Tag Archives: Hal Gill

Blake Retires

Geoffrion

Montreal’s Blake Geoffrion has announced his retirement after suffering a fractured skull last November in a game against the Syracuse Crunch when he was with the Hamilton Bulldogs.

Blake had come to the Canadiens in a deal that sent Hal Gill to the Nashville Predators.

It’s very sad, and hopefully he’ll will have a wonderful life from here on in. We wish him all the best.

Luci and I were at the Habs-Canucks game in Vancouver last year and were only about twenty feet from him when he netted his very first goal for the Canadiens.

Gadgetrometry

This may seem ridiculous to you, but when you get older, the world of electronic gadgets will try to pass you by like James Dean in his Porsche Spyder, blasting past the Beverly Hillbillies old truck with the rocking chair in the back.  Howie Morenz breezing by Hal Gill. Usain Bolt vs. Gump Worsley in the 200 metre.

You could be like me, and you don’t want that.

I’m falling behind and I’m not crazy about this. I want to keep up but it seems the world of technology is faster than my little brain can compute. I’m not like those people I see on street corners, bent over, looking into their hand-held gadget. I’ve never done that. I feel left out.

Maybe these people run the risk of having their heads and necks bent permanently downwards, and I’m not sure I want to run this risk. Why can’t I just phone and email when I get home? But that would mean I’d have to wait untill I got home. It’s a dilemma.

There is one disturbing sight I’m proud I’m not part of. I’m not one of those who reads their gadgets while talking to someone. You know he’s not listening, he’s reading. So you wait until he’s finished reading. I think it’s rude. Really rude. Others have agreed.

Today I’m going to the store to look at iPods. I have a lot of questions about this. How do you turn them on? How do you put music on them? How do you listen to music? I also like the idea of tablets, which aren’t as cumbersome as a laptop. It wasn’t that long ago that I thought laptops weren’t cumbersome. It turns out they became cumbersome when I wasn’t looking.

I’m trying to stay on top of things, but it’s tough. And if you think I’m an idiot, wait a few years. You’ll see.

 

The BIG Story Of 2012

There goes 2012. Maybe it’s a good thing.

The Habs were disturbingly mediocre in 2012, finishing 15/15 in the Eastern Division, one point behind 14th place Islanders and two behind the Leafs. I still feel nauseous.

Along the way, Hal Gill and Andrei Kostitysn were shipped to Nashville and I miss Hal. The other guy – not so much. Mike Cammalleri was given a one-way ticket to Calgary after saying publicly that his team was quite pitiful, and that was all well and good except for the fact that the Canadiens got Rene Bourque in return. We’re still not sure if Bourque is dead or alive or just really stoned on valium.

Habs’ brass Pierre Gauthier and Bob Gainey were dismissed after doing quite a lousy job for way too long, and interim coach Randy Cunneyworth and assistant Randy Ladouceur were let go when the season ended, with Michel Therrien announced later on as Cunneyworth’s replacement. It wouldn’t have mattered if Cunneyworth learned to speak French without a trace of an accent. He was on his way out and he and everyone else knew it. Finishing in the basement didn’t help matters either.

Alex Galchenyuk was chosen third overall by the Habs in the 2012 entry draft, thus allowing us to dream that the young fellow will blossom into a Guy Lafleur-type superstar. If we’re going to dream, we might as well dream big, don’t you think?

The Summer Olympics took place in London and I’m still regretting not training to be a gymnast for these games. Judging by the more than 150,000 condoms that organizers gave out to athletes, it seems like I missed an excellent party. And September of 2012 marked the 45th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series, a series which catapulted Paul Henderson from normal, everyday NHL player to monumental icon, and a series which allows me tell everyone how I was a bartender in Sudbury at the time.

And of course 2012 saw the L.A. Kings win the Stanley Cup, once again the Vancouver Canucks collapsed when it counted, a lockout began, and the world didn’t end like it was supposed to.

But none of this can match the BIG story of the year. The story destined to become a movie, a story to tell grandkids and at parties and around the supper table for years to come.

February 9, 2012. The night, while playing against the New York Islanders, when Scott Gomez scored a goal.

It was a mighty feat, his first in more than a year, and it was the winner to boot in the Habs’ 4-2 decision over the Isles. The puck came out to him and although it seems impossible, he shot it right into the net. He did. It’s in the video below if you don’t believe me.

Yes, the biggest story of 2012. Can it get any better than that?

Oh, and Happy New Year. May great things happen to you over the next 12 months.

Ottawa Ousted

And there goes Canada’s last hope. The Sens lose 2-1 to New York in game 7.

