Tag Archives: Chris Chelios

It Happened Like This

It was May when Brandon Prust called Senators coach Paul MacLean a “bug-eyed fat walrus”, not long before the Canadiens bowed out to the Sens in five games.

What does that mean? Nothing. I’m just babbling. And I like the quote.

In June, the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, the Canadiens grabbed lanky forward Michael McCarron along with Jacob de la Rose, goaltender Zachary Fucale, and Artturi Lehkonen in the 2013 Entry Draft, Brendan Gallagher was edged out by Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau for Calder Trophy/rookie of the year honours, and P.K captured the Norris Trophy and rightly so.

And Luci and I hopped in the car and moved to Montreal.

July saw big George Parrros and little Daniel Briere signed by the Habs, I started my new job, Chris Chelios, Brendan Shanahan, Scott Niedermayer, Geraldine Heaney, and Fred Shero were announced as new Hall of Famers, and P.K. and Carey Price were officially invited to Canada’s National Team orientation camp which would ultimately become a ball hockey game.

In August, Douglas Murray was signed by the Canadiens, I bought Dylan’s Blond on Blond CD, my brother came to visit me, and hoodlum Whitey Bulger, whose ex-girlfriend’s daughter was once married to Knuckles Nilan, somehow ended up with a 1986 Stanley Cup ring. (Whitey’s about to get sentenced to life).

September saw rookie camp get underway at Brossard, a guy robbed a bank in Orillia wearing a Habs hat, the Canadiens pre-season exhibition games kicked off, Danno sent me a hockey card I didn’t have, and Michael Bournival and Jarred Tinordi got the news they were staying with the big club. (Tinordi’s down in Hamilton at the moment).

October began with a loss to the Loafs during which George Parros conked his head in a fight and was gone for a month, Ryan White shaved his long blond locks, Daniel Briere suffered a concussion, Max got hurt, Leaf great Allan Stanley passed away, the Red Sox won the World Series, Alexei Emelin signed for four more years, and the Hockey Inside Out Summit kicked off at Hurley’s on Crescent St.

In November, Parros came back with his mustache missing, I bought a sports jacket, Toronto’s mayor made a whack of headlines, a Michel Therrien/PK Subban soap opera picked up steam, Gaston’s still an asshole, and the Canadiens have lost all four games they’ve played this month.

 

 

Four Things

Congratulations to Chris Chelios, Brendan Shanahan, Scott Niedermayer, Women’s player Geraldine Heaney, and coach of the ’70s Broad St. Bullies, Fred Shero.

I remember reading the headline in the Montreal Gazette when Chelios was first called up to the Canadiens. “The Coming of Chris” it heralded, which I thought was a fun headline. Several years later when I was in Leningrad I mentioned that headline to a couple of Russians and they had no idea what I was talking about.

Good for the inductees. It’s a good crop, even though Shero was at the helm of those Broad St. maniacs.

I’m also one of those guys waiting for Paul Henderson to get the call.

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I’ve made it through a total of six days so far at Classic Auctions, which I think is a substantial number for a new guy. Today, among other things, I wrote about Jean Beliveau, Doug Harvey, Claude Provost, and Ted Harris 1960s game-used sticks. And a rhinestone brooch given to players and executives’ wives after the Habs won the Cup in 1946.

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Georges Laraque talks too much, and I think him saying George Parros isn’t intimidating enough in a competitive division isn’t very nice. George should stick to what he’s good at – smiling and wearing tight t-shirts.

Georges told La Presse, “I’m sure that when the Canadiens signed Parros, the Bruins and Shawn Thornton were relieved. In Ottawa and Toronto, they were relieved.”

Yes Georges. And you weren’t exactly Attila the Hun when you were playing. Especially when you were a Hab. You were a peacenik, even though you weren’t supposed to be. You hated beating up people so you stopped doing it. But you were being paid to beat up people.

Stop criticizing the new sheriff. It’ll be tough enough trying to live up to the expectations of Habs fans without being trashed by peers..

“He’s a good guy, but in the NHL you have to intimidate,” Laraque continued. “He has a good technique, but he’s more like a wrestler than a finisher…Florida wouldn’t let Parros go if he was doing the job.

Georges wouldn’t stop.

“Knowing the Montreal market, people will begin to wonder why they got this guy after two or three beatings. I know the guy – I know them all. But those who don’t believe me will see for themselves.”

