Tag Archives: Carolina Hurricane

The Carolina Hurricanes Have A Secret Weapon

It should be really interesting to see how the Canadiens rebound from their less-than-stellar performance against Anaheim when the Carolina Hurricanes blow into town.

 

The Hurricanes are no slouches so far this season, but they’re not setting the world on fire either. Led by Ray Whitney, Eric Staal, and Rob Brind’Amour, this team has so far garnered a 4-2-1 record for nine points. Montreal stands at 5-1-1 for 11 points, so they haven’t exactly left the Canes in their dust.

 

However, the Canes have a special weapon, like so many great teams in the past have had. Boston had Orr, Edmonton, Gretzky. Detroit, Yzerman, Chicago, Bobby Hull etc. etc.

 

Carolina has Sergei Samsonov.

 

You can’t really look at the numbers. Okay, so he has no points and is minus 3 after seven games. But I’ll just bet, by the time the season has wound down, this Russian forward will have accumulated probably four goals and two assists!   

 

You know, there was a time when Samsonov was a real player – when he was a fresh-faced newcomer in Boston. He had been a primo Junior star in Russia, and in his first year in Boston, he won rookie of the year. But it all went away, never to be seen again, like dinosaurs, or Milli Vanilli.

 

Samsonov was soon dealt to Edmonton where they paid this underachiever 7.05 million over two years, and of course, he underachieved. From Edmonton it became Chicago, then the minors, and now Carolina, where they’re giving the guy 7.6 million over three years.

 

Every good young player in the minors, and those in the NHL making much less than Samsonov, must wonder what kind of Houdini tricks this guy knows.

 

Samsonov was the ultimate failure in Montreal too. In his year there, 2006-07, he notched nine goals and 17 assists in 63 games. He had become the new Vladimir Krutov, which certainly would give Canucks fans something to shudder about.  However, there’s no word on Samsonov’s hot dog eating abilities, which Krutov was a force to be reckoned with during his short stay in Vancouver in 1989. He was labelled Vladimir Crouton.

 

Montreal really needs this game on Tuesday. Get back to their winning ways. Get back on track. Don’t let Samsonov score.

 

And I’d like to see Alex Kovalev explode. It’s time. He needs to have a big season, like last year.

Canadiens Take Out The Panthers. Jaroslav Halak And RDS Do The Job

Buying one of those PVR digital boxes (the thing that allows you to pause live TV, among other things) for my TV and subscribing to RDS French network for three bucks a month was one of the best things I’ve ever done.

 

Because now I may never miss another Habs game.

 

And Monday night, If I didn’t have RDS, I wouldn’t have seen:

 

The Canadiens notch their fifth straight win with a 3-1 squeaker over the pesky Florida Panthers.

 

Francis Bouillon playing in his first game after coming back from a leg injury and

scoring the winner in the third period. I would’ve missed this if I didn’t have RDS.

 

Other things I would’ve missed if I didn’t have RDS.

 

Tomas Plekanec finally getting his first goal, albeit into an empty net. Plekanec has started the season a little on the slow side, and this in turn affects linemate Alex Kovalev. Maybe this empty netter will get him going.

 

Montreal’s other goalie, Jaroslav Halak, stoning the Panthers for his second win in his second game of this young season. Having two excellent goalies is a real bonus, and with him in nets, Carey Price can be rested and we’ll still feel confident.

 Montreal has depth all over the place. It makes me proud. 

 

The RDS viewer’s poll asking the question – what do you prefer – The Canadiens red sweaters, or their white?

77% liked the red sweaters, 23% chose the white. 

 

I personally have a soft spot for the white sweaters because when I was a kid, it seemed like it was very difficult to find them in stores or catalogues. They were always red. I remember finally getting one, and I really loved it because it was kind of unusual at the time.

 

Montreal’s Les Cage aux Sports restaurants’ TV ad on RDS offering 8 free wings if the Habs score five goals or more in any game. But I already knew this because the lovely lady at http://thenotwithstandingclause.blogspot.com/ who calls herself No. 31 and is a great Habs fan, told me so last week.

 

All this because I have RDS.