Milan Michalek should be made to change numbers. He missed three or four great chances from about 15 feet out during the Sens’ torrid charge with about six minutes remaining, and he reminded no one of the Rocket, Gordie Howe, and Bobby Hull, who also donned the famous number. There were times in minor hockey when I would have a conniption fit if I couldn’t get number 9.

Michalek should wear 83 or something instead.

The Sens are dead, although they played a fine series from what I saw and read, and they should be proud of themselves. They showed the hockey world they’re a really good team and should enjoy a fine season next year, maybe just six or eight points below the Habs.

Thus far, L.A. has surprised many by thumping the Canucks in just 5 games. Washington has ended Boston’s mediocre one-year run as Cup champs. Phoenix has taken out the Hawks in 6 games and if the Coyotes go deep, Gary Bettman is going to have wet dreams. Detroit is gone after 5 games against Nashville, home of the Kostitsyn brothers, and Hal Gill, who has yet to play in the post season. St. Louis clobbered the Sharks in 5 games, and the one game I was able to see, in a restaurant, there were a ton of excellent fights. And Philadelphia put a bushel full of pucks behind Marc-Andre Fleury, including 8 twice, in their 6 game elimination of the heavily-favoured Pittsburgh Penguins.

And last but not least, New Jersey took out Florida 3-2 in double overtime of game seven, and I can’t really say why but I had almost no interest in seeing either team carry on. But I guess it’s fine the Devils won because Larry Robinson is an assistant coach, and who doesn’t like Larry?

All in all it’s been a good opening round, mainly because Boston lost. And I still have no idea who will or should win the whole thing.

Kostitsyn Joins His Brother

The Canadiens have shipped the terribly inconsistent Andrei Kostitsyn to the Nashville Predators for a 2013 2nd round draft pick, plus the 5th round pick the Habs had traded to the Preds in the Hal Gill deal. Kostitsyn joins his brother Sergei, who was also a nonachiever as a member of the Habs.

I found it funny in reading ESPN’s Scott Burnside’s assessment that Kostitsyn brings size and skill to the Predators. Sure he does. He brings decent size every night, and skill every six or eight games or so. He was one of the most frustrating players on the team. All kinds of talent, with a great shot. But he usually played with his head in the clouds and showed us nothing on a nightly basis, except of course when he’d give us one of those rare moments when he looked like the second coming of Valeri Kharlamov.

Now he takes his act to Nashville where he’ll probably be fine for awhile and then settle in and show why he was cut loose. He’s an enigma who only helped his struggling team on occasion and is one of the big reasons Montreal became such a bust this season.

Scott Gomez said recently that Andrei Kostitysn was the most well-liked player on the team. That’s fine for the dressing room and team dinners and pops in the hotel pub. But on the ice he didn’t get the job done and on far too many nights you had to look long and hard to see if he was actually playing.

Yes, I’ll take a 2nd round pick for this guy. It isn’t a lot for a 3 million plus guy who was supposed to be a deadly sniper, but he wasn’t a deadly sniper. He wasn’t much of anything. And so a 2nd rounder it is.

I just hope there’s more to come.

Gill Goes To Music City

Hal Gill has been dealt to the Nashville Predators. Gill, along with a 2013 5th round draft pick, leaves the Habs who now welcome aboard forwards Robert Slaney, a 2nd round pick in 2012, and Blake Geoffrion, son of Danny, grandson of Boom Boom, and great-grandson of Howie Morenz. Talk about a guy with Hab bloodlines.

Gill was a leader with the Habs, a character guy, and will be missed because of this. But he was slower than molasses, and the way Alexei Emelin and Raphael Diaz have found their way on the the blueline, Gill’s time had come. So long, Hal. You’re a good guy.

PRESS RELEASE

MONTREAL (February 17, 2012) – Montreal Canadiens general manager, Pierre Gauthier, announced today the acquisition of forwards Blake Geoffrion and Robert Slaney, as well as a second round draft pick in 2012 from the Nashville Predators, in return for defenseman Hal Gill and a conditional fifth round draft pick in 2013.

The 24-year old Geoffrion played 22 games with the Predators this season. He registered three assists, 29 hits and 17 penalty minutes, playing an average of 10 minutes and 20 seconds per game. In his second year in professional hockey this season, he also played with the AHL Milwaukee Admirals recording nine points, including two goals, in 20 games.

The 6’01’’, 190 lbs left winger has collected 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists) in 42 regular season games in the NHL.  Geoffrion displays a career +1 plus/minus differential. He added two assists in 12 playoff games in 2010-11, along with a +1 plus/minus ratio.

