Tag Archives: Brendan Gallagher

A Little Rant In A World Of Bigger And Stronger Rants

I’m up and at ’em this morning after my usual lousy sleep, and I must admit, I’m slightly out of sorts. I think back to the Habs-Blues game last night, and it seems I’m more disappointed than usual about another Habs loss.

Maybe it’s because we felt new excitement after realizing that the team had shed the Jacques Martin harness and was beginning to play a more offensive game, for a full sixty minutes, under Randy Cunneyworth. And then we saw this new offensive bunch score not one goal in their 3-0 loss to a team, that yes, is a good team, high in the standings and playing well, but nonetheless, Jarosalv Halak enjoyed one of his easier nights and it should have been the other way around.

The Habs were easy prey to a better team and all those fresh and hopeful thoughts have hit a concrete wall in just a matter of three games. It looked mighty fine against a couple of teams in the middle of the pack, Winnipeg and Tampa Bay, but when one of the elite teams comes-a-callin’, the whole dismal season returns, and we see this bunch in all their underachieving glory.

It’s not the loss that hurts the most, although it does sting, but the fact that the team wasn’t really ever in it. If the score had been 4-3 or 3-2, for example, I would have simply chalked it up that you can’t win every night. But once again, the drive was dismal, their shots handled easily, and of course, they were 0-3 on the power play. Yes, that wretched, rotten, stinking, decaying power play. Worst in the league.

The players have underachieved and I’m mad at the majority of them, but in the big picture, you and I could have done a better job of assembling this team beginning a few years ago. For decades we’ve all known that modern-day players are bigger and stronger and gettting more so as the years go by. So what did the Canadiens do? They went out and landed little guys like Brian Gionta, Scott Gomez, and Mike Cammalleri. Why did they do that? The core of our offence is under the height line to ride the ferris wheel at the county fair. If players are bigger and stronger now, why did Bob Gainey and the other Canadiens suits decide go the opposite way? Gainey always was a conservative, deep thinker, but the more I think about it, the more I think he was sampling some acid he was making in his basement.

Some small guys can do the job. David Desharnais, at 5’7″ can. He’s been a fine player most nights, and also earns about a tenth of what Gomez, Cammaleri, and Gionta earn. So hats off to Desharnais. I hope he enjoys a long and happy career as a Montreal Canadien, and he deserves a big raise. In the wings we have an explosive junior player, Brendan Gallagher, poised to become a regular, maybe even next year. Yes, he’s a big-time point-getter in junior. He’s also 5’8″. So unlike the rest of the hockey world, we aren’t exactly getting bigger and stronger.

Rarely have I seen so many not deserve their big money. I’m all for players having their ships come in after being taken advantage of, lied to, and ripped off by general managers for years. But these wealthy players still have to earn it. It’s one thing to say they’re working hard, it’s another to see that they don’t do what they’re paid to do – help the team win by being productive. Cammalleri has 9 lousy goals, Gionta 8, Gomez, 0, and our leading point-getter, another small player at 5’11”, Tomas Plekanec, has 8 goals and 22 assists. These numbers are good if we are talking about defensive specialists. But these are our our big guns, and is it ever embarrassing.

What a season. I’m all for saying goodbye to many of these players. Blow the thing up and start fresh. Last night, reality rose up and sucker punched me in the chops.





Incredible Canadian Charge Runs Out Of Time

The game had fast become a disappointing blow-out as the Russians racked up a 6-1 lead after two periods, led by Evgeni Kuznetsov with 3 goals and an assist, and Nail Yakupov with four assists. The partisan Canadian crowd at Calgary’s Saddledome sat on their hands, and I suppose most of us conceded the game to Russia by the time the third period came along with the visitors holding a five-goal lead and the Canadians becoming undisciplined and unraveling fast..

But then, Russia’s practically unbeatable goalie, 17 year old Andrei Vasilevski, was beaten, and the game became 6-2. Then it was 6-3, then 6-4, and shockingly, 6-5. The Saddledome was in explosion mode, several millions of us moved to the edge of our seats, and we watched and held our breath as Canada peppered the replacement goaltender Makarov from every angle. They hit the post, they came within inches, and my heart almost blew a valve.

In the end, the Russians held on for a 6-5 win and will meet Sweden for the gold, while Canada toughs it out with Finland for the bronze. But what a game, what a third period, what a finish. Regardless of the outcome, this is what hockey is all about. This is why it’s the world’s most exciting game.

Congratulations to Russia on this night. And to the Canadian boys, you did us proud. You came within a whisker of giving us one of the most memorable nights in hockey history. You never quit and came back and scratched and clawed the way Canadian hockey players do in big games like this. From this Canadian hockey fan, thanks.

