Tag Archives: Guy Carbonneau

Habs Win Battle Of Brick Walls

five

The great Habs teams of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s couldn’t do it, but the 2015-16 team just did. Five straight wins to open the season, never done in 106 years of Les Glorieux action until now.

My heart is soaring like a flock of pterodactyls.

Thursday night saw the gang shut out the visiting New York Rangers 3-0, with Carey Price standing on his head when needed and Henrik Lundqvist at the other end doing the same.

But Price was better. He got the shutout, not Lundqvist.

The Canadiens, in this history-making game, were aided by a second period goal by Tomas Fleischmann, a Dale Weise marker in the third frame, and an empty netter from Tomas Plekanec as the clock wore down.

Five straight wins, but now I need six of course, which means they have to take out the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday at the Bell. But they just handled a good Rangers team, so there’s no reason why they can’t do the same to the Wings.

I’m a tad concerned about the Wings. They don’t have the Babcockian One barking his arrogant orders at them anymore, so they’re probably looser than they’ve been in years. But we’ve got four solid lines, three excellent defence pairings, and Carey Price, so of course Detroit doesn’t stand a chance.

Not only did the boys win their fifth, but once again they scored the game’s first goal, something they’ve done every game so far. And equally important, they didn’t sit back in the third while nursing a slim lead. Also surprising? Michel Therrien hasn’t juggled lines yet.

Did God, who’s a solid Habs fan, put the hammer down on the coach?

Four lines contributing, with the best goalie in the world coming up big, and it makes for a team that’s already raising eyebrows in this young campaign.

An absolutely great start to the season, aside from a power play that shoots blanks. But they’ve won five, so what am I bitching about? Really though, the Canadiens with the man advantage have been brutal so far and went 0 for 5 tonight.

Random Notes:

Montreal outshot New York 32-25, and both goalies were unreal. Lundqvist’s glove hand shot out like lightning numerous times, and Price dazzled throughout, including a series of mind-boggling saves after his team had killed a 5 on 3 Rangers power play in the second frame.

Opening ceremonies saw  Guy Carbonneau, who captained the team from ’89-90 to ’93-94, hand the torch to new captain Max, with the torch then passed from player to player. The Habs’ last captain before Max was Brian Gionta, who I was never thrilled about wearing the C, but I’ve moved on.

Andrei Markov was a hoot when he came out and circled PK Subban before accepting the torch. Good for a hearty chuckle.

David Desharnais and Tomas Fleischmann both collected a pair of assists.

I’m hoping the parade route includes Marine Ave. in Powell River.

 

Binder Power

Baseball has its dog days of summer, but so does hockey. The Canadiens haven’t played a game since losing 6-1 to the Ottawa Senators on May 9 in the opening round of the playoffs, bowing out four games to one in the process.  If my math is right, that’s 64 days ago.

It’s been a long time, and it’ll be a while yet before the puck is dropped for real again. And I’ve never come to grips with losing the Expos. It still hurts, and I’ve tried to revert to my childhood team, the L.A. Dodgers, but without Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, it just hasn’t been the same.

So I go to my binders and start pulling stuff out.

My brother used to be the bass player in country singer Michelle Wright’s band. He and Michelle ended up living together and had a place in Nashville, although things, as they tend to do, came to an abrupt end and my brother now has a wife and daughter and moved on a long time ago from those days.

Michelle would sometimes send me things, and today I found this as I was going through old binders.

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A Night At A Fan Club

In going through some papers last night in the basement, I found something I’d written in 1992. I’m not sure why I’d written it, but anyway…

The first page talks about how I grew up to be a Montreal Canadiens fan living in Orillia, a city thick with Leafs fans, but I won’t bother with that part here.

After that I went into being in Russia in 1991 and spending an evening with members of the Russian Montreal Canadiens Fan Club, where no one spoke English except for one guy, Konstantin Krylov, who presently is a scout for the Anaheim Ducks.

At that time it was during the fall of the Soviet Union, and up until then, Russians had had very little contact with foreigners from the west. It was almost unheard of that westerners would spend any time at all in a Russian’s home, so it was all new, for both sides.

But I was lucky. I lived with a Russian family in St. Petersburg several times over the years, for short periods, and I still feel very fortunate for the experience.

