Tag Archives: Benoit Pouliot

A Much-Needed Win By Canadiens

It wasn’t perfect, not by any stretch, but the Canadiens right the ship slightly by edging the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2, and for now at least, thing’s are back to where we want them. In the win column. Is there any other place?

It’s a nice combination – winning with Carey Price being one of the three stars – and both of course are polar opposites of what’s gone down in the past week. So even though some luck was involved, and it was against a team 21 points behind Montreal, it was one small step for man, one giant leap for the Habs situation.

Brian Gionta broke the 2-2 deadlock with his second goal of the game with just 46 seconds remaining, and it came compliments of  former Canadien Benoit Pouliot wrestling Subban with a fine headlock when it truly wasn’t necessary. It was a serious lack of judgement on Pouliot’s part, and it seemed the type of thing he would pull on occasion when he was a Hab.

I’m just happy Pouliot came to this decision, and although the Canadiens power play was ineffective throughout, Gionta made no mistake when the final chance presented itself.

Although the first stars were Gionta, Price, and Alex Galchenyuk, I’d also like to give Pouliot honourable mention for his Subban mugging. Maybe at the end of the season, we can say the true turning point of a crucial turnaround came when Pouliot decided to give his best Hulk Hogan impression.

Carey Price was another story on this night. He was often lucky, with a couple of goalposts and a crossbar entering into things, but at times he was also excellent, much better than he has been lately, and we’ll take that thank you very much. It gives us hope.

Random Notes:

Two goals from Gionta, and Alex Galchenyuk once again bulged the twine, his fourth in five games, and has racked up nine points in the last nine games.

As a bit of an understatement, I’d say we need Andrei Markov to pick it up several notches. Hopefully he still has it in him. Markov has 27 points in 44 games, which is the team’s fourth best, but he’s also a minus-11, often unreliable, and has slowed down somewhat. But he’s still a key guy and we need him to get it together.

The Canadiens once again jump ahead of the Bruins with this win, and find themselves a comfortable six points up on the Leafs after Toronto fell 5-3 to the Islanders. It was a fine night in many ways.

Alex Ovechkin and his Washington Capitals are at the Bell on Saturday, and how great it would be if the Canadiens kicked some supreme derriere at this time. And how great would it be if Carey Price once again stood tall and continued his climb back.

It was nice to see Michel Therrien stay out and congratulate each and every player as they came off the ice. That sort of thing can go a long way.

 

 

 

Not Quite For Canada

Congratulations to the U.S. junior squad for grabbing gold in Ufa after their 3-1 win over Sweden, and cheers to Russia for winning bronze, although I say it with a severe case of lack of enthusiasm after Team Canada fell to the home country 6-5 in overtime.

Canada clawed their way back a couple of times after being down by two, and throughout the third period and into overtime they had numerous chances, including ringing the rubber off goal posts not once but twice. But it wasn’t to be.

It’s always tough to see young hockey players lose a heartbreaker, especially when it’s your own country. But that’s sports. The agony and the ecstasy. And in the ecstasy department, the Americans, in their game against the Swedes, rebounded in the second period after being down by one, with little Californian Rocco Grimaldi scoring twice to put his team in the lead, a lead they never surrendered.

One player who caught my eye throughout the tournament was Mikhail Grigorenko, who went 12th in the 2012 entry draft, selected by Buffalo. Montreal, of course, chose Alex Galchenyuk third. Grigorenko is a big, long-legged smoothie, and has a chance of becoming a Jean Beliveau-type player, or on the other hand, maybe a Benoit Pouilot-type player. And believe me, it’s not easy to mention these players in the same breath. Please don’t misconstrue my Jean Beliveau analogy.

Next year the tourney will take place in Malmo, Sweden, which means another two weeks of extremely early games for us on this side of the pond. Malmo is the birthplace of siren Anita Ekberg, if you’re interested.

anita-ekberg

Anita

Another Damn Point

A fun and exciting game at the Bell Centre Saturday night, and with the Canadiens falling 3-2 to the New York Islanders in a shootout, they still get that lousy loser point, and we don’t want points. Not if they’re going to lose. Not with some highly-ranked young stud waiting to be plucked from the draft list.

How come they can’t even lose properly?

The Habs now sit 15th in the east, which translates to fourth worst overall, which means with our luck we’ll end up with someone like a Benoit Pouliot-type in the draft. Pouliot went 4th in 2004 draft and as we all know, is a journeyman at best.

But who knows who we’ll get and how well he’ll play? Why am I being so negative?