Random Notes:

Montreal prospect Brendan Gallagher was a major force in the stirring third period, and the Habs have a good one on their hands.

Canada outshot the Russians 56-24. If only they had started their charge sooner than the third.

2011 – The Year Of Gomez’s Promise And Other Fine Moments

Another year older and deeper in debt. Etc.

2011 had some fine moments for Habs fans, and unfortunately, some not-so-fine moments. So let’s have a glimpse at what happened in this Year of the Rabbit. And please keep in mind, things aren’t in order here. That would be way too normal.

Carey Price posed with his arms crossed after a win, which upset some and I don’t know why. I thought it was quite creative. Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury mimicked Price a week later but alas, it all ended there.

Saku Koivu returned for the first time after being traded to Anaheim, and that was nice. Unfortunately, Saku’s new team won 4-3 in a shootout.

P.K. Subban was selected for the All-Rookie team at the All-Star game in Raleigh. PK’s smile made us smile, and when he put on Jeff Skinner’s jersey in the shootout competition he made us smile even more. At least I smiled. I don’t know about you.

I held half a dozen or so contests in 2011, with people far and wide winning some good shit.

James Wisniewski took a puck in the face in Edmonton, looked like we’d lose him for months, but he was back for the Heritage Classic in Calgary just a few days later. We would eventually lose Wiz anyways when Columbus gave him a zillion dollars. And speaking of the Heritage Classic, Carey Price put on his new facemask that was so weird that little kids were put to bed early so they wouldn’t see it and have nightmares.

Rearguard Brent Sopel played one year with the Habs, and when he was cut loose at the end and not picked up, ended up going to the KHL and is probably slurping borscht as we speak.

My grandson Adam entered the world on February 3rd and will almost certainly play for the Habs in twenty years.

Also in February, Luci and I went to Vancouver to see the Habs beat the Canucks in a terrific game where we had great seats and a wonderful time. And speaking of Vancouver, Gilbert Brule of the Edmonton Oilers was driving in his car with his girlfriend, near the ferry terminal at Horseshoe Bay, and stopped to pick up a hitchhiker who happened to be Bono from the band U2. I just find that as weird as can be.

Boston won the Cup, as you know, and thousands rioted in the Vancouver downtown area. Several dozen are just now on the verge of having their big court appearances and most say they feel bad. I feel bad too. Because the Bruins won the Cup.

We lost assistant coach Kirk Muller to Nashville affiliate Milwaukee Admirals, Boston Pizza changed their name to Montreal Pizza during the playoffs, Bruin Andrew Ference gave the finger to the Bell Centre crowd after scoring a goal, a tortoise named Gerry La Tortue tried to predict games in the Habs-Bruins series and often failed miserably, and Hal Gill signed a one year, 2.25 million dollar contract.

A woman in Vancouver flashed her boobs at San Jose’s Ben Eager while he sat in the penalty box, Winnipeg got an NHL team again – the ex-Atlanta Thrashers, and Luci and I went to Ontario where we hooked up with some great new and old friends and co-workers in both Ottawa and Orillia, enjoyed a luncheon with NHL oldtimers in Toronto, visited my dad in his new old folks home, stayed with my brother, and went to see the old arena in Orillia where the doors were locked.

2011 was the year of the big Zdeno Chara hit on Max Pacioretty, which fractured Max’s neck which in turn caused many Bruins fans to laugh and jump with glee. It also allowed Mark Recchi to use his medical knowledge to diagnose the situation and conclude it wasn’t as bad as we were led to believe.

Jean Beliveau turned 80 in 2011, Wayne Gretzky 50, Carey Price 24, and Don Cherry 119.

I had an interview in Puck Daddy and Bruins fans accused me of sounding like a Hab fan.

Andrei Kostitsyn slammed Jacques Martin for playing him improperly, Josh Gorges signed for one year, 2.5 million, Erik Cole also inked for 4 years, 18 million, and Roman Hamrlik went to Washington.

Assistant coach Perry Pearn was let go, and the two Randy’s – Cunneyworth and Ladouceur, joined Martin behind the bench.

Vancouver Giant sensation Brendan Gallagher had a great camp and almost made the Habs, Chris Campoli was added to the blueline corps, and Scott Gomez told us he was embarrassed by his previous season, was sorry, and things would be different this year.

Longtime Canadiens trainer and equipment guy Eddie Palchak passed away, Andrei Markov almost played on the Habs’ California trip but didn’t, Jacques Martin was out and Cunneyworth in, Rocket’s star was stolen from the sidewalk at the Forum, the bilingual coach issue has raised it’s ugly head, and I mistakingly ate some toxic maple syrup and lived to tell about it.

So there you have it. I know I’ve missed a lot, but enough’s enough.

And of course, I wish you all a very splendid New Year. May it be your best year ever.




