Tag Archives: Dion Phaneuf

A Mighty Fine Nine

Rocket's sweater

Yes, Leafs fan, I’ll give you this. Your team spent much of the second period in Montreal’s zone, played well, outshot the Habs 23-11, and for awhile made things dicey.

Heck, your team had lots of gas for most of the game, and peppered an incredible 52 shots at Carey Price.

But you can thank your captain, Dion Phaneuf, for being a baby after getting hit hard by Dale Weise late in this second frame and getting sent to the box, which must  have been a kick in the gut to Dion’s teammates.

Phaneuf, to our amusement, took a crosschecking penalty on Weise because he couldn’t handle being hit hard, and the Canadiens, who were in tough at the time, scored with 14 seconds left to make it a 5-2 game at that point, and the dagger was thrust.

So blame some of the loss on your captain. If you can’t take a heavy hit, you shouldn’t be in the game.

Canadiens win their ninth straight, with Vancouver on Tuesday to tie the league record, with the boys not allowing a single goal in any first period along the way.

Random Notes:

My friend Mel St. St. Onge in Orillia wants to start a movement to have hockey host George Stroumboulopoulos sent packing and Ron Maclean brought back. I think it’s a great idea. C’mon Rogers, toss this guy.

Shots on goal when all was said and done – Leafs 52, Habs 27.

Canadiens went 2/4 on the power play.

P.K. Subban, especially in the first period, fired several cannons at Jonathan Bernier, with one going in while the Habs were enjoying the man advantage.

Lars Eller, David Desharnais, Max, and Gally tallied in the second, while in the third, after Morgan Rielly had made it 5-3, the Canadiens held the fort and skated away with their win.

Alexander Semin showed tonight why previous coaches and managers just weren’t thrilled with him. He floated, looked uninterested, and provided a blatant turnover which led to James Van Riemsdyk narrowing the gap to 3-2 at the time.

But Max would notch a shorthanded marker soon after, and Brendan Gallagher deflected a PK blast on the power play with Phaneuf serving his time, and the gap widened even further.

Have a great night and excellent Sunday. I’m on my way to a birthday party where there’s gonna be live music and a keg of draught in the back yard.

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Well I Woke Up Sunday Morning

It’s Sunday morning and although the grass needs cutting, I can’t get out there and do it because a little baby is sleeping. What a fantastic excuse!

Nathan Beaulieu has signed a two-year contact with the Habs, at a million per. Great to  have this done, it doesn’t break the bank, and it should inspire the young fellow to be all he can be and ink a whopper in a few years.

It seems like only yesterday that we debated the idea of who would win a full-time job first, Beaulieu or Jarred Tinordi, but Beaulieu came through with his skating, puckhandling and poise, while Tinordi lagged behind because of his tentativeness with the puck. But we can’t give up on the big fellow, mainly because he’s a big fellow.

And regarding Beaulieu and his dad’s assault charge in 2013, it came to light only recently that the two had heard someone at a party saying Kane’s blog sucked and they naturally took matters into their own hands. “Nobody says that and gets away with it,” said papa Jacques Beaulieu.

The Leafs have signed former Leaf Wally Stanowski to a one-year deal. Stanowski, 96, says he’s anxious to suit up as it’s been awhile, and if someone can help him onto the ice and then off again, he feels he should be at least as mobile as Dion Phaneuf, and probably a better fighter.

Below, Wally at a recent press conference. “With Montreal inking Beaulieu, we felt this signing was necessary to keep pace,” said Leafs president Brendan Shanahan. “All we ask is that he quits smoking.”

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Other tidits: The Chicago Blackhawks have taken a 3-2 series over Tampa Bay, the Arizona Coyotes are in building lease trouble, and NBC’s Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus says playoff beards should go.

It’s hard to know which is the most important of the three. Probably the Cup Final, although as a Habs fan, any playoff passion has been squeezed out like that last drop from a bottle of Four Aces. And then, of course, the Coyotes situation, which everyone should be used to by now, and which could possibly end with Quebec getting their well-deserved team.

