Tag Archives: Brandon Prust

Fab Habs Lads Edge Avs

Canadiens beat the Avs 3-2 again for the second time in two nights, only this time in regulation. But more about that below the photo. (It also happens to be three straight wins in preseason by the bleu, blanc et rouge, all by the score of 3-2)

The photo below is from last April when we were in Quebec to paint the town red. Well, not exactly paint the town red. Partied quite a bit, though. Well not exactly partied. Walked around a lot and went to a restaurant.

The historic district of Quebec City is sensational, and a handful of miles away is Le Colisee, The House That Beliveau Built, with the new barn being built next door.

Le Colisee holds 15,399 folks, and on this night when the Canadiens and Avalanche did battle, the attendance was………no idea. For some reason, the  Canadiens.com site was blank with no stats. Didn’t anybody want to do it?

Colisee

Jiri Sekac showed some serious moves, scored a beauty, and is absolutely forcing management to keep him. He had an excellent rookie camp, an excellent main camp, and is now excellent in exhibition games.

Feeling good about Sekac.

Sven Andrighetto, also enjoying a fine preseason, tied things in the second after Colorado had opened the scoring in the first, while in the third, the Avs took the lead once again when Montreal’s Gabriel Dumont was in the sinbin for shooting the puck over the glass.

But soon enough, Sekac, in a magical moment, used his skate to free the puck from goalie Semyon Varlamov and did a cool wraparound to even things at two. And then David Desharnais sent a sweet pass that Brandon Prust had to skate like the wind to catch, and Prust burst in and fooled Varlamov.

Unusual to see Prust behave like a left-handed Guy Lafleur.

The Quebec crowd was pro-Avalanche, cheering for them throughout. The Avs were once the Quebec Nordiques, and all I can say is, when the Expos left Montreal, I could care less about the Washington Nationals.

But there’s always been that built-in rivalry between big city Montreal and the quainter Quebec City, so it’s not really a surprise that Quebec fans cheered against the Canadiens.

Joe Sakic was introduced and given a hardy ovation. Pretty sure that wouldn’t happen with Eric Lindros. (If you’re not aware of the Lindros/Nords situation, give it a Google).

Shots on goal? I don’t know. Like I said, Canadiens.com was blank.

As it was in the first game, only six players played who can be considered regulars or semi-regulars – Tokarski, DD, Prust, Gilbert, Tinordi, and Beaulieu. The rest of the lineup was prospect-packed.

Next up, Washington Capitals at the Bell on Sunday night, probably to lose 3-2.

Prust’s Ticket Sentence

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks says Brandon Prust can now forget about getting tickets on Celebrity Row at MSG at see the Knicks play.

That’s quite a thing Brooks has going. Sports columnist and the guy who decides who gets the good tickets for basketball games. Powerful stuff.

Of course it’s only what Brooks says. He has no say in Celebrity Row tickets. Or maybe he does. Was he the doorman at Studio 54 who decided who got in and who didn’t? Did he ever work at Immigration?

Note to other Habs players. If you’re going to be mean to the poor Rangers, you risk not getting primo seats for your favourite things in New York. No seats above the dugout at Yankee Stadium, no sold-out Broadway tickets, no front row at Carnegie Hall.

Maybe you should just let up. Even allow Chris Kreider to run Dustin Tokarski, which is only a matter of time coming anyway. Because the word is out. Being not nice to those Rangers means risking good tickets to stuff. Is it worth it?

Brooks putting the hammer down isn’t very nice. It surprises me.  I thought New Yorkers were friendly types. Like Newfoundlanders. But surely Brandon knows a security guard at MSG who will let him slip in through a back door. Or maybe not. Maybe Brooks has taken care of that too.

Brandon, just phone Larry’s friend Torts. He’ll get you tickets.

It’s too bad it’s come to this. Prust makes a play that earns him two games, and Larry Brooks kiboshes Celebrity Row Knicks tickets. Talk about a double whammy.

It’s bad alright. But just remember this, Kreider and company. We still allow you to go to things in Montreal. Crescent Street is still wide open. For now anyway.

As for Larry Brooks, your 2 a.m. visits to Chez Paree have come to an end.

 

 

 

 

Two For Prust

Brandon Prust has been suspended for two games for what the big shots have determined as a late hit that apparently broke Derek Stepan’s jaw.

Must have been quite a break. Stepan, in his post game whining, spoke like his jaw was completely normal.

Of course I’m no doctor. But I just always thought that when your jaw is broken, it’s noticeable in your speech.

