Tag Archives: Erik Karlsson

What Was That?

I’m sitting here trying to wrap my head around what we all just saw. Kind of at a loss for words.

One thing’s for sure, the Canadiens were pathetic.

They also won.

Carey Price was unreal, with 44 shots peppered at him, maybe 15 of which were ultra-tough, and he sprawled and dived and stuck gloves and pads out and looked like Vladislav Tretiak during the 1975 New Year’s Eve game.

P.K. Subban scored the winner in overtime, and the Canadiens grab two big points. Price (and PK’s goal) was the good part.

The rest of the night sucked rancid rats.

This was a game that folks will be talking about for awhile. It was nothing short of ridiculous, but you had to see it to know what I’m talking about.

I suppose I could give a brief rundown to those who decided to forgo the Habs-Senators tilt to grab a Gallagher at McDonalds. But it’s hard to type when I can’t stop shaking my head.

Montreal jumped into a 3-0 lead in the first period when Travis Moen sent Tomas Plekanec in on clear-cut breakaway when they were killing a penalty.

Max upped it to 2-0 shortly after on the powerplay, and then David Desharnais made a nice little move to make it 3-0.

Three goals on five shots. A glorious night to be a Habs fan. 3-0. Maybe it’ll be 6-0 at the end! Ole Ole!

But without warning, a puck that changed direction made it 3-1, still in the first. And then Erik Karlsson found himself with a wide open net and just like that, it was 3-2.

Shots on goal – Ottawa 19, Montreal 7. But the Canadiens were still winning, as weird as it was.

In the second frame, Carey Price was once again as good as he’s ever been, coming up big on Michalek, Ryan, Stone, and I stopped writing down the others after that.

And suddenly, and with lots of warning because it was so one-sided the boys should be ashamed of themselves, Bobby Ryan tied it at 2:44 and somebody else, and I don’t care who it was, put the home team ahead 4-3 with 1:20 left.

As pathetic as you’ll see from the Canadiens. I thought they were dead or seriously hungover in Philadelphia, but this one takes the cake. I could smell Sens fans’ smugness all the way from St. Hubert.

But as bad as it was, as one-sided and ridiculous as this game was, Tomas Plekanec tied it after being sent in on a nice pass from Brian Gionta, and although he didn’t score, I want to give a big shout out to Jared Cowan, who was chasing him and knocked the puck into his own net by accident.

To think of the Sens fans’ disappointment at that moment warmed the cockles of my heart. But it wasn’t over…………until overtime that is, when P.K. Subban got the puck to sneak by Anderson and the boys skate away with a 5-4 win!

It was like being on the receiving end of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, all the tommy gun bullets missed, and you walked out of the warehouse safe and sound.

Basically, it was a horrendous night. A truly stupid night that somehow ended with the Canadiens winning.

The only two excellent things were Carey Price standing on his head and showing once again how good he is, and the lovely vision of Sens fans grinding their teeth and throwing beer cans at the wall.

The Canadiens need some serious tweaking. That was as bad as it gets, and there’s been some serious stinkers this year. But this was unreal. They looked like a junior team. They floundered, they were outworked and outmuscled.

And they still won. After blowing a 3-0 lead. After having 44 shots peppered at them. WTF?

Random Notes:

Only two penalties on the entire night, one for each team. Just part of the overall weirdness.

Shots on goal – 44-23, including 19-7 for the Sens in the first, 19-10 in the second, and 6-5 in the third.

But Carey Price and P.K. Subban came through, and although it’s a win and two points and keeps the Senators from inching closer, it was still pathetic and unacceptable, and I can’t wait for some sort of change to occur.

I’m sure there’s a ton of teams that would dearly love to have Rene Bourque and Daniel Briere.

In the Austrian league.

Now it’s on to Toronto. Gawd, what’s next?

 

 

 

 

Habs Snuff Sens

Solid win Thursday night at the Bell Centre as the boys lance the Senators boil and close off the preseason on the right note.

