Tag Archives: Dustin Byfuglien

The Dismal Beat Goes On

Late-’80s Claude Julien.

The wild and crazy Montreal Canadiens were rusty and sloppy in Claude Julien’s 2017 coaching debut, and their 3-1 loss to the visiting Winnipeg Jets ruined what could have been a fun breakout party for the new Blind River bench boss.

Probably rusty because they had five days off. And sloppy, regardless of who’s behind the bench. Nothing new about their sloppiness. They’d probably be a mess if Toe Blake was behind them.

Was any part of this loss Julien’s fault?

If he was Kreskin, he might have plunked Nathan Beaulieu into the press box pre-game, before this mediocre defenceman could think he was Bobby Orr during a second period power play, and which quickly showed he’s no Bobby Orr.

Or Gaston Gingras for that matter.

Beaulieu decided to do some fancy stickhanding and was promptly stripped of the puck by Joel Armia, who walked in and tied it.

And because Julien didn’t have his skates on, he couldn’t be on the ice at 1:16 of the third when Emelin, Weber, Plekanec, Danault and Max decided to show their soft and tender side as Big Buff muscled his way in from the right side and found Mathieu Perreault, who notched the winner easy as pie.

Winnipeg’s third goal was an empty-netter, so I guess Julien can’t be blamed for that one either.

Wasn’t Carey Price’s fault either, as the big fellow snagged shots left and right, including lightning-quick glove hand robbery on rookie star Patrick Laine’s laser in the first period and then again in the third, plus coming up big a plethora of other times throughout.

Price was his old self, which is a good thing. So were his teammates, which is a bad thing.

Gump Worsley, manning the pipes for the New York Rangers in the late-’50s, was asked what team gave him the most trouble. Gump answered, “the Rangers”.

Price can say exactly the same thing about his teammates. Coverage means more than just car and house insurance, boys.

Random Notes:

Jets outshot the Habs 33-20.

Either the Sens or Leafs will win tonight, considering they play each other. Which means if the Sens win they’ll be within two points of Montreal, and if the Leafs pull it out, they’ll be just five back. Both teams also have games in hand on the Canadiens.


Habs Blast Jets


Such a fine way to begin November, with a dominate 5-1 win over the visiting, and sometimes belligerent, Winnipeg Jets.

But Dustin Byfuglien and his pals can take solace in knowing they got hammered by the best team in the league, which should make them feel better when they’re out breaking curfew tonight.

Backup goalie Mike Condon, between the pipes for injured Carey Price, allowed just one goal, which means the big fellow has let in just six goals in his first four starts, all wins, which is impressive to say the least.

Also impressive is the Habs scoring a total of 21 goals during these four Condon games.

Adding to the impressiveness – the David Desharnais, Tomas Fleischmann, and Dale Weise line, which tallied seven points in all. This line was flying all game, Fleischmann was on fire, but the team as a whole had their legs moving in fine style.

It’s hard to imagine these guys in another 30 years when they’re fat and can hardly skate.

The Jets, meanwhile, sat quietly on the tarmac, not going anywhere.

And then there was Paul Byron, listed as 5’7″, 153 lbs, playing like the much bigger Henri Richard, listed as 5’7″, 160 lbs.

Byron opened the scoring in the first period when once again, as he had done in Calgary two nights prior, burst in on a shorthanded breakaway to light the lamp. A fine deja vu moment to be sure.

Two goals and an assist for Byron in his three games, while Alex Semin sits in the press box each night now, wondering, drinking coffee, eating hot dogs, and asking Marc Bergevin if he can get him anything.

The Canadiens opened the scoring in the first, which is always such a nice thing, when lefthanded shot David Desharnais burst down the right side the way the Rocket once did, and after being stopped, Tomas Fleischmann banged home his first of the night.

In the second period it would be Fleischmann doing the bursting down the right side, with his shot eluding Jets goaltender Michael Hutchison. The starting goalie would soon be replaced by Ondrej Pavelec after allowing a fourth goal, a DD marker when he barreled in with Fleischmann and Nathan Beaulieu on what was basically a 3 on 1.

