Tag Archives: Bobby Baun

Bruins Sweep Penguins

Pens gone in four.

Two goals scored in the four games.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeny Malkin held pointless in the series.

For 48 games in the regular season, Pittsburgh was the powerhouse, not Boston. But the Bruins played great from top to bottom, the goalie stopped every puck but two, and Gregory Campbell personified what his team was made of when he stayed out for his shift with a broken leg in game three and then was helped to the dressing room, gone for the playoffs.

I thought it was an awesome moment. A true playoff moment. Sort of a Bobby Baun moment.

Can you see either of the Kostitsyn brothers doing this?

I hate the Bruins, but they’ve been pretty darn impressive. Would the Habs have had a chance against this team if they would’ve met up at some point?  Not with the way the Beantowners have played, which is tough and smart and almost mistake-free. And of course the goalie, who could have gone for an extended coffee break because our guys can never hit the net anyway.

Maybe Jarome Iginla should have chosen Boston after all, like everyone thought, including Boston. Instead, Pittsburgh gave Calgary a 2013 first-round draft pick and two college players to corral the former star, and maybe it wasn’t the shrewdest move by both Pens G.M. Ray Shero or Iginla.

Iginla thought the Pens had the best chance to win it all. Oops!

It also shows loud and clear that a stacked team isn’t always the best team. And is it possible that the addition of Iginla, Brenden Morrow, and defenceman Douglas Murray somehow tampered with delicate team chemistry?

Oh, well. Live and learn for all concerned. And because I’m a terrible person, I think it’s quite a classic and fun moment when this team, that was expected to steamroll to the Cup, falls flat on their face and bows out in such embarrassing fashion.

It’s the spice of life. It’s what makes the hockey world go round.

 

 

 

 

Emelin On Board

Alexei Emelin (pronounced Ye-mel-in) has signed a two-year deal with the Canadiens, so look out enemy players with your heads down, our super-strong d-man is going to make you see stars.

It goes without saying that we need this bruiser in the lineup, and if we would have let him slip away, I’d be picketing the Bell Centre. He adds a dimension many teams don’t enjoy – a rockin’, sockin’ hitter that harkens back to Eddie Shore and Bobby Baun. A defenceman who punishes, crunches bones, and does so in mostly legal fashion.

Emelin makes forwards rushing toward Carey Price more tentative, more nervous, more prone to giving the puck up. And if they try to slip by, it’s a freight train moving in.

I haven’t heard just yet what the amount of money this Russian signed for, but whatever it is, it’s worth it and more. This is the kind of defenceman every team needs, and we’ve got a beauty.

I’m thrilled that Emelin signs. I just wish it was four or five years instead of two.

 

A Blanking Of The Canes

So many good things on a night when the Habs win a convincing 4-0 game over the Carolina Hurricanes. I just need to list them while the giddiness lingers.

Montreal took advantage of a flat and disoriented Carolina team and scored four big ones.

Carey Price notched his first shutout of the season, and Montreal scored a rare power play goal as Yannick Weber fired one home.

Frederic St-Denis, in his very first NHL game, played well and even managed to get himself on the stats sheet, albeit for two penalties. He carried himself well and his family must be very proud.

PK Subban scored his first of the year and came through as a blueline leader, just when we needed him to.

Travis Moen added his sixth of the season, and if he keeps this up, I’m going to start saying I told you so.

And finally, and I want you to take a deep breath – Scott Gomez had an assist. And you know what that means? It means Gomez manages to stay ahead of Carey Price in the points department. Gomez has two points, Price, with an assist on Mike Cammalleri’s goal which opened the scoring, remains one behind Gomez.

What a race. Can Price catch Gomez? Or can Gomez continue this torrid pace and leave Price in the dust?

Yes, Carolina is out-of-sorts presently, but we don’t care. Imagine if this out-of-sorts team had won the game? It could have been as low as Montreal could sink. But instead, the Canadiens were solid, and they were so without backenders Jaraslav Spacek, Hal Gill, Chris Campoli, and of course Andrei Markov.

TSN colour guy Ray Ferraro called PK a veteran, and I suppose on this night he was, even though he was a fresh-faced rookie just a year ago. It was PK and Josh Gorges as the mainstays on defence, with St-Denis and Raphael Diaz, Yannick Weber, and especially Alexei Emelin, who bumped and thumped and definitely adds a nice, new dimension to the Canadiens. Old-time bodychecks. A Russian Bobby Baun. And like Baun, he hurts people in mostly a clean way.

If Jacques Martin sees fit to give this Russian regular minutes on a regular basis, I see an important guy in the lineup. Because there’s nothing like a heavy hitter on a smallish team.