Fans got their money’s worth on this night, especially when PK Subban wound up. I can’t say enough about this guy and the way he skates and moves the puck. Intensity oozes through every pore, and when he plays like he did tonight, that alone is worth the price of admission. I’m worn out just looking at him, and thanks to him, there’s no way I can finish the crown moulding I started today. I’m just too tired. Thanks PK. I mean it.

Once again the Desharnais, Cole, Pacioretty line played like the Punch Line, although the only point from any of them came from Desharnais in the shootout. But they skated well, and were a big presence in overtime. And Peter Budaj, in nets played really well and even managed an assist on Louis Leblanc’s goal. Budaj has been exceptional in his last two starts and if he keeps this up, he’ll make us all forget Alex Auld. (bada bing bada boom).

Aaron Palushaj scored his first NHL goal and now that that monkey’s off his back, we expect a few more now and again.

That’s four extra innings in a row now for the Habs, in which they’ve won one but got points in all four.

But I don’t really care. As long as we don’t get a Benoit Pouliot-type when all is said and done.

Random Notes:

Islanders outshot Montreal 38-30.

Rene Bourque was booed on occasion tonight. To be blunt, he deserves it. (Although he scored in the shootout).

The Canadiens, if you’re interested, have won 5 of their last 17 games.

Next up, Wednesday in Buffalo. There are nine games left in this season, and then we can settle down and go about the business of fixing this freaking situation. I’m currently looking for a good deal on tar and feathers.

It’s the 57th anniversary of the Richard Riot, and I felt because I’ve written several stories about this in the past, I decided to forgo it this time. You already know all the details anyway.

Lottery Balls

How does the NHL draft work? I’ll let Yahoo Answers explain:

“After the end of each NHL season whatever teamed amassed the least amount of points/wins means they are the worst team. But that still doesn’t mean they automatically get the first pick in the draft. There is a draft lottery (almost like a real lottery) where they pick out a random number. The worst team gets 48% chance of winning the first overall pick 2nd worst team has an 18% chance and so on. And usually most teams don’t try to lose because they like to show fans appreciation for sticking with them through the year.”

What that means is, even if Montreal loses to Toronto tonight (which I hope isn’t the case), and then their last 16 after that (which I also hope isn’t the case), it still doesn’t guarantee that they’d have Nail Yakupov in the uniform next year, or even the next guy or the next guy after him. But it also means that if they finish 5th from the bottom, for example, they still still have a shot at a guy like Yakupov. Although the odds are much less.

At least I think this is how it works. If I’m wrong, feel free to correct me. I’d appreciate it.

Shootout Shoots Canadiens

It was a spirited affair, jam-packed with close calls, big hits, dirty hits, questionable penalty calls, a Ryan White fight, a comeback, an overtime, and a shootout. All that stuff. Even a dirty Brad Marchand check, which should’ve been written into the program..

But when it was all said and done, the Canadiens had lost the game 4-3 while Toronto was winning in Edmonton, and the noose is so tight I’m starting to gag.

Montreal played hard and tough, with White adding feistiness, Alexei Emelin crushing Shawn Thornton and others, and so many Habs coming to play, unlike some nights when it seemed some must have been nursing hangovers or taken sedatives. The Desharnais, Cole and Pacioretty line did again what they do always do, make an impact and pick up points, and there were others too. Josh Gorges and PK Subban enjoyed fine nights, Mathieu Darche dug deep and scored a shorthanded goal, and Carey Price, for the most part, was solid.

But them we remind ourselves that Hal Gill gave up the puck in the first period which resulted in Boston’s first goal. We saw Lars Eller take a four-minute high-sticking penalty which put him solidly on the bench for much of the remainder of the game. And we saw a weak non-effort from Tomas Kaberle on Benoit Pouliot, who in turn undressed Chris Campoli for Boston’s second goal.

To make matters worse, the Bruins scored a power play marker after Erik Cole had been sent off for goaltender interference which was questionable to say the least. Cole was simply coming in hard with the puck and had no chance to avoid Thomas.

This game, in which ticket buyers got their money’s worth, was close to being over when in the third, the Canadiens made their charge when Max Pacioretty lit the lamp, Erik Cole said thank you to a Zdeno Chara giveaway, and presto, the Habs were back in it, the game was tied, and a good time was had by all.

That is until the thing got to a shootout and Rene Bourque, Max, and a semi-frozen Lars Eller couldn’t get it done, young Tyler Seguin could, and the Bruins walk out with two points in their pocket and the Canadiens just one.

What could have been. It’s just very sad.

Random Notes:

It was only a couple of days ago when Thomas Kaberle gave up the puck to Eric Staal in the Carolina game, allowing Staal to easily walk around him and score a shorthanded goal which tied the game and set things in motion for the Habs to blow it. And again tonight, Kaberle was weak on a goal and quite ordinary at best.