 

GAME NOTES:

 

Montreal now has some well-deserved time off before Saturday when the Anaheim Ducks are in town. That should be a good test for the boys. Maybe Chris Higgins will be ready then.

And hopefully, Andrei Kostitsyn suffers no lingering effects from his concussion.

 

The following Tuesday, the Carolina Hurricane are in town to end the Habs five-game home stand. No 31 says Carolina should move back to Hartford and I agree.

 

Georges Laraque didn’t play because his groin injury was bothering him again. Hopefully his knuckles are fine.

Pittsburgh and Detroit Go For The Cup. This Is Good, I Suppose.

Two real good teams are going to tangle for the Stanley Cup. I’ve got no complaints about this. It’s not like it’s the Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricane, or Tampa Bay Lightening. Or even, dare I say, the Anaheim Ducks.

No, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings are a solid matchup and two good hockey towns to boot. Pittsburgh had an NHL team in 1925, the Pirates, which lasted until 1930, and the city’s had the Penguins since league expansion in 1967.

Detroit’s been in the league since 1926 when they took over the Victoria BC franchise. The city and team like to call itself Hockeytown, which is a little off. If Detroit’s Hockeytown, then Montreal and Toronto must be Hockeycities.

And if the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit doesn’t start getting more fans in the seats, the nickname might have to be changed to ‘Used to Be Hockeytown.’

This leads me to my second complaint. It’s fine that Gordie Howe is called Mr. Hockey, but isn’t that for others to label the man? My personal opinion is, he shouldn’t be signing autographs as “Gordie Howe, Mr. Hockey.” Doesn’t that make him just a little bit full of himself?

Gordie Howe is considered by not all, but many, as the greatest ever. Greater than Gretzky, Orr, Richard, and Lemieux. It’s a judgement call. Hall of Fame goalie Glenn Hall told me Howe was the best there was.

He doesn’t need to blow his own horn. Let others do that for him. Let others call him Mr. Hockey.

And I say this with the utmost respect for Mr. Howe.

Am I wrong for thinking this? I’m pretty sure Mario never signed as Mario “The Magnificent One” Lemieux, or Orr as Bobby “The World’s Greatest Defenceman” Orr, or Maurice “Hero of a Province” Richard.

This year’s final is a sexy affair because of so many stars involved. Crosby, Malkin, Hossa, Staal, Malone, Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Franzen, Lidstrom, Draper. And the guy who played on the original 1926 Wings, Chris Chelios.

It’ll be good. I may even watch some of it.

The thing begins Saturday in Detroit.

Other Habs May Be Resting In The Off-Season, But I Can’t. Also, Sean Avery Gets A Little More Light-Headed.

  Although the players will be saying their goodbyes and heading back to the cottages in Sainte Leonard and Sault Ste. Marie, or the dachas in Novopolotsk and Togliatti, I, however, will be continuing my workouts and strict discipline in preparation for when I’m called up as flag guy next season at the Bell Centre.

One thing I don’t need is an injury, so I’ve decided to sit when I’m drinking beer, and also to do as little as possible at work. Can you imagine when they call me to be flag guy and I have to tell them I pulled a muscle while dancing at the Moose Hall, or I’m too exhausted from doing too much for the Man at work?

Also, the photo above isn’t really me. But it kind of gives you an idea of what I’ll look like in my Habs uniform on flag night. In real life, I have legs and a neck.

IN OTHER NEWS:

Sean Avery spent his last playoff chances of the year in the hospital, and missed his team’s (New York Rangers) elimination.

There’s no truth to the rumour that the reason he was hospitalized was for the removal of his ego, which was growing at a dangerous rate.  There might be, however, some truth to the rumour that Avery was the least popular patient in the New York hospital.

TEAMS I HATE THE MOST IN THE NHL:

That would be the Flyers, Bruins, Devils, Leafs, Senators, Panthers, Hurricane, Lightening, Islanders, Rangers, Avalanche, Canucks, Wild, Stars, Sharks, Kings, Blues, Blue Jackets, Red Wings, Blackhawks, Oilers, Thrashers, Capitals, Penguins, Flames, Ducks, Predators, and Coyotes.

