hockey players who could fill the gap.

This ends the January part of the schedule, by the way. A month when they won three times in 11 games. Good stuff. It’s almost like December, when they won three times in 14 games.

And if things work out in magical fashion, February could give us three wins in 13 games!

How neat would that be! Three wins in each month. Here’s hoping!

They went 1/6 on the power play, and for the most part, it was a mighty fine mess with guys sort of improvising in halfhearted fashion because there doesn’t seem to be any set plays.

It was fun to see them sometimes run into each other, and in general do not much of anything.

This is the power play they promised us would be good this year, one they’ve been practicing since training camp, and one that looks like five drunks screwing around on rented ice.

Once again a turnover by Andrei Markov cost a goal. Andrei likes to do this every game now if possible, it’s become his signature thing, and I for one look forward to it.

To add to the merriment, Max Pacioretty left the ice after a puck hit him in the face after deflecting off his shoulder. And it was announced that Daniel Carr, one of the few guys who’s contributed lately, is gone for three months with a knee injury.

It’s amazing stuff. Sort of funny, really.

Now they get to sit and reflect until after the All-Star break, when they kick things into motion on February 2 in Philly.

Can’t wait.

I just hope the wives are okay.

Wives, if you need to talk, just call me collect at 604-555-1515. We can chat into the wee hours, when your husbands are tossing and turning about the possibility of being sent to Iraq..

Random Notes:

Devante Smith-Pelly narrowed the gap to 2-1 in the second period, converting a nice feed from Torrey Mitchell, and Alex Galchenyuk on the power play narrowed things to 3-2. Then it collapsed.

Again, wives – 604-555-1515.

 

 

Bell Smell

skunk-smell-229x259

Mike Condon has had a lot of great nights lately. Saturday wasn’t one of them.

Against the visiting Colorado Avalanche, Condon allowed four goals on eleven shots during his two periods of work before being yanked for Dustin Tokarski in the third, who himself let in two more in this 6-1 debacle at the Bell.

And to make matters worse, the Canadiens had plenty of chances and fired 40 shots at Swedish goaltender Reto Berra. But when all was said and done, the Swede was sharp and the Montreal backups played like backups.

It just wasn’t Condon’s night, his first true bummer of an outing, and it began early, after both Jeff Petry and Max Pacioretty blew glorious chances, when Mikhail Grigorenko sneaked one through Condon’s legs just 3:26 into the contest.

With 1:22 left in the first, Petry turned the puck over to Nathan Mackinnon, who fired past Condon, and just 13 seconds later, it was MacKinnon once again, with a backhand that Condon probably should’ve stopped because it seemed he wasn’t set properly.

There we go again. Early and late period goals. It just seems so Wednesday-like, when they lost to Pittsburgh after being scored on 13 seconds into the first period and again with just 44 seconds remaining.

Their opening and closing habits might need a few tweaks.

In the second period, Brendan Gallagher chipped in a Tomas Plekanec pass from behind the net, and hope reigned supreme. For a few minutes at least.

A game to be had, until Andrei Markov, on a Habs power play, told P.K. Subban to grab the puck at the blueline, and P.K. told Markov to grab the puck at the blueline, which led to no one grabbing the puck at the blueline.

Except Blake Comeau, who took advantage of the black comedy and sent the puck through the backstopper’s legs after skating in home free.

This embarrassing and momentum-killing shorthanded goal would see a 4-1 game at that point and spell the end of Condon’s night and his incredible run as saviour while Carey Price is on the mend.

The Markov/Subban lack of communication sequence is not something we want Habs haters to take and run with and plaster all over Facebook pages.  Not something we ever want to see again. So let’s never mention it.

At the other end of the rink, Avs goaltender Berra thwarted plenty of splendid home team chances, and good for him I guess. It’ll be something he can tell his grandchildren someday when back in the old country. How, when he was playing overseas in Canada, he stoned the team that seven months later would win the Stanley Cup.

All in all, the Habs should’ve beaten this guy several times. They also shouldn’t have been scored on shorthanded, shouldn’t have had a blueline brain fart, and shouldn’t have had their backup goalie come crashing back to earth after being the talk of the hockey world, and the league’s third star last week.

Condon might have been fine if the boys would’ve cashed in early once or twice. But they didn’t and he wasn’t.

If a backup played like a first stringer all the time, he wouldn’t be a backup. Poor play once in a while is to be expected. Poor play too often means you’re Peter Budaj or Dustin Tokarski or Alex Auld and you don’t have the job anymore.

Now Condon needs to regroup and hang in there just a little bit longer, as Price seems closer to being up and at ’em.

We need a serious regrouping on Monday when the Vancouver Canucks stop by to say hello. And keep in mind, not only is this loss the team’s second straight, but they’ve dropped five of their last nine.

Those nine straight wins were so nice. I miss that.

 

 

 

 

A Shootout Loss In Pittsburgh

The Canadiens fall 4-3 in the shootout against the Penguins in Pittsburgh, but that’s fine. They were skating and had their chances, they got a point out of the deal, and their dads, on the father/son road trip, probably still love them anyway.