I’m beginning halfway through my piece, when I went to a meeting at the apartment of the president of the fan club, Alexander Varnovsky

“Anatoly brought me by streetcar to Alexander’s apartment building in the heart of Leningrad. As we approached the old six-story building nestled beside a children’s playground off a main downtown street, Anatoly pointed upwards to the president’s place. There, in the window, thousands of miles from home, in such a mysterious country, was a giant Montreal Canadiens crest. And beside it, Alexander and several of his friends waved and smiled and motioned to us to come up.

Hockey Night in Leningrad, without the television.

That evening at the Fan Club was without doubt one of the most enjoyable and interesting few hours I’ve ever spent. I could sense a feeling that I was truly welcome, and they seemed happy that they were able to get some Canadian impressions of the NHL, and of course their beloved Montreal Canadiens.

Alexander’s apartment looked like many hockey fans’ apartments, although it was very small. The walls were alive with Habs’ team photos from different years, and photos of Lafleur and Cournoyer and Beliveau and Carbonneau, among others, smiled down. Sasha had written many times to Habs public relations director Claude Mouton, and Mr. Mouton had graciously answered many of his letters and sent hats and pennants etc. All of Mouton’s letters were proudly displayed.

Even as I was taking off my coat, the questions started rolling off their tongues. The big one, the one brought up the most, was how I felt about the ’91-’92 team, and did I think they had the talent to go all the way. Of course they did, I answered. I’ve been answering that question the very same way all my life. So in Russia, it was no different.

As tea and pastry were served, I tried to explain why I thought the team would be successful. And I was grilled constantly about all aspects of the Habs, and the N.H.L. in general. What really stood out, what truly impressed me, was the amount of knowledge and insights my new friends had about North American hockey. They had only seen international competition for the most part – Canada Cups, World Championships, Olympics and such. Until then, a Montreal-Boston clash, for example, rarely or never graced the screens of Russian T.Vs.

But they were all hockey scholars in the truest sense. They all had their own ideas on who should win the Hart Trophy, or who the best goalie was, or what GM was the craftiest, or what skater was the most innovative.

They appreciated the aggressiveness of Shane Corson and Mike Keane, and loved the style and grace of Denis Savard. They expressed concern over the youthful defence of the Habs, and were all in agreement when Wayne Gretzky’s name came up as the greatest in the game today.

Throughout the evening we talked about league president John Ziegler, Serge Savard, Russian and Canadian fans, Hall of Famers, and famous games. They said that the classic Super Series ’76 featuring the Canadiens and Red Army 3-3 game was the turning point for them all, when they saw for the first time the beauty of Montreal’s game. They had heard many stories before that, but this was their first look, and it left a lasting impression.

The evening went by far too quickly, and after several hours it was time to go back to Anatoly’s. The entire fan club walked us the few blocks to the streetcar.

I made some great friends that night. We all share a deep love for the Montreal Canadiens, and I feel so fortunate to have met and spent such a memorable evening with them.

Several months later, back in Calgary, I received a letter from Leningrad, which had now become St. Petersburg once again after the system had collapsed and they were starting anew. There was one page in Russian and another translated into English, and it stated that I had been unanimously voted into the St. Petersburg Montreal Canadiens Fan Club.

I was the first and only member of the club from outside Russia, and I am very proud.

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Habs Rebound Nicely

The Canadiens once again showed what they’re made of, rebounding from a sub-par showing in Philadelphia, and winning 4-1 Thursday night against the Jets in front of a happy crowd at the Bell Centre.

And such splendid feel good moments to go along with this important and satisfying win.

Peter Budaj played in front of his dad and brother from Slovakia, (and an uncle I think), and was solid as can be in winning his sixth-straight. It was a nice classy gesture on Michel Therrien’s part to start Budaj, and there’s respect all-round.

If someone from the old days, like Jack Adams or Punch Imlach, had been coaching this game, they might have played Price regardless of Budaj’s family being there. Those men weren’t big on sentiment.

Marc Bergevin made a good choice in Therrien. Remember when all those names were being tossed about? Patrick Roy, Guy Carbonneau, Pierre McGuire etc. This year might have been a lot different with someone other than Therrien at the helm.

Michael Ryder had another big night, racking up two goals and two assists, and what can you say about this guy who’s become such a key component. One thing we can say – Marc Bergevin did it again.

Maybe the biggest story for me was the play of Alex Galchenyuk. On this night he freed himself from those invisible ties and not only scored a beauty after eighteen games, but shortly before came up a little dipsy-doodle magic and burst in but was foiled. If he would have scored on this, we’d be enjoying replays of it all week.

Galchenyuk had new life last night, and gave us more glimpses of what to expect in the coming years. He’s going to rise us out of our seats and be the toast of the town. He’s going to be a big star. I believe this. It was great when he came alive tonight.