But the beard thing is definitely important too.

“I just don’t like the beards,” said Lazarus. “You can’t see their faces. Although, for that very reason, it was good when Brad Marchand grew one.”

For me, I don’t know what to think. The Rocket and Beliveau never grew playoff beards. What about that?

Below, Lazarus at his recent press conference, explaining the beard problem.

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Habs Hurt Leafs

Canadiens top the Leafs 4-3 at the ACC that should have fans leaving the building feeling they got their money’s worth, and which keeps the Habs train rolling and the Leaf apple cart tottering on the edge of the cliff.

It was a back and forth affair, a bunch of posts behind Carey Price were hit, just two penalties were called for each team on the night, and it was tense going in the final minutes when the Leafs pulled James Reimer and the Habs were holding on.

Montreal looked like they were going to burst it wide open in the first when Max and Rene Bourque both beat Reimer on his glove hand, and maybe a third goal would have really got the ball rolling considering Reimer’s fragile confidence.

But credit to Reimer. He came up with some great saves after those two goals, the game never got out of hand, and the Leafs battled back to tie it until a late first period goal by Brian Gionta made it 3-2 Habs.

Scoreless in the second, and then the obnoxious Nazem Kadri was left open at the side of the net and banged it home to tie things at three.

It was nerve wracking to be sure, and heart-stopping when sniper Phil Kessel waltzed in on Carey Price. But Price would stop Kessel, and soon after Tomas Plekanec converted some nice passing from Markov and P.K. and the boys held on and got it done.

Rene Bourque contributed a goal and assist on this night after being a healthy scratch for the last five games, and he played with rare passion. So much so that HNIC named him the game’s first star.

Imagine that. Rene Bourque. Can he do it again two nights from now?

Speaking of HNIC, the intermissions were all Leafs, all the time. Leafs, Leafs, Leafs. This is one of the main reasons I grew up hating the white and blue. Rarely a mention of the Canadiens.

And at the end of the game, Glenn Healy proclaimed that the Leafs were the much better team on the night, even though Montreal outshot Toronto in the first two periods, the shots overall were even at 36 each, and the Habs won the game.

What the Leafs did win was in the hits department, with 37 to Montreal’s 18.

Dion Phaneuf tried to get rough with little David Desharnais, and considering the way Phaneuf fights, this was a fair matchup.

A great win, the screws are tightening on the Leafs, and the Canadiens are jockeying for a nice playoff seeding. It’s also Toronto’s fourth straight loss which adds to the festivities!

Now it’s Monday in Boston for Les Glorieux when they meet a Bruins team that’s racked up 12 straight wins. But all streaks must eventually come to an end. Like on Monday.

 

Statement Sent In Fine Fashion

My heart is soaring like a Black-bellied Whistling-Duck.

4-1 Habs over that despicable team in Toronto. A statement sent that says speed, skill, and hard work prevail, and just because his team is “bigger and stronger” as Joffrey Lupul tweeted, it doesn’t mean a thing if a big portion of the team are lumbering oafs.

Leaf fans couldn’t wait for these two to meet in the playoffs. Maybe now they’re not so sure. And P.J. Stock said he was so disappointed in the Leafs tonight. Doesn’t he live in Montreal? And if so, why is allowed to?

It was a great night all round. Habs kick ass, they show they can’t be pushed around, and PJ is disappointed.

Best of all, we saw the Montreal Canadiens we knew and loved from earlier in the season, before The Great Slump wrapped it’s warty arms around the boys and squeezed out the vim and vigour. On this night the Habs were alive, led by Brendan Gallagher, who crashed and banged and scored and proved to Mr. Lupul that one doesn’t have to be big or strong, only to have heart and determination and a flair with the puck and a love of goal creases.

And it wasn’t only Gallagher who rose to the occasion. Linemate Lars Eller notched a goal and two assists, and he, like his team, played like the past two or three weeks never happened. Brandon Prust, nursing a bad shoulder, blocked shots like he was Josh Gorges. In the nets, Peter Budaj stood his ground and made the saves when he had to, and the television commentators who questioned Michel Therrien’s decision to start Budaj might not want to be so quick to jump to conclusions from now on.

