Tag Archives: Carey Price

A 1930’s Love Story. Plus, The Flyers Even The Series, And Montreal Will Now Win In Five Games Instead Of Four.

GAME 2

Sometime in 1933, when times were hard and prohibition was in full swing, Foster Hewitt and Francis the Talking Mule, while on a secret rendezvous in Newfoundland, and in a fit of flaming passion, conceived a love child, a bouncing baby boy.

They named him Bob…… Bob Cole.

Anyway.

Game two served notice that this is going to be a chippy series. Philadelphia may have won the game 4-2 and evened the series, but this thing’s bound to get ugly before Montreal eliminates the bad guys. Fred Shero’s shadow remains cast over the Flyers even in this day and age.

Montreal had their chances, to be sure. They could have won this game by three or four goals. Christopher Higgins hit the post late in the game. Almost everyone came close at one time or another. But Flyers goaltender Martin Biron was good, Carey Price not quite so good, and Mike Richards and Derian Hatcher are a couple of pricks.

That’s my summary.

Don Cherry said afterwards that Montreal played dopey in both games. What am I missing? I keep hearing how lousy they’re playing, but they outshot the Flyers, had breakaways, hit posts, created tons of chances, more scoring chances than Philadelphia, and although they lost, I didn’t think they looked that bad. Not bad at all.

But why do I keep thinking I must be watching a different game than everybody else? All I’ve heard, from Foster Hewitt’s love child, to Cherry, to Greg Millen, to newspaper writers and TV people, is how poorly the Habs are playing. 

I don’t see it. Of course they can play better, but they’re not flat like they were in the Boston series. Far from it. Montreal’s playing well enough to win this series, that’s for sure.

And global warming’s going to get a lot warmer when all these media Hab-haters’ asses are burning.  

Game note:

For those of you who aren’t sure who Bob Cole is, he’s the CBC play-by-play guy, and the illegitimate son of Francis the talking mule. 

 

Montreal Remembers Their Game Just In Time And Puts Stake In The Bruins

 GAME 7

 It wasn’t their best game of the season, but it was certainly their best game of the playoffs. By far their best game. A beautiful 5-0 shutout. It’s like getting rid of a big boil on your nose.

Monday night, game seven, we saw the Montreal Canadiens we had become used to throughout the regular season. They attacked. They skated. They played with poise. And that’s the way they should have being playing all along in this opening round. 

Maybe they’ve learned something from this stressful seven game experience with the Bruins. From now on, we do the attacking, not the other guys. 

So what happened for the Montreal Canadiens, down and out after blowing a three games to one lead, with the Bruins carrying all the confidence and momentum going into this deciding game? How could they come out in game seven, find the game they were desperately looking for, and skate away with a mouth-watering 5-0 shutout to eliminate the pesky Bruins?

Carey Price kept them in it early in the game, and then it was like a lightswitch went on. The Canadiens suddenly remembered how they won the eastern conference. Everyone stepped it up, they attacked, and the Bruins became no match.

Alex Kovalev was flying, so were the guys who had been in a funk – the Kostitsyn’s, Tomas Plekanec, Chris Higgins, Mark Streit, and about ten others.  Carey Price, who went from giving up ten goals in two games to none when it counted the most, in game seven, was fabulous, and showed he doesn’t rattle in a pressure cooker.

Guy Carbonneau was no longer outcoached by Claude Julien, and whatever he did to get the team to open it up like they did, he’s got to bottle it and feed it to his players in the second round.

And what a difference Saku Koivu makes when he’s in the lineup.

The Bruins were good, fought hard, they stressed out me and most Habs fans, and I’m glad they’re out of there. I’ve had enough of Zdeno Chara and his shorter teammates. They were good, but Montreal showed that when they’re firing on all cylinders, they’re better. 

So it becomes this – If Philadelphia eliminates Washington, then Montreal plays Philadelphia in the next round. But if Washington wins, Montreal takes on Sean Avery and the New York Rangers.

I don’t care who it is. Bring em on!

Just play every game like Monday’s game, boys, and you’ll take out either one of them.