In honour of Thomas Kaberle being so lousy, I’ve thought up a lousy joke: What do you get when you join five Kaberle sticks together? One Chara stick.

Shots on goal – Boston 34, Montreal 29

I’m sure Carey Price would be the first to admit he hasn’t been sparkling in shootouts.

Next game, Friday in Buffalo.

For those of you who support Scott Gomez, what exactly is it you’re supporting?

Brad Marchand submarined Alexei Emelin, and luckily Emelin was okay. Marchand got a two-minute clipping call out of the deal, and I’ll bet Emelin could grind this rat into powder with his bare hands if he wanted to. Marchand better be careful in dealing with this ultra-strong Russian bear.

Beaten In Boston

The Canadiens dropped their third straight Monday night, a 3-2 loss in Boston, and although they scored late in the game to make Bruins fans maybe even slightly nervous, it was a still a loss, the team goes nowhere, and Randy Cunneyworth is 0-2, which must have the Quebec culture cops rubbing their hands with glee.

I keep a paper nearby to jot things down, and this is what my barely legible scribblings read:

Petteri Nokelainen lost the faceoff deep in his own end, the puck was sent to Benoit Pouliot, who ended up beating Carey Price, which resulted in Boston’s first goal.

P.K.Subban sent out a blind pass, which resulted in the Bruins’ second goal.

Travis Moen gave up the puck to Tyler Seguin, who found Brad Marchand, and yes, this resulted in goal number 3 for Boston.

Other than that, I didn’t write much because there didn’t seem much to write.

All I can say is, I’m quite tired of dismal play, slumps, and disappointing results, and if this doesn’t change soon, I’m going to start blogging about something more uplifting, like highlights at the dentist office, or describing how the septic truck empties the holding tanks on the ferry.

Random Notes:

Tomas Plekanec had Montreal’s first goal, with Cammy assisting. I guess it was too much to expect any more than that from these two.

Erik Cole, with 1:14 left in the third period, got our hopes up slightly but we knew our chances of beating Tim Thomas twice in a minute were slim to none.

Onward to Chicago to meet the league leaders. Oh well.

Montreal has scored 87 goals in 34 games, an average of 2.5 goals a game.

The Habs have won just three games in twelve.

Habs Can’t Solve The Goalie

It was one of those nights that seemed like it was going to be slightly tough beating the enemy goalie. And it was. In fact, Tim Thomas wasn’t beaten even once as the Canadiens fall 1-0 to the visiting Bruins, and that, combined with me laid up sick, made my night a complete exercise in misery.

Montreal went 0-4 on the power play, including a four-minute high-sticking call to ex-Hab Benoit Pouliot, and also including a Bruins penalty with just 1:39 left in the game, which should have opend the door for home team dramatics. But try as they may, Thomas shut the door, and that, with Boston checking furiously throughout, was too much for the Habs who just couldn’t light the lamp.

What a win it could have been for the Habs. They could’ve leapfrogged over Boston into the promised land. But they couldn’t score, even though they outshot the bastards 33-18. The heck with aspirin. Give me some morphine.

Once again, Erik Cole played with vim and vigour, and I’ll say it again, I had no idea this guy can scoot like he can. He can skate as well as anyone in the league down the sides, and reminds me of a younger Teemu Selanne. But even with Cole scooting and others moving the puck around, Boston stuck to their system, stayed with their men, closed gaps, and let Thomas do his thing when called upon.

That’s basically how those Beantowners won the Cup last year. It’s not because it’s a star-studded lineup. It’s because they play a tough-checking game and hope Thomas gets in a zone.

We won a back-to-back series in late October against these guys, so a 1-0 loss tonight, as great as it would have been, shouldn’t be looked at as a total bummer. The Habs played well, had their chances, and a bounce here and there could easily have shown a different result. The Bruins know it, their fans know it, and we know it.

Random Notes:

Alexei Emelin played a hard-hitting, tough game, and is exactly what Montreal needs against teams like Boston. More and more we see that this is a guy who can add another dimension to the team, and I’m hoping he finds himself solidly entrenched in the lineup. He hits hard and he hits clean. And he plays heads-up hockey.

Andrew Ference scored the lone goal of the night, and even though he didn’t give the crowd the finger, he probably wanted to.

Over in Pittsburgh, Sidney Crosby, with two goals and two assists, is now tied with Scott Gomez in points.

Next game – Wednesday in Raleigh to say hello to the Hurricanes.