Lars Eller would direct the puck off his skate on the power play to widen things to 5-1, and in the third, the lone goal past Condon came from Winnipeg’s Chris Thorburn, who looks like the Band’s Richard Manuel, who’s been dead for 29 years.

Random Notes:

The 7 points from the DD line included Fleischmann with 2 goals and 1 assist, DD a goal and 2 assists, and Weise 1 assist).

Canadiens outshot Winnipeg 26-19.

The team has now recorded 50 goals in 13 games, an average of 3.84 goals a game. Some serious fire wagon hockey going on with this league-leading team.

Next up – The dastardly Ottawa Senators pay a visit to the Bell on Tuesday.


One Shift At A Time

For the next three Habs games, including tonight’s contest against Winnipeg, tomorrow’s trek to Ottawa, and Saturday’s hosting of the Buffalo Sabres, my game posts will come slightly later, like around midnight instead of immediately following the games. It’s because I have to be at a certain place – work. People don’t stop using the ferries when the Canadiens are playing. I don’t know why, but they don’t.

I realize now that when I was hired, I should have said, “Thanks, but I’ll also need the day off whenever the Habs are playing. Or at the very least, strictly day shifts.” But I didn’t and now I’ll be stuck at work while you’re cheering all those Montreal goals and booing Big Buff and other enemies.

Regardless, I’ll watch the games when I get home. PVRs are a beautiful thing, as were VCRs. I remember years ago, before VCRs were invented, and I was working shift work in Ontario. I missed all kinds of things – playoff games, World Series drama, reruns of The Twilight Zone, bench-clearing brawls. The VCR was one of the best things to come along in years. But have you ever spent an entire shift asking others to not tell you the score? Often someone blurts it out by accident, or says it because they think it’s funny. These people should be rounded up and sent to a Russian Gulag near the Arctic Circle.

I’ve spent years avoiding scores while the games were being recorded. It’s not perfect, this recording business, but it’s what happens when you have to work unusual hours. I just can’t believe that people travel when the Habs are playing.




Price Has Another Great Month

Price named NHL’s second star for November

Wednesday, 01.12.2010 / 12:36 PM / News

NEW YORK  — Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price and Atlanta Thrashers defenseman Dustin Byfuglien have been named the NHL ‘Three Stars’ for the month of November.


        Crosby led all players last month with 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) in 14 games, taking first place in the NHL scoring race and lifting the Penguins (16-8-2) to a first-place tie with the Philadelphia Flyers in the Atlantic Division. Crosby finished the month with an active 13-game point streak, the longest in the NHL this season and the third-longest of his career, helping the Penguins reel off seven consecutive victories. Crosby has tallied multiple points eight times during the streak, highlighted by a season-high four points (one goal, three assists) in a 5-4 shootout victory over the Carolina Hurricanes Nov. 19 and a hat trick, including the 200th goal of his NHL career, in a 4-1 win over the Calgary Flames Nov. 27. The Penguins captain increased his season points total to 41 (18 goals, 23 assists), one more than second-place Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning (21-19–40).


        Price posted an 8-4-0 record, 1.59 goals-against average, .952 save percentage and three shutouts in 12 games, backstopping the Canadiens (15-8-1) to a five-point lead atop the Northeast Division. Price faced more shots than any goaltender in November (392) and allowed one goal or fewer in six of his final nine starts of the month, highlighted by a 41-save performance in a 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers Nov. 16. He also recorded shutouts in victories over the Vancouver Canucks (2-0, Nov. 9) and Toronto Maple Leafs (2-0, Nov. 21). Price ranks among NHL goaltending leaders in all major categories this season, sharing first place in victories (14-7-1) and shutouts (four), and placing third in save percentage (.935) and fourth in goals-against average (1.95).


        Byfuglien led all defensemen in scoring with 17 points (six goals, 11 assists) in 14 games and posted a +9 rating, helping the Thrashers (13-9-3) climb to sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Two of his goals were game-winners, bringing his season total to a League-leading five. Byfuglien closed the month with a flourish, scoring the game-winning goal plus three assists and a +2 rating in a 4-1 win over the Boston Bruins Nov. 28 and notching the game-tying goal late in the third period and drawing an assist on Anthony Stewart’s overtime goal in a 4-3 win at Colorado Nov. 30, extending the Thrashers’ winning streak to six games. Returning to his preferred spot on the blueline this season, his first in Atlanta, Byfuglien leads all NHL defensemen in goals (10) and points (27) in 25 games.