 

Series Has Only Just Begun

Okay, a few dark clouds have drifted in. When haven’t they?

A 7-2 throttling in game one. A possible Carey Price injury. A situation where a two-game series lead for the Rangers would suck much more than a 7-2 series opener.

But if Price is injured, if we find ourselves suddenly in a wretched hole, keep in mind it’s still not over. Our dream of seeing the Habs competing for the Stanley Cup isn’t done until the mature and the gentlemanly handshakes have begun.

What I’m saying is, except for the truly dominant teams over the years, which we all know Montreal isn’t quite yet but regardless, the road to the Stanley Cup has always been lined with more potholes than Montreal streets, which, if you’ve driven Montreal streets, is a lot.

Guys get injured, unknown factors and horrible surprises crop up. But championship teams, teams that scraped and clawed and came out bruised, battered and bloodied, somehow found a way to reach the promised land, and if Carey Price is hurt and Peter Budaj is forced to come in, everyone deals with it, plays even that much harder, blocks even that many more shots, chemistry and bonding boils over the top, and their names ultimately become inscribed on the Stanley Cup through blood, sweat, and tears.

Man that was a long sentence.

Teams don’t usually coast to the Stanley Cup. Some of the 1970s Habs teams might have, but not in general. Sometimes they coast to the first place in their division, and maybe through the first few rounds of the playoffs, but not all the way to the Cup. If it was like that, it wouldn’t be the most meaningful trophy in all the land.

If Price is hurt, which we still don’t know yet, the scenario we hope for is this: Budaj is forced to come in, he stands on his head, the team carries on and wins it all, and Budaj is forever after talked about by fans and historians as the the guy who, as a backup goalie, joined the fray and helped his team win it all.

How great would that be? We’ve seen Budaj perform in unreal situations this year, so why not again? It’s the best and only thing we can ask, aside from Price being okay and is good to go.

As far as the Chris Kreider’s crash into Price controversy goes, I’ve looked at the play below several times, and although you might disagree, I have this to say about it.

All season long I’ve harped about the fact that not enough Canadiens are willing to crash the net. Aside from Brendan Gallagher, it’s just not what we’ve seen from most guys on most nights. Chris Kreider was skating hard, as he should be, and in a nano second, his skate may have done some damage, which I hope wasn’t the case.

Did he have time to react differently? Not by what I saw on the video.

I know Michel Therrien isn’t happy about it, and I know Brandon Prust said it was “accidentally on purpose”. But this was a split-second situation during the world’s fastest game and I’m giving the guy the benefit of the doubt.

I’m not about to become a Chris Kreider fan. Are you kidding? I hope Alexei Emelin leaves a dent in the boards with Krieder’s body the way Larry Robinson did with Gary Dornhoefer. I hope we never have to mention his name again. I hope a slapshot removes all his teeth. I hope he turns out to be a bum and ends up selling vacuum cleaners door to door.

I’m just saying I want more from the Habs like what Kreider did. Skate like the wind, blow by guys, don’t let up when you reach the crease.

It would also be just fine if Henrik Lundqvist tasted some of the medicine that was given to Price. Let the Rangers be forced to use to their backup goaltender.

All’s fair in love and war.

 

 

Habs Trounced In Opener

It’s not surprising that after such an emotional Boston series, against a team that played such a drastically different style, the Canadiens might look slightly out of sorts in game one of the Eastern Conference Final against the Rangers.

Just didn’t think it would be that much out of sorts.

It was all Rangers, all the time. So much so that our esteemed backstopper Carey Price was relieved of his duties after two frames, with Peter Budaj getting his first shot at the 2014 playoffs.

The Canadiens need to seriously readjust. The Rangers can absolutely fly, but the saving grace is that the Canadiens can too, and once they truly become accustomed to this non-Bruins style of play, they should be fine.

Talk about a wake-up call, a stick to the groin, a water bottle spray to the faces, including ours. Just a dismal start for the team and to disappointed Habs fans who have been so excited and hopeful.

7-2. What the $%#% is that?

Ill-timed penalties. A collapse in the second period when it was just a 2-1 lead for the Blueshirts and the Habs playing much better than in the first.

But with 61 seconds left in the middle frame it was 3-1, and then with 12 seconds left, 4-1.

The third? Three goals in 3:08. All power play goals, the first with Max in for roughing, the other two because of several Prust  transgressions.

One of those games where I had contemplated paying several extra bucks and springing for a scalpers ticket, to soak in the atmosphere. To say I was there in the moment.

I didn’t, and I’m very happy about that. Now I have more money for food.