The team has two good goalies, plain and simple. And Carey Price will show everyone that he’s back, the past while never happened, and was only a classic episode of The Twilight Zone.

A great win.

Random Notes:

I haven’t been able to make heads or tails of who plays who in the opening round. If this team wins or that teams loses and on and on. Maybe it’s easy for you, but for me it’s like some kind of nasty algebra.

Montreal held Toronto to just one shot in the second period, even with the Loafs enjoying the man-advantage. That alone made my heart soar like a hundred birds with long names.

Tomas Plekanec finally bulged the twine after a 12-game drought. Such timing. In the final game of the regular season with the playoffs about to kick off.

Jarred Tinordi, as he’d done Thursday in Winnipeg, used his big 6’6″ body and continued to do the things that will make him a regular for years to come. His big bang on a Leaf body in the first period set things in motion for Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk to set up Eller to tie the game at one, and after that the boys were off to the races.

Tinordi could be a big factor in the post season. His dad must be proud.

P’K. Subban was sensational in his old hometown, and to me this solidifies the Norris for our young star. We should ask PJ Stock about this and see how he feels about it. Maybe he favours Dion Phaneuf.

Tuesday the second season begins. Hey, the first one barely got started!

 

They’ll Send Chills Up Your Spine

Are you strong enough to sit through these? Can your heart take it?

You’ve been warned.

Chernoble Diaries

A group of wholesome American students visit Chernoble twenty-five years after the deadly meltdown, and find themselves stuck in the god-forsaken place when their car battery somehow becomes dead. Horror ensues as a hideous half-man, half-monster, created from the radioactive air, hunts down the terrified students and begins to eat them one by one. Brad Marchand plays himself as the hideous monster.

Bride of Frankenstein

A retelling of Mary Shelley’s classic tale of a grotesque monster created in a lab, only in this later version, the monster takes a wife who is every bit as ugly and loathsome as he. Audiences shrieked in horror and some fainted the first time Zdeno Charo appeared on the screen as the wife.

Night of the Living Dead

They come alive in the cemetery and roam the streets eating innocent townfolks’ testicles as folks flee for their lives. Director Orson Snail does a masterful job in getting the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team to act as the testicle-eating zombies, although in interviews, Snail has admitted that he really didn’t have to do much. “They were naturals,” he said. “Like they’ve done it before. And we saved money by not needing makeup artists.” Kudos to newcomer Nazem Kadri for his realistic portrayal of the village idiot.

Dawn of the Dead

Audiences in Boston, Toronto, Ottawa, and elsewhere walked out of theatres horrified and disturbed after seeing how the Montreal Canadiens, given up for dead, suddenly emerge and willfully slaughter hockey teams in major cities throughout North America.  “We thought they were dead and buried,” cried shocked patrons everywhere. “I’m probably not going to be able to sleep tonight,” admitted a trembling and red-eyed Dion Phaneuf.

28 Days Later

A group of animal-loving activists free a bunch of chimps from their cages, only to discover soon after that the deadly germs of the primates have quickly killed millions. Unfortunately, by the time the chimps are rounded up and secured, the world has become partly deserted. “I’ll send them out again if you don’t let me be Habs stick boy,” warned the diabolical yet extremely handsome activist Dennis Kane.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Zombies and more zombies. Thousand of them. Smelly, disgusting, gruesome, pus-oozing zombies. Boston Bruins fans played their parts well. “It worked because all they had to do was grunt,” explained producer Alfred Spielberg.

Psycho

The story of a lonely man in a lonely motel, waiting patiently for a female victim to show up so he can introduce her to his mother who lives in the creepy mansion up on the hill. The shower scene is a bone-trembling classic, and director and sometimes hockey coach Sir Ken Hitchcock has theatre-goers shaking in their boots as the heroine, portrayed by troubled star P.J. Stock, is treated rather shabbily to say the least. Matt Cooke is brilliant as both the mother and son, and he still maintains that he didn’t try to actually hurt Stock and Hitchcock during the making, but it happened and he’s sorry.