I’m Feeling Low About Hockey

I’m going through some kind of depression right now regarding the Habs and the NHL. Anger, actually. 

About the Habs, seeing Dan Ellis deciding no and the team signing journeyman Alex Auld makes me more nervous than excited for the season to begin in the fall. You tell me what will happen if Carey Price has a terrible first ten games and they try Auld instead. Is that a pretty picture or what?

And the othe reason I’m feeling low is I see Andrew Ladd of the Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks now shipped to Atlanta and the dismantling of the Hawks continues. As I’ve previously mentioned, Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager, Colin Fraser, Kris Versteeg, and now Ladd are gone from the team, and if this is the way the NHL is going to work from here on in, I just may concentrate on hockey from other decades when it was beautiful and tough and teams had a chance to be powerhouses for a few years at least before players would gradually move on.

This Chicago thing has really bothered me and has caused me to re-examine a few things.

I’m depressed and feeling low right now.

One Is A Lonely Number

If a team has to ship out a big chunk of its roster after winning the Stanley Cup just one time, it kind of makes you wonder if there will ever be another dynasty in the NHL.

The Chicago Blackhawks, only weeks after capturing their first Cup in 49 years, have dealt Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel, and Ben Eager to the Atlanta Thrashers, Colin Fraser to Edmonton, and now Kris Versteeg has signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It’s all business, salary caps, dollars and cents, accountants, tax shelters, unrestricted and restricted free agents, unions, and player agents in the hockey world now. The soul of hockey is taking a beating. The days of four or five consecutive Stanley Cups won by one team appear to be a thing of the past.

Montreal must learn from this. They must find a way to keep the team intact after they win the Cup next spring. One isn’t going to be good enough. We’ll need at least three, thank you very much.

Big Buff Gone To Atlanta

Kind of puts a damper on Dustin Byfuglien’s off-season Stanley Cup party, don’t you think?

The big lad, along with Brent Sopel, Ben Eager, and prospect Akim Aliv were dealt to the Atlanta Thrashers for entry draft picks numbers 24 and 54, along with Marty Reasoner and OHA player Jeremy Morin.

Why couldn’t Montreal make this deal? The Habs have similar draft picks – 27 and 57, and we could have thrown in the Kostitsyns and Marc-Andre Bergeron, plus VIP seats at the Just For Laughs Festival. The Kostitsyn’s would have loved Chicago, what with Al Capone and Frank Nitti and the Untouchables all having lived there at one time.

We could’ve used Big Buff in a Big Way. Damn. I’d heard rumours that Chicago might move him but I didn’t really take it seriously considering what he did for his team in winning the Cup.

I think Chicago just screwed themselves and it’ll be another 49 years before they win again.

It’s all about money, of course. Creating cap space and all that, most of which I don’t understand because if you ever saw my high school math marks, you’d know why. So in my pea brain way of thinking, getting rid of one of the purest power forwads in the league, and they don’t come around often, doesn’t compute.

Oh well. It’s good. The Hawks are weakened and if Montreal meets them in the finals next year, I see no problem whatsoever for the bleu, blanc et rouge.

Kane Scores Overtime Cup Winner

I always wanted to say that – “Kane Scores Overtime Cup Winner.”  Unfortunately, in real life it was Patrick Kane, not me.

The Chicago Blackhawks are the new champions of hockey on the strength of Kane’s slightly-soft goal that found its way through Michael Leighton, and have finally put to bed the “haven’t won since 1961” label. It’s a team of Kane and Toews and Byfuglien and Keith and Seabrooke instead of Hull and Mikita and Pilote and Wharram and Vasko, and these young fellows are now the toast of the Windy City.

Forty-nine years is a long time to go between championship heroes. Montreal will be ending an 18-year drought next year and that’ll be long enough.