It was one of the more miserable nights in recent memory, except of course the beginning when the torch kid did his thing and then Ginette did hers. And maybe not quite as bad as game two of the Bruins series when the Canadiens led 3-1 with nine minutes left and lost 5-3.

One thing to keep in mind. It’s a seven-game series. We’ll see a different Habs team on Monday. They’ll have lots to ponder.

They’ll regroup, adjust, and come out a different team. No problem. And I think I’m going to stay away from TV sports highlights for a couple of days.

Random Notes:

Canadiens were undisciplined, including Rene Bourque in the sinbin for three separate minors and Brandon Prust given two separate minors and a 10 minute misconduct, and when the final dust had settled, the Habs had spent 24 minutes in the box and the Rangers just four.

And as far as undisciplined goes, it was the complete opposite of the Bruins series when they stayed cool, calm, and collected.

If you’re curious, Rene Bourque slipped the puck across the line behind Henrik Lundqvist for the Canadiens’ first goal, which was assisted by linemates Brian Gionta and Lars Eller. And late in the third, Eller scored an unassisted shorthanded marker.

Shots on goal, 28 for the Rangers and 22 for Montreal, including just six for the Habs in the first and six in the third. They need to make Lundqvist work much harder than that.

 

 

Game 3 Coming Fast

There’s not a lot I can add to the Montreal Canadiens situation after  what’s being bandied about on radio, TV, the internet, morse code, and around the potbelly stove where grandpa sits.

The Canadiens almost went up two games to none over the powerhouse Boston Bruins, but settled instead for a win and a horrifying loss after blowing the lead late in game two. It was enough to drive someone to drink.

But instead of dwelling on what could have been, I’d rather talk about Rene Bourque, the Man Who Wasn’t Helping.

He is now though. For whatever reason.

I find it mind-blowing to see how Rene Bourque has played in the playoffs so far. The guy we wanted gone. The guy who looked uninterested and unmotivated and often half-asleep. Now transformed into a force to be reckoned with.

What happened? Did the thought of being bought out finally sink in? Did he have some sort of awakening while sitting on the couch at home, that maybe if he tried harder he could be a strong and incredibly key guy on the team?

Did a teammate call him out in front of others, which is what I was hoping for?

Or do the Canadiens have a terrific head doctor who made Bourque his pet project?

Whatever it is, I like it, because one can never have enough great skating, great shooting power forwards. It’s what Bourque was supposed to be in the first place when he came here in the Mike Cammalleri trade in the winter of 2012.

But as good as Bourque has been playing, and ditto for Lars Eller – another who many of us were truly disappointed in because we’d seen glimpses of greatness – we now need the DD, Max, Vanek line to stop spinning their wheels and lend a hand.

Vanek scored two the other night, but they were merely tip-ins on the power play, which is great but also one-dimensional. We need these three to dangle and pass the puck around like a pinball, like we saw when Vanek showed up in the first place when the line gelled and we were overcome with giddiness.

Vanek has 5 points in 6 games, which is decent, but his overall play is hesitant at best. DD has 3 points in 6 games and Max also has 3 in 6. All three seem invisible for long stretches, and we know absolutely that they can be much better than that.

But no one knows it better than them. The question is, can they do something about it, like Bourque and Eller somehow managed to do?

Against the Bruins, we need all hands on deck, which isn’t rocket science.

For some reason, whatever the DD line was doing in the regular season seems to be gone at this stage. They look tentative and unwilling. They seem nervous. Their passes aren’t of the pinball variety, they’re more like the kind I make.

And about others, is Brandon Prust (1 point in 6 games and often a non-factor in all aspects) playing at 90%, or 70% or 50%, and is his nagging shoulder the reason his play lacks pizzazz? Almost definitely, to answer my own question.

Should Ryan White replace him and maybe add a spark?

Should Douglas Murray replace Francis Bouillon and help calm down the Brad Marchand, Jarome Iginla, Kevan Miller, Milan Lucic feistiness?

Kudos to Brendan Gallagher, who continues to be a whirling dervish. Kudos to so many, Carey Price and PK Subban especially.

The team’s in the thick of the hunt and it’s all we can ask, except for some great players to pick it up a bit.

Just need some tweaking and three more wins in the next week or so. And again, all hands on deck.

Addendum:

I just heard from two different sources, Marjo and TSN 690, that Rene Bourque has the flu and may not play in game 3. Gawd.

 

 

 

It’s Time

Finally it begins, 198 days from that dark October 1st evening when the Canadiens would lose 4-3 to the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Bell Centre.