Carey

Based on the Stephen King novel “Carrie,” it’s the story of a person who is unmercifully tormented and ridiculed, but eventually finds out he has telekinesis powers that become apparent when angry and upset. The final scene, when a tormented Carey wills the arena to explode, is riveting.

 

 

 

 

 

Habs Outclass Leafs

Of course when the shots were around 25 to 5 for the Canadiens and they only held a 2-1 lead, I had dark thoughts of disaster rearing its ugly head. But the team never let it slip away, they carried on, and skated away with a solid 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Thugs, although it went into the third before they were able to break it open.

All in all, a satisfying night. Kind of like good versus evil.

Brendan Gallagher, who at one point nearly had his upper torso removed by a steamrolling Dion Phaneuf, ended up alive and well and scoring the winner in the third period when things were tied at two and the game completely undecided, regardless of the difference in play and shots. Gally tipped it in after David Desharnais won the faceoff and got it back to Josh Gorges, causing the Leafs to whine and moan for several minutes afterward because they felt the puck hadn’t been dropped fairly.

It’s the kind of thing that warms the cockles of my heart.

Alexei Emelin scored his team’s first goal, which evened things in the opening frame, and The Thumper had several big blasts from the blueline that came close, and which seemed so out of character for the big Russian who’s not known as a point-getter. Wouldn’t it be fun to see Emelin blossom into some kind of minor offensive threat? Who knows? Stranger things have happened.

Max Pacioretty continued his merry ways by notching a couple, including one that bounced in off his skate, and the other, a wicked wrist shot that beat Ben Scrivens and reminded me of my shot when I was a smallish-yet-shifty right winger for Byers Bulldozers Bantams.

Brian Gionta found the empty net for Montreal’s fifth, and maybe this will get him going the same way Max got going after bouncing one in from centre ice a while back.

Just a fine road win, and I’ve been racking my brain trying to come with something nice to say about the Leafs but I’m having trouble. So many on that team are dangerous, not for their scoring prowess, but for their ability to injure others. This is a greasy team, and Brian Burke is being credited with putting it together. Is that a good thing?

Random Notes:

The Habs are now three points ahead of Pittsburgh for first in the east, and it’s the Penguins in town on Saturday for what should be a beauty.

Canadiens outshot the Thugs 40-23. They had 45 shots in Ottawa two nights ago.

Raphael Diaz has a concussion to join Rene Bourque in that department, and Tomas Kaberle, filling in, played in just his seventh game of the season.

Brandon Prust was feisty once again, and with his effective play and beautiful girlfriend, the guy’s really got it going.

Michael Ryder’s play was on the quiet side, which is to be expected. New teammates, all of a sudden.

Fans at the Air Canada Centre sure take their time getting back to their seats after intermission. Five minutes into the third, it looked like one of those games when no one comes because of a snowstorm. But eventually they were filled again. Maybe the most expensive seats in the league and folks were out getting hot dogs.

 

 

 

 

Habs Demolish Leafs

Feels great writing that. “Habs Demolish Leafs.” Normally I leave the title for last, but I couldn’t wait tonight. And I could’ve said “Habs Blast Leafs” or “Habs Blank Leafs”, but I prefer Demolish. Even though the Torontonians hit a few posts and outshot the Canadiens 32-18. But forget about that. It’s the scoreboard that tells the tale.

A big 5-0 shutout win for Carey Price and the gang. Four straight wins and seven points from a playoff spot. Things are still a long shot, but how great it feels when Montreal is on a roll and looking good.

It was Mats Sundin Night at the Air Canada Centre, a night when Sundin’s jersey was sent to that special place in the rafters to join other Leaf greats. They do it a little differently in Toronto. They honour the numbers, but future players are still allowed to wear them, unlike Montreal where the number goes up, never to be worn again. Imagine if Mike Komisarek wore number 9 while in Montreal for example? It would just suck.