It was just 13 seconds into the first period when Pittsburgh’s Pascal Dupuis beat Mike Condon, and it goes without saying that a goal right off the bat like that isn’t a good thing. Especially for Condon’s dad, who was seeing his son in the bigs for the very first time.

But Andrei Markov would even things up with blast while on the power play (ranked third overall), and hopefully Markov’s dad was there too to see it.

Sadly though, the Pens would bulge the twine with just 44 seconds left to play in the frame, and the Canadiens went to the room a goal behind.

Tough when you’re scored against in the first and last minutes of the period.

In the second, Max Pacioretty sent Brendan Gallagher into the clear and Gally’s great shot evened things, while later on Brian Flynn fired the puck through Marc-Andre Fleury’s armpits to put the team in front.

Montreal owned things in that middle frame. They had it going, they were skating like the wind, passing the puck around like a first-place team would, and they outshot the home team 13-1 as proof.

All they needed was another goal. But it never came.

Pittsburgh would find their game in the third, eventually tie it, and after no scoring in the 3-on-3 overtime, the Pens, with the help of Sidney Crosby, wrapped it up in the shootout after Galchenyuk and DD didn’t come through.

Looking back, the Canadiens were going good in overtime. They came close several times, and they circled with confidence and moved the puck around in fine style, especially when Galchenyuk, Gallagher, and Markov were on the ice..

Then Tom Gilbert stepped on the ice too soon and the team was called for too many men. Which of course killed any built momentum, and any chance to nail it shut.

Gilbert was also called for holding with 2:17 left in the third period, which wasn’t good either.

An inexcusable penalty to take on a 3-on-3. But like I said, the dads probably still love all of them anyway. Possibly even Gilbert’s dad.

Random Notes:

Montreal outshot Pittsburgh 38-34 and went 1/4 on the power play.

P.K. Subban recorded two assists, which hurdles him past John Klingberg of the Dallas Stars for most points (16) by a d-man.

Next up – Saturday, when Patrick Roy and his Colorado Avalanche visit the Bell Centre.

And finally, this great artwork done by Wade Alexander (Darth), of Brendan Gallagher. Gally played a fine game and also took a shot in the foot which saw him leave the game, only to return. (Dale Weise also left after being hit by Ben Lovejoy, but also returned.)

Whew, on both counts.

Gally

 

 

 

 

Habs Surprise Bruins

There were times throughout when they were far from sharp. Dozey in fact.  Definitely brain-dead in places.

But enough about the referees.

Canadiens double up the visiting Bruins 4-2 in a game that should turn more than a few Bruins fans into babbling glue sniffers. Their team had the Habs on the ropes. And then they didn’t.

Funny how that happens sometimes.

Somehow, although outplayed for much of the game, this first place team hung in against a surprisingly tough Boston squad. Tougher than I thought, considering the Bs sit in 19th spot overall with just 13 points, while the Canadiens, from the highest perch, can barely see them with binoculars.

But in the end, when the score was tied and just over a minute left in the third period, David Krejci decided to crosscheck Tomas Plekanec, several times in fact, and while he was cooling his blades in the sinbin after his numbing stupidity, David Desharnais buried the puck and the knife.

Soon after, Max found the empty net, and fans exhaled.

A fine ending to a tense game, and Bruins fans scurry to the local Army Surplus to buy knives to slit their throats.

Boston jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first period after the Canadiens were called for a tremendously dubious ‘too many men’ infraction, which was one of several weird refereeing decisions. But because of the final score, I won’t bitch. Except for the first paragraph of course.

The team was stifled constantly. They were bottled up, scrambling, all out of whack. I couldn’t wait for the period to end.

The only fun I had in this 20 minutes was seeing Andrei Markov blast a slapshot into the Bruins bench after taking a tripping call when Colin Miller embellished in fine Brad Marchand style.

No one was hurt on the Bruins bench, which is good I suppose. But it was a great moment. An excellent Markov moment.

Just as the Bruins had scored early in the first on the power play, the Canadiens did the same in the second, when Tomas Plekanec finished off a feed from Brendan Gallagher at 1:09 into the frame.

The Canadiens power play is clicking now. They promised, and I believed.

The Bruins took the lead in the second when Frank Vatrano, from the legendary Vatrano/Gambino mob family and playing in just his first NHL game after the family made the Bruins an offer they couldn’t refuse, notched his first big league goal.

Now we wait for news of a horse’s head found in David Krejci’s hotel bed after he gets home from Crescent St.

A Bruins lead going into the third period, with Boston stifling the boys and simply being the better team, ready to collect two big road points.

The Canadiens were in trouble, and possibly let down emotionally  after a Plekanec goal in the the third, which would have tied things up, was ruled no goal because of Gally causing havoc in the crease.

It was a sad time at the old Bell barn. The team getting whupped by the rival Bostonians. Things just weren’t going the right way on this Saturday night.

And then………

At 8:58, Lars Eller slipped one through Jonas Gustavsson’s legs and the score was tied in dramatic and surprising fashion.

At 17:57, David Kejci lost his mind and not quite a minute later, DD put his team in front.