3-1 Habs. The guys played well. At a rink in the downtown core where it should be instead of 45 minutes east of the city in a pasture.

Ottawa grabbbed a 1-0 lead in the first period after Andre Markov wasn’t forceful with a bouncing puck in the crease, and this sort of thing needs to change. We’ve seen too many pucks cross the line behind Carey Price after mad scrambles. A puck in his crease means holding our breath until it leaves. It’s not healthy.

Alex Galchenyuk, chosen third star, tied the game after stripping a Sen of the puck near the blueline, converting a Daniel Briere pass from behind the net, and showing the good hands which will catapult him into superstardom in the not too distant future.

The Canadiens then jumped ahead in the second when Tomas Plekanec surprised Anderson with a blast, finally giving our boys the lead.

It’s more fun watching games when the team is leading. Have you ever noticed that?

Max salted it away after another Briere pass from behind the net, and it seems there’s some fine chemistry with Briere on the Max and DD line. Luci noticed it. And when that happens, it’s real.

Brian Gionta returned and made a clear impact on things. He was smart and poised and assisted on Pleks’ marker.

Carey Price was solid and stopped 29 of the 30 shots that came his way. He tried to shoot it into Ottawa’s empty net with about a second left, it wasn’t hard or high enough anyway, and it’s something he needs to work on. If we’re going anywhere this season, we need more offence from Carey Price.

So there you go, Sens fans. It wasn’t that proverbial piece of cake this time. And if you say you didn’t have Erik Karlsson, we’ll say we didn’t have Alexei Emelin. Different kind of D-man. Important in his own way.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – Ottawa 30, Habs 25.

Leafs next Tuesday to get the party underway. Great to have a solid win beforehand.

At this time I’d like to express my sadness on the passing of Denis Brodeur. A legendary photographer, he was the Habs official lensman for years, and because he’d enjoyed a fine senior and minor league career, and even an Olympic goaltending stint, he would sometimes suit up as practice goalie with the Habs in the 1950s.

Denis produced quality photos over the years with the Canadiens and Expos, and I know a fellow who has about a hundred Grand Prix photos shot by Denis that I’ve never seen but which he says are amazing. And of course he snapped one of the classic Paul Henderson goal photos.

Denis was 82. By all accounts he was a great man.

 

 

Subban And Karlsson

Some of my buddies I was with in Ottawa this weekend said that when comparing PK Subban and Erik Karlsson, it’s ridiculous to even talk about. It’s a no-brainer. Karlsson is way better.

Do you feel that?

These are two different defensemen. Karlsson methodically takes control, makes the plays, and is always dangerous. When he came back from his injury last year, he wasn’t overly impressive, but before that he was a major force on all parts of the ice, especially in enemy zone, and he gets back smartly the way Bobby Orr used to.

P.K. is a whirling dervish and dangerous in his own right. Full steam ahead, flamboyantly possessed, with the enthusiasm of a kid playing on the pond. He skates like the wind, has the big shot, and plays like he’s about to physically explode. He rushes and gets back quickly too, but he seems to end up on the ice more, makes more mistakes, and isn’t the cool cucumber Karlsson is.

Is it better to have a special player like Karlsson – smart, in control, often dangerous, and a guy who seems to do everything well? Or like P.K., who raises fans out of their seats with his dynamic rushes and bone crunching open-ice bodychecks, who’s the big man on the power play, the one who on most nights creates a buzz in the rink like no other player?

One of my friends complained about P.K.’s habit of submarining people. And my brother also said recently that what he didn’t like about Subban was his turtling and lack of enthusiasm when it came time to drop the gloves.

Are these valid points?

What if P.K. corrects a few things here and there and becomes even more dynamic? What if he wins the Norris again? What would my friends say?

My wish is this. Along with being such a media darling and doing a great job on sports panels, I wish P.K. would take boxing lessons and show the hockey world he’s added fighting finesse to his arsenal. Maybe George Chuvalo can put him in touch with someone.

I don’t know what Karlsson can do in the fisticuffs department. Can he scrap?