Decision Made On Gallagher

The Canadiens have just announced that Brendan Gallagher has been sent back to his junior team, the Vancouver Giants, and there’s no doubt the young fellow gave his all, impressed everyone, and will be on the big club faster than we can say Taumata­whakatangihanga­koauau­o­tamatea­pokai­whenua­ki­tana­tahu. (a hill in New Zealand).

Gallagher did admit after the Tampa game that he found it tougher and that the competition had gotten harder as things went along. But these are all parts of complex growing pains, and he’s a young guy with lots of time.

Forward Michael Bournival, another who did a nice job in preseason, also got the news that he’s returning to his junior club, the Shawinigan Cataractes of the QMJHL.

Kudos to these guys and anyone else who remained or still remains with the big club. They’ve shown they are very fine hockey player for sticking around so long. I also know that this year I’ll be paying closer attention to the Vancouver Giants and anywhere else where our young prospects punch the clock. 

I’m curious about the evolution of all our prospects, and in particular, young Mr. Gallagher.

We want the future to look bright for our team, and I think it does.

Lose Now, Win Later

I’m loving the fact that the Canadiens are getting their sucktitude out of the way before the season begins. 

The team has given us one win and six losses now, after dropping a 4-0 game to the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning, and I’m at the point now of just shrugging my shoulders and saying whatever. In fact, they can lose again on Saturday in Quebec and I’ll still shrug my shoulders and say whatever.

At least on this night, we saw the majority of the real team for the first time. Only six on the bubble dressed tonight – Michael Blunden, Michael Bournival, Andreas Engqvist, Brendan Gallagher, Raphael Diaz, and Alexei Yemelin, and this was a nice little treat after seeing the opposite, six regulars and twelve propects, in previous games.

Although either way, the team still lost.

I thought newcomer Chris Campoli didn’t look at all out of place, and I’m hoping very much that my eyes weren’t just playing tricks on me as I thought Alexei Yemelin was slightly more in charge than he has been in other games.

But maybe it’s just me and the fact that I want to see him succeed so much that it’s clouding my judgement.

Brendan Gallagher, with hopes that he’ll actually stay with the big club, didn’t set the world on fire and so we still don’t know what they’re going to do with the young fellow. If he can help by putting points up, he could be a welcomed addition. But he’s awfully small and my gut feeling is, he should go back to junior. Although Montreal has scored just 14 goals in seven games (two per game), and allowed 28 (four per game) and this has to change in a big way.

So if  the Canadiens feel Gallagher can provide some offensive spark, maybe he’ll stay.

I’m going absolutely nowhere on this, aren’t I.

A huge problem could be Peter Budaj, ready to back up Carey Price this year, who hasn’t been fantastic in this preseason and we need him to steal a bunch of games once the real thing gets rolling. He’s expected to be an upgrade over Alex Auld and if he’s not, he’s not earning the 1.15 million a year the team is giving him. He needs to help in a big way, and unfortunately, it might not happen often.

Eighth and final preseason tilt on Saturday, 7 PM eastern in Quebec, against the Lightning again. The Habs could even lose again and make their record as dismal as it gets. But that’s okay. As long as they win beginning October 6th. 





Once Again, The Canadiens……….

Bruins 2, Habs 1.

But enough about the game.


Random Notes:

Eight preseason games are about four too many in my book. I’m tired of seeing a dozen or so young guys and a small handful of regulars play in these contests. Four or five games, with about 12 prospects in the mix and not several dozen, is enough, at least for me. 

I’d rather see the majority of the real team get in some serious preseason action so they can gel properly. If fans are going to pay large amounts of money for tickets, parking, beer, and hotdogs, they deserve to have a reasonably fine product to watch.

The more games there are, the higher the chance of injury before the season even gets underway. It’s already a long season. Cut the preseason short, begin the regular season earlier, and have the parade down the streets of Montreal long before summer kicks in.

And while I’m in a complaining mood, I want to point out a very important thing.

Many of you know I’ve been campaigning for the last 48 years to be stick boy, and tonight showed a fine example of why they need me.

Brendan Gallagher, in the heat of action, lost or broke his stick and went to the bench to get another. He waited and waited as the action continued around him. There were four trainer/equipment guys standing behind the bench in their fine blue Habs jackets, and they were so slow to react to finding a stick for young Gallagher, that a player on the bench finally handed him his, which was too big but had to do at the time.

I’ve said many times that I would be lightning-fast in this regard, and the slowness of the trainers is unacceptable. Are you listening, Pierre Gauthier?

Next game – Thursday, the 29th, when Tampa Bay comes to town.


Slightly Earlier Halifax Game

The Canadiens-Bruins game today (Sunday) from Halifax is an early evening game in the Maritimes, a suppertime event in Quebec and Ontario, and an afternoon game where I am, on the west coast.