Georges, you’re not being nice. Be quiet and run for politics.

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I’m going to say this anyway. I hate cell phones. Bring back the phone booth.

Still Lookin’ Good

Everyone goes on and on about some of the beautiful wives and girlfriends of younger NHLers, and that’s nice. These women are all very lovely. Montreal’s Brandon Prust, for example, has a terrific lady.

But what about the wives of some of the older guys? The senior citizens of the league are Teemu Selanne at 42, and Martin Brodeur, Daniel Alfredsson, Ray Whitney, and Jaromir Jagr, all at 40, and just because they’re old doesn’t mean they don’t have gorgeous spouses.

So it makes me very happy to show you a few pictures of the women in these fine players’ lives.

Mrs. Teemu Selanne

Selanne

Mrs. Ray Whitney, Mrs. Daniel Alfredsson, and Mrs. Jaromir Jagr

Jagr, Whitney, Alfredsson

And Mrs. Martin Brodeur and Mrs Chris Chelios posing at the All-Star Game festivities a few years ago. (Mrs. Chelios’ husband retired in 2010 at 48 years old).

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Oh, and about Brandon Prust’s woman? This is Marie-Pier Morin.

Brandon-Prusts-girlfriend-Marie-Pier-Mornin

Roy, Robinson, Gretzky, Messier – In Ottawa

On Friday, September 19, 1986, the Montreal Canadiens played an exhibition game against the Edmonton Oilers at the Ottawa Civic Centre.  I lived in Ottawa at the time but sometimes, as was the case here, real life gets in the way and I had to work and couldn’t go. Just like the time I had a couple of front row seats for Roy Orbison at the National Arts Centre and was out on a truck run, got back late, and missed that too.

But my buddy Frank and his son Robin went to this Habs-Oilers clash, and brought me back a program.

This was a charity event for the Canadian Cystric Fibrosis Foundation, and two beauty teams went at it that night. Montreal had won the Stanley Cup that previous spring, and boasted Patrick Roy in nets, along with guys like Bobby Smith, Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, Bob Gainey, Chris Chelios, and Stephane Richer.

The Oilers were pretty well in a class by themselves. They had won the two previous Cups, in 1984 and 1985, and the two after, in 1987 and `88, with a lineup of Wayne Gretzky, Grant Fuhr, Paul Coffey, Glenn Anderson, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri etc.

Edmonton won the game that night 8-3, so maybe it was good that I missed it.

Irving Grundman Said…

You’d have to think it’s quite odd for a GM to answer some punk’s question about getting tickets. Somehow I can’t see Pierre Gauthier or Brian Burke doing this, or any GM for that matter.

It’s one last letter from the bunch I’d lost years ago and then found recently, and surprisingly, it came from Irving Grundman, who was the Habs GM at the time.

But first, a few things about Mr. Grundman.

Irving Grundman replaced Sam Pollock as GM in 1978, and it was unexpected. Most thought Scotty Bowman would be named the new boss, but it was decided that Bowman would probably be too quick on the draw in trading players, and the bowling alley magnate Grundman was brought in, mostly because of his money-handling abilities.

By all accounts, Grundman wasn’t the greatest Habs GM there ever was, although the recent few might give him a run for his money. It was he who decided to choose Doug Wickenheiser instead of Quebec star Denis Savard in the 1980 draft, whereas Wickenheiser never became the player they thought he’d become and Savard would star in Chicago. Grundman and Jacques Lemaire disagreed on things and the star forward retired and moved to Switzerland. There were also problems finding a decent replacement for Ken Dryden in nets, and three coaches were hired and fired in Grundman’s short time at the helm.

Grundman also pulled the strings on the huge Rod Langway, Doug Jarvis, Craig Laughlin, and Brian Engblom trade to Washington for Ryan Walter and Rick Green and it was this move that is considered most responsible for the saving of the strugging Capitals franchise. Langway would win the Norris Trophy the first two years he was in Washington.

In his defence, Grundman also drafted Guy Carbonneau and Chris Chelios, which were good moves, but all in all, he was considered out of his league and should have concentrated on the bowling alley business.

After he was let go by the Canadiens, he would become a Montreal city councillor, found himself charged with corruption, and sentenced to 23 months of community service and fined $50,000.00.

Almost three months to the day after Mr. Grundman wrote this letter, he was fired by the Canadiens, and Serge Savard would take his place.