Through highs and lows they took us, from four and five-game winning streaks to three and four-game losing streaks. But they always kept pace, always stayed in the hunt from start to finish.

Up and down we went, and in the end, when the long 82-game regular season finally drew to a close, we found our team finishing fourth in the east, a  fine100-point season to be proud of, with a goalie at the top of his game and a team that slowly but surely created chemistry within its ranks and a new and forceful first line in place.

Tampa’s number one goaltender Ben Bishop won’t start and we don’t know if he’ll even finish. Brandon Prust seems ready to go. The penalty killing has been spectacular. And our goaltender backstopped Team Canada to gold at Sochi and carries on now as the best in the business.

I’m not going to try and dissect the lines and matchups, or who’s dressing and who isn’t. I prefer to see how everything unfolds. Criticism can wait until it’s well-deserved.

For now, for me at least, it’s time to get excited, nervous and more than hopeful, and embrace the Montreal Canadiens as they attempt to give us and themselves what we last saw in 1993.

It’s time once again to bring out Annakin Slayd’s “Feels Like ’93”.

Vanek And Gang Come Through

Win one for Patrick was the rallying cry for the Colorado Avalanche. His team was going to play a big offensive game, promised Patrick.

And they lost 6-3.

It’s one of my happiest moments in this long season. A huge win and two more big points.

They did it with energy and lots of time in the Avs’ end. And Thomas Vanek finally broke through in dramatic fashion by scoring three times.

Two wins on the weekend and a huge mother of a win tonight. Patrick loses, Habs win, Vanek breaks out, and it’s just a feel good story all round.

It looked dire in the beginning though, with 18-year old Nathan McKinnon opening the scoring, and then it became 2-1 Colorado in the second after Vanek had previously tied it.

But the second period also saw the puck often in the Avs’ end, the Canadiens showed lots of energy, and when Travis Moen took a pass from a sprawling Brandon Prust, wheeled in reverse and backhanded it home to tie the thing at two, it was game on.

Everyone in the building – fans, both teams, Patrick, all knew that the Avs weren’t about to have their way.

This was a game that had playoff vibes. It was important. And the Canadiens came through.

Prust blasted one home in the third, the Avs tied it, but then the Canadiens power play, and in particular Vanek, went to work and just like that, it was 5-3 for the good guys.

Dale Weise, who was involved in a scrap in the first, salted it away with an empty netter as the clock wound down.

Most impressive was the fact that the Canadiens never sat back, didn’t go into their defensive shell, and kept things interesting in the Colorado end all night.

That’s what we need to see from the boys. They’re a skating team, and when they’re flying they can get things done. Forget the New Jersey-style. Put the pedal to the metal.

Prust ended with a goal, an assist, and second star.  First star Vanek with three and his linemates DD and Max each collected two assists. Moen scored his beauty, Emelin had two assists, and Weise was an assist short of a Gordie Howe hat trick.

Just a great night. A wonderful night. Unless you’re Patrick Roy, that is.

Random Notes:

Maybe the miracle on Saturday night really did light a fire.

Shots on goal – Habs 36, Avs 28.

Montreal went 2/3 on the power play, and this is the Vanek factor at work.

Next up – Columbus Blue Jackets in town on Thursday. Once again, can’t wait.

 

 

 

Bust Those Bruins

Game day, with the Bruins in town and Carey Price still not ready. Although Brandon Prust apparently is.

If Peter Budaj is in goal, we’re going to need a slightly better outing from him than what we’ve seen recently. Budaj lost his last three starts and often looked shaky in the process. I hope his confidence isn’t wavering.

If it’s Tokarski, he looked good in his team’s 4-3 shootout win in Anaheim, and there’s no reason why he can’t stone the Bs too.

Whoever’s in goal needs help in front of him. Things have to be tighter. And there’ll be no Josh Gorges blocking shots, as the Dairy Queen mogul is gone for a month with broken bones in his hand.

Mike Weaver should pick up the slack nicely. He plays a similar game to Gorges.

I guess it should be mentioned too that the boys in front of Budaj scored a total of three goals in those three games he just lost, so it goes without saying that that needs some serious improving on.

Canadiens handled the Bruins in their two games played so far. A 2-1 win on Dec. 5 with Price in nets, and a 4-1 thrashing on Jan. 30 with Budaj between the pipes and which saw Tuukka Rask get yanked in the second period.

More of the same is in order for tonight. It would also be nice to see Thomas Vanek make a fine impression.

And Rene Bourque deserves to be a healthy scratch. At this stage of the game, giving 50% doesn’t cut it.