And with 17 seconds left, Max found the empty net.

The Bruins and their fans once again hate the Habs more than anyone they’ve ever hated.

Random Notes:

Montreal outshot Boston 33-31.

Canadiens went 2/3 on the power play, while Boston was 1/5.

Too many turnovers, loose play, a plethora of icings, too many penalties, and the boys still won.

Next up – Canadiens take on the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

A little humour to close with. The Leafs allowed a goal with just a second left in Washington, and then lost in the shootout.

 

 

 

 

Collapse In Edmonton

Price

This was going to be the night they’d get back on track. It was the plan, and it was a fine plan.

They’d stunk up the joint in Vancouver on Tuesday when they got mugged 5-1, and although they beat the Leafs just prior to this Western Canada jaunt, they were outshot 52-27 in the process. Enough was enough, we said.

In Edmonton they were going to redeem themselves. Be that team the hockey world was talking about after winning nine straight out of the gate.

And indeed, they jumped out to a 3-0  first period lead against the Oilers in Edmonton, and things were good. It was gonna be a big night. A great night. Edmonton fans would see what all the fuss was about. It might even be a slaughter!

Then it all came tumbling down, like Kim Kardashian’s boobs when she’s in her 60s.

In the second period, Alexei Emelin would play handball with a bouncing puck behind Carey Price, and video replay showed the puck clearing the line by an inch or so.

A game of inches. And it happened with a mere 52 seconds left in the frame, and which gave the Oilers the life they needed.

In the third frame, a screened long shot that beat Price made it 3-2, and I’m betting that every single Habs fan on the planet who was watching or listening felt that familiar and quite sickening feeling of the jig being possibly up.

And the jig was up soon after when young stud Connor McDavid shoved the puck past Andrei Markov at the blueline and sent Benoit Pouliot in alone, and suddenly, in horrifying fashion, the game was tied and the boys were in a heap of trouble.

Yes, Benoit Pouilot. A bum when he was a Hab, and one of the league’s dirtiest players. Doesn’t fight and isn’t tough, but prefers to shove his stick in guts and faces. And it had to be him.

The final blow? With just 1:02 left in the third period, David Desharnais was stripped of the puck behind Price, the little black biscuit was sent out to rookie Leon Draisaitl, and that was that.

Oilers with four unanswered goals.

As we used to say when we were kids when a game ended, “game deodorant”, and although it was always a fairly stupid thing to say, the game smelled so it’s fitting.

Random Notes:

Habs scorers – Brendan Gallagher deflecting a PK wrist shot from the point on the power play; Torrey Mitchell after nice work by Devante Smith-Pelly; and Alex Galchenyuk converting a beautiful pass across the crease from Andrei Markov.

Oilers outshot the Habs 27-21, the fifth straight game in which Montreal has been outshot.

Canadiens power play was 1/2.

Carey Price has allowed 12 goals in his last three games, after previously being on a run that saw him average just one a game.

Next up – Friday night in Cowtown. This is the game where they’re going to redeem themselves. This is going to be the night. Enough is enough etc.

 

 

Habs Bomb Buffalonians

eight

Eight straight wins in the books as the Canadiens invade Buffalo and proceed to blast the Sabres 7-2, even though the home team outshot Montreal 36-26.

And regardless of being outshot, there were times in this game when the Habs threw the puck around like hockey-playing Harlem Globetrotters. Looking good and rolling along. A plethora of early points banked, to come in handy when times are a tad tougher.

My chest is swelled so much it’s now in line with my stomach.

With Mike Condon making his second start (he beat Ottawa 3-1 in the third game of the season), and Andrei Markov collecting a goal and four assists, the team now sits just two wins away from the NHL record of ten wins to start a season, jointly held by the ’93-94 Leafs (of all people), and the 2006-07 Sabres (of all people).

The Canadiens host the Leafs on Saturday night to try and keep this sensational run intact, with game ten in Vancouver on Tuesday night.

How sweet it is so far, and how sweet it would be. But the boys can never take the Leafs lightly, because no matter how much the Buds suck, they can still be full of shit when it comes to playing the Habs.

The 7-2 slaughter in Buffalo not only saw Markov inflict major damage. Brendan Gallagher and Dale Weise both notched a pair of goals, P.K. and Plekanec each collected three assists, and Max a goal and an assist.

A great night for so many, with Torrey Mitchell also scoring, and Tomas Fleischmann and DD grabbing an assist each. And to add to the merriment, the team went 2/3 on the power play, as Markov and Gallagher made the enemy pay the price for being shipped off to the sinbin.

Random Notes:

Top five Habs point getters in these eight games –
Plekanec – 5 goals, 4 assists
Max – 6 goals, 3 assists
Markov – 1 goal, 8 assists
Gally – 3 goals, 5 assists
P.K. – 8 assists

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On such an occasion as a 7-2 drubbing and eighth straight win, it saddens me to hear of former Canadien Jim Roberts passing away at age 75. A solid and important player, and a fine and friendly fellow.

I’ll have more about this later.

RIP Jim.

Jim Roberts