 

Game 5: Nightmare At The Bell Centre

  GAME 5

Montreal has given us a lot of great and exciting moments this year. Tonight wasn’t one of them.

In a game where the Canadiens could have eliminated Boston and had a nice rest in preparation for the next series, they came out and smelled up the joint. Now they’d better look themselves in the mirror, and take a good, long, hard look.

If they can’t adjust in a close checking series, how do they expect to be successful if they can actually get by Boston and meet other close checking teams?

However, will they actually get by Boston?

Is their game only one-dimensional, a game that is free-wheeling and one which allows Kovalev, the Kostitsyns, Higgins etc. to play only pond hockey and nothing else?

Did they make the mistake of believing their own press clippings that said how great they are?

Will Tomas Plekanec, Chris Higgins, Michael Ryder, the Kostitsyns, Latendresse, and most of the team decide to actually play some playoff hockey before it’s too late? Especially Higgins. Hello 911. I’d like to report a missing person.

Although Carey Price has been so good in this series, it was his gift of dropping the puck in front of his goal, right on the stick of a Bruin, who then scored, which began, and probably caused, the complete collapse.

This team can seriously infuriate me.

I also see that Saku Koivu is the true leader of this team, and if he can skate, which he can, he needs to be in the lineup two days from now.

And now that the Bruins know they can win this series, what’s going to happen Saturday in Boston? Which Montreal team will show up, the great regular season one, or the lousy playoff one? 

Game note:

Montreal stunk 

Game Three: Boston 2, Montreal 1. Time To Regroup And Get The Power Play Back On Track.

 GAME 3

During the regular season, Montreal’s power play looked like Sophia Loren – beautiful, lovely, graceful, nice to watch. But in this playoff round against the Bruins, Montreal’s power play resembles a drunken Britney Spears. Kovalev’s overtime goal in game two was a power play goal, but that’s it. The only one in three games.

And that’s the main reason why tonight, Boston skated away with a 2-1 overtime win in game three, and now it’s going to take five games instead of four for Montreal to win the series.

Another reason is the ineffective play in the series so far of Tomas Plekanec, Christopher Higgins, Michael Ryder (who can’t hit the net), and pretty well everyone except Carey Price, Alex Kovalev, and the Begin, Kostopoulos, Smolinski line, who have shown up every game. It’s not good when the grinder line is the best line. The Kostitsyn boys, huge in game one, are a non-entity right now. And it’s obvious now that Saku Koivu is greatly missed.

Montreal showed all year that they are a superior team to Boston. But they need to adjust to the adjustments the Bruins have made. There was no fire wagon hockey tonight, only chances that arose from hard work. They need to overcome the tight checking the Bruins have instilled.

Show us your Sophia Loren moves again, boys. Show that you can score often, just as Sophia probably could.

Fourteen wins to go, on hold for the moment. Enjoy the moment, Bruins fans. Soon enough, you’ll be hating the moment.

Game note:

Milan Lucic, Boston’s young power forward, looks a little like a young Phil Esposito. Except Lucic’s nose is quite a bit bigger.

Bonus game note:

Ron McLean called Brad Richards “his boyfriend.”

 

 

Game Two Is In The Books. Kovalev Gets It Done In Overtime

  GAME 2

Regular reader and commentor-extrordinaire, Der Habinator, checked in today before the big game got underway, and what he said was dead-on. Knute Rockne or Dick Irvin Sr. couldn’t have said it any better. And although der Habinator may have done just a little too much acid when he was younger, he’s a good, solid Habs fan.

So today, we’re starting off with der Habinator’s words. This is what all Habs fans should want for today’s game. Take it away, der Habinator.

“Big game tonight.  Why?  Because the intensity level must not only be raised it must also crucially be maintained. We absolutely must come out and play the entire game with unrelenting intensity.  No physical let-up. No mental let-down.  No Mr. Nice Guy.  Now is the time when we must become more, not less, critical of our performance.  The momentum is ours, keeping it means working harder, playing smarter, refining refining refining. Away les gars! Foncez!!”