Now it’s off to Long Island for a Thursday night tilt against the Islanders. Such a roller coaster ride we’re on with this Habs team. And such drama with the Price/Gomez points race.

Random notes:

Habs outshot the visitors 36-25.

The boys are a hair from a playoff spot, tied with New Jersey who hold down 8th, but Montreal has played one more game so they sit in 9th. For a few minutes at least, they owned that 8th spot.

 

 

Ron And Dennis’ Excellent Adventure

The other day the phone rang and it was my old friend Ron Clarke, and although he lives in the Kitchener/Waterloo area, he was in Vancouver visiting his 34 year old daughter who has terminal lung cancer.

Ron and I go back further than any other of my other friends as we were childhood buddies and schoolmates and we played road hockey and  held on to bumpers of cars and got free rides as the unsuspecting drivers made their way through snowy streets. He and I traded hockey cards, smoked our first cigarettes together, went through minor hockey, and he started hanging around with a girl in grade seven and ended up marrying her after they dated for about ten years.

Ron and I went our separate ways because he was a straight-laced guy who wanted no part of what was happening with the counter-culture in the 1960’s, and I was the opposite. But we always remained friends over the years anyway.

After talking to Ron, I remembered a time when we were 12 year old altar boys and one of the priests was not only the big shot priest, the Monsignor, but he also somehow had a connection to the Toronto Maple Leafs. It might have something to do with St. Michael’s College in Toronto but I’m not sure. 

Monsignor Lee asked Ron and I one day if we’d like to go to Peterborough for the day and visit the Leafs in training camp, and off we went. Turns out Monsignor Lee had more than just a slight connection with the Leafs. It was almost like he was part of them.

In the afternoon, we had dinner with the team, for gawd’s sakes, although the players, Keon, Horton, Mahovlich, Baun, Pulford and the rest were on the other side of the room. Ron and I sat at a table with King Clancy and Jim Gregory, and the two of them, with the Monsignor, told old stories about when they did this and when they did that, and although I don’t recall any of the conversations, I can still picture  Clancy being really funny and Jim Gregory doing most of the talking.

Later on, we had primo seats at the Peterborough arena to see the Leafs and Chicago Black Hawks play an exhibition game and we went down to the boards and got Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita’s autographs.

Then, back to Orillia we went, an hour away.

Back to the present. I spoke briefly on the phone with Ron’s daughter, Jocelyne, and I told her she was going to beat her lung cancer. She said that’s not what any of her doctor’s have told her.

Addendum:

Ron and I also went to Barrie at about the same age as when we went to Peterborough, and he and I helped the AHL Buffalo Bisons trainer and stood behind the bench as stick boys for an exhibition game between the Bisons and Rochester Americans. Don Cherry played for Rochester but it didn’t matter at that time, (I only know because I still have the lineup sheet), and the only players who made an impact on me where Gilles Marotte, Billy Dea, and Fred Stanfield.

I also remember Ron and I coming home from playing hockey at the arena in Orillia and noticed the Habs-Leafs on TV in someone’s living room. So we sat outside the window and watched the game without the people knowing.

The Boys Are Playing Large: Like The ’67 Leafs

On Tuesday night, Montreal beat the Islanders 3-1. There’s only one thing to say about this. The Habs are playing really, really well. As we speak, they’re one of the top teams in the east.

Last year at this time, after 45 games, Montreal had 55 points. This year, after the same amount of games, the team has 54 points. BUT! Last year, they won only 4 of their next 16 games. That won’t happen this year. Kovalev’s at the top of his game, so’s Plekanec and Huet, and the Kostitsyn’s are here this year.

The general consensus is that a team like Detroit, or Anaheim and Ottawa, or maybe New Jersey or Pittsburgh, are the ones that have so much going for them, they’re the odds-on favourites to win the Cup. Any of them.

But n 1967, Toronto won the Cup and they weren’t supposed to. They were a team of really old guys like Johnny Bower, Terry Sawchuk, Allan Stanley, Bob Baun, Tim Horton, Red Kelly etc. and they defied the odds, and the general consensus. They were far from the favourites. (Please note: I’m no Leaf fan.)

Without getting carried away here, maybe Montreal can surprise people and go deep into the playoffs. Just like the ’67 Leafs. It’s that power of positive thinking again.

As an aside –

When Toronto won in 1967, they played and beat Montreal in the final, 4 games to two. The kicker is that Montreal had won the past two years before that, and won the next two years after that. So if Toronto hadn’t pulled off that big upset, Montreal would have won five straight Cups, like they did from 1955 to ’60.