I’m anxious to see how both young stars develop. C’mon P.K., I gotta deal with these Sens fans. Help me out here.

Tale of the Tape

P.K.

24 years old. 6′ 206 lbs, has played 3 full seasons, 202 games, with 32 goals, 82 assists, 302 PIM.

Karlsson

23 years old. 6′, 175 lbs, 3-plus seasons, 233 games, with 43 goals, 120 assists, 124 PIM.

 

 

Leak Says Subban

Puck Daddy reports that Nick Kypreos from Sportsnet has gotten wind of a leak that says P.K.Subban has won the Norris Trophy, beating out worthy foes Ryan Suter and Kris Letang.

As suggested in the article, leaks help to get winners to the award shows. Makes sense to me I guess. It’s the NHL after all.

Of course P.K. deserves it. He was dominant. I think he’ll win it next year too. Even with Erik Karlsson in the mix.

I can’t stay long here. We’ve stopped for the night in Princeton, B.C., and maybe because it’s in the middle of nowhere that the internet was terrible at our $60 motel room. So I’ve brought my laptop to the local pub where I’m having a couple of pints and hoping the battery doesn’t go dead.

What a scenic yet pain in the ass highway from Hope to Princeton. Lots of curves and bends and gravel trucks going ten miles an hour..

There’s a big table beside us of about 20 really old people in town for some sort of convention, and I really wanted to ask them if I could take a picture of them with Gaston but I decided they might not see the humour in it and call the cops.

When I’m that age, I hope to go to conventions too. Just not in Princeton.

Princeton seems nice though. Clean. Although if I was a teenager here, I have a crystal meth habit in no time.

I’d better sign off here while the computer still works. Tomorrow it’s Nelson to see my daughter and Ryan and my four grandkids. My daughter just recently drove out of their driveway and ran over their rottweiler.

Titan is now in rottweiler heaven.

Go…Uh….Hmmm

It’s been clearly explained to me (thanks Tom), and it becomes this: Ottawa and Boston play each other tonight, and if Ottawa wins, the Habs play Ottawa. If Boston wins, the Habs play Toronto.

So this means I’ll be cheering for………..not sure.

Montreal managed two wins and two losses against the Sens this season, and two wins and three losses against Toronto. Ottawa has Erik Karlsson back and have a hot goaltender. Toronto has several guys who whack themselves over the head with baseball bats when they wake up. They also have the lovely and talented P.J. Stock cheerleading from the sidelines.

Whatever. Bring ‘em on. Whoever it is.

Below – P.J. Stock

Kadri

 

Therrien Frontrunner At NHL.com

Danno sends over the news that NHL.com has Michel Therrien as the odds-on favourite for the Jack Adams Trophy as coach of the year. Chicago’s Joel Quenneville and Ottawa’s Paul MacLean are the runners up.

You can see it here.

Quenneville had his club on that massive unbeaten streak, earning at least a point in their first 24 games, and the Hawks remain a force to be reckoned with. In Ottawa, Paul MacLean has steered his Senators team through injury woes to hold on to a playoff spot, although it could slip away at any time. Losing Erik Karlsson was as big a blow as can be, and I’m not one to rave about enemy players, but Karlsson’s a beauty.

For me, Therrien as coach of the year is a no-brainer. Everyone knows the story. A team goes from basement to penthouse in miraculous fashion. Habs fans had run out of patience and Therrien and GM Marc Bergevin went about fixing it for us. A rags to riches story, coming soon to a theatre near you.

Therrien’s been tough, (Ryan White understands this all too well), but he’s made this team consistent and a true contender. He’s even calmed P.K.Subban down, with the help of defensemen coach J.J. Daigneault, and instead of this major tweak hurting his game, Subban is Norris-bound.

The Jack Adams should be Michel Therrien’s. He’s earned it. There’s a handful of big-time awards this team could collect this year and unless you hate the Habs, it’s all very exciting.