Montreal didn’t come storming out like der Habinator and myself and the rest of Habs universe would’ve liked. Boston had a brand new, and more effective game plan which involved more physical play and close checking, but Roman Hamrlik scored late in the first to make it 1-0 for Montreal. 

Did this deflate the Bruins?

Not really. Montreal’s power play, with no goals in the two games, is stuck in neutral. Plekanec and Higgins’s names are rarely mentioned by Father Time, Bob Cole. So all the stars aren’t quite aligned right now.

But the team got it done, in overtime, with their first powerplay goal of the series, scored by Alex Kovalev, who had several great chances throughout the game, and had taken a bad penalty to allow the Bruins to tie it up. However, the guy who sideswiped and lay on top of Kovalev prior to Kovy’s slash should have been called too.

So Boston can whine and complain and feel they got the shaft, but all things being equal, the good guys won, as they should have.

Best of all, aside from the fact that Montreal won the game, was that Don Cherry was proved wrong and full of shit by the instant replay. He went on and on about the high stick to the Bruin player’s face just before the guy took a penalty which led to the winning goal. But the camera showed that it was only a follow through from Markov’s shot, which Ron McLean, who is a referee, firmly stated SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN A PENALTY. 

Montreal didn’t play as well as game one, and Boston played better than game one, but the only thing I see is a win that makes it two games up for the Habs.

It’s two down and fourteen to go.

Game Note:

Good camera shots at the Bell Centre as they scan the crowd. Quite a few lovely ladies wearing skin-tight Habs t-shirts.

 

Hold On To Your Hats. Habs Fans Are In For A Joyous Ride

Most of the hockey world has weighed in on the state of the Montreal Canadiens and how they’ll do in the playoffs. And frankly, most of them are wrong, most of them are overpaid, and most of their mothers wear army boots. And some TSN computer-generated program picked the Habs to go to the finals but lose to San Jose.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Milt Dunnell, Elmer Ferguson, and Jim Proudfoot rose from the ashes to offer their opinions too.

And the common consensus, the recurring theme is this – If you stay out of the penalty box so the Habs don’t get to unleash their fierce power play, and if Carey Price folds because of no playoff experience, then Montreal can be beaten.

Montreal is so much more than what people, other than Habs fans, are giving them credit for. It’s a young team, faster than lightening, with a system that allows for quick breakouts, and with a steady defence that includes the duo that some oppposing players have said recently is the best defence partnership in the league – Andrei Markov and Mike Komisarek.

The team has depth, youth, speed, experience, leadership, closeness, passion, a spirited fourth line, a coach-of-the-year candidate, great fans, spiritual guru Jean Beliveau, and a city of hockey ghosts who have been waiting for years for something like this to happen. The team led the league in goals scored, had the best power play, and got stingier as the season wound down when shorthanded. And if something happened to Carey Price, the team can call on Jaroslav Halak, who was the American Hockey League’s top goaltender three years straight before being called up to the big club.

We’re going to take it one series at a time, beginning with Boston. And if Montreal can go all the way this year, I believe this would be the most special Habs team since the 1970’s. More magical than both 1986 and 1993.

Hold on. It’s going to be great!

In games played tonight, Wednesday night:

Pittsburgh shut out Ottawa 4-0, which is really no surprise since Ottawa’s been in a nosedive for awhile now.

The Rangers went to New Jersey and went away with a 4-1 win which is a bit of a surprise because the Devils are usually pretty stingy (and boring) at home. I’m hoping for the Devils. I don’t want to see Sean Avery any more.

Colorado and Minnesota are tied 2-2 late in the third, and Calgary’s beating San Jose 3-1 early in the third.

But I’ve got to get to bed. Sorry.

 

 

 

 

 

How Sweet It Is! Except, Of Course, If You’re A Sabres Fan

It’s times like this when I wish I still lived back east. I can feel old-time hockey atmosphere, too thick to cut, drifting out of Montreal and parts beyond, and filtering right out here to the coast.