It’s a good, young team, these Hawks, and most expected them to beat the Philadelphia Flyers and they did, although the Flyers hung in there and almost added to their miraculous fairy tale that saw them rally from a 3-0 deficit against Boston and become only the third team in history to pull this off.

So good for the Flyers. But they also eliminated the Habs so I’m not going to get carried away with any gushing praise.

Random Notes;

Watching the Flyers go down the corridor to the ice before the game made me think of the Habs and how fantastic it would have been if it was them instead of Philly.

The refs were calling borderline penalties for most of the first half of the game, then put the whistle away. One would think that maybe, just maybe, these zebras got a special call from their superiors telling them to cool it because they were ruining a special night.

Tomorrow I tell you about my Marian Hossa movie script idea that is now on the scrap heap.

Help For Habs Is Out There – Wearing Different Helmets

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier. The Habs might still be playing if I did.

We’ve all seen how Dustin Byfuglien, all 6′, 4″, 257 lbs of him, is so important to the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s a force to be reckoned with, especially close in and along the boards where he’s a big, strong hombre who gives Chris Pronger and the rest of the Flyers fits. And he knows how to play the game on top of everything else.

Of course Montreal needs a guy like him, and I happen to believe they’re out there. More than one.

In the Canadian Football League.

Search the CFL far and wide and find a gigantic linebacker who played some sort of serious hockey in college, and sign him up. He’ll leave football in a heartbeat. It’s a matter of $60,000 there, or half a million to put skates on. Tell him to crash the net, take no prisoners, and score the odd goal. Nothing pretty. Everything Georges Laraque was supposed to do but didn’t.

He’s not expected to be Guy Lafleur. Just crush Scott Hartnell’s bones into powder, that’s all.

Many Canadian football players are known to have been hockey players at some point in their lives. We hear it all the time. “My first love is hockey” some say, “but I was never going to make a living at it and the Alouettes came calling.” So they’re already good skaters and can shoot the puck.  

And as an extra point of reference to reinforce my argument, in the late 1950’s, Gerry James played for both the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at basically the same time.

So just grab the best ex-college hockey-playing footballer who’s at least the size of Big Buff, buy out his CFL contract, teach him the system, and unleash his power.

I didn’t realize until now how simple it is.

Bits And Pieces While The Good Ship Habs Is Stuck In Neutral

If you’ve been watching the Chicago Black Hawks at all, you’ve seen the exact kind of guy Montreal needs – Dustin Byfuglien (somehow pronounced Dustin Buflin).

This is a big power forward, 6’4″, 257 pounds, and there aren’t many of these types to go around. Imagine him in the Habs lineup doing his crashing and scoring to help out along side the Gionta’s and Gomez’s. Wow.

Byfuglien is tough and talented in the way John Ferguson was, or Cam Neely and Clark Gillies. He’s scored six goals in the last six games, and plays on the big Jonathan Toews line the way Gilles played with Mike Bossy and Brian Trottier, and Ferguson with Jean Beliveau. All in all, one of Chicago’s most important players to say the least.

I was hoping Travis Moen might fill this role a little more with the Habs, but I suppose he’s not quite big enough and doesn’t possess quite the skills of any of the above. Moen, even though he’s had a decent playoffs, will never be in the same league as these power forwards.


My wife is in Russia for a month and is getting up at three in the morning to see the Habs on TV. She asked me a simple question, “Are the Flyers that great?” No, I answered. They’re just playing tougher right now. I also reassured her that the Canadiens aren’t finished. That only happens when the lovely-but-seriously-out-of-shape fat lady sings.


I had a short conversation with one of North America’s leading autograph experts and he told me an interesting and very surprising piece of information. We were talking about knowing the difference between real and forged signatures, and he says he hates to say it but unfortunately, if a forgery is perfect, it’s not a forgery anymore.

Think about that for a second.


These 40 or so idiots who were arrested for looting and trashing Montreal’s downtown after the Canadiens disposed of the Penguins – what happens to them? Do they get a substantial fine, or a criminal record, or jail time? Or does their mommy take away their dessert and they have to make their own bed for a month?