Tag Archives: Francis Bouillon

Good Game, Single Point

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Fine game Wednesday night in Chicago, and although the Canadiens grabbed a point, they could’ve had two. But it slipped away in the dying seconds.

Hawks win 3-2 in overtime.

After two periods of play it was a see-saw battle with no goals and just one penalty, a hooking call to Daniel Briere, but in the third, the puck started to find its way.

Dale Weise, in his first game back after injury, banged one home after a fine rush by Rene Bourque. But the Hawks, who held the edge in play many times on the night, tied it soon after.

Just 22 seconds later, Francis Bouillon blasted one home and it became a Habs lead once again.

And then, the one-goal lead almost a two-goal lead when our almost 40-goal scorer came oh so close..

How great it would’ve been to see Max score his 40th when he was set up fifteen feet out but stopped point blank by Corey Crawford. Great play, great shot, great stop.

It was also the beginning of the end, because after some serious Hawks pressure, the home team would tie it with 48 seconds left in the third, and in overtime, Peter Budaj accidentally backhanded the puck into his own net and that was that.

A point on the road but it could’ve been two. But that’s fine, because the Canadiens played a solid skating game, took just two penalties (the only two of the night), and in my book they continue to impress.

They’ve won 10 of 13 games. I feel I’d be a greedy bastard if I complained.

Random Notes:

Montreal outshot Chicago 30-28.

Thomas Vanek and DD assisted on Bouillon’s marker, and the big line continues to roll.

Alex Galchenyuk left the game in the first period after taking a hit from Andrew Shaw and now we wait to hear the damage.

Injuries just before playoff time. Imagine how Tampa must have felt when Ben Bishop went down.

Other guys were hurt too, Bouillon and Ryan White in particular, but both would return. Thank goodness Carey Price, Andrei Markov, and Alexei Emelin were left at home where less injuries could happen.

Much safer at home. Maybe tripping on a roller skate or taking a rolling pin to the head from an upset wife.  But no hits into the boards or hard pucks to the ankles.

In a few short hours (sort of), the boys host the Islanders at the Bell. Then game number 82 on Saturday against the Rangers.

Grab that opening round home ice and please, no more injuries.

 

 

You Shoot Because You Do

As mentioned on Hockey Inside Out, both Josh Gorges and Dale Weise might be suiting up for Wednesday’s game in Chicago.

All we need now is Brandon Prust and Travis Moen back, and hope  everyone else is as healthy as a 40-year old Jack LaLanne when the real season begins.

Gorges is a left-handed shot, as are Francis Bouillon, Jarred Tinordi, and Douglas Murray, who’s back from his suspension after one more game. Somebody’s gonna take a rest there.

Dale Weise shoots right-handed, as does Rene Bourque and George Parros. So one of those fellows will also be having some down time.

I did a little Googling and found that the majority of Canadian hockey players, young and old, shoot left-handed, while the majority of Americans shoot right-handed.

It’s odd and there are different theories, none of which I had the time to try and understand when I was reading up on it.

And how do they know that folks young and old shoot more left or right? Because since curved sticks became the norm in the 1960s, American hockey manufactures say they’ve been shipping way more lefts than rights to Canada ever since.

It’s sort of the same with golf only different. Seven percent of Canadian golfers swing left, which is apparently the highest percentage of any nation. And the reason they give is because Canadians pick up hockey sticks at an early age and it’s therefore imprinted when it comes time to pick up a golf club.

European players are mostly left-handed shots too, and one site gives the example of the great Soviet teams of the 1980s, some of which never had even one righty on the roster.

I shoot right, write left, my fork is in my left, and I put my right shoe on first if you’re interested.

March 15th Madness

The Canadiens were in the midst of a three-game losing streak, scoring just three total goals in losses to Phoenix, San Jose, and Boston.

The Senators would be up next, in a game at the Bell on March 15th, but from the first drop of the puck it seemed the Habs had turned over a new leaf, with Daniel Briere scoring just 38 seconds in and many others coming close on several chances not long after.

The Canadiens looked like they truly had put aside the three losses and were about to get back on course.

Slowly but surely though, Ottawa began to take it to the Montrealers who seemed confused and disorganized after that good opening frame. It quickly became Ottawa’s game, and as the third period wound down, the Senators held a comfortable 4-1 lead and the Canadiens slump would soon reach four.