Extra, Extra…..Part Six in ’86

For the last eight Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup wins, from 1971 to 1993, I managed to save the front pages and laminate them. (Although one, from 1977, is an inner page).

This is part six – 1986

David Desharnais was born in 1986. Time marches on.

Larry Robinson and Bob Gainey, both well past their prime, called the 1986 Stanley Cup win the sweetest of all their championships. It was a team without snipers, a team full of hard-working grinders, and a team oozing heart and soul. And with Robinson and Gainey’s leadership, grinders grinding, and Patrick Roy in goal, the Canadiens took out the Calgary Flames in five games and Cup number 23 was in the books.

Patrick Roy was named the Conn Smythe trophy winner, a feat he would repeat again in 1993, and talk in the dressing room afterward was about the stop Roy made with just 14 seconds left, a stop that ended a Flames rally in dramatic fashion. In fact, the Habs almost blew it and who knows what would have happened in the series if Calgary ended up winning a game that was in the bag for the home team.

Montreal was leading 4-1 midway throught the third period and they were beginning to lick their lips at the thought of drinking from the Cup. But the Flames had other ideas. They made it 4-2, then 4-3 with Mike Vernon pulled for an extra attacker. Smiles and backslapping stopped on the Montreal bench. The Forum grew nervous. And then the Roy stop happened.  

Here’s Roy explaining the play. “The Flames were all around the net, and I had made the first save on Mullen, but the rebound went to (Jamie) Macoun, who was right beside me. I made the split and got my pad on the shot and then covered the puck with my glove. I was really lucky on that play, but you make your own luck, right?”

“Roy” muttered Chris Chelios. “Patrick Roy. Whew!”

Young Claude Lemieux scored ten goals in these playoffs, including four game-winners. Ryan Walter played with a half-healed broken ankle. Rookie Brian Skrudland, who had his jaw broken early in the game by Calgary’s Nick Fotiu, never missed a shift, and scored Montreal’s second goal.

Skrudland also notched the game winner in game two in the shortest overtime ever…just nine seconds in.

Linemate Mike McPhee, who became a household name in these playoffs, said of Skrudland, “He showed me what I could do when I saw him, at 175 pounds, playing like a 205-pounder every shift.”

Guy Carbonneau, called “the defensive Gretzky,” continued on even with a serious knee injury. Craig Ludwig played with a back so bad he had trouble getting out of bed in the morning. Claude Lemieux, a favourite target of the opposition, played like he was possessed. “I like it fine when everybody’s after me…I am an inspiration to every player in the AHL.”

Chris Nilan couldn’t suit up for the last two games because of a damaged ankle, was bittersweet in the room during the celebrations. “I wanted to be wearing the colours,” he told reporters. “I’m glad it gave (Steve) Rooney and (Serge) Boisvert the chance to get their names on the Cup. They deserved it because they worked like hell and never opened their mouths.”

Rick Green, a whipping boy to the public was he came over from Washington with Ryan Walter in the unpopular trade that sent Rod Langway, Brian Engblom, Doug Jarvis and Craig Laughlin packing, was considered the best defenceman of all in the ’86 playoffs. And Gaston Gingras finally showed he was a bonafide NHLer by having a fine series and scoring three big goals.

Montreal had reached the final against Calgary by first taking out the Boston Bruins in three games  (a best of five), then Hartford in seven games, and finally the Rangers in five.

And the last word goes to Mats Naslund. “We needed a lot of things to go our way if we were going to win. We had a lot of problems during the regular season, and while we were having them those problems, anybody who said we’d win the Stanley Cup had to be out of his mind. But when things started to fall into place, we felt we had a chance. We had the feeling we could beat the teams we faced, and this,” he said with a wave of his hand at the celebrations around him, “is the payoff.”

Habs Get The Win With A Classic Move

Benoit Pouliot, whom I accused of being an underachiever just hours ago, scored the tying goal and then the sparkling shootout winner as the Habs edge the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 and grab two big points.

They won the game, but they took the gravel road instead of the smooth and freshly paved one, and it appeared they were also going to make Pens goalie Brent Johnson look like every other goalie who plays the Habs. Full of shit.

The Canadiens had several ideal chances throughout and couldn’t finish, and they blew a big chance when Pittsburgh ran into a rash of penalties in the third, creating an extended two-man advantage for the Habs. But Mike Cammalleri especially couldn’t hit the net, no one found the fortitude to bury it, and it took Pouliot’s shootout stylings later on to ice it.