 

Ottawa’s A Fine City

I really like the city of Ottawa. I lived there for 17 years, all over the place, and I became a real Ottawan. There was that apartment on Carling near Britannia and the one downtown on Gloucester St. There was the high rise on Alta Vista, the place on Morrisette, that other place on Meadowlands, the brand new $39,000 townhouse in Barrhaven, that nice little brick house on Browning, and there might be more once I think harder about it.

I arrived with nothing and gradually built a nice life there. I have fond memories.

People joke about Ottawa. How boring it is. How the the sidewalks are rolled up at 6 pm every night. How it’s the town that fun forgot. I never found it boring. I got married there and my kids were born there. I had great friends, excellent parties, a job I enjoyed, went to a pile of concerts at the NAC and Civic Centre, and could get in the car and easily drive to Montreal or Toronto or to the old hometown Orillia four hours away.

It was all nice and comfortable, and I look back and often think that I should never have left.

But having said all this, I dislike their hockey team. A lot. I had left by the time the Senators franchise kicked off, but an old friend of mine in Ottawa (not J.W.), who was my Habs buddy, suddenly and inexplicably became a Sens fan and promptly rubbed it in my face when his new team beat the Canadiens. He thought it was great, and he’d been a lifetime Montreal fan up until then. We used to make treks to the Forum together. And he dropped them like a hot potato.

This might be the biggest reason of all that I love seeing the Sens lose.

The Senators are without some key guys, which I don’t feel bad about. Erik Karlsson, Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, Jared Cowen, and goalie Craig Anderson are all on the sidelines, and somehow this team has still managed to win their last four games. The nonsense has to stop. It’s smoke and mirrors right now. If the Senators carry on in some sort of winning mode with basically an American Hockey League team filling in, I’m going to be really pissed.

The mandate now is to see Habs kick some ass tonight.

 

 

 

 

Karlsson And Cooke

Just want to quickly mention that it’s terrible to see Ottawa’s young, sensational defenceman Erik Karlsson gone for the season after a Matt Cooke skate blade cut his Achilles tendon in his left ankle.

I suppose we can’t know exactly, especially if he denies it till the cows come home, but to me it sure looked like Cooke was trying to do some damage with his skate. But it seems impossible to know for sure when he’s pleading innocent.

Karlsson is such an impressive young player. He controls the play, he’s got a big shot, he’ll attack like a forward, and he’s a dominant guy, a real special player. He’d look great in Habs uniform. It goes without saying that Ottawa and their fans are going to miss him in a big way.

As for Cooke……….

Now It’s Subban And Money

It’s just so great that with the lockout ending, we no longer have to hear and read about million dollar differences and rich people disagreeing with rich people. I’m just glad it’s over.

Oh wait a minute. It’s not.

P.K. Subban hasn’t signed with the Habs yet, and reading Dave Stubb’s piece in the Gazette – Subban’s Future in Doubt I see that there’s a chance that P.K. won’t sign and could be in a different uniform in the near future.

Subban told the Gazette:“I should know pretty quickly if the (contract) numbers are suitable for myself and my agent, or maybe they slow things down a little bit. The ball’s not in my court, it never has been. It’s in the court of the franchise that’s been standing for 100-plus years. They’ve got to figure out whether they see me as a player who’s a part of their future or not. I hope they do.”

Expletive deleted inserted here. I love Subban’s big talent, and he needs a healthy raise from his now-ended $875,000 a year deal, but he says “the ball’s not in my court.” I hate that. It is so in his court. He’s going to be offered several million, and in a  few years if he becomes what he could become, he’ll get a whole bunch more millions. He can say, yes, I’ll take that offer, which means the ball is in his court.

He and agent Don Meehan have decided on some sort of nice round figure, and if it’s not met or close, that’s it. Who says their number is the right number? Maybe it’s way too high and Marc Bergevin won’t pay it because Bergevin’s no dummy. So Subban goes. It wasn’t about the city that he says he loves so much, or the sweater which should mean everything. It was about the team not meeting what Subban thinks he’s worth. Everybody thinks they’re worth plenty. I think I should be paid a hundred bucks an hour. But reality can be a slapshot in the face.