I like the rest, though.

WHO WILL WIN THE STANLEY CUP?

Oh, is hockey still going on?

 

 

 

Almost Good News On The Habs Hurting Front. And Tom Kostopoulos Knows What It Takes

Now that the dust has settled on just how healthy the Montreal Canadiens are, it seems  possible that only Saku Koivu might be out for awhile. But even that’s unclear.

What’s clear is that five Habs are hobbling and grimacing. Guillaume Latendresse has neck spasms and although he didn’t play in Toronto, he should play in Ottawa.

Mark Streit took a puck off the foot in Buffalo, didn’t play in Toronto, and although the team’s a bit vague, it seems he won’t be out long either.

Francis Bouillon didn’t play in Toronto either and is suffering from a right ankle injury. He’ll be back quickly though, because he’s a tough little bugger.

Mike Komisarek injured his hip (lower body injury!) in Boston but has started skating again, so this is good.

Which leaves us to Saku Koivu. He took a puck on the foot in Buffalo (like Streit), didn’t play in Toronto, and left Toronto on crutches. His foot is swollen and they’re not sure if it’s fractured or just badly bruised.  If it’s broken, he could be out until sometime in the second round of the playoffs.

When Koivu got the stick in the eye a couple of years ago against Carolina, the team went poof, like air going out of a balloon. But Montreal’s much better now, much deeper, more talented, and much more-rounded, and so although it would hurt to lose him, the boys can still get the job done. But let’s just hope it’s just badly bruised.

I also want to mention something about Tom Kostopoulos. This is guy who was a healthy scratch many times this year. He usually plays only on the fourth line, and he doesn’t get a lot of ink in the papers. But here’s the kind of guy he is:  Mike Komisarek said that when he was being treated in Boston for his hip injury, Kostopoulos was brought in after a fight in which half his face was blackened and his one eye was closed shut. But all Kostopoulos kept saying was to get him an ice pack and hurry because he needed to get back on the ice.

Now I have new-found respect for Tom Kostopoulos. This is old school, old time hockey. This is what separates men from boys. This is a guy who wanted to help his team and his teammates. He’s bounced around the minors, never really winning a job. This is the kind of guy who’d play for free. And players like him don’t disappear in the playoffs.     

Sobering Thoughts on Bob Gainey Night. Making The Playoffs Isn’t a Given Just Yet

Without raining on Bob Gainey’s parade as he’s honoured tonight for his great years as a player,  I should give some sobering thoughts to fellow Habs fans who confidently sing the Olay song at the Bell Centre, to those who confidently bellow out the “I Believe” slogan, and to those who confidently feel we have a playoff spot comfortably in the bag.thumbnail.jpgjersey.jpg

The fact is: We don’t have a playoff spot comfortably in the bag. It’s not time to be confident yet.

The team’s playing great, that’s for sure, with 75 points before tonight’s clash with Columbus. Montreal hasn’t had 75 points at this stage of the game since the 1992-93 season when they won the cup.

But the standings in the east are so tight now, all it’ll take is an injury or two to some key players like Kovalev and Markov, a tiny little losing streak, plus tiny little winning streaks by the Bruins, Buffalo, and the Rangers, plus a surge by the Islanders and Philadelphia, the two teams who now sit out of a playoff spot, and things could turn ugly. (And don’t forget about a flu bug like the one last year which ravished the team.)

I say this even though I’m a believer too. Because although the team has for the most part played really well, slumps for them have crept in from time to time throughout this season. Anything can happen, and so I’m wary until they actually clinch. And being the greedy person I am, I want them to not only make the playoffs of course, but to finish high up the playoff pole.

Have a look at how tight the east is. This is before tonight’s games (Saturday, Feb. 23rd), so it’s interesting how it might change in a few hours from now.

Ottawa 76, New Jersey 75, Carolina 67, Pittsburgh 75, Montreal 75, Boston 68, Buffalo 68, Rangers 68. And the two now out of a playoff spot – Islanders with 67, and Philadelphia with 66, are breathing down everyone’s necks.

Of course, if the Habs take about seven of the next ten, please disregard this post. They’ll be in, baby.