And what a shootout goal it was. Reminiscent of Peter Forsberg against Canada’s Corey Hirsch in the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics. A puck that just sort of crept in. They put the image of the ’94 goal on a Swedish stamp and we have the image of Pouliot winning a big game for us.

Thank you, Pouliot. Sorry I said you were an underchiever and you’re officially off the hook until Saturday when you and the boys play Boston.

Random Notes:

Pittsburgh outshot the Canadiens 32-23 and Carey Price came up big several times.

It looked for a few minutes that Jaroslav Spacek had hurt his hand but he was back out shortly after. Imagine if we lost Spacek? Maybe Chris Chelios is available.

With Markov, Gorges, and Hamrlik out, PK Subban has moved way up in seniority, with Picard, Weber and Wiz coming after.

Here’s the videos of Forsberg fooling Hirsch in 1994, and Pouliot doing the same against Brent Johnson Thursday night.

Now This Is What The Habs Need In A Coach

Another beauty sent over by Danno.


Nothing Like A Good Old Chris Chelios/NHLPA Spy Story

Extremely interesting story involving Chris Chelios and the NHL Players Association. Good old-fashoined spy stuff.

Thanks to Mike for sending me this.

Ian Penny’s letter to the NHLPA

CBC Sports

30/10/2009 3:25:06 PM

This is a letter written by Ian Penny, former interim executive director of the NHLPA on October 23, 2009 to the organization’s player executive board. It details reasons why he believes he was constructively dismissed by the NHLPA. It was obtained by CBCSports.ca

 

Executive Board Members: I am writing to the Board in my capacity as Interim Executive Director to share my concerns about a number of very troubling issues, including surveillance activities at the NHLPA office; the leaking of confidential information from Board meetings; fatal flaws with the review of operations; and my personal situation. I recognize that I am in a conflicted position when I comment on the review and some of the other office issues that concern me, but it remains my duty to advise the Board on these types of matters.

1. Poisonous Office Environment In recent weeks, there have been a series of hostile and intimidating acts taken against members of the NHLPA staff. These acts are contrary to the legal obligation of the NHLPA to create a safe work environment that is free of harassment. Unfortunately, this obligation is not being fulfilled because of these acts, which include the following:

– Chris Chelios is using staff members inside the office to monitor the meetings and discussions of their fellow employees and report back to him on their activities

– Chelios has confronted multiple employees and interrogated them about why they were meeting with other staffers and what was said in their discussions

– The most recent example of this surveillance campaign occurred on Tuesday, when Chelios sent me the following text message while I was meeting with four other managers in a board room:

“Ian when you r done can you please call me and let me know what you 5 staff members are discussing with each other i would like to know being your guys Emplyer.”

It is obvious based on this text message and other recent incidents that Chelios has staff members spying on their colleagues so that he can intimidate and harass the targeted staffers. This completely inappropriate conduct has created a hostile, fractured and distrustful work environment. It is the type of environment that exists in repressive, totalitarian regimes – not work places. It must stop immediately.

Chelios’ suggestion that he is the employer and that he is entitled to engage in this form of harassment is simply wrong. No employer is entitled to intimidate employees in this manner. In addition, this view reflects a misunderstanding of the relationship between the Executive Board and the staff. There are over 700 NHLPA members who dictate the union’s course through 30 Player Reps acting as a group. No single Player and no single Player Rep directs the day to day management of the NHLPA or its staff. Not only would that be a recipe for chaos, it would allow a single Player to engage in activities that may create legal liability for the entire membership.

Because I am a target of Chelios’ surveillance activities, I strongly recommend that the Board seek guidance from other counsel regarding the legal exposure that these activities may have created for the NHLPA.

2. Leaking of Internal Information The hostile work environment that currently exists has been made significantly worse by the consistent leaking of information, including information from our recent Executive Board calls. Sensitive, confidential union information is appearing in the media within minutes of the meetings’ conclusions. These leaks have resulted in a siege mentality among staff and have created the perception that we are an ineffectual organization that is incapable of governing itself. The NHLPA and the Board owe a duty to maintain the confidentiality of the matters discussed in Board meetings and they also owe a duty of confidentiality to staff. Now that the Board has authorized a review of operations, this practice of leaking information significantly raises the risk of legal exposure for the NHLPA. As I discuss more below, it will be the Board’s responsibility to make sure that appropriate steps are taken to prevent the release of confidential information relating to the review.