The Habs aren’t being stopped, eliminating the Buffalo Sabres tonight in a completely convincing, except for some brief moments in the third period, 3-1 win. And they won it in style, even with injuries, even with the northeast sewn up, because, like Alex Kovalev says, “a team starts the playoffs the way they end the season.” 

And the way they’re ending it is flabbergasting. Without Koivu, Komisarek, and Bouillon, the team’s plumbers have risen to the occasion, and are not only shutting down other teams in general, but they’re shutting down other teams’ powerplays as well. And elder plumber Brian Smolinski gets a pair of big goals and once again, proves with the others that Pierre McGuire and Bob McKenzie and the rest can eat their words, and in the process, should finally give some big-time credit to the Canadiens, which they’ve yet to do.

And Alex Kovalev, at 35 and playing like 25, creates magic like no one. He could have scored about four beauties tonight, he worked like crazy, he set up others, he joined frays to help teammates, and has picked up an important role with Koivu out, showing that he’s a natural leader. My respect for Kovalev continues to grow.

This is a special time for Habs fans, so let’s savour it. In other years, when they made the playoffs, they made it by the skin of their teeth. Not this year though. Somewhere along the line, this team became a powerhouse, and are still threatening to win the east overall.

And they aren’t sneaking in the back door this time. They’re smashing in the front door and storming in.

I’m still a little numb about what’s transpiring. I expect the Canadiens to do well every single year of course, but this year I had no idea the Kostitsyn brothers would become such a force, or Kovalev would prove he’s one of the top five players in the league in my opinion, or that Carey Price would carry the torch, or that Guy Carbonneau would mature so nicely as a coach, or that the Kostopoulos’ and the Smolinski’s and the Begins’ would do the job like they’ve never done before.

Oh, to be in Montreal at this time. To be at the Bell Centre on one of the many triumphant nights, which, dare I say it, might even rival some of the big nights at the old Forum.

Keep it going, boys. Smash the Leafs on Saturday. Don’t get hurt. Head into the playoffs full steam ahead. We’re all behind you. And we’re all proud of you.

Montreal Shoots For The Stars, While Ottawa Shoots For The Bars

It was a tremendous 3-0 shutout win tonight for the Montreal Canadiens over the unbelievably struggling Ottawa Senators, and it could have been ninety years ago in Ottawa, at the old Auditorium, when Aurele Joliat, Howie Morenz, and Pit Lepine came to town to battle it out with Cy Denneny, Frank Finnigan, and Punch Broadbent. It was good old hockey then, and it was good old hockey tonight. Rough, tough, feisty, ill-mannered hockey.   finnigan.jpg     joliat.jpg

Years ago, my ex-wife’s mother’s uncle used to tell me stories about when he was a kid and used to crawl in through a window at the Auditorium and watch Morenz and Joliat, Clancy and Finnigan, in action. It was good stuff.

I wonder if Ottawa kids climb in windows now at Scotiabank Place to see Chris Neil and Anton Volchenkov.

The big differences between then and now are, tonight (April 1st) there were about 14,000 more fans at Scotiabank Place than at the old Auditorium. Ottawa wears a Trojan Condom sweater now instead of the old stripes. Beer then, if it was sold, was probably about a dime. Now it’s about eight bucks. And the officiating was probably better back then. The amount of chintzy penalties called tonight was staggering.

And back then, Ottawa, from time to time, were champs. Nowadays, Ottawa, most of the time, are chumps. Now, they’re going to fight it out to make the playoffs, with Washington, only two points away, breathing down their backs. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

And then we get to Montreal. With tonight’s impressive win over the Senators and two referees, the team reaches 100 points to tie with Pittsburgh for first over-all in the east. They win the Northeast division. Carey Price notches his third shutout. The team played great after a couple of sleepfests in Buffalo and Toronto. And my Ottawa friends who used to be Habs fans but are now Sens fans, are at this very moment, really pissed off and quite concerned about the state of their team.

LITTLE PIECES OF INFO: Two of Montreal’s five wounded soldiers were back – Mark Streit and Guilliaume Latendresse, leaving now Koivu, Komisarek, and Bouillon still on the shelf.