“I should know pretty quickly if the numbers are suitable for myself and my agent.”

I hate that too. I hate that word “suitable.” It sounds arrogant to me. What’s he want – four million a year? More? Does he want a long-term deal like the six-year, 4.5 million per year extension Max Pacioretty signed for? Maybe Bergevin feels PK hasn’t matured enough for such a commitment. Maybe, when the pros and cons are weighed, the jury’s still out.

Or does P.K. want to be close to Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson, who signed a seven-year, 45.5 million dollar deal last year. They’re both great young defencemen with one tiny difference. Karlsson won the Norris Trophy last season.

Please take a fine and fair offer and stay with the club, P.K. You’re an important guy, we like you, we love watching you, love your big shot from the point and the way you dash up ice. Of course we want you to stay. Surely somewhere between what you want and what they want can be agreed on and you stay a Hab for many years.

This whole money/hockey thing is wearing mighty thin. Like so many others, I’m just plain sick of it.

 

Awards Night On The Strip

 

What rivals the Academy Awards, Grammys, Emmys, and Golden Globe Awards?

Not the NHL Awards Show, that’s for sure.

Tonight’s the night we see players wearing uncomfortable tuxedos and their women beaming proudly. We see awkward speeches, hopefully some seriously low cleavage in the audience, and no Scott Gomez anywhere. We’ve also seen Ron McLean completely out of his element as a stand-up comedian, a cringe-inducing time in space if there ever was one, and maybe he’s been told to stay home.

And for those of you who gag at the thought of Nickelback performing, please keep in mind that Robin Thicke sang a couple of years back and I ask you, what’s worse?

I don’t know exactly what it is about Nickelback. Everybody dumps on this Canadian band, but I don’t mind them. Is that uncool to say? Do you like Robin Thicke better?

When I was a truck driver working out of Calgary, I would sometimes deliver cases of food to various stores in Hanna, Alberta, home of the Nickelback guys and Lanny McDonald. I’ve never ever delivered groceries in Robin Thicke’s hometown of Los Angeles.

In the recent past, the Awards show has been at the Palms in Vegas, which must have been uncomfortable for the players, wives, and executives because the Palms is about three blocks from the Strip, which is way too far. Tonight they’ve moved to the Wynn, one of the nicest hotels in the city, right on Las Vegas Boulevard in the heart of the Strip, and where, if rumours are correct, sex has taken place in hotels rooms at various times, although I heard that several years ago and I don’t know if it’s still the case.

The big ones are on the line.

Henrik Lundqvist, Evgeni Malkin, and Steven Stamkos are up for the Hart Trophy, awarded to the most valuable to his team. I say give it to Malkin and hopefully cameras pan in on his girlfriend jiggling as she claps.

The Vezina, judged by general managers as top goalie, have Lundqvist, Pekka Rinne, and Jonathan Quick battling it out. Tim Thomas couldn’t make it because he’s committed to doing a song and dance at the White House.

The Norris sees Zdeno Chara, Erik Karlsson, and Shea Weber on the short list. Give it to Karlsson. He’s already been partly ruined by getting a big seven-year contract from the Ottawa Senators which will zap much of the hunger out of the kid, and now a Norris, which will zap even more. Sens owner Eugene Melnyk predicted that Karlsson will become one of the greatest defensemen in the history of the game, so load the money and awards on him now and we’ll see how this prediction stands up.

And the Bridgestone Messier Leadership Award goes to the league for coming up with the stupidest name for an award.

Other awards handed out tonight include player with the hottest wife or girlfriend, best stick boy, the Bridgestone Gomez Getting The Job Done Award, the Sean Avery For The Love Of The Game Award, and the Nickelback Courage Award for showing up when everyone hates them except me.

The one award that should be a lock, even if I am biased? Max Pacioretty taking home the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy awarded for perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication. Max came back from a broken neck to blossom into a star power forward, and he’s done it with grace and style, never losing a beat after such a tragic event. What a nice touch it would be to see Zdeno Chara present this award.