3. Review of Operations Consistent with my fiduciary duty to the Board, I am compelled to advise you that the review of operations is fatally flawed as it is currently designed. The key flaw is the well-established bias of Chris Chelios – one of the four committee members conducting the review. That bias is demonstrated by the following:

– In a conversation several weeks ago Chelios urged me to tear up my contract extension and then threatened me by claiming that I would not survive a review. This indicates that he has prejudged the matter and will not approach a review with the necessary balance and objectivity.

– As discussed above, Chelios has demonstrated his bias and hostility towards me and other staff by engaging in the surveillance of our activities at the office.

– During the September 28 and October 4 Board calls Chelios made false and misleading statements about my compensation history and my record. These statements, which Chelios admitted making, not only showed his personal bias, but created a false sense of distrust among other Board members and Players that prevents them from approaching a review with an open mind. This manufactured distrust also led to the improper reduction of my role in union affairs.

– Chelios has communicated with a number of Certified Agents in developing the presentations to Board members that have portrayed me in a negative light. Chelios’ statement on Thursday that the review committee may seek assistance from Agents creates the appearance that the review will be dominated by individuals harbouring an improper bias.

– Following Paul Kelly’s termination and prior to the Board’s approval of the review, Chelios engaged in an unauthorized, personal investigation of my conduct during which he solicited negative information about me from staff and others. These efforts demonstrate a substantial, pre-existing bias towards me.

– Shortly after Paul Kelly’s termination, Chelios and several other Board members received a written communication from Kelly encouraging him to investigate me and other staff. Since that time Chelios has continued to communicate with Kelly. These contacts create the appearance that the review is being coordinated with Kelly and that the review will target certain staff, while steering clear of Kelly’s conduct and the conduct of his allies. That appearance was reinforced when Kelly recently offered public praise for the creation of the review committee and when Glenn Healy stated on the radio Wednesday that Players on the review committee want to bring Kelly back to the NHLPA (see summary of radio interview below).

Because of these significant flaws, the results of the review will be placed in doubt and the Board will be prevented from taking effective action.

The Board should also be concerned with the possibility that the review will result in breaches of privacy that would violate applicable privacy legislation. This concern should be heightened in light of Chelios’ recent statement that he may involve Agents and individuals from other sports in the review process. To guard against privacy violations and to comply with the duty of good faith owed to staff, the Board needs to have effective controls in place to insure that information is not accessed by unauthorized individuals or otherwise leaked.

Given all of these circumstances, I recommend that the Board retain an independent, objective professional to conduct the review and that Chris Chelios have no further involvement. If those steps were taken, I would welcome the review and the opportunity to work with the independent professional in reaching a fair and balanced assessment based on all of the evidence.

Due to the fact that I am in a conflicted position in rendering this advice, I further recommend that the Board seek advice from other legal counsel. This advice should address whether the review committee is properly constituted given the strong appearance of bias and whether the review will allow the Board to meet its legal obligations with respect to privacy, confidentiality and good faith.

4. Ian Penny Based on the actions that have been taken to date with respect to my employment, including the ongoing surveillance of my activities at the office and the reduction of my role through the circulation of false information, it is my view that I have been constructively dismissed by the union. However, what is more important to me is that it has simply become impossible to work for the Players in the environment that has been created. It is also unfair to the hard-working, dedicated staff of the NHLPA to have my untenable situation negatively impact them in any way.

Due to this unacceptable work environment, I am prepared to resign from the NHLPA subject to certain reasonable conditions being met. At the present time there is no person with whom I can discuss the situation. I therefore recommend that the Board appoint counsel who can handle such a discussion. If you appoint a representative, I will appoint someone to represent my interests. If an amicable resolution cannot be worked out, I will consult my representative about next steps.

In the meantime I intend to continue to perform my duties on behalf of the NHLPA. However, I will not respond to Chris Chelios’ demands for information about my meetings and discussions with staff unless directed to do so by the Executive Board.

For those who want to believe that this memorandum is an attempt to undermine or avoid the review process, I suspect they cannot be convinced otherwise. The truth of the matter is that I would have no difficulty being held accountable in an environment where a fair and balanced assessment can be made. Unfortunately, that environment does not exist. This is due to the steady campaign of misrepresentations that has impaired the trust that needs to exist between me and the membership.

Please give these matters your prompt attention.

In solidarity, Ian