Ottawa’s top line of Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley, and Jason Spezza actually did play. Although you’d never know it.

Montreal Was In A Coma Saturday Night In Toronto. And Who The Heck Is Anton Stralman?

Why am I not surprised that MontreaL, leading the eastern division, waltz’s into Toronto to take on the sad-sack Leafs who won’t be in the playoffs, and comes out flatter than a pancake. Montreal had no drive, no spirit, not much of anything, as they lost 4-2 Saturday night to Toronto, and some unheard of Leaf named Anton Stralman scores two goals that Jaroslav Halak should have stopped.

I think we might see Carey Price every night from here on in.

Why am I not surprised? This kind of thing has been going on for 40 years. If Toronto played Montreal 82 times a year, they’d be the greatest hockey team in the history of hockey. In reality, of course, Toronto stinks most of the time. But certainly, on this night, Montreal did the stinking.

This is the kind of thing that really plays with my head. For example, what if Montreal loses to Ottawa on Tuesday, then again against Buffalo, then closes the season against these dreaded Leafs. It could mean they lose four straight headed into the playoffs.

It’s just my paranoia talking here. I shouldn’t be thinking like this. But I can’t help it.

And still on the subject of feeling shitty, all Habs fans are waiting to see just how hurt are Saku Koivu and Mark Streit. Both were injured blocking shots in Buffalo.

The team’s been remarkably healthy all season, and now with the playoffs arriving, possibly three key players (with Komisarek), could be on the shelf.

Again, it’s my paranoia casting its’ spell.

Montreal’s rebounded all season from losses that would keep a lesser team down. They’ve surprised everyone. This is why Guy Carbonneau should be a strong contender for Coach of the Year. So I’m gonna say right now that they’ll come out like gangbusters on Tuesday night.

Boston Loses Its’ Tenth Straight Against The Montreal Kovalev’s

Alex Kovalev dazzled in more ways than one Thursday night (March 20) against the Boston Bruins in Boston.

Two nifty goals by Kovalev, where he shuffled through Bruin defencemen Zdeno Chara and Dennis Wideman the way I used to do it against Collingwood and Huntsville while with Byer’s Bulldozers, led to a big 4-2 win for the Habs which sees them again on top of the mountain and looking good, although Mike Komisarek was injured with a lower body injury, and Carey Price looked somewhat out of sorts.

The win puts Montreal in first place in the east with 92 points, one more than New Jersey and Pittsburgh.

But most impressive of all was the clip TSN showed from Kovalev’s new DVD, which has just been released. It’s unbelievable. Remember when Tiger Woods juggled golf balls with his club and then whacked one away like hitting a fly ball? That’s nothing to what Kovalev can do.

The clip showed him about 30 feet out with a bunch of pucks, and a pocket at the top of each side of the net. Kovalev rifled all the pucks with great accuracy into the pockets, WITH ONE HAND!  Then he moved out to centre ice, got down of one knee and put the first shot on top of the net, and second into one of the pockets.

Anyone who has ever shot a puck knows how amazing all of this is. I’ve got a whole new respect for Kovalev.

And not only that, his new DVD, which is an exercise in skills, was made for children with heart conditions, and 100% of the profits goes to this cause. Kovalev had had a heart problem himself when he was a kid.  kovydvd.jpg

I can’t wait to tell my wife about all this. She’s Russian,  a Habs fan, and is very proud that one of her countrymen is such a good player, and is the team’s best player.

And Kovalev definitely is the team’s best player. In fact, he’s one of the league’s best players. AND THE GUY’S 35 YEARS OLD!  (And he’s got a really good looking girlfriend.)

I haven’t heard yet about just how bad Mike Komisarek’s injury is but it better not be too bad, especially with the playoffs around the corner. Komisarek is an important cog in the machine, a big bruising guy with a good attitude who calls interviewers “buddy” when he’s being interviewed. “Thanks a lot, buddy” he likes to say.

I haven’t decided if this is good or bad.