Ottawa fans smiled. Trickles of fans at the Bell slowly made their way to the exits. Another loss and again no offense from the Canadiens, with just one goal scored.

But at the 16:38 mark of the third, Lars Eller would send the puck past Ottawa goalie Robin Lehner to make it 4-2, although it was too late for any thought of a real comeback. Just not enough time. And they’d been outplayed.

Just over a minute later, at 17:56, that Brian Gionta would suddenly make it a 4-3 game, and eyes and ears perked up. What’s this? Could they score again?

And when Ottawa took a last-minute penalty and Carey Price went to the bench for an extra attacker, the impossible suddenly seemed downright possible.

And it was, with David Desharnais tying it with less than a second to go. And just 1:26 into overtime, Francis Bouillon bulged the twine and sent Sens players and fans to bed cursing.

Tonight these teams play again, in Ottawa this time, and will the mood be ugly? Will the Sens be an ornery team looking for revenge after their collapse at the Bell?  Has a growing and heated rivalry been thrust into another gear, with bad blood now overflowing?

Can the Canadiens beat them and put what should be the final nail in the Sens playoff hopes?

Canadiens want home ice in the opening round of the playoffs. They also want no one getting hurt. Tonight’s an important game for all concerned.

 

 

 

Holy Mackerel, Habs Pull It Out!

Three goals by a down and out Habs team with just over three minutes left in the third, and then the winner in overtime.

I was getting set to rant and rave and now I won’t have to. Talk about going from upset to feelin’ good. Boom shakalacka!

The game at the Bell began in fine fashion for the Canadiens. Daniel Briere scored just 38 seconds in and the boys dominated the Sens, outshooting them 17-4 with Briere and Thomas Vanek getting several great chances, and others like DD having their moments too.

But aside from Briere’s marker, no one could score as usual, Ottawa got one, and we’ve seen this before. Burst out of the gate and slowly but surely the other team picks up steam when the game should’ve been out of reach.

It became the same old thing. Scoring dried up. Tiring to say the least.

No surprise when it became 2-1 in the second for Ottawa, who outplayed Montreal in the frame.

In the third, it was soon a depressing 3-1 and then 4-1. I was ready with my thoughts. Again they can’t score. They blew their chances. It was going to be four straight losses. The power play was a dismal 0-6. The EGG line at this point was -11.

And then it began. Like Pit Lepine, Sprague Cleghorn, the Rocket and all the gang pulling strings from above.

Lars Eller made it 4-2 at 16:38 of the third, and the team was still so far from a comeback that Eller didn’t dare crack a smile.

At the 17:56 mark, Brian Gionta bulged the twine and it was 4-3, and a small glimmer of hope became a large wheelbarrow full.

Finally, with a Senator in the box for misbehaving and Carey Price pulled to make it a 6 on 4 advantage, David Desharnais shot one over the hot-headed Robin Lehner with less than a second left and the game, miraculously, was tied.

And just 1:26 into overtime, Francis Bouillon won it for his team and us.

It’s hard to believe what we just witnessed. The Canadiens needed these two points badly, and they did it in such heart stopping fashion.

A great win, and have you ever seen such crying to the refs as the Sens did after the last couple of goals? You blew it, Ottawans. Suck it up.

Random Notes:

Marjo and her son were at this game, fifteen rows behind the Canadiens bench. Talk about a game to get tickets for, and I’m happy for them that they saw a mind blower.

Canadiens outshot Ottawa 48-34 on the night, but until the last three minutes, could only score one measly goal. But that’s all forgotten now. Sort of.

Carey Price had no chance on a couple at least, and it was reassuring to see him finally back on the job.

Healthy scratches included Parros, White, Bourque and Tinordi.

Onwards to Buffalo for a Sunday 7 pm game against the Sabres. Can’t wait to see how the Canadiens play after this whopper.

 

 

Kids Inspire In Habs Win

It was one of those nights to smile. Not only because the Canadiens ended their four game slump by beating the New York Islanders 4-2, but also the way the kids, the EGG line, created and dazzled and were rewarded with eight points on the night.

Alex Galchenyuk, chosen first star, nailed down a goal and two assists. Brendan Gallagher, chosen as second star, added a goal and an assist. And the centre on this line, Lars Eller, contributed a goal and an assist and was given third star.

Leave it to the kids to inspire and bring the team back to life, out of the doldrums, and stop the bleeding that was beginning to flow instead of trickle. When these three are clicking, it can be poetry in motion. The way they work, pass, shoot, finish, it makes my heart soar like Timothy Leary’s mind in 1967.