Looking for Scott Gomez to repeat his excellent performance from a few nights ago, and Aaron Palushaj from last night. Would also like to see Alexei Yemelin pick it up a notch.

Game time is 3:00 PM Pacific, 6:00 Eastern.

Here’s the lineup from Canadiens.com.
30 BUDAJ, Peter G
65 MAYER, Robert G

11 GOMEZ, Scott C
24 HENRY, Alex D
36 AVTSIN, Alexander RW
40 BEAULIEU, Nathan D
45 BLUNDEN, Michael RW
52 DARCHE, Mathieu LW
56 WILLSIE, Brian RW
63 ENGQVIST, Andreas C
68 WEBER, Yannick D
72 COLE, Erik RW
73 GALLAGHER, Brendan RW
74 YEMELIN, Alexei D
75 GILL, Hal D
80 MASSÉ, Dany LW
85 ELLIS, Morgan D


Palushaj Makes A Big Case In Habs Loss

Mike Cammalleri scored a couple, but in the end, 28 seconds in fact, the Ottawa Senators took some sweet revenge after blowing a three-goal lead the night before, and the Ottawans strutted back to their dressing room with a 3-2 win.

So instead of the Canadiens making their pre-season two wins and two losses, they now stand at one win and three losses.

But that’s fine. All in all, it’s been great fun to see so many young guys wearing the CH and playing their hearts out during their cup of coffee in the bigs. Some guys, though, might be having more than just a cup of coffee.

Aaron Palushaj was the guy tonight. He assisted on both of Cammy’s goals, and his second assist was a great example of quick thinking as he got the puck up to a streaking Cammalleri who waltzed in alone and bulged the twine.

But it was much more than once when Palushaj impressed. He was playing as if he belonged on the big club, handling the puck with confidence, and finishing his checks in a way that had to make the coaching staff smile. Palushaj managed three games with the Habs last season, and I’m sure he’s set on obliterating that figure in early October.

It’s been a treat so far to see these young players play in Habs colours. Brendan Gallagher the other night, Raphael Diaz before that. Tonight, Palushaj. These are huge games for these fellows, and regardless of how it works out for them, these days as they don the Habs jersey are days they’ll remember and recall all of their lives.

Huge nights for all them. And this is how I’m going to feel that first night when I’m behind the bench as stick boy. A night to remember. Like Diaz and Gallagher and Palushaj and others feel now.

Random Notes:

Any kind of relaxation the players enjoyed during the summer has now become a distant memory as they hop on a plane and head out to Halifax to meet the Bruins on Sunday. Then it’s back to Montreal on Monday to say hello again to the Bruins.

Four straight, then they wait until Thursday before they play again when Tampa comes to town.

This pre-season schedule almost doesn’t seem right.


Habs Claw Back And Slay Sens

I made the decision not to do a game report.

Because I didn’t see the game.

It was a 4-3 shootout win for the Canadiens after picking away at a three-goal deficit, and I know what I read at Mike Boone’s live blog at Hockey Inside/Out and from an email from Danno who found the game on some obscure local Ottawa channel.

They both stressed very clearly that Scott Gomez played a really fine game. He assisted on the first of two Max Pacioretty goals, and scored the tying goal with the goaltender pulled. He set up nice plays, skated well, passed smartly, and probably feels great about how things turned out on this night in Ottawa.

It’s good drama and a screenplay needs to written. The underachiever, picked on by fans and media, comes off the worst season of his life, is embarrassed, and after promising that things would be different this year, goes out and plays his best game since……well….since Moses sported a brush cut. 

Of course he has to keep it up and his team goes all the way for this to be considered film-worthy.

Ricardo Montalban’s grandson will be playing Gomez in the made-for-television movie.

Danno writes that Max Pacioretty was flying. Max scored two goals plus another in the shootout, and also managed to hit two posts. Like I said the other day, every great team needs a sensational power forward, and the Canadiens have two – Max-Pac and Erik Cole.

Mike Boone gave high marks to young Brendan Gallagher, who has looked good in a Habs uniform, and whether or not he can up his game even more and stay with the big club remains to be seen. But regardless if he stays or not, the near-future looks very bright for Mr. Gallagher.

If computers hadn’t been invented, this sort-of-game report wouldn’t have happened. Thanks to Danno’s email and Boone’s live blog at Hockey Inside/Out.

Random Notes:

Habs outshot Ottawa 33-29, which is also good.

Next game? Saturday night when the same two teams clash at the Bell Centre.

Carey Price stopped 15 0f 18 shots, with Nathan Lawson blocking all 11 fired at him in the second half. Lawson also assisted on Max’s second marker.

This has to be a very satisfying night for the boys.