A native of Plantation, Florida, Geoffrion was drafted in the second round, 56th overall by the Predators at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. He was awarded the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, as the Top U.S. Collegiate Player in 2010.

Slaney, 23, notched one assist in nine games with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals, and 18 points (11 goals, 7 assists) in 30 games with the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones this season.

A product of the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles the 6’02’’, 203 lbs left winger registered eight assists in 52 career games in the AHL. Slaney added 53 points (19 goals, 34 assists) in 113 career games in the ECHL.

The Upper Cove Island, Newfoundland native Slaney signed as a free agent with the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 14, 2009. He was acquired from Toronto by the Predators on July 3, 2011.

“First and foremost, I would like to thank Hal Gill for his contribution to our team over the last three seasons. His leadership and commitment were much appreciated. I wish him the best of luck with his new team. We are also very pleased to have acquired a second round draft selection in 2012 and two young prospects for our organization. We look forward to working together with Blake Geoffrion and Robert Slaney to continue their progression,” said Canadiens’ general manager Pierre Gauthier.

Hal Gill played 53 games this season with the Canadiens registering eight points (1 goal, 7 assists). He recorded 48 hits and 122 blocked shots, playing an average of 16 minutes and 44 seconds per game.

Since joining the NHL, Gill has recorded 179 points (36 goals and 143 helpers) and maintained a +43 plus/minus ratio in 1,047 NHL regular season games.

 

Shootout Shoots Canadiens

It was a spirited affair, jam-packed with close calls, big hits, dirty hits, questionable penalty calls, a Ryan White fight, a comeback, an overtime, and a shootout. All that stuff. Even a dirty Brad Marchand check, which should’ve been written into the program..

But when it was all said and done, the Canadiens had lost the game 4-3 while Toronto was winning in Edmonton, and the noose is so tight I’m starting to gag.

Montreal played hard and tough, with White adding feistiness, Alexei Emelin crushing Shawn Thornton and others, and so many Habs coming to play, unlike some nights when it seemed some must have been nursing hangovers or taken sedatives. The Desharnais, Cole and Pacioretty line did again what they do always do, make an impact and pick up points, and there were others too. Josh Gorges and PK Subban enjoyed fine nights, Mathieu Darche dug deep and scored a shorthanded goal, and Carey Price, for the most part, was solid.

But them we remind ourselves that Hal Gill gave up the puck in the first period which resulted in Boston’s first goal. We saw Lars Eller take a four-minute high-sticking penalty which put him solidly on the bench for much of the remainder of the game. And we saw a weak non-effort from Tomas Kaberle on Benoit Pouliot, who in turn undressed Chris Campoli for Boston’s second goal.

To make matters worse, the Bruins scored a power play marker after Erik Cole had been sent off for goaltender interference which was questionable to say the least. Cole was simply coming in hard with the puck and had no chance to avoid Thomas.

This game, in which ticket buyers got their money’s worth, was close to being over when in the third, the Canadiens made their charge when Max Pacioretty lit the lamp, Erik Cole said thank you to a Zdeno Chara giveaway, and presto, the Habs were back in it, the game was tied, and a good time was had by all.

That is until the thing got to a shootout and Rene Bourque, Max, and a semi-frozen Lars Eller couldn’t get it done, young Tyler Seguin could, and the Bruins walk out with two points in their pocket and the Canadiens just one.

What could have been. It’s just very sad.

Random Notes:

It was only a couple of days ago when Thomas Kaberle gave up the puck to Eric Staal in the Carolina game, allowing Staal to easily walk around him and score a shorthanded goal which tied the game and set things in motion for the Habs to blow it. And again tonight, Kaberle was weak on a goal and quite ordinary at best.

In honour of Thomas Kaberle being so lousy, I’ve thought up a lousy joke: What do you get when you join five Kaberle sticks together? One Chara stick.

Shots on goal – Boston 34, Montreal 29

I’m sure Carey Price would be the first to admit he hasn’t been sparkling in shootouts.

Next game, Friday in Buffalo.

For those of you who support Scott Gomez, what exactly is it you’re supporting?

Brad Marchand submarined Alexei Emelin, and luckily Emelin was okay. Marchand got a two-minute clipping call out of the deal, and I’ll bet Emelin could grind this rat into powder with his bare hands if he wanted to. Marchand better be careful in dealing with this ultra-strong Russian bear.

Canadiens Win Big!

The Canadiens won when they absolutely had to, beating the New York Rangers 4-1, and so many players stepped up to the plate and hit it out of the park, it was like watching Warren Cromartie and Andre Dawson take batting practice.

It feels good to be proud of the guys instead of wanting to send them all to Calgary.