Just imagine what we have to look forward to as they mature and gain experience.

Tonight was a feel-good story for a change. A big win, led by the youngsters. Love the feel-good stories.

Brendan Gallagher opened the scoring in the second period, but the Islanders tied it soon after with Francis Bouillon in the box for holding. But two Habs power play markers, one by Lars Eller and another by Michael Bournival, and it was 3-1 after two.

In the third period, New York edged closer with a power play goal, but the Canadiens iced it with a lovely Gallagher to Eller to Galchenyuk display, and folks at the Bell went home happy and Michel Therrien went home with his 250th NHL win.

Random Notes:

Tomas Plekanec was sent to the box in the second period for face-off violation. Maybe it was explained on RDS and I just don’t understand French well enough, but I didn’t get it. It seemed to me that Pleks stepped on a stick and went down. And as far as face-off violation goes, I thought it only meant players cheating in the circle and such. I’m hoping someone will clear this up for me. I’m not afraid to admit this is something new to me.

Travis Moen left in the second period, apparently with a virus. Maybe he has to cook his hamburgers a little longer.

PK Subban was motoring all evening and playing like we know and love.

Shots on goal – Montreal 31, Isles 26.

Love these 6 pm games. Not too early, not too late.

Next up – Thursday when the Lightning come to town. Hopefully the kids and their inspirational play will set things in motion and the Canadiens come out breathing fire.

Alexei Emelin might finally be back in action on Tuesday. Here’s hoping.

 

 

Habs Less Than Dazzling

Not the best start for the Canadiens in Calgary. The first period saw them play with a distinct lack of fire-wagon hockey, more like horse and wagon hockey, and found themselves down 1-0 midway after Travis Moen coughed up the puck in his own end and the Flames got the party started.

Lots of red, white, and blue sweaters in the stands, and more where the cameras don’t go. The West is filled with Habs fans, coming from grandfathers and fathers living life on the prairies and foothills, cheering for Les Glorieux over the years, and it makes its way down to the kids who now have money and can afford the ducats.

Suddenly it’s 2-0 Flames with just over a minute to go in the first, coming just after the Canadiens had botched a power play. The Canadiens are making this no-name Calgary team look way too good. The idea now is to get into the dressing room, think about how things have to pick up somewhat, and wait for Mr. Therrien to enter the room and yell a lot.

The second period was even more lethargic. It became 3-0 with Francis Bouillon in the box for an unnecessary shove into the boards. Inexcusable. People are staying up late and it’s not right.

But wait, what is this?

P.K. blasts one home  with 2:14  left in the frame and on the power play! It’s 3-1, Habs fans in the stands perk up, and the rest of us do too except we didn’t pay 200 bucks for a ticket.

Imagine having nothing to cheer about on your big night out to see your Habs? Been there, done that. It’s very depressing.

The third period was a time to build on the momentum from P.K.’s blast. And Subban, interviewed during the intermission, said they’d had a poor practice beforehand and were flat. Does it mean they’ve had lousy practices since 2002, the last time they won in Calgary?

Six losses and a tie in their last seven games in Calgary. What the……?

Will it become seven losses and a tie? And who was running the lousy practice?

The answer my friend, was blowin’ in the wind.

Lars Eller mades it 3-2 with almost half a period to go and suddenly, after only two and half periods, it became a game. The Canadiens found some zip. They could taste it and they gave it their all. For ten minutes.

And in the end………….such a silly penalty by P.K. with 1:49 left, and the everything went pfffft. All that late good stuff down the drain. Too bad, they were on the verge.

All in all, too many were invisible for too long.

Seven losses and a tie in eight games in Calgary. It’s ridiculous.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – Montreal 35, Calgary 25.

Next up, Thursday in Edmonton. Hopefully the practice is better.

 

 

 

 

Big Bell Blast!

I hadn’t seen the Canadiens play in Montreal since the late 1980s when they were still at the Forum. I’d moved to Calgary and then to the West Coast, and I couldn’t see them live unless they came to where I was.

I was gone when the Bell Centre opened in 1996, and I grew more and more curious. Could it come close to replacing the Forum? How was the atmosphere compared to the Saddledome in Calgary and Rogers Arena in Vancouver? Would the hot dogs be even close to Forum dogs?