And it’s this jersey-honouring that pissed off Dave Keon so much that he cut almost all ties with the Leafs, which is a shame. Keon was a legendary Leaf, but now he stays in Florida, sits under palm trees, and tries to pretend the whole thing never happened. But that’s the way it is in Toronto.

The Sundin ceremony was lengthy, his wife Josephine looked quite sensational, and his parents were visibly proud of course. And the first period was as sloppy as a pre-season game because of the wait as Sundin spoke and Josephine smiled and probably wondered if I was somewhere in the crowd.

But Montreal would find their game. They scored four in the second and another in the third, killed five penalties overall like it was a walk in the park, and between the pipes, Carey Price once again played like he’s the best in the game, which I think he is, although I might be slightly biased.

Canadiens scorers on this night were Eric Cole, Rene Bourque, Max Pacioretty on the power play, Lars Eller, who swept around Dion Phaneuf and beat James Reimer in a nifty play that’ll have fans on the streetcars talking about on their way back to the suburbs, and Mathieu Darche, who converted a Tomas Plekanec play started by Price.

The Habs smothered the Leafs often, Tomas Plekanec, Max Pacioretty, Erik Cole, and Mathieu Darche enjoyed fine games, and all concerned -players, coaches, you, me, Lucy, Dave Keon, have to be perfectly content with what unfolded on this night.

The plan is to win most of the time from here on in. Four straight is a beauty start.

Random Notes:

Canadiens host Carolina on Monday. This good stuff needs to continue.

 

Leafs Take Another Big Step In Giving The Bruins That Number One Draft Pick

Maybe I’ll be proven wrong, but I think Brian Burke is out of his mind.

The Leafs GM just traded four regulars – Niklas Hagman, Matt Stajan, Jamal Mayers, and Ian White to Calgary for overrated and mistake-prone thug Dion Phaneuf, along with Fredrik Sjostrom and Keith Aulie, neither of whom you took in your pool.

Burke also selected Mike Komisarek to the US Olympic team, which might explain things a little.


My Titles Can Get Quite Boring When The Team Stinks

The culprit wasn’t Dion Phaneuf, although at first glance it might appear that way. Phaneuf rocked and rolled and played like an old-school son-of-a-bitch. But he wasn’t the culprit.

The culprit during this 1-0 loss to the Calgary Flames were the Montreal Canadiens, and one doesn’t have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out. The Habs have scored two measly goals in three games. They should be scoring at least a goal a period. Two goals in three games means you’re going to lose.

Phaneuf on the other hand, played like a hard-rock defenceman should, and I’m talking about the enemy here. If you want to get a good idea of how Doug Harvey played, then take what Phaneuf did tonight, the way he bowled people over and took no prisoners, then add pin-point passing and a controlling general on the ice, especially on the power play, and you have Doug Harvey.

Phaneuf still has to work on the pin-point passing and general part.

And as much as the Habs could use Doug Harvey on the blueline now, they also need Maurice Richard and Guy Lafleur to put the puck in the net. Something the Little Big Three and everyone else hasn’t been able to do lately.

So, if you’re trying to decide if the team’s in a slump or not, just ask yourself, are you happy with the recent goal-scoring situation?

I’m also going to say it loud and clear. Ditch the old-style sweaters, end the centennial celebrations, put the big crests back at centre ice, and stop the madness now. How long are we going to have a 100-year birthday party? For 102 years? Maybe 103?

Random Notes:

Scott Gomez had a clear-cut breakaway and didn’t score.

Mike Cammalleri had a semi-breakaway and ……yes, you’re right.

Jaroslav Halak was fine in nets, stopping 30 saves. But Newton’s Law says that if your team doesn’t score a goal, you can’t win. Or was it Toe Blake?

Canadiens in Phoenix on Thursday. The Habs are always a big draw in the southwest, so in Phoenix, there should be at lest 6 or 7 thousand fans in the stands!