The line of Max Pacioretty, Erik Cole, and David Desharnais combined for nine big points – Max with 2 goals and an assist, Cole with 3 assists, and Desharnais with a goal and 2 assists. And at the end, after the siren had sounded, the fans gave them the three stars and deservedly so.

But a couple of others also had big nights, two whom we might never have guessed. Peter Budaj in nets was solid, and came through in fine fashion. He could’ve been a star if Max’s line wasn’t so darned dominant.

And another who could’ve been a star was none other than Scott Gomez, who was flying all over the place, skating miles, making nice plays, and setting up Michael Blunden beautifully.

If Gomez can play like that every night, his sins will eventually be forgiven. But I’m not going to get carried away here. It was one good game for the much-maligned Alaskan, and I refuse to get hoodwinked. (what a great word – hoodwinked). I also don’t like his laughing and kibitzing, which he does even with opposing guys on faceoffs, and I think the Rocket would like to punch him in the face if he could.

Newcomer Rene Bourque also played well, and it’s nice what he brings. He’s big and strong, is good with the puck, and he’s a powerful skater. When he gets motoring he reminds me of Cole, and he changes the look of the team in a great way. Suddenly the Montreal Canadiens got bigger and stronger. It’s what I’ve been praying to Sprague Cleghorn for, for months now.

Of course, for every yin there’s a yang. Travis Moen injured his leg and hopefully it’s not serious. And Randy Cunneyworth showed he means business when he sat Lars Eller for all of the second period after Eller’s weak coverage near the goal led to the Rangers scoring. You gotta play tough and wrap up your man, however it takes. It’s not Woodstock/peace and love out there. And Andrei Kostitsyn also felt the wrath of Randy after lacklustre play.

That’s fine. These are grown men. They know their team needs an all-out effort now, and they’ll pay a price if they don’t give their all. I mean, if I’m caught sleeping at work I hear about it.

Eller saw ice time in the third, and on one occasion his rising shot struck Mathieu Darche in the throat that looked serious for a few minutes. Thankfully Darche was back out soon after.

The guys played well tonight. Travis Moen and NY’s Stu Bickel tangled after the draw for some reason, Hal Gill sprawled to break up a play and hopefully he’s not too sore in the morning, and PK Subban gave Tomas Kaberle shit for making too many passes back to him on the power play.

It was such an important game to win, and it’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

Okay, that’s a bit much, but you know what I mean.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – 29 each.

I have Cole and Desharnais in my pool.

Next up – Wednesday, when Alex Ovechkin and the Caps come to town. Once again, no problem, right?

 

 

Canadiens Sock It To Sens

The Canadiens may have gotten multiple points from several players in their big 6-2 win over the home team Ottawa Senators, but it was the difference in goaltending that gave Randy Cunneyworth his first head coach win.

Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson allowed four goals on just seven shots before he was yanked for Alex Auld, which became a nice Montreal cushion after giving up the game’s first goal to Ottawa just 1:42 in, while at the other end, Carey Price came through a dozen times in a big way by stoning the Sens to keep his team in control.

It was a hot goalie versus a cold one, and the hot one was wearing the CH.

And of course it wasn’t just Price who had a big night. So many chipped in, and this is how games get won, by having a bunch of guys get it done and not having to rely on just one or two every night, or only Price. Raphael Diaz assisted on Montreal’s three first period goals. Mathieu Darche had two assists. Mike Cammalleri, playing a stronger game than what we’ve seen lately, had a goal and an assist. Louis Leblanc had a goal and an assist. So did P.K. Subban, Tomas Plekanec, and Erik Cole.

Lars Eller also scored and played well, but unfortunately it wasn’t a multiple-point night for the Dane so I mention him almost last. (just kidding). And Hal Gill had just one assist so he gets mentioned even later than Eller.

It was just so nice to see things spread around like that, with guys earning their keep, helping the team grab two big points, and probably feeling pretty darn good as they shower, dress, and prepare for a Florida jaunt to take on the Lightning on Thursday and Panthers Saturday.

A big win like this has to help in so many ways. Randy Cunneyworth finally gets that giant piano off his back. The boys snap a five-game losing streak. Mike Cammalleri woke from his slumber. Guys all over the place had big nights, and Carey Price was as strong as strong can be.

Random Notes:

Ottawa outshot the Habs 35-28.

On to Florida. Let’s hope the team can make those tanned snowbirds delirously happy.

Alexei Emelin had another handful of big hits, and PK Subban played a lively game, although he gave up the puck a few times, which he does almost every night it seems. But this is PK – wild and wacky.

The Habs have had me so jittery lately that it wasn’t until they made it 6-2 that I felt confident they would win.