Today I saw my first game at the Bell Centre, a Red vs. White affair to help rebuild the damage done at Lac-Megantic, and no, it wasn’t the Bruins or Leafs in town, and it wasn’t a crucial game in the standings, and there were no fights, no nastiness, or no tremendously dazzling plays.

But it was an emotional time for me. I loved the moment. It made my heart soar like a Mauritian Shelduck.

Tell me how this couldn’t be great. Darth and Lydie picked me up. I wore my mid-1950s Habs jacket. We grabbed great seats at one end. I had a free hot dog, chips and bottled water. The Habs played the Habs and the joint was sold out.

The hot dog was good but not as good as Forum dogs. I suppose it’s impossible to be that good.

White beat Red 2-1. Francis Bouillon made a nice speech. Pleks scored a nice one. Carey Price looked good. The EGG line was fine. Max seemed to have some bounce. Little Martin Reway played well. A whack of rookies played hard hoping to impress.

Peter Budaj let in a goal Betty White could stop but anyway.

I saw the tributes to former greats on the walls behind the nosebleeds. I looked for Jean Beliveau. I saw where Max Pacioretty got nailed by Zdeno Chara.

All of this sort of thing might seem old hat to you if you’ve been a bunch of times. But I’ve probably got you beat in a few other ways. I saw the Rocket play, for one.

I also noticed a new job I might go after. Riding shotgun on one of the zambonis. Little kids have the job now but if I can somehow………

I’d sure like to thank Darth and Lydie. It was a great day. :-)

Bell 3

Bell 5

Bell 6

Bell 1

And the jacket I wore -

jacket

 

 

Almost Not Small

Marc Bergevin says the the team is too small. Tomas Plekanec says it isn’t.

I’ll settle this.

They’re too small. But almost not.

There are only two small guys on the Habs – Brian Gionta and David Desharnais, both standing at 5’7. They’re the two who make the team seem small. Without them, the subject wouldn’t even come up.

Francis Bouillon is small on paper, 5’8, but by all accounts is stronger than strong, so he doesn’t count. He’s probably stronger than three-quarters of the guys in the league who stand a foot taller.

Brendan Gallagher is 5’9, but we know what he’s like. There aren’t many around the league, tall or not, that I’d rather have. He’s big. The size chart just doesn’t say so.

Tomas Plekanec isn’t big, and he isn’t small. He’s 5’11. Guys like Pleks are perfect. Speedy and talented and not shrimps. They don’t count when you say a team is big or small. Sidney Crosby is the same height as Plekanec.

This isn’t the smurfs anymore. Gomez is gone, Cammalleri too. There were just too many smaller guys all bunched together once upon a time. But that was then. Rene Bourque, a good-sized power forward at 6’2, helped change the dynamics when he and Cammalleri switched cities.

Guys like Prust and Max and Tinordi and Eller and others are miles from being small. Even young Alex Galchenyuk is 6-1.

It’s a bigger team now. And fast and slick and talented. Fire-wagon hockey. Beautiful.

It’s just the two little guys, that’s all. In warmups, the team looks small because of these two. It’s like the wee guy in Buffalo – Nathan Gerbe at 5’5. That’s too small. Everything’s out of whack when you see a little bugger like that skating around.

We don’t need to be huge. I prefer a slightly smaller and swift skating variety, like we have now. Just a couple of tweaks, nothing serious, and maybe people will stop saying the team is too small. Cause they’re not. Two guys are causing an optical illusion.

Plekanec and the GM are both right. The team is small and it’s not. A slight change, and all’s right with the world.

 

 

Domination In Buffalo

It was as one-sided as can be, a 5-1 Habs romp over a lacklustre Buffalo team, and how nice it is to clinch a playoff spot with eight games still to go instead of on the last day of the season, which is what we’ve seen in the past.

Just a great night for the Canadiens, in many ways, from start to finish.

A terrific rebound performance after losing to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday. A domination of the other team like we’ve rarely seen this year. And best of all, a solid effort from almost everyone, top to bottom, beginning with Peter Budaj, who wins his seventh straight game in relief of Carey Price, and who said beforehand how proud he is to be a Montreal Canadien.

Maybe the entire team feels that way. Maybe the ones who weren’t proud aren’t there anymore.

Brendan Gallagher was a force all night, scoring Montreal’s third goal and in the thick of most things whenever he stepped on the ice. His joy of playing hockey and getting his nose dirty is written all over his face. This isn’t a small guy. Somehow his personal stats got mixed up along the way. Gallagher’s a huge guy. Just ask anyone who plays against him.