 

 

They Snickered At The Cole Deal

Sportsnet’s Doug MacLean and Nick Kypreos were almost wetting their pants. Columbus had vastly overpaid James Wisniewski and others, and they were on the subject of Montreal’s new power forward, Erik Cole. (And I’m paraphrasing).” FOUR YEARS!!!” trumpeted MacLean. “Can you imagine, four years! I mean, Cole’s a decent player, but you can bet he was shocked with this offer. SHOCKED! You can be sure he wasn’t expecting that, and when this came over the wires, Cole said, “Where do I sign!”

” This deal doesn’t make sense.”

Kypreos added his two cents. “He’s big, he’s been a good player, but he takes too many nights off and he’s not getting any younger. It’s a crazy deal, like so many that have happened today.”

And then they smiled and looked saintly and carried on about others.

(I might add that Brad Richards, who everyone has been salivating over in these past few days, is only just a little over a year younger than Cole).

So as much as I’m happy, and maybe you too, to have a goal-scoring power forward added to a lineup that desperately needed a goal-scoring power forward, these two clowns rained on the parade and now once again it’s up to the Habs to prove people wrong.

Erik Cole is almost exactly what the doctor ordered. He’s not Benoit Pouliot, who came over from Minnesota as a bust, we knew it was possible he might remain a bust, and sadly, he was. But Cole plays hard and is a leader – both of which Pouliot lacked in generous heapings. We know Cole will help the team. We weren’t sure about the other guy.

But when I say Cole is a goal scorer, he’s not Guy Lafleur, and in Montreal he needs to step it up slightly to make us happy and shut up the talking heads. He’s a ten-year veteran, has toiled in 620 games, recording 184 goals and 206 points along the way. That’s something like a goal every three and a half games or so, and it would be lovely if his numbers improve slightly while wearing the CH.

I feel they will. I once read “The Power of Positive Thinking.”

And now, for your viewing enjoyment.

 I present to you possibly the feeblest video you might ever see, shot by yours truly last February when the boys were in Vancouver. This was after I missed all the good stuff with Carey Price and Subban etc. because I forgot I had a camera in my pocket. I’ve been saving it for a time when it might seem relevant, and now that Alex Auld has gone to Ottawa, it’s time.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you………..Alex Auld warming up in Vancouver. (Of course he didn’t play in the game).

Pouliot Really Didn’t Deserve A Place On The Team

Tom Pyatt and Alexandre Picard will be moving on from the Habs, and it’s the nature of the beast when you’re a journeyman-type player who can be easily replaced by other journemen-type players who are spread throughout the league in handfuls.

Pyatt was a gritty, hard-working, penalty-killing forward, and to him I say thanks for the good job. Picard gave his all but at the end of the day, he was too slow and didn’t possess the necessary skills to be an impact defenceman, but I also say thanks.

And then there’s Benoit Pouliot, another who has played his last game for the Canadiens.

Pouliot, originally a Wild first-round draft pick in 2005 (4th overall), still hasn’t proven that he’s an NHLer, might never prove he’s one, and his time in Montreal was a dismal failure. He played 118 games for the Habs, scored 28 goals and added 16 assists, and took ill-timed penalties that would see him relegated at times to the press box or the end of the bench. More often than not he seemed to be coasting or was invisible, and when the team needed all hands on deck, Pouliot played like he was going for a leisurely skate.

Many times I swore at him from the comfort of my couch.

Pouliot is a poster boy for those who are touted by most as a can’t-miss, sure-fire prospect, and who fizzles out like a damp firecracker. He was star for the Sudbury Wolves, won top rookie honours in junior, and was a member of Canada’s World Junior team. These are the things he can someday tell his grandchildren. The NHL part he might want to leave out.

It just seemed he would sometimes go forever without scoring a goal – 20 games, 25 games, 30, and this was absolutely unacceptable to his team and to Habs fans who desperately needed him to contribute, which he rarely did. 

Maybe Pouliot will find his game in the future. Presently it doesn’t seem like it but who knows? For the Habs and us though, we couldn’t wait any longer.

Sam Loves Montreal’s First-Round Choice

With their 17th pick of the first round in this year’s entry draft, the Canadiens chose 6’2″ defenceman Nathan Beaulieu of the Saint John Sea Dogs, and junior hockey analyst Sam Cosentino gushed mightily about the young fellow on Sportsnet last night.

Sam’s my new favourite analyst because of this.

Cosentino rambled on about Beaulieu being the best value of the first round, certainly the best defenseman, and said he was surprised to see the kid go at 17th as he expected him to taken around 5th.

Although the art of predicting the future of young prospects is not an exact science by any stretch of the imagination (Benoit Pouliot was picked 4th overall in 2005, for goodness sakes), hearing nice things about a young, brand new Habs prospect gives me high hopes and warms the cockles of my heart.

Here’s the lowdown on our new guy - Nathan Beaulieu. (Born in 1992. Imagine. I’ve got food in the fridge older than that).