Lars Eller had two assists and has been good lately. He’s been a presence. Opponents seem to get upset with him, and that’s okay. They get upset with P.K. Subban too. The guy who’s going to win the Norris.

Random Notes:

Winnipeg outshot Montreal 34-24, but the Habs had plenty of quality chances.

Next up (and can’t wait) – The Bruins come to town Saturday. Lock up your daughters.

Morrow Moves To Pens

The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired Brenden Morrow from the Dallas Stars for a couple of draft picks and we can only hope that Morrow, as a 34-year old, is slow and has lost a step and is getting too old in every way considering he’s entering the Eastern Conference.

Morrow, who is married to Anne-Marie Carbonneau, daughter of Guy Carbonneau, wants to win the Stanley Cup and finally chose Pittsburgh over Boston as the team with an excellent chance.

Won’t it be funny when Montreal goes all the way.

Morrow

Hartley Ropes A Cowtown Contract

The guy many thought would be the next Habs coach, Bob Hartley, won’t be the next Habs coach, as he’s just signed on with the Calgary Flames.

So that’s that.

It is a little surprising, though. Hartley comes from Hawkesbury, just down the road from Montreal. He’s French and he seemed to be the frontrunner. But I suppose he got an offer he couldn’t refuse from the Flames, and that’s fine.

Usually it’s players who don’t want to come to Montreal. Now it’s coaches too. Maybe he didn’t want the pressure and limelight, although Calgary has it’s own share of such. Just not on par with the Canadiens, that’s all.

My thinking is, if Marc Bergevin desperately wanted Hartley on board, he would have made sure it happened. Or maybe the boss couldn’t afford him because he has to pay Scott Gomez.

And maybe our GM has a real beauty in mind, and when the announcement comes, we’ll drive around town and toot our horns and people will wonder what all the fuss is about. Or maybe not.

If Hartley didn’t really want to coach in Montreal, then we don’t want him anyway. I guess I’ll just lump him in with Daniel Briere from now on, although you’re probably going to say that I don’t know any details so what the heck am I talking about and I shouldn’t jump to any conclusions. But just the other day, when Geoff and Marc were at my house and we ate and drank and talked about……

Now who’s gonna be the bench boss in the big city? What’s Bergevin got up his sleeve? Who’s going to be the guy to lead the team to the promised land, in both official languages.

Guy Carbonneau?

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.

Candidates

In reading various columns this morning, I see the field has narrowed down to a measly 15 or so candidates for the GM job in Montreal.

Names mentioned include Pierre McGuire and Jacques Martin, who need no introduction; ex-Habs Vincent Damphousse, Guy Carbonneau, and Patrick Roy; player agent Pat Brisson; along with Marc Bergevin, Julien Brisebois, Claude Loiselle, Andre Savard, Larry Carriere, Trevor Timmins, Jim Nill, Blair Mackasey, and Francois Giguere.

I’m sure another dozen names will crop up over the weeks to come, but for now, a few have been left off that leave me speechless.

Mike Milbury. This is a guy who bleeds bleu, blanc, et rouge. He’s smart, never says anything outlandish, and is loved by Habs fans around the world.

PJ Stock. Bilingual and knows more about hockey than you, me, and just about everybody, dead and alive.

Glen Sather. Knew how to get rid of Scott Gomez. Doesn’t that count for a lot?

Don Cherry. Don isn’t bilingual, though. And unfortunately, he also doesn’t speak English. But he’d be a beauty, eh? And there would be no more talk of tanking except when the team played Boston and Toronto.

Donald Trump. Knows the business side, and would be able to bring Scott Gomez, Tomas Kaberle, and Rene Bourque into the board room and say to them – “Scott, Tomas, and Rene, you’re fired.”

Jillian Barbarie. Fox Sports reporter. I’m sure she’s qualified in many ways.

 

 

 

 

 

 

With The New Hartley Rumour……..

With the latest rumour being Bob Hartley coming in to coach the Habs, here’s a look at him in a Quebec televison series getting angry with Patrice Brisebois. A big thanks to Danno for giving us this glimpse, albeit acting, of Hartley, who won a Stanley Cup in Colorado with Patrick Roy as his goalie.

You can read about this TV series, which involves Montreal and Quebec and the rivaly the two teams had until the Nordiques left town, here – La serie Montreal-Quebec. Guy Carbonneau is the coach of the Canadiens in this series.

 

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.