CBC’s Craig Simpson might be wrong when he says that next time around, opponents will play him differently and he might not be as effective down the road. I ask why not? I see no reason why he can’t continue to be an energetic and skilled guy who causes such havoc. Let other teams adjust. He’ll just plow ahead, play the only way he knows how, and maybe it’ll open things up for his teammates.

Ron MacLean said between periods that Gallagher is the modern day version of P.J.Stock……. I have no words for this.

Francis Bouillon took on Steve Ott after Ott had laid a punishing hit on Gallagher, and the super-strong Bouillon got the better of this Buffalo hothead. Ott also licked Jeff Halpern’s visor for some reason, which is a fine example of Ott not being completely all there.

Rene Bourque opened the game’s scoring, and once again he enjoyed a fine game, his second since returning from injury. Bourque’s a key guy, there’s no doubt, because you can never have enough big forwards who can skate like the wind, burst to the net using muscle, with good hands as a bonus.

P. K. Subban was once again sensational in notching a goal and an assist and moving the puck like a guy who’s been around for years. I don’t see a lot of other d-men around the league, but if someone is playing better than our guy right now, I’d like to know who he is.

Alex Galchenyuk scored his team’s second goal and it’s five games now with at least a point. This is a story in itself. Galchenyuk busted out of the gate in the beginning of the season, but somewhere along the line began to struggle. We chalked it up to a young guy learning his trade and the team and fans have been patient. It can’t be easy.

But wouldn’t you know it, this nineteen-year old has come alive again. He’s got a second wind, with the postseason just around the corner. The timing is impeccable.

I thought David Desharnais played a fine game, and he and Max assisted on Gallagher’s goal. Desharnais came close several times and his playmaking often proved dangerous, but until he lights ‘em up, he’s going to hear his critics. Maybe even rightly so. We’re a demanding bunch.

Andrei Markov was in charge on this night, adding a power play goal and an assist and quarterbacking like he’s done so often. Although with him being caught up ice, the Sabres were able to score a shorthanded marker and ruin Budaj’s shutout. But aside from this one little pothole in the road, Markov was solid.

It’s a write-off season for the Buffalo Sabres, who, with a 30th-ranked power play and dismal play all-round, remind me a lot of last year’s Habs. So I kind of feel for them a bit. Then I get over it real quick.

Random Notes:

The Canadiens outshot the Sabres 42-15, and it was basically a nice, easy night for Budaj. But he stopped them when he had to, except for one, and what more can we ask?

Michael Ryder posted two assists, as did Max.

On to Toronto for a Saturday night special. With the very real possibility of the Habs and Leafs squaring off in the first round of the playoffs, it would be so great to see the Canadiens thump the bastards and take no prisoners. Montreal plays these guys not only on Saturday but also on the last day of the season, which is coming up fast. We need a serious statement made on both nights.

 

 

 

Has To Be A Win Tonight

A quick little jaunt down the road to Uniondale to meet the Islanders tonight, then back home Saturday for a chance at redemption when the Buffalo Sabres are back for another round.

These are two games the Habs must win. As a fan, I’m ordering this to happen.

I have a phobia. A constant worry whenever the Canadiens lose one game, as they did on Tuesday to Buffalo. My phobia is that they’ll somehow lose the next game too, and then drop the one after that, and all of a sudden the boys are mired in a dreadful slump and all merriment and joy experienced lately will fly out the window faster than we can say theleafssuckporcupinesneedlesthroughtheirassholes.

Beating the Islanders and Sabres is not only important to avoid a depressing slide, but these are the two games left before it’s on to Pittsburgh and Boston for the big message-sending clashes we’ve all been waiting for. A little momentum going into these would be good. Real good.

Montreal hasn’t found themselves in any sort of trouble this year except for the three straight losses against Boston, Buffalo, and Toronto in early February. They been a model of consistency. It’s one of the big reasons we’re so proud of them.

So once again – it’s crucial they beat the Islanders tonight.

Random Notes:

We need our wounded back and it seems Rene Bourque is just around the corner. Maybe Prust too. Diaz? No idea.

Francis Bouillon, pictured below, has signed a $1.5 million contract extension. Bouillon’s been a nice, solid addition, and whenever someone talks about this fellow, his abnormal strength is mentioned. Kind of reminds me of me.

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